The next part of my minor league countdown features several older players, but also includes a few younger players who are still taping into their potential. As we get closer to the top 100 Dodger prospects, the names are getting more recognizable. So here are #'s 120 - 111:
120. Brian Ruggiano, 3B (108 games in LoA in 2010)
Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 23rd round
6’0”, 180, 24.75 years old, bats right handed
.255 average, .718 OPS, 6 HR’s, 48 RBI’s, 15 SB’s
Pre 2010 Rank: 62; Pre 2009 Rank: 116
Brian was the second Ruggiano drafted by the Dodgers out of Texas A&M in the past few years because they drafted his brother, Justin Ruggiano, in the 25th round of the 2004 draft. Justin is obviously no longer with the Dodgers, as he was part of the Mark Hendrickson/Toby Hall trade in 2006. Last year, I couldn’t help but rank Ruggiano #62 last year after his outstanding season in 2009. He hit .371 with the Ogden Raptors, including 9 homers and a 1.031 OPS. Brian fell back down to earth in 2010 with the Great Lakes, however, as he had a very mediocre season. The Loons everyday 3rd baseman hit just .255 with a .718 OPS, and made 22 errors in the field. That just goes to show how different the Pioneer League is from the Midwest League. Without a standout tool, Ruggiano is going to have a tough time climbing through the Dodgers minor league system. Also, as a 24 year old who has yet to play above LoA, Dodgers will probably have to decide this offseason if Ruggiano is worth keeping around for another year.
119. Will Savage, RHP (83.2 IP in LoA, 51.2 IP in HiA, 16.2 IP in AA in 2010)
Signed by Dodgers in February 2010
6’4”, 215 lbs, 26.5 years old
10-5, 4.32 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 3.67 FIP, 6.04 K/9
Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
Will Savage was born in Southern California and attended El Camino Real High before heading to the College of the Canyons to start his college career. After spending 2 seasons as a Cougar, Savage transferred to the University of Oklahoma and posted a 16 and 6 record between the 2005 and 2006 seasons. His play was good enough for the Phillies, who selected Will in the 26th round of the 2006 draft. After 3 solid seasons in the Phillies organization, Savage was promoted to AA for the 2008 season. However he was limited to just 6 games as he hurt his elbow, and that promoted the Phillies to release him. Savage eventually found himself with the Wichita Wingnuts of the independent Atlantic League where he spent virtually all of 2009. With the Wingnuts, Savage had a solid 2.94 ERA and even threw a no hitter. This caught the attention of the Dodgers, who signed Savage before the 2010 season. Despite being 25 years old, the Dodgers assigned Savage to LoA where he thrived against the younger competition and made the mid season All Star Team. He eventually moved up to HiA, and then finished the year in AA. Even though Savage was pretty bad during his 16 innings with the Lookouts, the Dodgers have already re-signed Will for the 2011 season. According to Savage, his change-up and sinker are his best pitches, and he also has a fastball that sits in the low 90’s. Now 26 years old, Savage will continue to provide the Dodgers with organizational depth while trying to prove that he still has what it takes to one day make it to the show. He is trying to stay sharp this offseason by participating in the Venezuelan Winter League, where he has a 2.65 ERA through 17 innings.
118. Anthony Jackson, RHP (122 games in AA in 2010 – Rockies Organization)
PTNL in trade for Dotel
5’8”, 175 lbs, 26.75 years old, switch hitter
.251 average, .676 OPS, 2 HR’s, 40 RBI’s, 33 SB’s
Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
The Dodgers acquired Anthony Jackson as the player to be named later in the trade that sent Octavio Dotel to the Rockies. The now 26 year old was originally picked by Colorado in the 16th round of the 2006 draft out of the University of the Pacific. In his 4 years with the Rockies, Jackson had a career .252 batting average and a .670 OPS in 528 games. A switch hitter, Anthony had almost the exact same average from each side of the plate last year. His only real asset is his speed as he’s accumulated 151 career stolen bases, including 33 in AA in 2010. Jackson has been a center fielder for most of his minor league career, although he also spent a decent amount of time at 2nd base last season. My guess is that Jackson will spend 2011 in AAA, and while I don’t expect him to ever be in a Dodger uniform, at his very best he could be an emergency outfielder should something go terribly wrong in Los Angeles.
