Think Blue

Obsessing over the Dodgers' minor league system so you don't have to.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Dodgers' Top 50 Prospects - 10-1

10. Jon Meloan, RHP HT: 6'3 WT: 230 B: R T: R DOB: 7/11/1984
Acquired: Selected in 5th round of 2005 Draft
2007 Statistics: (Minors) 66.2 IP, 36 H, 5 HR, 27 BB, 91 K 2.03 ERA (MLB) 7.1 IP, 8 H, 1 HR, 8 BB, 7 K 11.05 ERA

The Good: Ranked #14 on Baseball America's Top 20 Southern League Prospects list. Came back from an early season injury in 2006 as a reliever and has thrived in the role. Fastball now sits in the low to mid 90s and both his slider and curve have improved. Command/control is average.

The Bad: Muscular frame hinders his flexibility. There's a lot of effort in his delivery and recoil on his release, which could lead to injury. Struggled mightily with his control in his MLB debut.

The Future: Meloan has spent the last 2 seasons dominating the minor leagues, so he has nothing left to prove. He'll likely get a chance to win a roster spot during Spring Training and should be a fixture in the Dodgers' pen for years to come.

9. Delwyn Young, OF HT: 5'8 WT: 209 B: S T: R DOB: 6/30/1982
Acquired: Selected in 4th round of 2002 Draft
2007 Statistics: (Minors) .337/..384/.571 in 121 Games (MLB) .382/.417/.647 in 19 Games

The Good: Bounced back from a mediocre 2006 season by ranking second in the minors with 54 Doubles, adding 17 HR and 5 triples. Shows plus bat speed and tremendous power potential despite his size. Plus arm strength is his best defensive tool.

The Bad: Formerly a 2B, Young had to move to the OF because he lacked the quickness/actions to play the position. His speed and range are below average in the OF. Could stand to walk more.

The Future: At age 25, Young is ready for the majors. However, the Dodgers' outfield is pretty crowded, though he could split time with Andre Ethier in 2008. He also could return to the minors and become a valuable commodity come the trade deadline.

8. Ivan De Jesus Jr, SS HT: 5'11 WT: 185 B: R T: R DOB: 5/1/1987
Acquired: Selected in 2nd round of 2005 Draft
2007 Statistics: .287/.371/.381 in 121 Games

The Good: Son of Ivan Sr, he has his father's natural shortstop actions. He has soft hands and plus range. His arm strength is average. At the plate, Ivan shows a solid line-drive stroke and an uncanny ability to draw walks. His speed is above average.

The Bad: Despite his defensive prowess, Ivan accumulated 30 errors this season. His arm wanders on throws, leading to throwing errors. He has little power and doesn't project to hit for much down the road. While he stole 11 bases in 2007, he was caught 6 times.

The Future: Ivan is going to be a starting shortstop in Double A before turning 21 years old. His glove is a known commodity, but it will be a big test to see how he does offensively moving from the California League to the Southern League.

7. Andrew Lambo, 1B/OF HT: 6'3 WT: 190 B: L T: L DOB: 8/11/1988
Acquired: Selected in 4th round of 2007 Draft
2007 Statistics: .343/.440/.519 in 54 Games

The Good: Ranked #10 on Baseball America's Top 20 GCL Prospects list. As far as tools go, Lambo was a 4th round steal. He consistently hit well with wood in prep tournaments and showed what he's capable of in the GCL. Lambo's patience and line-drive stroke earn him comparisons to James Loney. He has a strong arm and is a very good defensive first baseman.

The Bad: Lambo was drafted out of his second high school after he was kicked out of his first one. Some scouts viewed him as being immature during interviews. On the field, he's not a great runner and probably won't be more than an average corner OF.

The Future: If Andrew keeps his head on straight, he could be a hell of a ballplayer. He should be Great Lakes' starting right fielder in 2008 and could move quickly if there are no off the field setbacks.

