Dodger Minor League Strength Chart - 2B

Dodger minor league second basemen are led by Blake DeWitt and Tony Abreu. Abreu has been in the spotlight longer but coming up strong on the outside the DeWitt and both are viable prospects. This is our second in the series and we now take a look at what was once known as the Keystone position-- second base.

Tony Abreu
Age should have it's privilege and so we will check out Abreu first. Known originally as Estanislao, he has pleased baseball writers throughout the Dodger system by preferring the name Tony.

But by whatever name, he is a solid offensive and defensive player who has moved steadily up the system. He signed as a non-drafted free agent late in 2002 and opened his professional career in the Gulf Coast League, skipping over the Dominican Summer League as a tribute to his talent.

He hit a solid .294 with the Coasties, showing speed and a solid glove at age 19. He led the club in average, hits (48), runs (30) and RBI (20) and was selected the 11th best prospect in the league.

In 2004 he had a .302 average at Columbus over 104 games, whacking 37 extra-base hits including eight homers and knocking in 54. A quick, late-season stop in Vero Beach saw him light up the night with a .419 average. hitting in 10 games of the 11 games he played.

In 2005, Abreu led the Florida State League with a .330 average and was named to the FSL All-Star team. He collected 23 doubles, knocked in 43 and stole 14 bases. He jumped to AA Jacksonville for the final month of the season and hit .250 over 96 at bats.

He didn't find Southern League pitching all that overwhelming, crafting a .289 average, seventh in the league. He led his team and was fifth in the SL with 132 hits and was second on the team with 54 runs batted in.

In the field, he recorded a 4.48 range factor (plays per game), the best mark of any second baseman in the Dodgers system.

While he doesn't walk much, he doesn't strikeout much either and seems to be a perfect fit for the second slot in the batting order.

In some years, he would have had a cup of coffee with the big club at the end of the season but being in the pennant race and having Jeff Kent in front of him kept him home in the fall.

Tony, who's now just 21 years old, is a player to keep an eye on -- whatever name he chooses.

Blake DeWitt
DeWitt is one of the best young hitters in the franchise and along with Travis Denker has been working at both second and third base to improve his value.

Chosen in the first round in 2004 out of Sikeston High School in Missouri, where he hit .558 his senior year with 14 home runs and 48 runs batted in. Since then, he has battered his way upward each year.

Playing third base, he had a .284 average and 12 homers. becoming only one of a dozen players who collected that many homers in a Dodger short-season league since 1963. He was the second-rated player in the league.

He started with Columbus in 2005 and hit .283 with 11 homers and 65 RBI over 120 games before moving up to Vero Beach where he hit .319 in eight games. He had a 19-game hitting streak with Columbus and finished the year leading the Dodger short season teams with 61 runs, 146 total bases, 19 doubles and his dozen home runs.

In 2006, he began to show is power. At the age of 20, he banged out 18 home runs and knocked in 61 runs for Vero Beach and moved to second base. He struggled while playing 26 games for Jacksonville, hitting .183.

The Dodgers feel he has a good enough arm to play third but after playing second base in the Arizona Instructional League, they moved him to second base to open the '06 season.

Travis Denker
Denker, who exhibited excellent skill at the plate over his first three years in the organization, fell on hard times in 2006 and that slowed his progression. He was an All-Star second baseman at Columbus but was switched to third and may play there next season.

Denker was signed in the 21st round out of Brea, California in 2003, where he hit 425 with 11 homers and 32 RBI in 26 games.

Opening his professional career in the GCL he hit ,270 over 39 games and .227 when moved up to Columbus.

He banged out a .311 average for Ogden in '04, adding 17 doubles, 12 homers and 43 runs batted in over only 57 games.

He had a break-out season at Columbus in 2005, leading Dodger short-season players with a .310 average, 65 runs cored, 68 runs batted in and 21 home runs. He was selected to the South Atlantic League All-Star team as a second baseman.

He couldn't maintain that average in Vero Beach, hitting only .185 over the final month of the season.

In 2006, Denker hit .220-5-25 at Vero and was sent back to Columbus where he recovered somewhat to hit .268-11-45. At Vero Beach he was also switched to third base to make room for DeWitt at second.

He will be only 20 in 2006 and will probably open the season in the California League with Inland Empire.

Sergio Garcia
Garcia, in his fifth season with the Dodgers, had perhaps his breakout season at Las Vegas, hitting .324 while playing second, third and short.

He has worked his way up the system, starting with the Gulf Coast League in 2002 after being signed as a non-drafted free agent out of college.

His best season (.274) came with the Coasties, being named the team's MVP, and he has never had over 234 at bats in any one season. He hit .217 over 45 games at Jacksonville before moving to AAA and reestablishing himself as perhaps a certified prospect as a major league utility man.

Elian Herrera
Herrera, in the USA for the first time after three years in the Dominican Summer League, opened the year as a reserve in the Gulf Coast League but when given an opportunity, took advantage of it.

A spray hitter, he led the team with a .327 average and in a number of ways became the team's MVP. At 5-11 and 170 he will probably never have much power but if his improvement continues, he's another to keep an eye on.
              ave  gm  ab  r   h 2b 3 hr bi sb
O. Robles LV .293  86 275 29  79 10 0  0 28 0
S. Garcia LV .328  71 247 54  81 15 0  8 37 7
T. Abreu Jx  .287 118 457 66 131 24 3  6 54 8
C. Bruce Jx  .167  27 72   4  12  3 0  1 18 0
B. DeWitt VB .268 106 425 61 114 18 1 18 61 8
T. Denker VB .220  54 191 24  42  6 0  5 25 0
T Denker Col .268  75 250 48  67 11 1 11 45 2
E. Herrera GC.327  36 110 19  36  4 0 11  7 2

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