Los Angeles Dodgers Top 10 Prospects With Scouting Reports




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Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2011.

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Los Angeles Dodgers

After winning back-to-back National League West titles and making consecutive NL Championship Series appearances in 2008-09, the Dodgers fell to fourth place last year. As if its first losing record since 2005 wasn't bad enough, Los Angeles also suffered the ignominy of their owners' divorce proceedings.

Frank and Jamie McCourt were once the first couple of Dodgers baseball, but their relationship disintegrated and the franchise took center stage in their divorce. The McCourts' feud hung over everything the club did in 2010. Frank attempted to take sole control of the franchise through a marital property agreement, but in December a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled it invalid and reinstated Jamie as co-owner. That decision promises to drag the dispute well into 2011.

More than the mechanics of who gets control of the Dodgers, however, documents filed in the divorce case revealed that the McCourts used the franchise as their personal piggybank, taking huge salaries for themselves and traveling extravagantly on the team's dime. At the same time, the front office continually has had to pinch pennies on the big league roster, often sending premium prospects away in trades in order to get other teams to pick up salaries for the veterans they obtain. The most notable example was the 2008 deal that sent Carlos Santana to the Indians for Casey Blake, with Santana subsequently blossoming into one of the game's best young catchers and Los Angeles in need of help behind the plate.

The Dodgers started out well enough in 2010 and were tied for first place in the NL West as late as June 17. A six-game losing streak coming out of the all-star break started a fast fade, however. Los Angeles ended with an 80-82 record, a distant 12 games behind the rival Giants, who went on to win their first World Series since the franchises moved to California.

The Manny Ramirez experiment ended ingloriously, when the slugger was waived and picked up by the White Sox at the end of August. General manager Ned Colletti tried to keep hope alive with several midseason trades, sending away a total of seven young big leaguers or prospects, including Andrew Lambo and James McDonald, the top two players on this list two years ago.

The team will have a new manager in 2011, after Joe Torre retired at the end of the season. Former hitting coach Don Mattingly, who had also coached under Torre with the Yankees and followed him Los Angeles in 2008, will take over despite having no real managerial experience. The Dodgers also ousted team president Dennis Mannion after the season, clearing the way for Frank McCourt to take on a larger role in the team's day-to-day operations again.

The Dodgers did make waves in the 2010 draft. When they used their first-round pick on high school righthander Zach Lee, who had a scholarship to play quarterback at Louisiana State, the consensus was that they had no chance of meeting his asking price. Instead, Los Angeles gave Lee more in one bonus—$5.25 million, spread over five years in a backloaded deal—than it handed out to any of its previous three draft classes as a whole.

1.  Dee Gordon, ss   Born: April 22, 1988B-T: L-RHt: 5-11Wt: 150
 Drafted: Seminole (Fla.) CC, 2008 (4th round)Signed by: Scott Hennessey
Dee GordonBackground: Gordon's father Tom pitched 22 seasons in the majors, winning 138 games and saving 158 in a career that ended in 2009, but Dee didn't take up baseball until his senior year of high school. A basketball player up to that point, he quickly took to the diamond. Gordon went undrafted out of high school in 2006 and landed at Southeastern (Fla.), where he hit .378 in his one season at the NAIA school. He planned to transfer to Seminole (Fla.) CC for his sophomore season, but a problem with his high school transcript nixed that plan. That's when his father's connections came in handy. The elder Gordon had roomed with Dodgers farm director DeJon Watson in the minors when Dee was born, and he tipped Watson off about his son. After working him out, Los Angeles took Gordon in the fourth round of the 2008 draft and signed him for $250,000. He batted .331 in Rookie-level Ogden in his pro debut, won MVP honors in the low Class A Midwest League in his first full season and started at shortstop for the U.S. team in the Futures Game last summer. The Dodgers jumped him two levels to Double-A Chattanooga in 2010, and he responded by leading the Southern League with 53 steals. Managers voted him the league's most exciting player.

Scouting Report: Gordon's athleticism is off the charts, giving him the potential for four plus tools. He has a short, compact swing that's geared to let him take advantage of his well above-average speed. He did a better job of taking balls back up the middle last season, and he has a knack for barreling up balls and spraying line drives from gap to gap. He has plus bat speed and while he's primarily a fastball hitter, he has shown he can adjust to breaking pitches. Though he hits balls hard consistently, Gordon lacks power and his approach isn't designed for it, so he'll likely max out at 10 homers per year. He did a better job of incorporating the bunt into his game last year, and he has the skills to be an effective top-of-the-order hitter. He comes to the plate with an aggressive mentality, however, and needs to learn to see more pitches. He carries that same aggressiveness with him on the bases and in the field as well. Along with leading the SL in steals, he also ranked first by getting caught stealing 20 times, the second consecutive season he's topped his league in both categories. He has blazing speed but still has to learn to pick his spots. Gordon is a flashy defender whose range allows him to reach balls few can, and he has an above-average arm. However, he can get a bit out of control on defense and led SL shortstops with 37 errors in 133 games. He rushes plays at times and makes some ill-advised, off-balance throws.

