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Gordon's father Tom has spent 22 seasons pitching in the major leagues with eight clubs, including the Diamondbacks in 2009. Dee's first love as a youngster was basketball, though. He didn't play baseball until his senior year of high school in Avon Park, Fla., but he quickly learned to like the sport. Undrafted and lightly recruited out of high school, Gordon attended NAIA Southeastern (Fla.) and hit .378 with 45 steals as a freshman in 2007. He planned to transfer to Seminole (Fla.) CC in 2008 to increase his exposure, but he had to sit out the season because of issues with his high school transcript. While scouts couldn't see him in game action, Tom Gordon tipped off Dodgers assistant general manager for player development DeJon Watson, who was his roommate in the Royals system when Dee was born. Gordon threw too much in predraft workouts for a handful of clubs and showed a below-average arm when he auditioned for the Dodgers. Intrigued by his speed and athleticism, however, they took him in the fourth round and signed him for $250,000. Gordon showed little rust from his layoff, batting .331 in his pro debut. For an encore he shared the MVP award in the low Class A Midwest League with Great Lakes teammate Kyle Russell in 2009. Gordon led the MWL with 73 steals--22 more than his nearest competitor--and 12 triples while ranking second with 96 runs and 162 hits. He also won the Dodgers' Branch Rickey minor league player of the year award. Gordon is the best athlete Los Angeles has signed since Logan White took charge of the club's drafts in 2002. His most impressive tool is his game-changing speed. He has been clocked at 6.3 seconds in the 60-yard dash and has the raw ability to lead the majors in steals one day. Despite his inexperience, he's an adept hitter who crowds the plate and uses his quick bat to hit line drives from gap to gap. He's not just a slap hitter and should have decent pop for a middle infielder once he adds strength. His range is outstanding, as he gets to balls few other shortstops do. He has good actions and a solid arm. His tools also would make him a plus defender in center field. Gordon is still raw in all phases of the game. He needs to learn how to recognize pitches better and show more discipline at the plate to be a truly effective leadoff hitter. He steals bases strictly on speed at this point, and he led the minors by getting caught 25 times in 2009. He topped MWL shortstops with 34 errors, with many coming on throws because he tends to drop down his arm angle. He also needs to be more aggressive at shortstop and let fewer grounders play him. He has tried, so far in vain, to gain weight despite often eating five or six meals a day last season. However, his broad shoulders suggest he has the frame to add strength. Gordon has only scratched the surface of his potential. Considering his lack of experience, he has made amazing progress. He'll begin 2010 at high Class A Inland Empire and should be ready to become the Dodgers' starting shortstop and leadoff hitter at some point in 2012.
The 20th overall pick in the 2007 draft, Withrow pitched just 13 innings in his first two pro seasons after signing for $1.35 million. He sustained a deep cut on his right index finger in a snorkeling accident during spring training in 2008, then was bothered by elbow tenderness for most of that season. Healthy again, he rocketed to Double-A Chattanooga as a 20-year-old in 2009. Withrow has a live arm, routinely throwing his fastball in the 92-96 mph range while being clocked as high as 99. His curveball is an above-average pitch with good late bite. He has very good mechanics, which he learned from his father Mike, who pitched in the White Sox system and coached him in high school. Withrow's changeup is a work in progress, and he needs to throw it more consistently for strikes. He also will have to command his fastball and curve better to reach his potential. He's prone to the occasional big inning because he tends to press with men on base. Withrow fared well in his late-season promotion to Double-A and will begin 2010 there. Despite his lack of experience, he's on track to reach the major leagues by the second half of 2011 and looks like a potential top-of-the-rotation starter.
Highly regarded as a right fielder coming out of high school, Miller resisted pitching as a Baylor freshman but became a full-fledged two-way player as a junior last spring. Though he batted .310 with 12 homers, he was more impressive as a power lefthander and pitched his way into the supplemental first round. He signed for $889,200, finished his first pro summer by starring in the Midwest League playoffs and pitched briefly in the Arizona Fall League. Miller routinely pitches at 91-95 mph, and he could pick up velocity now that he's a full-time pitcher. His hard, 82-83 mph slider is tough on lefthanders. He's an outstanding athlete who fields his position well and has a good pickoff move despite his lack of experience. Command was an issue in college, but he has cleaned up his mechanics and started to throw strikes more consistently. More than anything, Miller just needs to accumulate innings and continue getting used to being a pitcher. He needs to fine-tune his changeup in order to remain a starter, and he can make further refinements to his command. If Miller can master a changeup, he could be a No. 2 starter. If not, his stuff would play well in a late-innings relief role. He'll open 2010 in high Class A and should move quickly, possibly reaching Los Angeles toward the end of 2011.
