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Dodgers 2012 Minor League Preview - Rancho Cucamonga Quakes


With the minor league season right around the corner, I’m in the middle of a mini-series to preview each of the Dodgers minor league full season teams. Since official rosters won’t be out for until next week, I am predicting what the minor league roster will be for each of the Dodgers full season affiliates at the start of the season.

The second part of my series will look at one of the Dodgers' best minor league team from 2011; the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. Playing their home games just 47 miles down the road from Dodger Stadium, the Epicenter is a perfect place to enjoy minor league action for a reasonable price. I plan on attending several games in 2012 and I hope to see many of you there.

After leading the Quakes to the California League playoffs in 2011, Juan Bustabad hopes to repeat the feat in 2012 which would run his playoff steak to 4 straight seasons (he made the postseason in 2009 and 2010 as the manager of the Loons). Hitting coach Michael Boughton will return to the Quakes and will be spending his fourth season in a row with Bustabad, while pitching coach Matt Herges will be new to the staff after overseeing the Arizona Dodgers' young hurlers in 2011.

As I mentioned in my Loons preview, because the Dodgers consider LoA and HiA as basically the same level this makes it difficult to guess who will play for Rancho Cucamonga in 2012. I did spend considerable time piecing together each of the minor league teams, however, and I looked carefully at a number of different factors, including age, position, experience, prior year stats, etc. Also, you will notice that I put together 30 man rosters for each team instead of the traditional 25. I did this to take into account any possible injuries at the beginning of the season.

Starting Pitchers:

Name How Acquried My Rank Age Height Weight Throws
Zach Lee 2010, 1st 1 20.54 6' 4" 190 R
Chris Reed 2011, 1st 4 21.86 6' 4" 195 L
Garrett Gould 2009, 2nd 5 20.69 6' 4" 190 R
Angel Sanchez Signed 7/12/10 19 22.33 6' 3" 177 R
Jarret Martin Trade w/Orioles 59 22.62 6' 3" 230 L

If my prediction is correct, the top of the Quakes rotation should be among the best in minor league baseball as it will likely feature two 1st round picks and a 2nd rounder. I'm still not 100% sure whether Zach Lee will play for the Quakes or if the Dodgers will challenge him with a promotion to AA, but for now I have him in Rancho. The organization's #1 prospect should get plenty of fans to come out to the Epicenter every time he pitches, and hopefully his polish will allow him to thrive despite the hitter friendly California League. Garrett Gould was outstanding for the Loons last season, and will again team with Lee at the top of the rotation. I'm excited to see Gould's curveball in person, and I think his 3-pitch mix will play well in Rancho. The Dodgers have made it clear that 2011 first round pick Chris Reed will return to Rancho in 2012 where he'll continue his transition to starting pitcher. A closer at Stanford, Reed made 3 shorts starts for Rancho at the end of last season but has yet to get fully stretched out. He'll look to keep hitters off balance with his mid 90’s fastball, his very good slider, and his solid changeup. Angel Sanchez came out of nowhere in 2011 to put his name on the Dodger prospect radar, and he very well could be the best #4 starter in the California League. Sanchez flashes a mid 90's fastball and held opposing hitters to a .198 average last season to go along with a 2.82 ERA. It will be interesting to see if his second professional season goes as smoothly as his first. I have the final spot in the Quake rotation going to Jarret Martin, who was the young lefty acquired in the trade for Dana Eveland. Martin threw 110 innings in LoA for the Orioles organization in 2011 with mixed results, with his biggest flaw being his lack of control. He does have a good pitching frame and a solid 3 pitch mix, however, and is someone that I consider a bit of a sleeper heading into this season.

See the rest of the predictions after the jump


Name How Acquried My Rank Age Height Weight Throws
Juan Rodriguez Trade w/Red Sox 30 23.29 6' 5" 195 R
Scott McGough 2011, 5th 33 22.41 6' 0" 170 R
Geison Aguasviva Signed 12/15/05 61 24.65 6' 2" 166 L
Carlos Frias Signed 1/3/07 71 22.37 6' 4" 170 R
Joel Lima Signed 2/22/08 106 22.64 6' 0" 165 R
Bret Montgomery 2010, 46th 131 26.64 6' 6" 250 R
Pete Budkevics Signed 6/21/10 145 24.45 6' 2" 165 R
Raul Burgos AA Rule 5 Draft 157 24.61 6' 1" 210 R
Ryan Christenson 2010, 7th 66 23.21 6' 1" 185 L
Arismendy Ozoria Signed 11/22/08 67 21.64 6' 0" 195 R

