Think Blue

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

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Minor League Season in Review

The minor league season is over and the major league season is just getting exciting. So with a long wait ahead, it's time to look back at the season that was.

Las Vegas

Hitter of the Season - John Lindsey, 1B

The 31 year old journeymen enjoyed his second season in the Dodgers' organization, tallying 26 Homeruns and 100 RBI, which led the organization. While he's too old to be a prospect, Lindsey could compete for a spot on the Dodgers' bench as a right-handed pinch-hitter.

Pitcher of the Season - Eric Stults, LHP

Despite posting a 3.18 ERA in the majors, Stults couldn't hold down a spot in the Dodgers' rotation. So the 28 year old made 20 starts in Vegas, putting up a 3.82 ERA with 95 strikeouts and 30 walks in 117.2 innings. There's a chance Stults could catch on with another club, unless the Dodgers consider making him a significant part of their 2009 plans.

Biggest Surprise/Disappointment - Greg Miller, LHP

It pains me to keep harping on Greg's lack of control, but it only means so much because of his unlimited potential. Remember, he's still very young and won't turn 24 until November. The 6'5 southpaw walked 63 in 53.2 innings, continuing his transition into Steve Blass reincarnate. However, he did manage to strikeout just under a batter an inning and allowed just 3 HR in the homer-friendly PCL thanks to a remarkable 3.48 groundball rate. However, time is running out for Miller to regain his control and his spot on the 40 man roster could be given to someone who's expected to contribute at the major league level.


Hitter of the Season - Ivan De Jesus Jr, SS

I thought it was quite an ambitious assignment to send a then 20 year old to Double A, where he would face competition that was 3 or 4 years older. But the junior De Jesus had a breakout season in which he finished 5th in the league in batting average and led the league in on-base percentage. Ivan doesn't project to hit for much power, but his eye at the plate and above average speed will allow him to hit atop a big league order. Defensively, he's shows smooth actions at short with good hands and range, though his arm can be erratic at times. Still, De Jesus should be a contender for the starting shortstop job next spring if Rafael Furcal doesn't return.

Pitcher of the Season - James McDonald, RHP

A year after breaking out with the Inland Empire 66ers and Suns, J Mac established himself as the best pitcher in the Dodgers' system. The lanky right-hander made 22 starts with the Suns, posting a 3.19 ERA with 113 strikeouts and 46 walks in 118.2 innings. A late season promotion to Triple A was a difficult challenge for James, and he met it with aplomb. In 5 games, he posted a 3.63 ERA with 28 strikeouts and 7 walks in 22.1 innings. He struck out 10 batters in each of his first two starts with the 51's. There's a chance that McDonald will make the Dodgers' opening day roster next year, though it's a safer bet that he'll return to Las Vegas.

Biggest Surprise/Disappointment - Lucas May, C

After converting to catcher, May showed glimpses of being a power-hitting backstop that would be coveted by many teams. However, during the 2008 season, May struggled to make contact and ended the season with a .230 batting average and a .697 OPS. After a torrid start in April, in which May slugged 8 doubles and 4 HR while posting a 1.033 OPS, May failed to hit .250 in any other month for the rest of the year. He finished 2008 on a high note, going 3 for 4 with a double and a homerun in the only September game in which he played, though he batted .135 in 20 August games. His HR total was cut nearly in half, from 25 to 13, and that's more than just the league factor coming into play. Lucas will be 24 next year and needs to start hitting in order to have any value to the Dodgers, be it in LA or in trade.

Inland Empire

Hitter of the Season - Carlos Santana, C

While it pains me to see him go, Santana was the most deserving player for this award. The converted IF/OF went from hitting .223 in Low A last year to hitting .330 between two High A stops this year. He finished 7th in the minors in walks and 2nd in RBI. Carlos also threw out 27% of potential basestealers. While Casey Blake provides immediate offense for the Dodgers, Santana should be able to hold down third base or catcher for the Indians for years.

