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Top Ten Prospects: Los Angeles Dodgers
Complete Index of Top 10s
By Alan Matthews
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, 2005.
DePodesta put some finishing touches on a roster largely assembled by Evans, and the result was that the Dodgers won their first posteason game since they were World Series champions in 1988. He wasted little time shaking up the roster, packaging quality prospects Franklin Gutierrez and Andrew Brown to get malcontent Milton Bradley from the Indians in April.
That wasn’t the only controversial move the rookie GM made. With Los Angeles leading the National League West in late July, he shipped Paul LoDuca, Guillermo Mota and Juan Encarnacion to the Marlins for Brad Penny, Hee Seop Choi and Double-A lefty Bill Murphy. DePodesta planned on spinning those players into subsequent deals for Randy Johnson and Charles Johnson, but both fell through. While he did use Murphy to get Steve Finley from the Diamondbacks, Penny made just three starts before having nerve problems in his upper arm, Choi hit .162 and quickly lost his starting job, and the Dodgers were left with a huge hole behind the plate.
While St. Louis bounced Los Angeles in four games in the NL Division Series, there was a buzz around Chavez Ravine that had been absent in recent seasons. But as DePodesta continued to try to mold the roster more to his liking during the offseason, he again found himself in the middle of a firestorm. The Yankees blasted him after he insinuated the Dodgers into New York's Randy Johnson-Javier Vazquez trade with Arizona, then backed out at the last minute.
Contrary to what many thought might occur, DePodesta did mesh well with scouting director Logan White. White had two of the game's best drafts in his first two years on the job, taking high-ceiling high school prospects who slipped when other clubs followed Oakland's lead and focused on collegians. Four of Los Angeles' top six picks last June, including both first-rounders, came from the prep ranks. There was a subtle hint of DePodesta' influence as the Dodgers spent early choices on Virginia Commonwealth righthander Justin Orenduff (supplemental first round), George Washington outfielder Anthony Raglani (third) and Rhode Island first baseman Daniel Batz (sixth).
The front office went through a number of changes during the offseason. Senior scouting advisor Don Welke, instrumental in constructing much of the current roster, wasn't asked back. His departure coincided with those of special assistant Jeff Schugel, senior baseball operations advisor John Boles and baseball operations assistant A.J. Preller. DePodesta will now rely on a reconstructed braintrust consisting of vice president of player development Roy Smith, previously an assistant GM for Pittsburgh, and coordinator of baseball operations Dan Feinstein, another Beane disciple from Oakland. Field coordinator Terry Collins was promoted to farm director, a position that was in flux all of last season after previously being filled by current Mariners GM Bill Bavasi.
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