Los Angeles Dodgers Top 10 Prospects Chat With Jim Shonerd




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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.

Jim Shonerd: Good afternoon, everyone. Thanks for stopping by as we close out the week with some Dodgers chatting. Let's get to it.

    Steve (OC): DeJesus not in your top 10??? How do you think he will perform in the bigs?

Jim Shonerd: Although DeJesus hit the ball really well in the second half of last season for Albuquerque, there just weren't enough plus tools there to put him in the top 10. He's got a short swing and a nice approach, but nothing really above-average. His first-step quickness hadn't come all the way back yet either, but we'll see if that's any better next year once he's two years removed from his broken leg. He can be a big league regular, but I don't think he's a difference-maker.

    JAYPERS (IL): Jim, what are your thoughts on Jake Lemmerman? Is he someone for us to keep an eye on, and did he make your 30?

Jim Shonerd: Lemmerman, the Dodgers' fifth rounder from Duke last year, doesn't have the most explosive tools you'll find, but he's got some potential. He's a heady player with a quick swing and some bat speed. He's also a better defender than he showed last year with Ogden, where he made 16 errors, and can play either middle infield spot. He's in the Handbook, towards the back of the Top 30.

    Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): AA pitcher Javy Guerra used to have a hitch or irregularity in his pitching motion. Has this been corrected, and to what result?

Jim Shonerd: Good call by Karl here. Guerra did indeed used to hop off the mound on his back leg, which made it hard for him to keep the ball down in the zone. He's also a Tommy John survivor. He's smoothed the hop out, but his command still has to get better. He's got a plus fastball and a power slider, so he could be a big league setup man if it does.

    Ben (Leland Grove): How close did Brian Cavazos-Galvez come to making your top 10? Were you impressed with his season in the MWL?

Jim Shonerd: Not all that close, although he's in the teens. He really got going in the second half last year once he stopped trying to pull the ball. He's got above-average bat speed and power, so he is a guy to watch. But he also has a very aggressive approach, only drawing 12 walks all season last year, so we'll have to see how that plays against better pitching.

    Chris (Charleston, WV): How would you evaluate Aaron Miller's season?

Jim Shonerd: His numbers in the Cal League were fine, but the problem was his velocity dipped into the high 80s. He was hit hard in a short trial at Double-A, and the Dodgers have tried to give him smoother mechanics. His slider looked plus at times, and doing that should make it more consistent.

    Jason (Iowa): Hey Jim, thanks for the chat. I was surprised to see Trayvon Robinson so low on the list. The writeup also sounded very positive on him. I'd personally have him number 3 on my list. Am I way off base here, or is this a case where the number 3-10 prospects are very close and could be ordered in many different ways?

Jim Shonerd: For me, the question with Robinson was how much offensive upside has. He'll probably settle in as a solid .270-.280 hitter who gives you 15-20 homers, but it's hard to project him to be above-average in either area. And there was some doubt among scout about whether his bat is good enough for him to be more than a fourth outfielder.

    Jasen (FLL): Does Lee have true ace potential?

Jim Shonerd: I wouldn't want to put that label on a guy who's never thrown a pro pitch. But with three potential plus pitches and polish for his age, I think he can be pretty darn good.

    Frank (NYC): Thoughts on Leon Landry?

Jim Shonerd: Landry made strides last year during the college season at LSU when he adjusted his approach and started controlling the strike zone better. He won't hit many home runs, but his other tools could all be average or better.

    Jim (LA): Blake Smith took a huge step forward in 2010 compared to his 2009 season, are people projecting him as a starter or just a reserve still? I hope another strong year will put the pitching option to rest for him

Jim Shonerd: Well, the Dodgers haven't forgotten about his pitching potential, I'll say that. But this was a nice turnaround for him, hitting 19 homers for Great Lakes. He'll have to keep hitting those homers though if he wants to stay off the mound, and there are still doubts about whether he'll hit enough against advanced pitching.

