Here is the next part of my minor league countdown, with just 6 posts remaining in the series. This group of players includes several familiar names, along with a few lesser known guys who have moved up significantly in my rankings from a year ago. As always I welcome feedback on the placement of each player on the list.
70. Delvis Morales, SS (38 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)
Signed by Dodgers 10/22/09
6’1”, 146 lbs, 21.5 years old, switch hitter
.277 average, .689 OPS, 0 HR’s, 12 RBI’s, 8 SB’s
Pre 2011 Rank: 176; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
Delvis Morales got a little bit of a late start on his baseball career as he didn’t sign with the Dodgers until he was 19 years old. He made his professional debut in the DSL in 2010, but hit just .220 and made 17 errors in the field. He did steal 18 bases for the Dominican Dodgers, however, and walked more than he struck out. Apparently that was good enough to earn a promotion to the Arizona Rookie League as that is where Delvis spent the 2011 season as the Arizona Dodgers’ main shortstop. Even though Morales didn’t have a great season for the Dodgers, he was impressive enough to get mentioned by Baseball America in their chat about the Arizona Rookie League where they said Morales was the team’s second best prospect behind Alex Santana (in their opinion). Baseball America also compared Delvis to Dee Gordon, saying that he is extremely athletic just without the plus-plus speed. In the field Morales posted another ugly fielding of .927, but Baseball America said his defense has greatly improved since 2010 and I'm guessing that his errors were mostly the result of him making bad throws on acrobatic plays. Overall Morales seems to be an intriguing player in the Dodgers system, especially since he is a switching hitting shortstop. Questions remain about whether he’ll be able to hit as he moves up through the system, but it sounds like he’s an exciting player who could make his way to a full season league in 2012.
69. Daniel Tamares, RHP (21.1 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)
Signed by Dodgers 9/26/06
6’3”, 170 lbs, 22.25 years old
0-1, 2.11 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 1.65 FIP, 13.92 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: 93; Pre 2010 Rank: 119; Pre 2009 Rank: 74
After 4 years in the Dominican Summer League, including a fantastic 2010 season during which he posted a 1.41 ERA, a 0.77 WHIP, and a 2.64 FIP over 57.1 innings, Daniel Tamares finally got a chance to play in a US based league. The Dominican native spent 2011 in the Arizona Dodgers bullpen, and although he was using sparingly at the start of the season he really came into his own in the month of August when he appeared in 9 games and threw 14 innings. In those 14 frames Daniel allowed just 3 earned runs, struck out 26 batters, and had a .143 batting average against. He also didn’t allow a homer all year long and walked just 8 batters. I'll be honest in that I don't know how hard he throws or what type of pitches he has, but Tamares is a big man at 6'3" and just recently turned 22 so he is still young enough to make a name for himself in the Dodger minor league system. For 2012 I wouldn’t be surprised if Tamares started the year in extended spring training and then joined the Loons after the weather warms up in Michigan. He’s another young international signee to watch closely next season.
Follow the jump for #'s 68 - 61
68. Eric Eadington, LHP (10.1 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg, 11.1 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)
Signed by Dodgers in July 2011 as a non drafted free agent
6’2”, 220 lbs, 24 years old
2-1, 0.83 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 1.58 FIP, 12.88 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
Eric Eadington spent 5 years at Harvard, so at the very least you know he’s a smart guy. He starting his collegiate career way back in 2007, but after a decent debut he was injured after throwing just 5.1 innings in 2008. Tommy John surgery was required, so Eric redshirted in 2009 and got back onto the field full time in 2010. During his senior season in 2011 Eadington actually went 0 - 7 for Harvard with a 5.16 ERA, but on the plus slide he had a 9.29 K/9. That wasn’t enough to get him drafted, however, so Eric signed with the Dodgers as a free agent shortly after the 2011 draft. Eadington was then sent to the Arizona Rookie League where he started to blow away the competition, but I mostly ignored him because he so much older than everyone else in the league. He was promoted to the Raptors in August and actually posted better stats as he didn’t allow any runs over 10.1 frames and struck out 13, but I still didn’t pay much attention to him. Then in a Baseball America chat, Eadington was actually mentioned as a player to watch for the Dodgers because he’s a lefty that throws between 92 – 94 mph and also apparently has a decent curveball. Next thing you know Baseball America ranked him as the team’s 31st best prospect. Despite the recent praise I’m still not sold on Eadington and will need to see more of him before putting him anywhere near a top 30 ranking. He struggled while pitching in the Ivy League in college and was much too old for the rookie leagues he was playing in this past season, so despite his 94 mph fastball from the left side and repeatable delivery seen in this video (go to the 0:45 second mark), he’s going to have to prove himself in a full season league. Overall I think Eadington’s ceiling could be that of a LOOGY, which is still pretty good for a non drafted free agent. Baseball America suggested that Eadington might get the chance to advance all the way to AA in 2012, but I think he’ll actually start 2012 with the Loons where he’ll be one of the team’s main left handed relievers.
