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When Los Angeles drafted Lee with the 28th overall selection in 2010, the pick was met with plenty of skepticism. Not because of any lack of ability on his part, but rather because it was suspected the budget-conscious Dodgers intended to save money by not signing him. In addition to his prowess on the mound, Lee also was a highly rated quarterback recruit, throwing for 2,565 yards and 31 touchdowns as a senior at McKinney (Texas) High, where his top wide receiver was current Braves prospect Matt Lipka. Lee intended to play both sports for Louisiana State, and he spent the summer of 2010 taking classes at LSU and working out with the football team. Still, Los Angeles believed it could get a deal done. The Dodgers shocked the industry at the Aug. 16 deadline by signing him for $5.25 million, the largest draft bonus in franchise history. They spread the bonus over five years in a heavily backloaded deal that paid him less up front than MLB's slot value for the No. 28 pick ($1,134,000). Lee missed three weeks last May due to elbow tightness that proved to be nothing major, and that was his only real speed bump in an otherwise solid pro debut. He allowed two earned runs or fewer in 19 of his 24 starts at low Class A Great Lakes. Lee has a deep arsenal and the pitchability to get the most out of it. His fastball generally ranges from 89-93 mph, but he can reach back for more when he needs it, touching as high as 98. He commands his fastball to both sides of the plate, and he also has an advanced feel for manipulating it. He can make his fastball sink or turn it into a cutter has developed into a true weapon. Lee featured a hard curveball that tended to get slurvy in high school, but he worked on developing a curve and slider as separate offerings in 2011. He made huge strides with the slider by the end of the season, allowing him to get in on the hands of lefthanders, whom he held to a .229/.291/.341 line. The curve still shows promising spin and depth at 79-83 mph when it's on, but it continues to come and go. He also features an 81-84 mph changeup that has a chance to be an average pitch down the road. Lee earns high marks for his poise on the mound and the leadership he showed on Great Lakes' staff, a trait owing to his quarterbacking days. He does a good job of controlling games and doesn't get frustrated when something doesn't go his way. His big, strong frame elicits physical comparisons to Chris Carpenter. His delivery has some crossfire to it, though it also gives him deception. Los Angeles worked on improving his direction to the plate in instructional league, but he doesn't require any major mechanical changes. The Dodgers considered promoting Lee to high Class A Rancho Cucamonga or even Double-A Chattanooga toward the end of 2011 but elected to let him finish out the year in Great Lakes. He'll likely begin 2012 in high Class A, but he has the polish and the stuff to handle a more aggressive timetable than the usual high school draft pick. Los Angeles believes he'll be a frontline starter and he could arrive in the majors by the end of 2013.
The Dodgers converted Webster from shortstop after stealing him in the 18th round of the 2008 draft for $20,000. He quickly has become one of their best pitching prospects, easily handling the challenging high Class A California League and holding his own in Double-A before tiring down the stretch in 2011. Webster shows plus pitches across the board when he has everything working. He has an easy delivery and 90-95 mph fastball that peaks at 97 mph with plenty of sink, helping him generate grounders all day long. He throws both a slider and curveball that are plus pitches at times, though at others he gets caught between the two. He has some trouble staying on top of his curve but it shows sharp three-quarters bite when it's on. Webster's changeup could be his best pitch, featuring sink and fade at 79-83 mph, though some scouts think he tips it off by slowing his arm speed. Los Angeles had him work on honing his armside fastball command in instructional league, but he already shows advanced pitchability for his age. One Dodgers official compares Webster to Derek Lowe, and his stuff gives him the potential to be a No. 2 starter. He'll likely end up back in Double-A to start 2012, with an outside chance of pitching his way into the big league rotation in spring training.
