Prospect Review - No. 6

Before the season rated 54 players in the Dodger system that we felt were worthy of prosect status. With the season complete we're reviewing how each fared during the year. Today we conclude by counting down from No. 5 through No. 1.

#5- Scott Elbert, lhp. He solidfied his rating as the top emerging pitching prospect in the organization. Beginning the year at Vero Beach, he had only one start that could be considered sub-par although poor support held him to a 5-5 record. His ERA was 2.57 as he held opposing hitters to a .193 mark. Moving up at mid-year to Jacksonville, he kept on performing, finishing with a 6-4, 3.61 record there, holding batters down even more as they managed only a .187 average against him. He still has command problems at times, having walked 85 batters in the 146 innings he worked (while striking out 173) but he seems on the road to arriving in the L.A. rotation sometime in 2007.

#4- Russell Martin, c. In spring training he outplayed Dioner Navarro but it didn't seem to matter at the time for he was still sent to Las Vegas to begin the year. It didn't take long though, for them to decide that he was to be the man behind the plate for the Dodgers. He was hitting .297 for Vegas when called up and he's settled in for what looks like a long stay . He caries a .282-10-64 record into the final week of play and has handled every catching chore in stylish fashion.

#3- Joel Guzman, of/3b.- He was annointed the coming slugger but that never quite worked out. They soured on both his inciocsistency and his moodiness and finally wound up trading him to Tampa Bay for Julio Lugo. He had become mifffed when he was passed over for promotion in favor of Matt Kemp from AA, then when recalled himself, didn't impress, hitting .211. Back down in Las Vegas, he sulked for awhile, then seemed to snap out of it and was hitting .297-11-55 when delt away. He didn't get with it when sent by the Devil Rays to Durham, though, hitting just .193 with four homers there. He's still quite young, though, (21) with enormous physical potential.

#2- Andy LaRoche, 3b- He proved himself at two levels , first hitting .309-9-41 for Jacksonville, then .320-10-35 for Las Vegas. However, a torn labrum muscle kept him from a September call-up and will probably require surgery. The presence of Wilson Betimit looms over his eventual taking over at third but so far they've resisted every temptation to trade him. He may try another position, particularly if the injury impedes his throwing.

#1- Chad Billingsley, rhp. Posting a 6-3, 3.95 record at Vegas got him called up into the Dodger rotation. Although they sometimes despair over his high pitch counts which have resulted in 55 walks in 66 innings, he's shown great stuff plus considerable poise and is 6-4, 3.34 for L.A. He has the look of a front-line starter who can add a lot to the staff.

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