67. Arismendy Ozoria, RHP (85 IP in HiA in 2011)
Signed by Dodgers 11/22/08
6’0”, 195 lbs, 21.5 years old
7-5, 5.40 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 5.98 FIP, 6.14 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: 70; Pre 2010 Rank: 106; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
Since signing with the Dodgers out of the Dominican Republic in 2009, Arismendy Ozoria has moved quickly through the minor leagues. A solid debut season in the DSL in 2009 earned Ozoria a promotion to the Arizona Rookie League in 2010, but he was only with the Arizona Dodgers through July because he got promoted to the Pioneer League for the final 5 weeks of the season. His overall stats in 2010 were again quite impressive given that he spent most of the year as a 19 year old, and after the season DeJon Watson said that Ozoria is a guy to keep his eye on for 2011. Despite his previous success I didn’t expect Arismendy to make the jump all the way to the California League in 2011, but that is exactly where he ended up and actually made 14 starts for Rancho Cucamonga. He was the youngest pitcher on the Quakes staff, and his age showed a bit when you consider his final stats for the season. He was especially susceptible to the long ball as he allowed a team high 16 homers for the season. That being said I still am pretty high on Ozoria, especially after our own Eric Stephen provided a live scouting report from a Quakes game on June 2nd. Eric said that Arismendy was throwing in the low 90’s while hitting 94 mph, and that he also had a really nice slow curveball at around 75 mph. Based on this report Ozoria seems to have the pitches to be a legitimate Dodger pitching prospect, but he still has a long way to go given his low strike to walk ratio and his tendency to allow homers. Given his age and final stats in 2011 I’d guess that Ozoria isn’t ready for AA, so he’ll either return to Rancho in 2012 or get sent to the Midwest League to give him a change of scenery.
66. Ryan Christenson, LHP (119.1 IP in LoA in 2011)
Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 7th round
6’1”, 185 lbs, 23.25 years old
7-8, 5.05 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 3.29 FIP, 7.39 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: 51; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
2010 was actually the 3rd time that the Dodgers drafted Ryan Christenson. He was a 35th round selection out of high school in 2007, but chose to go to Nebraska instead. He didn’t play at all for the Cornhuskers in 2008, however, and transferred to South Mountain CC in Arizona for the 2009 season. The Dodgers then made Christenson a 40th round selection in 2009, but again he declined to sign because he believed he could improve upon his 5.87 ERA. He made the right decision because Ryan has a stellar season at South Mountain CC in 2010, posting a 1.09 ERA and striking out 59 batters in 58 innings. That forced the Dodgers to use a 7th round pick on him in 2010, and Christenson signed relatively quickly for $125K. Ryan’s debut season saw mixed results as he dominated the Arizona Rookie League for a month, but then struggled after a promotion to LoA. Christenson returned to the Midwest League in 2011 and showed some improvement, making the midseason All Star team and ranking second on the Loons with 119.1 innings pitched. He didn’t have a great year, however, as he posted a 5.05 ERA and only had one month during the season when opposing batters hit less than .300 against him. He did a good job of keeping the ball in the park and showed solid control, though, which resulted in a much more favorable FIP of 3.29. In terms of his stuff, Hugh Bernreuter of the Saginaw news caught up with Christenson and Loons pitching coach Kremlin Martinez during the season. Ryan told Hugh “The big difference this year is getting ahead in the count, throwing strikes. My two-seam fastball has become my out pitch. My fastball sits in the low 90s or high 80s, so it’s important for me to locate my pitches.” Kremlin said “His delivery is much better this season, much cleaner. With the clean delivery, he can do a better job of locating his pitches and throwing strikes. Control is important, because he pitches to contact instead of being a true strikeout pitcher.” In addition to his fastball, Christenson has a solid mid 70’s curveball and a sinking changeup. Also, here is his pitching motion from back in 2010. According to Baseball America, the continued development of changeup will be what determines if he is able to stay in the rotation. If his changeup doesn’t improve, he may end up in the bullpen. In 2012 Christenson will probably advance to Rancho Cucamonga, although the Quakes will have a crowded rotation so it’s possible that he’ll start the year somewhere else.
