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State of the Dodgers Minor League System - Center Field

Today the "State of the Minor League System" will look at center field, a very important position for any organization. To again define my abbreviations, 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. An N/A next to their preseason rank means that a player is new to the Dodgers or new to the position since my preseason ranking, and I will only include guys who are under 28 years of age. Players who have been released or are no longer in the organization are also included at the bottom of the chart, and finally 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
13 2 1 James Baldwin 2010, 4th 19.79 6' 3" 190 L Pio Rook
22 4 2 Joc Pederson 2010, 11th 19.26 6' 1" 185 L Pio Rook
21 3 3 Leon Landry 2010, 3rd 21.85 5' 11" 185 L LoA
43 6 4 Jamie Hoffmann Signed 9/2/03 26.93 6' 3" 235 R AAA
103 8 5 Nick Buss 2008, 8th 24.61 6' 0" 180 L HiA
118 9 6 Anthony Jackson Trade w/Rockies 27.10 5' 8" 175 S HiA
85 7 7 Devon Ethier 2010, 32nd 21.14 6' 0" 165 R Arz Rook
127 11 8 Ramon Jean Signed 3/12/07 23.79 6' 0" 160 R HiA
N/A N/A 9 Devin Shines 2011, 38th 22.20 5' 9" 185 R Arz Rook
N/A N/A 10 Abinaer Soriano Signed in 2011 19.79 6' 0" 175 R DSL
N/A N/A 11 Adrian Roso Signed 5/7/10 19.94 6' 0" 165 S DSL
136 12 N/A Austin King 2009, 31st 22.65 6' 2" 200 R Released
171 13 N/A Stetson Banks 2009, 22nd 23.53 6' 1" 185 R Released

Center field seems to be another strength of the Dodger minor league system as there are at least a few players listed above who have major league potential. Even though some of the players I have included on my center field list are not currently playing center field for their respective team, I believe that is the best position for them going forward. Joc Pederson is a perfect example because his speed and pre-draft scouting reports lead me to believe that he could be a big league center fielder one day, however so far this season he's had to share the diamond with both Leon Landry and James Baldwin.

Getting to my ranking, I have James Baldwin as my top rated center fielder because I believe that he has a very high ceiling and could turn into a true 5 tool player a la Matt Kemp. He started off 2011 on fire, then missed 3 weeks for undisclosed reasons. He's now back in the lineup and is hopefully getting back into the groove as he had a couple of hits and a stolen base last night. He's just 19, and should be very fun to watch as he progresses through the system. Joc Pederson is another young player on the Raptors who could eventually turn into a legit big league talent. He looked overmatched with the Loons earlier in the year, but a return to the Rookie league has got his bat going. While he may not ever have any plus tools to make him a star at the next level, he could be a consistent contributor in the show.

Leon Landry is ranked 3rd on my list and the shine on his prospect status has lost a little luster with a disappointing 2011. He hit just .250 in April and May, then his average dipped all the way to .196 in the month of June. Overall he is batting just .234 and is reaching base at a less than .300 clip. Even his stolen base percentage is less than impressive as he's swiped 19 bases while getting caught 8 times. He's still just 21 so Landry had plenty of time to turn it around, but it's looking less likely that he'll blossom into that dynamic player that we all once thought he could be. Jaime Hoffmann is next, and he has already proven that he can player in the big leagues. He's continues to be a consistent AAA hitter and has already set a career high with 14 bombs this season. He's also a plus defender that can play all over the outfield. That being said, Hoffmann is almost 27 and his ceiling is pretty low so that is why I have him below the other 3 players in my ranking.

After Hoffmann the talent drops off quite a bit as the rest of the list seems to be organizational players. Nick Buss has recently boosted his HiA average to .300, but he has seemed to disappoint throughout his career and doesn't seem to have enough talent to make it to the show. Anthony Jackson is a 27 year old playing in HiA, but he's making the most of it and has good speed. Devon Ethier has the bloodlines, but he's seen limited playing time thus far as a professional and his game is so different that Andre's that I don't think it will translate. Finally Ramon Jean is still relatively young, but his current .602 OPS in the California League isn't impressing anyone.