Dodger Minor Leage Prospects

17th in a series as we count down among the top Dodger prospects.

Position- Catcher
Residence- Phoenix, Ariz.
DOB-Aug. 17, 1983
04 Club- Columbus (low A)

Mike's a superior athlete. Named Gatorade High School Player of the Year for football in Arizona in 2001, he starred as both a quarterback (recruited by both Notre Dame and Arizona State at that position )) and as a safety (signed with UCLA). He was also a power forward on a state championship basketball team. As a result, it took a bonus of around $1 million to lure him away to the diamond when the Dodgers picked him off in the third round of the 2002 draft.

His progress has been slow which shouldn't be too surprising since he didn't devote that much time to the game due to his other commitments before turning pro. As a result, he spent a second year in low A and has clearly been passed by Russell Martin as the possible Dodger receiver of the future. Yet, it shouldn't be assumed that he's fallen from grace. His average did dip from .274 to .264 but he upped his home run production from one to five and seems to be taking advantage more and more of his strong body. He has a short, quick stroke that promises more down the road.

On defense, he possesses quick actions and demonstrate the intelligence his position requires. His problem ever since signing has been his throwing. Oh, the strong arm is there but he tends to become too upright before getting rid of the ball which results in slow pop time, no doubt the residue of all those years as a quarterback.

But like all Dodger high draft choices of the Logan White era, he's a very hard worker so the notion is he'll overcome the deficiency given time. There's also the possibility of moving him to the outfield where he's played some as a pro. He's still young and should play high A ball in 2005.