Pitcher of the Season - Matthew Sartor, RHP

Signed out of an independent league last season, Sartor had instant success for the Ogden Raptors in his debut, striking out 25 batters in just 18.1 innings. He continued to mow down the competition between two levels, first at Great Lakes and then for the Empire. With 40 strikeouts compared to just 7 walks and 1 HR in 37.2 innings, Matthew was one of only a couple of bright spots in the 66ers pitching staff.

Biggest Surprise/Disapointment - Austin Gallagher, 3B

A surprise third rounder last June, Gallagher held his own in the Pioneer League in his debut. Then the Dodgers gave him a very aggressive assignment, skipping the 19 year old past Low A and straight to the 66ers. Austin responded brilliantly, posting a .293/.349/.456 line. As one of the youngest players in the league, an .805 OPS is pretty good, even if the Cally League favors hitters. Scouts question his defensive ability at 3B and see him moving to 1B eventually, so some of those 33 doubles will have to turn into homeruns down the road.

Great Lakes

Hitter of the Season - Andrew Lambo, 1B/OF

The Dodgers' fourth round pick from a year ago, Lambo dominated the GCL in 2007 and garnered high expectations coming into 2008. While the .807 may not look impressive at first glance, one must realize that the Midwest League is one of the hardest leagues to hit in. Also take into account the fact that the average age of a Midwest Leaguer was nearly 22 and Lambo didn't turn 20 until the middle of August. His 33 doubles and 15 HR both led the Loons, and he added 3 more dingers during a brief callup to Jacksonville. Andrew will show off his skills this fall in the AFL, where he figures to be one of the top prospects and establish himself as the best prospect in the Dodgers' system.

Pitcher of the Season - Victor Garate, LHP

A minor league Rule 5 draftee, Garate struggled as a reliever last year in Low A. But this year, Victor seemed to turn the corner and racked up 150 strikeouts, the most of any Dodger prospect. His 1.85 ERA was the best of any Loon with more than 1 appearance and his 103 K's also led the team. The move up to High A wasn't as kind as he'd expected, though the 4.70 ERA in the CAL is respectable. Armed with an average fastball, a very good changeup and a deceptive delivery, Garate profiles best as a reliever in the majors.

Biggest Surprise/Disappointment - Preston Mattingly, 2B

Remember him? The supplemental first rounder from 2006 improved his batting average by .014 points and his OPS by .052 points in his second go-round in Low A, though the .224 batting average and .600 OPS aren't going to earn much praise. Preston ended the season injured, having not played a game since July. The Dodgers could move him up to the Inland Empire, hoping a change of scenery will kickstart his production, though I'm not too optimistic. Still, he's just 21 and a hell of an athlete.


Hitter of the Season - Tony Delmonico, 2B

This year's sixth round pick hit the ground running in pro ball, posting an 1.156 OPS in July and ending the year at 1.159. The 20 doubles tied him for first on the team and the 11 homeruns tied him for 2nd. What's more imrpessive is the 31 extra basehits came in just 35 games. While his bat seems to be his calling card, Tony does have some issues on defense. Scouts doubt he can stay in the middle infield and don't want to see his bat wasted in a corner spot. There's been speculation that he could be moved behind the plate, where his arm would be an asset.

Pitcher of the Season - Josh Lindblom, RHP

I had to make an exception here just so I could single out Lindblom, who blew me away with his pro debut. The Purdue reliever was converted back to a starter after he signed, and I thought that would lead to his stuff taking a step back. But it seems that his pitches took a step forward, as Josh breezed through Low A. Josh had more than twice as many strikeouts (33) as hits (14) in 29 innings for Great Lakes. He even made it up to Jacksonville for a start, where he gave up a pair of runs in 5 innings. At this pace, Lindlbom will be in LA before long. It's just a matter of whether he comes in as a starter or reliever.

Biggest Surprise/Disappointment - Devaris Gordon, SS

The "Who The Hell Is That?" player of the first day of the draft, Devaris is the son of Phillies' reliever Tom Gordon. He didn't even play ball this spring, since he was ruled ineligible. So it was a pretty big surprise when the 20 year old shortstop batted .331 in 60 games with the Ogden Raptors. What's more, he has a ton of speed and scouts like his chances of sticking at short. Stringy, slappy, left-handed hitter with tons of speed up the middle? We're looking at another Juan Pierre here.