117. Jesus Castillo, RHP (103.1 IP in AA, 23.2 IP in AAA in 2010)
Drafted by Dodgers 2003, 27th round
6’0”, 195 lbs, 26.75 years old
5-15, 5.03 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, 4.66 FIP, 5.60 K/9
Pre 2010 Rank: 95; Pre 2009 Rank: 43
I’m getting pretty tired of writing about Jesus Castillo. He’s had some good years in the past, and even posted a 3.83 ERA in AA this past season, but at the end of the day he is simply the epitome of meritocracy. His career WHIP is 1.41, his career K/9 rate is 6.2, and his career win loss record is 28 – 44. In addition, he failed miserably in his 2010 AAA stint, and has always been an undersized pitcher. If you remember, he was actually on the Dodgers 40 man roster at one point, which is one of the reasons I mistakenly ranked him so high in the past. Castillo is currently a minor league free agent, and at almost 27 years old I really don’t see a point in the Dodgers bringing him back next season. He is currently playing in the Mexican Winter League and has a 4.71 ERA though 36.1 innings.
116. Francisco Felix, RHP (12.2 IP in AAA in 2010)
Signed by Dodgers 2/19/03
5’11”, 191 lbs, 27.75 years old
2-0, 4.26 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 5.49 FIP, 7.82 K/9
Pre 2010 Rank: 58; Pre 2009 Rank: 62
Prior to the 2010 season, Francisco Felix seemed poised to make a run at being a legitimate Dodger prospect despite his small stature. He had just posted a 3.05 ERA and 9.16 K/9 in 2009 which he split between AA and AAA, and had even earned an invitation to the Dodgers 2010 big league camp in Spring Training. However, the 2010 season was not kind to Felix as he did not have good stats. His 4.26 ERA in AAA does not really tell the true story because he actually spent most of the season on loan to the Mexican League where he recorded an ugly 6.28 ERA through 61.2 innings. In addition, his K/9 in the Mexican League was only 6.3, and batters hit .339 against him. I’m guessing that one of the reasons for Felix’s struggles in 2010 was the fact that he was used mostly as a starter, even though he had resided in the bullpen for the majority of his minor league career. Given his frame, he doesn’t seem like the type of pitcher who should be used in the rotation. Now 27 years old, a return to the bullpen seems like the best bet for Felix, and hopefully he’ll return to form with the Isotopes in 2011.
115. Mario Alvarez, RHP (120.1 IP in AA in 2010)
Signed by Dodgers 1/16/03
6’0”, 205 lbs, 27 years old
6-6, 4.94 ERA, 1.73 WHIP, 4.35 FIP, 5.91 K/9
Pre 2010 Rank: 97; Pre 2009 Rank: 83
Ever since the Dodgers added Mario Alvarez to their 40 man roster in 2007, I’ve always given Alvarez the benefit of the doubt despite mediocre stats. I figured that the Dodgers must have seen something in him that caused them to add him to the roster, so wanted to give him some respect. It’s not that I’ve ranked him that high, but for the past 2 years I did at least rank him in the top 100 of my ranking. That will not happen this year, however, because the soon to be 27 year old had another below average year and has basically struggled since 2005. Although he was resigned this offseason by the Dodgers, I can’t image that he’ll ever have an impact with the Dodgers. In addition, he has always been an undersized right hander who has been injury prone, so those are also points against him. He is currently playing in the Dominican Winter League and has a 4.86 ERA through 37 innings.
114. Casio Grider, SS/2B (62 games in Pioneer League in 2010)
Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 14th round
6’1”, 165 lbs, 23.5 years old, bats right handed
.281 average, .728 OPS, 4 HR’s, 33 RBI’s, 22 SB’s
Pre 2010 Rank: 118; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
Drafted out of Newberry College in the 14th round draft, Logan White called Grider a tools guy who is a bit raw and very athletic. He was named as the faster runner in the Dodgers 2009 draft by Baseball America, and runs a 6.5 second 60. Upon turning pro Grider was sent to the Arizona Rookie League and had a mediocre season at the plate, but he thrived on the base paths by stealing 22 bases in 24 attempts. In 2010, Grider was promoted to the Pioneer League and got the majority of starts and 2nd base for Ogden. While he didn’t have the big power numbers like other Raptor players, Grider hit a respectable .281 and managed to slug 4 homers. He also led the team with 22 stolen bases for the 2nd year in a row. Not everything was positive for Grider in 2010, however, as he committed a team high 23 errors, and had a terrible walk to strikeout ratio. In addition, now that he is spending most of his time at 2nd base instead of shortstop, he has lost a lot of his defensive value. At 23 years old, the speedy Grider will probably play for the Loons in 2011 and still has the potential to turn into a legitimate prospect. However, it’s going to take more than stolen bases to prove that he’s got a shot to make it with the Dodgers.
