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Dodgers Prospects

Moderator: Josh Boyd compiled the Dodgers top 10 list and will field your questions about the organization.

Josh Boyd: Greetings! Looks like we've got quite a few questions to get started with. We're about ready to go. Thanks for stopping by. In case you haven't heard yet, Indians third base prospect Matt Whitney broke his leg and will miss the entire season.

 Q:  Kelly Lee from Taiwan asks:
How you think about the chance that Chin-Feng Chen will be in the 2003 Opening 25 Roster? And which position he will be? Outfielder or first baseman? Is his first base defence totally unacceptable? Or any chance he can improve that? As for Hong-Chih Kuo, where will he pitch? Will he be in the majors one day, if he will, when is it?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Chen has moved back to the outfield, as he proved to be tentative and out of position at first. I think the plan is to start Chen back in Triple-A. He is good insurance for injuries to Brian Jordan, because Chen's bat is legit. Kup has one of the best arms in the system, and if he could stay consistently healthy, he'd either be their No. 1 prospect, or he'd already be in the majors. That's the key, and until he proves to be healthy, nobody knows what to expect.

 Q:  Jim from Austin asks:
Bubba Crosby has obviously not worked out as the Dodgers had hoped. Does he still register as a prospect of any kind?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: At this point, Crosby is more of an organizational player. He just hasn't developed with the bat as expected after being drafted in the first round in 1998.

 Q:  kent howard from santa ana, ca asks:
Hi! Did one of the Jose Diaz players change their name? Can you compare the two? Thanks,
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Hi! According to name-change information we've acquired, Jose Diaz, the catcher who was converted to the mound last year, is listed officially as Joselo Soriano Diaz. He appears in the all-new Super Register as Joselo Soriano, but he will still go by the name Jose Diaz. The other Jose Diaz, known as Jumbo Diaz, didn't have a name change. Confusing enough?

 Q:  dave from CA asks:
if james loney contiues his rapid ascent will he be able to help the dodgers by 2004? what do you see in the future for aybar and guzman, will they turn their raw ability to baseball skills or waste away in the minors?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: That's a bit premature. I think you have to allow some time for him to adjust. I am as optimistic about Loney's chances as anyone, but he will probably struggle a little more in his first full season against full-season competition than he did in a small sample last year. Both Guzman and Aybar are very young. There just seems to be something that isn't clicking for Aybar after two and a half years. Arriving late last year certainly had an affect on his season. I don't think he's ready for Double-A. But he has a nice, smooth stroke and power potential with a solid idea at the plate. Guzman needs to continue to adjust to offspeed and breaking stuff. I don't think he should be rushed at all until he proves he can be more consistent. Both players need to show more dedication.

 Q:  Shad from Frostburg St. University asks:
Hi, Is Joel Guzman the real deal? Where will he start the season and what are your projections for him this year? Are there any doubts as to his actual age? Thanks
 A: 

Josh Boyd: See the previous comment for more on Guzman, but I wanted to say that there are no doubts on his age.

 Q:  John M. Perkins from Macon, GA asks:
Do the Dodgers consider that conditions in Albany were detrimental to any of last year's low-A players? And does Evansville look ready to take over the Waves in 2004; and if so, any realignment with the Midwest League?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: I called on two of our resident experts to help me with this question. Assistant editor Alan Mathews, who was the broadcaster for the Waves last year, said that depite the poor field conditions and the worst attendance in the league, the Dodgers development staff did a tremendous job of keeping the players focused. There were 10 pitchers who were promoted from the staff, and the Dodgers didn't have any reservations about putting top prospects Edwin Jackson and Jonathan Figueroa into that situation.

Josh Boyd: Associate editor Geoff Wilson chimed in on the second part of your question: "The Dodgers are thrilled with the impending move to Evansville, but there's no guarantee that team will stay in the South Atlantic League. With that market and Eastlake, Ohio--home to the new Lake County Captains, an Indians affiliate that begins play this season--the Sally League has begun to encroach on markets that previously would have been Midwest League areas by default. Expect some sort of discussion of franchise swaps between the two leagues, which could involve Lake County, Dayton, Lexington and Evansville in the negotiations."

 Q:  Josh from Charlotte, NC asks:
How does a player like Ruddy Lugo consistently get overlooked as a top prospect, first with Milwaukee and now with Los Angeles, though he continues to put up good numbers at each level. Is it just his size that continues to worry scouts or is it another aspect of his game that tends to leave others unimpressed with his abilities.
 A: 

Josh Boyd: He has been overlooked to a certain degree, but Lugo ranked among the Florida State League's top 20 prospects--thanks in part to one manager and pitching coach calling him the best pitcher in the league. He ranked in the Dodgers top 30 before recently being traded to the Astros for Daryle Ward, and then Lugo settled into the Astros top 30 at No. 24.

