2012 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.

Moderator: Jim Shonerd will answer Dodgers questions beginning at 2 p.m. ET.

Jim Shonerd: Thanks for stopping by, everyone. Let's talk Dodgers prospects.

    Mara (Dallas, TX): What kept James Baldwin from reaching your top 10?

Jim Shonerd: Baldwin's tools got him very close to the top 10. He's an outstanding athlete and the Dodgers believe he'll have solid power. He can be a frontline center fielder as well. But his feel for hitting still has a ways to go. He'll give at-bats away at times and his swing can get long. He's only 20 though, so there's time for him to get better and the Dodgers believe he'll have a solid hit tool eventually.

    Frank (Chicago): What is Alex Santana's ceiling? Top 30 prospect in your opinion?

Jim Shonerd: Santana is very raw. He was just 17 at the time the Dodgers took him in the second-round of the draft this year, one of the youngest players in the class. He'll be in the Handbook though. His physical tools are there in his power and strong arm, but the Dodgers have already moved him to third base after he was a shortstop in high school. He profiles there thanks to his above-average power potential, but he'll need some time.

    Harry (LA, CA): How far off the top 10 was Angelo Songco? How many of his dingers were the result of playing in the CAL, in your opinion?

Jim Shonerd: Yeah, Songco tore up the Cal League, finishing second in the league with 29 homers, but scouts question whether he really has the power to make it as a first baseman, where he moved in the second half of the season as the Dodgers felt his athleticism was declining. One encouraging development was how much better he hit against lefthanded pitching. A lefty swinger, Songco slugged .478 against southpaws in 2011, compared to .346 in 2010.

    Jake (St Louis): Has Kyle Russell's stock risen or dropped since last year? Still in your top 30?

Jim Shonerd: Russell is still the same guy, and he is still in the top 30. The general opinion is still that if you give him a full season of at-bats in the majors, he could give you 20 or more homers with an average in the .230-.250 range and, of course, plenty of strikeouts.

    Grant (NYC): Blake Smith - prospect or suspect?

Jim Shonerd: Prospect. He's got above-average raw power, albeit with doubts about how much he'll hit for average. And don't forget that he could throw 94 mph off the mound in his amateur days, and the Dodgers wouldn't hesitate to convert him if his development as a hitter stagnates.

    Laura (San Francisco): I was surprised not to see Jonathan Garcia make an appearance. Could you summarize him for us?

Jim Shonerd: Garcia started off red hot last season, hitting seven homers in April in the Midwest League — not an easy thing to do. But he cooled off the rest of the year and ended up hitting .228/.290/.420 with 19 homers. He does have impressive power potential, but his approach was inconsistent last season and opponents could beat him by pitching backwards. He's got a strong enough arm to stay in right field, where he played every day for Great Lakes in 2011, but he's got below-average speed and will have to stay in shape.

    Ben (Leland Grove): Had he remained, about where would Trayvon Robinson have ranked on your list?

Jim Shonerd: Probably would've been in front of Silverio as the best position prospect in the system. Losing Robinson (along with graduating Gordon and Sands) has left the upper levels of the system really thin on impact bats, although Federowicz does fill the need they had for catching prospects.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Has RHP Ethan Martin's stock risen, fallen or remained the same since you wrote this list last year? Are the Dodgers considering at all moving him back to 3B, or is his future on the mound?

Jim Shonerd: It's dropped a bit since he hasn't performed well for two years now, but Martin's stuff is still there. He pitches in the mid-90s with a curveball that's plus in flashes, but he's been undone by his lack of feel for pitching and inability to repeat his delivery. The Dodgers didn't express any signs of giving up on him as a pitcher in the near future. I'd expect he'll be back in Chattanooga to start next year, as the Dodgers wanted to get him out of the Cal League.

    William (Pensacola, FL): O'Koyea Dickson: He hit and fielded well in the Pioneer League for me to get excited. Am I the only one that finds him interesting ?

Jim Shonerd: Dickson's got a shot. The Dodgers' 12th-round pick this year from Division II Sonoma State, Dickson has a sound swing and some hitting ability. The question is whether he'll have enough power to make it as a first baseman. The reports I have on him only give him average raw power, which will hurt his chances since he can't play any other positions.

    Mike (Colorado): Thanks for the chat. That being said "Red" Patterson had a strong year last year. He seemed like a workhorse with 8 of his last 10 starts QS. Is he a prospect you considered for the top 10?

Jim Shonerd: Workhorse is a good word to describe Patterson. He's not overwhelming and wasn't in the running for the Top 10, but he has a 90-94 mph fastball and his slider is his best pitch. His delivery was a little rough when the Dodgers signed him as a 29th-round pick in 2010, but they've smoothed him out. He could be a back-of-the-rotation type.

    Jimmy (Butte, Montana): Which names on the list should make the top 100?

Jim Shonerd: My guess is the top three of Lee, Webster and Eovaldi should make it. Silverio is probably borderline.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Which Dodgers top 10 list are you higher on - this year's or last year's?

Jim Shonerd: Last year's, due to the previously mentioned lack of impact hitters at the upper levels.

    Grant (NYC): Is Brian Cavazos-Galvez a viable prospect to you?

Jim Shonerd: Even though Cavazos-Galvez held his own in Double-A this year, batting .277/.311/.470, guys weren't into him as much. He's a tough out and has some power, but he hit around the ball too much and took a lot of defensive swings. He also moved from the outfield to first base midway through the season, but scouts didn't really see a defensive home for him anywhere. Most of the people I spoke with felt it'd be a stretch for him to be an everyday major leaguer.

    dale (boston): Looks like the Dodgers are very thin in positional players. Other than outfielders, who do they have in there system that will be able to help in 2012 and 2013?

