Los Angeles Dodgers Top 10 Prospects
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Moderator: Thanks for joining us for today's Dodgers chat. We'll get rolling right around 2 pm ET, so get your Dodgers questions ready.

 Q:  Eric from San Diego asks:
How dumb would the Dodgers be to give up Miller for Nomar?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Let's start here and try to get all the questions surrounding the Nomar rumors out of the way. The whole A-Rod thing has turned into such a circus, so it's become difficult to distinguish what is true and what is media hype, but I believe there is much more of the latter going on. The Dodgers have killed every deal to this point involved Jackson or Miller, and I believe that isn't going to stop here. I don't know how "dumb" it would be to move Miller for a proven all-star shortstop, but I don't think the Dodgers plan on moving him.

 Q:  Michael from Phoenix, AZ asks:
Andrew Brown looked like he would be the match of Jackson in spring training, before he got hurt. Is he healthy, or is the injury something to worry about going forward?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: You are right on, Brown was poised for a breakthrough this spring--dealing against major leaguers during his short stint in big league camp, and dominating the minor league competition with 93-96 mph heat. So the fact that he's had one Tommy John surgery in his career already and then missed all of last year after having bone chips removed, i would say it is something to worry about. He was throwing abbreviated bullpen sessions in instructional league and the Dodgers hope to have him ready by spring.

 Q:  Dave from Maryland asks:
Where will Chad Billingsley start in 2004, proably A Vero Beach?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: As you know, the Dodgers move their prospects swiftly, though a new farm director will be in place before next spring, so who knows if a new philosophy will be implemented. But for now, Billingsley will have an opportunity to start the year in Vero, skipping low Class A. Depending on how well he's throwing early, that timetable could always be altered.

 Q:  Aaron from The Island asks:
Will Greg Miller be in the rotation in 05? Or can I expect a Sep. call-up?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: The Dodgers may have been close to promoting Miller last September when Nomo was injured. Miller, Jackson and Hanrahan were all considered for the spot that Jackson eventually flourished in, but the fact Miller was a candidate just a year out of high school (and he was drafted as a 17 year old), tells me to expect him sooner than later as long as his shoulder doesn't give him any trouble.

 Q:  Eric from San Diego asks:
In the print edition, you guys rated Xavier Paul's arm as the best in the organization's outfield.... even better than Abercrombie's?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: It's a close call--Abercrombie's arm earns 65-70 grades, and Paul's is right around 70, some might even say 80, as he hit 94 mph in high school off the mound. It's basically splitting hairs and we went with Paul this year.

 Q:  Jamie Friel from Philadelphia ,PA asks:
Rumor going around that Edwin Jackson might go to the Reds and if so what does this do to his value and can he become the Dontelle Willis of 2004.
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Jackson is more of a known commodity than Willis was at the time he was traded, but this trade will not happen.

 Q:  Nate from New Haven, CT asks:
What class of pitchers is Greg Miller in? Is he in with the Hamels and Kazmir group?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: If his shoulder is 100 percent, which I am led to believe it is, then I would take Miller ahead of both of them. He has the command to go with four above-average major league pitches. His velocity is nearly as good as Kazmir's, while his slider and curve are better and more consistent. Hamels gets him on the changeup, and Miller's is still at least average. Miller might have the best delivery of the group, throwing without effort, and he has the best pitcher's frame.

 Q:  Torgy from Seattle asks:
The Dodger system looks as good as it ever has, but why no mention of Delwyn Young or Mike Megrew? Also, has Brennan King become a prospect again with the Blue with his late season power outburst and fine play in the AFL?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Young and Megrew weren't mentioned because they didn't make the Top 10, but if you wait for the Prospect Handbook, you'll get a full report on them and the rest of the Dodgers top 30. They are both legit prospects, whom we like a lot, just not quite top 10 guys in that system. King has re-established himself as a prospect, a borderline top 30 guy for the Dodgers.

