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State of the Dodgers Minor League System - Relief Pitchers

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The "State of the Dodgers Minor League System" finally moves to pitching, and we will look at the bullpen arms first. As always, 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. Finally, it is sometimes difficult to predict whether pitchers in the minor leagues will end up as starters or relievers, so I did my best to predict where each player would end up. As you can see I have included the majority of the Dodger minor league pitchers as relievers, which makes sense given that every team needs more relievers than starters.

Pre Overall Pre Pos. Current Name How Acquired Age Ht Wt Bats Level
11 2 1 Scott Elbert 2004, 1st 25.95 6' 1" 215 L MLB
29 5 2 Javy Guerra 2004, 4th 25.74 6' 0" 205 R MLB
7 N/A - SP 3 Ethan Martin 2008, 1st 22.14 6' 2" 195 R AA
18 3 4 Joshua Lindblom 2008, 2nd 24.12 6' 5" 240 R AA
54 16 5 Shawn Tolleson 2010, 30th 23.52 6' 2" 215 R AA
38 8 6 Stephen Ames 2009, 17th 23.37 6' 1" 205 R AA
28 4 7 Javier Solano Signed 3/1/08 21.33 6' 0" 177 R AA
46 12 8 Allen St. Clair 2008, 7th 24.99 6' 5" 225 L AA DL
N/A N/A 9 Scott McGough 2011, 5th 21.74 6' 0" 170 R LoA
30 6 10 Jon Link Trade w/Chi Sox 27.35 6' 1" 190 R AAA
61 N/A - SP 11 Josh Wall 2005, 2nd 24.51 6' 6" 190 R AA
90 23 12 Logan Bawcom 2010, 17th 22.73 6' 2" 200 R HiA
42 10 13 Carlos Frias Signed 1/3/07 21.70 6' 4" 170 R HiA
33 7 14 Travis Schlichting Signed Oct 2007 26.77 6' 4" 190 R AAA
47 13 15 Luis Vasquez Signed 10/20/03 25.32 6' 4" 192 R HiA DL
45 11 16 Justin, Miller 2007, 6th 23.99 6' 2" 190 R Inactive
N/A N/A 17 Francisco Villa Signed in 2011 19.32 6' 0" 194 R Arz Rook
100 29 18 Steven Matre 2010, 39th 23.18 6' 2" 185 R Pio Rook
N/A N/A 19 Craig Stem 2011, 15th 21.56 6' 5" 215 R Arz Rook
39 9 20 Geison Aguasviva Signed 12/15/05 23.98 6' 2" 166 L DL
75 18 21 Jackson Mateo Signed 2010 18.93 6' 0" 193 R DSL
96 27 22 Andrew Pevsner 2010, 16th 22.78 6' 3" 205 L LoA
80 19 23 David Pfeiffer 2003, 14th 25.94 6' 3" 190 L AAA
94 25 24 Carlos De Aza Signed 10/24/07 21.23 6' 3" 178 R Pio Rook
88 22 25 Joel Lima Signed 2008 21.97 6' 0" 165 R Pio Rook
N/A N/A 26 Garrett Bolt 2011, 23rd 21.84 6' 4" 215 R Arz Rook
73 17 27 Abdiel Velasquez Signed 2010 18.40 6' 3" 184 R DSL
N/A N/A 28 Andrew Shellon Signed 8/20/10 18.55 6' 2" 150 R DSL
124 39 29 Steve Smith Signed in 2008 25.20 6' 2" 215 R HiA
81 20 30 Andrew Suiter 2009, 10th 24.13 6' 3" 210 L HiA
N/A N/A 31 Michael Thomas 2011, 35th 22.55 6' 2" 185 L Arz Rook
135 42 32 Chris Handke 2009, 41st 23.36 6' 11" 235 R Pio Rook
129 41 33 Jordan Roberts 2008, 28th 25.56 6' 1" 180 L HiA
86 21 34 Kazuki Nishijima Signed 11/12/10 22.41 6' 1" 190 L Pio Rook
95 26 35 Edwin Contreras Signed 11/28/06 22.86 6' 2" 165 R On loan
158 51 36 Raul Burgos Rule 5 Draft 23.94 6' 1" 210 R LoA
111 34 37 Robert Boothe Signed 12/5/07 25.49 6' 2" 190 R Arz Rook
183 57 38 Josh Walter Signed 6/27/08 26.31 6' 4" 250 R HiA
150 N/A 39 Pete Budkevics Signed 6/28/10 23.79 6' 2" 165 R LoA
N/A N/A 40 Ryan Acosta Signed in 2011 22.73 6' 2" 170 R LoA
N/A N/A 41 Jason West Signed in 2011 22.99 5' 11" 185 R Arz Rook
N/A N/A 42 John Housey Signed 5/10/11 23.15 6' 3" 178 R LoA
