James McDonald -- Prospect #47

Eighth in a series on the top Dodger prospects as we count down to the very best.

Position- Relief Pitcher
Residence-Long Beach, Cal.
DOB- Oct. 19, 1984
Wt.- 195

In a career of only three years, McDonald's had more than his share of change of directions but he seems to be on the right path once more.

Drafted as a first baseman, signed as a pitcher, switched to the outfield, he's now a pitcher again and the possibilities are intriguing.

He did some pitching in high school but they liked his bat more when he was chosen in the 11th round of the 2003 draft.

He then attended Golden West Junior College for a year and there his fast ball increased several miles per hour so it was decided to keep him on the mound after he signed as a draft-and-follow in 2004.

His rookie season in the Gulf Coast League saw some inconsistencies when he'd pitch solidly for some time only to get out of sync at others. He wound up 2-4, 3.33 but they liked his stuff.

Scheduled to stay on the hill, he developed tendinitis instead so was sent to the outfield while recovering. His second season in the GCL produced only a .224 average, though, but he seemed to rev up his stroke and his hitting in the 2005 extended camp so remained an outfielder.

At Ogden, though, he never got going well and was hitting in the low .200's again when he asked to move back to the mound since his arm woes had cleared up.

Intense work with pitching coach Bob Welch followed before he finally got into pitching action again.

He did well (0-0, 1.50) in the four games he worked and continued his progress in the Instructional League. His fast ball reaches the low 90's but his best pitch seems to be a sharp curve.

Now established as a pitcher for good, his next stop will either be Columbus or Ogden. Although he came back as a reliever, he could earn some starting assignments down the road.

Previous selections:
#48 -- OF Brian Myrow
#49 -- LHP Danny Muegge
#50 -- RHP Miguel Ramirez
#51 -- OF Ryan Carter
#52 -- RHP Casey Hoorelbeke
#53 -- OF Trayvon Robinson
#54 -- RHP Ramon Troncoso