 Q:  JM from Phoenix, AZ asks:
From reading the prospect reports for the NL West it looks like for the most part the teams are pretty stockpiled for the future. Who has the weakest farm of the bunch?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: The Padres are clearly lagging behind the rest of the division at this point. And the Giants and Rockies aren't in the same group with the Dodgers and D'backs. To put it into perspective, the Dodgers will be among the top 5 in baseball, the Diamondbacks are likely to be in the top 10, with the Rockies ranking next in the middle echelon, followed by the Giants in the 20-25 group and the Padres near the bottom.

 Q:  Mike Marinaro from Tampa, FL asks:
Josh, Wow! The Dodgers have really turned their minor league system around. Two years ago, Ricardo Rodriguez was their no. 1 prospect. They have at least three guys with a legitimate shot at 2004 minor league player of the year. What is Delwyn Young's ceiling? He's been absolutely raking since being drafted.
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Mike, they have done a fine job turning things around. Logan White and his scouting staff have had two outstanding drafts in his first two years on the job. They ranked in the bottom 10 for talent the previous few seasons before White's arrival. Half of the players in the top 10 are from former scouting director Ed Creech's regime, so he did help get the ball rolling. As for Young, he's a pure offensive player with an explosive bat. He needs to take his defense more seriously, and he'll need to work hard to keep in shape. He should continue to rake at higher levels, though.

 Q:  Dave from GA asks:
Will Loney bulk up before he hits the majors, or is he more of a line-drive hitting for average type? I know he's got a good frame, how many HRs would he hit if played the entire 04 season in LA?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: He is already bulking up and the doubles he's hitting right now at a young age against older competition are a good sign. He has been working out at one of the premium facilities in Arizona this offseason and is noticeably bigger than when he was drafted. I don't think power is much of a question in the long run, but I wouldn't expect more than 8-10 if he played in LA next season.

 Q:  from asks:
Where are Joel Guzman and Delwyn Young on the top 30? I though that they deserved serious consideration for the top ten.
 A: 

Josh Boyd: And they got serious consideration for the top 10. The last two spots on the top 10, which went to Hill and Abercrombie, were wide open, with players like Guzman, Young, Chuck Tiffany, Jonathan Broxton, Willy Aybar and Steve Colyer receiving attention. We can only mention 10 in the issue though, but trust me there were a lot of discussions on who to get in there. Ultimately, Hill made it because of his position and closeness to the bigs, and Abercrombie's raw athleticism and upside kept him on ahead of some of the others who aren't as far along yet. Guzman is 11, and Young is around 20.

 Q:  kevin from boston, ma asks:
What are your opinions of Joe Thurston? Is there a chance that he becomes a produtive major league player, or is the bloom off that rose?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: There is still a chance he becomes a productive player, maybe in the Mark McLemore mold more than the all-star type role people may have been expecting a year ago. There are a lot of mixed opinions on Thurston in the scouting community. He has an unorthodox hitting approach that has always worked for him, but he was overmatched last spring because he dives into the plate and isn't very selective, adjustments he'll need to make.

 Q:  Andy from San Francisco asks:
Josh, with Greg Miller having that little injury scare late in the season is he going to put that slider on the shelf, as you eluded to in your analysis some LA staffers think it may of been the cause of that shoulder problem
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Quite a few Miller questions today, which is understandable. What a great job of scouting by area scout Scott Groot, who also landed Chuck Tiffany. It doesn't seem like they plan on forcing Miller to scrap his slider, though it may have put additional stress on his arm last year as he worked a full season for the first time. But, two things, he has the best work ethic in the organization and as a Southern California kid, he's used to pitching year round.

 Q:  Andy from San Francisco asks:
Josh, the Dodgers farm system seems to be flourishing after some down time in the late '90's - How would you compare the LA system w some of the other better farm systems around - What in your opinion are the 5 best systems in the baseball today ? thanks
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Not in order, the Dodgers, Indians, Angels, Blue Jays, Brewers are the strongest.

