Checking Out Dodger Shortstop Prospects

Third in a series as we take an advance look at Dodger farm teams by position.

With Joel Guzman moved to the outfield (or, maybe, first or third), the Dodgers find themselves rather like Goldielocks at shortstop with either a bit too much, a bit too little or just right.

There was a void at the positon as far as Las Vegas was concerned so that was addressed by first trading for Wilson Valdez from Kansas City, a player who's more than slick in the field but a suspect at the plate. Then, Oscar Robles was sent down as well. He's adequate in the field but proficient with a bat.

The situation seems well in hand at Jacksonville with Chin-lung Hu moving up from Vero Beach. The native of Taiwan, who played for that island nation in the World Baseball Classic, is more than adept with a glove and certainly no slouch at the plate, either, having hit over .300 everywhere he's been (.313 last year at Vero). He's rated the best in the system at the present time.

There was a void at Vero with the better young prospects not quite ready for high A so Cole Bruce, who's played here, there, and everywhere since signing as a free agent in 2004, stepping in. He's much more of a hitter (.304 at Columbus) than a fielder with suspect range. Jimmy Rohan, who's the premier utility man down below, can spell him if necessary. Dom Laurin, who hit an enemic .161 at Columbus, is currently rehabbing.

At Columbus, there may be too much with both Juan Rivera and Ivan DeJesus, Jr., assigned there. Rivera is a first-rate fielder who has yet to prove that he can hit (.251 at Ogden) while DeJesus showed signs of being able to do both after being drafted in the second round last year (.339 in the Gulf Coast League). The question is whether he's ready yet for this league.

That leaves Yosanddy Garcia, Francisco Lizarraga and Elian Herrera in the extended spring camp. While Garcia has the physical tools, he was over his head in the Gulf Coast League as a rookie, hitting only .125. Lizarraga is a Mexican who looked promising in the Instructional League last fall while Herrera is over from the Dominican League where he hit .257. Speed is his game.