The Future: Most of Gordon's deficiencies should be correctable with experience, and all the tools are there for him to be an above-average major league shortstop and leadoff hitter. He followed up his strong season with an outstanding turn with Carolina in the Puerto Rican Winter League. He'll move up to Triple-A Albuquerque in 2011 and should be ready to make his big league debut by September, if not sooner.
 
2010 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Chattanooga (AA) .277 .332 .355 555 86 154 17 10 2 39 40 89 53
 
2.  Zach Lee, rhp   Born: Sept. 13, 1991B-T: R-RHt: 6-3Wt: 190
 Drafted: HS—McKinney, Texas, 2010 (1st round)Signed by: Calvin Jones
Zach LeeBackground: A highly rated quarterback recruit headed to Louisiana State, Lee was considered the 2010 draft's most unsignable player. When the Dodgers took him 28th overall, there was speculation they did so to save money by not signing him. Lee went to LSU's campus to take summer classes and participate in football workouts before Los Angeles shocked the industry by signing him at the Aug. 16 deadline for $5.25 million, the largest draft bonus in franchise history.

Scouting Report: Lee has a chance to have three plus pitches. His lively fastball sits in the low 90s and was hitting 95 mph during instructional league. He also attacks hitters with a power curveball that gets slurvy at times but has above-average potential, and he has a changeup that's advanced for his age. Despite his two-sport background, Lee is very polished for a high school pitcher. He has a smooth delivery with no real flaws, and he's beyond his years in terms of command and pitchability.

The Future: Lee has the makings of a true frontline starter. One of the Dodgers' selling points in getting him to sign was their recent success in developing young pitchers, and he could move quickly for a high school player. He'll make his pro debut at low Class A Great Lakes.
 
2010 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Did Not Play—Signed Late
 
3.  Rubby de la Rosa, rhp   Born: March 4, 1989B-T: R-RHt: 6-1Wt: 170
 Signed: Dominican Republic, 2007Signed by: Ezequiel Sepulveda
Rubby de la RosaBackground: De la Rosa's U.S. debut in 2009 didn't go auspiciously, as he posted a 6.06 ERA in five games before getting sent home to the Dominican Republic for disciplinary reasons. One year later, he was the Dodgers' minor league pitcher of the year after going 7-2, 2.37 and reaching Double-A.

Scouting Report: De la Rosa weighed 130 pounds and threw 89-91 mph when he signed for $15,000 as an 18-year-old. Since getting on a proper diet, he has added 40 pounds of quality weight and fueled his breakout with a fastball that lights up radar guns. He pitches at 95-96 mph and registered as high as 102 mph at Great Lakes. He's capable of holding that velocity deep into games and finding an extra gear when he needs it. De la Rosa has two promising secondary pitches in his changeup and slider. His changeup is the more consistent of the two, with late fade at 85-89 mph. The slider has sharp, late break when he stays on top of it. His command has improved but still needs work, as he has some effort in his delivery and loses his arm slot at times.

The Future: De la Rosa has the potential to be a No. 2 starter or a closer. He'll begin 2011 back in Chattanooga and could contribute in Los Angeles by the end of the season.
 
2010 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Great Lakes (Lo A) 4 1 3.19 14 5 0 6 59 49 3 17 55 .223
Chattanooga (AA) 3 1 1.41 8 8 0 0 51 38 1 21 39 .215
 
4.  Chris Withrow, rhp   Born: April 1, 1989B-T: R-RHt: 6-3Wt: 195
 Drafted: HS—Midland, Texas, 2007 (1st round)Signed by: Calvin Jones
Chris WithrowBackground: Withrow would have been a two-way player at Baylor had his work on the mound not earned him a $1.35 million bonus as the 20th overall pick in 2007. His father Mike pitched in the White Sox system and was his high school pitching coach. Chris spent 2010 in Double-A at age 21, but he was rarely able to get into any kind of groove and led the Southern League in earned runs allowed (86).

Scouting Report: Despite his numbers, Withrow still looked like a future frontline starter when at his best. He pitches in the mid-90s with his sinking fastball and tops out at 98 mph, though he doesn't command his heater well. His curveball is a legitimate strikeout pitch, featuring sharp, late break and plenty of depth. However, he has trouble staying on top of the ball at times, resulting in too many straight fastballs and inconsistent curves. His changeup is fringy, though his struggles with his other pitches forced him to develop a better feel for it. The Dodgers have tinkered with Withrow's mechanics a bit, trying to stop him from tilting his head toward third base and give him more balance over the rubber.

