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Dodger Minor League Report
2004-07-15 10:01
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

I'm not a scout, nor do I play one on TV. Of the players listed below, I've seen none in person and only a few on television.

But out of curiosity regarding the depth in the Dodger farm system, I decided to research the top three minor league teams in the organization – Class AAA Las Vegas, Class AA Jacksonville and Class A Vero Beach – and rank the players by position. (Note that I didn't look at players from Class A Columbus - not to be confused with the Yankees' AAA Columbus farm team – unless they have since been promoted.)

Next to the players, you'll find statistics. For the pitchers, they're evident enough; for the hitters, what you'll see is batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS and - followed by a dash - Minor League Equivalent Average. The latter is a Baseball Prospectus statistic that takes league and park factors into account and translates a player's statistics into a single number, with .260 being the equivalent of an average major league hitter. Not surprisingly, none of the hitters in the Dodger minor leagues are that high (although Jayson Werth was at .324 before his callup). But MLEQA is helpful in comparing batters across different levels.

I've also rated the Dodgers' level of depth at each position. The scake is 1 to 10 – with subjectivity at about 9. You'll see the mediocrity at most offensive slots, although there's some surprising depth in the shortstops, some of whom could move to other positions. And you'll see some tremendous depth in the pitching, despite Greg Miller's injury. While there isn't much lefty relief in the Dodger minor leagues, in an emergency, one of the starters could probably pitch as well as Tom Martin.

Please be sure to come back Friday for an interview with Trevor Gooby, general manager of the Vero Beach Dodgers.

Catcher
Level of depth: 4
Koyie Hill, C, Las Vegas (.292/.349/.458/.807 - .217) Started in the MLB Futures Game on Sunday. Switch-hitter has 23 doubles and nine home runs. Could certainly fill Dave Ross’ 2004 shoes if necessary.
Edwin Bellorin, C, Jacksonville (.309/.356/.395/.751 - .217) Singles hitter, some doubles.
Russell Martin, C, Vero Beach (.233/.343/.392/.735 - .191) Power (10 HR) and walks (46) indicate some potential here.
Ryan Kellner, C, Las Vegas (.212/.239/.388/.627 - .159) Striking out 31 percent of the time as Las Vegas’ backup catcher.
Tony Socarras, C, Jacksonville (.198/.276/.297/.573 - .160)
Andrew Ellis, C, Vero Beach (.218/.361/.282/.643 - .170) Has 19 singles and 17 walks.

First Base
Level of depth: 6
Luis Garcia, 1B, Las Vegas (.301/.333/.565/.898 - .236) Having an Adrian Beltre-like year on offense with 22 home runs and 13 doubles. Nine errors.
James Loney, 1B, Jacksonville (.256/.347/.365/.712 - .200) Right now, everyone is just wondering if the power will come and the injuries will go for the top Dodger hitting prospect. Always finds a way to get on base, but the rest is unproven.
Brian Myrow, 1B, Las Vegas (.262/.364/.354/.718 - .195 after - .268/.335/.463/.798 - .228 at AAA Columbus) No home runs for Brian since being acquired from the Yankees for Tanyon Sturtze.
Jesse Hoorelbeke, 1B, Vero Beach (.248/.325/.504/.829 - .209 after .193/.323/.422/.745 - .199 in Jacksonville) One of two Hoorelbekes at Vero – how about that? Identical cousins? Nope – Jesse's the older brother by 2 ˝ years. This ’beke has 10 homers in 137 at-bats.
Trey Dyson, 1B, Vero Beach (.264/.360/.358/.718 - . 188) Acquired from Cleveland for journeyman reliever Rick White in April.

Second Base
Level of depth: 5
Willy Aybar, 2B, Jacksonville (.282/.357/.451/.808 - .219) Switch-hitter is now a switch-fielder, moving to second base from third. The 6-foot, 185-pounder has 19 doubles, 11 homers, 35 walks and 10 errors.
Joe Thurston, 2B, Las Vegas (.236/.301/.318/.619 - .164) His fall from his 2002 season will go in the textbook of Dodger prospect disappointments. It seems like it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.
Delwyn Young, 2B, Vero Beach (.271/.361/.487/.848 - .213) Not exactly Alex Cora - leads the organization with 25 doubles, 100 strikeouts and 18 errors. Despite the name similarity, no relation to major leaguer Dmitri Young or 2003 top MLB draft pick Delmon Young.

