Mid-Term Report

Ah, the Fourth of July. Time for picnics, fireworks and, here, a pause to look at how the better-regarded prospects in the Dodger system are doing.

1- Chad Billingsley, rhp. Jacksonville. After a slump, a brief trial in the bullpen, came back to the starting rotation with a one-hitter. (6-4, 4.48. 2 strikeouts in 80.1 innings, opponents hitting .237.)

2- Joel Guzman, ss. Jacksonville. Was slightly hurt and slumped. Has returned with a big bang. Took over a month to hit his 12th home run. The third base experiment ended with the promotion of Andy LaRoche. (.296-12.55).

3- Edwin Jackson, rhp, Jacksonville. After being dropped back from Las Vegas, has made one faulty start, one very good. (1-1, 4.52. OBA- .224)

4- James Loney, 1b., Jacksonville. Steady rise continues. What's more, you'll note he's been healthy all season. (.270-7-31.)

5- Delwyn Young, 2b., Jacksonville. So he isn't the best second baseman around. D. Y. can hit just like he always has. (.295-11-42.)

6- Greg Miller, lhp, Gulf Coast. Made his first start in over a year and one-half. Threw 91-94 with good movement; not always good command. Rehab will continue.

7- Jonathan Broxton, rhp, Jacksonville. Has thrown seven innings out of bullpen since being switched to prepare him for the big leagues. Gave up five hits, two runs with 10 strikeouts, hit 97 on the gun.. (4-3, 3.26. 86 K's in 80 innings, OBA- .225)

8- Andy LaRoche, 3b., Jacksonville. The most-talked-about player in the system continues to hit after his promotion. But, hey, lay off that "bring him up to L.A." talk. He needs more time down below. (.346- five homers in 13 games.)

9- Chuck Tiffany, lhp, Vero Beach. Hasn't been as effective since coming back from surgery to remove a suspicious mole on his lower back. Hasn't been that bad, either. ( 5-5, .3.57, .231.)

10- Blake DeWitt, 3b, Columbus. His hitting has waxed and waned. Has hit well when it counts most, though. (.264-8-47).

11- Scott Elbert, lhp, Columbus. Last start was one of his best yet after two not-so-good. (3-4, 3.42. 73 strikeouts in 61 innings, OBA- just .167).

12- Russell Martin, c. Jacksonville. Just keeps getting better. Why they felt the need of Dioner Navarro is a mystery. (.319-5-40).

Some others who are fast rising:

Derek Thompson, lhp, Las Vegas. He proved he could get outs in the bigs. Had a solid start after being squeezed out there.

Justin Orenduff, rhp, Jacksonville. Made a shoddy start after being promoted, then, settled down and pitched a strong one.

Hong-Chi Kuo, lhp, Jacksonville. So far, his comeback to his early form has been nothing short of miraculous. Struck out six in two scoreless innings in his first stint in AA; hit 98 on the gun. Another on whom you have to wait and see, though, because of all the previous damage to his arm.

Tony Abreu, 2b., Vero Beach. Improving as a hitter; plays a solid second. (.323-3-30).

Justin Ruggiano, of, Vero Beach. Drafted down low so not much has been expected but he's done all he could to change that notion. (.312-9-35).

Jamie Hoffman, of, Columbus. Moved to the leadoff role this season, he's responded well. (.304-1-24, 7 triples. )

Blake Johnson, rhp, Columbus. Second-round draft choice in 2004 who is developing quickly. (6-3, 2.90. OBA- .225.)

Among the newly signed draftees, third-round outfielder Sergio Pedroza has arrived in Ogden seemingly from the planet Krypton. Went 8-for-8 before making an out. Lefthander Brent Leach (sixth round) has been doing well, too --10.1 scoreless innings. SS Ivan DeJesus (second round) and 3b Josh Bell (fourth round) have gotten off well with the Gulf Coast Dodgers.

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