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State of the Dodgers Minor League System - 1st Base

Here is Part 2 of my "State of the Minor League System", and this time we'll be looking at 1st base. As a reminder, I am providing the preseason rank that I gave to each player within the position (Pre Pos.), their pre-season overall rank (Pre Overall), and their current ranking within the position. You'll notice that some players have an N/A next to their preseason rank. That is because the player is new to the Dodgers or new to the position since my preseason ranking. Like my pre-season rankings, I will only include guys who are under 28 years of age.

I am including the players that were drafted in the 2011 draft and have already signed with the Dodgers, and will be providing how each player was acquired, their age, height, weight, and current level. Players who have been released or are no longer in the organization are also included at the bottom of the chart.

As I mentioned before, I have ranked each player at is the position that I believe is best long term position for the player. It may not be the players current primary position, but it is where I believe each player will ultimately end up should they make the major leagues.

Pre Overall Pre Pos. Current Name How Acquired Age Ht Wt Bats Level
35 1 1 Austin Gallagher 2007, 3rd 22.67 6' 5" 210 L HiA
55 N/A - OF 2 Scott Van Slyke 2005, 14th 24.99 6' 5" 195 R AA
N/A N/A 3 O'Koyea Dickson 2011, 12th 21.44 5' 11" 215 R Pio Rook
59 N/A - 3B 4 Matthew Kirkland 2010, 12th 20.35 6' 2" 210 R Pio Rook
66 2 5 Tae-Hyeok Nam Signed 6/16/09 20.35 6' 2" 215 R Arz Rook
82 5 6 Chris Jacobs 2007, 17th 22.64 6' 5" 257 R LoA
77 4 7 Blake Dean 2010, 8th 23.39 6' 1" 175 L LoA
112 8 8 Chris Henderson 2009, 21st 23.07 5' 11" 190 R LoA
106 7 9 Beau Brett 2010, 35th 22.01 6' 3" 185 L Arz Rook
N/A N/A 10 Henry Heredia Signed 10/13/10 19.90 5' 8" 170 R DSL
67 3 N/A Steven Caseres 2008, 9th 24.31 6' 4" 220 L Released
89 6 N/A Jaime Ortiz 2006, 7th 23.01 6' 1" 220 L Rule 5
141 9 N/A Eduardo Perez Signed 3/4/02 26.88 6' 1" 175 S Released

1st base is a weak position in terms of Dodger prospects, and the 2011 draft didn't help much at all. 12th round pick O'Koyea Dickson was the only 1st baseman taken by the Dodgers in the draft this year, and while he has some potential, he's probably not going to be real game changer. One guy that I'm adding to the 1st base mix this year is Scott Van Slyke, who had historically been considered an outfielder but now appears to be a 1st baseman which should work out for him given his 6'5" frame. But even with Van Slyke's solid season so far in 2011, there still just doesn't seem to be a lot of talent at 1st base in the Dodgers minor league system. One thing to keep in mind is that Jerry Sands could very well be our 1st baseman of the future, but I'm going to count him as a left fielder in this series because that is where I think he has the most potential in terms of helping the club in the future.

I'm sure I'll get some resistance for putting Austin Gallagher in the top spot over Scott Van Slyke, and I'm OK with that. Gallagher continues to put up average stats, but he is still just 22 years old and at the very least he has shown a little more power this season so I still have him as my top 1st base prospect. He will probably spend next season in AA, and since he'll only be 23 years old he still has plenty of time to break out. He also continues to show strong plate disciple and makes good contact, so hopefully that continues as he moves up through the system. The next guy on the list is Scott Van Slyke, who is mentioned above. Van Slyke has shown good power in the past, and this year is also putting up a strong average. I'm not sure that he's good enough to ever be an every day player in the big leagues, but he might possibly get a chance to one day play in the majors.

O'Koyea Dickson is the newest Dodger minor league 1st baseman, and as I mentioned above he seems to have some potential. He has started out his professional career with a bang, and hopefully he'll continue to hit as he moves up into a full season league next season. Matt Kirkland is another Raptor 1st baseman who has potential, although he is actually new to the position. Matt was drafted as a 3rd baseman and played only at the hot corner is 2010, but he's moved across the diamond and is now considered a 1st baseman. He started 2011 with a few big hits, but recently had really cooled down (although he did homer last night). He still very young though and has good power, so hopefully he can make a name for himself in the next few months and earn a promotion to a full season league in 2012. Tae-Hyeok Nam is the other player I could see one day making the majors, but that's mostly because he's so young and is still a bit of a wildcard. He's only played in the rookie leagues and probably will never hit enough to be a big league player, but you never know.

After my top 5 guys, the talent level drops off some and the only other guys worth mentioning are big Chris Jacobs and Blake Dean. Jacobs had a recent hot streak, but overall he continues to post average numbers even though he has a ton of raw power. If he could ever put it all together he could be scary, and since he's only 22 years old that is still possible. Dean really isn't much of a 1st base prospect at this point because he has limited power and is already 23, but he does have extremely good plate disciple and maybe he'll surprise us all one day.