Think Blue

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

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Chattanooga's roster is set

Yes, the Dodgers have left Florida completely. No more Vero Beach. No more Jacksonville. Hopefully Tennessee will treat the organization half as well.

The starting rotation has some potential. RHP Josh Lindblom was an enormous surprise last year, when I brilliantly derided his being selected in the second round. However, thanks solely to my criticism, Josh turned in a dominant pro debut followed by a tremendously impressive spring training performance. I wouldn't be surprised to see him in the majors this year, competing for a starting job in 2010. He'll likely be joined by LHP Victor Garate, who came out of nowhere last season to strike out 150 batters in 116 innings. However, enthusiasm must be tempered due to his age (24) and lack of truly dominant stuff. I foresee him as a reliever in the future in the mold of Brian Fuentes with a little less on his fastball. Then there are RHP Jesus Castillo and LHP James Adkins, who both spent time in Double A in 2008. Castillo put up decent numbers with underwhelming stuff, while Adkins put up underwhelming numbers with decent stuff.

The pen will likely be spearheaded by LHP Scott Elbert, who seems destined for a career as a reliever. Scottie put up dominant numbers in Jacksonville last year, posting more than twice as many strikeouts (46) as hits allowed (22). He needs to throw more strikes to be truly effective. RHP Matt Sartor will probably set up Elbert, and he proved last year that he's a workhorse by pitching 89.1 innings out of the pen. Matt also posted an ERA of 3.12 and struck out 106 batters while allowing just 7 HR and 24 walks. A few others to watch are RHP Paul Koss and LHP Brent Leach.

The infield will consist of C Lucas May, who struggled mightily with the bat but made progress with the glove after coverting to catching in late 2007. He's a good athlete with power, but he desperately needs to cut down on the strikeouts. 1B Russell Mitchell will look to build on a decent 2008 season, and 3B Josh Bell will make his Double A debut. Bell was hitting .273/.373/.455 before a knee injury ended his 2008 season. Now, the 22 year old switch-hitter will get to prove how much power he has in the pitcher-friendly Southern League.

The outfield is headlined by LF Andrew Lambo, who made quite an impression in his brief Double A debut by hitting .389/.421/.750 and followed that up with a .313 batting average in the Arizona Fall League. His path to the big leagues will be dictated by Manny Ramirez' presence on the roster. CF Jamie Hoffman makes a return to Double A after hitting .278/.350/.395 there last year. A surprise on the roster is the presence of OF Jovanny Rosario, who hit just .270/.315/.353 in Great Lakes last year. The soon-to-be 24 year old doesn't have the luxury of time on his side, but he's a speed demon on the basepaths and in the outfield.

The team does have four Top 10 prospects, though the overall talent of the club isn't quite championship caliber. The pitching staff looks decent enough, with the rotation being pretty good, but the overall depth and talent level of the position players isn't so strong (outside of Lambo and Bell). Still, it will be nice to watch those 4 develop and it's a good bet that you'll see them in LA sooner rather than later.


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