The Future: Withrow still has a ceiling as a No. 2 starter, but he still needs to refine his pitches and learn to deal with adversity. He'll get another crack at Double-A in 2011.
 
2010 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Chattanooga (AA) 4 9 5.97 27 27 1 0 130 146 13 69 120 .285
 
5.  Allen Webster, rhp   Born: Feb. 10, 1990B-T: R-RHt: 6-2Wt: 170
 Drafted: HS—Madison, N.C., 2008 (18th round)Signed by: Lon Joyce
Allen WebsterBackground: Webster was primarily a shortstop in high school and saw only limited action on the mound, but the Dodgers immediately converted him to pitching full-time after signing him for $20,000 as an 18th-rounder in 2008. He quickly developed into one of their best pitching prospects, and the Diamondbacks brought his name up in trade talks when he was in Rookie ball in 2009. Webster made his full-season debut last season, tying for the Midwest League lead in wins and topping the system in wins and ERA (2.88).

Scouting Report: Webster's fastball sat at 88-90 mph in his predraft workout with Los Angeles, and he has gotten bigger and added some more heat since then, now working in the low 90s and topping out at 95 with plus late sink. His best secondary pitch is an above-average changeup with fading action, and he's starting to trust it more. He also has solid curveball with some bite. With his compact, natural delivery and easy arm action, he should develop into a dependable strike-thrower.

The Future: Webster's biggest need at this point is experience. He could become a mid-rotation starter and possibly more if he tightens his curveball. He'll deal with the challenging pitching environment in the high Class A California League in 2011.
 
2010 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Great Lakes (Lo A) 12 9 2.88 26 23 0 0 131 119 6 53 114 .239
 
6.  Jerry Sands, of/1b   Born: Sept. 28, 1987B-T: R-RHt: 6-4Wt: 225
 Drafted: Catawba (N.C.), 2008 (25th round)Signed by: Lon Joyce
Jerry SandsBackground: Sands set school records at NCAA Division II Catawba (N.C.) for career homers (61), walks (132) and slugging (.752), but that still only netted him a $5,000 bonus as a 25th-round pick in 2008. After spending most of his first two years in Rookie ball, he reached Double-A in 2010, earning the Dodgers' minor league player of the year award after tying for third in the minors with 35 homers.

Scouting Report: Sands has plus power to all fields. He focused on shortening up his swing coming into last year, and he now has a sound stroke with some loft and above-average bat speed. While he has trouble laying off high fastballs at times, he shows an aptitude for handling breaking pitches, so he shouldn't just be a one-dimensional slugger. Sands split his time between the outfield and first base last season and was surprisingly effective on the outfield corners. Though he has below-average speed, his instincts compensate for it and make him an average defender. His arm strength is a tick below average but enough to get by.

The Future: Sands has the power to profile as a solid everyday left fielder or first baseman, and he also might get a chance to play some third base. He'll return to Chattanooga to begin 2011, but a September callup isn't out of the question.
 
2010 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Great Lakes (Lo A) .333 .432 .646 243 48 81 16 3 18 46 40 61 14
Chattanooga (AA) .270 .360 .529 259 54 70 12 2 17 47 33 62 4
 
7.  Scott Elbert, lhp   Born: Aug. 13, 1985B-T: L-LHt: 6-1Wt: 215
 Drafted: HS—Seneca, Mo., 2004 (1st round)Signed by: Mitch Webster
Scott ElbertBackground: Coming off a 2009 season in which he spent four separate stints in the majors and made the Dodgers' postseason roster, Elbert had a forgettable 2010. The 15th overall pick in the 2004 draft, he made a single appearance for Los Angeles on May 29 and left Albuquerque for personal reasons shortly after being sent back down. He made up for lost time with a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League, where he got a chance to audition for new Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, who piloted Elbert's AFL squad.

Scouting Report: Elbert has been a starter for most of his minor league career, but his big league future looks to be in the bullpen. He attacks hitters with riding fastballs that sit at 93-94 mph and can reach 96 mph. His 87-88 mph slider gives him a putaway pitch at with tilt and depth. He also has a solid-average changeup, though he doesn't use it much. A star running back in high school, Elbert still has a football mentality. His aggressiveness leads him to rush his delivery, causing his fastball to miss up in the zone and his slider to flatten out.

The Future: Some club officials believe Elbert has the repertoire to be starter, but he's expected to make the big league bullpen in 2011. With better command, he could emerge as a dominant two-pitch reliever.
 