Eovaldi fell to the 11th round of the 2008 draft because he had Tommy John surgery as a high school junior and made a strong commitment to Texas A&M. The Dodgers weren't scared off and signed him for $250,000. After a solid but unspectacular start to his pro career, he took off in 2011, dominating Double-A and making his big league debut at age 21. Eovaldi has a power arsenal, led by a heater that works at 94-98 mph with good downhill angle and occasional late life. His fastball touched triple digits when he came out of the bullpen in the majors. He has a wrist wrap in his arm action that has led to inconsistency, but he did a better job in 2011 of staying over the rubber longer and allowing his arm to clear, helping his fastball command. Eovaldi ditched his curveball after 2010 and developed an 85-91 mph slider that's a plus pitch with tilt and late movement at its best. His changeup is fringy but good enough to keep hitters honest. His key going forward will be to throw more strikes. Some scouts believe Eovaldi fits best as a two-pitch, late-inning reliever, but Los Angeles will keep him a starter. He'll vie for a spot in the big league rotation in spring training.
Silverio has made incremental progress since signing for $50,000 as a 16-year-old. He didn't rise above Class A until 2011, his eighth pro season, but he proved he could handle advanced pitching. He led the Double-A Southern League in total bases (289) and the minors in triples (18) while finishing fifth in the SL batting race (.306). He earned a trip to the Futures Game and a spot on the 40-man roster. Silverio could end up with five average or better tools. He has a quick, powerful swing, generating line drives from gap to gap and average home run power, mostly to his pull side. The biggest difference-maker for him in 2011 was how much he tightened his strike zone, putting together quality at-bats and forcing pitchers to execute pitches to get him out. He never has walked much and still has an aggressive mentality at the plate, but he has shown he can make adjustments. Silverio played all three outfield spots in 2011, seeing the most action in center field. He's a tick above average runner who fits best on a corner. His solid arm strength and throwing accuracy play well in right field. In line to move up to Triple-A Albuquerque in 2012, Silverio can be a solid everyday major league outfielder. He offers an in-house option if Andre Ethier departs via free agency after 2012.
After splurging on Zach Lee in 2010, the cash-strapped Dodgers were limited financially in the first round. They took Reed, who posted a 1.23 ERA as Stanford's closer in the spring, with the 16th overall pick. They signed him for $1.589 million, slightly above MLB's slot recommendation, and plan on developing him as a starter. Though Reed made only one start in three seasons at Stanford, he has the repertoire to work in a big league rotation. His fastball ranges from 89-96 mph, with tail and sink on his two-seamer and late boring action on his four-seamer. He throws a late-breaking slider at 85-86, and while it's often a plus pitch is also can get slurvy. He has good feel for a changeup that has action similar to his two-seamer's. Reed earns high marks for his competitiveness and intelligence. Los Angeles was encouraged by how well he repeated his delivery and held his velocity for five innings during a playoff start at Rancho Cucamonga. The Dodgers agreed to allow Reed to return to Stanford over the winter to finish his degree. When he gets back, he'll open his first full pro season back in high Class A. It remains to be seen how his arm will respond to the increased workload, but the ingredients are there for him to move quickly with the ceiling of a No. 2 starter.
Though his $900,000 bonus was the largest in the Dodgers' 2009 draft class, Gould spent his first two pro seasons at Rookie-level Ogden before making the move to low Class A in 2011. Gould has a quality three-pitch mix. He commands both sides of the plate with a sinking fastball that ranges from 90-95 mph and sits at 92-93. His curveball is his best pitch, a sharp three-quarters breaker which comes in at 79-83 mph. Gould also has a changeup that plays as a solid third pitch. His command and aggressiveness in the strike zone have improved notably. Gould used to raise some red flags with his mechanics because he landed on a stiff front leg, but he softened it up in 2011 and his whole delivery got cleaner. The Dodgers stressed the need to improve his work ethic and his demeanor on the mound. He responded to the challenge, though he still can do a better job of controlling his emotions. Gould has the weapons to be a mid-rotation starter and possibly more. He'll join Lee again in 2012, this time in high Class A. Gould's pure stuff is a little better, while Lee has more pitchability.