Baseball America's High School Player of the Year and the first prep pitcher drafted in 2008, Martin tore the meniscus in his right knee during a fielding drill shortly after signing for $1.73 million. He had arthroscopic surgery, delaying his pro debut until last April. Many teams considered drafting him as a power-hitting third baseman. Martin's fastball sits at 93-95 mph and occasionally touches 97. He has good movement on the pitch, and he can make it sink or cut. His big-breaking curveball is a potential plus second pitch. He's very athletic and does a good job of repeating his delivery. Martin lacks command of his pitches, particularly his curveball, which he bounces in the dirt too frequently. Though his fastball usually has good life, it flattens out on him at times. He has struggled to get the feel for a changeup because of inconsistent arm speed with the pitch. His arm action is long in back, leading some scouts to project him as a reliever. Martin should move up to high Class A Inland Empire in 2010. The Dodgers won't rush him because of his inexperience, but he has the stuff to move quickly once he harnesses it. He projects as a No. 2 starter or dominant late-game reliever with a major league ETA of 2012.
Lindblom was one of the biggest stories of Dodgers spring training last March. The organization promoted him from minor league camp midway through the exhibition season, and he pitched so well that he nearly made the big league club nine months after signing as a second-round pick. He opened the season as a starter in Double-A and finished it as a reliever in Triple-A Albuquerque. Lindblom blows hitters away with a heavy sinker that breaks bats and sits at 94 mph when he pitches in short stints. He can dial his heater up another notch when he needs a strikeout. His No. 2 pitch is a power curveball. He's aggressive and attacks the strike zone. He has a resilient arm and a strong, durable body. Lindblom has good arm speed on his changeup but doesn't consistently keep it in the strike zone. That shouldn't matter as much now that the Dodgers have decided to develop him as a reliever, which was his college role at Purdue. He also had trouble pacing himself as a starter. The Dodgers resisted the temptation to call up Lindblom in 2009 because they had a deep bullpen. He's a strong candidate to make their Opening Day roster in 2010, however, and is a possible future closer.
Completely healthy for the first time since he had arthroscopic shoulder surgery in 2007, Elbert won the organization's minor league pitcher of the year award last season. The Dodgers called him up four separate times and placed him on their National League Championship Series roster. The 15th overall pick in the 2004 draft, he signed for $1.575 million. Elbert has regained the stuff he had before he had scar tissue removed from his labrum. His fastball sits at 92-94 mph and reaches 95. He complements it with a latebreaking, mid-80s slider that lefthanders find unhittable. His changeup keeps righthanders at bay. Though Elbert has enough pitches to start, he may not have the command or durability to succeed in that role. There's some effort in his delivery, he overthrows at times and shoots for strikeouts too often. All of that leads to walks and high pitch counts. Using him as a reliever may be the best way to keep him healthy. With George Sherill, Hong-Chih Kuo and Brent Leach, the Dodgers have enough big league lefty relievers to allow Elbert to start 2010 in Triple-A. His long-term role still remains to be determined.
Lambo lasted until the fourth round of the 2007 draft because clubs questioned his makeup after he got caught smoking marijuana as a high school sophomore. He's had no problems since turning pro and ranked No. 1 on this list a year ago, when he reached Double-A shortly after turning 20. He had a lackluster 2009 season in Chattanooga but did bounce back to hit .330/.365/.484 in the Arizona Fall League. A pure hitter, Lambo has a short swing and uses the whole field. He's more of a gap hitter at this point, but his doubles should translate into more homers as he learns to turn on pitches. He played first base in high school and sporadically in his first two years as a pro, and he's a plus defender at that position. He has average arm strength and makes accurate throws from left field. Lambo is a below-average athlete whose lack of speed and range make him a substandard outfielder. Though he gets good jumps on balls, he may not be quick enough to avoid a return to first base. He has a tendency to get easily frustrated, which leads him to chase pitches out of the zone. Lambo could return for a third stint in Double-A to begin 2010, but he's still ahead of many 22-year-olds. He could be Manny Ramirez's successor in Los Angeles when the slugger's contract expires after next season.
