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Hot and Cold Minor League Players of the Week - 8/18 thru 8/24

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Here is this week’s post for the Dodgers Hot and Cold players of the week.  As I wrote last week, this is basically a weekly post about the best and worst minor league players in the Dodgers system for the past week.  It is similar to the weekly Hot Sheet on Baseball America, except that it obviously focuses just on the Dodgers and will not only look at the players that are doing well, but will also feature players who are struggling.  Also, I’ve chosen to look at stats from Wednesday through Tuesday of each week for no particular reason except that I wanted this to be a midweek post.  Also always, feel free to mention in the comments any other players who you think I should have included in my lists.

Hot Hitters:

Name: Austin Gallagher, Inland Empire 66ers

Key Stats: 24 AB’s, 2 HR’s, 11 RBI’s, 1.095 OPS

As I wrote in my daily minor league report a few days ago, Gallagher seems to have flipped the power switch over the past week.  He blasted grand slams in back to back games, and also had a couple of doubles this week.  In addition, he only struck out three times in 24 at bats.  Still just 21 years old, this 6’5" 1st baseman still has plenty of time to get things together.  If he finds himself in AA next year for his 22 year old season, he’ll be on track with other prospects his age and could really burst back onto the prospect radar with a strong end to his 2010 season, and a solid 2011.

 

Name: Matt Wallach, Chattanooga Lookouts

Key Stats: 18 AB’s, 2 HR’s, .722 SLG%, 1.177 OPS

Matt Wallach smacked 2 homers this week and led the Dodger minor leaguers with his 1.484 OPS.  The 24 year old Wallach has somehow had a resurgence since moving to AA, hitting .348 in 15 games with the Lookouts.  With Lucas May now with the Royals, Wallach is trying to throw his name into the ring as a potential backup catcher with the Dodgers somewhere down the road.  While he’ll probably never be a starter at the big league level, I think he’d at least be able to perform at the level of AJ Ellis at some point in his career given his solid defense and his strong offense play as of late.  At the very least he’s trying to join his dad in AAA by 2011; that is if his dad doesn’t find a major league managerial job somewhere else before then.

 

Name: Nick Akins, Ogden Raptors

Key Stats: 25 AB’s, .360 average, 2 HR’s, 7 RBI’s, 1.167 OPS

There isn’t much else to say about Akins other than that he has had a dominant season. The 22 year old southern California native really has nothing left to prove in Rookie Ball, and I’m really hoping he’ll get moved up to Great Lakes for the last few weeks and playoffs.  The Dodgers did something similar with Songco last year, so it isn’t out of the question at he’ll get the call.  For the season, Akins has a combined .365 average and 17 home runs to go along with his 1.177 OPS.  So actually, when you compare this week to his season totals, it was a slightly down week for him.  That’s ridiculous. 

Honorable Mentions: Jonathan Garcia, Alfredo Silverio, and Scott Schebler

 

Hot Pitchers:

Name: Greg Wilborn, Great Lakes Loons

Key Stats: 13 IP, 15 K’s, 0.00 ERA, 0.77 WHIP

Greg Wilborn continues to surprise with his solid season, and had 2 great outings this week.  The lefthander now has a 2.12 ERA for the season and is definitely one of the season’s breakout players.  In case you forgot what I wrote in my interview with Ogden Radio Broadcaster Brandon Hart, "Wilborn features a slider, curveball and a change-up.  He improved a ton this off-season and was given the Opening Day start because of this.  He has lived up to the role and really hasn’t had a bad start all season.  Touched 94 but sits 90-92. Off-speed pitches that are getting hitters out, not the fastball that he sets up people."  Sounds like getting drafted in the 18th round is lucky for the Dodgers, as Allen Webster was selected in the 18th round in 2008, and Wilborn was selected in the 18th round in 2009.  Too bad the Dodgers couldn’t sign 2010 18th round pick Chad Arnold.  

 

Name: Bolivar Medina, Arizona Dodgers

Key Stats: 6.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 9 K’s, 0.45 WHIP

Medina is a 6’2" lefty out of the Dominican Republic who was very good in the DSL in 2007, missed 2008 due to injury, and then had a solid 2009 in the Arizona Rookie League.  Medina has struggled through most of the 2010 season, but has shown flashes of brilliance including his performance this week.  The bad news is that he is still in the Arizona Rookie League, but he is someone who could move relatively quickly if he starts getting things together.  He was specifically mentioned by name by Logan White a few years back when interviewed about some of the Dodgers’ international players, so that right there says that he has some potential.