Withrow had enough hitting ability to play both ways at Baylor had the Dodgers not signed him for $1.35 million as the 20th overall pick in 2007. He's been stuck in Double-A for three years and led the Southern League with 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings in 2011 but recorded consecutive quality starts once all year. Withrow has a riding fastball that sits at 94-95 mph and can reach 98. When he's on, he's able to spin a sharp, downer curveball that rates as a plus pitch, but he has trouble maintaining its consistency and short-arms it. His changeup has nice fading action at 83-86 mph, and while he shows some aptitude for maintaining his arm speed, it's not always a reliable offering. He also throws an 85-88 mph slider early in counts. Scouts don't question Withrow's stuff, but they wonder how well he'll be able to use it. His control and command still need a lot of work, and at times he looks like he's solely concerned with lighting up radar guns. If he ever figures out command, Withrow can be a quality big league starter. Though he's likely headed back to Chattanooga for a fourth stint, Los Angeles protected him on its 40-man roster in November.
Lindblom turned down a $300,000 offer as the Astros' third-round pick out of high school in 2005, then attended Tennessee and Purdue before landing $663,000 from the Dodgers three years later. He struggled as a starter before settling in as a closer in college, and his pro career has followed a similar pattern. Los Angeles returned him to the bullpen in mid-2010 after his velocity dropped off. While he has a starter's repertoire, Lindblom is more comfortable in the bullpen. Now that he's working in relief again, his fastball operates at 91-95 mph with average sink. His breaking pitches are more crisp, with his mid-80s slider showing tilt and generating some swings and misses. He also has a 73-74 mph curveball with average bite and a usable changeup with some downward movement and deception. As a reliever, Lindblom focuses mainly on his fastball and slider. His body is strong and durable, and he has a solid delivery. He shows more confidence coming out of the bullpen than he did in the rotation. Some scouts still think Lindblom could develop into a useful starter, but Los Angeles plans to keep him as a reliever after he pitched well in the majors in the final two months. He could work in a number of roles, most likely settling in as a set-up man.
A two-sport standout as an outfielder and wide receiver in high school, Pederson signed for $600,000 as an 11th-rounder. In his first full year as a pro, he looked overmatched in a brief stint in low Class A before leading the Rookie-level Pioneer League in RBIs (64) and finishing second in on-base percentage (.429) and fourth in batting (.353). His father Stu played eight games for the Dodgers in September 1985. Pederson shows lots of polish for a teenager and plays with a blue-collar mentality. He has a short, sound swing and the chance to be an above-average hitter. He's willing to use all fields, and he got better at pulling inside pitches with more authority in 2011, which should help him get to his average power potential. Pederson saw action at all three outfield positions with Ogden, though he played primarily in left and will end up on a corner in the long term. He has a solid arm with slightly above-average speed. He's an efficient basestealer with good instincts on the basepaths. Pederson will get another crack at the Midwest League in 2012. He'll need time to develop but his talent stands out among the position prospects at the lower levels of the system.
The Dodgers entered 2011 sorely lacking in catching prospects. They addressed that need through the draft and by getting Federowicz, who arrived along with righthanders Stephen Fife and Juan Rodriguez in the three-team deal that sent Eric Bedard from the Mariners to the Red Sox in July. Los Angeles sent Trayvon Robinson to Seattle. Federowicz always has been known for his defense more than his bat. His hands work well behind the plate and his ability to block balls stands out as well. He has outstanding receiving skills and a solid, accurate arm. He also draws praise for his game-calling and leadership. Federowicz put up the best numbers of his pro career in his month at hitterfriendly Albuquerque, showing good feel at the plate and loft power he hadn't displayed previously. Most scouts project that he'll hit for a decent average with gap power but nothing more. He gets himself out when he starts pulling off breaking pitches. He has a stocky frame and is a below-average runner, like most catchers. Rod Barajas' departure via free agency enhances Federowicz's chances of opening 2012 in the majors, though it's unlikely the Dodgers would hand him their starting job. His defensive ability may allow him to claim that role down the road.