After being chosen as the Dodgers' 2008 minor league player of the year, DeJesus' 2009 season effectively ended March 2, when he broke the lower part of the tibia in his right leg while being thrown out at the plate in a spring-training "B" game. He was limited to four late-season games in the Rookie-level Arizona League. DeJesus has an advanced approach at the plate, with good discipline and a willingness to use the whole field. He has average speed and keen baserunning instincts. He's a good defender with solid range and arm strength. He gets high marks for his baseball IQ, not surprising since his father Ivan Sr. was a major league shortstop for 15 seasons and is a coach with the Cubs. DeJesus doesn't have a lot of power and hits too many grounders for someone lacking plus speed. He has a knack for getting on base but won't provide many extra-base hits or steals. There will be questions about how his speed and range will be affected by his leg injury until he returns to playing every day. Had he spent last season in Triple-A, DeJesus might be ready to make the jump to Los Angeles. Instead, he'll open 2010 in Albuquerque, although he has been added to the Dodgers' 40-man roster. He's not as dynamic as Dee Gordon and may move to second base if they're in the same big league lineup one day.
Robinson played at Los Angeles' Crenshaw High, alma mater of former all-stars Chris Brown, Darryl Strawberry and Ellis Valentine. He earned a spot on the Dodgers' 40-man roster in November after setting career highs in most categories and ranking second in the high Class A California League with 43 steals. A veritable tool shed, Robinson boosted his stock by showing power for the first time last season, hitting 17 homers after totaling 12 in his first four pro seasons. He has made significant improvements with his swing from the left side and his approach. His plus-plus speed makes him a stolen-base threat and gives him range in center field. Robinson needs more discipline at the plate to avoid being exploited by more advanced pitchers. He chases too many pitches out of the zone and falls in love with his newfound power at times. His arm is slightly below-average, though that's not a problem in center field. He can have a hot temper, though his outbursts are becoming fewer. After taking a major step forward last season, Robinson will open 2010 back in Double-A with the chance for a midseason promotion. He's been added to the 40-man roster and if he continues his rapid progress, he'll be knocking on the door of the major leagues in 2011.
An unheralded 18th-round pick who signed for $20,000 and walked 17 in 18 innings during his pro debut, Webster improved as much as anyone in the system last season. He ranked third in the Arizona League in ERA (2.08) and opponent average (1.97), and was impressive after a late promotion to Rookie-level Ogden. The Diamondbacks brought him up in trade talks when they shipped Jon Garland to Los Angeles. Webster's fastball sits in the low 90s and often touches 94-95 mph. It looks even quicker because he throws it so effortlessly after putting in extensive work on his delivery during extended spring training. His hard three-quarters breaking ball is a plus pitch at times, and he has fairly good command of his changeup. Webster is extremely thin and will have to add significant strength to have the durability to remain a starter. He's hesitant to throw his changeup right now, particularly when behind in the count or with less than two strikes. His breaking ball could use more consistency. Ticketed for low Class A, Webster will get his first taste of a full-season ball in 2010. His raw stuff and ability to make adjustments could allow him to advance rapidly.
The Dodgers rarely exceed bonus recommendations from the commissioner's office, but they gave Gould $900,000--$337,500 over the slot value for the No. 65 pick last year and more than they gave their top choice, Aaron Miller. Gould impressed scouts at the World Wood Bat Championship in October 2008, striking out 18 and allowing only one hit in eight shutout innings, and followed up by breaking Nate Robertson's Maize (Kan.) High record with 95 strikeouts in 57 innings last spring. Gould's best pitch is a hard curveball that he throws from a high three-quarters arm slot, giving righthanders the impression it's coming straight at their batting helmet's earhole. He also has a quality fastball that sits in the low 90s and touches 94. His changeup is a work in progress. Extremely athletic, Gould was a star quarterback and basketball forward in high school and would have been a two-way player had he attended Wichita State. Despite just three innings of pro experience, he's advanced enough to begin 2010 in low Class A.
