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Dodgers 2012 Minor League Countdown: 90 - 81

Here is the next part of my Dodger minor league countdown. There are definitely some interesting players in this group, including a couple of guys from the DSL who could be headed to the US soon. It's usually around this point in my list that people start to have opinions about whether I should have ranked players higher or lower, so feel free to let me know what you think.

90. Jackson Mateo, RHP (72.1 IP in DSL in 2011)
Signed by Dodgers 11/13/09
6’0”, 193 lbs, 19.5 years old
5-1, 1.62 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 3.32 FIP, 6.47 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: 75; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

After an outstanding professional debut in the DSL as a 17 year old in 2010 (1.23 ERA and .169 batting average against in 22 innings), Jackson Mateo got even better in 2011 for the Dominican Dodgers. After spending 2010 in the bullpen, Mateo transitioned into the rotation this past season and made a team high 15 starts while posting eye popping numbers. His 1.62 ERA ranked 2nd out of all Dodger minor leaguers in 2011, and his 0.93 WHIP was the best in the entire system. He also was among the DSL League Leaders in those two categories, and again was virtually unhittable with a .190 batting average against. The only thing Jackson didn't do well in 2011 was strike out batters, but that didn't seem to matter as he found other means to get the outs he needed throughout the year. I was unable to find any scouting reports on Jackson despite his two impressive seasons in the DSL so I have no idea how hard he throws or what type of pitches he has, but he must have something special about him to possess a career ERA of 1.53. Now 19 years old, Mateo will almost certainly move to the Arizona Rookie League in 2012 since he has nothing left to prove in the DSL. His performance in Arizona should give us a better idea of what type of future Mateo has with the Dodgers.

89. Andres Santiago, RHP (121.2 IP in HiA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 16th round
6’2”, 200 lbs, 22.25 years old
8-5, 5.03 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, 3.79 FIP, 8.36 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: 107; Pre 2010 Rank: 147; Pre 2009 Rank: 133

Andres Santiago was drafted out of Puerto Rico in 2007 at the tender age of 17, and spent his first four professional seasons in the Dodgers lowest US based rookie league (2 season in the GCL, and two seasons in the Arizona League). After posting a 2.18 ERA with the Arizona Dodgers in 2010, Santiago was promoted all the way up to the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes and he surprised a lot of people by logging 121.2 innings, which was 3rd most on the team. He was in the Quakes’ rotation for the majority of the year, and while his ERA and WHIP were a little high, he had a solid K/9 of 8.36 and his FIP was 3.79 despite playing in the hitter friendly California League. He also won the Dodgers Pride Award in June when he posted a 2.97 ERA and won 3 games. I wasn’t able to see him pitch in 2011 and I didn’t find any good scouting reports on him so I don’t know how hard he throws or what type of pitches he has, but he has a solid pitching frame and is still just 22 years old despite having 5 years of professional experience. Santiago seems to have turned into a sleeper prospect heading into 2012, and since he probably isn’t quite ready for AA he will most likely spend another year with the Quakes where he’ll try and improve upon his stats.

