As the fifth installment of my series of looking at other teams minor league systems in this post I take a look at the LA Dodgers. I am reviewing stats first and then interjecting comments from various sites: This review is reflective of data up to but not including June 4, 2015 :
Low A : Great Lakes Loons ( 26-26, 4th place, Midwest League – Eastern Division)
Alex Santana is a 21-year-old outfielder who was the Dodgers 2nd round pick in the 2011 draft, he is the son of ex major leaguer Rafael Santana. At one point he was considered the Dodgers 12th best prospect but is no longer ranked in the top 30. He is in his fifth year of the system. This year he is hitting .304 (.347 OBP) thru only 92 at bats as he started the season on the DL. There are those in the Dodgers organization who feel he can still climb the organizational ladder which is why I mention him here as a still a prospect of consideration.
Trevor Oaks, a 22-year-old right-handed pitcher has posted a 3.17 ERA thru 59 innings and 10 starts, he also has 2 complete games which is a rarity in professional baseball nowadays. Oaks is a control pitcher who has 35 strikeouts while yielding only 9 walks. He was a 7th round draft choice out of California Baptist in the Dodgers 2014 draft. Oaks has posted six quality starts this season, he generally is around 88-91 on fastball.
Grant Holmes is a 19-year-old starting pitcher who is the Dodgers number one pick from the 2014 draft, is considered the Dodgers 3rd best prospect and owns the number 85 overall prospect ranking in minor league baseball according to Baseball America . He is 3-0 thru 10 starts ( 58 k’s with 24 BB and a 3.22 ERA in 44 innings)
MLB.com : “Holmes began his high school senior season by hitting 100 mph during a preseason scrimmage and continued to bring the heat for the rest of his spring and into his pro debut. He usually works at 93-95 mph with impressive life and command. His hard breaking ball can make hitters look bad as well, combining curveball depth with slider velocity in the low 80s.
Holmes also exhibits some feel for a change-up, which should become at least an average third pitch. There isn’t much projection in his relatively short and stocky frame, but that doesn’t matter because his present stuff is plenty good enough to make him a starter. He also does a nice job of throwing strikes for a youngster.” The 24 BB this year would seem to dispute that last comment 😃
High A : Rancho Cucamonga Qaukes ( 31-21, 1st place in California League South Division)
Kyle Farmer is a 24-year-old catcher who was an 8th round draft pick in 2013. He is hitting .346 this season thru 130 at bats with 17 extra base hits ( 10 doubles,6 triples and 1 homer). He is a converted shortstop as he played there at Georgia Tech.
MLB.com : “Farmer’s conversion is off to a promising start and he made the low Class A Midwest League All-Star Game in his first full pro season. He has the soft hands, arm strength and leadership skills needed to make it work, though his release and receiving will require a lot more polish.”
Cody Bellinger is a 19-year-old first baseman who shows good power, he was a 4th round draft choice in 2013, he has 10 home runs already along with 15 doubles and 3 triples. He has driven in 41 runs thru his first 191 at bats posting a .293 average (.363 OBP).
MLB.com : “The Dodgers’ biggest over-slot signing from their 2013 Draft class, Bellinger got $700,000 in the fourth round. He struggled in his pro debut but bounced back last season, when he was one of the most productive teenagers in the Rookie-level Pioneer League. He’s the son of Clay Bellinger, who won two World Series with the Yankees and played in the 2004 Olympics for Greece.
Bellinger has the sweet left-handed swing and the mature approach to hit for average, though there’s some question as to how much power he’ll produce. He has some bat speed but will need to add loft to his swing and strength to his lanky 6-foot-4 frame.
Bellinger has more well-rounded tools than most first basemen. He’s an average runner and threw in the upper 80s as a high school pitcher. With his agility, soft hands and instincts make him a quality defender.”
Jose DeLeon is a 22-year-old pitcher has posted 58 strikeouts with only 8 walks thru 37 innings ( 7 starts) with an ERA of 1.67. He is ranked as the Dodgers fourth best prospect and is seen on lists as the #100 overall prospect in baseball.
MLB.com : “A 24th-round pick out of Southern in 2013 who signed for $35,000 and posted a 6.96 ERA in his pro debut, De Leon wasn’t on any prospect lists before last summer. Then he was named pitcher of the year in the Rookie-level Pioneer League, which he led with 77 strikeouts and 12.8 whiffs per nine innings. Completing his breakout, he had 42 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings at low Class A Great Lakes, where he fanned 14 in one game to break Clayton Kershaw’s franchise record.
Once De Leon made significant improvements to his conditioning and mechanics, his stuff took off. His fastball jumped from the low 90s to the mid 90s, and his slider jumped into the low 80s with better depth. Both qualify as legitimate swing-and-miss pitches.
