Now onto the Top 10.
10. Alfredo Silverio, OF
Coming off of a successful campaign in the Cal League in 2010, Fredo needed to prove himself against advanced competition in the Southern League at age 24 in 2011. He did not disappoint.
Silverio was one of the league's top performers, collecting 42 doubles, 18 triples, 16 home runs and 11 stolen bases. He batted .306 with an .883 OPS while splitting time between all three outfield spots. He even earned a spot on the World roster for the Futures Game and made the most of his opportunity by hitting a home run.
There was an outside chance that he could have competed for a spot on the big club this spring, but a car accident has kept him out of games since the spring. He suffered multiple injuries, including a concussion and an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery.
It's unknown when Silverio will return and, after missing such an important time in his development, if he'll be able to replicate the success he's achieved over the past few years. Hopefully he can return to form in 2013.
9. Chris Reed, LHP
The surprise first rounder from 2011 sparkled in a playoff start for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes and was aggressively assigned back to High A for his first full season of work. Everything was going well until some shoulder soreness sidelined him for a few weeks.
Reed pitched impressively in the Cal League, recording a 3.09 ERA in 35 innings with 38 strikeouts while allowing just 14 walks and a single home run. That line earned him a promotion to Double A, though the results have been mixed.
His control has taken a hit in Chattanooga, as he's walked 10 batters in 17.2 innings. His strikeouts are down as well, though he hasn't allowed a home run. Like Silverio, Chris earned a spot in the Futures Game but had a disastrous outing.
His fastball has been sitting 89-92, down a little from his debut and hasn't had much life. His slider, however, continues to be his bread and butter. He's still working on his changeup.
The club has been very careful with him since his injury, pitching him in 3 inning stints. If he doesn't stick in the rotation, Reed could always be moved back to the pen. However, the club feels he can start long term and will continue to develop him as such.
8. Alex Castellanos, 2B/OF
My most ambitious ranking, Castellanos was coming off a monster season in which he hit .320 with 35 doubles and 23 home runs in the Cards' and Dodgers' Double A affiliates. After hitting well in the spring, I thought Alex would surely get his chance with the big club some time this year. And he did.
Alex was called up and made his debut on May 31, getting hit by a pitch in his first career plate appearance. The next day, he went 2 for 3 with a triple in his first career start. After that, he went 1 for 18 and was sent back to Albuquerque.
Castellanos didn't look comfortable at the plate. He was constantly swinging through hittable pitches and struck out 7 times in 21 at bats without a walk. I believe he's capable of being an everyday player, but he needs to trust himself when he gets his next chance.
7. Shawn Tolleson, RHP
Tolleson was a rarity for me: a highly ranked relief prospect. Normally I value relievers that highly given how infrequently they play, but Shawn just seemed like a sure thing to me.
His season started off strong, as he dominated the Southern League once again. A promotion to Albuquerque inflated his ERA but his peripherals were very strong, striking out 15 and walking just 1 in 9.1 innings. Finally, he got the call to the show.
Normally armed with pinpoint command, Shawn couldn't find the strike zone in his debut, walking both batters he faced and leaving the game. His next outing, he allowed his first run. And after a few effectively wild appearances, he surrendered 4 runs (3 earned) against the Mets in a blowout loss.
Tolleson looked awkward on the mound, like his top and bottom halves were working independently of each other. After about a week off, he came back and worked a perfect inning against the D Backs. 9 days later, he faced two batters and struck them both out. And most recently, he worked two perfect innings with 3 K's against the Phillies.
I have to give credit to Rick Honeycutt for apparently fixing Shawn's mechanics. He's not smooth, but at least he's in sync and in line. Barring mechanical problems, he's in the Dodgers' bullpen to stay.
6. Joc Pederson, OF
The Dodgers' top hitting prospect coming into the year, Joc dominated the Pioneer League after struggling to hit in Great Lakes. Now 20, the organization jumped him up to High A Rancho, where's he's having some success.
Batting .292 with an .800 OPS in the Cal League isn't going to open many eyes, but Pederson is young for the circuit and has gotten hot of late.
In 24 games since the All Star break, Joc has hit .294 with 6 doubles and 5 home runs to compiled an .848 OPS. This was bolstered by his three-homer game a few weeks ago. He's also posting some pretty drastic reverse-platoon splits, hitting lefties far better than he's hitting righties.
He plays a solid center field and is a solid hitter, but I wonder how much power he's going to develop. He certainly has the size, as he's built more like a linebacker than an outfielder. I'm confident that the power will come around as he continues to mature, though it could be more in the way of doubles rather than home runs.
5. Garrett Gould, RHP
Gould dominated the Midwest League last season, posting a 2.40 ERA and solid peripherals. The scouting reports were key to my ranking him so highly, but unfortunately they haven't held up this year.