That's all for now. I'll be posting my initial Top 10/20/30 list (haven't decided which) once Baseball America releases all of their league Top 20's. So it should be up in a few weeks.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Minor League Recap - 9/08/08

Ogden lost 9-7

Devaris Gordon - 1 for 5 (.200 BA)
Nick Buss - 0 for 4, 2 RBI, BB, K (.167 BA)
Tony Delmonico - 1 for 5, HR (1), RBI, R, 2 E's (.267 BA)
Steve Caseres - 2 for 4, HR (1), RBI, 2 R, K (.462 BA)
Kyle Russell - 1 for 3, 2B, RBI, 2 R, BB, K, SB (.200 BA)
Pedro Baez - 1 for 4, R, 2 K's (.250 BA)
Clay Calfee - 2 for 4, 2B, RBI, R, K (.375 BA)

And thus ends the Dodgers' minor league seasons. I'll have a seasonal review up at the end of the week.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Minor League Recap - 9/07/08

Ogden lost 8-6

Devaris Gordon - 2 for 5, 2 3B's, RBI, 2 R, K, E (.200 BA)
Tony Delmonico - 1 for 5, K, E (.300 BA)
Nick Buss - 1 for 4, RBI, R, K (.250 BA)
Kyle Russell - 0 for 3, R, BB, SB, OF Assist (.143 BA)
Steve Caseres - 2 for 5, 2B, 2 RBI, R, K, E (.444 BA)
Pedro Baez - 0 for 4, R, BB, K, SB, E (.250 BA)
Clay Calfee - 1 for 4, RBI (.250 BA)

Michael Watt - 6 IP, 11 Hits, 5 R (4 ER), BB, K (6.00 ERA)
Cole St Clair - 1 IP, 0 Hits, 0 R, BB, K (0.00 ERA)

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Minor League Recap - 9/06/08

Ogden lost 5-1

Devaris Gordon - 0 for 5 (.000 BA)
Tony Delmonico - 2 for 5, K, E (.400 BA)
Nick Buss - 1 for 4, R, K (.250 BA)
Kyle Russell - 1 for 4, 2B, RBI, 2 K's (.250 BA)
Steve Caseres - 2 for 4, 2B, 2 K's (.500 BA)
Pedro Baez - 2 for 4, 2B, E (.500 BA)

Jon Redding - 4.1 IP, 4 Hits, 2 R (1 ER), BB, 4 K's (2.08 ERA)
Nathan Eovaldi - 1.1 IP, 2 Hits, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K's (13.50 ERA)
Cole St Clair - 1 IP, 0 Hits, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K's (0.00 ERA)

Friday, September 05, 2008

Minor League Recap - 9/05/08

Ogden won 12-8

Austin Yount - 3 for 5, 2 2B's, 3 RBI, R, BB, K (.301 BA)
Clay Calfee - 1 for 5, RBI, R (.232 BA)
Kyle Orr - 2 for 5, 3B, 2 RBI, R, K, E (.225 BA)

Javier Solano - 2 IP, 3 Hits, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K's (9.47 ERA)
Jon Runnels - 2 IP, 5 Hits, ER, 0 BB, 3 K's (6.39 ERA)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Minor League Recap - 9/04/08

Inland Empire lost 8-2

Trayvon Robinson - 0 for 4, R, K (.000 BA)
Tommy Giles - 2 for 4, 2B, R, K, OF Assist (.333 BA)
Jaime Pedroza - 0 for 3, BB, CS (.429 BA)
Scott Van Slyke - 0 for 3, BB, 2 K's (.143 BA)

Victor Garate - 4.1 IP, 9 Hits, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K's (8.31 ERA)
Javy Guerra - 3 IP, 6 Hits, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K's (12.00 ERA)

Ogden lost 5-2

Devaris Gordon - 1 for 4 (.331 BA)
Austin Yount - 1 for 4, 3 K's, CS (.287 BA)
Tony Delmonico - 0 for 3 (.340 BA)
Kyle Russell - 0 for 4, 2 K's, OF Assist (.279 BA)
Nick Buss - 0 for 3, BB, SB (.279 BA)
Pedro Baez - 0 for 3, BB, K, SB (.267 BA)
Steve Caseres - 0 for 3, 2 K's (.268 BA)
Clay Calfee - 1 for 3, HR (8), 2 RBI, R, K (.232 BA)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Minor League Recap - 9/03/08

