Dodgers Prospect Preview: Middle Infielders

The Dodgers brought up one of their most exciting prospects to date, Dee Gordon, last year and he gave fans a reason to be excited. Unfortunately, with his departure from the farm system, LA's minor league ranks are very thin on prospects up the middle. Are there any players who can establish themselves in 2012 as the next Dee Gordon?

Triple A - Albuquerque Isotopes

Oddly, the Dodgers' best hope for someone who can come up and produce in the middle of the infield is a guy who hasn't played there during the regular season since 2009. Alex Castellanos, acquired last year in the Rafael Furcal trade, spent the previous two season exclusively as an outfielder. However, with LA's depth in that position, the front office wanted to explore their options and decided to move the 25 year old back to the infield. So far, the results have been mixed.

Castellanos isn't really a quick twitch athlete, though that's not to say he's not athletic. He has decent speed and quickness and appears to have at least adequate range for second. He has plenty of arm as well. The problem is he's simply not played the position in two years. He needs reps and will surely get them at Triple A.

The best part about the move is it raises Alex's value. In my mind, he has the potential to have a good bat. He has a lot of bat speed and at least average power. He needs to work on drawing walks and using right field, but the power makes him an above average second baseman offensively. If he sticks up the middle, his value will only go up.

One can't forget about Ivan De Jesus. He struggled in limited time with the big league club last year but had a strong season with Albuquerque. While his value isn't as high as it was back in 2008, when he was a rising star, he still has the potential to get on base as a slick fielding second baseman.

Double A - Chattanooga Lookouts

A pair of middle infielders spent some time in the Southern League last season, though neither established himself. Jake Lemmerman had a nice season in Rancho but struggled in Double A. A shortstop for now, Lemmer profiles more as a second baseman ala Mark Loretta.

Another guy with some potential is Jaime Pedroza, who has struggled over the past few seasons after having a nice year in 2009. when he hit 15 homers and stole 36 bases. He has some pop and speed, though has struggled to make contact against Double A pitching last season. If he could bounce back, Jaime could be a decent option at second base.

High A - Rancho Cucamonga Quakes

The Quakes could have two very different players competing for a spot at second base this season. Scott Wingo, an 11th round pick in last year's draft, hit .300 during his debut and got on base at a .477 clip. He has modest power and speed, but can play quality defense and has very good plate discipline. Not a high upside guy, but could settle in as a fringe starter or a quality bench player.

Great Lakes didn't have much offense last season, but one of their more exciting players was Casio Grider, a 23 year old California native, was a 9th round draft pick in the 2009 draft. While he played 17 games at shortstop, Casio committed 10 errors and profiles as a second baseman. He also played some center and left field. Grider has very good speed, stealing 31 bases in 38 attempts. He also walked in nearly 10% of his plate appearances, though hit just .230. He has exciting athleticism but needs to prove that he can make more contact before he can be considered a legitimate prospect.

Low A - Great Lakes Loons

A trio of guys round out the list, though there's a chance they all end up somewhere other than the middle infield. Justin Boudreaux, drafted in the 14th round of the 2011 draft, hit well in college but struggled initially in the pro. However, Ogden proved a better environment, where he posted an .842 OPS and stole 16 bases. He may not stick at short, but could still provide a decent bat at second.

Delvis Morales, a 21 year old out of the Dominican, is a good athlete with very good speed. His first season stateside was a success, as he hit .277 with a .346 OBP in the Arizona League. Delvis did commit 11 errors in 37 games but has the tools to play short going forward. He doesn't have much power so his offensive value will hinge on his ability to get on base.

The final notable guy is Malcolm Holland, a 33rd round pick from 2011 who passed up on a chance to play football. He's a very good athlete with very good speed but is understandably raw at the plate and in the field. He's a guy who has a ton of upside but will need a lot of seasoning. He currently plays second base but could end up in center field.

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