Russell holds the single-season and career home run records at Texas, connecting for 28 as a sophomore and 57 in his three-year career. He took a calculated gamble and turned down a reported $800,000 offer from the Cardinals after they selected him in 2007's fourth round as a draft-eligible sophomore. Russell wound up getting $410,000 from the Dodgers a year later as a third-rounder. He had a fine first full pro season in 2009, sharing Midwest League MVP honors with Great Lakes teammate Dee Gordon. Russell led the MWL in homers (26), RBIs (102), extra-base hits (72) and slugging (.545). His calling card is his light-tower power, as he has the bat speed and strength to hit the ball out to all fields when he gets his long arms uncoiled. He always has been prone to strikeouts--he ranked second in the minors with 180 last year--and is trying to strike that delicate balance between being more patient at the plate without losing his aggressiveness. Russell is athletic enough to play center field with slightly above-average speed, but he's better in right field, where he has a plus arm. Russell is 23 and Los Angeles may begin pushing him more. He'll start 2010 in high Class A but could finish the year in Chattanooga. He has a chance to be a middle-of-the-order hitter in the majors but needs to cut down on his strikeouts.
Eovaldi hails from Alvin, Texas, the same hometown as Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan. A fireballer in his own right, Eovaldi lasted 11 rounds in the 2008 draft because he was coming off Tommy John surgery the previous spring and was strongly committed to Texas A&M. The Dodgers persuaded him to sign with a $250,000 bonus and telephone sales pitches from manager Joe Torre and big leaguers Chad Billingsley and Jonathan Broxton. Eovaldi's game is all about heat, as he throws his fastball at 93-96 mph. He has developed a curveball since coming into pro ball but is inconsistent with it. He threw a slider in high school but shelved it because he felt it might have been the cause of his elbow problems. He has yet to gain a good feel for the changeup. There are some concerns about Eovaldi's durability because on his injury history. The Dodgers have been very careful with him and used him in tandem with 2008 first-rounder Ethan Martin in several outings at Great Lakes last season. Eovaldi will move to high Class A Inland Empire this season. If he doesn't develop his other pitches and work out as a starter, he still has the fastball to be an effective late-inning reliever.
Jansen had quite an eventful 2009. In March, he was the starting catcher for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic and helped seal a 3-2 upset of the Dominican Republic by throwing out Willy Taveras trying to steal third base in the ninth inning. By November, was the talk of the Arizona Fall League--as a reliever. In five seasons as a catcher, Jansen batted .229/.311/.337 and played just eight games above Class A. The Dodgers decided to utilize his cannon arm on the mound in late July and by the time he got to the AFL, he was routinely throwing his fastball at 95 mph and occasionally getting it to 98. He also has the makings of a good slider with two-plane break and a peak velocity of 82 mph. Los Angeles will keep him in the bullpen, so his learning curve won't be as sharp. Developing a changeup won't be as important as it would be if he were a starter, though he still has a ways to go to harness his electric stuff. Protecting him on the 40-man roster was an easy decision for the Dodgers. Jansen might be ready to start 2010 in Double-A, though he's young enough at 22 that there's no reason to rush him.
The first time Dodgers assistant GM for scouting Logan White saw Baez work out, he was reminded of Adrian Beltre. There's more than a little irony to that because the Dodgers have been looking for a long-term solution at third base since Beltre bolted as a free agent after the 2004 season. The path has been cleared for Baez to eventually be that guy, as third-base prospect Josh Bell was sent to Baltimore last July in a trade for George Sherrill. After failing to stick in low Class A in 2008, Baez handled high Class A pitching last season and earned a spot in the Futures Game. He injured his knee at the end of July, however, and required season-ending surgery. Baez has big-time power potential. He can crush the best fastballs and the ball jumps off his bat. However, he lacks strike-zone discipline and pitchers can get him to chase offspeed pitches far off the plate. Baez has the tools to be an above-average defensive third baseman, though he lacks consistency. He has a strong arm, good range and outstanding body control. His speed is fringe average and he may lose a step after his surgery. Baez will begin the year in Double-A and be in position to take over in Los Angeles when Casey Blake's contract expires at the end of the 2011 season.
The Dodgers steered Guerra away from an Arizona scholarship with a $275,000 bonus in 2004 and have patiently waited for him to blossom. After he spent the previous two seasons in high Class A, Guerra was demoted to Great Lakes to begin 2009. He reacted positively, getting selected to play in the Midwest League all-star game before earning a two-level promotion to Double-A and eventually a spot on the 40-man roster in November. Guerra's power arm always has made him intriguing, but his development has been slow since he had Tommy John surgery in 2005. He throws his fastball at 94-96 mph range and also has a sharp slider. He'll throw an occasional changeup, but it's mainly for show as he doesn't need a consistent third pitch as a reliever. His control was better last year than it had been at any time since his elbow reconstruction, but he still averaged 4.0 walks per nine innings. He'll have to do a better job of throwing strikes and locating his pitches to keep advancing. Guerra, who kept a blog for MLB.com during the 2009 season, will return to Chattanooga to open this year.