Follow the jump for #'s 88 - 81

88. Scott Woodward, 3B/OF (34 games in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)
Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 7th round
6’2”, 205 lbs, 23.25 years old, bats left handed
.219 average, .781 OPS, 4 HR’s, 12 RBI’s, 4 SB’s
Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Scott Woodward was originally drafted in the 15th round by the Oakland A’s in 2010 after his junior season at Coastal Carolina, but he decided not to sign and went back to college for one more year. During his senior season in 2011 Woodward had a very solid campaign as he hit .342 with 4 homers, posted an outstanding .480 on-base percentage, and stole 31 bases (in 35 attempts). Upon getting drafted by the Dodgers, Woodward said “I'm very happy with the outcome. I went back to school, got closer to getting my degree, played a lot better, got drafted higher. Everything went according to plan." Scott signed quickly with LA and was assigned to the Pioneer League where he played just 34 games before his season ended on August 10th for an unknown reason. His offensive stats weren’t very impressive, but he did show a good eye at the plate which helped boost his OPS. In the field he split his time between 3rd base and left field, but his fielding at the hot corner was terrible. He made 10 errors in 45 chances at 3rd base for a .778 fielding %, so that makes me wonder if he’ll be able to handle that position going forward. Overall, my first thought was to write-off Woodward because of his lackluster season in the hitter friendly Pioneer League. However after doing more research and seeing Blake Smith rebound after his terrible professional debut, I’m going to give him another season before passing judgment. In addition I found some scouting reports that said he has plus speed with good gap power, and someone even compared him to former Dodger prospect Joe Thurston. Despite his struggles with the Raptors my guess is that Woodward will get promoted to the Loons for 2012 where he’ll continue to split time between the infield and outfield.

87. Miguel Sulbaran, LHP (57.2 IP in DSL in 2011)
Signed by Dodgers before the 2011 season
5’10”, 165 lbs, 18 years old
6-1, 2.81 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 2.89 FIP, 8.12 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Miguel Sulbaran is the third youngest player in the Dodgers organization, but that didn’t stop him from having a very impressive season in his professional debut. Playing the entire season as a 17 year old for the Dominican Dodgers, Sulbaran was among the team leaders in several statistical categories, with his most impressive stat being his 2.89 FIP. He also limited left handed batters to just 2 hits for the entire season, and overall had a remarkable .179 batting average against. The highlight of his season probably came on August 3rd when he threw 6 no-hit innings and had 8 punchouts. One other notable thing about Sulbaran is that I was actually able to find online articles about the Venezuela native. That’s significant because most players in the DSL don’t have anything written about them, so Miguel must have something special about him. Anyways, in one article I found a quote from Sulbaran where he said “I received much help from Ramon Martinez (former major league pitcher and Cy Young brother Pedro Martinez), and I reached 89 miles with my fastball, I improved my command with the curve and slider.” I also read that the Dodgers wanted Sulbaran to attend their offseason instructional league in Arizona, but it didn’t sound like he was able to get a visa in time. Overall, I’m pretty excited about this lefty and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Dodgers promoted him to Arizona in 2012 despite his youth. My only concern with him would be his size, but he’s still so young that I’m sure he could still grow and add some MPH to his fastball.

86. Christopher O'Brien, C (4 games in Pioneer Rookie Lg, 42 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)
Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 18th round
6’0”, 219 lbs, 22.5 years old, switch hitter
.292 average, .852 OPS, 4 HR’s, 35 RBI’s, 3 SB’s
Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Chris O'Brien had a very interesting college career. The son of 15 year MLB veteran Charlie O'Brien was very average during his freshman and sophomore seasons at Wichita State, then struggled mightily in the 2010 Cap Code League with a .197 average and just 3 extra base hits in 137 at bats. Then something clicked for O’Brien in 2011 as he really turned things around as a junior. In his final season with the Shockers Chris hit .410 with 10 homers, 25 doubles, and 70 RBI's and was named as a semi-finalist for the Golden Spikes award. What was most impressive, however, was his 40 to 18 walk to strikeout ratio. O’Brien signed quickly after being selected in the 18th round of the 2011 draft and made his professional debut with the Arizona Dodgers where he split the catching duties with a few other players. He put up solid stats all season long in Arizona with a .855 OPS and 33 RBI's in 42 games, and he also showed good plate disciple. In terms of his defense, Baseball America said before the draft that “he has fringy arm strength and receiving skills, though he does earn high marks for his ability to call pitches and run a pitching staff.” His defense was pretty strong in Arizona, however, as he threw out 34% of would be base stealers. The switch-hitter earned a late promotion to Ogden this past season, and that is probably where he’ll spend 2012 because there are quite a few other young catchers who are waiting in line to play for the Loons next year.

