Think Blue

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

Monday, November 19, 2007

Hawaii Winter League Review

If going to Hawaii is the consolation for not making an AFL roster then sign me up. There are only 4 teams in the league, but the Dodgers sent 8 players to take part in a 27 game season. Here's how they did.

The Good

Steven Johnson, RHP

While he isn't one of the Dodgers' better prospects, Johnson made a name for himself by pitching a handful of innings in Jacksonville as an 18 year old last season. This year, he headed to the new Great Lakes affiliate and struggled for most of the season. However, he got a second wind with West Oahu and was the team's best starter. Steven posted a 2.05 ERA in 7 starts, allowing 7 walks and 2 HR while striking out 23 in 30.2 innings. This could influence Dodger officials to move him to High A next season.

Russell Mitchell, 1B

An afterthought heading into the season, Mitchell had a career year in '07 by clubbing 22 HR for the Inland Empire. His offensive success followed him to Hawaii, as he tied for the league lead in doubles with 11 and posted a solid .778 OPS. The downside is that he only walked 6 times in 30 games and he'll need to work on being more patient. But he could open next year as Jacksonville's starting first baseman.

The Bad

Garrett White, LHP

A year after being selected in the 6th round of the draft, Garrett White posted strong numbers coming out of Great Lakes' pen. But a suspected injury mercifully ended his stint with the Canefires. White walked 9 batters and allowed 16 hits in 8 innings with the club and did not pitch after October 21. He'll have time to heal and will hopefully be back to form come Spring Training.

Josh Bell, 3B

Bell has established himself as one of the Dodgers' best power prospects. And on some occasions he showed that power this winter, with 5 doubles a 3 HR. But his .213 batting average and 26 strikeouts in 27 games meant his trip across the Pacific was a failure. He also committed 6 errors at the hot corner. He'll need to improve his defense and cut down on the strikeouts when he returns to the Inland Empire next spring.

The Others

Jamie Hoffman, OF

Call him Mr Consistent. He won't blow you away with his skillset but Jamie keeps hitting. His .278 batting average and 7 steals without being caught give him a tablesetter's profile, as does his defense in centerfield. However, he slugged just .340 and he'll need to improve his power as he moves up to Double A, a task that won't be easy.

Ryan Rogowski, OF

Speaking of tablesetters, Rogowski was up to his old tricks again this fall. Rogowski batted a disappointing .237 but drew 21 walks, second most in the league, and posted a strong .376 OBP. He showed a little pop as well, collecting 3 doubles and 3 HR. He should flank Hoffman in Jacksonville's outfield next year, giving the Suns a formidable defensive tandem.

Kenley Jansen, C

After not hitting in Great Lakes and not hitting in Ogden, Jansen continued not hitting in Hawaii. He eeked out a .206 batting average and 3 doubles gave him a .234 SLG. He did walk though, 11 times, to give him a .324 OBP. He really needs to polish his bat if he ever wants to make it out of the rookie leagues.

Kyle Wilson, RHP

Wilson struggled through most of his assignment but seemed to come on strong at the end, finishing the season with 6 innings of 1 run ball while striking out 8 and issuing just a single walk. He pitched extremely well in the Cally league during the regular season, but being 25 he'll need to rocket through the minors to help the big club.

Team USA

For the first time in 33 years, Team USA won the Baseball World Cup Championship. And two contributors to the team's success were the Dodgers' very own Andy LaRoche and Delwyn Young. LaRoche hit over .300 with 3 HR and 15 RBI, while Young struggled to make contact but did pick up a couple hits in the final game. Hopefully we'll be seeing those two next year and in seasons to come.


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