On Monday when we published part one of my conversation with Baseball Prospectus head prospect writer, Jason Parks, we talked about his top four Dodger prospects. Today, we will cover the next four prospects, all former college pitchers who could find their way to Los Angeles very quickly: Chris Anderson, Chris Reed, Ross Stripling and Tom Windle.
One thing to look for with college arms, Parks said, "What you want to see out is how they take to pro ball."
Parks noted that college pitchers see "fastball command changes, you can't just get away with throwing the ball up there anymore, you have to start to learn to throw the ball where you need to throw ball."
That is the key phase in the learning curve.
"That is usually when you see the velocity go down a little bit," Parks said. "Sometimes a pitcher puts [the velocity] back on, more often they don't."
Right-handed pitcher Chris Anderson was the Dodgers first round pick in 2013. Anderson, who pitched Jacksonville University was sent to Class-A Great Lakes where he made 12 starts for the Loons. He was 3-0 with a 1.96 ERA with 50 strikeouts and 24 walks in 46 innings.
"[Anderson has] the body, [he has] the fastball, there was some secondary stuff that can play, you want to see some refinement of that," Parks said.
While a more immediate path to LA could be via the bullpen, Parks thinks the 6'4, 215-pound Anderson is a starter here.
"Anderson's fastball is in the mid-90s," Parks said. "[He has] a deep arsenal, with the type of body, the workhouse type of body that can hold innings [pitched]."
Parks said that Anderson could project to league average production, a No. 3 or 4 starter.
Parks also said that while he doesn't know if Anderson is a first-round draft material, he knew "a lot of teams that wanted Anderson to slide down in the draft. He has a high floor."
The Dodgers' No. 6 prospect on Parks' list is 2011 first-round pick, left-hander Chris Reed. The former Stanford pitcher was 4-11 with a 3.86 ERA for Double-A Chattanooga in 2013, with 106 strikeouts and 63 walks in 137⅔ innings.
"Reed is a lefty with size and strength and he throws a bowling ball fastball," Parks said. "That fastball is hard to lift.
"It's not a crazy amazing fastball. It is an elite contact fastball," Parks added. "And he doesn't really back it up with anything."
Parks says Reed's slider "comes and goes" and is more of a "weak-contact slider."
Parks thinks that Reed, who has started 45 of his 51 games as a professional, will ultimately end up as a reliever. Reed will be able to push his velocity to the mid-90s and just pound the zone low with that heavy fastball. Parks doesn't think that Reed can "go through the lineup three or four times."
No. 7 prospect is right-hander Ross Stripling, who was picked out of Texas A&M in the 5th round in the 2012 draft. Stripling pitched well in both stops in 2013, the California League and in Chattanooga.
"There is nothing fancy with [Stripling]," Parks said. "[He has a] pound-the-zone fastball and because of his size, he can work low, he pounds it low, he will miss some bats because of the plane, it has some jump on it."
Parks describes Stripling's secondary stuff is "okay," and concluded that Stripling "is a good back-end major league starter that you are going to get cost-controlled."
Reed and Stripling both ended 2013 in Double-A and are nearly big-league ready. They were invited to big league camp at Camelback Ranch in spring training.
"One of them is going to separate himself and become that back of the rotation starter [in the majors]," Parks said of this group of college pitchers. "Then you possibly have a middle reliever, a long reliever."
But Parks said the goal is to develop major league players, which is what the Dodgers are doing, and he "likes where the Dodgers are going."
Tom Windle is the final prospect to be reviewed today. The left-hander was picked in the second round of the 2013 draft and like Anderson, started his pro career in the Midwest League for the Loons.
"[Windle] has an interesting arm," Parks said. "His arm action is pretty stiff."
Parks noted that you are not going to find many people who think Windle will be a starter.
Parks said despite those thoughts, Windle's stuff gives the southpaw "a high ceiling" as a reliever.
"He has a major-league caliber arm that will see time in a major-league bullpen," Parks said.
Coming next will be the last part of this chat where Jason Parks will talk about the last two players on the top ten list, some prospects on the rise and close with a little bit about the 2014 Baseball Prospectus book.