    Chris (Brentwood, CA): Does this team even have a viable catching prospect? JT Wise is not getting any younger and Tony Delmonico seemed to regress.

Jim Shonerd: It's not a pretty picture behind the plate right now, as evidenced by the fact that I had no other option than to put Dioner Navarro as the Dodgers' 2014 catcher. Delmonico was the top guy I had back there, and his catching has a ways to go. Gorman Erickson, who made last year's top 30, is an impressive looking defender but his offensive upside looks limited.

    JAYPERS (IL): What does Kyle Russell best project as, and did his K rate keep him out of the top 10?

Jim Shonerd: The K rate is part of it, but it goes deeper than that. Russell has plenty of power, there's no doubt about that. But he has a long, uppercut swing and struggles to handle breaking pitches. He could probably give a team 20 homers a year in the majors, but they'd have to live with his strikeouts and not much in the way of average.

    Bryan (San Francisco): I know he signed late, what can you tell us about Joc Pederson? He got the second highest bonus from the Dodgers in last year's draft so they must like him. Was he close to the Top 10?

Jim Shonerd: The Dodgers gave Pederson $600,000 at the deadline to keep him away from USC. He's got a good pedigree, as his father, Stu, played for the Dodgers in 1985. He doesn't have any tools that blow you away, but he's got good baseball instincts, a sound swing and the potential for average raw power. He's a slightly above-average runner, and those instincts give him a chance to stick in center field. As for his ranking, he's in the Handbook but not that close to the Top 10.

    Brandon (Pasadena): Jansen dominated NL hitters during his 27 innings, Elbert has not even though he has only been used in middle relief while in the majors. Why Elbert over Jansen? They both have control issues

Jim Shonerd: Elbert has a viable secondary pitch with his slider, which is something Jansen doesn't have right now. And there's still some belief within the organization that Elbert can be a starter, even if that won't be his role in 2011, so that gives him another edge.

    Brandon (Pasadena): Since you put Elbert in the top 10 as a middle relief pitcher, what do the scouts think of Javier Solano, the 20 year old in AA last year?

Jim Shonerd: Solano could be a decent two-pitch middle reliever thanks to his low 90s fastball and solid curvball. There are some concerns about whether he'll be able to stay in shape though.

    Grant (Miami): Could you give us a brief rundown on James Baldwin? Thanks Jim.

Jim Shonerd: Baldwin, the Dodgers' fourth round pick last year and son of the former big league pitcher of the same name, profiles similarly to Leon Landry. He's more raw than Landry, as you'd expect since Baldwin's a high school pick, and rates higher in terms of speed. But both can be plus defenders in center field who'll hit for a solid average without much power.

    Brandon (Pasadena): Has Josh Lindblom completely lost it, or will he rebound now that's he will be in the bullpen full time?

Jim Shonerd: His velocity was down while he was starting for Albuquerque last year but had picked back up into the 94-95 range by the fall, so the Dodgers are hoping he'll be able to maintain that as a full-time reliever this year.

    Nora (GA): Biggest sleeper in the organization to keep an eye on is?

Jim Shonerd: I'll nominate another player the Dodgers gave a six-figure bonus to as a late-round pick, outfielder Scott Schebler. Their 26th rounder from Des Moines Area CC last year, Schebler fits the same mold as Baldwin and Landry, but possibly with more power. He also might not be quite as fast as those two and probably won't be playing center field if he's along side Landry next year, but he's got above-average speed in his own right.

    Brandon (Lennox): Who got more consideration for the top 10: Jonathan Garcia or James Baldwin?

Jim Shonerd: Baldwin's higher in the Top 30. I do like Garcia though, he's got a promising swing and power. He has to get more selective, but he's only 19 so there's time for that. Conditioning is another thing he'll have to watch if he's going to remain in the outfield.

    Brandon (Pasadena): I recently saw Pedro Baez at the Dodger workout, physically he was the most imposing athlete there. What are the scouts thoughts on him?