The Dodgers have an affinity for converting players to catchers, with Russell Martin and since-traded Carlos Santana among their recent success stories. Another of their projects is May, who moved from shortstop to outfielder in mid-2005 before shifting to catcher during instructional league in 2006. May's development was slowed last season when he broke a wrist in mid-May and missed six weeks, though he showed few ill effects of the injury when he returned. He starred for gold-medal champion Team USA at the World Cup in September, hitting .355 in eight starts and driving in four runs in the clincher against Cuba. May has some power and can turn on the best of fastballs, but he struggles with breaking and offspeed pitches, particularly on the outer half of the plate. He did a better job of controlling the strike zone last year than he had in the past. He's a tick above-average as a runner, a tool that sets him apart from most catchers. May has improved in his three seasons behind the plate and has the tools to possibly become a plus defender, but he's still a work in progress. He has an above-average arm and threw out a career-best 35 percent of basestealers in 2009. He's still inconsistent with his receiving, with 75 passed balls in 239 games behind the plate, and doesn't frame pitches well. He's learning the nuances of calling a game and guiding his pitchers through jams. Ticketed for Triple-A in 2010, he could make his major league debut later in the year.
Silverio was signed as a 16-year-old and his progress has been predictably slow. He won the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League batting title in 2007 by hitting .371 but hasn't made the same impact in two seasons in low Class A. Silverio has the makings of a good hitter with gap power to all fields. He doesn't get pull-happy like many young hitters, but he'll need to look to turn on more inside pitches if he wants to fully realize his power potential. While he prefers fastballs, he's learning to stay back on breaking balls and offspeed pitches. A free swinger, Silverio has walked just 33 times in 227 games at Great Lakes. If he doesn't show more patience, more advanced pitchers will have little problem exploiting him. Silverio played all three outfield positions last year and is best suited for left field because of below-average range. He has plus arm strength. A slow runner, Silverio is not a threat on the bases. He'll continue polishing his many rough edges in high Class A this year.
Van Slyke has outstanding baseball bloodlines as his father Andy played in the majors for 13 seasons, winning five Gold Gloves as a center fielder and being selected to three All-Star Games. Scott's older brother A.J. played in the Cardinals system, and his younger brother Jared is a safety on the University of Michigan football team. Like his dad, Scott didn't get his bat going until his third year in full-season ball. Van Slyke set career highs in virtually every category last season. Playing in the hitter-friendly California League helped, but he also learned how to work the count and hit the ball where it's pitched. Van Slyke also got comfortable with the idea of turning the bat loose instead of concentrating on just making contact. He doesn't possess the speed and range that his father did but has become a solid right fielder thanks to his instincts and strong, accurate arm. He'll steal an occasional base, more on smarts than speed. Five years after being drafted, Van Slyke finally reached Double-A, and his performance there should be a good barometer of what his future holds.
Wallach's father Tim was a major league third baseman for 17 seasons and now manages the Dodgers' Albuquerque farm club, while his brother Matt is a catcher in the system. Brett joined them in the organization last summer, signing for $351,900 as a third-round pick after leading Orange Coast CC to its first California community college state championship since 1980. He started and won the playoff semifinal, then saved the clincher a day later. Wallach's fastball sits at 90-91 mph and tops out at 94 with good sink. His changeup is his best pitch, and he also has a slider that's inconsistent. Primarily a shortstop in high school, Wallach pitched just two innings as a senior and pulled double duty at Orange Coast, batting cleanup while playing first base and shortstop. He's still learning the art of pitching, though he has a very smooth delivery that he repeats easily. Wallach has come a long way in a short time as a pitcher and will begin his first full pro season in low Class A. He could blossom into a No. 3 starter in the majors.