Inland Empire was suspended due to a power outage

Ogden lost 8-5

Devaris Gordon - 1 for 4, 2 R, BB, 2 SB (.332 BA)
Austin Yount - 1 for 5, 2 RBI, K (.288 BA)
Tony Delmonico - 3 for 4, 2B, R, BB (.348 BA)
Kyle Russell - 1 for 5, 2 K's (.284 BA)
Clay Calfee - 1 for 3, BB (.231 BA)
Kyle Orr - 1 for 4, K (.220 BA)

Robert Boothe - 6 IP, 8 Hits, 6 R (5 ER), 3 BB, 5 K's (6.89 ERA)

Minor League Recap - 9/02/08

Las Vegas did not play

Jacksonville did not play

Inland Empire won 7-6

Tommy Giles - 2 for 3, 2B, 2 RBI, R, 4 BB, K (.280 BA)
Austin Gallagher - 2 for 4, RBI, BB, K (.293 BA)
Jaime Pedroza - 0 for 5 (.290 BA)
Scott Van Slyke - 1 for 6, R, 2 K's (.261 BA)

Javy Guerra - 1.1 IP, Hit, ER, 2 BB, 2 K's (4.07 ERA)

Great Lakes did not play

Ogden won 5-3

Devaris Gordon - 3 for 4, 2B, 3 R, BB, K, 2 SB (.333 BA)
Tony Delmonico - 2 for 5, 2B, HR (11), 2 RBI, R, 3 K's (.336 BA)
Kyle Russell - 1 for 3, RBI, R, 2 K's, SB, E, HBP (.286 BA)
Steve Caseres - 1 for 4 (.273 BA)
Pedro Baez - 0 for 4, 2 K's (.270 BA)
Nick Buss - 1 for 4 (.285 BA)

Michael Watt - 6 IP, 11 Hits, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K's (4.35 ERA)
Cole St Clair - 1 IP, Hit, 0 R, BB, 2 K's (3.18 ERA)

GCL did not play

Monday, September 01, 2008

Minor League Recap - 9/01/08

Las Vegas lost 5-3

Xavier Paul - 2 for 4, 2B, R, BB, K, CS, OF Assist (.316 BA)
Garrett Green - 0 for 4, RBI, K (.000 BA)

Justin Orenduff - 0 .2 IP, Hit, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K's (6.55 ERA)

Jacksonville won 7-6

Jamie Hoffman - 1 for 5, RBI, SB, E (.278 BA)
Russell Mitchell - 0 for 3, 2 R, 2 BB (.264 BA)
Andrew Lambo - 2 for 5, K (.389 BA)
Lucas May - 3 for 4, 2B, HR (13), 3 RBI, 2 R (.230 BA)

Brent Leach - 0.2 IP, Hit, 0 R, 0 BB, K (2.88 ERA)

Inland Empire lost 5-3

Jaime Pedroza - 0 for 4, RBI (.293 BA)
Scott Van Slyke - 1 for 3, 2B, RBI, CS (.265 BA)

Steven Johnson - 4 IP, 11 Hits, 4 ER, 0 BB, 5 K's (7.10 ERA)

Great Lakes won 3-0

Jovanny Rosario - 2 for 4, R, K, SB (.270 BA)
Alfredo Silverio - 1 for 2, BB, K, 2 SB, HBP (.263 BA)

Ogden lost 13-4

Devaris Gordon - 1 for 4, K, E (.326 BA)
Tony Delmonico - 1 for 4, HR (10), RBI, R, K (.333 BA)
Pedro Baez - 0 for 4 (.275 BA)
Kyle Russell - 0 for 3, K (.285 BA)

Nathan Eovaldi - 2.2 IP, Hit, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's (0.00 ERA)
Jon Runnels - 1 IP, 3 Hits, ER, BB, K (6.52 ERA)

GCL did not play