Baldwin kept busy at Pinecrest High (Southern Pines, N.C), enjoying standout careers in football and basketball as well as baseball, where he both pitched and played outfield. His father James Jr. pitched 11 seasons in the majors and was Pinecrest's pitching coach, but the son's future is as a position player. The Dodgers signed him away from an Elon commitment for $180,000 after taking him in the fourth round of in 2010. Baldwin is more raw than Joc Pederson, his teammate at Ogden last season, but his tools offer intriguing projection. He's an outstanding athlete with a lean build. Los Angeles projects him as a solid hitter in time, though he still has a ways to go. His swing can get long and he gives at-bats away at times. Baldwin struggled against quality stuff in the Pioneer League and hit just .183/.300/.367 against lefthanders. He has some pop in his bat and he projects to have 20-homer power once he fills out. There's little question about Baldwin's defense. He can be a frontline center fielder, showing the well above-average speed to go and get balls, and he has a strong arm. His quickness makes him a threat on the bases, too. Baldwin likely will need development time at every level, but his tools could be worth the wait. He'll get his first look at full-season ball at Great Lakes in 2012.
Sanchez's route to pro ball was very atypical for a Latin American prospect, as he signed out of a Dominican college. He passed up opportunities to turn pro as a teenager so he could attend Santo Domingo Autonomous University. He was one semester away from graduating when he signed with the Dodgers in July 2010, costing them just $7,500. Sanchez pitched well in his pro debut in low Class A last year, allowing three runs or less in 18 of his 20 outings. He has a power arm, throwing 92-96 mph four-seam fastballs with armside run and sinking two-seamers. His changeup is his best secondary offering, featuring splitter-like action at 80-85 mph. He also has a slurvy curveball that flashes depth and rotation at times but is a work in progress. Sanchez uses a high three-quarters arm slot and, while he can be a little upright finishing his delivery at times, he doesn't have any major mechanical issues. He does need to tighten his command. Sanchez receives praise for his work ethic and how quickly he's picked up English. He's a potential No. 3 starter who could begin moving quickly, possibly reaching Double-A in 2012.
Garcia came out of the gate red-hot last season, defying the Midwest League's cold weather by belting seven homers in April to lead the circuit. The rest of his year didn't go as well, as he batted just .218/.281/.376 afterward and finished in a 2-for-23 skid. To his credit, his 19 homers still were an impressive total for a teenager in a tough league for hitters. Garcia's above-average raw power has been his biggest selling point since his high school days, when he was known to put on shows in batting practice but struggle against live pitching. He has strong hands and a quick bat with loft in his stroke, allowing him to hit balls a long way when he connects. However, Garcia struggles to maintain a consistent approach and setup, and thus his swing gets out of sync. He has an aggressive mentality, and opponents found they could exploit him with offspeed pitches. Great Lakes' everyday right fielder last season, Garcia has enough arm strength to play there, but he's already a slightly below-average runner and needs to watch his conditioning. Garcia got his swing back during instructional league, where the Dodgers named him the most improved player in camp. He'll try to carry that momentum into 2012 when he moves up to high Class A.
The Dodgers believe Barlow could be one of the steals of the 2011 draft. He had a very projectable frame but pitched with a fringy fastball in high school, which is why he lasted until the 194th overall pick. Los Angeles signed him away from a Fresno State commitment for $150,000 in early August. Between the draft and instructional league, Barlow put on some quality weight and his fastball got stronger as well, rising to 90-93 mph and hitting 94. He spins a quality 1-to-7 curveball at 76-78 mph and also shows promise with his slider and changeup, though the changeup lags behind his other pitches. Barlow has a loose, easy arm and throws from a three-quarters angle. He has a clean delivery, with good balance and the ability to generate a nice downhill plane. He receives high marks for his competitiveness and advanced feel for pitching for his age. A potential midrotation starter, Barlow will get a chance to begin his first full pro season in low Class A. He only pitched two innings after signing, so he could open 2012 in extended spring training and head to Ogden in June.