139 44 43 Yimy Rodriguez 2010, 27th 23.90 6' 2" 215 R Pio Rook
N/A N/A 44 Robert Chamra 2011, 34th 23.35 6' 4" 225 R Arz Rook
143 46 45 Bret Montgomery 2010, 46th 25.97 6' 6" 250 R LoA
N/A N/A 46 Simon Binns Dom Lg in 2011 18.07 6' 3" 170 R DSL
149 N/A - LF 47 Chance Gilmore 2010, 25th 24.32 5' 11" 187 L Arz Rook
140 45 48 Ariel Pena Signed in 2010 19.55 6' 4" 208 R DSL
151 N/A - OF 49 Mike Drowne 2010, 28th 23.00 5' 10" 175 R Pio Rook
116 36 50 Francisco Felix Signed 2/19/03 28.00 5' 11" 191 R On loan
N/A N/A 51 Matthew Laney Signed in 2011 22.90 6' 4" 235 L Arz Rook
N/A N/A 52 Eric Eadington Signed in 2011 23.46 6' 2" 220 L Arz Rook
N/A N/A 53 Robert Purpura Signed in 2011 24.42 6' 0" 185 R Arz Rook
92 24 54 Joseph Paxson 2009, 13th 25.00 6' 3" 250 R Injured?
177 N/A - SP 55 Adam Dedeaux Signed 7/1/10 25.07 6' 0" 200 L AAA
N/A N/A 56 Gregory Downing 2011, 47th 20.72 5' 10" 175 L Arz Rook
N/A N/A 57 Daniel Carela Signed in 2011 23.86 6' 3" 225 R Arz Rook
166 53 58 Jesus Rodriguez Signed 1/20/05 25.87 6' 0" 180 R On loan
N/A N/A 59 Jose Agusto Diaz Signed 2/8/11 20.53 5' 11" 185 R DSL
145 47 60 Thomas Melgarejo Signed 12/1/2005 24.54 6' 1" 216 L On loan
N/A N/A 61 Brant Stickel Signed in 2010 24.55 6' 4" 210 L Arz Rook
N/A N/A - OF 62 Ricardo De La Rosa Signed in 2010 20.27 6' 0" 184 R DSL
N/A N/A 63 Sawil Gonzalez Signed 5/7/10 21.34 6' 3" 180 R DSL
N/A N/A 64 Robert Romero Signed in 2011 26.33 5' 10" 190 R HiA
188 60 65 Victor Araujo Signed in 2010 21.71 5' 11" 171 R DSL
N/A N/A 66 Luis Silverio Signed 6/9/10 20.11 6' 3" 190 L DSL
N/A N/A 67 Geuris Alcantara Signed 10/26/10 19.16 6' 2" 185 R DSL DL
N/A N/A 68 Willie Canelo Signed 2011 19.17 6' 2" 180 L DSL
196 61 69 Aris Angeles Signed in 2010 21.88 6' 0" 179 R DSL
180 55 70 Leandro De Dios Signed in 2010 22.10 5' 11" 184 R DSL
6 1 N/A Kenley Jansen Signed 11/17/04 23.82 6' 6" 220 R MLB
49 14 N/A Brent Leach 2005, 6th 28.69 6' 5" 215 L Japan
50 15 N/A James Adkins 2007, 1st 25.67 6' 6" 230 L Released
97 28 N/A Matthew Sartor Signed 7/24/07 26.94 6' 6" 250 R Rule 5
101 30 N/A Eric Krebs Trade w/Pirates 26.20 6' 3" 210 R Retired
108 32 N/A Ji-Mo Lee Signed 5/24/09 24.74 6' 1" 188 R Released
109 33 N/A Bolivar Medina Signed in 2007 23.04 6' 2" 175 L Released
115 35 N/A Mario Alvarez Signed 1/16/03 27.34 6' 0" 205 R Released
121 37 N/A Nick Gaudi 2009, 30th 24.99 6' 5" 215 R Released
122 38 N/A Jimmy Marshall 2009, 23rd 24.29 6' 6" 195 R Released
126 40 N/A Luis Ferreras Signed 3/30/07 21.58 5' 9" 150 R Released
138 43 N/A Antonio Castillo Signed 3/30/07 23.39 5' 11" 180 L Released
146 48 N/A Robert, Blevins 2007, 13th 26.53 6' 0" 200 R Released
147 49 N/A Jake McCarter Signed in 2008 26.90 6' 2" 200 R Released
155 50 N/A Marlon Urriola Signed 5/25/06 23.07 6' 2" 165 R Released
159 52 N/A Adner Ruiz Signed in 2010 22.32 6' 1" 180 L Released
167 54 N/A Cody White 2003, 12th 26.41 6' 3" 185 L Released
181 56 N/A Luis Rosano Signed in 2009 20.26 6' 2" 190 R Released
184 58 N/A Miguel Sanfler Signed 10/2/2002 26.81 5' 11" 165 L Released
185 59 N/A Ariel Botello Signed in 2010 21.70 6' 2" 217 R Released
197 62 N/A J.J. Whetsel Signed 3/29/10 26.74 6' 1" 190 R Released
200 63 N/A Ricardo Rivas Signed 3/4/10 27.46 6' 1" 180 R Released