My guess for the Quakes bullpen starts with closer Scott McGough. The 2011 5th round pick dominated in his professional debut which was spent mostly with the Loons, and has plenty of late inning experience from his time at Oregon. He could be a fast mover through the system and may see AA by the end of the 2012 season. Juan Rodriguez is another hard throwing right hander, and I'm guessing that he'll serve as the primary setup man for the Quakes. Acquired from the Red Sox in the Trayvon Robinson trade, Rodriguez allowed just 6 hits in 17 innings after joining the Loons last season, so he should be ready for a move advanced league. Geison Aguasviva is a bit of a forgotten name because he missed almost all of last season, but he ended last year healthy and will probably return to the California League for the 3rd straight year. The lefty still has some potential as a prospect, but he's nowhere near the level he was at a few years ago. Carlos Frias turned some heads back in 2009, but since then he's lost velocity and has really struggled. He threw just 16 frames for Rancho last season with ugly results, but he's still just 22 years old so there is time for him to improve. The remaining short relievers I'm predicting are less interesting and lower rated prospects, and this group includes Joel Lima, Raul Burgos, Bret Montgomery, and Pete Budkevics. I'm predicting that the final two spots of Quakes bullpen will be filled by former starting pitchers who will maintain the long reliever/swing man role. Arismendy Ozoria was in Rancho's rotation last year and posted pretty ugly stats as a 20 year old, bu the has decent stuff and will probably be moved to the bullpen since there isn't room for him in the rotation. Ryan Christenson made 26 starts for the Loons in 2011 and posted a solid FIP despite an ERA above 5, but again I don't think there is space for him in the Quakes' rotation.


Name How Acquried My Rank Age Height Weight Bats
Jonathan Garcia 2009, 8th 11 20.38 5' 11" 175 R
Leon Landry 2010, 3rd 27 22.52 5' 11" 185 L
Scott Schebler 2010, 26th 26 21.48 6' 1" 208 L

Two thirds of Quakes outfield seems relatively easy to predict, starting with Leon Landry in center field. Despite a lackluster performance for the Loons in 2011, Landry should be moved to the California League to roam the middle of the Epicenter. The former 3rd round pick still has good tools and is a defensive whiz that should benefit from playing in a more hitter friendly league. Jonathan Garcia will likely also make the move from the Loons to the Quakes to be the starting right fielder for Rancho. The 20 year old will still be young for the league, but has a strong possibility of improving upon the 19 homers he hit in 2011. I'm a little less certain about my guess for left field, which is where I have Scott Schebler penciled in. Even though he played in the Pioneer League last season, I do think that Scott will head straight to HiA in 2012. He played some junior college ball before signing with the Dodgers and posted solid numbers with the Raptors, so he shouldn't be too out of his element against the more advanced competition.


Name How Acquried My Rank Age Height Weight Bats
Chris Jacobs 2007, 17th 55 23.34 6' 5" 257 R
Jesse Bosnik 2010, 13th 143 23.68 6' 2" 205 L
Scott Wingo 2011, 11th 92 23.01 5' 11" 175 L
Justin Boudreaux 2011, 14th 60 22.48 6' 1" 190 R

After having somewhat of a breakout season in 2011, Chris Jacobs should get the chance to play 1st base for the Quakes this year. The 6'5" 23 year old socked 12 homers in just 215 at bast last season, and if he stays healthy he could possibly have a monster campaign in the hitter friendly California League. Despite a very poor season in 2011, I have Jesse Bosnik penciled in for 3rd base because there just doesn't really seem to be any other option. Maybe a change in scenery will jump start the bat of the 2010 13rh round pick. I'm taking a leap of faith for my middle infield prediction as I have both Scott Wingo and Justin Boudreaux jumping from rookie ball to HiA. I definitely think the 23 year old Wingo will be able to handle 2nd base for Rancho since he played 4 years of college baseball and is an extremely hard worker. Boudreaux is a little younger at 22 and has one less year of college experience, but the shortstop has intriguing tools so the Dodgers might want to challenge him a bit similar to what they did with Lemmerman last season.


Name How Acquried My Rank Age Height Weight Bats
Michael Pericht 2009, 16th 85 23.85 6' 5" 235 R
Nick Akins 2009, 19th 58 24.26 6' 1" 220 R

Michael Pericht got a taste of Rancho Cucamonga last season as he spent the final few days of 2011 with the Quakes, and he'll almost certainly rejoin them as their starting catcher in 2012. The 6'5" backstop wasn't overly impressive for the Loons last year, but he has a lot of power potential and his defense showed solid improvement. I wouldn't be surprised if had a breakout season that really put his name on the prospect map. I have Nick Akins as the DH of this team, although he should also see a fair amount of playing time in left field. A series of injuries limited him during the 2011 season and he hit just .229, but he did smack 14 homers and has always displayed a ton of power. He's another guy who could crank quite a few over the fence in 2012 given the friendly hitting environment of the California League.


Name How Acquried My Rank Age Height Weight Bats
Robert Coyle 2010, 10th 83 23.06 6' 1" 215 L
Blake Dean 2010, 8th 100 24.09 6' 1" 175 L
Steve Domecus 2010, 9th 101 24.75 6' 3" 220 R
Casio Grider 2009, 14th 120 24.61 6' 1" 165 R
Pedro Guerrero Signed 7/10/06 135 23.32 6' 3" 185 R
Ramon Jean Signed 3/12/07 147 24.47 6' 0" 160 R

The Quakes bench looks like it will feature several players who started for the Loons in 2011. Blake Dean was the Great Lakes starting 1st baseman last season, but struggled to the tune of a .237 average and will probably have a reduced role in 2012. Bobby Coyle has an interesting bat and should see a lot of playing time in the outfield for Rancho, but I just don't think there is room for him in the everyday starting lineup. Casio Grider is another Loon that struggled as a starter last year, but he does have good speed and can play all over the field, making him ideal for a utility role. Steve Domecus will be an interesting addition to the team since he fill the role of backup catcher while also having the ability to play outfield. Pedro Guerrero and Ramon Jean round out the Quakes bench, and while both have defensive versatility, neither offers much upside.