Tolleson was a potential first-round pick entering his high school senior season in 2006, but he blew out his elbow and needed Tommy John surgery that March. His injury and bonus demands caused him to go undrafted, so he headed to Baylor, where he battled more elbow problems and inconsistency over the next four years. He went unpicked again as a redshirt sophomore in 2009 and signed for $20,000 as a 30th-round pick in 2010. The Dodgers promptly moved Tolleson to the bullpen and he has done nothing but dominate in pro ball. He has a 1.01 ERA, .198 opponent average and 144-23 K-BB ratio in 98 pro innings, and he reached Double-A in May of his first full pro season. Tolleson's herky-jerky delivery made scouts nervous when he was a starter in college, but it works as a reliever and gives him some deception. He throws a running four-seam fastball at 93-96 mph and has turned his cutter into a weapon as well. He also throws a solid slider, featuring tilt and late bite. His changeup is a below-average pitch but he doesn't need it much as a reliever. Los Angeles believes Tolleson could've pitched in the majors last season if needed. He should make his major league debut in 2012 and has a ceiling as a set-up man.
Miller and Shawn Tolleson were part of the same Baylor recruiting class, which Baseball America ranked as college baseball's best in 2006. At that point, Miller was more highly regarded as a hitter and the Rockies drafted him as an outfielder in the 11th round. Miller spent most of his first two college seasons in the outfield before becoming a two-way player in 2009, when he pitched his way into the sandwich round. He signed for $889,200 bonus as the Dodgers' top pick that June. Miller had a strong first full season in 2010, despite his fastball dropping to 87-91 mph, but injuries prevented him from building on it. He didn't make his first start until late May and tried to pitch through pain with what turned out to be a sports hernia that wasn't diagnosed until late in the season. His fastball fell another tick to 86-90 mph and he also had trouble finishing his delivery and spinning his slider. In the past, Miller has shown the makings of a mid-rotation starter with a low- 90s fastball and a slider with true plus potential. He also has displayed feel for a changeup with sink. Not surprisingly for an inexperienced pitcher, he needs to do a better job of maintaining his arm slot and commanding his pitches. Miller didn't have surgery until late in the year, so Los Angeles will assess his progress in spring training. He would have pitched in Double-A last year if healthy and will head there once he's back at full strength.
When Martin's high school senior season began in 2008, some teams wanted him for his power and athleticism as a third baseman, while others were attracted to his big arm on the mound. By June, most clubs preferred him as a pitcher and the Dodgers made him the first prep arm taken. The 15th overall choice, he signed for $1.73 million. Martin was raw even by the standards of a high school draft pick and got shelled in high Class A for most of the last two years, but his potential still sticks out. He still throws a mid-90s fastball with life in the zone, and he has an extra gear to get it up to 98 mph. He has a curveball that shows flashes of becoming a plus pitch with good rotation, but it's inconsistent. Last season, he added an 82-84 mph slider that shows occasional tilt and grades as an average offering at times, though it also tends to break too early. He has shown some feel a fading 84-86 mph changeup, which has a chance to be average. Martin's lack of pitchability and command have been his downfall. He rushes his delivery and struggles to repeat it despite efforts to improve his direction and timing. Los Angeles wanted to get Martin out of the unforgiving California League and did so by sending him to Double-A as a reliever late last June. He had a 3.29 ERA in that role for Chattanooga, though he still had trouble finding the zone. Because he has an array of promising pitches, the Dodgers will return him to the rotation in Double-A this year. He maintains the ceiling of a No. 2 starter but has a long way to go.
