Let’s continue on with our journey from club to club as we take a look at each team’s top 10 prospects for 2012. We’ve been working closely with other sites this off-season to bring you a unique perspective from those who have a more focused view on particular clubs. As we have in some of the articles, we stay in-house with Baseball Instinct’s Mike Koepp, a SoCal native who hits up the Cal League from time to time, as well as the Padres, Angels, and today’s team of focus; the Los Angeles Dodgers
We saw flashes of what the young blue bloods have in 2011 with the speedy Dee Gordon and the power bat of Jerry Sands. We also saw established stars like Matt Kemp win the NL MVP who broke the cookie cutter mold of players who were on playoff teams. Kemp helped those fans in LA looking for the positives in a year of negative news surrounding Frank McCourt and the once mighty dynasty. With 39 Home Runs and 129 RBI the best move this off-season was getting him to stay a Dodger for another 8 years. On the pitching side, Clayton Kershaw won the Cy Young with 21 wins on a team that ranked 21st in runs scored and 23rd in slugging percentage. The future looks bright though as the talent from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Midland, Michigan is ready, and with a little seasoning could provide a stream of talent to the big club.
1. Allen Webster, RHP 02/10/1990 H: 6’3″ W: 185 -The 18th round pick by LA in the 2008 amateur draft posted great numbers until he advanced to Double-A last season in Chattanooga. He lost his touch somewhat which led him to give more HR and runs to the more advanced hitters. The converted shortstop worked with pitching coaches while perfecting his arm motion. Webster is still maturing but he’s adding to his strike out rates as he works on his control. There isn’t much there to suggest that he’s on a path to injury. His arm action is a little bit short on his delivery and could certainly stand to be cleaned up. This could be the difference in becoming a quality, middle of the rotation starter or becoming a mop up man in the bullpen.He seems to of corrected the problem where he shows the ball to the hitters loading, then goes out of his way to hide it on the delivery.
Our Instinct: Geo wrote in his Prospect Instinct|Allen Webster “He’s still working the kinks out of switching from a position player to a pitcher, but he’s been remarkable so far. With 2 plus pitches and the development of one of his other pitches into a third plus pitch he could have a ceiling as a number 2 starter. Of course, continued increase of velocity will help make that a reality, but if he peaks out at 94-95 mph he’s still got a good shot at being a quality 3 or 4 in the majors.” I agree with this assessment. He’s probably headed back to Double-A in 2012 and if all goes well there’s no reason to believe he won’t get a cup of coffee with the big club in the fall.
2. Zach Lee, RHP 9/13/1991 H: 6’4″ W: 190 – The 2010 first round pick by LA got a big check to commit to The Dodgers, $5.25 Million. The largest draft bonus in the Dodgers history. Lee debuted well in his first pro season, 9-6 with a 3.47 ERA. In fact the 19-year-old progressed farther than The Dodgers expected. He struck out 91 in 109 innings pitched and walked just 32. Good for a K rate of 19.4% and a walk rate of 6.8%. The walk rate is elite showing the polish that spoke about preseason. He uses his mechanics well and doesn’t lose the strike zone often. Lee has a fantastic delivery. Everything is paced well and he gets a lot of drive toward home plate If anything, Lee drops a little low at the beginning of his drive, giving up the advantages of his 6’4″ frame and pushing his pitches a little low. His athletic ability and polish at a young age allow him to repeat his simple delivery. There are no red flags that would point to wear and tear on his shoulder or elbow.
Our Instinct: Tom Belmont summed it up in his Prospect Instinct|Zach Lee ”Lee is just one season into his career but the future looks bright for him. If he’s able to make his curveball a more consistent pitch he is going to have 3 average to plus offerings. That alone puts him as a pretty solid bet to find his way into the middle of the Dodgers rotation. If his fastball upticks and his command continues in the same direction he will have a plus fastball and plus command. That will allow him to be a solid #2 starter that can work 200+ innings a season. His K rates will probably only be slightly above average, but enough to make him very effective because of his command.” As Tom indicated, he’s probably a couple of years away yet. It would not shock us if he made it to the majors sometime in 2013, and a fixture in the rotation in 2014 at age 23.
3. Nate Eovaldi , RHP 2/13/1990 H: 6’3″ W: 195 – Nate Eovaldi made great strides in 2011 although he still is a work in progress due to his K to Walk ratio. He doesn’t give up the long ball though. At AAA Chattanooga he had a respectable 6-5 records with a 2.62 ERA in 19 starts. He doesn’t give up the long ball though. Rumor has it that GM Ned Colletti is considering moving him to the bullpen as he was used late last season to limit stress on his young arm. Despite that depending on how personnel moves go this off-season, he could get a look in spring training at the back-end of the starting rotation. Aaron Bentley broke down Eovaldi back in August in his Prospect Instinct|Nathan Eovaldi article.
Our Instinct: Eovaldi looks better as a starter if his walk ratio doesn’t improve. Looked good in his Major League debut against The Diamondbacks allowing just 3 runs in 5 innings striking out 7. I can understand the thought of putting him in a bullpen in flux but we’re thinking he’d have better results starting a game. It would probably be best for both parties if he were to start at AAA to begin the season. But with the purse strings tightened pending a new owner he may start the year with LA barring a horrible spring performance.
4. Angel Sanchez , RHP 11/28/1989 H: 6’3″ W: 177 – Angel Sanchez signed as a 20-year-old armatuer out of The Dominican Republic but didn’t debut until last year at Low A Great Lakes. He was called one of the best live arms of the 2010 draft in his age group. In 16 starts he was 8-4 with a 2.82 ERA. But more impressive was his 84 strikeouts in 99 Innings. He definitely has a live arm and commands his location well which is very positive at such a young age.
