Dodger Prospect #12 - SS Ivan De Jesus, Jr.

Latest in a series on top Dodger prospects as we count down to the very best. While Bill Shelley is on medical leave, take a look at Prospect #12, SS Ivan De Jesus, Jr.

The Dodgers, like fine horse owners, know the value of bloodlines and have taken advantage of that by selecting sons whose father played in the big leagues. There's Preston Mattingly, son of Don; Steven Johnson, son of Dave; and Scott Van Slyke, son of Andy, all among the better prospects acquired. And another, who might well be the best of the lot, Ivan De Jesus, Jr.

Ivan, Sr. spent a lot of time in the big leagues as a player, coming through the Dodgers organization and player the first three (1974-76) years of a 15-year major league career. He has been a minor league manager and a major league coach.

Therefore he's schooled his son well for Ivan, Jr. knows the game. He's a shortstop like dad where he has excellent reflexes, good hands and an adequate arm. He positions himself well.

Senior finished his career with a .254 average and 21 home runs over 1371 games but Junior might outdo that. He battles pitchers working for a delivery he can drive, moves the ball around and doesn't get fooled often.

He was drafted in the second round of the 2005 draft out of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy started a few years ago by Edwin Correa. Edwin was a pitcher of great promise with the Rangers before he blew his arm out and later coached in the Dodger system.

The Dodgers were happy to get him with the second-round draft pick they obtained from the Mariners as compensation for losing Adrian Beltré.

Sent to the Gulf Coast League, he slashed away for a .339 average, second only to teammate Eduardo Perez's league-leading .352 and had a .389 on-base percentage. All this earned him a trip up to Ogden where he immediately stepped into the lineup when Juan Rivera was injured.

Although a late slump there brought him to a .208 Pioneer League average, he contributed. He's got a quick stroke with good hitting mechanics.

Moving up a slot in 2006, and with the help of a .313 average in July, he hit .277 at Columbus with 44 runs batted in and stole 16 of 21 bases.

He had a eye-opening spring, hitting .278 against major league competition while filling in part-time for injured shortstop Rafael Furcal.

Then, continuing his march up the franchise ladder, he hit a solid .287 at Inland Empire in 2007 and at the age of 20, started to get some pop in his bat. He banged 22 doubles, three triples and four home runs, knocking in 52 runs.

He'll be in Jacksonville in 2008 and is breathing down the neck of Chin-Lung Hu, the Dodger shortstop-in-waiting.

His record:
Ivan De Jesus, Jr.   br  tr  5-11   189
Born- May 1, 1987
Obtained- Selected in second round 2005

year	team     ave    obp   gm   ab   r    h  2b 3b hr  bi  sb
2005	GCL	.339   .389   33  121  18   41   5  0  0  11   8
	Ogden	.208   .296   20   72   4   15   1  0  0   3   3
2006	Col	.277   .361  126  483  65  134  17  2  1  44  16 
2007	InEm	.287   .371  121  428  69  123  22  3  4  52  11    

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