Jim Shonerd: His plus power remains impressive, but he gets too pull-conscious and swings at too many pitchers' pitches. As a defender, he can be spectacular when he has his mind in the game, but he can lose focus and boot some routine plays at times.

    Brett (Denver): How many from this top 10 list do you see making the top 100?

Jim Shonerd: I'd say the top three should be safe bets to make it. I'd be a little surprised if it's more than that but wouldn't completely rule out Withrow, Webster or Sands.

    bill (pheonix): Matt Magill pitched pretty well this year. Do most scouts think his stuff can't can't get advanced hitters out? Because it doesn't seem like he gets much respect from other org. lists. Where do you think he ranks if he puts up same numbers in HiA.

Jim Shonerd: Magill doesn't have anything that's above-average, but he has a feel for four pitches and his velocity has picked up a bit since he signed as a 31st rounder in 2008. He can get it up to 88-92 mph now and has some deception. Again, nothing spectacular, but he can be a back-of-the-rotation type.

    Todd (Tosa): Where did Garret Gould fall on the list? What's his ceiling? Where do you see him starting this year? Thanks for the chat!

Jim Shonerd: Gould's in the teens. He didn't show the same velocity last summer as he did leading up the '09 draft, pitchimg mostly in the 88-91 mph range with Ogden. He has a very good curveball though, so he can be a mid-rotation starter if his velocity picks back up. He should be in Great Lakes this year.

    Freddy (Tennessee): Justin Sellers big breakout in 2010, will it mean anything for him in the organization and was he in the top 11-20 prospect rankings?

Jim Shonerd: Let's keep the Albuquerque factor in mind with Sellers. He hadn't hit more than six homers in any season before hitting a career-best 14 last year, and 10 of those were in Albuquerque. He's a usable defender at shortstop but scouts don't see him bringing enough to the table to be more than a big league bench player.

    JD (AZ): Jim, did Travis Schlichting figure into the top 30?

Jim Shonerd: No, he came up short in spite of his solid big league showing last year. He's a sinkerballer with a couple of average secondary pitches, but he doesn't have a real putaway offering and needs to command better.

    Marlin (Clinton Township, MI): Nathan Eovaldi has an excellent HR ratio, but low K rate, and gives up way too many hits. What does he have to work on to get better?

Jim Shonerd: He shows an above-average curveball at times, but he has a wrap in his arm action that causes inconsistency. He needs to command the zone better also.

    Bryan (San Diego): Was there ever any reason other than "personal reasons" given for Elbert's absence at the end of the summer? Is there a concern moving forward that he may be a head-case, or is this behind him?

Jim Shonerd: The Dodgers were very tight lipped about what was really going on, and we may never know the full story. I was told he came back to the team a different person and a much hungrier player, so hopefully that carries over to this year.

    KyleS (Loudonville, NY): Hey Jim, Could you give me a scouting report on RHP Ralston Cash? Thanks

Jim Shonerd: Cash was the Dodgers' second round pick last year. He's got an average fastball right now and the Dodgers believe he can add some more heat as he matures. He'll show flashes of a nice curveball at times and he also has a changeup that's further away. He could be a mid-rotation guy if it all works out.

    Brandon (Pasadena): Do you have any information on Derek Cone, as in how hard he throws or what his other pitches are? he signed late for a decent bonus and has a great pitcher's frame.

Jim Shonerd: I'll wrap it up with this one. The Dodgers' 31st round pick last year, Cone's a guy the Dodgers feel could be a late bloomer and just snuck into the back of the top 30. He's a strikethrower with a 90-91 mph fastball right now, and the Dodgers think he'll add to that once he fills out. His curveball is his best secondary offering and he's shown a feel for a changeup as well.

Jim Shonerd: Thanks for all the questions. Come back on Monday for Matt Eddy's Padres chat. Oh, and be sure to order those Prospect Handbooks!