After holding his own as a 19-year-old in high Class A in 2008, taking over at third base for Inland Empire when Josh Bell went down with a knee injury, little went right for Gallagher last season. He strained his throwing shoulder during spring training, and the Dodgers decided to have him take it easy by playing first base and serving as the DH in low Class A. He continued to reaggravate his shoulder and never got his bat going before getting shut down in July to have surgery. Gallagher's frame and bat speed suggest he could blossom into a power hitter, but he has yet to develop loft in his swing and instead focuses on hitting line drives to all fields. Pitchers were able to beat him by working him inside in 2009. Los Angeles still has hopes that Gallagher can stay at third base, but his lack of mobility and his shoulder problems seem to make it inevitable that he'll wind up at first base. He's a below-average runner. Gallagher likely will begin this season at Inland Empire, though the Dodgers want to see how he performs in spring training before making a decision.
Smith excelled as both a pitcher and an outfielder at California and for Team USA's college team, leading to split opinion among scouts as to what his future should be in pro ball. The Dodgers liked him more as a hitter and became even more convinced that he had more upside with the bat when he put on a power display during a predraft workout at Dodger Stadium. They drafted him in the second round last June and signed him for $643,500. However, Smith struggled mightily in his pro debut and looked overmatched, even in the Arizona League. Club officials believe he tried too hard to make an impression as a high draft pick, causing him to overswing and hook a lot of balls because of his impatience. Smith has a long stroke with some uppercut, which leaves him prone to strikeouts, but he also has the raw power to hit 25 or more homers a year in the major leagues. He has a chance to be an above-average right fielder because of his strong arm. He's a good athlete with average speed. If Smith flops as a hitter, the Dodgers always can try him on the mound. He has a 92-94 mph fastball and his curveball and changeup show flashes of being plus pitches as well. He has more pure stuff than polish, so he may be more of a reliever than a starter if he becomes a full-time pitcher. But Los Angeles isn't close to giving up on his bat, which they hope will show more signs of life this year in low Class A.
Paul appeared to have a golden opportunity last May 7 when Major League Baseball suspended Manny Ramirez for 50 games for using a performance-enhancing drug. Recalled from Triple-A, he never got a chance to play regularly in left field because he developed a staph infection in his right knee that forced him to the disabled list. Once he recovered from the infection, he began feeling pain in his left ankle and was found to have microfractures that kept him on the DL for the remainder of the season. Paul has plenty of raw talent but never has quite refined it during his seven pro seasons. He has a nice line-drive stroke, yet his free-swinging ways result in high strikeout totals without enough home run power to compensate. He has plus speed but his lack of baserunning savvy keeps him from stealing more bases. Paul is a good defensive outfielder with the range to play center field and the arm to play right. He'll return to Triple-A to being this season, as the Dodgers' outfield is set after Ramirez exercised the player option in his contract.
The Dodgers liked Garcia enough to give him $120,000 as an eighth-round pick in 2009, but even they were surprised at how well he performed in his pro debut. As a Puerto Rican high schooler, he developed the reputation of looking great in workouts but not being able to perform well in games. However, he hit .304/.362/.500 in the Arizona League and finished on a .371 tear with eight doubles in his last 17 games. Garcia has outstanding raw power, and some of the doubles he hit in his initial taste of pro ball figure to turn into homers as his body matures and he gets a better feel for facing advanced pitching. He's a smart hitter, which gives hope that he'll be able to increase his walk total and lower his strikeouts as he gains experience. The Dodgers consider Garcia the best defender from their 2009 draft. Though his speed is average, his instincts give him good range in center field. If he loses a step, he has the strong arm to make the move to right field. Garcia receives high marks for his work ethic and that, coupled with his baseball IQ, means he should be ready to make the jump to low Class A in 2010.
After setting school records at NCAA Division II Catawba (N.C.) for homers (61), walks (132) and slugging (.752), Sands lasted 25 rounds in the 2008 draft and signed for $5,000. His best tool clearly is his power. Capable of hitting the ball out to the deepest part of just about any park, he has 29 homers in 119 pro games. He's more than just a one-dimensional slugger, too. He hits the ball to all fields and shows good patience at the plate. He also has decent speed and is capable of taking an extra base if he catches the defense napping. He moves well enough to have played some center field in 2009, though his range is below average and will dictate that he plays on a corner. He has a solid arm, so right field likely will be his future home. Sands initially struggled when he got to low Class A but came on at the end of the season. He'll go back to Great Lakes to begin this season.
