2012 Dodgers Top 20 Prospects

A look ahead to the top Dodger prospects for 2012. Is there another Clayton Kershaw among them? In depth scouting reports on the top 10 will be available to subscribers.

1. Zach Lee, RHP

Was as advertised in his first season as a pro. Shows remarkable aptitude for mixing speeds and moving the ball around the zone. Has a deep repertoire with a low 90s fastball that has touched 98mph and a hard cutter that has developed into a weapon. Has frontline starter potential.

ETA: Mid 2013

2. Allen Webster, RHP

Dominated the Cal League before struggling a bit in Double A Chattanooga but still has the potential for three plus pitches. His fastball comes to the plate in the low 90s and is heralded for its sink, while his changeup may be his best pitch. His curveball is inconsistent but has promise. Should begin the year back in Chattanooga but could reach the bigs sometime this summer.

ETA: Late 2012

3. Nathan Eovaldi, RHP

Had his best season as a pro in spite of pitching in Double A and the majors as a 21 year old. Best fastball in the system, consistently sitting in the mid 90s and often reaching the upper 90s. His breaking ball is inconsistent, but in a good way. When it's in the mid 80s, it's a hard slider with tilt. When it's in the upper 80s, it's a hard cutter with downward break. Still needs a changeup but could fit into the middle of a rotation or the back of a bullpen.

ETA: Late 2012

4. Angel Sanchez, RHP

The biggest surprise of the season for the Dodgers, Sanchez was signed in 2010 as a 20 year old out of the Dominican Republic for $7,500. Now he's just come off a dominant season in Low A and looks like a steal. Attacks hitters with a fastball that's consistently in the low to mid 90s and a good changeup that he'll throw in any count. He needs to work on his breaking ball and command, but the arm strength makes him a very promising prospect.

ETA: OD 2014

5. Garrett Gould, RHP

Shortly after signing for almost $900,00 as a second rounder in 2009, Gould's velocity dropped and it looked like he may have been a bust. However, his fastball is back into the low to mid 90s and his curveball is still the organization's best. Coming off a very strong year in Low A, Garrett will join Lee and Sanchez to give the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes an elite starting rotation.

ETA: Late 2013

6. Joc Pederson, OF

Began the season with the Great Lakes Loons but struggled. Went down to Ogden and dominated. Finished in the top 10 of the Pioneer League in average, OPS and steals. All five of his tools are average or better, with his hitting being key among them. Should move fairly quickly for a younger prospect.

ETA: Late 2014

7. Shawn Tolleson, RHP

I usually don't grade relievers this high but I feel that Tolleson is such a safe bet to make the majors and be effective that I couldn't grade him any lower. After not allowing an earned run in 14 appearances with the Loons, Shawn reached Double A in his first full year, posting a 1.17 ERA along the way. His mid 90s fastball and devastating upper 80s cutter give him a chance to setup, if not close, in the big leagues.

ETA: Mid 2012

8. Alex Castellanos, OF/2B

Acquired in the deal that sent Rafael Furcal to the Cards, Castellanos was in the midst of his best pro season and only got better after becoming a Dodger. Continued to dominate in the Arizona Fall League before an oblique strain ended his season. Shows plenty of bat speed to hit for power, despite a modest frame. Has some foot speed and arm strength. The Dodgers are trying him out at second to see if they can increase his versatility. He played 55 games there earlier in his pro career. If he can stick in the middle infield, his value will be even higher.

ETA: Late 2012

9. Chris Reed, LHP

The Dodgers felt they got a steal at #16 when they selected Reed, who pitched mainly out of relief for Stanford. After struggling for his first two years in college, Chris broke out during the summer of 2010 and continued to excel in 2011. Pitching mainly out of the bullpen as an amateur, the Dodgers see him as a starter with the size, delivery and repertoire to succeed in the rotation. He shows a low to mid 90s fastball, a wipeout slider and a surprisingly effective changeup. He'll need time in the minors to build endurance but could fit into the middle of a rotation if everything goes right or return to the pen if his development stalls.

ETA: OD 2014

10. Alfredo Silverio, OF

After hitting well in the Cal League in 2010, Fredo was out to prove he wasn't simply a product of his environment. In 2011, he did his best to assuage the concerns by hitting over .300 in the Southern League with 42 doubles, 18 triples and 16 home runs. While he runs well enough to have played center in the minors, he fits well in right with a strong arm and plenty of power. He needs to focus on getting on base more, but other than that he's got the tools to succeed.