Third Base
Level of depth: 4
Rick Bell, 1B-3B, Las Vegas (.277/.306/.441/.747 - .200) There's no internal solution to a Beltre departure unless, perhaps, Aybar switches back to third. Bell, part of the Gus/Buddy/David family, does have 22 doubles and nine home runs, but 12 errors and only 12 walks.
Brennan King, 3B, Jacksonville (.293/.339/.472/.811 - .222) Leads Jacksonville in games played and doubles and tied with Aybar for the team lead at 11 home runs. Less than half as many walks (16) as Aybar.
Andy LaRoche, 3B, Vero Beach (.230/.301/.419/.720 - .198 with Vero Beach after .283/.375/.525/.900 - .207 with Columbus) Another baseball family man. Brother and son of major leaguers Adam and Dave, La Roche has 16 homers combined this season.

Shortstop
Level of depth: 9
Antonio Perez, 2B-SS, Las Vegas (.292/.387/.498/.885 - .237) Well-rounded package for this acquisition from Tampa Bay in the smart Jason Romano trade. A potential 30-30 player in the minors with 13 homers and 15 steals, and an almost 1:1 ratio in walks (46) vs. strikeouts (49). Errors: 15.
Jose Flores, SS-3B, Las Vegas (.330/.411/.469/.880 - .243) Getting on base, not showing a whole lot of power. Ten errors.
Joel Guzman, SS, Vero Beach (.305/.348/.535/.883 - .228) Still listed at age 19 and the only A-ball player in the starting lineup for the World Team in Sunday’s MLB Futures Game, you’ll be astonished by his height when you see him – 6-5, as tall as Werth. Eight steals, eight triples, 12 home runs and 21 doubles. His walk total - 21 – could be worse, as could his strikeouts (76), as Delwyn Young illustrates. Signed by the Dodgers at age 17 and with a $2.5 million bonus . Errors: 11.
Nelson Castro, SS, Jacksonville (.244/.310/.385/.695 - .201) Jacksonville’s speedster with 14 steals in 16 attempts.

Outfield
Level of depth: 5
Jason Repko, OF, Las Vegas (.321/.372/.500/.872 - .243 in Las Vegas after .291/.341/.466/.807 - .224 in Jacksonville) Drafted as the Dodgers' top pick in 1999, a year after Bubba Crosby, Repko is showing doubles power at age 23.
Cody Ross, OF, Las Vegas (.265/.322/.470/.792 - .212) Acquired for Steve Colyer in the spring, Ross had a car door slammed on his hand in May.
Derek Michaelis, OF, Jacksonville (.304/.369/.504/.873 - .235) Top OPS on the Suns, with decent contributions in doubles, homers and walks adding up.
Jeremy Giambi, OF, Las Vegas (.176/.300/.353/.653 - .172) Just now getting back to action after being injured most of the year.
Shane Victorino, OF, Jacksonville (.315/.339/.577/.916 - .246 in Jacksonville after .235/.278/.335/.613 - .165 in Las Vegas) Rule 5 draftee who made the Padres in 2003, Victorino shows power potential but isn’t developed yet.
Reggie Abercrombie, OF, Vero Beach (.297/.321/.514/.835 - .234 in Vero Beach after .173/193/.327/.420 - .142 in Jacksonville) The long road back for yesteryear’s tools god and last fall’s anterior cruciate ligament victim takes a detour through Florida. There, he has found his slugging percentage and his speed - 11 steals in 13 attempts - but the walks (2) remain as elusive as ever.
Alex Requena, OF, Vero Beach (.262/.340/.339/.779 - .189) Switch-hitter leads the system with 30 stolen bases, two more than Dave Roberts, albeit in 46 attempts.
Daylan Holt, OF, Jacksonville (.256/.314/.449/.753 - .213) Only 20 hits on the year, but seven for extra bases.
Bryan Goelz, OF, Vero Beach (.253/.323/.308/.631 - .167)
Rodney Van Buizen, OF, Vero Beach (.150/.239/.167/.406 - .101) Australian. Of the 14 Vero Beach hitters cited on this list, 10 have last names that start with the letters A through M.

