There are always two games going at once. Luckily, watching both games at the same time is as easy as turning your head. So even if I wasn't paying attention to the right one, the crack of the bat made it easy for me to not miss the big plays.
The first crack came with Austin Gallagher at the plate. Gallagher, the Dodgers' third round pick in 2007, is coming off of his best season to date. With Rancho Cucamonga, he hit .292/.386/.451 in 111 games. In spite of his size, listed at 6'5 and 210 lbs, Austin struggled to hit for power early in his career. But in 2011, he hit 13 home runs after collecting 18 in his first 304 games.
On Tuesday, the big lefty took a fastball to the opposite field and over the wall. He may be a late bloomer, though he's still just 23 and has shown a propensity to draw walks. If the power continues to develop, he could establish himself as a legitimate prospect. He'll likely face a tough challenge in Double A to start 2012.
The second crack was off the bat of Pedro Baez. The 24 year old Dominican native was signed in 2007 and he's struggled to stay healthy. When he's healthy, he's struggled to hit, as evidenced by his career .255 average in the minors.
What he has going for him is a power bat / power arm combination that can rival most prospects in the Dodgers' system. He's an excellent defender who's been clocked at 95mph across the diamond. He's also capable of launching tape measure shots, as he did on Tuesday. However, his approach at the plate isn't conducive to contact and he hasn't shown a propensity for getting on base.
This could be a make or break year for Pedro, who is likely slated for his third taste of Double A. If he doesn't hit, don't be surprised if the club tries him on the mound, where his arm strength could translate into something special.
And finally, there's J.T. Wise, who blasted not one, but two home runs over the left field fence. I recently featured him in my preview of the Dodgers' minor league catching corps. While he offers some potential with the bat, he will have to do his best to beat the odds in order to climb the organizational ladder.
The Oklahoma native is already 25 and will turn 26 in June. He is also blocked at Double A by Griff Erickson and Triple A by Tim Federowicz. This could call for a position change, with third base being a possibility. If he starts the year back at High A, it could really hinder his development.
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