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Dodgers Minor League Countdown: 90 - 81

Here is the next part of my Dodger propsect rankings. This group includes the brother of one of the Dodgers star players, a Japanese lefty, and a player who found his way back to the Dodgers after a three year absence.

90. Logan Bawcom, RHP (27.1 IP in Pioneer League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 17th round

6’2”, 200 lbs, 22.25 years old

3-1, 4.28 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 3.86 FIP, 9.55 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Coming out of high school in Texas, Logan Bawcom was shortstop and had an outstanding senior season at the plate, hitting .500 with 12 homers. He went on to play at Midland Junior College as a two way player and had a solid career both as a hitter and pitcher. Bawcom then transferred to University of Texas-Arlington, and it was there that he became a full time pitcher. In 2010 as a junior, Logan threw 90.2 innings and had a 3.87 ERA with 87 strikeouts and a .277 batting average against. That prompted the Dodgers to draft him in the 17th round, and the right hander signed quickly with the team. He was assigned to the Pioneer League where he got off to a hot start with the Raptors. He hit a rough patch in August, but overall finished the year with a solid FIP and had a great strikeout to walk ratio. According to the reports out of Ogden, Bawcom throws in the low 90’s, has a hard 83 mph slider, and also throws a changeup. The 22 year old will definitely play in a full season league in 2011, with the Midwest League as his most likely destination. He’s the type of player who is a bit of a wildcard because he has the stuff to become a legitimate prospect, but he could just as easily toil in the lower minor leagues for his entire baseball career.

89. Jaime Ortiz, 1B (85 games in LoA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 7th round

6’1”, 220 lbs, 22.75 years old, bats left handed

.270 average, .742 OPS, 8 HR’s, 41 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 69; Pre 2009 Rank: 21

Jamie Ortiz was selected by the Marlins in the minor league portion of the 2010 Rule 5 draft, so he is no longer in the Dodgers organization. Had he remained with the Dodgers, this is where he would have ranked. The reason he is included in my rankings because I compiled my list prior to the Rule 5 this year. The loss of Ortiz isn’t too significant because Jamie’s career had really stalled over the past few years. After showing some promise after the 2008 season, he had a terrible season in the California League in 2009 and then was demoted back to LoA in 2010 where he was mediocre at best. The one thing he has going for him is his youth, but at this point I really doubt he’ll ever make it to the big leagues.

88. Joel Lima, RHP (17.2 IP in Arizona League in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’0”, 165 lbs, 21.5 years old

2-1, 2.04 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 3.09 FIP, 8.15 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 102; Pre 2009 Rank: 65

Joel Lima, the much younger half brother of the late Jose Lima, was signed by the Dodgers in 2008. After spending two seasons in the Dominican Summer League, where he posted a combined 2.71 ERA through 69.2 innings, Joel was promoted to the Arizona League in 2010. Although he was limited just 17.2 innings with the Arizona Dodgers, Lima had yet another solid season with a superb ERA and recorded 3 saves. His strikeout rate also showed improvement from the previous two seasons, and he absolutely dominated right handed batters (0.69 ERA and a .167 batting average against through 13 innings). Unfortunately, I don’t have any information on his velocity or his pitch types. The only negative for Lima is his size, although it’s possible that he is actually bigger than his listed height and weight. Now 21 years old, Lima might be ready for a full season league in 2011, although I can also see the Dodgers sending him to the Pioneer League to get more experience.

87. Jesse Bosnik, 3B (55 games in Pioneer League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 13th round

6’2”, 205 lbs, 22.75 years old, bats left handed

.253 average, .734 OPS, 4 HR’s, 31 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

The Dodgers selected Jesse Bosnik in the 13th round of the 2010 draft out of St. Bonaventure University, where he hit .387 with 11 homers and collected 62 RBI’s as a junior in 2010. On draft day, Bosnik wasn’t at his computer waiting to see where he’d be drafted, but was instead at the ballpark taking batting practice before his game as a member of the Wilmington Sharks in the Coastal Plain Summer League. Jesse signed quickly, and joined the Ogden Raptors as their everyday 3rd baseman. Even though he was a shortstop in college, his defense at that position wasn’t good enough for the professional ranks. As it turns out, his defense at the hot corner isn’t much better as he had a .887 fielding percentage for the Raptors, but I’ll give him a break since he was learning a new position. At the plate, Bosnik got a bit lost in the powerful Raptor lineup, and was pretty average overall. In Baseball America’s draft report, they called him more of a doubles hitter than a home run hitter, which isn’t good for his future as a 3rd baseman. His one strength was his plate disciple, as he walked in 11.8% of his plate appearances. In addition, while he doesn’t have great speed, scouts call him a very good base runner. In 2011, Bosnik will probably be the Loons regular 3rd baseman and hopefully he’ll improve his defense and become a bigger offensive threat. In a Dodgers system that is pretty thin at 3rd base, a big season could definitely get his name onto the prospect radar.