65. Luis Vasquez, RHP (14.1 IP in HiA in 2011)
Signed by Dodgers 10/20/03
6’4”, 175 lbs, 26 years old
0-2, 3.77 ERA, 2.37 WHIP, 6.48 FIP, 6.91 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: 47; Pre 2010 Rank: 174; Pre 2009 Rank: 130
The last two years of Luis Vasquez’s career have been a bit of a roller coaster. Signed way back in 2003, Vasquez was just another no name minor leaguer all the way through 2009. In 2010 he turned a few heads with a solid season for the Loons, but then the Dodgers surprised everyone by adding him to their 40 man roster that November. It was at that point that most of us learned that he had a fastball that had been clocked as high as 100 mph, but even still I was skeptical that he needed to be protected from the Rule 5 draft given that he hadn’t played above class A. I obviously bumped him up in my rankings, and Baseball America gave him a lot of respect last year by placing him as the Dodgers #30 prospect in their list. Then 2011 came and Vasquez basically disappeared again. He was promoted to the Quakes, but couldn’t find the plate in April, missed the entire month of May, then was quietly removed from the Dodgers 40 man roster in June. Luis returned to game action in June, but threw just 10 innings more innings before getting shut down for good in early July due what I assume was some sort of injury. Now almost 26 years old, Vasquez could still have an impact for the Dodgers if he returns healthy in 2012 and is able to find the plate. As we all know his fastball is top notch, and he also throws an average curveball and changeup that keep batters off balance. Here is a video of him from last season, and you can see from his pitching motion how he generates so much velocity. I don’t think there is any way the Dodgers would move Vasquez up to AA next season, so I think he’ll return to the Quakes where he’ll try and regain his control.
64. Red Patterson, RHP (92 IP in HiA, 81.1 IP in LoA in 2011)
Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 29th round
6’3”, 210 lbs, 24.75 years old
12-5, 3.69 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 3.21 FIP, 8.93 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: 98; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
The Dodgers took John “Red” Patterson in the 29th round of the 2010 draft despite the fact that he had a 6.84 ERA during his senior season at Southwestern Oklahoma State. The Dodgers must have looked past his subpar ERA because he had an impressive strikeout rate with 103 K’s in 72.1 innings. In addition, prior to joining the SWOSU Bulldogs Patterson was a two-year starter at Grayson Junior College where he had an outstanding year in 2007 with a 10-0 record and 1.41 ERA. Moving to his professional career, Patterson signed quickly and joined the Ogden Raptors without much fanfare. However Red quickly put his name on the Dodger prospect radar with a solid season in the Pioneer League. He ranked 2nd in the league with his 3.33 ERA, and placed 6th with his 1.29 WHIP; stats which earned him a selection to the post season All Star team. In 2011 Patterson advanced to Great Lakes where he became the Loon’s workhorse for the first half of the season. He used his experience to succeed against the younger competition and recorded a 2.94 FIP over 81.1 frames while striking out almost a batter per inning. He did so well, in fact, that he was promoted to Rancho Cucamonga in mid June to essentially switch places with the struggling Greg Wilborn. Once in the Quakes rotation, Patterson continued to impress in his 14 starts with the Quakes. Red struck out over a batter per innings, led all starters with a 1.12 WHIP, and even threw a 9 inning shutout to boot. He was also interviewed shortly after joining the club and helped explain his nickname. In terms of his pitching ability, Hugh Bernreuter of the Saginaw news has all that information in an interview with Patterson and Loons pitching coach Kremlin Martinez. Kremlin says that Patterson’s best pitch is low-90s fastball (that has been clocked as high as 95 mph), but Patterson feels his best pitch is a “spike” curveball, a combination slider-curve. Red said “I’ve never been able to throw a real curve, so I came up with the spike, basically digging my fingernail into the ball. It doesn’t move 12-to-6, but more 3-to-9, but even then it sometimes moves different ways.” Kremlin also added “This year, the control on his off-speed pitches improved. He still has a good fastball, but he’s been able to use his change-up and curve to get lefties out.” Overall, after a successful run in 2011 Patterson is forcing scouts to take a closer look at him despite his age and limited draft pedigree. He’ll probably return to the Quakes to start the 2012 season, but he could make his way up to AA before the year is up.
63. J.T. Wise, C (97 games in HiA in 2011)
Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 5th round
6’0”, 210 lbs, 25.75 years old, bats right handed
.286 average, .887 OPS, 17 HR’s, 73 RBI’s, 2 SB’s
Pre 2011 Rank: 56; Pre 2010 Rank: 48; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
Jeremy Wise was already 23 years old when he was selected by the Dodgers in the 5th round of the 2009 draft, which drew some ire from Dodger prospect hounds fans. The Dodgers didn’t mind his age, however, as they liked the fact that he plays catcher and had success during his college career (2009 Big 12 player of the year, 2009 Finalist for Johnny Bench Award, and 2009 semifinalist for Golden Spikes Award). According to Logan White, “he reminds you of AJ Ellis as a defender and the kid is really a good hitter. He stays inside the baseball, he hits to all fields and he's got good power. I think he will develop into a power hitting catcher at the major league level. He plays hard and he is a gamer.” Wise wasted no time in proving White right because he tore up the Pioneer League in his professional debut with a .338 average and .967 OPS. In 2010 Wise was promoted to the Midwest League, and while he got off to a very slow start he ended the season on a tear and finished the year with very solid stats. That brings us to 2011 which Wise spent in Rancho Cucamonga. J.T. split the season between catcher, 1st base, and DH and had yet another strong campaign with a career high 17 homers and a solid .887 OPS. He also played solid defense behind the plate with a .990 fielding percentage and a 36% caught stealing rate. That being said, the 25 year old was only the second best catching prospect on the Quakes and was left in HiA all season while Griff Erickson got promoted to AA. The logical destination for Wise in 2012 will be Chattanooga where he’ll most likely have to split time again with Erickson.
