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Dodgers 2012 Minor League Countdown: The Top 10

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Chris Withrow (front) and Allen Webster (back) having a good time during the Dodgers 2012 Winter Development Program
Chris Withrow (front) and Allen Webster (back) having a good time during the Dodgers 2012 Winter Development Program

Here is the final part of my 2012 Prospect countdown. It's been a long road, but we are finally to the top 10 Dodger prospects for 2012. There wasn't a lot of mystery as to who was going to included in my top 10 due to the process of elimination, so this post is really all about the order of those players. To be honest I struggled quite a bit with ranking #'s 2 - 6 on this list and moved them around quite a bit before coming to my final decision, but this is how I think they best stack up. I know I have a few differences than other Dodger top 10 prospect lists, so as always let me know your thoughts.

Even though I've finished my list the series is not quite done because I will have recap post later this week with the entire top 200 and a few more notes. Hope you all enjoyed this series as much as I did, now let's get ready for the 2012 season.

10. Josh Lindblom, RHP (42.1 IP in AA, 29.2 IP in Majors in 2011)
Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 2nd round
6’5”, 240 lbs, 24.75 years old
1-3, 2.13 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 2.85 FIP, 11.48 K/9 (minor league stats only)
Pre 2011 Rank: 18; Pre 2010 Rank: 8; Pre 2009 Rank: 6

Josh Lindblom won’t qualify as a rookie in 2012, but he qualifies for my ranking (just barely) because I look at all Dodger minor league players with less than 50 innings pitched in the majors, less than 30 big league appearances, or less than 130 at bats in the majors. Because Lindblom has already spent so much time in the big leagues I won’t go into as much detail about his scouting reports since most of us have already seen him pitch, so instead I’ll write more about his background. Josh was the Dodgers 2nd round pick in 2008 out of Purdue where he was used mainly in relief for the Boilermakers. The Dodgers drafted Lindblom as a starter, however, and then spent the next few years moving him in and out of the rotation. The flip-flopping culminated in 2010 with Lindblom getting shelled in AAA as a starter, so management finally decided he was best suited as a bullpen arm. While Josh continued to get hit hard in the Isotopes bullpen, he rediscovered his fastball velocity after the season in the Arizona Instructs and carried over that success into 2011. Josh started the season in the more pitcher friendly Southern League, then as we all know got the call to Los Angeles in June 1st. While Lindblom put up solid numbers in Los Angeles (including a 2.73 ERA and a .212 batting average against), his role heading into 2012 is a bit uncertain. The Dodgers have an abundance of bullpen arms, and while Lindblom has an advantage over NRI’s because he’s on the 40 man roster, the fact that he has minor league options works against him.

Why #10: Lindblom’s major league success in 2011 made him an automatic to make my top 10, but I’m a little concerned that Josh has already hit his ceiling in terms of the stats he put up in Los Angeles. He’ll eventually settle into a more stable role and may even have the stuff to become a major league setup man, but I’m just not sure his stuff is dominant enough to continue posting a sub-3 ERA. That being said there is nothing wrong with a big league reliever giving you a 3 something ERA, and I think he’ll be a solid bullpen arm for years to come.

9. Joc Pederson, OF (16 games in LoA, 68 games in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)
Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 11th round
6’1”, 185 lbs, 19.75 years old, bats left handed
.323 average, .910 OPS, 11 HR’s, 65 RBI’s, 26 SB’s
Pre 2011 Rank: 22; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A; TBLA Prospect #7

