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2003 Wrapups: Los Angeles Dodgers

With the 2003 minor league season coming to a close, we will be providing a brief wrapup of the season for all 30 minor league teams. In each report, we will take a look at how the team's Top 10 Prospects performed, identify some emerging prospects and organizational leaders, and report on the performance of their top draft pick.
Complete index of Team Wrapups               2003 League Wrapups

By Kevin Goldstein
October 14, 2003

Season Results

Level Team League W L PCT
AAA Las Vegas Pacific Coast 76 66 .535
AA Jacksonville Southern 66 73 .475
A+ Vero Beach Florida State 62 69 .473
A South Georgia South Atlantic 64 72 .471
R Ogden Pioneer 35 41 .461
R GCL Dodgers Gulf Coast 29 31 .483
TOTAL 332 352 .485


Performance of Top 10 Prospects

Here's how our top 10 prospects entering this season performed in 2003.

1. James Loney, 1b      Age: 19
Not a monster season, but this is still solid production from a teenager in the Florida State League. Hit just .228 in April while recovering from a broken wrist, but rebounded by batting .315 in May-June. Well above-average defensively.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Vero Beach (High Class A) 125 468 64 129 31 3 7 46 43 80 9 .276 .337 .400

2. Jonathan Figueroa, lhp      Age: 20
Showed up to camp out of shape, missed the first two months of the season with tendinitis, and when he did return just couldn't find the magic from his 2003 debut when he racked up 105 strikeouts in 76 innings. Lost velocity and struggled with control, but finished well, allowing just two earned runs over his final 17 innings.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
South Georgia (Low Class A) 1-8 0 4.94 17 78.1 79 60 43 42 74

3. Edwin Jackson, rhp      Age: 20
The Dodgers challenged Jackson by jumping him two levels with a placement at Double-A Jacksonville as a 19-year old. Limited Southern League hitters to a .220 average, struck out well over a batter an inning and outdueled Randy Johnson in his major league debut on his 20th birthday. Draws comparisons to Doc Gooden, and that might not be a reach.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Jacksonville (Double-A) 7-7 0 3.70 27 148.1 121 68 61 53 157
Dodgers (MLB) 2-1 0 2.45 4 22.0 17 6 6 11 19

4. Reggie Abercrombie, of      Age: 23
A five-tool talent and possibly the best athlete in the system, Abercrombie continues to show power, speed, and an almost unconscionable lack of strike zone control. In the last three seasons, Abercrombie has drawn 62 walks while striking out 477 times.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Jacksonville (Double-A) 116 448 59 117 25 7 15 54 16 164 28 .261 .298 .449

5. Joey Thurston, 2b      Age: 24
This season's Esteban German, Thurston was seemingly a lock to be the Dodgers' every day second baseman, but he suffered through a miserable spring training and failed to reproduce his 2002 campaign at Las Vegas when he led the minors with 297 total bases. Hit .329 in his final 50 games and earned a late-season callup, so he may still be in the mix for 2004. Attempted 13 stolen bases and was successful just once.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Las Vegas (Triple-A) 132 538 77 156 27 6 7 68 31 48 1 .290 .345 .401
Dodgers (MLB) 12 10 2 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 .200 .273 .200

6. Koyie Hill, c      Age: 24
Started off slow at Jacksonville, before a slew of injuries created an opening in Triple-A, where he found his stroke hitting .404 in his first 16 games. A converted catcher (played third base in college), he's still rough around the edges defensively. He hasnt developed power or drawn many walks.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Jacksonville (Double-A) 25 101 9 23 7 0 0 7 6 19 2 .228 .271 .297
Las Vegas (Triple-A) 85 312 48 98 18 0 3 36 15 39 5 .314 .345 .401
Dodgers (MLB) 3 3 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 .333 .333 .367

7. Alfredo Gonzalez, rhp      Age: 24
Moved to the rotation in 2003 and began to find his stuff, but missed most of the summer with a shoulder impingement after an excellent Triple-A debut in late July (seven innings, one run). Has above-average stuff, but has pitched less than 200 innings over the past three years combined.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Jacksonville (Double-A) 4-4 0 5.47 10 49.1 65 33 30 17 37
Las Vegas (Triple-A) 1-0 0 1.13 2 8.0 6 2 1 3 5

8. Joel Hanrahan, rhp      Age: 22
Allowed more than three earned runs in just two of 23 starts for Jacksonville, as he won the Southern League ERA title and pitcher of the year honors. Hitters were less kind to him in the PCL where he struggled with his control and surrendered a .343 opponent's average.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Jacksonville (Double-A) 10-4 0 2.43 23 133.1 117 44 36 53 130
Las Vegas (Triple-A) 1-2 0 10.08 5 25.0 36 28 28 20 13

9. Joel Guzman, ss      Age: 18
The Dodgers tendency to aggressively move prospects through the system continued with Guzman, who was promoted from South Georgia to Vero Beach despite being just 18 and in the midst of a 5-for-43 slump. Like Loney, one must look past the numbers -- this is an 18-year-old infielder who hit 13 home runs in his first full season. Still has this weaknesses not uncommon in many teenagers -- poor pitch recognition and defensive lapses --, but his ceiling remains very high.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
South Georgia (Low Class A) 58 217 33 51 13 0 8 29 9 62 4 .235 .263 .406
Vero Beach (High Class A) 62 240 30 59 13 1 5 24 11 60 0 .246 .279 .371

10. Chin-Feng Chen, of/1b      Age: 25
Chen spent his second year at Las Vegas, and had a very similar season to 2002 (when he hit .284-26-84), despite dramatically reducing his strikeout rate (from 160 to 106). Led the organization in homers and RBIs, but still doesn't really have a position in the field, and failed to earn a September callup.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Las Vegas (Triple-A) 133 474 84 133 30 5 26 86 59 106 6 .281 .360 .530
Dodgers (MLB) 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000


Top Draft Pick:

Chad Billingsley, rhp    Defiance (Ohio) HS   Bonus: $1.375M
Billingsley was very impressive in his pro debut at Ogden, and downright dominating by the end of the season, striking out 28 in 17 innings over his final three starts.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Ogden (Rookie) 5-4 0 2.83 11 54.0 49 24 17 15 62


Emerging Prospects:

Franklin Gutierrez, of: Hit six home runs in his first six games for Vero Beach and was among the Florida State League leaders in several categories before earning a late season promotion to Jacksonville. Finished a combined .287-24-80 between the two levels with 20 stolen bases.
Greg Miller, lhp: Supplemental first-round pick had a 4.33 ERA at Vero Beach in his first 10 starts and then was one of the most dominant pitchers in the game, putting up a 0.99 ERA in his final 11 starts and finding himself at Double-A before his 19th birthday. Things just got better from there as he limited Southern League batters to a .156 average in four starts, striking out 40 in 26.2 innings.
Delwyn Young, 2b: A fourth-round pick in 2002, Young led the Sally League in slugging percentage, and made a late running at the batting title as well, hitting .367 in his final 50 games to finish the year at .323-15-73. May not be able to stay at second base, but may have enough bat where it doesn't matter.


Statistical Leaders

Batting Average Chad Hermansen .329
Home Runs Chin-Feng Chen 26
Runs Batted In Chin-Feng Chen 86
Stolen Bases Wilkin Ruan 41
Earned Run Average Greg Miller 2.22
Wins Brian Pilkington 13
Strikeouts Edwin Jackson 157
Saves Steve Colyer
Jason Frasor
23

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