RHP Eric Stults -- Prospect #39

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

Position- Starting Pitcher
Residence- Mishawaka, Ind.
DOB- Dec. 9, 1979
Ht.- 6-3
05 Clubs- Jacksonville (AA), Las Vegas (AAA)

The Dodgers expected that they'd lose Stults in the recent Rule 5 draft but opposing clubs grabbed two other lefties out of the system (Luis Gonzalez, Mike Megrew) and passed on Stults.

The club was also expecting Gonzalez to be taken, outguessed on Megrew but grateful that Stults is still around.

Here, they have a lefty who throws in the low 90's, complements that with a well above-average curve ball and changeup, throws strikes and has mound poise.

He came on very quickly after being taken in the 15th round out of tiny Bethel College in Indiana (where he was more noted as a basketball player).

He reached AA in his first season, only to be bothered by arm problems, had surgery and seemed recovered in 2005. He began well at Jacksonville (4-3, 3.31 with 58 strikeouts in 58 innings while walking only 15), then was promoted to Las Vegas.

Here he suffered the malaise that seemed to infect the entire staff and was only 3-7, 6.58.

That might have put off the other teams, still the Dodgers feel he's a heady pitcher who still has an opportunity to pitch in the big leagues. He's expected to return to Vegas in 2006.

Previous selections:
#40 -- OF Xavier Paul
#41 -- LHP Miguel Sanfler
#42 -- 3B Josh Bell
#43 -- RHP Jordan Pratt
#44 -- OF Sergio Pedroza
#45 -- RHP Julio Pimentel
#46 -- 1b-1B Eduardo Perez
#47 -- RHP James McDonald
#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