Los Angeles Dodgers: Top 10 Prospects

Los Angeles Dodgers




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, 2009.

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TOP TEN
PROSPECTS
1. Andrew Lambo, of
2. James McDonald, rhp
3. Ethan Martin, rhp
4. Josh Lindblom, rhp
5. Scott Elbert, lhp
6. Ivan DeJesus Jr., ss
7. Devaris Gordon, ss
8. Josh Bell, 3b
9. Chris Withrow, rhp
10. Nathan Eovaldi, rhp
BEST
TOOLS
Best Hitter for Average Andrew Lambo
Best Power Hitter Josh Bell
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Ivan DeJesus
Fastest Baserunner Devaris Gordon
Best Athlete Devaris Gordon
Best Fastball Josh Lindblom
Best Curveball Scott Elbert
Best Slider Travis Schlichting
Best Changeup James McDonald
Best Control James McDonald
Best Defensive Catcher A.J. Ellis
Best Defensive Infielder Devaris Gordon
Best Infield Arm Pedro Baez
Best Defensive Outfielder Jaime Hoffman
Best Outfield Arm Xavier Paul
PROJECTED 2012
LINEUP
Catcher Russell Martin
First Base James Loney
Second Base Blake DeWitt
Third Base Josh Bell
Shortstop Rafael Furcal
Left Field Andrew Lambo
Center Field Matt Kemp
Right Field Andrew Ethier
No. 1 Starter Clayton Kershaw
No. 2 Starter Chad Billingsley
No. 3 Starter Hiroki Kuroda
No. 4 Starter James McDonald
No. 5 Starter Josh Lindblom
Closer Johathan Broxton
TOP PROSPECTS
OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Position 2008
1999 Angel Pena, c Out of baseball
2000 Chin-Feng Chen, of La New (Taiwan)
2001 Ben Diggins, rhp Out of baseball
2002 Ricardo Rodriguez, rhp Pirates
2003 James Loney, 1b Dodgers
2004 Edwin Jackson, rhp Rays
2005 Joel Guzman, ss/3b Rays
2006 Chad Billingsley, rhp Dodgers
2007 Andy LaRoche, 3b Pirates
2008 Clayton Kershaw, lhp Dodgers
TOP DRAFT PICKS
OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Position 2008
1999 Jason Repko, ss/of Dodgers
2000 Ben Diggins, rhp Out of baseball
2001 Brian Pikington, rhp (2nd round) Out of baseball
2002 James Loney, 1b Dodgers
2003 Chad Billingsley, rhp Dodgers
2004 Scott Elbert, lhp Dodgers
2005 *Luke Hochevar, rhp Royals
2006 Clayton Kershaw, lhp Dodgers
2007 Chris Withrow, rhp Dodgers
2008 Ethan Martin, rhp Dodgers
*Did not sign
LARGEST BONUSES
IN CLUB HISTORY
Clayton Kershaw, 2006 $2,300,000
Joel Guzman, 2001 $2,250,000
Ben Diggins, 2000 $2,200,000
Hideo Nomo, 1995 $2,000,000
Ethan Martin, 2008 $1,730,000
DODGERS
LINKS
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Los Angeles Dodgers

Sure, Manny Ramirez got the headlines for helping the Dodgers reach the playoffs in 2008—and win a postseason series for the first time in 20 years. But the real impetus was all the young talent the club had assembled over the previous few years. Los Angeles may have won just 84 games, but that was enough to take the National League West by two games over the Diamondbacks.

Young veterans such as Chad Billingsley, Jonathan Broxton, Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, James Loney and Russell Martin formed the heart of the team. Billingsley was the club's best starting pitcher, while Broxton took over as closer when Takashi Saito went down. Ethier and Kemp vastly outperformed fellow outfielders Andruw Jones and Juan Pierre at a fraction of the price, while Loney led the team with 90 RBIs and Martin was its lone all-star.

Rookies such as Blake DeWitt, Clayton Kershaw and Cory Wade stepped in to make valuable contributions as well. DeWitt filled a hole at third base early in the year and took over for a banged-up Jeff Kent at the end, while Kershaw held down the fourth spot in the rotation and Wade provided quality middle relief.

The farm system also offered valuable trade fodder. With owner Frank McCourt unwilling (or unable) to take on additional payroll, the Dodgers gave up more in terms of prospects in order to avoid taking on more salary.

To get Casey Blake, Los Angeles parted with Carlos Santana, whom it had converted from an outfielder into one of baseball's top catching prospects, and righthander Jon Meloan. In the three-team deal that brought Ramirez from the Red Sox, the Dodgers sent third baseman Andy LaRoche, who had been their top position prospect, and righty Bryan Morris to the Pirates. They also got Greg Maddux late in the season for a pair of minor prospects, lefty Michael Watt and righty Eduardo Perez.

Manager Joe Torre, brought in after clubhouse rifts help spell the end for Grady Little, had to manage this transition—and the pivotal addition of Ramirez. After sulking his way out of Boston (and the two option years remaining  in his contract), Ramirez spurred Los Angeles to a 19-8 finish. He hit .396 with 53 RBIs in as many regular-season games, then led the Dodgers to a Division Series upset of the Cubs.

Los Angeles' roster for the NL Championship Series against the Phillies included 10 homegrown players, including six of the 11 pitchers on the roster. The farm system could provide more reinforcements in 2009, with James McDonald the leading candidate to fill Derek Lowe's vacancy in the rotation.

With so many players reaching the majors or being traded, the Dodgers are thinner at the upper levels of the minors than they have been in recent years. They believe they're replenished their system with their last two drafts, which have included six of the top 10 prospects on this list: outfielder Andrew Lambo; righthanders Ethan Martin, Josh Lindblom, Chris Withrow and Nathan Eovaldi; and shortstop Devaris Gordon.

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