A Long Look At The Outfield

This is the year when Matt Kemp finally made it the big leagues, presumably to stay for quite awhile. Are there any more like him down there? Well, maybe not with his all-around athletic ability- those kinds come along rarely. There are, though, more than ordinarily talented outfielders in the system- and at every level, too.

You can start with Las Vegas- or, rather, up with the Dodgers themselves, for that is where Delwyn Young is now. He had a breakout season with the 51's in 2007, batting 337, setting a modern Pacific Coast League record for doubles with 54, slugging .571 with 17 home runs and 97 runs barred in. He's not the greatest fielder around but he'll do at the corners and that bat will get him up.

You'd have to think there would be a spot for a player with that much offensive capability on the big club but is there? With Kemp, Andre Etheir, Juan Pierre, not to mention Jason Repko, when he gets back next spring, there might not be room for Young although he seems more than ready. Which is why you'll probably hear his name in trade talk a lot this winter.

The rest of the Vegas outfield doesn't figure unless you count Wilson Valdez, who moved out there when Chin-lung Hu took over at shortstop. It certainly enhanced his value for a utility role. Choo Freeman, the former Rockie who drifted in via free agency, will probably depart the same way while Wilkin Ruan's days of contending for a big league job would appear over.

Jacksonville, though, had Xavier Paul, who hit very well when he wasn't hurt. He has some juice in his bat, runs well and has arguably the finest arm from right field in the organization. Anthony Raglani showed pop (21 homers) but not much consistency (.248). Tommy Giles hit very well when down at Great Lakes but not at all for the Suns.

At Inland Empire, Jamie Hoffmann hit .309, showed a bit of power plus good speed and defense. Bridger Hunt is a singles-type hitter and Ryan Rogowski may be the best base runner in the system but he'll have to hit more than .253. Adam Godwin is another speed guy who doesn't hit much while Drew Locke hits okay but maybe that's about it.

Great Lakes had Scott Van Slyke, who should develop power when he matures because he's very strong but hasn't gotten the nuances of hitting down yet. They want Trayvon Robinson to become another Pierre for he has the swiftness although he doesn't get on consistently. Matt Berezay came on well enough to gain further scrutiny.

When it comes to speed, Jovanny Rosario, who played at Ogden, has it and then some. He also started hitting with some authority for the Raptors. Erik Kanaby is still another of the jet-set and had a fine rookie year there. Travis Vetters popped some eyes with his home runs but he's older (24) so will have to do it again and again to be believed.

The Gulf Coast Dodgers were where the most exciting young hopefuls gathered Alfredo Silverio led the league in batting and RBI and played strong in left. In right, fourth-round draft pick Andrew Lambo has about as much upside as a hitter as anyone. He hit 343, is developing power and is another with a great arm from right. Amauri Guzman, a big strong Dominican, seems to be coming on at the plate albeit slowly.

The best hope for the Dominican Dodgers seems to be Jose Arias, another guy with muscles who doesn't hit all that often. He also plays first base.

In all,there seems to be quite a menu to choose from down there.

LA Dodgers Insider Top Stories