113. Jose Dominguez, RHP (24 IP in DSL in 2010)
Signed by Dodgers 7/2/07
6’0”, 180 lbs, 20.5 years old
1-1, 1.13 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 2.99 FIP, 7.88 K/9
Pre 2010 Rank: 134; Pre 2009 Rank: 60
Signed for $50,000 as a 16 year old at the start of the 2007 international signing period, Jose Dominguez impressed scouts back then with a 90 mph fastball and a solid curve. At the time, Logan White said, “It’s rare to see a kid as polished as he is.” In his professional debut in 2008, the then 17 year old Dominguez showed potential with an 11.8 K per 9 through 42 innings in the DSL. In 2009 he also had a solid season, with a 3.64 ERA through 59 innings. However, after the 2009 season I found an article on MILB.com that said “Jose Dominguez of the Dodgers' organization and Waldo Rosario of the Rays' organization each received 50-game suspensions on Monday for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Both players, part of their respective clubs' Dominican Summer League team, tested positive for the performance-enhancing substance Stanozolol. Their suspensions will be effective at the start of next season.” So Dominguez sat out most of the 2010 season, but when he did return to the DSL in August he had an amazing run, posting a 1.13 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, and .191 batting average against in 24 innings. Heading into 2011, Jose will only be 20 years old despite having 3 seasons under his belt. Since the Dodgers kept him around even after he was suspended, there must be something they like about him so I’m guessing he’ll move to the Arizona Rookie League next year. He’s a bit of a wildcard and seems to have the potential to move up the prospect charts, but that’s only if he stays away from the steroids because another suspension could cost Dominguez his career.
112. Chris Henderson, 1B/3B (47 games in Pioneer League in 2010)
Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 21st round
5’11”, 190 lbs, 22.75 years old, bats right handed
.341 average, .867 OPS, 1 HR, 24 RBI’s, 1 SB’s
Pre 2010 Rank: 129; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
Chris Henderson was an amazing college player at George Mason University. In 2009, his final season with the Patriots, Henderson hit.413 with 14 homers, 58 RBI and 70 runs scored. He also had a ridiculous .487 on-base percentage and a .702 slugging percentage. In addition, he did all this as a catcher and was named one of the three finalists for the Johnny Bench Award for the nation’s best catcher. The other two finalists were the 2009 #4 overall pick Tony Sanchez, and the Dodgers own Jeremy Wise. Since signing with the Dodgers, however, Henderson has put his catching equipment in storage as he has split his time between 1st and 3rd base. After an uninspiring debut in the Arizona Rookie League last year, Henderson had a huge season for the Ogden Raptors in 2010. He didn’t show any speed or power, but he had an outstanding average of .341 (7th best in the Pioneer League) and a remarkable on base percentage of .429 (4th in the league). It’s difficult to completely buy into Henderson’s breakout season because he did most of his damage at home (.417 average and 1.032 OPS vs. .272 average and .717 OPS on the road), but it is still a step in the right direction for his career. Also, I watched video on Henderson and his swing looks a little long to me, but he only struck out in 10.7% of his plate appearances in 2010 so I’m not too worried. In looking at Henderson’s future, the fact that he might be limited to 1st base (his fielding % at 3rd base over the past two seasons is .842) is going to really hurt his chances of making his way onto the Dodger prospect radar, especially since he has not shown any power. Nevertheless, I expect Henderson to get a chance to play in LoA next year, and at just 22 years old he still has time to prove his worth in the full season league.
111. Robert Boothe, RHP (48.1 IP in HiA in 2010)
Signed by Dodgers 12/5/07
6’2”, 190 lbs, 25 years old
1-2, 6.89 ERA, 1.92 WHIP, 5.85 FIP, 8.38 K/9
Pre 2010 Rank: 77; Pre 2009 Rank: 82
Robert Boothe was signed by the Dodgers as an international free agent after the 2007 season. He is half Japanese, attended Asia University, doesn’t speak much English, and was actually eligible for the Japanese draft before signing with the Dodgers. At the time of his signing, Logan White said that Boothe has “a nice delivery, good arm action, and a sound mix of breaking pitches which gives him the ability to be a future Major Leaguer.” After a rough debut season in 2008, Boothe turned things around in the Midwest League in 2009. He posted an excellent FIP of 2.65 and led all Dodger minor leaguers with his 12.46 K/9. 2010, however, was another down year as Boothe had a difficult time in the California League. The right hander had an ERA of almost 7.00 and a WHIP of almost 2.00, and his strikeout rate dropped significantly. Batters also hit almost .300 against him. Even still, I haven’t completely lost hope in the soon to be 25 year old because he has a live arm that can reach the mid 90’s and is still relatively young as a professional player. If he has a good spring in 2011, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Boothe in AA where he’ll play in a friendlier pitching environment.