 Q:  Jon from Toronto asks:
what is up with Jonathan Figueroa? He was awesome when he pitched last year and this year he really struggled. Where does he rank among dodger prospects?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: He struggled with his weight and mechanics early on after ending the 2002 season with a sore shoulder in instuctional league. It took him most of the year to recover and he was making more progress this winter in his native Venezuela, though his velocity still hasn't returned to the 90-94 mph range. He's still young and has upside, I'm just concerned he might end up as more of a lefthanded specialist than a starter now.

 Q:  Nick from Woodland Hills, CA asks:
What sleepers do the Dodgers have in their system? And what's the deal with Zach Hammes? Do you think he could turn things around? Thanks!
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Sleepers: James McDonald--poised for a breakout. Jordan Pratt, Jerome Milons and Russ Martin. Not just sleepers, they are guys who can break into the top 15 next season. Hammes might not have been ready for low Class A, because he was trying to fix his delivery while facing advanced competition, compared to Iowa, where he went to high school. They still have high hopes for him, and I'd look for a rebound.

 Q:  Michael from Phoenix asks:
Is Mike Megrew ready to make the leap forward? Will the Dodgers jump him to Vero Beach this year? Where would he have fit in the rankings?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: He is ready to make a jump, though the next stop might be South Ga. before Vero. He has projectable velocity and should be dealing in the low-90s more consistently this year, and his power changeup could allow him to dominate Sally League opponents. He ranks in the top 15ish.

 Q:  Mark L. Peel from NorthSideBaseball.com asks:
Hey JB! I attended the Daytona Cubs home opener last year and was fortunate enough to watch the Cubs-Mets game earlier that afternoon with 4 of the Vero Beach Dodgers: Greg Miller, Brian Pilkington, Edwin Bellorin, and Franquelis Osoria. Well, I know what you think of Miller now; did any of the other 3 rate on your Dodgers Top 30, and if so, what are their outlooks? P.S.: Liked your interview over on the Blue Jays fan site.
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Hey Mark, did you move from Arlington Heights to NortSideBaseball.com? Anyway, all three guys earned consideration for the top 30, and with their recent addition of Yhency Brazoban and Brandon Weeden we are trying to decide who stays on and who guys. Pilkington is a strike-throwing machine, perhaps too many strikes, actually. His secondary pitches are so good that he needs to try to get hitters to to chase early in the count because he command is so good he can pitch behind in the count. Bellorin is a fringy prospect with the bat, but a defensive standout and Osoria might show up as a middle reliever--setup guy because he generates so much sink and movement on his stuff from a low three-quarters angle.

 Q:  Todd from San Diego asks:
Josh, Did LA even come close to signing Cory Van Allen ?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Close? Not really, but once they spent $1 million to get Andy LaRoche, they pretty much threw in the towel on Van Allen.

 Q:  Nick from Woodland Hills, CA asks:
Could you update us on some injury reports? What's the deal with Andrew Brown, Alfredo Gonzalez, Hong-Chih Kuo, and Orlando Rodriguez?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: I mentioned Brown in detail earlier, but Gonzalez had serious shoulder problems, Kuo hasn't yet returned at full strength from his second TJ surgery and Rodriguez is pitching well in winter ball.

 Q:  Spotted Owls from Eugene , Oregon asks:
Is there any middle infield help in Dodger farm system with some pop in there bats ? Also , will Wilkin Ruan be anything better than speedy defensive replacement ?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Andy LaRoche will likely move to second and have Jeff Kent type pop there; the additions of Juan Rivera, Travis Denker, Russ Mitchell provide a boost, and don't underestimate Ching Lung Hu's juice. I don't believe so on Ruan, but he'll be among the best defensive outfielders in baseball.

 Q:  Torgy from Seattle asks:
What is your opinion of Stephen Schmoll? I feel he could fly through the farm system and be quality reliever in LA by '05.
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Your assessment is right on. He will move fast and become a big league reliever. He dropped down his arm angle and creates deception and movement.