Joc Pederson grew up in Northern California and was an all around great athlete for Palo Alto high school. On the football team he was a First-Team All League wide-out, and on the baseball field he hit .515 with 8 homers during his senior season to lead his team to the Central Coast Section championship game. He had a strong commitment to play baseball at UCS in college, and even talked about walking onto the USC football team. His college commitment and big bonus demands caused Pederson to fall to the Dodgers in the 11th round of the 2010 draft. Had he been drafted on talent alone, he was projected to go around the 3rd or 4th round, and Baseball America had him ranked as the 154th best prospect in the draft. After a long summer of going back and forth, Pederson finally signed with the Dodgers right around the deadline for $600,000. Because he signed late he only appeared in 3 Arizona League games, so 2011 was Joc’s first real taste of professional baseball. The Dodgers were extremely aggressive with Pederson as they sent him to LoA in late May during a roster shakeup, and while he probably benefited from the experience Joc was completely overmatched as he managed just 8 singles over 16 games for a .160 average. The Dodgers sent Pederson down to Ogden when the Pioneer League started in mid June, and after getting off to an average start for the Raptors Joc caught fire once the calendar turned to July. When the season was over Pederson had showed an outstanding combination of speed and power while demonstrating amazing patience at the plate for a 19 year old. Pederson led the Pioneer League with 64 RBI's, while his .997 OPS and 24 SB's ranked 3rd in the circuit. He also crushed 11 HR's and posted a great walk to strikeout ratio while playing almost every day. Defensively “Yung Joc” spent time in all 3 outfield positions, although the vast majority of his starts came as a corner outfielder (mostly in left) where he recorded a team high 9 assists. I had originally pegged Pederson as a center fielder given his speed, but Baseball America seems to think that he’s destined for a corner spot. In 2012 Pederson will return to the Midwest League where he’ll try and improve upon his .160 average from 2011.

Why #9: When he was drafted Pederson seemed to be a complete package, and his success in 2011 solidified that perception. As I mentioned last year I’m not sure that he has any one plus skill, but Joc’s a hard worker and he does a lot of things well. Speaking of last year, in my 2011 ranking I said that Pederson’s ceiling is that of a major league center fielder who plays solid defense and hits .290 with 15 homers per year. I still think that ceiling holds true, although he’s now one step closer to reaching that potential and as I mentioned above his likely destination is now either left or right field.

Follow the jump for the final 8...

8. Ethan Martin, RHP (40.1 IP in AA, 55 IP in HiA in 2011)
Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 1st round
6’2”, 195 lbs, 22.75 years old
9-7, 5.95 ERA, 1.70 WHIP, 4.75 FIP, 9.82 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: 7; Pre 2010 Rank: 3; Pre 2009 Rank: 3; TBLA Prospect #20

For the past few seasons, Ethan Martin has been the topic for much debate. The first high school pitcher selected in 2008, Martin’s career got off to a rough start as a knee injury didn’t allow his to make his professional debut until 2009. After a solid season with the Loons, Martin was promoted to HiA in 2010 and that is where his troubles began. Plagued by bouts of wildness, Ethan posted a 6.35 ERA over 113 innings and lost 14 games for the 66ers that season. Despite his struggles his stuff earned praise from both Charlie Hough and DeJon Watson, and there was hope that Martin would turn the corner in 2011. Unfortunately the young right hander had even more trouble finding the plate in his return to the California League this past season. In early June Dodger management decided it was best to move Martin to the bullpen, then made an even more dramatic decision when they promoted him to AA despite a 7.36 ERA over 55 frames. The move paid off as Martin showed improvement with the Lookouts, limiting opposing hitters to a .215 batting average and lowering his ERA to 4.02. His still struggled with control as he walked 29 batters in just 40 innings, but was able to bear down and limit the damage against him. Martin also struck out over a batter per inning in both leagues and has a career K/9 of 9.6. After the season DeJon Watson had another conversation about Martin (this time with Jon Weisman) and again had good things to say about him. Per Watson “Martin was a high school pitcher who hadn’t pitched much. Going into the draft, a lot of people actually saw him as a third baseman. I still think he’s going to be really good. If you look back at Roy Halladay’s career, or at Cliff Lee, you’ll see similar things; they struggled and got sent down. I think that sometimes we can be too quick to judge and end up thinking, ‘This guy’s not going to make it.’ If Ethan was throwing 88 mph, or something like that, I might say that he doesn’t have a chance, but he has one of the best arms in our system. He’s strong, but he has to learn how to pitch. That’s part of his process. It’s not mechanical, because he runs it up there and his mechanics are good. I still think he’s going to be a good player.” To be more specific about his stuff, Martin still has a mid 90’s fastball with good movement that touches 98 mph. He also throws a curveball, a slider, and a changeup all with varying degrees of success. Reports are that Martin will return to the rotation in 2012 as a member of the Lookouts, and he used a stint this offseason in the Puerto Rican Winter League to get back into starter shape. His stats this winter were pretty ridiculous (1.33 ERA in 20 innings despite 16 walks and just 10 K’s), but the sample size was small. Hopefully he can put it all together in 2012.