85. Michael Pericht, C (2 games in HiA, 92 games in LoA in 2011)
Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 16th round
6’5”, 235 lbs, 23.75 years old, bats right handed
.277 average, .795 OPS, 11 HR’s, 38 RBI’s, 2 SB’s
Pre 2011 Rank: 68; Pre 2010 Rank: 90; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Pericht played at Saint Joseph’s College in Indiana, and as a junior he hit .337 with 12 HR’s to go along with a 1.046 OPS. Going into the 2009 draft he was very excited, and was quoted as saying, “Right now, I'm trying to stay as calm as possible. It's exciting and it's nerve-wracking. I kind of feel like a duck on the pond right now.” He was selected by the Dodgers in the 16th round, signed quickly, and was assigned to the Arizona Rookie League. After a lackluster debut in Arizona, Pericht moved up to the Pioneer League in 2010 got off to a very hot start for the Raptors as he hit all 9 of his homers for the season before the end of July. While he slumped to end the 2010 season, he still managed to finish the year with a .832 OPS. That earned Michael a promotion to the Midwest League in 2011 where he spent the year as the Loons’ primary backstop. “Big Mike”, as he was called by his teammates, didn't have an overly impressive season at the plate, but he was solid for most of the year with 11 homers and an OPS of almost .800. Here’s a video of one of his at bats. Probably the best news from Pericht’s season, however, was that he has continued to show improved catching skills which should allow him to remain behind the plate. Some worried he would eventually move to 1st base, but he was strictly a catcher in 2011 and while his blocking skills behind the plate still need some work, but he threw out 32% of would be base-stealers. Pericht actually ended the 2011 season by playing 2 games in Rancho Cucamonga, and that is where I expect him to start to the 2012 season. Given his size and the fact that the California League is so hitter friendly, I could see him having a breakout season with the Quakes which would really put his name on the Dodgers radar.

84. Will Savage, RHP (141.1 IP in AA in 2011)
Signed by Dodgers 2/2/10
6’4”, 215 lbs, 27.5 years old
12-6, 3.95 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 3.75 FIP, 5.54 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: 119; 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 at the time, 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. In 2011 Savage returned to the Lookouts and was a mainstay in their rotation. His 23 starts ranked 2nd on the team, as did his 141.1 innings. Despite a very low strikeout rate (which was right in line with his career rate) Savage posted a solid FIP for the year and actually had the 2nd best WHIP in the entire Southern League among qualifying pitchers. In terms of his stuff, I actually haven’t found much on Savage besides an old article that said his fastball was clocked as high as 92 mph. I don’t know much about his secondary stuff, but it must be somewhat impressive given that the Dodgers re-signed him this offseason and invited him to their big league spring training. Given his age and experience, he seems like a perfect fit for Albuquerque’s rotation in 2012, and he could also serve as an emergency starter for the Dodgers.

83. Bobby Coyle, OF (98 games in LoA in 2011)
Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 10th round
6’1”, 215 lbs, 23 years old, bats left handed
.250 average, .671 OPS, 9 HR’s 44 RBI’s, 3 SB’s
Pre 2011 Rank: 64; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Bobby Coyle is a local boy who played his high school ball at Chatsworth, but was overshadowed by 2007 first round picks Mike Moustakas and Matt Dominguez. Out of high school he was drafted by the Indians in the 19th round, but decided to attend Arizona instead. After putting up mediocre stats in his first two seasons with the Wildcats, Coyle decided to transfer to Fresno State and received a NCAA waiver which allowed him to play right away (instead of having to sit out a year). As a junior Coyle had a great season for the Bulldogs, co-leading the team with 69 RBI’s and hitting .360 with 11 homers. After getting drafted by the Dodgers he didn’t immediately sign, but tipped his hand a little when he told the Fresno Bee “I grew up in the L.A. area, and it's sweet and exciting to be taken by the team I watched as a kid.” Coyle eventually inked a deal with $95,000 and was assigned to the Pioneer League in late June. Bobby played all three outfield positions for the Raptors, and ended hitting .316 while leading the team with 52 RBI’s. That earned Coyle a promotion to Great Lakes in 2011, but this year he was used almost exclusively in left field. His overall season stats for the Loons were average at best, but I watched his swing during the year and I can tell that does have the ability to generate quite a bit of power from the left side of the plate. I also saw him hit a few deep homers this past season, and he makes good contact as he struck out in just 16.3% of plate appearances. Probably his biggest issue is that he struggles against left handed pitching as he hit just .222 against lefties in 2011 and didn’t have a single homer against southpaws. For 2012 I expect Coyle to join the Quakes. There is something about him that I like, and I expect him to have a better offensive season in the hitter friendly environment of the California League.