2010 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Albuquerque (AAA) 1 1 4.98 9 9 0 0 43 46 4 34 45 .277
Los Angeles (NL) 0 0 13.50 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 3 0 .333
 
8.  Kenley Jansen, rhp   Born: Sept. 30, 1987B-T: B-RHt: 6-6Wt: 220
 Signed: Curacao, 2004Signed by: Camilo Pascual/Rolando Chirino
Kenley JansenBackground: Jansen first gained some notoriety as a cannon-armed backstop for the Dutch squad that upset the Dominican Republic twice at the 2009 World Baseball Classic. However, he hit just .229/.311/.337 in five seasons as a catcher, and the Dodgers decided to try his arm on the mound in mid-2009. Less than a year after his first pro pitching appearance, he made his big league debut.

Scouting Report: Major leaguers had no answer for Jansen's power fastball. His heater sits in the mid-90s, reached triple digits at times and features some cutting action. He has a loose, easy delivery and the ball jumps out of his hand, making it that much more overpowering. Jansen's second pitch is a slurvy 82-84 mph slider that could become a plus pitch if he can tighten it up. He also has some feel for a changeup but rarely uses it. He does a good job of being around the strike zone considering his size and limited time on the mound. Though his command isn't pinpoint, he won't need it to be.

The Future: Jansen might benefit from some Triple-A time to sharpen his slider, but after his dominant turn in Los Angeles last year, the Dodgers are counting on him for their big league bullpen. He'll be a set-up man for Jonathan Broxton for now and could emerge as a closer down the road if his slider develops.
 
2010 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Inland Empire (Hi A) 1 1 1.50 11 0 0 0 18 15 0 6 28 .231
Chattanooga (AA) 4 0 1.67 22 0 0 8 27 14 0 17 50 .151
Los Angeles (NL) 1 0 0.67 25 0 0 4 27 12 0 15 41 .130
 
9.  Ethan Martin, rhp   Born: June 6, 1989B-T: R-RHt: 6-2Wt: 195
 Drafted: HS—Toccoa, Ga., 2008 (1st round)Signed by: Lon Joyce
Ethan MartinBackground: Martin was a highly rated prospect in high school as both a pitcher and a power-hitting third baseman. He also could have been a college quarterback but opted to sign with the Dodgers for $1.73 million as the 15th overall pick in 2008. He had a rough 2010 at high Class A Inland Empire, losing seven consecutive starts to end his season.

Scouting Report: Martin is one of the best athletes in the system and has an effortless delivery with a loose arm. When he's at his best, his fastball sits at 94-95 mph and can reach as high as 98. He had trouble maintaining that velocity last year, dipping to the low 90s at season's end. When he throws it for strikes, Martin's curveball is a wipeout pitch. He also has a changeup with slight sinking action that's a work in progress at this point. His command held him back in 2010, when he led the California League with 81 walks. He'd fall prey to big innings when he'd struggle with his mechanics and start leaving his fastball up in the zone.

The Future: Martin still has the ceiling of No. 2 starter if he can improve his command. He could end up starting 2011 back in high Class A, but could move quickly one he puts everything together.
 
2010 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Inland Empire (Hi A) 9 14 6.35 25 22 1 0 113 120 10 81 105 .279
 
10.  Trayvon Robinson, of   Born: Sept. 1, 1987B-T: B-RHt: 5-11Wt: 195
 Drafted: HS—Los Angeles, 2005 (10th round)Signed by: Bobby Darwin
Trayvon RobinsonBackground: A product of MLB's RBI program, Robinson played at Los Angeles' Crenshaw High, whose notable baseball alumni include former all-stars Chris Brown, Darryl Strawberry and Ellis Valentine. Robinson has made steady progress in the minors, improving his on-base percentage in each of his four years in full-season leagues. Placed on the 40-man roster after a breakout 2009 season, he ranked third in the Southern League in OBP (.404) and steals (38) last year.

Scouting Report: Robinson is loaded with athleticism and could have four average or better tools. A righthanded hitter when he signed, he's now a switch-hitter with bat speed, loft and average power from both sides of the plate. He should be able to hit for a solid average as well, thanks to his plus speed and improved approach. His strikeout totals remain high, however, as he usually takes aggressive hacks rather than settling for putting the ball in play. Robinson has improved his basestealing technique but still can make further gains. He has above-average range and a fringy arm in center field.

The Future: If the Dodgers decide to trade Matt Kemp, Robinson could be his successor in center field. He needs a full season in Triple-A before he's ready for his big league debut.
 
2010 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Chattanooga (AA) .300 .404 .438 434 80 130 23 5 9 57 73 125 38

Complete Index of Top 10 Prospects
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