Why #8: I’ve seen Martin ranked all over the place this offseason, but I have him in my top 10 because of his pure stuff and the fact that he is still so young. At 22 years old Martin will still be young for AA, so even if he doesn’t fully get on track in 2012 I would bet the Dodgers will add him to the 40 man roster this next offseason (he just missed the cutoff of needing to be added this past November). I still have his ceiling as a #2 starter in the big leagues, although if he truly can’t improve his control then I could also see him as a power reliever.

7. James Baldwin, OF (50 games in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)
Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 4th round
6’3”, 190 lbs, 20.5 years old, bats left handed
.250 average, .828 OPS, 10 HR’s, 39 RBI’s, 22 SB’s
Pre 2011 Rank: 13; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A; TBLA Prospect #10

James Baldwin might just be the most intriguing players in the Dodgers minor league system. The son of the former major leaguer by the same name, Baldwin is an extremely athletic player who is still relatively raw as an outfielder because he played three sports in high school and also spent time on the mound. A 4th round pick in 2010 James signed relatively quickly for $180,000, and while he got off to a very slow start in his professional debut with the Arizona Dodgers he rebounded in the second half of the season and finished 2010 on the upswing. Baldwin took that momentum into 2011 as he started off his time in Ogden on fire. In the month of June (11 games) James hit .378 with 3 homers, 8 stolen bases, and 17 RBI’s. Here he is hitting a triple for Ogden last season. Things went sour in July, however, starting with 20 missed games due to personal issues. When he returned to the field he struggled to get in a groove, and although he continued to show a good combination of speed and power his average suffered and he struck out at an alarming rate. James also had a lot of trouble against left handed pitchers as he hit just .183 against southpaws. His swing is long at times, and he tends to struggle against quality pitching. He’s still so young and raw, however, that I think he’ll be able to overcome this as he games experience. To get back to the positives, James is a great defender in center field. His plus speed allows him to get to a lot of balls, and he has a strong arm. Heading into 2012 Baldwin will be the Loons center fielder and I look forward to seeing what he can do over a full season.

Why #7: I’ve mentioned this before, but Baldwin really reminds me of Matt Kemp. Kemp’s minor league numbers were more impressive and he didn’t strike out quite as much as James, but their raw tools are similar. Due to his athleticism his ceiling could be through the roof, and I see him as a 20 homer/30 SB center fielder at the big league level. Of course it’s possible that he never figures it out and continues to fail against tough pitching, but I’m hoping his 5 tool potential allows him to make the necessary adjustments.

6. Nathan Eovaldi, RHP (103 IP in AA, 34.2 IP in Majors in 2011)
Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 11th round
6’3”, 195 lbs, 22 years old
6-5, 2.62 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 3.05 FIP, 8.65 K/9 (minor league stats only)
Pre 2011 Rank: 15; Pre 2010 Rank: 7; Pre 2009 Rank: 12; TBLA Prospect #3

It’s been fun watching Nathan Eovaldi come up through the Dodgers minor league system. A bit of a sleeper pick in the 2008 draft because he was coming off of Tommy John surgery, the 11th rounder signed for a surprising $250K and had a dominating professional debut. After putting up solid numbers with the Loons in 2009, Nathan hit a bit of a stumbling block in 2010 after getting promoted to HiA thanks to mediocre stats and an injury. Eovaldi made 14 starts with the 66ers and despite showing flashes of brilliance at times he was mostly unimpressive as opposing batters hit .302 against him and his K/9 was just 6.1. A strained oblique in July essentially ended his season, but Eovaldi came back with a vengeance in 2011. An aggressive move by the Dodgers sent Nathan to AA and he looked like an entirely new pitcher with the Lookouts. Eovaldi dominated the Southern League from the start despite being just 21 years old, posting a 3.06 ERA in April, a 2.70 ERA in May, a 2.90 ERA in June, and a 1.99 ERA in July. That earned Nathan a surprise promotion to the major leagues in early August, and the rest is history. He won his big league debut on August 6th by allowing just 4 hits and striking out 7 over 5 innings, then he went on to post a 3.63 ERA over 5 more starts and 4 relief appearances. His stats were a little puzzling, however, as his big league FIP was 4.35 and he K/9 was below 6 (including 0 K’s over his 4 relief appearances). That being said Nathan has good stuff, with a mid 90’s fastball that can potentially touch 100 mph when he’s used in relief. As we all saw he also throws a good slider, and his 3rd pitch is a developing changeup. At the end of the day Eovaldi’s future role is yet to be determined, although for now the Dodgers will keep him in the rotation. There doesn’t seem to be room for him on the big league roster, so given his age the Dodgers will probably send him back to AA to start 2012.