Santana's father Rafael was the everyday shortstop for the 1986 World Series champion Mets and played in seven big league seasons. Alex was a shortstop in high school too, but it quickly became apparent he was outgrowing the position and the Dodgers moved him to third base after signing him for $499,500 as the 73rd overall pick in last year's draft. Santana was just 17 when he signed, making him one of the youngest players in his draft class. He's accordingly raw but has intriguing tools. Santana has plus bat speed and good hands at the plate, giving him above-average power potential. He's still growing into his body, though, and he looks awkward at times. His swing is a little long and Los Angeles wants him to use his legs better. He shows promising pitch recognition, but he still swung and missed too frequently in his pro debut. Santana has the actions and athleticism to stick at third base. He also has a strong arm, though he throws from a low slot and tends to get under the ball. He's not a burner but has decent speed. While Santana could break camp with Great Lakes in 2012, he'll probably stay in extended spring training before getting assigned to Ogden in June.
In two seasons at Belmont Abbey (N.C.), an NCAA Division II program, Castellanos set school records for career batting average (.408) and single-season hits (97) and doubles (31). The first Crusader drafted since 1972, he signed with the Cardinals for $70,000 as a 10th-round pick in 2008. He set career bests in almost every category while advancing to Double-A in 2011, and St. Louis used him to get a much-need shortstop (Rafael Furcal) from the Dodgers at the July trade deadline. He has a smooth stroke and the ball jumps off his bat, giving him the potential for average power. Offspeed pitches give him problems, however, and he can be beaten by high fastballs as well. Castellanos played second and third base before moving to right field in 2010. He has above-average speed and a strong arm. Los Angeles added Castellanos to their 40-man roster after the season and will send him to Triple-A in 2012. The Dodgers had a D-II product reach the majors last year in Jerry Sands, and Castellanos could be next.
Russell set single-season (28) and career (57) home run records at Texas. Along the way, he passed up a reported $800,000 offer as the Cardinals' fourth-round pick in 2007. A year later, he landed $410,000 in the third round from the Dodgers. He has more raw power than any hitter in the system, and he draws comparisons to Russell Branyan for his homer and strikeout totals. Russell has a lean frame but generates good leverage and loft in his swing. He swings hard every time, and while he'll punish mistakes, he struggles to make adjustments against quality pitching. He has holes in his stroke and is helpless against lefthanders, who held him to .175/.279/.360 numbers in 2011. Russell might hit 25-30 homers annually in the majors, but it would come with the tradeoff of a subpar average and plenty of strikeouts. He has solid defensive tools in his arm and speed, though he doesn't stand out in right field. Russell moved up to Triple-A late last season and will head back to Albuquerque to start 2012. While his power could lead to big numbers in one of the minors' best launching pads, Los Angeles is eager to see how he'll handle veteran pitching.
Van Slyke has an outstanding pedigree. His father Andy played 13 seasons in the majors, making the All-Star Game three times and winning five straight Gold Gloves as an outfielder. Older brother A.J. played four seasons in the Cardinals system. Scott struggled with a long swing and poor plate discipline in his first look at Double-A in 2010, ending in a demotion that June, but he came back with a vengeance in 2011. He led the Southern League in hitting (.348) and doubles (45) while finishing second in on-base percentage (.427) and slugging (.595). Van Slyke has a nice swing with good wrist action. Once he stopped being as pull-conscious as he'd been in the past, he started showing solid power to all fields. Some scouts still have concerns about his ability to handle inside pitches and quality breaking stuff. A full-time outfielder until 2011, Van Slyke saw time at first base early in the season before moving back to the outfield in June, mostly playing in left field. He showed soft hands at first base and was adequate at both positions, though he didn't stand out at either. He's a fringy runner with a solid arm. The Dodgers added Van Slyke to their 40-man roster after the season to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. He could put up more gaudy numbers at Albuquerque in 2012, with the opportunity for a big league promotion later in the year.