Our Instinct: Sanchez will more than likely start the season at single A. Based on his performance however he should progress up the ladder after he develops his curve and gains experience and confidence throwing his changeup. Both look like they could eventually be plus pitches to go along with a 97 mph fastball. Another #2 in the making if everything pans out.
5. Joc Pederson, OF 4/21/1992 H: 6’1″ W: 185 – This center fielder from Palo Alto High School was The Dodgers 11th round pick in 2010. He was going to play college baseball at USC but the $600,000 signing bonus was very convincing. The Dodgers like this kid for his .515 Ave 8 HR, 9 doubles and 6 triples in his final year. This helped The Vikings get to the CIS Championship and earned him co-MVP in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League. Joc showed all five tools in the Pioneer League hitting .353 with 11 HR and 24 stolen bases but struggled a bit with quick stint with Great Lakes.
Our Instinct: Scouts have mentioned Pederson may have trouble in center field in big ballparks. But his offense means he’ll certainly get a job as a skilled corner outfielder. We expect he’ll adapt to the better pitching he’s seeing and progress perhaps moving up to AA by the end of the season. With his potential he may be a major key in the Dodgers offense in 2014. Watch him closely, he has the potential to be an exciting player.
6. Angelo Songco, LF 9/9/1988 H: 6’0″ W: 190 – Angelo grew up in Van Nuys a secret Angel fan but loved his trips to Dodger stadium. Five teams invited Songco for work outs before the 2009 draft and in the end the team he grew up closest to choose him as their 4th round pick. This season for LA’s Class A team Rancho Cucamonga Quakes hit for the cycle. Which actual wasn’t his first. That came as a 15-year-old. It’s clear he has an idea of what he’s doing at the plate. He has progressed well throughout his young career but his 2011 season was phenomenal. He hit .313 with 29 HR and 114 RBI for The Quakes.
Our Instinct: Barring any setbacks Angelo Songco could raise a few eyebrows as he advances through The Dodgers system, however he really needs to learn to take more walks and hit lefties. If he can’t, his ceiling is a 4th outfielder or a 1B platoon.
7. Alfredo Silverio, OF 6/5/1987 H: 6’0″ W: 205 – Alfredo Silverio has been called a young Raul Mondesi by some scouts. With above average power and speed it’s not a bad comparison. You may remember him in The Futures Game this past July who delivered a HR capping off his best season as a pro. Alfredo signed as a sixteen year old in 2003 from his home in The Dominican Republic. His hard work paid off at AA Chattanooga were he hit .306 with 16 HR and 85 RBI.
Our Instinct: Silverio’s hard work now seems to be paying off but he might seem by some a little old to be a prospect, though he’s still quite raw. We tend to love toolsy outfielders, an admitted weakness. He does project well as a possible starter and at the very worst could become a very decent fourth outfielder.
8. Garrett Gould, RHP 7/19/1991 H: 6’4″ W: 190 – His rough 2009 season seems to be in the rear view mirror now as Gould now has had two solid seasons since. The second round pick of the 2009 amateur Draft was 11-6 with a 2.40 ERA this season in 24 starts in A Midwest League. Garrett also had improved velocity from his first two professional seasons. Scouts have also noticed very good control for his age.
Our Instinct: Gould projects as one of those reliable innings eaters. His low 90’s fastball and above average curve could give him a bump to AA to start the 2012 season. There are concerns that the velocity that he displayed in high school may not return We’ll see how he develops with the advanced hitting but if he can keep inducing ground balls and display good control and command, we’ll expect to see him get a taste of AAA before the year is over.
9. Chris Reed, LHP 5/20/1990 H: 6’4″ W: 195 – This Stanford University lefty was The Dodgers first round draft choice in June’s amateur draft. Just days before the deadline to sign Reed and LA agreed to a $1.6 million signing bonus. Chris grew up in Reseda and although he acted as a closer he projects to be a future starter for The Dodgers. ”You always want to sign with the hometown team,” Reed said. “It’s right down the street from my house.”
Our Instinct: While it’s very early to anoint him the ace having not seen him face more than a single inning many in the scouting world see Reed making the starting rotation in 2013. We think it might take a little longer, depending if they keep him in the rotation. There’s a chance he could become a very good back of the bullpen type guy.
10. James Baldwin III, OF 10/10/1991 H: 6’3″ W: 195 – This North Carolina high school standout was drafted in round 4 of the 2010 MLB Draft. Baldwin was a 3 sport all conference star who’s father James you may remember as solid White Sox starter back in 2000 he also had a brief career as a Dodger in 2001. “We just had to go along with the flow,” Baldwin said, noting that at the beginning of baseball season, he didn’t know that being drafted out of high school was an option. “I’m just trying to follow in my dad’s footsteps, because I love the game of baseball.”
Our Instinct: James has shown glimpses of five tools in his first 2 years as a pro. He has hit more for power but we’ll see how he adapts to single A pitching in 2012. This is a fairly aggressive ranking on Baldwin and he has a lot to work on at the plate. But we feel he has as much upside as any Dodgers prospect. Keep a close eye on him, he’s still awhile out from L.A. but he’s got the potential to be an exciting player to watch.
Check back soon as we profile more Top 10 Lists for each MLB team and also get our baseball geek on and take a look at some of the later draft picks from the 2011 draft that we think could be big names on the prospect radars in the near future. While you’re here, take a look at a recent article in this series:Atlanta Braves Top 10 List and be a step ahead of the game. Also, check out a friend of ours for all of your fantasy sports needs. Fantasy Rundown is updated religiously and is truly an awesome resource. Thanks for checking Baseball Instinct. We’re working hard to bring you the best of the minor leagues and make the site the best experience it can be. So don’t hesitate to tell us what you would like to read about. Email us now at firstname.lastname@example.org.