 Q:  Nick Floyd, Cliff Choi, and Hee Seop Johnson from Hamating it up on the trapezium asks:
You say Loney was back swinging a bat one handed two weeks after breaking his wrist, but nothing about whether he is swinging comfortably now with two hands. Any reports from camp on whether he is pain free and hitchless?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Early reports are that he is swinging pain-free at full strength. The one-handed swing story was more to show his dedication and work ethic than anything. He should be in Vero's Opening Day lineup barring any setbacks.

 Q:  Dan Rodriguez from Burbank, CA asks:
Can you tell us about Edwin Jackson. I've heard that as far as his pitching tools(body, arm strength, arm action, etc...) go that he may be the best in the minors.
 A: 

Josh Boyd: I'm a huge fan of Edwin Jackson, ranking him near my top 50 and higher than anyone else here at BA, but to call him the best in the minors is a bit much. As pitchers go, he has the stuff to be pretty special and could take a huge step forward. Right now, he needs to refine his breaking ball to improve his stock.

 Q:  Greg from Los Angeles asks:
The Dodgers traded both Diggins and Rodriguez last year. Do you project them as being any good? Are there any minor league pitchers you think may make the team this year?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Definitely. Diggins was rated the Dodgers No. 1 prospect two years ago. He never quite lived up to the billing, but some scouts think his power would really manifest itself with a move to the pen. Rodriguez gave a glimpse last year in Cleveland of what he could do. He has a nasty sinker in the low-90s with a hard slider, and is a favorite to break camp with the Tribe this spring. They also dealt Francisco Cruceta and Shane Nance in those two deals, and Cruceta might turn out to be the best of the bunch. Alfredo Gonzalez could get a look in the bigs this year. He's coming off a solid winter as a starter in the Dominican, after spending last year shooting up the ladder in the pen.

 Q:  Robb Swanson from City of Shasta Lake, CA asks:
I applaud your selections with the exception of CF Chen at number ten. I think that Chen is becoming Adam Riggs, one great minor league season and then a career as a AAAA player. Secondly, how do you see such '02 draft picks as Delwyn Young, Mike Nixon and Julio Lasalle?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Thanks Robb. You'd have some supporters on your theory on Chen. By moving him down to 10, we were also expressing some disappointment. His bat kept him in the Top 10 though. Young and Nixon are both in the top 30. Young has an impressive showing at the Dodgers winter workout in Dodger Stadium this winter. LaSalle has an average fastball, and will compete for a job in South Georgia, but could start in extended.

 Q:  Wes from Texas asks:
Where would you put Victor Diaz in the organization after two great seasons at GCL and SAL. He only trip was a short stint at the end of the season in AA Jacksonville.
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Diaz just fell short of inclusion in the top 10. The questions about his position are big enough to raise serious concerns about his future. However, he will always hit, so it's just a matter of getting him to understand the importance of defense. He needs to improve at second, because he doesn't profile at first or third, where he played last year.

 Q:  John Walsh from Chicago asks:
Josh, Thanks for the chats! What are The Dodgers expecting out of Jason Romano? Does he have enough to be a starter in ML or is his upside limited to a reserve role?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Romano has established himself as more of a utility player, with the ability to play center, left, second, third... He is probably capable of filling in for an extended period of time, but he's not the type of starter a championship club is looking for. His value is in his versatility.

 Q:  Sam Jones from Houston, Texas asks:
Do the Dodgers teach plate disciplice? It seems as though most of there top hitting prospects (besides Hill and Loney) don't have great patience at the plate. Other players on the the major league roster don't have great patiece either. Beltre and Itzturis have little patience. Is their something that the Dodgers are doing, or is it just coincidence?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: They definitely seem to seek tools and pure athleticism in their hitting prospects. There doesn't seem to be an active approach to developing plate discipline in the system, but that might be something that the newer regime could still be implementing.

 Q:  Guillermo from Palma de Mallorca, Espana asks:
Is Reggie Abercrombie a top of the order speed guy or a middle of the order, high strikeout guy. I am concerned that he wont be either because he will either strike out too much and not get on base enough to use his speed or he wont develop the power to be a real middle of the order threat and the end result is just another mediocre Dodgers outfielder.
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Abercrombie is going to develop as a middle of the order threat. While he has the speed for the top of the lineup, he doesnt have the plate discipline, and he is probably going to quickly outgrow that type of role. He is going to be enormous. He has an outstanding athletic frame, and came to the winter workouts in great shape. He's definitely risky, but he has the tools to be a prototypical right fielder. He made tremendous strides last year and needs to build opon that.