ETA: Late 2012

11. Chris Withrow, RHP

It's hard to realize that, in spite of being 22, 2011 was Withrow's third year in Double A. He finally started to succeed by throwing more strikes but still walked too many batters. He has the mid 90s fastball and hard-breaking curve to succeed but still needs to work on harnessing them. If he doesn't last as a starter, Chris' 1-2 punch would look good coming out of the pen.

ETA: Mid 2013

12. Scott Van Slyke, 1B/OF

SVS' first go-round in Double A didn't bear much fruit. So returning there in 2011, he was out to prove himself. And he did. Scott ranked second in the batting race, third in OPS, first in doubles and tied for fifth in home runs. The son of Andy is much bigger than his father and profiles more as a power hitting first baseman or corner outfielder. He likely won't make the big club out of spring training but could contend for a roster spot next year in Ethier and/or Loney leave via free agency.

ETA: Early 2013

13. Angelo Songco, 1B

A late slump in 2010 spoiled Gelo's first full season as a pro, but he came back with a vengeance to dominate the Cal League in 2011. He finished eleventh in OPS, finished second in home runs with 29 and led the circuit with 48 doubles. Songco offers a lot of power but not much else. He'll have to prove he can hit advanced pitching this season to warrant another high ranking next year.

ETA: Late 2013

14. Blake Smith, OF

Smith hit decently in his first full season with Great Lakes in 2010 but battled through injuries in 2011. However, when he was on the field, Blake performed well and put off discussions of him moving back to the mound. He hit .294 with an .898 OPS and showed off his excellent right field arm by recording 13 outfield assists for the Quakes. 2012 will be his make or break year in Double A.

ETA: Late 2013

15. James Baldwin III, OF

It looked as if JB3 had turned a corner, exploding out of the gate for the Ogden Raptors by hitting .378 in eleven June games with 3 homers and 8 steals. However, a 30 game suspension derailed his season and he hit just .209 in the second half of the season. Baldwin has everything you look for in a prospect but needs to show more discipline and prove that he can handle left-handed pitching, which he only batted .183 against last year.

ETA: Late 2014

16. Ethan Martin, RHP

Yes, I know. He hasn't pitched well. Even after moving to the pen in Chattanooga he was still erratic and he walked more than he struck out in winter ball but you can't deny the stuff. He's consistently in the mid 90s with a nasty curve. There's always the possibility of him moving back to third base and, if he doesn't show marked improvement in 2012, the powers that be may take that into consideration.

ETA: Early 2014

17. Pratt Maynard, C

The first of three catchers selected by the Dodgers in the top 20 rounds of the 2011 draft, Maynard has the best chance to stick behind the plate and produce solid offense. He struggled during his debut but that shouldn't affect his status. He'll likely open 2012 in one of the A ball affiliates and could move quickly if he hits.

ETA: Mid 2014

18. Chris O'Brien, C

The third catcher taken in the top 20 rounds of the 2011 draft, O'Brien has the most offensive potential. His father was a major leaguer, giving him the bloodlines and he's certainly got the hitting prowess to succeed. The main question is whether he'll stick behind the plate. He's still relatively new to catching and will have to work hard to prove he's a capable backstop. If he has to move off catcher, it's likely to first base which would hurt his value. He'll open 2012 at one of the A ball affiliates as well.

ETA: Late 2014

19. Juan Rodriguez, RHP

Acquired in the Trayvon Robinson deal, Rodriguez has the best arm in the system and is regularly threatening triple digits with his fastball. The pitch also has good movement so it's hard for batters to sit on it. His breaking ball isn't where it needs to be in order for him to be a setup man or closer. If he develops a plus breaker and refines his command, he could be dominant.

ETA: Late 2013

20. Alex Santana, 3B

The surprise second round pick of 2011 got off to a rough start as a pro, hitting .238 and striking out in nearly a third of his plate appearances. He also committed 17 errors in 38 games at third base. In spite of his initial struggles, many evaluators project Alex to be a power hitter with a good glove. He's only 18, so it's going to take him a while to develop but it could be worth the wait.

ETA: Mid 2015

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