Jim Shonerd: Federowicz. But yeah, you pegged it right that most of the organization's strength is in the outfield, as far as hitting prospects go. Ivan De Jesus Jr. is still there in Triple-A, and Gorman Erickson could be another catching option in the near future. Erickson turned a corner last season, hitting more homers in 2011 (13) in high Class A and Double-A than he had in his first four seasons put together (nine).

    Ken (Lakewood CA): Wondering if Scott Van Slyke figures anywhere in the Dodger future? Maybe at 25 he's a bit old for a prospect, but he seemed to have a good 2011 season. I've seen him listed at 1B and the OF. What are his shortcomings, in your opinion? Thanks.

Jim Shonerd: Van Slyke has a nice swing and started going to all fields more in 2011, keying his turnaround after he got exposed in Double-A in 2010. He was put on the 40-man after the season and will get a shot at Triple-A next year. If he keeps producing, he'll get a crack at the majors sooner or later, though there are still doubts about whether he can handle inside fastballs and major-league quality breaking stuff.

    jr (valencia,ca): What do you make of Ethan Martin? Is he now a full time reliever, or might he be able to continue working as a starter with the hope that he can develop into someone who can slot into a middle of a rotation?

Jim Shonerd: Already did a Martin question, but I want to add that the Dodgers say he will return to the rotation next year.

    Brandon (Pasadena): Does Javy Guerra still qualify as a BA prospect? He was under 50 IP, but do you have an appearance limit? If he does qualify, how close was he to making the top 10?

Jim Shonerd: Yes, we set the limits at 50 innings OR 30 appearances, and Guerra made 47 for the Dodgers this year.

    Brandon (Pasadena): Were any scouts impressed with Angel Sanchez? He had a great ERA and batting average against, especially for a Dominican player making his professional debut in the Midwest League, but his K/9 was a bit suspect. Did he make your top 30?

Jim Shonerd: Sanchez is in the top 30, definitely a name to watch going forward. He's got a power arm, throwing his heater at 92-96 mph, and a quality changeup. His slurvy curveball is a work-in-progress though, and he needs to tighten his command.

    Brandon (Pasadena): What happened to Pedro Baez? Any talk about moving him to the mound?

Jim Shonerd: Baez injured his left (non-throwing) shoulder diving for a ball. That was the same shoulder he'd already hurt in 2010. As far as his performance goes, Baez is just a really streaky hitter. He's got plus power and is an outstanding defender with a cannon arm, but he goes through stretches where he gets out of rhythm and swings through everything. And yes, one Dodgers exec did in fact mention the possibility of putting him on the mound. Not saying it's going to happen soon, but it's something to keep in mind.

    Vanessa (Vegas): Did Aaron Miller's injuries set him far enough behind the other pitchers that he is purely being looked at as a reliever now?

Jim Shonerd: After a strong 2010, a sports hernia limited Miller to 10 appearances in 2011, during which he struggled while pitching through pain. Moving forward, I didn't get the sense that the Dodgers are looking at him as anything other than a starter right now. He's behind the curve a bit, having turned 24 in September, but the Dodgers feel they've got enough pitching depth that they don't need to rush him. He was showing mid-rotation potential when healthy.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Shawn Tolleson put up some eye-popping numbers in relief this year. Was he considered for the top 10, and do you see him in the bigs next year?

Jim Shonerd: Tolleson was close to the top 10 and could definitely pitch in the majors next season. A 30th-round pick from Baylor in 2010, Tolleson dominated three levels this year and one Dodgers official said he could've pitched in the majors already. He was a starter in college, but his herky-jerky delivery and combo of a 93-96 mph four-seamer, cutter and slider have made him deadly as a reliever.

    Brandon (Pasadena): Who would you say is the biggest sleeper in the Dodgers minor league system?

Jim Shonerd: Angel Sanchez is a good one as a guy not many people know about yet. Another one is righthander Scott Barlow, the Dodgers' sixth-round pick this year. His fastball was fringy in high school, but he added weight after the draft and was pitching at 90-93 and touching 94 in instructional league. He has a quality curveball that's his best secondary pitch, along with a slider and changeup. The Dodgers were also encouraged by his clean mechanics and feel for pitching.

    felix (puerto Rico): Stephen Ames, top 30? How good is he?

Jim Shonerd: Ames fell short of the Top 30. He has a decent fastball at 91-93 mph with some tailing action, but his secondary stuff didn't impress consistently. He competes and is usually around the zone, though that leads to him giving up his share of hits. He could be a sixth- or seventh-inning guy, but probably not more than that.

    Austin (Amherst, MA): Even though it was a small sample size Nate Eovaldi showed he can start in the majors late last year. Whats the reservation about him being in that role long term?

Jim Shonerd: His changeup got some mixed reviews, which was where that thought came from. It's not great, but most observers felt it was adequate enough for him succeed as a starter.

    Paul (Baltimore, MD): Are you optimistic about Leon Landry? Did he fall much in your rankings this year?

Jim Shonerd: Tough year for Landry, hitting .250/.307/.360 as a college guy in the Midwest League, so he did take a fall. Scouts weren't impressed with his sweepy swing, and his approach was inconsistent. Defensively, he could be a major league outfielder though, and he drew a Dave Roberts comparison.

Jim Shonerd: That's going to wrap it up for me. Thanks again for coming out. If you have any other questions that can be answered in 140 characters or less, hit me up on twitter @jimshonerdBA. We'll be taking a break from Top 10s during the Winter Meetings, returning on Monday, Dec. 12 with Matt Eddy's Padres list.