Songco had an accomplished three-year career at Loyola Marymount, winning West Coast Conference freshman of the year honors in 2007 and leaving with the second-best career slugging percentage in Lions history at .630. Playing close to home at Rancho Cucamonga last season, Songco blistered the California League, leading the circuit in doubles (48) and ranking second in homers (29). He made nice adjustments against lefthanders, slugging .478 against them in 2011 compared to .346 the year before. Songco holds the bat up high in an open stance. He has power more to the gaps than over the fence, and some scouts question whether he'll have enough pop, regardless of his Cal League home run total. Most of his longballs come to his pull side. Songco spent his first two pro seasons and began 2011 in left field, but his below-average speed and athleticism prompted a move to first base in June. He made strides there and showed he can be a decent first baseman in the future. His subpar arm strength fits better at first base, too. Songco will have to prove himself again this year in Double-A, where how he fares against more advanced pitchers will tell much about his future.
After passing on signing with the Giants as a 10th-rounder out of high school, O'Sullivan began his college career at San Diego State in 2009. He injured his elbow in his first appearance of 2010 and didn't pitch again that season. Grade issues prompted him to transfer to Oklahoma City, a top NAIA program, but he didn't get his academic release and had to sit out last spring. After teams scouted O'Sullivan in bullpen sessions, the Dodgers drafted him in the fourth round last June. He didn't completely pass his physical, so he signed for a below-slot $100,000. O'Sullivan has better pure stuff than his older brother Sean, who has been in and out of the Royals rotation. Ryan's fastball ranges from 89-95 mph and sits at 92-93 with average movement. He complements it with a slider, curveball and a circle changeup, with the slider rating as the best of his secondary pitches. His curve is more of a show-me pitch, while his 80-83 changeup has some fade away from righthanders. There's some effort in O'Sullivan's delivery, though it isn't excessive. A potential mid-rotation starter if everything comes together, he'll open his first full pro season at one of the Dodgers' Class A affiliates.
A second-round pick in 2005, Wall slipped off the prospect radar after six up-anddown seasons as a starter. He looked like a big leaguer at times, but he was prone to losing focus and struggled to maintain consistent stuff. The Dodgers moved him to relief in 2011 and the shorter stints suited him better, as he had his best season as a pro. Wall's fastball velocity varied as a starter but he sits at 95-98 mph coming out of the bullpen. His fastball has some armside movement, though it gets straighter at higher velocities. His slider also has improved, as it's now tighter and harder at 87-90 mph. Wall also owns a curveball he can throw for strikes and a fringy changeup. Some scouts still question his feel for using his secondary pitches, and lefthanders batted .327/.410/.505 against him in 2011. The Dodgers prefer to point to how much he has matured and added him to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. Wall has a good delivery and a loose, easy arm, so durability hasn't been a problem. He could be a middle-relief option in Los Angeles in the near future.
The Dodgers signed four college catchers out of the 2011 draft, starting with Maynard in the third round for $315,000. He stands out more offensively than defensively at this point. Maynard, who ranked third in NCAA Division I with a North Carolina State-record 64 walks in 2010, has good pitch-recognition skills. He lets balls travel deep in the hitting zone and utilizes the opposite field. He has some fringy power, though it comes mostly in the form of line drives and doubles rather than homers. Maynard will need to stick as a catcher because his bat won't be enough to carry him if he has to move to a corner. He didn't catch every day in college, so he's more raw behind the plate than the typical college draft pick. He shows quality leadership and game-calling abilities, but he needs to soften up his receiving and improve his footwork. Maynard does have solid arm strength and threw out 23 percent of basestealers in his pro debut. An ankle injury limited him to 25 games at Ogden, though he did recover in time to participate in instructional league. He'll move up to one of Los Angeles' Class A affiliates in 2012, most likely Great Lakes.