Why #6: Eovaldi is mostly a two pitch guy as he threw his fastball or slider 92.2% of the time (according to Fangraphs), which leads me to believe he may eventually end up in the bullpen. If he does turn into a reliever then I believe he has the ceiling as a solid late inning guy or even a closer because both his fastball and slider are plus pitches. If he stays in the rotation I see him mostly as a #3 or possibly even a #4, mostly due to the fact that I’m concerned by his lack of strikeouts. He’s still young enough to develop another pitch, however, so hopefully that turns out to be the case.

5. Garrett Gould, RHP (123.2 IP in LoA in 2011)
Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 2nd round
6’4”, 190 lbs, 20.5 years old
11-6, 2.40 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 3.31 FIP, 7.57 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: 10; Pre 2010 Rank: 5; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A; TBLA Prospect #4

The Dodgers selected Garrett Gould in the 2nd round of the 2009 draft, and were able to lure him away from his college commitment to Wichita State for $900,000. Because he signed late he only appeared in 3 games in 2009, so his 2010 season in Ogden was really his first real taste of pro ball. While Gould showed flashes of brilliance in the Pioneer League, he also battled through a few minor injuries which left him with a relatively mediocre season. In 2011, however, Gould took a big step forward. Promoted to LoA, Garrett was spectacular in his first full season league was the Loons best pitcher. “Gouldy Locks” lead Great Lakes in several categories and ranked 2nd in the entire league with his 2.40 ERA. He also paced the club with 123.2 frames and collected 11 wins despite being limited to just 16 innings in his final 6 appearances in an effort to save his young arm. After the season, DeJon Watson told Jon Weisman "I think [Gould] and Zach will both be pushing the envelope and challenging those guys who are ahead of them. They both have good stuff. I mean, Gouldy's 90-94 with a very good breaking ball and an evolving changeup. I think the biggest thing for him was trusting his secondary pitches. When he was behind in counts and he was able to do that last year, and he was starting to see the results." To put a little more emphasis on Gould curveball, it should be noted that it was ranked as the best in the Dodgers minor league system, and in fact most evaluators felt that it was the best among high school pitchers in the 2009 draft. It is thrown in the low 80’s and to me looks like a right handed version of Kershaw’s curveball. As mentioned above Gould also has a serviceable changeup which gives him a solid three pitch mix. Early in his career there were times when Gould struggled with emotions on the mound, but hopefully he’ll continue to mature with age and he already took a step in that direction by getting engaged to his high school sweetheart less than a month ago. In 2012 Gould is expected to head to HiA where he’ll get challenged by the hitter friendly California League. It will be interesting to see how he responds to the change in environment, and I look forward to watching him throw in Rancho this season.

Why #5: Gould has a very solid 3 pitch mix that should get him to the major leagues as a starting pitcher. His ceiling is probably that of a borderline #2 starter, although a strong #3 starter is more likely. While he’s still a ways off from reaching the show, he is still so young that he should be given plenty of time to develop. He’s got a great pitcher’s frame and I could see him adding more strength and possibly even velocity now that he’s into his 20’s.