82. Tim Sexton, RHP (78.2 IP in AAA, 84 IP in LoA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 25th round
6’6”, 185 lbs, 24.75 years old
6-12, 5.48 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 4.30 FIP, 6.31 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: 53; Pre 2010 Rank: 40; Pre 2009 Rank: 57

Tim Sexton had a strange season in 2011. One year after splitting the year between AA and HiA, Sexton began the 2011 season with the Loons in LoA, which is a level he hadn’t played at since his professional debut in 2007. Then in late May Tim was promoted all the way up to AAA where he spent the next 2+ months and made 14 starts for the Isotopes. While in Albuquerque Sexton had a few good appearances, but for the most part he got knocked around including one game in which he allowed 17 hits and 16 earned runs. He returned to the Loons in August and had a relatively strong finish to his season, but the damage he endured with the Isotopes marred his overall season ERA. Also, left handed batters torched Sexton as they hit .355 against him. The one plus about Sexton is that he is truly a workhorse as he ranked 2nd among all Dodger minor leagues with 162.7 innings pitched in 2011, and has logged an average of 147 innings in his four full minor league season. In addition, he is still just 24 years and has a great pitching frame, so he still may be a useful player for the Dodgers down the road if he shows some improvement in 2012, which I’m guessing he’ll spend in AA. Finally just to provide a little background on Sexton, coming out of Miami Dade Community College he was projected as a third to fifth round pick in the 2007 draft, but many teams stayed away from him when he reportedly asked for a $500,000 signing bonus. The Dodgers took a chance on him in the 25th round, however, and were able to sign him for $123K.

81. Raydel Sanchez, RHP (75.1 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)
Signed by Dodgers prior to the 2011 season
6’0”, 205 lbs, 22 years old
4-5, 4.66 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 3.81 FIP, 9.20 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Raydel Sanchez is a Cuban pitcher who defected to the US during his Cuban team’s tournament in Edmonton, Canada. After his defection Sanchez attended Miami Dade Junior College, then he played in a baseball league in Colombia before getting a tryout with the Dodgers in Los Angeles. He eventually signed with the Dodgers for $125K. Upon signing, Raydel said “It was a very hard decision, because I had to leave my family behind, but like all Cuban baseball players, I wanted to realize the dream of playing professional baseball in the United States. It was very difficult, but I did what I wanted most. I signed as a professional, and now I'm with the Dodgers." Sanchez’s professional debut came in the Pioneer Rookie League where he was one of the main starters in the Raptors’ rotation. Raydel made a team high with 15 starts and led the Raptors 75.1 IP. He had a couple of outstanding outings, including a 11 K performance in just his 2nd start as a professional, but his overall season stats weren't all that impressive. One area in which he did stand out, however, was his strikeout to walk ratio which was better than 4.5 to 1. His biggest weakness came against left handed batters, who hit .372 against him compared to just .220 vs right handed batters. In terms of his stuff, Sanchez’s best pitch is his slider, but I’m not sure how hard he throws his fastball. He’ll probably spend 2012 with the Loons where he’ll get his first look at a full season league.