DeJesus looked overpowered in his first exposure to the big leagues last April and May, but he righted the ship after returning to Triple-A. He draws comparisons to his father Ivan Sr., who also came up with the Dodgers and played in the majors for 15 seasons. DeJesus has an inside-out swing, producing line drives from gap to gap with solid bat speed. His power output will be limited and he compensates with good on-base skills, as his patient approach produces walks. DeJesus broke his leg during spring training in 2009, costing him most of that season. Never a speedster even before the injury, he's now a tick below-average runner who rarely has tried to steal in the last two seasons. Unlike his father, DeJesus won't carve out a long career as a shortstop. He has good hands, and while his arm is accurate and strong enough to get by at shortstop, he fits best at second base. Since he got hurt, he has played primarily at second while also seeing action at short and third base. He'll have to fight for a job in spring training and may face a third season in Triple-A.
Lemmerman followed up his Pioneer League MVP season in 2010 with a solid first full year in pro ball, earning a promotion to Double-A in August. He doesn't have anything flashy about his game but he finds a way to get the job done. Lemmerman has a quick, compact swing and grinds out quality at-bats. He went to the Arizona Fall League after last season but fell into a slump when he started trying to do too much and pulled off balls, hitting just .156/.299/.203. He's at his best when he uses the middle of the field, as he has below-average power and needs to avoid trying to muscle up. Lemmerman is a consistent defender whose savvy is his best asset. He's a slightly below-average runner with just enough arm strength to get by at shortstop for now. The Dodgers felt Lemmerman wore down towards the end of last season and that fatigue was another factor in his poor AFL showing. He'll try to bounce back when he returns to Chattanooga to open 2012.
The Dodgers signed Erickson for $35,000 in May 2007 as part of the last class of draft-and-follows. He didn't show much offensively in his first four seasons as a pro but turned a corner in 2011, hitting more homers last year (13) than he had in his entire career previously (nine). Erickson always had power potential given his athletic, well-built frame. He has a contact-oriented approach, but his strength and the leverage in his swing give him 15-20 homer potential. Though his average likely will settle in around .250 at the big league level, he has a good eye at the plate and draws a healthy amount of walks. Erickson's size leads some scouts to doubt whether he can stay as a catcher, but others think he blocks balls well and is relatively agile. He has average arm strength and threw out 30 percent of basestealers in 2011. His game-calling improved last year, though his receiving still needs work. As a switch-hitting catcher with pop, Erickson will get every chance to succeed. He got to Double-A last July and will return there to open 2012.
After spending two seasons at the JC of San Mateo (Calif.), Dickson led Sonoma State (Calif.) to its second-ever NCAA Division II World Series last spring by batting .341/.438/.565 with a teamhigh 11 homers. He didn't cool off after signing for $45,000 as a 12th-round pick, leading the Pioneer League in slugging (.603) and finishing sixth in batting (.333). Dickson is strictly a first baseman, so his bat will have to continue carrying him, but it's good enough to give him a chance. He has a sound swing and generates plus bat speed, though his raw power rates as just average. He has some moving parts in his approach that the Dodgers hope to simplify, but he has shown he can drive balls to center field and go the other way. Dickson runs fairly well for his size and is an adequate first baseman. His actions around the bag are fine and he has an average arm. Los Angeles could see him fitting the mold of Paul Goldschmidt, whom they drafted in the 49th round out of high school but didn't sign, though Dickson doesn't have the same power. He'll move up to the Midwest League in 2012, with the Dodgers anxious to see how his bat responds to a much tougher offensive environment.
Scouts viewed Smith as a prospect as both an outfielder and pitcher during his college career at California. He showed a plus fastball but was plagued by poor control on the mound, so the Dodgers made him a hitter after signing him for $643,500 as a 2009 second-round pick. He hit 19 homers in his first full pro season and topped that with 20 last year despite missing two months with a sports hernia. Smith has aboveaverage raw power, thanks to his strength, bat speed and ability to load his hands well. He worked to close holes in his swing in 2011, though his aggressive, pull-oriented approach may prevent him from hitting for average. Smith is a fringy runner but a dependable outfielder. He threw 92-94 mph as a pitcher and has a well above-average arm in right field. Los Angeles won't have any reservations about putting Smith back on the mound should his development as a hitter stall, but he'll keep a bat in his hands and move up to Double-A in 2012.
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