 Q:  Leviticus from Texas asks:
Where do you see the Dodgers finishing up this season? Also, What do you think of pitcher Jared Plummer?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Behind the Giants and Diamondbacks in a close race. Plummer is a nice sleeper from a strong 2003 Dodgers draft. He was hitting the low-90s last year and could emerge as a solid prospect this year.

 Q:  Nick Eustrom from Woodland Hills, CA asks:
Whats the deal with Marcos Carvajal? Does he really throw upper 90's heat? Anything else you could tell us would be great! Thanks!
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Carvajal caught the Dodgers development staff by surprise last year when his velocity jumped from the high 80s to 95-97 mph. He still has a ways to go with his secondary pitches, but he is an exciting live armed prospect to keep an eye on.

 Q:  Gust Torgrimsson from Mercer Island, WA asks:
I am wondering how you see Luis Castillo, a third baseman who put up excellent numbers for one of the Dodger's DSL teams last year and is Jose Rojas still a viable prospect after elbow surgery?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Rojas needs to come back this year and establish himself. There has always been concerns over his size and delivery, so he needs to prove he can regain his nasty 93 mph fastball, slider and changeup. There is some serious anticipation for Castillo's US debut this year. He has good bat potential, but even the GCL is a long way from the DSL.

 Q:  Elliot Legow from Youngstown OH asks:
Where would the pitchers Dodgers traded to Cleveland last summer have fit into the prospect list if they had been retained: Ricardo Rodriguez, Francisco Cruceta and Lance Caracioli?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Hey Elliot, bad news on Whitney, eh? I love these kind of hypothetical questions--Rodriguez and Cruceta would have been in the top 10 without question. Caraciolli would be 20-30, probably ranking behind hard-throwing lefty Steve Colyer.

 Q:  john from boston asks:
whats do you think of these players from the last dodger draft; bagley, young, nixon and pitchers hammes, miller and broxton. I was surprised that none of them made the top 10, especailly miller and broxton. Thanks
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Again, it was just a really, really strong draft by Logan White and his scouting staff... The fact none of those made the top 10 also speaks volumes about the strength of the system. All but Bagley, who narrowly missed the top 30, are on the list with Miller ranking the highest.

 Q:  Daniel from Santa Monica, CA asks:
I liked the comment that Jonathon Figueroa could get lefties out in the majors right now. How long until he can get righties out in the show?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Figueroa will follow a more normal ascent to the majors. He doesn't struggle against righthanders by any means, it's just that he is nearly unhittable against lefties. He'll remain a starter and is probably two full years away, if he stays healthy. He had an MRI last week, and fortunately it was clean, but he is rehabbing to strengthen the muscles in his shoulder.

 Q:  Jeff Spicoli from Ridgemont High asks:
These team-based chats are gnarly, dude, and I mean that in a good way! . . . When will we see James Loney in Chavez Ravine? And when will we see the BA Top 100 Prospects list? Thanks!
 A: 

Josh Boyd: If he stays healthy, Loney could reach Chavez at some point in 2005. The list will appear on the web a week from today... it will be as gnarly as ever dude.

 Q:  Jared from LA asks:
Be honest- Ching Feng Chen: is there any reason for excitement, whatsoever? Will he serve as anything more than a 4th5th OF1b guy? Has his lackluster progress been more a result of injuries or initially overestimated talent?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: For me, honestly, he doesn't generate the same type of excitement as he did the first time I saw him play in the Cal League in 1999. I think he can definitely rake at any level, but scouts describe him as a streaky hitter, which means you'll have to put up with the valleys too. There will be a lot of strikeouts, and he'll have to hit a ton because he doesn't offer much versatility either.

 Q:  longtimeBAfan from new york city asks:
of the 4 prospects traded away in the futile drive for the 92 pennant,how would Rodriguez, Cruceta, Diggens and Nance have rated in the dodger top 30? If you answer this question, my wife will let me subscribe to BA:) so PLEASE help me out@
 A: 

Josh Boyd: I already answered this question, but come on Mrs. longtimeBAfan, let him subscribe!!!

 Q:  Nick Kelman from Palo Alto, California asks:
In between all the injuries, how have scouts viewed Hong-Chih Kuo's performance? Is he still a top prospect?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Yes, he's just purely electric every time he takes the mound.

 Q:  Eric from San Diego asks:
Mike Nixon had a pretty decent showing in Rookie Ball. My question is he still developing a baseball body after focusing in on football in highschool? Any Adam Dunnesque breakout once he does loosen his body into a baseball physique?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: I think that is part of the process. He will loosen up though, that is not a concern. I won't bet on the Dunn breakthrough yet.

 Q:  Eric from San Diego asks:
Where does Figueroa rank amongst baseball's top lhp prospects?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: He'll be in our top 35 when the one and only, original Top 100 comes out next Monday.