De Leon has a decent change up and the willingness to throw it, which will help in its development. His control and command have gotten better too. If he can maintain these gains over an entire year in full-season ball, he could be a frontline starter.”
Double A : Tulsa Drillers ( 20-29, 3rd place, Texas League North Division)
Corey Seager is a 21-year-old shortstop and is the top rated prospect in the Dodgers system, #5 overall in baseball. He began the season at double A where he hit .375 in 80 at bats before moving up to triple A where in 122 at bats he is hitting .303 with 11 extra base hits and 16 runs batted in. He has struck out 21 times and walked 7 times.
MLB.com :“Seager rivals Carlos Correa (Astros) as the biggest offensive threat among shortstop prospects. Seager has a smooth, balanced lefty swing as well as bat speed, strength and a mature all-fields approach. He can get a bit aggressive at times but has what it takes to hit for both average and power.
Scouts say that Seager is a more advanced hitter and shows more pop than his older brother Kyle, now an All-Star with the Mariners, showed at the same stage of his career. Like Kyle, Corey probably is best suited for third base and could be a strong defender there. While he has the arm and the instincts for shortstop, he’s bigger than most players at the position and may not have the speed or quickness desired.”
Julio Urias is an 18-year-old left-handed pitcher who is the 2nd highest ranked in the Dodgers system. He is considered to be the #6 overall prospect in baseball. Currently he is on the DL. Thru 7 starts he has posted a 3.00 ERA with 46 strikeouts and 9 walks in 36 innings.
MLB.com : “Purchased as part of a $1.8 million package deal from the Mexican League’s Mexico City Red Devils in 2012, has a filthy three-pitch repertoire. He has a 91-96 mph fastball with solid life that he can throw to either side of the plate. If hitters try to sit on it, they usually regret it because he can cross them up with a big-breaking curveball and a deceptive change-up with fade.
Though Urias needs to develop more consistent control and command — no surprise given his age — he has advanced feel for pitching. He shows an aptitude for altering his arm angle and varying the speed of his pitches. Los Angeles is trying to manage his innings and the expectations for him but may not be able to keep him in the Minors much longer.”
Chris Anderson is a 22-year-old right-handed pitcher who was the Dodgers first pick in the 2013 draft. He is 4-4 thru 10 starts and while he has posted 48 strikeouts in 54 innings he has also walked 27.
MLB.com : “Anderson works at 92-94 mph with his fastball, which has reached 98 in shorter stints. He sometimes has difficulty commanding his heater, but it’s difficult to hit when he does because it has heavy life and he delivers it on a steep downhill plane.
Both Anderson’s slider and change-up have the potential to be solid pitches. His slider climbs into the mid 80s, and his change-up comes with deceptive arm speed and fade. He could be a frontline starter if he refines his control, and a closer if he doesn’t.”
Triple A : Oklahoma City Dodgers ( 34-18, 1st place, Pacific Coast League American Northern Division)
Zach Lee is a 23-year-old right-handed pitcher, he has posted a 2.38 ERA thru 10 starts (56 innings with 44 K’s and 12 walks) , he was the Dodgers number 1 pick in the 2010 draft.
MLB.com : “A top quarterback recruit, Lee seemed headed to Louisiana State to play quarterback and thus considered unsignable by the majority of teams in the 2010 Draft. The Dodgers surprisingly took him with the 28th overall and stunningly signed him at the deadline for $5.25 million, a franchise Draft record. His athleticism has helped him move quickly, but his stuff hasn’t developed as hoped and regressed when he reached Triple-A last year at age 22.
Lee lacks a true out pitch and got hit hard in Triple-A when his fastball backed up to 88-93 mph and his slider lost some sharpness. His most reliable offering in 2014 was his solid change-up, which he sells well. He also uses a curveball that features 12-6 break at times.
When Lee’s pitches were crisper and he commanded them better in the past, he missed bats and projected as a possible No. 3 starter.”
Darnell Sweeney is a 24-year-old second baseman who was a 13th round draft pick in 2012. He has 20 stolen bases this season while hitting .255 thru 192 at bats. He also has 17 extra base hits ( 13 doubles, 2 triples and 2 dingers) but has struck out an alarming 55 times while only taking 18 walks.
MLB.com : “Sweeney doesn’t have a standout tool but can do a little bit of everything. He’s a switch-hitter who has made strides in tightening his strike zone and possessed more power than most middle infielders. He has solid speed but is still figuring out how to use it after leading his leagues in getting caught stealing in each of the last two seasons.
Primarily a shortstop in his first two pro seasons, Sweeney played mostly second base in 2014 and also saw time in center field. He projects as an average defender at second base with similar potential in center, though he’s fringy at shortstop. Howie Kendrick’s contract expires after this season, so Sweeney could get a crack at Los Angeles’ starting job in 2016.”