The Real Rookies
While the Pioneer League plays host to rookie ball teams, many players have been in the league previously. Let's take a look at the 2012 draft picks who are on the Raptors first.
Daniel Coulombe, LHP
The 22 year old southpaw was the Dodgers' 25th rounder in this year's draft. Daniel was coming off an injury from 2011 and didn't pitch much in 2012 for Texas Tech, amassing just 21.1 innings for the Red Raiders. I expect his workload to be limited, though he could move quickly once he's healthy.
Jake Hermsen, LHP
Another senior sign from this year's class, Hermsen was selected 3 rounds after Coulombe. He struggled a bit in his final year with Northern Illinois, posting a 5.13 ERA in 86 innings. He offers a 5 pitch mix and goes right after hitters. He has some work to do, but shows promise.
Owen Jones, RHP
The closer for the University of Portland, Jones was popped in the 19th round of this year's Rule 5 draft. He recorded 16 saves this spring and was named to the Stopper of the Year watch list, the award given to the best D1 baseball closer. Owen should move quickly, following in the footsteps of a number of quality relief prospects who recently have been drafted by the Dodgers.
Duke von Schamann, RHP
Winner of this year's "Coolest Name" award, DvS was taken in the 15th round out of Texas Tech, joining teammate Daniel Coulombe on Ogden's roster. Duke had a strong junior season, pitching off his sinker to end up with a 2.08 ERA. He walked just 12 batters in 86.2 innings, so with that type of control, he could advance to A ball before long.
Eric Smith, C
Smith was another teenie bopper, drafted in the 18th round out of Stanford. He's relatively new to catching but has shown promise behind the plate. 2012 was also his first year starting, but he batted .321. He makes a lot of contact but doesn't draw many walks or hit for much power. He'll have to incorporate one of those attributes in able to provide enough value to move up the ladder.
Darnell Sweeney, SS
Sweeney will be the highest drafted player from the '012 class on the opening day roster, being selected in the 13th round out of Central Florida. He should stick at short and has top of the order skills, but lacks polish. He didn't hit well this spring and could improve the little things on defense. If he does, Sweeney will provide another promising shortstop prospect for the Dodgers.
Pat Stover, OF
Stover was the Dodgers' "Mr. Irrelevant" in 2012, being selected with their final pick in the 40th round. He's something of a local boy, going to school in Santa Clara and put up strong numbers this spring. He offers both power and speed but is limited defensively. Plate discipline will be key in determining how quickly he moves through the system.
Others of Note:
-Alex Santana, the Dodgers' second round pick from a year ago, returns to rookie ball looking to improve upon his debut. Still just 18, Santana moved to third base as a pro and struggled on both sides of the ball.
-Jesus Valdez was also drafted last year as a third baseman, even though the consensus was that he'd be chosen as a pitcher. His first season went smoothly enough, as he batted just .241 but OPS'd nearly .750. He's still only 20 years old, so he has time to develop.
-Jose Capellan is coming off a successful stateside debut in 2011 after 2 years in the Dominican Summer League. The 21 year old catcher has on base skills and surprising baserunning ability.
-Kazuki Nishijima is a Japanese lefty whom the Dodgers signed last offseason. Already 23, he displays excellent control but will have to miss more bats in order to be effective.
-Derek Cone was the 31st round selection in 2010 and has shown flashes but not enough consistency. He made an appearance for the Quakes this year, allowing a run in 2 innings. He'll turn 22 in a few days, so he needs to put things together in a hurry.
Dodgers Rookie League Preview: Ogden Raptors
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