Utility
Level of depth: 2
Nick Theodorou, IF-OF, Las Vegas (.290/.367/.409/.776 - .212) A .365 hitter at UCLA in 1997, facing a 30th birthday next year.
Sergio Garcia, IF-OF, Jacksonville (.271/.394/.365/.759 - .211) Can draw a walk – 16 in 103 plate appearances.
Brian Sprout, IF-OF, Vero Beach (.284/.383/.438/.821 - .211) Not bad for a guy who moves around the lineup – nine games at first base, nine at third, three in the middle infield, 30 in the outfield.
Nick Alvarez, OF-1B, Jacksonville (.243/.303/.378/.681 - .193) At 27, also running out of time.
Brett Dowdy, IF-OF, Vero Beach (.194/.275/.245/.420 - .146 in Vero Beach after .412/.421/.599/1.009 - .285 in Jacksonville) Remains in the shadow of his brother, Apple Pan.
Scott Gillitzer, IF-OF, Vero Beach (.237/.277/.360/.637 - .172)

Right-Handed Starter
Level of depth: 9
Joel Hanrahan, RHP, Las Vegas (4.46 ERA, 80 2/3 IP, 67 K) Averaging a walk every two innings. His ERA is better than Edwin Jackson’s was. Remains a candidate for the Summer 2005 rotation.
Heath Totten, RHP, Las Vegas (5.19 ERA, 100 2/3 IP, 58 K) Leads the 51s in innings. Puts the ball in play, allowing only 127 hits but 19 walks. Age: 25.
Chad Billingsley, RHP, Vero Beach (2.33 ERA, 85 IP, 103 K) Hmm – this might have been a good draft pick. Somewhat Kazuhisa Ishii-like in allowing 61 hits but 48 walks, though.
Jonathon Broxton, RHP, Vero Beach (3.41 ERA, 87 IP, 103 K) For the 6-4, 240-pound Broxton, his numbers – 77 hits, 32 walks - are more conventional than Billingsley’s.
Dimas Reina, RHP, Jacksonville (7.39 ERA, 35 1/3 IP, 31 K in Jacksonville after 1.29 ERA, 49 IP, 48 K in Vero Beach) How is it that Reina averages as many innings per start for the Suns as lefty stud Ryan Ketchner? Could their pitch counts possibly be similar?
Jarod Plummer, RHP, Vero Beach (3.70 ERA, 41 1/3 IP, 33 K in Vero Beach after 2.45 ERA, 22 IP, 23 K in Columbus) Doing fine after his promotion - 10 walks in Vero.
Casey Hoorelbeke, RHP, Vero Beach (3.86 ERA, 37 1/3 IP, 26 K in Vero Beach after 2.57 ERA, 14 IP, 8 K in Columbus) If he makes it, would he be the tallest starter in Dodger history at 6-8?

Left-Handed Starter
Level of depth: 9
Greg Miller, LHP, Las Vegas (no action in 2004) In July, the Dodgers reported setbacks in Miller's rehabilitation from arthroscopic surgery on this shoulder and said he might miss the season. With a career minor league ERA of 2.26 in 179 innings, Miller still doesn't turn 20 until November 3.
Ryan Ketchner, LHP, Jacksonville (2.35 ERA, 65 IP, 54 K) Given the fact that Jolbert Cabrera’s absence since his trade to Seattle has been covered by Jose Hernandez, how can you not like what came in return in Ketchner. Sterling numbers: 1.25 baserunners per inning.
Derek Thompson, LHP, Jacksonville (3.25 ERA, 80 1/3 IP, 64 K) Nice to see Thompson rack up the innings in 2004 after racking up the pay on the major league disabled list in 2003 – he went out for the season that March. Even better – no home runs allowed!
Glenn Bott, LHP, Jacksonville (4.19 ERA, 88 IP, 74 K) Epitomizing the short leash of the Jacksonville pitchers, their top innings man is averaging fewer than six per start.
Mike Megrew, LHP (3.21 ERA, 75 2/3 IP, 93 K). It’s not McCrew or Magoo, it’s Megrew. And me grow to like him if he keeps striking out 11 batters per nine innings.

Right-Handed Swingman
Level of depth: 5
Brian Falkenborg, RHP, Las Vegas (3.99 ERA, 38 1/3 IP, 41 K) Only seven walks – compared to nine in 14 1/3 innings with Los Angeles. Clearly an achiever at the AAA level. With a little luck, could be as good as Giovanni Carrara. But Carrara or Edwin Jackson will have to falter first.
Tom Farmer, RHP, Las Vegas (4.53 ERA, 45 2/3 IP, 45 K) Acquired with Jason Frasor (who was later traded for Werth) in 2002 for Hiram Bocachica, Farmer won the title game for Miami against Stanford (sigh) in the 2001 College World Series.
Mark Johnson, RHP, Las Vegas (5.51 ERA, 81 2/3 IP, 45 K) Swingman, a rare Vegas pitcher who doesn’t strike batters out. Pitched four shutout innings in relief of Hideo Nomo on June 4, during Nomo's rehab start.
Roy Smith, RHP, Las Vegas (4.94 ERA, 23 2/3 IP, 22 K) Best stat is only one homer allowed.
Harold Eckert, RHP, Las Vegas (7.04 ERA, 47 1/3 IP, 46 K in Las Vegas after 2.65, 17 IP, 22 K in Jacksonville) Allowing two baserunners per inning for the 51s.
T.J. Nall, RHP, Jacksonville (3.31 ERA, 84 1/3 IP, 63 K) The rare pitcher who has both a complete game and a save this season.
Eric Hull, RHP (5.00 ERA, 27 IP, 13 K in Jacksonville after 4.18 ERA, 51 2/3 IP, 49 K in Vero Beach) Allowed only three home runs in Florida before promotion.
Clint Hosford, RHP, Vero Beach (5.24 ERA, 34 1/3 IP, 27 K) Three starts in 14 appearances.