86. Kazuki Nishijima, LHP (No stats in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in November 2010

Height & Weight Unknown, 21 years old
No stats in 2010

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Kazuki Nishijima was signed by the Dodgers in November of 2010 out of Meiji University in Tokyo. Since there isn’t a ton of information about him, I’m going to mostly quote the Dodgers press release. “Nishijima, who spent his prep years at Yokohama High School -- former home to Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka -- posted a 6-5 record and a 1.91 ERA during his collegiate career. Nishijima is just the second Japanese college player the Dodgers have ever signed.” Keiichi Kojima, the Dodgers supervisor of scouting in Japan said “Nishijima is known for his curveball and his consistent arm slot. He locates fastballs on the lower part of the plate and induces a lot of ground balls.” After signing, Nishijima said “American baseball has been my dream since I was a kid. I will do my best to become a successful pitcher in the Major Leagues.” I was able to find a little more information from the website The author, in response to a question from our very own Julio Nievas, says that “when Nishijima is on, he is really good. When he’s not on, it’s really hard to watch him. His inconsistency is probably the worst thing about him, but some people have thought that it might be a mental thing, since he’s never been valued where he thinks he should be, and maybe given the Dodgers contract, he might put out his “A” game every time, rather than just when he feels like it. I really thought there was a chance he’d get drafted this year in the NPB, just based on his size and leftiness. Like, the potential is really there for him to become something pretty great, if a team can coach it out of him. I mean, I’ve been watching him for years now, and he struck me as being a lefty version of Hosei’s Hisashi Takeuchi, just without the 96 mph fastball…(apparently Nishijima throws in the high 80’s, and up to 91)”. For 2011, I’m guessing that Kazuki will start the year in extended spring training and then maybe make his way onto the Loons roster by mid-season. The Dodgers wouldn’t have signed Nishijima if they didn’t think he had potential, but we’ll have to wait until next season to see how he fares against competition in America.

85. Devon Ethier, OF (2 games in Arizona League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 32nd round

6’0”, 165 lbs, 20.75 years old, bats right handed

.200 average, .400 OPS, 0 HR’s, 2 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

If Devon Either wasn’t related to Andre, he’d probably rank much lower for me, but due to the his bloodlines I have to give him some respect. The much younger Devon is almost the complete opposite of Andre, except for the fact the he plays outfield. Devon hits and throws right handed, and is a light hitting yet speedy offensive player. In his sophomore season at Gateway Community College in Arizona, Ethier hit .315 with 34 runs scored in 50 games, and stole 21 games in 24 attempts. He also threw 23 innings and posted a 4.70 ERA. After the draft, Devon said “I don't believe in any way or form that I'm in his (Andre's) shadow. I'm a completely different person and player. I'm on my own path. For me, it's amazing he's in The Show (big leagues) and with the Dodgers. It's a big 'Wow' for me. You don't find many people who have older brothers playing in the major leagues.” Devon’s negotiations with the Dodgers went down to the wire as he finally signed with the team in mid August. Therefore, he didn’t see much professional action in 2010 as he only played in two Arizona League games. Overall, I really don’t see much of a future for Devon because he doesn’t seem to have any standout tools. He is just 20 years old, however, so maybe he’ll make the adjustments to professional baseball and prove me wrong. I’m guessing he’ll spend 2011 in the Pioneer League.

84. Jan Vazquez, C (28 games in Arizona League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 6th round

5’10”, 165 lbs, 19.75 years old, switch hitter

.226 average, .648 OPS, 0 HR’s, 6 RBI’s, 1 SB

Pre 2010 Rank: 61; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Jan Vasquez is a young switch hitting catcher who was selected by the Dodgers in the 6th round of the 2009 draft. He is from Puerto Rico, and scouting reports prior to the draft suggested that he has a plus arm behind the plate. According to Logan White, “This kid is a real athlete. He shifts, blocks, has perfect size for a catcher. If we don't need him behind the plate, he could play second base because he can really hit from both sides of the plate.” After signing with the Dodgers, Vazquez was assigned to the Arizona Rookie League where he played just enough to get his feet wet. He only appeared in 25 games but had very poor stats. As expected Vazquez returned to the Arizona League in 2010, but unfortunately he had another down season. While he showed some improvement, he still only hit .226 and was again limited to fewer than 100 at bats. Nevertheless, it’s too early to give up on the 19 year old Vazquez because he is still so young and only has 167 career at bats. Hopefully he’ll play in the Pioneer League next season where he’ll be in a more hitter friendly environment.