 

Name: Javier Solano, Chattanooga Lookouts

Key Stats: 2 appearances, 6 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 10.50 K/9

Solano continued his breakout season with 6 shutout innings this week, lowering his AA ERA to 2.51 in just over 14 innings.  His FIP with the Lookouts is also an impressive 2.77.  The 20 year old Solano is by far the youngest player on the Chattanooga team, and as I reported earlier this season, 66ers pitching coach Charlie Hough says that Javier Solano has a low 90’s fastball, a cutter, a curve, and a changeup.

Honorable Mentions: Steven Ames, Brent Leach, and Gustavo Gomez

 

Cold Hitters:

Name: Dee Gordon

Key Stats: 34 AB’s, .206 average, only 2 walks, .456 OPS

Gordon has seemed to have a streaky season, and currently he is pretty cold.  While he still managed to get a few hits here and there this week, including a multi-hit game last night, he hasn’t performed like a top prospect over the last 7 days.  Knowing Gordon, however, he’ll probably catch fire this week to bring his season batting average back over .290.

 

Name: Mario Songco

Key Stats: 25 AB’s, 12 K’s, .160 average

Despite hitting a mammoth home run this week, Songco continued to struggle and has been pretty bad over the past 2 weeks.  What stood out to me were his 12 strikeouts, which means he K’d in almost half of his at bats this week.  The grind of a long season is probably getting to Mario as this is his first time playing an entire year.

 

Name: Jaime Pedroza

Key Stats: 27 AB’s, .185 average, 6 K’s

It was tough to pick a 3rd cold hitter this week because there really weren’t too many guys who had poor weeks.  But since I’m forced to pick one more, I had to go with Jaime Pedroza who only hit .185 over the past 7 days.  His season stats are still pretty solid, but I’m still not sure what his future holds.

Honorable Mentions: Preston Mattingly and Jamie Hoffmann

 

Cold Pitchers:

Names: Ethan Martin, Inland Empire 66ers

Key Stats: 0.1 innings, 162 ERA, 21.00 WHIP, 4 walks

Ethan Martin has been bad all season, but this outing was the icing on the cake.  Martin lasted just a third of an inning, yet allowed 4 walks and 6 runs.  The horrible game pushed Ethan’s ERA above 6 for the season, and he hasn’t made an appearance since even though he last pitched on August 18th.  This could be another case of a young pitchers arm getting tired, since Martin is now over 100 innings for the season.  It is also could be attributed to him pitching in the California League.  But no matter how many excuses I make for him, his prospect status has still taken a beating this season.  The only good news is that Martin continues to strikeout batters at a relatively impressive rate, which brings his season FIP to a more manageable 4.64.

 

Names: Tim Sexton, Inland Empire 66ers

Key Stats: 3.2 innings, 14.73 ERA, 2.73 WHIP, 3 HR’s allowed

I’m not exactly sure what to call Tim Sexton.  Is he a relief pitcher, is he a starter?  Is he even a prospect anymore?  Sexton started the season in the bullpen for the Lookouts, but struggled and was moved into the rotation.  He improved a bit as a starter, but was sent back down to Hi-A in early August.  Even though Tim enjoyed success in the California League in 2009, he hasn’t been very good in 2010 since rejoining the 66ers rotation.  He was especially bad this week as he allowed 8 runs to Bakersfield, including 3 homers.  The 6’6" righty still has a big projectable frame, and he is still just 23 years old, so I haven’t given up hope yet.  But something needs to change with him soon or else he’ll be stuck as an organization player. 

 

Names: Ryan Christenson, Great Lakes Loons

Key Stats: 4.1 IP, 7 ER, 2.54 WHIP

Christenson had his worst start as a professional this week, getting rocked for 10 hits and 7 runs in just 4.1 innings of work.  Outings like this are usually good for young players, however, as it gives them a taste of failure.  One of the sleepers in the Dodgers strong 2010 draft, hopefully Christenson will have a couple of good starts before the end of the season so he can go into the offseason with some confidence.

Honorable Mentions: Will Savage and Josh Walter