Los Angeles Dodgers: Ranking the Best Prospect Talent at Each Position
Throughout the history of the Los Angeles Dodgers, they have consistently put together a great farm system. While their current level of minor league talent may be down from previous years, the Dodgers still have many legitimate MLB prospects.
Whereas major league prospects tend to get tossed around from one team to another, the Dodgers have been able to home grow much of their young talent and to help them become major-league ready.
Many current Dodger players, including Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Matt Kemp, James Loney and Jonathan Broxton have come from the Dodgers' farm system and have spent their entire careers in an L.A. uniform.
With that in mind, there is a good chance that several of the players on this list will make an impact for the Dodgers in future seasons.
Here is the top Dodger talent prospect at each position.
Pitcher: Aaron Miller
Miller didn't pitch for the first time until his final year of college, but he has made a great impression since being selected by the Dodgers in the first round of the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft.
The 23-year-old power lefty has made hitters look downright foolish at times with a mid-90s fastball and a nasty slider. His only problem has been a lack of control, particularly towards the end of last season.
Miller pitched extremely well for Single-A Great Lakes in 2010, posting a 2.92 ERA in 19 appearances, including an impressive 99 strikeouts in 101.2 innings. Due to Miller's great success with Single-A Great Lakes, he was brought up to Double-A towards the end of the season.
But after being called up, he was just 1-4 with an ERA over 7.00, including a horrendous 18 walks in just 23 innings.
Despite Miller's struggles with Double-A Chattanooga, he still has incredible potential and should show enormous strides in 2011.
However, he will need to develop his changeup and lower his Base on Balls total in order to be effective going forward.
Catcher: JT Wise
Wise has been overly impressive since being drafted by the Dodgers in 2007. He hit the cover off the ball with the University of Oklahoma and has continued to do so in the minor leagues.
The former 2009 Big 12 player of the year has shown the ability to hit for average and power. Last season, he hit .309 for Single-A Great Lakes, with 12 home runs and 62 RBI.
Wise has also defended well behind the plate, having thrown out 38% of would-be stealers since the start of his minor league career. However, he has been responsible for 17 passed balls in just 89 career minor league games, which could be a cause for concern.
The biggest knock on Wise is his age. He will be 25-years-old in June, so the window is closing fast. If Wise fails to move up to Double-A Chattanooga this season, he will be hardpressed to get called up to the big leagues.
First Base: Jerry Sands
Jerry Sands might currently be the most talented current Dodger hitting prospect at any position, and he is certainly the biggest power threat.
Last season, splitting time between Single-A Great Lakes and Double-A Chattanooga, Sands hit 35 home runs, the third most of any player in the minor leagues. If that wasn't impressive enough, he also stole 18 bases in just 20 attempts.
Since being drafted, Sands has shown the ability to not only get on base by getting hits, but via base on balls as well. He has a .388 career on-base percentage and an impressive .960 OPS.
If Sands has another big season in 2011, he could potentially be brought up to the major leagues by the end of this summer.
Second Base: Ivan Dejesus
The son of former Dodgers shortstop Ivan de Jesus, Dejesus appears to be a better fit at second base.
Since being chosen by the Dodgers in the Second Round of the 2005 MLB Amateur Draft, Dejesus has played well and has shown great baseball instincts.
He consistently hits for a decent batting average, but even more importantly, has the ability to work the pitch count. Dejesus is also an excellent baserunner, having stolen 60 bases in his minor league career in just 79 attempts.
While Dejesus does not have particularly good range at second base, he has kept his errors to a minimum and is certainly good enough defensively to play the position at the major league level.
Despite suffering a broken leg during Spring Training in 2009, Dejesus went on to have a very successful 2010 season with Triple-A Albuquerque, hitting .296 with 33 doubles.
Dejesus has already appeared in two Dodger games this season and looks like the team's leadoff hitter of the future.
Third Base: Pedro Baez
Baez brings a lot to the table, but he also takes a lot off the table.