4. Chris Reed, LHP (7 IP in HiA in 2011)
Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 1st round
6’4”, 195 lbs, 21.75 years old
0-1, 7.71 ERA, 1.86 WHIP, 4.63 FIP, 11.57 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A; TBLA Prospect #5

Chris Reed was a point of controversy when the Dodgers made him the #16 overall pick this past June. Reed wasn’t considered a 1st round pick by anyone coming into the draft, and Baseball America had him rated as the #60 draft prospect. Up until the day of the draft nobody had really even considered him an option for the Dodgers, then news broke that the Dodgers were interested in him at #16. When the selection was made official a lot of people were upset because they believed the cash strapped organization was simply looking for a player that would sign for slot. The Dodgers, on the other hand, stuck to their guns and said that he was the one they wanted based on his talent. In an interview with Fangraphs Logan White had a lot to say about the pick. You can read the whole story here, but in short he said “Not to be disrespectful to the other teams, or to those players, but Chris Reed was absolutely who we considered the best guy. When we picked, there were a number of good players we passed on, and it was because we really liked Chris Reed. I think we found a diamond in the rough out of Stanford. He didn’t pitch a lot as a freshman or as a sophomore. He pitched really well after his sophomore year, in a summer league. We followed him and were really on him going into his junior year. I like to think that we were on his bandwagon long before most people realized he was on the map. We saw him pitch a lot. A lot of people had trouble seeing him, because he was a closer and might not have pitched when they were there. I saw him four times myself, which is tough when it’s a reliever. We felt pretty comfortable when we took him.” Reed ended up signing close to the deadline for slightly above slot, and made 4 starts for the Quakes late in the season (including one playoff start). The sample size was too small to analyze, but in terms of his stuff he has a mid 90’s fastball with good movement, a very good slider, and a solid changeup. Here he is throwing at Stanford. He’s a big bodied guy who should be able to handle the workload of a starter, although the Dodgers will be careful with him in 2012 and will limit him to 150 innings according to White. He’s also a smart kid who finished his degree at Stanford this past winter, so he has a lot of intelligence on the mound. He’ll return to Rancho in 2012 and will be part of what should be a very good Quakes rotation.

Why #4: Maybe I’m buying into the Dodgers’ hype a bit since I have Reed slightly higher than most prospect lists, but my gut instinct tells me that Chris will successfully transition to starter and will be a solid major league pitcher one day. I see his ceiling as a #2 starter, and he also seems less risky than some of the other players in the top 10 because he also seems like a safe bet to be a solid big league late-inning reliever if for some reason he fails in the rotation. He should move quickly and could be in the Dodgers plans as early as 2013.

3. Chris Withrow, RHP (128.2 IP in AA in 2011)
Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 1st round
6’3”, 195 lbs, 23 years old
6-6, 4.20 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 3.85 FIP, 9.09 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: 4; Pre 2010 Rank: 2; Pre 2009 Rank: 8; TBLA Prospect #6

Chris Withrow didn't get a lot of attention in 2011, but the 2007 1st round pick quietly had a very good season despite walking too many batters. In his second season with the Lookouts Chris lowered his ERA from 5.97 to 4.20, and he also led the entire Southern League with his 9.1 K/9 rate (among qualifying pitchers). Like I said the 22 year old issued too many walks which didn't allow him to work deep into games, but besides that he did everything else well. In a recent article that Jon Weisman posted, DeJon Watson said “This past year was a really good year for him because he didn't miss a start, he was durable, he repeated [his delivery] and he's added a slider to his mix that gave him something that stayed on the plate. It seems like he's been here a long time, but he's right where he should be, and we're excited about where he's going." In terms of his stuff, Withrow has a fastball that can reach 98 mph, and he also has the makings of a plus curveball. He also throws a fading changeup and as mentioned by Watson he’s added a slider to his repertoire. His lack of control is a bit troubling, but the fact that opposing batters hit just .239 against him in 2011 is a good sign. Still just 22 (he turns 23 on April 1st), Withrow is well ahead of the curve with 2+ years of experience at AA. In 2012 he’ll most likely return to the Southern League where he should be able to improve his stats even further. Now that he’s on the 40 man roster he has moved up a bit on the starting pitching depth chart, although I don’t think we’ll see Withrow in LA until September at the earliest.

Why #3: I continue to love Withrow’s pure stuff and I think that he’ll eventually bring down his pitch counts as he matures and learns to pitch more to contact. He has time on his side, and I still think he could be a #2 starter in the big leagues. Even if he continues to struggle with control I think that at the very least he can be an electric reliever.

