Think Blue

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

Friday, October 05, 2007

Year in Review - Rookie Leagues

Rookie Leagues - Ogden (Overall record 34-41)

Nothing new here. Hitters flourished, pitchers suffered. It was a mix of 2007 and 2006 draftees, with few high ceiling hitters and next to nothing of note in the rotation or pen. As a team, Ogden finished in the middle of the pack in hitting and pitching, while placing third in each half. And now, onto the prospects!

Breakout - Jaime Pedroza, SS

Yes, the name should look familiar, as Jaime's brother Sergio was a 3rd round pick of the Dodgers in 2005 and traded at the deadline in 2006 along with Joel Guzman for Julio Lugo. Jaime shares some qualities with his brother, including offensive aptitude and defensive question marks. Jaime signed out of UC Riverside for $70,000 and started at shortstop for the Raptors. Pedroza's OPS was 6th best in the Pioneer League (.982) and he led the team with 18 doubles. A brief stint in the Cal League yielded a .250/.400/.250 line in 16 plate appearances.

Pedroza was drafted for his bat, though it's questionable how much offense he'll produce. He doesnt have great size at 5'8 but a quick bat gives him some line drive power. He'll have to hit for good average in order for his OBP to stay above average, as he drew just 17 walks in 255 plate appearances. And while he's an average runner, he doesnt really profile as a top of the order hitter. Then there's his defense. While he played shortstop in his first season, Pedroza will likely have to move to second base soon. He committed 20 errors in 53 games at short during his debut.

With shortstops like Chin Lung Hu and Ivan De Jesus Jr ahead of him, a change of position could do Jaime good and he may become the Dodgers' best second base prospect once Tony Abreu establishes himself in the majors. Offensive-minded middle infielders are always a hot commodity, though it's uncertain how much his defense will drag down what he does with the bat. Nevertheless, Pedroza will have to move quickly through the system after being drafted out of college at age 20 (Turned 21 on September 12) and should begin next season back in the Inland Empire.

Breakdown - Kenley Jansen, C

Jansen was never a big name in the Dodgers' system, though he was ranked as their second best catching prospect behind converted infielder Carlos Santana coming into the season. Kenley Jansen was signed out of Curacao on Nov 17, 2004 as a free agent. He made his debut with the GCL Dodgers in 2005, hitting .304/.339/.441 before joining Ogden and posting a meager .523 OPS. Last year, he was back in the GCL and disappointed by hitting .248/.362/.308. So this year, the Dodgers moved him up past Ogden and he struggled mightily in his first full season. Kenley hit just .102 in 20 games with Great Lakes before being sent down to Ogden, where he batted just .240 with 2 HR in 53 games.

Jansen is a big kid at 6'2 220 lbs, though he hasnt hit for much power in his pro career as his .320 career SLG illustrates. His .237 career batting average is also disappointing and he hasnt hit over .250 since his first taste of pro ball in 2005. However, the one bright spot in his offensive game is his ability to get on base; he's drawn 61 walks in 545 plate appearances. Defensively, I dont have much information on his defense, though he's committed 10 errors in 106 games and allowed 21 passed balls.

Jansen turned 20 on September 30 so he's got plenty of time to develop. However, with Lucas May and Carlos Santana being switched to catcher before the season and Alex Garabedian and Jessie Mier being drafted this year, he needs a strong offensive season to establish himself as a legitimate prospect in 2008.

Others of Note

Austin Gallagher, 3B -
The surprise third round pick in 2007, Gallagher was viewed by some scouts as not being ready for pro ball. But after batting .284/.346/.401 in his debut and ranking 7th on's Pioneer League Top 20, Gallagher's future looks more promising than it did in June. He needs to refine his approach to develop his raw power and he'll have to work hard to stay at third base.

Wilfredo Diaz, LHP - It's hard to establish yourself as a legit pitching prospect in the Pioneer League, but Diaz' name came up as a Raptor who showed some potential. The short lefty was drafted in the 15th round out of Puerto Rico in 2005, so being in rookie ball doesnt help his prospect status. However, his 61 strikeouts in 55 innings is encouraging and he's still just 20 years old.