62. Gustavo Gomez, RHP (11.1 IP in LoA, 61 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)
Signed by Dodgers 1/2/08
6’1”, 150 lbs, 20.75 years old
5-3, 5.85 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 4.51 FIP, 12.07 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: 60; Pre 2010 Rank: 65; Pre 2009 Rank: 113
Signed by the Dodgers out of Panama as a 17 year old in 2008, Gustavo Gomez spent two seasons in the DSL before the jump to the Arizona Rookie League in 2010. It was in Arizona that Gomez started to turn some heads as he posted a 1.23 ERA in the second half of the season, earned a promotion to the Pioneer League for the final week of the season, and was mentioned by DeJon Watson as one of the players to keep an eye on in the future. After a stint in extended Spring Training Gomez actually made his 2011 debut with the Loons, but he got roughed up pretty badly as he allowed 14 runs in just 11.1 innings over 5 appearances (3 starts). In early June Gomez was sent back to extended spring training then emerged back in the Pioneer League as the Raptors opening day starter. According to Ogden Manager Damon Berryhill, “He's earned (the Opening Day start) through the extended spring program. He was up here for a couple of starts last year and he performed well. Right now, he's one of our better command pitchers - good power fastball, good and change-up. He's been locating the ball well down there in extended spring training." Gomez was on fire in June as he allowed just 1 earned run in 17 innings, but then stumbled down the stretch and had an ERA over 6 for the rest of the season. Overall Gustavo ended with a 4.87 ERA for Ogden, and his outstanding K/9 rate was balanced out by the fact that he gave up 9 homers in just 61 innings and walked more than 5 batters per 9 innings. The good news is that Gomez is still just 20 years old and reportedly has a 94 mph, so he still has plenty of time to fine tune the other parts of his game. His ability to induce so many swings and misses is very encouraging, and the fact that right handed batters hit just .201 against him with the Raptors in 2011 is also a good sign. I expect Gustavo to get another shot with the Loons in 2012 and hopefully this time he’ll produce better results.
61. Geison Aguasviva, LHP (8 IP in HiA in 2011)
Signed by Dodgers 12/15/05
6’2”, 166 lbs, 24.5 years old
0-1, 1.13 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 4.83 FIP, 6.75 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: 39; Pre 2010 Rank: 33; Pre 2009 Rank: 40
Signed prior to the 2006 season, Geison Aguasviva spent two seasons in the Dominican Summer League. During his 2nd season in the DSL, the then 19 year old Aguasviva dominated his competition with an ERA of 1.50 and a WHIP of just 0.84 through 66 innings. Promoted all the way up to the Midwest League to start the 2008 season, Geison had trouble adjusting to life in the USA and struggled through 19 frames. However, after he was sent down to the Pioneer League he rebounded nicely with a 2.90 ERA in 71 innings. In 2009 Aguasviva found himself back in LoA and that is where he really had his breakout season. Used mostly in relief, Geison led the Dodger minor league system with a 1.58 ERA (minimum 50 IP) and had a .236 batting average against. Aguasviva was promoted to HiA in 2010, and while he struggled during a short stint in the rotation, he continued to shine in the bullpen with a 2.77 ERA. Here are a few videos of him throwing from the front and from the side for the 66ers that season. Heading into 2011 I figured that Aguasviva would make the jump up to AA, but unfortunately he was sidelined for most of the season due to what must have been an injury. I actually couldn’t find any information on why he missed so much time, but he did return to action in late August and finished the season strong by allowing just 5 hits and 1 earned run over 8 innings of work. While I wasn’t able to get an updated scouting report on Geison due to his lack of playing time, as of last year he sat in the low 90’s and had a very strong changeup which projected as a plus offering. Also, while Aguasviva’s career strikeout rate is relatively low at just 7.8 K’s per 9 innings, he makes up for that by allowing very few homers. Overall, despite his lost season I believe that Aguasviva still could have some value as Dodger prospect. If he comes to spring training healthy in 2012 he should be in line to start the year in AA, and if he has success there then he’ll really get his name on the map. At the end of the day he still seems to have the potential to one day be a left handed reliever at the big league level.