6. Josh Bell, 3B HT: 6'3 WT: 220 B: S T: R DOB: 11/13/1986
Acquired: Selected in 4th round of 2005 Draft
2007 Statistics: .271/.331/.444 in 128 Games

The Good: Ranked #9 on Baseball America's Top 20 Midwest Prospects list. With Matt Kemp graduating to the big leagues, Bell is the Dodgers' best power hitting prospect. He slugged .470 in the pitcher-friendly Midwest League, with 21 Doubles and 15 HR. His walk rate was adequate and his strikeout rate was acceptable. On defense, Bell has good hands and a strong arm.

The Bad: Josh needs to take his conditioning and defense more seriously. He committed 35 errors in 90 games with the Loons. While he switch-hits, Bell doesn't hit well as a right-hander.

The Future: Bell is likely headed back to Inland Empire after struggling there in a 20 game stint this past season. If he comes to camp in better shape and does well in a better hitters' league, I woulnd't be surprised to see him down in Jacksonville by August.

5. Scott Elbert, LHP HT: 6'1 WT: 200 B: L T: L DOB: 8/13/1985
Acquired: Selected in 1st round of 2004 Draft
2007 Statistics: 14 IP, 6 H, 0 HR, 10 BB, 24 K 3.86 ERA

The Good: Prior to his surgery, Elbert was dominating Double A hitters with a low 90s fastball and a plus curve. He's very athletic and has a loose delivery. He also earns high marks for his fierce competitive nature.

The Bad: Missing nearly a full season never helps a prospect, though Scott's surgery revealed no structural damage to his shoulder. If he returns with his pre-injury stuff, he'll need to harness his control to reach his potential.

The Future: Assuming his rehab goes well, Elbert will likely head back to Jacksonville to start next season. I'm hoping the Dodgers' take it slow with him, holding him in the minors this year and not rushing him to the bigs.

4. Chin Lung Hu, SS HT: 5'9 WT: 160 B: R T: R DOB: 2/2/1984
Acquired: Signed out of Taiwan January 31, 2003
2007 Statistics: (Minors) .325/.364/.507 in 127 Games (MLB) .241/.241/.517

The Good: Ranked #12 on Baseball America's Top 20 Southern League Prospects lists. After a 2006 campaign that saw Hu hit just .254, he broke out in a huge way by setting career highs in Doubles (40), Triples (6), HR (14) and all his slash stats (AVG/OBP/SLG). Defensively, Hu is all world and a Gold Glover in waiting. He has above average speed.

The Bad: As good as his 2007 season was, I don't think he'll repeat it. He really needs to draw more walks after walking in just 5.6% of his plate appearances this year. He also needs to improve his stolen base success rate.

The Future: Hu earned MVP honors in the Futures Game during the All Star Weekend and was named the Dodgers' offensive player of the year for 2007. He's been seeing some time at 2B, but his future is clearly at SS and he should replace Rafael Furcal following the 2008 season.

3. James McDonald, RHP HT: 6'5 WT: 195 B: L T: R DOB: 10/19/1984
Acquired: Selected in 11th round of 2002 Draft; signed as Draft and Follow prior to 2003 Draft
2007 Statistics: 134.2 IP, 121 H, 13 HR, 37 BB, 168 K 3.07 ERA

The Good: Ranked #6 on Baseball America's Top 20 Cal League Prospect list. "J Mac" has been pitching full-time for only 2 seasons after spending 2004 playing the outfield and 2005 playing both ways. He already shows great control, spotting his fastball where he wants it. Both his curve and changeup get high grades. McDonald also gets a good downhill plane on his pitches. Still projectible given his frame.

The Bad: McDonald isn't overpowering, as his fastball velocity fluctuates between the high 80s and low 90s. His flyball tendencies don't bode well for his future HR rates.

The Future: James will almost definitely head back to Jacksonville in 2008 and he could be a prime candidate for a callup in injuries mount on the big league staff. His ceiling isn't as a #1, but he should become a dependable MLB starter within the next few years.