2. Allen Webster, RHP (91 IP in AA, 54 IP in HiA in 2011)
Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 18th round
6’3”, 185 lbs, 22 years old
11-5, 4.03 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 3.57 FIP, 8.38 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: 9; Pre 2010 Rank: 11; Pre 2009 Rank: 100; TBLA Prospect #2

Allen Webster was pretty much an unknown when he was selected by the Dodgers in the 18th round of the 2008 draft. He played mostly shortstop in high school, and when he was first used as a pitcher he could barely hit 90 mph. Just a few years short years later and Webster has blossomed into one of the Dodgers best pitching prospects. After putting his name on the map with a 2.36 ERA in 2009, Webster had an All Star season for the Loons in 2010. He got even better in 2011 despite moving to the hitter friendly California League as he dominated in 9 starts for the Quakes, posting a 2.33 ERA, a 2.77 FIP, and a 10.3 K/9. That prompted the Dodgers to challenge Webster with another promotion, and while his final AA stat line was a little ugly, he was actually very good until the month of August when his workload caught up to him. But even in his worst month of the season he still struck out over a batter per inning. Here he is throwing in a game for the Lookouts. The most exciting part of Webster is his potential for four very good pitches. His fastball can reach 97 mph and has good sinking action, and his slider was recently described as above-average by DeJon Watson. He also throws a curveball, but his bread and butter is his changeup which is plus-plus. It sits around 80 mph and features both sink and fade which at times will dumbfound hitters. Allen will return to AA to start the 2012 season, but he seems to be the next prospect in line to Los Angeles should injuries occur. If he does spend a full season in the minors I would call him the favorite to be the 2012 Dodgers minor league pitcher of the year.

Why #2:
With four legitimate pitches and a young arm, I think Webster’s ceiling has risen since last year as I now think he can be #2 starter. He doesn’t have the same polish as #1 prospect Zach Lee, but he’s already had some success in the upper minor leagues and is on track to reach Los Angeles very soon.

1. Zach Lee, RHP (109 IP in LoA in 2011)
Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 1st round
6’4”, 220 lbs, 20.5 years old
9-6, 3.47 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 3.68 FIP, 7.51 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: 1; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A; TBLA Prospect #1

We all know the Zach Lee story by now. Considered by some to be the 2nd best pitcher in the entire 2010 draft, Lee fell to the Dodgers at the #28 pick thanks to extraordinary bonus demands and a strong commitment to play quarterback at LSU. To the surprise of everyone Lee signed with the Dodgers at the deadline, and while he didn’t throw a pitch for the Dodgers in 2010 I immediately put Zach as our #1 prospect. Lee made his professional debut with the Loons in 2011, and while he didn’t blow away the competition he did have a very solid season for a 19 year old. He ended up winning 9 games for Great Lakes and opposing batters hit just .242 against him. There were times when I wished he strike out more batters or issue less walks, but overall I was very impressed when watching his starts online. Often it appeared that he was toying with hitters, although he also seemed to pitch to contact at times which caused his K rate to be a bit low. The Dodgers got a scare in May when he missed a few weeks due to some elbow tightness, but luckily that turned out to be nothing and Zach ended up throwing over 100 innings. In terms of his stuff, Lee is very advanced for his age and has a great feel for pitching. He has an outstanding pitching frame, and according to a recent Baseball America article he recently gained 30 pounds of muscle which has him up to a solid 220 pounds. According to DeJon Watson in a recent Baseball America article, “He's got good fastball command at both sides of the plate. The slider is still developing, [and] the changeup is another pitch we're trying to finish off for him. And he also has a curve. So he's got four pitches, [and] the key is being able to master three of the four. If we can get those mastered, I think you'll see him ascending as well and pushing us to make some tougher decisions” To be a little more specific, Lee’s fastball can reach 98 mph on a good day, but he usually sits in the low 90’s and has great movement. His slider showed a lot of promise late in the season, and his changeup is advanced for his age. After spending the season in LoA Zach will definitely move up in 2012, and while his most likely destination is HiA I still think there is an outside chance he could break came with the Lookouts in AA. Even if he doesn’t start the year in AA, I think he could get there at some point during next season.

Why #1: There is probably no surprise here that I have Lee as #1. I tabbed his as the Dodgers #1 prospect from the moment he signed, and I haven’t waivered in my opinion yet. I still think he has the ceiling of a #1 starter, although if he’s in the same rotation as Kershaw he’ll have to settle for #2. With 4 strong pitches, good control, and clean mechanics, he has a realistic chance of reaching his full potential.