83. Travis Denker, 2B (20 games in AAA, 16 games in AA, 74 games in HiA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2003, 21st round, released, then resigned in May 2010

5’9”, 205 lbs, 25.5 years old, bats right handed

.304 average, .830 OPS, 8 HR’s, 52 RBI’s, 6 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Travis Denker was originally drafted by the Dodgers in 2003, and moved slowly through the system before getting sent to the Giants in the famous Mike Sweeney trade of 2007. At the time of the trade, Denker was with the 66ers in Inland Empire and was having a pretty good season. Fast forward 3 years, and Denker was back with the 66ers after resigning with the Dodgers in May as a minor league free agent. In between his time with the Dodgers, Denker spent time with the Padres, Red Sox, and Mariners, and even made it up to the big leagues with the Giants in 2008 where he played in 24 games and can tell his kids that he hit a major league home run. Getting back to 2010, Denker was the 66ers second baseman for the most of the year and had a very good season in his return to the California League as he hit .332 with 7 homers in 74 games before getting promoted on July 30th. He spent the remainder of the season split between AA and AAA, but unfortunately his stats were much worse in the more advanced leagues. Despite his end of the season slump, the Dodgers resigned Denker after the season so he will provide the organization with infield depth in 2011. In addition to 2nd base, Denker can play an adequate 3rd base and is probably considered an emergency option in case injuries hit the big league team hard. If the big league club stays healthy, however, Denker will probably spend next season in Albuquerque.

82. Chris Jacobs, 1B (42 games in LoA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 17th round

6’5”, 257 lbs, 22.25 years old, bats right handed

.215 average, .672 OPS, 7 HR’s, 25 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 55; Pre 2009 Rank: 24

Every year I have high hopes for Chris Jacobs, and every year he disappoints me. After spending three mediocre seasons in the Dodger rookie leagues, the massive 1st baseman finally got his first taste of full season ball in 2010. While he did manage to hit 7 homers in just 149 at bats, his average dropped from .277 in 2009 to .215, and his OPS was only .672 for the year. In addition, Jacobs was overmatched by the more advanced pitching as he struck out in a career high 31.3% of his plate appearances. I was hoping that Jacobs would get more like 300 or 400 at bats in 2010 to get gain as much experience as possible, but he missed some time due to injury and had to share time at 1st base with both Jerry Sands and Jaime Ortiz. If he had gotten at least 300 at bats, Jacobs probably would have smacked at least 15 homers and we’d probably be looking at him in a different light even with his low average. But because he only had limited plate appearances, he was pretty much an afterthought on the Loons team. Still just 22 years old, I remain optimistic about Jacobs because of his plus power. He also ended the season on a hot streak, hitting .314 with an OPS of almost 1.000 over his final 10 games, so maybe he can take that momentum into 2011. He’ll probably return to the Loons next year and it will be interesting to see what he does over a full season. He’s a true athlete who is still adjusting to his size and more advanced pitching, so hopefully he can still make something out of his baseball career.

81. Andy Suiter, LHP (53 IP in LoA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 10th round

6’3”, 215 lbs, 23.75 years old

4-2, 3.91 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 3.95 FIP, 12.91 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 94; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Coming out of high school Andy Suiter was a prize recruit by UCLA, but then due to a broken wrist and poor coaching decisions he transferred to UC Davis where he finally got an opportunity to play. He was drafted by the Yankees in 2008 in the 32nd round, but obviously didn’t sign and returned to UC Davis in 2009. While his 2009 college stats were rather unimpressive, he did improve his velocity and was hitting 94 mph by the end of the season. So the Dodgers decided to take a chance on him with their 10th round pick, and after the draft Logan White said “This kid has a really good arm…He's throwing 94-95 now and has a good change and a good curve ball. The question is getting him to command the strike zone. When he was a starter he wasn't very successful but when they moved him into the bullpen he had good success. We're going to start him and if he has trouble we'll move him into relief and we feel he will be very good. We think we have a great find this late in the process. We can see no reason he can't throw strikes, maybe he just likes relief better. If we get another Brent Leach, that will be great.” Based on White’s quote, apparently the Dodgers hope to someday sell Suiter to a team Japan? In all seriousness, White was exactly right when it came to questioning Suiter’s control, because that is the only thing holding him back at this point. Batters hit just .200 against him in 2009 and .202 against him in 2010; however his career WHIP is 1.66 due to his extremely high walk rate. Besides his lack of control, Suiter was very good for the Loons and provided solid relief all season. In addition, he led all Dodger minor leaguers with his outstanding 12.91 K/9 (minimum 50 IP), and after the season he took a road trip by driving all the way from Michigan to California. At 6’3” Andy has good size, and given his pitching repertoire, velocity, and strikeout rate, I think this lefty could become a successful relief pitcher if he learns better control. At 23 years old, he’s a candidate to move up to AA in 2011.