2. Andy LaRoche, 3B HT: 5'11 WT: 200 B: R T: R DOB: 9/13/1983
Acquired: Selected in 39th round of 2003 Draft
2007 Statistics: (Minors) .309/.399/.589 in 73 Games (MLB) .225/.365/.312 in 35 Games

The Good: Ranked #4 on Baseball America's Top 20 PCL Prospects list. Shows well above average raw power with plus bat speed and leverage. Has a great eye at the plate. Shows a strong arm and decent range at 3B.

The Bad: LaRoche has been plagued by injuries over the past 2 seasons. He injured both his shoulders in 2006 and developed a chronic back condition in 2007. LaRoche needs to use the opposite field more consistently without abandoning his aggressive nature at the plate. His speed is below average.

The Future: LaRoche's health problems cost him a shot at establishing himself as the Dodgers' everyday 3B in 2007. He could compete for the starting job in Spring Training, though with Nomar on the books, he'll likely only see time in the majors when Garciaparra's hurt. Andy should take over full time in 2009.

1. Clayton Kershaw, LHP HT: 6'3 WT: 220 B: L T: L DOB: 3/19/1988
Acquired: Selected in 1st round of 2006 Draft
2007 Statistics: 122 IP, 89 H, 9 HR, 67 BB, 163 K 2.95 ERA

The Good: Ranked #1 on Baseball America's Top 20 Midwest League Prospects list. Kershaw is a scout's dream, as he has the size, stuff and character to be a #1 starter in the majors. His delivery is sound, his arm action is quick and he uses his lower half well.

The Bad: After walking 5 batters in his first 37 pro innings, Kershaw walked 67 in 122 innings this year. Desperately needs to reduce the walk rate. Needs to continue to improve his changeup.

The Future: The Dodgers were very aggressive with Kershaw, skipping him past High A and making him the only teenage pitcher in the Southern League. He'll return there as a 20 year old and headline a staff that could include James McDonald and Scott Elbert. There's an outside chance that he reaches the bigs in 2008. He's truly a special prospect and has the chance at becoming an ace in the majors.


  • At 3:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    As a follower of the Loons this season, your Top 50 surprises me some.

    Kershaw at 1 is a no-brainer.

    Bell at 6 is a stretch. Looks like a DH to me. Great power though and went through one stretch where he was dominant.

    Mattingly at 21 I agree with. Horrible year, but still young and inexperienced. We'll know better what he's capable of next yr.

    Adkins could be higher than 34, but LAD never gave him a chance this year. I'm sure you'll have a better idea next year.

    36. Scott Van Slyke. No way. No power (2 HR!!!).

    37. Tim Sexton looked good this year. Could be useful.

    39. Steven Johnson -- injured most of year. We'll know more next year.

    40. Josh Wall had a potential breakout season in '07, yet is lower here than in the '07 BA rankings. Should be higher.

    42. Kyle Smit -- didn't see enough of him to coment.

    49 & 50 Kenley Jansen and Juan Rivera -- both fringe players, not nearly good enough to be considered prospects.

    I felt like late in the list you could have added several players who looked much better than Jansen & Rivera...

    Cody White, Garrett White, Miguel Ramirez, Jesus Rodriguez, Trayvon Robinson (lousy numbers, but one exceptional tool -- speed), Matt Berezay, Eddie Perez, Bridger Hunt (gritty player), Carlos Santana (wasn't impressive, but better C prospect than Santana).

  • At 10:17 PM , Blogger Jared said...

    I appreciate your patronage and, if you intend on attending Great Lakes games next year, hope you come back with some observations.

    I've heard mixed reviews about Bell and his error total was very disappointing. But I believe in his power potential and that alone warrants a Top 10 ranking in my mind.

    Van Slyke is a projection pick, since he has the size, bloodlines and athleticism to develop.

    Wall's ranking being lower this year was due to the infusion of talent through the draft/FA and some breakout years from guys around him.

    The final 5-10 spots are really a crapshoot and could consist of 20 players who are essentially interchangeable.

    Again, I appreciate your input and look forward to more information regarding Loons' prospects.


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