The son of former Dodgers pitcher Balvino Galvez, with whom he lost contact when he was 10 years old, Cavazos-Galvez had a huge pro debut after signing for $15,000 as a 12th-round pick in June. He has a long track record as a hitter, having batted .495 in two seasons at New Mexico JC and and .379 in two seasons at New Mexico. He then won MVP honors in the Rookie-level Pioneer League after leading the league in runs (59), hits (97), doubles (29) and homers (18). He was a two-time all-Mountain West Conference selection at New Mexico, which shares a stadium with the Dodgers' Albuquerque farm club. Cavazos-Galvez has the ability to hit for average and power because of his outstanding bat speed. He can turn on inside pitches and is willing to hit to all fields. He's prone to strikeouts, though, because he becomes impatient at the plate and has a swing that tends to get long. Cavazos-Galvez has above average speed and is a threat to steal a base, though he needs to refine his technique after getting caught eight times in 25 tries at Ogden. He played all three outfield positions in his debut but has a below-average arm and takes bad routes to balls, so he'll wind up as a left fielder. Cavazos-Galvez's big 2009 debut was tempered by the fact he was quite old for the Pioneer League at 22. Los Angeles may jump him to high Class A for his first full pro season.
Rondon is 23 and has yet to prove he can handle full-season ball, having posted a 6.75 ERA in stints at Great Lakes and Inland Empire during the last two seasons. But there's no denying his live fastball, which sits at 92- 93 mph and tops out at 95. Hitters have difficulty squaring up his heater, which generates plenty of strikeouts and grounders. Rondon has yet to master a second pitch, however, which is why he became a full-time reliever in 2009. He flashes a power slider with good depth but doesn't always get on top of it, causing it to flatten out and become very hittable. The bottom falls out of his changeup, much like a splitter, but he has a hard time keeping it in the strike zone. The biggest knock on Rondon is his attitude, as he's quite the showman and likes drawing attention to himself while riling opponents with his antics. Rondon also gained quite a bit of weight last offseason, not all of it muscle, and is significantly heavier than his listed weight of 163 pounds. He'll give high Class A another try in 2010.
Giles was a small part of the organization long before he was drafted. He grew up in Vero Beach, Fla., where the Dodgers held spring training from 1948-2008, and served as a bat boy for their big league club in the spring and their Florida State League affiliate during the season. He's a licensed pilot, though the team turned down his request to fly his family's six-seat plane from city to city when he broke into pro ball in the Pioneer League in 2006. Giles has slugged .500 or better in three of his four pro seasons, and last year he made significant strides in his ability to handle offspeed pitches. He still has yet to prove he can hit lefthanders well enough to be more than a platoon player. He has average speed on the bases. Giles has slightly above-average range and a good arm, enabling him to play all three outfield spots, though he's a bit stretched in center and profiles more as a right fielder. He finished last season in Double-A and likely will begin 2010 there, though Los Angeles could push him to Triple-A if he has a good spring.
Danielson comes from the Russell County High (Seale, Ala.) program that produced three first- or sandwich- round picks form 2006-07 in Colby (Cardinals) and Cory Rasmus (Braves) and Kasey Kiker (Rangers). A seventh-rounder in 2007, Danielson has spent all three of his pro seasons in Rookie ball. However, he took a major step forward last year when he reported to spring training having shed 30 pounds after ballooning to 250 by the end of the 2008 season. The Dodgers would like to see him continue to improve his strength and conditioning, believing that would add velocity to a fastball that sometimes touches 93 mph but usually sits at 88-89. He has an outstanding changeup, rare for a pitcher so inexperienced, and a curveball that gets loopy at times. He worked on a slider during instructional league at end of last season. Danielson has good command of all his pitches and is noted for his willingness to be coached. The time has come for him to step up to full-season ball, and he'll start 2010 in low Class A.
The Dodgers selected Erickson in the 15th round out of a San Diego high school in 2006, then signed him for $35,000 as a draft-and-follow the next spring after he spent a year at San Diego Mesa JC. He has yet to advance past Rookie ball in three pro seasons, yet he has shed the label of organizational player and is a legitimate prospect. A big switch-hitter, Erickson hits line drives from both sides of the plate, though he has trouble catching up to quality fastballs. With his big frame and solid plate discipline, he has the potential to hit for power. Like most catchers, he's not a good runner. Erickson has improved greatly behind the plate. He has a strong arm and erased 28 percent of basestealers last season. His receiving and blocking skills are decent, and he calls a good game. Moving up to low Class A in 2010 will provide a test to see if the gains he made in 2009 were real or the result of playing against less advanced competition.
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