 Q:  Josh from Irvine, CA asks:
Miller, EJax, & Hanrahan project to be what level of starters in the pros? Aces, 2's, 3-4's?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: I am usually very conservative with starting pitcher projections, trying to be as realistic as possible given the attrition rate of pitchers and the fact that most scouts believe there are only 10-12 true aces in the majors in any given year. That said, Jackson and Miller both have frontline starter potential--they not only have the multiple plus pitches, they have the command, the poise and the deliveries for it. Because there are so few No. 1s in the game, it's hard to say they both will be, but if they stay healthy I am fairly certain they will be 1s or 2s. Hanrahan is a good No. 3, or possibly a quality 4--an inning eater, good stuff, but not overpowering and he needs to keep his delivery sharp to throw strikes consistently.

 Q:  Raymond from New York asks:
Do you consider Jonathan Broxton a legitimate major league pitching prospect if so, in what capcity ? thanks
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Definitely. At his size, he has power pitcher's stuff, and needs to gain consistency and stay healthy all year. Some project him as a late-inning reliever, with the potential to close because he fastball reaches the upper-90s.

 Q:  Torgy from Seattle asks:
Regarding Andy LaRoche and Delwyn Young, what position do you feel each will end up? I have heard that each could be considered as a catcher.
 A: 

Josh Boyd: There has been some talk of that, though that is more likely the final destination for LaRoche than Young. Young will either have to move to third or left, while some think LaRoche is athletic enough to stay at short. He's probably going to go to second or third, maybe even first or catcher. Both have rocket arms.

 Q:  Ryan Maguire from Murrieta, CA asks:
Do you think it is smart the way the Dodgers rush some of their young players through the early stages of the minor leagues?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Not always, but they have been successful with it for the most part and if they hadn't have moved Jackson to Double-A he wouldn't have been in position to make that emergency start in the majors. I don't agree when it's a case like Joel Guzman, who has yet to have extended success at any level.

 Q:  Bob from Oklahoma asks:
Why did X. Paul go so late in the draft?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: A good question, one I asked several people in the organization. A few things factored into that: one, he's probably not as tall as the 6-0 he's listed at, and two, many scouts thought he was locked into his Tulane commitment. He may have suffered from overexposure, to some extent, being in the spotlight since his sophomore season. Regardless, the Dodgers did a tremendous job identifying him as signable and they feel they've added an impact-potential bat to their system.

 Q:  Floyd Thursby from Ashland, Ore. asks:
Do the Dodgers only scout evil players lacking a mortal soul, or do they scout normal players and then make them evil? Giants Country wants to know...
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Wow... Let the rivalry begin. (they actually sign players with outstanding makeup.)

 Q:  Paul Gage from San Antonio asks:
Everything I read about Xazier Paul is very positive. Yet in you list of outfield prospects he was not listed (from over 70 players from "top prospects"-"sleepers". Was this an oversight or isn't he really that highly regarded?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Even though Delmon Young and a couple others sneaked onto the list, but that list wasn't supposed to include 2003 draftees. My bad.

 Q:  Jeremy from San Diego asks:
Who is a possible sleeper that could burst onto the scene next year?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: See above (my one choice would be James McDonald), but to name one more: Travis Denker.

 Q:  David from Tampa asks:
Do you see Yhency Brazoban being a bonafide closer in the big leagues?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: He has the stuff to do so, but I am not sure he has the makeup to do that. He's only 23, but he needs to mature. He tends to let things get to him when things aren't going right, and that's not a good quality for a closer. If he can get it together, I could see the upside of a G. Mota type setup man.

 Q:  Matt from San Diego asks:
What kind of stuff does Chuck Tiffany have and does he project as a frontline starter?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: He's been up to 94 mph, pitches at 90-92 with a good breaking ball, but I se ehim as more of a quality middle of the rotation guy or possibly even a Mike Stanton type closer--setup man.

