Gulf Coast Dodger Review

In what was quite probably the last season for the Gulf Coast League, its East Division in which the Dodgers participate could be roughly divided into three parts. In the first portion, the four teams -- the Mets, Marlins and Nationals are the others -- took turns scrambling for position.

In the second, the Mets flew away from the rest while the Dodgers dropped into the depths, piling up losses. In the third, while the Mets coasted to a title, L.A.'s forces came back in style, pushing past the other two to finish second at 25-29.

It was a strong turnaround and it was doubly impressive because much of it came after some of its key personnel- top pitcher Ramon Paredes, closer Miguel Ramirez, shortstop Ivan DeJesus, Jr., second baseman Adolfo Gonzalez and outfielder Steve Sapp had all been sent out to bolster other teams.

However, as noted here before, Eduardo Perez stayed until the end (then went to Columbus) and if the league named an MVP, he'd be the one. Playing third and (sometimes) first, the 20-year-old Venezuelan led the loop in batting, runs batted in, hits, total bases and slugging .

The Dodgers were playing in a generally strong hitting division with Mets the top team in that department with L.A. finishing second with a combined .284 average. Conversely, the team was next-to-last in pitching with a 4.55 team ERA.

Part of the mound dilemma was caused by the fact that three well-thought-of draftees, Josh Wall (second round), Chris Hobdy (seventh) and Steve Johnson (13th) all had arm problems and had to be shut down at various times. Johnson was able to come back but the other two weren't. Hobdy's injury may well result in surgery.

Strong-armed Latins made up the bulk of the team's staff with Paredes and Ramirez leading the way before departing. Miguel Sanfler (5-3, 3.79) also looked quite promising .

As for the hitters, a number of draftees also stood out including second-rounder DeJesus, the son of the former Dodger, who hit .339 and played well at short. Fourth-rounder Josh Bell shared third with Perez and hit .318 while outfielders Trayvon Robinson (10th round) and Scott Van Slyke (14th round), the son of former big league star Andy, also showed potential. Robinson hit .295, flashed dazzling speed and more power than expected while Van Slyke hit .282 and looks like he'll drive for distance down the road, crushing two home runs and a double while driving in seven runs in one notable game.

Catcher Kenny Jansen (.305) from Curacao and returnee Carlos Medero (.311) also contributed to the attack although Medero's receiving skills were sub-par.

The most pleasant surprise was righthander Jon Haldis, an undrafted high schooler who signed out of a tryout, and came on to demonstrate a fine arm, taking over the closer's role after Ramirez left to finish with a 1.96 ERA.

The biggest disappointment was another righthander, Chales Dasni, who had the arm to tie for the club's strikeout lead but who'd get kicked around in games despite that to finish 1-5, 7.35.

Team leaders in key departments:

Batting
Games- Bell 45
Hits- Perez 63
2B- Perez 16
3B- Jesus Mora 3
HR- Perez 6
RBI- Perez 37
SB- DeJesus 8
Ave.- Perez .352
OBP- Perez .405
Slug- Perez .553

Pitching
Inn- Dasni 45.1
W- Paredes 6
ERA- Paredes- 2.34
Saves- Ramirez 5
SO- Dasni, Sanfler 41
OBA- Paredes .222

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