While we wait to hear the news on our unsigned draft picks, lets talk a little about some of our current prospects.
Recently, Chattanooga Lookouts radio broadcaster Larry Ward was kind enough to answer some questions for me that I had emailed over to him. His answers were relatively short and some are amusing, but I’m sure that you’ll find they provide some good insight into the Dodgers AA team. I broke up the multi-part questions into sections so it is easier to follow. My questions are preceded by BL, and his responses are preceded by LW.
Also, please note that there were a couple of questions that were not fully answered, but I decided to leave in all the parts of my questions for this post so I can at least get some credit for trying to get the answers to some tough questions.
BL: Sands is having by the far the best offensive season of any Dodger prospect, and hasn’t really cooled down too much in AA. His average has dropped a bit, but he leads the Lookouts in HR’s even though he’s played in only 42 games. Which big league hitter or former Dodger prospects would you compare him to?
LW: I don’t (know) yet…too raw
BL: Also, what do you think his ceiling is at the big league level in terms of HR’s and batting average?
LW: You are kidding right? Have to do it to prove it!
BL: Lastly, is his outfield defense/arm good enough for him to play right field in the big leagues, and what position do you see him playing in the future?
LW: His prowess in the outfield is good enough for left or right field
BL: Robinson is quietly having an outstanding season at the plate, and when you look at his stats it almost appears that he has the potential to be at least a 4 tool player. That being said, in your opinion how will him power potential translate in the major leagues?
LW: Needs some work but should still be a great gap hitter
BL: Also, how is his defense in center field?
BL: Lastly, do you think he’ll get a big league call up in September since he is already on the 40 man roster?
LW: He deserves the call up & should get it
BL: Russell tore up the California League, and while he has been better as of late, overall he has struggled in AA. The biggest concern for him has always been the strikeouts, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Will his inability to make consistent contact be the demise of him, or do you think his raw power will eventually carry him to the major leagues?
LW: He is still learning that this isn’t the Cal league and the pitchers are much more experienced. He will be fine with power and hitting in general.
BL: Pedroza is another guy who has been under the radar this year, yet is putting up some pretty solid numbers. What do you think his future will be?
LW: He will get a chance to play some where eventually whether with the Dodgers or another team.
BL: Do you think his size has limited him at all, or will it possibly prevent him from making it to the big leagues?
LW: Since when does size have ANYTHING to do with playing baseball????
BL: Gordon was recently named the most exciting player of the Southern League. Do you agree with that selection?
LW: A little but he still has to learn when to hold’em and when to fold’em!!
BL: Would you still describe him as a raw player who hasn’t tapped into his full potential yet?
BL: Also, what has led to all the errors he has committed this year? Is it more his footwork, his throws, or just inexperience?
LW: Tries to make easy play look hard and vice versa
BL: Finally, just how fast is he, and if he played a full season in the big leagues, how many bases do you think he could steal in his prime?
LW: This is a question no one can answer until he gets there. Nobody knew how many Ricky Henderson could steal or Maury Wills either until they did it
BL: Should Perez be considered a prospect, or is he just an organization player filling a spot on the roster?
LW: A question for the powers to be to answer
BL: To say that Withrow hasn’t lived up to expectation this season is an understatement, and he seems to be getting worse as the season progresses. From what I’ve heard, his struggles are the result of him not being able to locate his off speed pitches which have allowed hitters to sit on his fastball. Is there anything else that you can point to that has caused him to struggle? Also, is it true that he has lost some velocity on his fastball since last year? Finally, do you think Withrow will return to the Lookouts next season for another go around since he’ll be just 22 years old at the start of 2011?
LW: He may need a half season after the rough one this year.
Rubby De La Rosa
BL: De La Rosa has been spectacular since joining the Lookouts rotation. Are the rumors true that he can hit 100 mph with his fastball?
BL: What exactly are his secondary pitches and how good are they?
BL: Do you know anything about why he was sent home early last year after throwing just 16 innings?
LW: no I don’t
BL: Finally, since he had less than 70 innings of professional experience coming into this year, including the 16 from last year, will the Dodgers shut him down pretty soon to save his arm and prevent injury?
LW: Again I would only be speculating but he looks to me like he could finish the season with no problem
BL: Sexton was recently demoted back to the California League. How hard was he throwing while he was in AA, and do you think he was better than his 5+ ERA shows?
LW: He is better and he should be relieving instead of starting.
Cole St. Clair
BL: St. Clair hasn’t had a spectacular season, but he still seems to have the potential to be a big league reliever. How hard has he been throwing this season, and what are his secondary pitches?
LW: 88-92...change and a curve
BL: Leach’s conversation to starting pitcher hasn’t produced good numbers so far, but he has had a couple of good starts. Do you think he’ll remain a starter for the rest of his career?
BL: Also, since he’ll be 28 this offseason do you think he’s running out of time to prove that he’s worth a spot on the 40 man roster?
BL: Since being drafted in the supplemental 1st round in 2007, James Adkins has done nothing to show he deserved to be selected that high. I know the Dodgers invested a lot of money in him so they won’t give up on him yet, but what do you think they plan on doing with him?
LW: He is improving each outing as of late. Just needs some time
BL: Does he still struggle to reach 90 mph with his fastball, and if so, how is he ever going to be a successful reliever?
LW: Lately he is up to 92-93MPH
BL: Javy Guerra has missed a significant amount of time this year. What exactly was his injury? Also, did his injury have something to do with his awful walk rate? How hard has he been throwing this year and do you think he’ll be able to finish the year strong?
LW: cannot comment...you would have to ask the Dodgers
BL: Since getting promoted to AA, Justin Miller has posted a solid ERA, but his strikeout rate has dropped significantly. Is that because he is an extreme ground ball pitcher and thus he is letting the opposition make contact in order to get outs? How hard does he throw, and do you think he’ll stay a reliever for the rest of his career?
LW did not respond to this question
BL: Aaron Miller only spent 6 starts in AA before getting demoted back down to the California League. Why did the Dodgers demote him so quickly? Did they want him to work with certain coaches in Hi-A, or did they just feel AA was too advanced for Miller this early in his professional career?
LW: Still needs work
BL: I know he hasn’t spent much time in AA, but what can you tell me about Javier Solano? As the youngest player on the team by a full year, do you believe he has a bright future with the Dodgers?
BL: David Pfeiffer has been with the Dodgers for a long time, and is putting together a pretty solid season. Do you see him as a potential option for the Dodgers bullpen in the future since he does have a lot of experience?
LW: He would be a good asset to any bullpen