He has a rocket for an arm at third base, but he also committs a lot of errors, including 23 miscues last season in 81 games.
At the plate, Baez has looked amazing at times, driving the ball deep and getting hits in bunches, but he has struggled to get himself deep into pitch counts.
Last seaon, Baez hit a very solid .286, but walked just 20 times, which resulted in a rather mediocre on-base percentage of .313.
In order for Baez to have an opportunity to play at the major league level, he will need to show more disclipline at the plate and keep his throwing errors down to a minimum.
Baez will begin the 2011 season with Double-A Chattanooga, but he is expected to jump up to Triple-A Albuquerque barring a disappointing start.
He is now entering his fifth season in the Dodgers organization, and the time to prove himself is now if he expects to become a successful major league third baseman.
Shortstop: Dee Gordon
Gordon was selected by the Dodgers in the fourth round of the 2008 draft and like first baseman Jerry Sands, he has jumped the ladder very quickly. He is set to begin the 2011 season with Triple-A Albuquerque.
After an impressive stint with the Pioneer League, Gordon had a great season in 2009 with Single-A Great Lakes, hitting .301 with 73 stolen bases and 96 runs scored.
He dropped off slightly last season with Double-A Chattanooga, but still hit .277 with 53 stolen bases and 86 runs scored.
Gordon, who weighs a rather slender 150 pounds, has thoroughly impressed scouts with his speed, athleticism and defensive range.
However, despite his incredible range at shortstop, Gordon committed 37 errors last season, which he must improve upon in order to make a strong push for the big leagues.
Still just 22 years old, Gordon's talent is clearly there, and he could find his way to the major leagues by the end of this season or the beginning of next season.
Outfield: Trayvon Robinson
Since being drated by the Dodgers at the age of 17 in the 2005 MLB Amateur Draft, Robinson has steadily improved each season and appears almost MLB ready.
Like the Dodgers current center fielder Matt Kemp, Robinson possesses a great combination of both speed and power, but he also strikes out a lot.
With Single-A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga in 2009, Robinson hit .306 with 15 home runs, to go along with an impressive 43 stolen bases. He moved up to Double-A Chattanooga last season and went on to hit .300 with nine home runs and 38 stolen bases.
Robinson will begin the 2011 season with Triple-A Albuquerque and has all the tools to be the Dodgers' next great outfielder.
Outfield: Brian Cavazos-Galvez
Since being drafted by Los Angeles in 2009, Cavazos-Galvez has been everything the Dodgers could have possibly hoped for.
Last season with Single-A Great lakes, Cavazos-Galvez hit .318 with 16 HR, 43 doubles and 77 RBI. He also stole 43 bases in just 56 attempts.
However, despite his impressive .318 batting average, Cavazos-Galvez had just 18 walks, raising his on-base percentage to a decent, but not stellar .343 clip.
At 6’1” and 215 pounds, Cavazos-Galvez is very strong and possesses the ability to not only hit for power, but to throw a rocket from the outfield.
He will begin the season with Triple-A Albuquerque and could be in a Dodger uniform by the end of this season or sometime next season.
Outfield: Kyle Russell
Russell wasn't drafted until June of 2008, just a few weeks before his 22nd birthday, but he has made up for lost time in a hurry.
In 2009, Russell was named co-MVP of a Single-A Great Lakes team that included both Dee Gordon and Aaron Miller. That season, Russell hit 26 home runs, 39 doubles and also stole 20 bases in just 22 attempts.
He spent the beginning of last season with Singele-A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga before being moved up to Double-A Chattanooga in June. Overall, he had another great year at the plate, hitting a total of 26 home runs and posting an impressive OPS of .934.
Russell's biggest problem is his inability to put the ball in play consistently. He has struck out nearly once every 3.1 at bats, which is something that he will need to improve upon in order to be a productive major league hitter.
Russell will begin the 2011 season with Double-A Chattanooga, but he has a great chance of moving up to Triple-A Albuquerque by the end of the season.