Left-Handed Swingman
Level of depth: 1

Right-Handed Reliever
Level of depth: 9
Yhency Brazoban, RHP, Las Vegas (1.69 ERA, 5 1/3 IP, 5 K in Las Vegas after 2.65 ERA, 51 IP, 61 K in Jacksonville) Will the Dodgers have the last crow in the Kevin Brown trade? Fourteen saves for the 6-1, 170-pound short man.
Elvin Nina, RHP, Jacksonville (2.62 ERA, 55 IP, 60 K) Averaging 1 2/3 innings per appearance, boasts the best strikeout ratio in Jacksonville.
Jose Diaz, RHP, Vero Beach (1.74 ERA, 10 1/3 IP, 14 K in Vero Beach after 2.12 ERA, 34 IP, 59 K in Columbus) Bring the sugar: The 6-4, 230-pounder likes strikes the way Tony likes Frosted Flakes. And only one home run allowed. With the two teams, a total of 20 saves. This is a different Jose Diaz, of course, from the one that went to the Mets last year in the Jeromy Burnitz trade.
Franquelis Osaria, RHP, Jacksonville (4.35 ERA, 41 1/3 IP, 37 K) Has allowed only nine walks and one home run, so he might be pitching in some bad luck for his ERA to have creeped up this high.)
Agustin Montero, RHP, Las Vegas (7.46 ERA, 44 2/3 IP, 38 K). Turns 27 next month. Walks almost a batter per inning, hits a batter and allows a homer every five innings. In March, I wrote, "Pattern in recent seasons has been decent numbers at one level, followed by a midseason promotion and ensuing decline in stats."
Brian Steffek, RHP, Jacksonville (4.73 ERA, 26 2/3 IP, 20 K in Jacksonville after 1.66 ERA, 21 2/3 IP, 24 K in Vero Beach) Getting bit by home runs: six allowed for the Suns, only one for the VBers.
Steve Schmoll, RHP, Vero Beach (1.98 ERA, 54 2/3 IP, 51 K) No home runs allowed. Quick preview from Friday's Trevor Gooby interview: "Schmoll, a sidearm pitcher, has a ball that moves all over the place. He currently has a 1.98 ERA and doesn’t get enough attention. He only gave up one earned run in the month of May."
Richard Bartlett, RHP, Vero Beach (2.49 ERA, 47 IP, 40 K) One home run allowed.
Beau Dannemiller, RHP, Vero Beach (3.54 ERA, 53 1/3 IP, 48 K)
Jose Rojas, RHP, Jacksonville (5.16 ERA, 45 1/3 IP, 43 K) Wild Thing-esque, with 32 walks and 11 wild pitches.
Mike Rodriguez, RHP, Vero Beach (4.93 ERA, 42 IP, 24 K in Vero Beach after 1.26 ERA, 14 1/3 IP, 18 K in Columbus)

Left-Handed Reliever
Level of depth: 4
Troy Brohawn, LHP, Las Vegas (5.02 ERA, 52 IP, 42 K) A contributor to the 2003 Dodgers before arm surgery ended his season, don’t be surprised if Brohawn – despite that ERA - faces Barry Bonds sometime in the month of September. Lefty relief eludes the big club.
Jamaal Hamilton, LHP, Vero Beach (2.04 ERA, 17 2/3 IP, 15 K in Vero Beach after 0.36 ERA, 25 1/3 IP, 27 K in Columbus) Sleeper? That’s right – one earned run for the season with the Catfish. What a bullpen those guys had.
Luis Gonzalez, LHP, Jacksonville (5.14 ERA, 35 IP, 36 K) And 27 walks.

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