Budding young stars seem to be a trend in not only baseball, but in numerous sports. There is something to be said for harvesting your own players and having them shine. It has been a long time coming in baseball, where again exciting youth have arrived to sell out ballparks.
One of the top organizations in the business the Los Angeles Dodgers, have been to the League Championships in consecutive years.
This is interesting given the fact that the third largest market in sports has spent relatively cheaply.
The credit is due to the players and the managerial staff.
On one end you have young players such as Russell Martin, Matt Kemp and Jonathon Broxton. These players came up through the system and have handled pressure like seasoned pros.
Then you have Joe Torre, Don Mattingly, Larry Bowa and Rick Honeycutt. They have used their own knowledge of the game and are passing it on to the athletes.
The next generation of stars can also be spotted in the minor league system.
Nestled in the wings are Dee Gordon, Chris Withrow and Scott Elbert.
The game of baseball usually has a case of the expecting the unexpected. So while these players may be a long shot for the immediate future, there is no telling when they will get that call after a minor league game.
There are some players that have not been consistent enough in their major league outings, mainly because they are inexperienced. It seems that this can be the come-out year for a few of these Dodgers to be, given the fact that they will have had more experience.
So with that said, there are up and comers to watch for come this summer.
Here is a list consisting five prospects in the Dodgers system that have a chance on making a large impact on the big league roster.
Carlos Monasterios for the Dodgers causes a dilemma. If cut he would be sent back to the Philadelphia Phillies, being a rule 5 draft pick.
So far in spring the twenty-four year old Monasterios has pitched intriguingly. He is well armed with a low to mid nineties fast ball and a very well developed change up, going along with a gamers attitude.
He is posting a 2.25 ERA. If that continues he will undoubtedly be a top contender for the fifth spot in the rotation. This move would be smart; you don’t want to lose a good prospect to the team that has beaten you both meetings in the past two post-seasons.
The south paw has been rated many times as one of the Dodgers most promising young players. He has appeared out of the bullpen in his brief stints in the majors.
Last season he had an inflated ERA of 5.03. Still, he is only twenty three and has a very live arm. At times, when mechanically sound, he can rush it up to about 97 mph. This would be a dangerous weapon coming out of the ‘pen.
Scott was in the running for the fifth starter spot earlier this spring, but since has fallen out of the race. It would not be surprising, should Hong-Chih Kuo become unavailable for Elbert to be brought up.
James is a work in progress. In his first appearance out of the Dodgers bullpen he exceeded expectations. In his first postseason games he punched out seven Phillies in only five innings.
At this point it seems to be mechanical. His stuff is not the question and neither is his drive. McDonald should be presented with a chance to start most likely at the All-Star break, should he be doing well and the fifth starting spot is up for grabs.
Potential is sweet, but experience is golden.
A 6’3” 195 lb. first round pick of the Dodgers is a possibly a diamond.
At twenty two this stud seems to have amazing promise. In his spring training debut game, he forcefully handled big league hitters, by striking out the side.
He is just as impressive in the minors. He threw well enough to have a 3.95 ERA, with a dazzling 13 SO/9. It may be a long shot, but he may be a right handed version of Clayton Kershaw.
It would be truly great for the Dodgers should that be the case, two front line to-be pitchers, drafted in the same round.
Rafael Furcal is projected to have a big year. However it’s not a secret that he has a history of injuries. If that becomes the case and he is out for an extended period of time, Ivan Dejesus Jr. is the man.
Rated the top prospects in the organization in 2009, Dejesus suffered the injury of a broken leg. This hurt his status but if he is truly going to be a big league player he will overcome it.
In his last full season in the minors Ivan had a .324 AVG and had sixteen swiped bags.
He should produce very well someday for a major league club.