 Q:  MPK from college asks:
is franklin gutierez going to be more than a raul mondesi type player?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Based on body type and athleticism, I think there is a difference between the two. The results Mondesi put up early in his career might not be far off, though I think Franklin has more upside (again because of his athleticism and frame, and makeup). At quick glance, Gutierrez has better strike zone judgment and more power at the same level.

 Q:  Craig Maczkowicz from Fargo, ND asks:
Josh, how do the outlooks for Jackson and Miller this year compare to that of Foppert's last year? Are there significant differences in what the perceived ceilings may have been?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: No significant differences, other than when Foppert got to the big leagues he never showed the same velocity he did in the minors. So if Jackson and-or Miller went to LA and started throwing 88-90 instead of their regular mid-90s, that would be a bad sign, as it was for FOPPERT!

 Q:  LeeLacyLacedLiners from SoCal asks:
Your gave great info on our top 10, what time frame and who would you compare Guzman to? Thanks for good info, great to see the Dodgers on the rise and with Fox out of the picture I can go to the games again.
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Thanks. Guzman's development is going to require patience, at least one full year at each level, and one of these years I think it is critical for him to have an extended period of success to build confidence.

 Q:  MPK from college asks:
what? no love for the braves having a top 5 system?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: They should've been in there. My fault.

 Q:  Fernando from Chapel Hill, NC asks:
Is there any chance of the Dodgers trading the once top prospect Chin Feng Chen to an AL club where he can use his illustrious defense to DH, or has every team lost interest?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: I think there is hope for that, and that might the best chance for Chen to enjoy any kind of major league career.

 Q:  minhaz from from toronto asks:
do the dodgers have any decent rp prospect reafy to take over for quantrill or are they just focusing on developing sp?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: More likely they'll look to free agency to fill that void, and hope Steve Colyer will step in as Tom Martin's counterpart as a power lefty. Jason Frasor is the next closest righthander, since Alfredo Gonzalez went down with an injury, but I don't think either are an immediate answer.

 Q:  BIG STYB #39 from Irvine, CA asks:
I want to hear from you!!! How clueless is Dan Evans? He seems to be losing out on everyone he supposedly covets!
 A: 

Josh Boyd: #39, sounds like they are pretty rough on Danny out there on sports talk radio. I just think they are very hesitant to give up Jackson or Miller, and he is strapped with some tough contracts. I would like to see him be more aggressive, especially in light of the money saved from the Brown deal (if I were a Dodgers fan, that is).

 Q:  Jesus from Phoenix, Az asks:
Has the pipeline from Mexico dried up? It seems that the D-Backs seemed to have inherited the pipeline. Is there any talent from Mexico in the Dodgers system?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: It seems like they have done a poor job in that area, where they should be strong and have an advantage with their track record there and the Mexican fanbase in LA. And they've been beat out by a team in their own division.

 Q:  Randall Edens from Camano Island, WA asks:
Koyie Hill--catcher of the future for LA, or a quality major league back up?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Quality major league backup with a chance to evolve into a starter down the road, but I don't think he's the answer right away.

 Q:  Randall Edens from Camano Island, WA asks:
Will Joel Guzman turn into, as I read somewhere, the next A-Rod?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: No chance, though several baseball people compared them before he signed with t he Dodgers.

 Q:  grem from nycity asks:
who would you rather have victor diaz who the dodgers traded to the mets or delwyn young how high is each players upside? thankS@
 A: 

Josh Boyd: Similar upside as offensive minded middle infielders--I'd take Young because of better makeup.

 Q:  Brandon from Both Coasts asks:
With all this talk about the stud lefties; miller, hamels, kaz...do you see Loewen jumping into this mix after he picks up some more innings?
 A: 

Josh Boyd: No question about it. Also Scott Olsen isn't far behind.

Moderator: That's about all we have time for today. Thanks to all who spent time reading our Dodgers reports and submitting questions. Stay tuned for a Padres chat on Friday.

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