It's difficult for any pitcher to succeed in the Cal League and Gould has done alright. His strikeout rate is up, thanks to his fantastic curveball. His walk rate and home run rates are up as well, though neither are alarmingly high.
The downside is his velocity. While he was reportedly sitting in the low to mid 90s with his fastball last season, Garrett has apparently been more in the high 80s in 2012. That severely limits his value.
Like Pederson, Gould is also posting severe platoon splits. Lefties are hitting just .183 against him while righties are posting a .325 average. This could be good news for the development of his changeup but it's still concerned that he's not getting righties out.
Hopefully the velocity picks up and he starts putting righties away. If that doesn't happen, I have trouble seeing him being successful above A ball.
4. Angel Sanchez, RHP
One of the breakout prospects from last year, Sanchez came out of nowhere to establish himself as a top 10 guy with a great season for Great Lakes. However, since joining Rancho to start the season, success has been hard to come by.
In 3 of the 4 months he's pitched this season, Angel has posted an ERA of under 6 just once. I saw him pitch this spring and he simply had no feel for the strike zone or his breaking ball. At times, he simply looked lost.
Like Gould, he's doing better against lefties thanks in large part to his changeup, which may be his best pitch. His fastball is still in the low 90s but he really doesn't have much of a breaking ball. In spite of his walk rate, his command needs a lot of work.
Things have gone from bad to worse lately, as Angel has posted an ERA of 10.03 in his last 5 starts. He's surrendered 17 home runs in 18 games and opponents are hitting .294 against him. If he can't develop a breaking ball, he could be moved to the pen as a fastball/changeup reliever.
3. Nathan Eovaldi, RHP
After a very successful 2011, Eovaldi started the season back in Chattanooga and continued to put up strong numbers. He posted a 3.09 in 8 games for the Lookouts before his callup. And there were a few times where he was pulled from starts because of a potential callup that ended up not happening.
Eovaldi came up when Ted Lilly went on the shelf and has been solid as the team's new #5 starter. In 9 games, he's posted an ERA of 4.33 and a FIP of 4.37. However, there's room for improvement.
Nathan throws his fastball nearly 70% of the time, 10th most among pitchers with at least 50 innings pitched. His slider, which is his best secondary pitch and what Fangraphs values as his best pitch, has been thrown 16.2% of the time, 58th most.
While his curveball and changeup haven't been terribly reliable, he needs to throw at least one of those pitches more (preferably his curve). While his fastball is a good pitch, he throws it too often to get much value out of it. If he continues to throw his fastball 70% of the time, he's a reliever in the rotation.
2. Allen Webster, RHP
After posting a reality-defying 2.33 ERA with Rancho last season, Webby came back down to Earth in Chattanooga by getting lit up in a few of his last appearances. This season, he looked like he was on the brink of reaching the majors leagues. But he's been surprisingly hittable in his first full season of Double A ball.
Armed with a full repertoire and good command, Allen attacks the strike zone with four pitches. His fastball sits in the low to mid 90s, his changeup is another plus offering and he spins two breaking balls. So why are batters having so much success against him?
One of the theories is that he lacks deception. His mechanics are so clean that it's easy for opposing hitters to see the ball coming out of his hand. If that's the case, then it's a miracle that he's striking out more than 8 batters per 9 innings.
My belief, however, is his struggle simply being a matter of luck. His BABIP this season is .363, way above normal even for a strong groundball pitcher. His FIP is 3.03, which is excellent and speaks well to his future success.
I believe it's only a matter of time before his numbers normalize and he should be ready for a major league rotation by next year.
1. Zach Lee, RHP
The Dodgers' wunderkind handled his debut with aplomb, posting a 3.47 ERA in Great Lakes while showing a strong 4 pitch mix. This year, he's been tested by the Cal and Southern Leagues. So far, his promise has been tempered by some adversity.
With the Quakes, Lee was showing a fastball that was mostly in the high 80s, though it looked like a 2 seamer. When I saw him, he touched 92 and 93 a few times. The good news was he was showing two excellent breaking balls.
His numbers were good, except for his home run rate. He struck out nearly a batter an inning and posted a 5.2 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio.
Then he got to Double A. After a strong first start, he's allowed 18 runs (15 earned) in his last 3 starts. His control, which was excellent early in the season, has taken a step back. His ERA with the Lookouts is 8.82.
Zach's biggest problem has been lefties, who are hitting .441 against him in just 6.2 innings. He's also walked more (7) than he's struck out (5) when facing south paws. His BABIP (.418) is abnormally high as well.
As was the case with Webster, Lee just needs time for his numbers to normalize. He needs to get back to an effective approach against lefties as well. I have confidence that the 20 year old will end the season on a high note.
Up next, draftees and other prospects who could work their way up the list next year.
Dodgers Midseason Prospect Review: Part 2
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