Dodgers Prospect Preview: Outfielders

One of the Dodgers' strengths is the depth of outfield prospects. While none really stand out as "can't miss" types, there is some quality in the group.

Triple A - Albuquerque Isotopes

One of the Dodgers' top prospects, outfielder Alfredo Silverio, is also one of the closest Dodgers prospects to the majors. Silverio, a native of La Romana in the Dominican Republic, was signed way back in November of 2003. It took him several years to finally realize potential, as he posted a .777 OPS in Great Lakes in 2009.

Fredo continued to succeed in 2010 with Inland Empire, seeing his OPS creep over .800. And finally, in 2011, Silverio had his best year to date, batting .306 with 42 doubles, 18 triples and 16 home runs. He also stole 11 bases and recorded 19 outfield assists.

A good athlete, Alfredo has played a good amount of center field in the minors but projects as a corner outfielder in the majors. He has the arm strength and power to be a quality right fielder, as he showed off his bat in the 2011 Futures Game, smashing a home run to left in Chase Field.

He's hit for good average in the minors, with a .292 career average, but he's not a disciplined hitter. He drew just 30 walks in 572 plate appearances last year and will have to get on base more. He also has decent speed but needs to refine his baserunning skills, as he was caught in more than half of his stolen base attempts last year.

There was an outside chance that Silverio could compete for a roster spot entering spring training, but a car accident in his native Dominican Republic postponed that opportunity. There's no current timetable for his return and his absence will surely delay his development. Hopefully he can return to action and to last season's form when he's ready.

Two more names to remember are Kyle Russell and Brian Cavazos-Galvez. Russell displayed his notorious contact issues in 2011, striking out in over 30% of his plate appearances. However, in spite of a .256 overall average, he got on base just under 35% of the time and slugged .493. He's a very good defender with solid speed, so he provides value outside of his power. Lefties were also a major problem for him last season, as he hit just .170 against them with a .633 OPS in 107 plate appearances. The strikeouts diminish his value and standing in the organization, but if he shows even modest improvement in his strikeout rate and gets better against southpaws, Kyle should warrant a look in left field.

BCG struggled in his first taste of Double A. While he batted a respectable .277, his 2.7% walk rate resulted in a below average .311 OBP. He did hit for power, totaling 27 doubles and 14 home runs. He displayed extreme platoon splits, dominating lefties to the tune of a 1.027 OPS while his number against righties was about .300 points lower. He has good speed and a good arm, but seriously needs to get on base more.

Double A - Chattanooga Lookouts

The Lookouts' top outfielder in 2012 could be Blake Smith. The 2009 second rounder struggled with injuries in 2011 but hit well enough in Rancho Cucamonga to warrant praise from inside and outside the organization.

Blake has a classic right field profile, with a power arm and a power bat. He threw in the low to mid 90s off the mound in college and could still pitch if things don't work out in the field. Until then, his cannon in right will keep even the faster players honest, as he racked up 13 outfield assists in just 77 games last year. He also has a sweet left-handed swing that produces lots of power, especially to right field.

Contact issues were a small question in 2010 for Blake but he improved in 2011, raising his average and lowering his strikeouts. Speed isn't really a part of his game, but he's an adequate defender in right.

This could be a make or break year for the 24 year old Cal grad. He needs to improve against lefties, whom he hit at just a .264 clip with 2 walks in 91 plate appearances in Rancho. Will Smith be able to keep up the production against more advanced pitching?

High A - Rancho Cucamonga Quakes

The bulk of the low minors outfield talent in LA's system last year was in rookie ball, so there doesn't figure to be a whole lot in High A. You could expect some, if not all, of the Loons' starters from 2011 to start for the Quakes in 2012 and for the sake of this list, we will.

Jon Garcia, still just 20, started off 2011 blazing hot and looked like he'd break out last season. Unfortunately, after hitting 7 homers in March and April, he hit just 6 during the rest of the season. Great Lakes' stadium limited him to a .189 average while he batted .284 on the road with an OPS over .800. The Epicenter isn't a launching pad, but Garcia will great grateful to get out of Midland.

Nick Akins was supposed to be an all bat prospect and produce in the heart of the Loons' order last season, but he struggled to make contact and played in just 92 games. Still, he managed to hit 14 home runs and walked enough of the time, so hopefully a normalized BABIP is all he needs to put things together in 2012.

Leon Landry looked like a top of the order catalyst at LSU and in his first pro season, but he also struggled in his first full season. Landry has good speed and can play center field, but his lack of power means he needs to get on base as much as possible. Hopefully he can improve on his 6.7% walk rate in 2012.

Low A - Great Lakes Loons

This is where the bulk of the system's talent should be this season. The Dodgers have some serious talent in the lower ranks of the system and hopefully, in spite of the Midwest League's cavernous ballparks, the Loons will produce some breakout seasons.

It starts with Joc Pederson, who broke out last year with Ogden. The Pioneer League is known for its friendly confines for hitters and Joc struggled in brief experience with the Loons. He has the potential to be a classic right fielder with five average or better tools, so we'll see how the soon-to-be 20 year old adjusts to full season ball.

Another exciting prospect is James Baldwin III, son of the one-time Dodgers pitcher. Unlike his father, JB3 is a long, lanky freak of an athlete with five tool potential. He can already play an excellent center field and is a threat on the basepaths. The main concern is his hitting, which took a step backward last season after an initial outburst with the Raptors. We'll see if he can make the proper adjustments in his first full year and begin to realize his immense potential.

The final spot could be a competition between three intriguing prospects. Noel Cuevas, Scott Schebler and Scott Woodward are all intriguing power/speed prospects who could use some refinement. Cuevas put up solid numbers in Ogden but struggled in 23 games with the Quakes. Schebler showed plenty of power but not much speed or patience with the Raptors. Woodward suffered from an abnormally low BABIP and could be in for a bounce back season in 2012. All three have potential but they also have a lot of work to do.

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