 Q:  JIm from Coral Gables asks:
What do you think of Steve Colyer? At times he looks like a legit starter at others he looks like a 4A player. What do you see as his potential role? THANKS
 A: 

Josh Boyd: He needs to hone his command a little and he is definitely limited to the bullpen. But as a reliever, there are few limitations for a lefty who throws in the upper 90s consistently.

 Q:  Michael from Phoenix asks:
Mike Nixon (also from Phoenix) is in camp with the Dodger big leaguers. Are they that big on him, or is it just a case of needing warm bodies to catch?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: I believe that was stipulated by his contract.

 Q:  Dodger Fan from DodgerTown U.S.A. asks:
Who is the top catching prospect in the organization. What is his future and waht kind of impact if any will he have on the Dodgers? What kind of impact will Hong-Chih Kuo, Francisco Cruceta have?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Cruceta was traded to Cleveland with Ricardo Rodriguez... Koyie Hill is the top catching prospect in the system, followed by Mike Nixon and David Ross. Russell Martin is a sleeper to watch.

 Q:  Jim from New York asks:
Is Joey Thurston really going to live up to his name Joey Baseball or is he going to be just Joey Hype? He had an amazing 62 extra basehits last year in AAA.
 A: 

Josh Boyd: He's a proven winner, a proven overachiever. There is no reason for him not to continue his success.

 Q:  Torgy from Mercer Island, WA asks:
Even though this last draft was considered a great success, are there any players that the Dodgers drafted and didn't sign that could end up being draft and follows?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: James McDonald is worth watching. He went to Golden West CC after not signing in the 11th round. The Dodgers will follow him, and try to decide whether they like him more on the mound or at the plate.

 Q:  JIM from Coral gables asks:
Who would you compare Reggie Abercrombie to? He looks to have great tools and fantastic speed. I think he has a shot to be an impact outfielder somewhere along the lines of a Preston Wilson, but with more speed and hopefully better OBP.
 A: 

Josh Boyd: I've heard comparisons to Reggie Sanders, Mike Cameron, Preston Wilson...

 Q:  William from St. Lucie asks:
The fact that Ben Diggins pitched in the big leagues last year after struggling in single A Vero Beach most of the year--does it say more about the Dodgers'stacked minor league system, or more about the pathetic Brewers? How can two organizations be so different?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: There is no doubt the Brewers rushed him. That may have had something to do with Dean Taylor trying to showcase the prospects he received, with his job on the line and all.

 Q:  Scott from Springfield, IL asks:
Dodger fans be happy you have Dan Evans, is Orlando Rodriguez who was obtained from the White Sox two years ago a Top-30 prospect, he had some eye-popping number last year?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Not sure what the question is here, but Orlando Rodriguez emerged as one of the system's top 30 prospects last year. He can reach the mid-90s at times and has a plus breaking ball.

 Q:  Scott from Iowa asks:
Did the miserable performance of Joe Thurston in the AFL (.133 BA in 70 AB, no power) influence the Dodgers' assessment of him? If not, why not? What were his weaknesses that were exposed - overmatched or just exceptionally 'unlucky?'
 A: 

Josh Boyd: I think they chalked that one up to the affects of a long season.

 Q:  longtimeBAfan from new york city asks:
you never told us where Nance and DIggins would rank in the dodger top 30!
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Sorry! Diggins, 15-17. Nance, 24-25.

 Q:  roger dodger from Phoenix asks:
Have the Dodgers said why they took Chad Hermansen in the Karros deal? They must see SOMETHING in him. His first years are similar to Matt Williams, but I haven't heard of anyone thinking he can go on to a similar career. Do you think he or Wilkin Ruan could replace Dave Roberts by mid-year?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: I don't think Ruan or Hermansen can replace Roberts this year.

 Q:  Adam Hunt from Mt. Pleasant asks:
I would like to know three things. If Ricardo Rodriguez had stayed a Dodger where would he have ranked on the list? What kind of a ceiling do you see for Joel Guzman and how long will he take? Finally, one of my favorite prospects is Joel Hanrahan I wonder where you think he fits in the Dodgers long term plans?(Starter, Reliever or trade bait?)
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Hanrahan profiles as a middle of the rotation starter. Solid.

 Q:  Jerry from Jerry's House asks:
If Pei Wei and PU Stix were prospects who would be ranked higher?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Pick Up Stix all the way buddy. I am out. Thanks for all your great questions today guys...

 Q:  Stuart Hester from Charlotte, NC asks:
Who is the Dodger catcher of the future, Koyie Hill or David Ross and what do you do with Lo duca? I've seen Hill play and he seems to offer the most balanced set of tools offensively or defensively>
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Hill.

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