Dodger Prospect #27 Zach Hammes

LAdugout. com is currently taking a look at the top prospects in the Dodger system. Here's another as we count down to the very best.

Name- ZACHARY JOHN HAMMES Position- Relief Pitcher
Residence- Iowa City, Ia
DOB- May 15, 1984
Ht- 6-6
Wt- 225
B/T- R/R
How Obtained- Drafted in second round 2002
06 Club- Vero Beach (Florida State)

Hammes was the odd man out among the top draftees of 2002- James Loney, Greg Miller, and Jonathan Broxton were the others taken in the first two rounds- and there were even those who considered releasing him.

All that began to change in 2006 when he at last began to live up to his potential .He started to put together efficient sequences to throw the ball very well. He was ragged early, then kept getting better.

Pitching in middle relief he wound up leading Vero with six victories . His 4.32 ERA wasn't much but he proved to be very capable in the main. He then went to the Hawaii Winter League where they made him into a closer and he ranked as one of the best in the league.

The problem before had been that he couldn't get into a consistent rhythm and his control suffered. He's always had a great fast ball- it peaked at 98 mph in Hawaii- and he's developed a curve. Now that he can throw the two for strikes more often than not, he's become a tower of power.

He has some catching up to do before he can rank with those others and he should get his opportunity at Jacksonville to do just that.