The first thing to remember this list is that I am ranking players one who I believe will have the best big league career. This same statement goes for all of my rankings, and really should be the basis for all prospect rankings everywhere. I'm not ranking players on who is currently the best player, who is closest to (or even in) the big leagues, or who has the highest ceiling, but instead who will be the best long term player. That being said, I still have Scott Elbert atop my relief pitching rankings ahead of the current hot bullpen arm of Javy Guerra. Elbert has been used sparingly this year and has an ERA of 4.11 so far with the Dodgers, but when you look at his other stats you can see why scouts have always raved about his stuff. His WHIP is just 1.04, his batting average against is .179, and he's stuck out over a batter per inning. I think he'll eventually be used as more that a LOOGY and could be a big part of the 2012 bullpen. I have Guerra ranked #2 and he really has impressed so far. If you would have told me in Spring Training that he'd be leading the Dodgers in saves at the end of July I never would have believed you. But here he is, seemingly getting better with every appearance. Guerra's always had good stuff, but was always a bit wild and injury prone and I don't think he has what it takes to be a full time big league closer over a full season. I see him as a solid arm for us in the future, but I'm guessing that 2011 will be his career high in saves.

I'll probably get some people questioning why I have Ethan Martin at #3, but to be honest I actually considered ranking him even higher. Martin has clearly failed as a starter, but if he can get things together then he has the potential to be a dominate force out of the bullpen. He'd show flashes of brilliance for an inning or two during his starts, but then a loss of control and a big inning would always ruin his night. Now that he can focus on getting just 3 to 6 outs, I really think that will help him in the long run. He's still been a bit wild since his promotion to the AA bullpen, but batters are hitting just .196 against him and he's struck out over a batter per inning. Not to mention that Martin is just barely 22 years old, so he's got plenty of time to become an electrifying reliever. Josh Lindblom is yet another player on this list who has already seen the big leagues, and he was also impressive in his 10.2 innings with the Dodgers this season. Now back in AA he's been even better, and has a .136 batting average against in his last 10 appearances. He will be back in the big leagues by September, if not sooner, and could be used in the back end of our bullpen for years to come.

The next four players on the list are all currently in AA, and all of them are having good years and showing plenty of upside. Shawn Tolleson has dominated at every level he's played at and is proving that he is the real deal. Depending on what trades get made at the deadline and how the rest of the season goes, he could realistically see the big leagues before the end of the year. Steven Ames just recently returned from the DL, but is having a monster year himself and could be on track to see Los Angeles by 2012. He has outstanding control and also puts up great strikeout numbers. Javy Solano struggled a bit in the California League earlier this year, but since getting promoted back up to Chattanooga he has really turned it on and has 10 shutout innings. I agree with scouts in that he does have a questionable frame, but as long as he is getting the job done then more power to him. Cole St. Clair is currently on the DL, but has a microscopic ERA of 0.79 through 34 innings and batters are hitting just .161 against him. This 6'5" lefty doesn't throw all that hard, but is hitting his spots which is getting the job done. St. Clair's another guy who might not be all the far from LA.

Scott McGough is new arm in the system as he was the Dodgers 5th round pick in this past draft, and he seems like he could move through the organization quickly. He has two quality pitches, and has thrown 4 scoreless innings since his promotion to LoA. Jon Link has taken a step back in 2011 as he was removed from the 40 man roster and hasn't been all that impressive, but been better over the past few months and could get added back to the 40 man at some point. Josh Wall struggled initially after moving to the bullpen, but has really settled in to his new role and could be a bit of a sleeper. He is a big guy with a good fastball, so I wouldn't be surprised if he one day made it up to the show.

Logan Bawcom has increased his fastball velocity this year and despite recent struggles with the Quakes he has moved up the prospect charts this year. Carlos Frias hasn't pitched a whole lot in 2011, but I like his potential and he's still just 21. Travis Schlichting had been terrible up through June, but he turned a corner in July and has a 2.19 ERA in 10 appearances this month. Luis Vasquez and Justin Miller are complete opposites in most respects, but one similarity is that they have both missed a lot of time this season and have lost some value. The next 3 names of Francisco Villa, Steven Matre, and 2011 15th round pick Craig Stem all intrigue me to some degree, but I still don't know a whole lot about any of them. Geison Aguasviva has been on the DL all season but I don't know why.

From here the list just goes on and on, and while I could mention every player I'll instead simply let you peruse the list. You'll get more detail on all of these guys during my off-season ranking, and for the ones that were in the system last year you can find my scouting reports on them somewhere on this site. If you have any specific questions about anyone in particular, let me know and I'll respond in the comments...atlhough my responses might be a bit delayed because I have a busy day ahead of me.