Jaime Ortiz, 1B - Another PR product, Ortiz failed to show much at the plate in 2006. But a move to Utah seemed to ignite the first baseman's power potential as he clubbed 10 doubles and 11 HR in 59 games. He ranked 12th on's Pioneer League Top 20 and may be the Dodgers' best first base prospect.

Rookie Leagues - GCL Dodgers (Overall record 40-15)

The GCL Dodgers ran away with the East Division title, averaging 5 runs per game on offense and 3.67 runs per game against. The GCL club hosted first round pick Chris Withrow, second rounder Michael Watt and many other promising talents. Some international flavor was added to the club with players from the Dominican Republic, Canada and even France making apperances with the club.

Breakout - Andrew Lambo, 1B/OF

I was surprised to hear the Dodgers selected Lambo in the fourth round, mainly because he was selected out of a high school that's about 10 minutes from my house. Though he was drafted as a htiter, he pitched his summer league team, the Reds scout team, to the championship game in the World Wood Bat Association tournament. Lambo was bought of of his commitment to Arizona State with a $164,250 bonus.

Andrew compares favorably with James Loney; they both pitched and hit in high school, both have pretty left-handed swings, both have gap power and both play very good defense at first base. They're even similar in size. However, unlike Loney, Lambo has makeup issues. He was kicked out of his first high school and turned scouts off in the spring by acting immature in his interviews. However, Logan White didnt seem to have a problem with his character and I'll trust him on that. Lambo ranked 10th on's GCL Top 20 list.

Lambo is a rare high school hitter who could move quickly. I expect him to make his full season debut with Great Lakes next year, but the Dodgers could promote him to the Inland Empire if he handles Low A pitching like I expect him to. If he keeps his head on straight, the Dodgers could have another strong hitting prospect on their hands.

Breakdown - Kyle Orr, 1B/OF

Kyle Orr was drafted in the 4th round in 2006 out of a British Columbia high school. Although, due to Visa problems, Orr was unable to make his pro debut until 2007. He was signed for $435,000 in order to steer him away from college.

Orr failed to show his tremendous power potential this summer, as he managed to hit just 3 HR in 158 at bats and slugged .329. His .228 batting average and 47 strikeouts contributed to his poor season. However, much like Kenley Jansen, Orr showed a knack for getting on base by posting a .330 OBP by drawing 19 walks in 182 plate appearances.

Orr is still young, having turned 19 on September 29. Given his age, he'd probably be best served starting next year in extended spring training and playing for Ogden. There's no need to rush him, as he needs time to add weight to his slender 6'5 185 lbs frame to better utilize his power. He'll likely play the outfield in the future to give him some defensive versatility, though he played all of his games in 2007 either as a first baseman or DHing.

Others of Note

Chris Withrow, RHP -
The 20th overall pick in 2007 was a surprise to some, given his being valued as a fringe first rounder, but he fits Logan White's preferences perfectly. He's projectible, has a very clean delivery and great makeup, but that's not all. During a playoff start, Withrow was sitting at 92-94 mph while touching 98. He's also shown an above average curveball and a developing changeup. He could start next year in Low A.

Pedro Baez, 3B - When I asked both Farm Director DeJon Watson and Assistant GM Logan White who to look for in terms of Dominican signings, they both mentioned Baez. And despite pedestrian numbers in the GCL (.274/.341/.408), he was lauded for his defense and power potential. A memorable moment came when Baez homered off of a rehabbing Pedro Martinez. He ranked 6th in's GCL Top 10.

Michael Watt, LHP - Another surprise pick from Logan White, Watt was a SoCal product who was thought of as a project who could really benefit from 3 years in college. But White saw the athletic lefty and nabbed him in the second round. Watt's arm action makes scouts drool and he can generate 91mph heat already. His curveball gives him a second reliable offering and he's working on a changeup.

Up Next - LA Dodgers Year in Review will be up late Sunday


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