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2012 State of the Dodgers Minor League System - Shortstop

Darnell Sweeney batting during his time at the University of Central Florida
Darnell Sweeney batting during his time at the University of Central Florida

We continue our journey at the Dodgers minor league system with another look at the middle infield; this time focusing on shortstop. As a reminder, I am providing the overall preseason rank that I gave to each player (Pre Overall) and of course their current ranking within the position. You'll notice that some players have an N/A next to their preseason rank. That is because the player is new to the Dodgers or new to the position since my preseason ranking. Like my pre-season rankings, I will only include guys who are under 28 years of age and are considered prospects (less than 130 AB's).

I am including all players that are in the Dodgers minor league system except for the recent international signees who have not yet played in a professional game because there simply isn't any information about them out there. I will also be providing how each player was acquired, their age, height, weight, and current level.

As I mentioned before, I have ranked each player at is the position that I believe is best long term position for the player. It may not be the players current primary position, but it is where I believe each player will ultimately end up should they make the major leagues. Here is the list:

Current Name How Acquired Pre Overall Age Height Weight Bats Level
1 Jesmuel Valentin 2012, 1st New 18.24 5' 10" 174 S Arizona
2 Jake Lemmerman 2010, 5th 18 23.26 6' 1" 192 R AA
3 Darnell Sweeney 2012, 13th New 21.51 6' 3" 150 S LoA
4 Justin Boudreaux 2011, 14th 60 22.84 6' 1" 190 R Ogden
5 Osvaldo Martinez Trade with Chi (A) New 24.25 5' 10" 200 R AAA
6 Delvis Morales Signed 10/22/09 70 21.94 6' 1" 146 S Ogden
7 Alexis Aguilar Signed 4/9/08 116 21.14 5' 11" 162 R HiA
8 Casio Grider 2009, 14th 120 24.97 6' 1" 165 R HiA
9 Charlie Mirabal Signed 3/1/07 158 25.35 5' 11" 180 R HiA
10 Leo Rodriguez Signed 6/1/09 161 20.65 5' 11" 160 R Arizona
11 Rafael Gomez Signed 2012 New 17.59 6' 0" 170 S DSL
12 Jose Luis Javier Signed 2011 197 19.76 5' 10" 160 R DSL
13 Claudio Tejeda Signed 2/8/11 201 19.60 6' 0" 170 R DSL

Continue on for some analysis...

Here is last years shortstop rankings. As you can see we lost top shortstop prospect Dee Gordon to the big leagues, but we did gain a few strong players from the 2012 draft. Jesmuel Valentin checks in as the top shortstop in the system, and that's because I don't think that Corey Seager will stay in the middle infield for much longer. While some think that Valentin is better suited for 2nd base and his 14 errors so far seem to agree, I believe that he'll be able to handle shortstop in the long term. At just 18 years old Valentin has strong big league bloodlines and is still learning to switch hit. His bat may not ever be a huge weapon, but I think he'll hit enough to one day be a solid big league shortstop.

Jake Lemmerman has struggled mightily this year in AA at the plate, but his bat still has potential and he's had a few big games for the Lookouts so I still have him as the #2 shortstop prospect. 2012 is just Late Night's second full major league season so he has time to adjust, but he'll need to turn it up in 2013 because a .232 batting average just isn't going to cut it.

The more I see Darnell Sweeney, the more I like him so he checks in at #3. Sweeney is an athletic player who has shown some surprising power so far in the Midwest League and has also shown an outstanding eye at the plate. The 21 year old switch hitter could be a fast mover in the system and could follow Lemmerman's footsteps by heading to Rancho in just his first full season. Justin Boudreaux's pre-draft scouting report talked about his plethora of tools and he showed a lot of potential with a strong debut in 2011, but so far in 2012 he's struggled mightily across a couple of levels. He was definitely over-matched in LoA so it remains to be seen if he can hit advanced pitching.

The rest of the players in this group seem to be marginal players at best, including Delvis Morales who got some love from Baseball America last year but it hitting just .178 in 2012. Osvaldo Martinez was acquired from the White Sox as shortstop insurance and has already spent some time in the big leagues, but he is simply a glove first middle infielder. Nobody else is really worth mentioning from this group.

Overall the shortstop position offers some promise, although the hope would be that Dee Gordon could fill the role at the big league level for the next 5 years. The top three players on this list definitely seem to have at least some sort of big league potential, but only time will tell if they ever reach their potential.