Minors Catching Talents Mostly Young

While many feel the Dodgers' minor league catching corps is somewhat weak, they perhaps are not looking into the lower classifications. Over the seven-team system, only five of the catchers they have signed are 25 or older and three of them were on the Las Vegas roster.

The range of backstops go from 33-year-old Danny Ardoin, who backed up Russell Martin in Los Angeles last summer, to 17-year-old Alexis Cruz of the Dominican Summer League Dodgers.

AJ Ellis had an exceptional season at Las Vegas. Ellis, who will be 27 next season, hit .321 and led the system in on-bas percentage with a .436 mark. His .892 OPS (In-base plus slugging) average also topped all (surviving) Dodgers catchers. He was rewarded with a late-season call-up to the Dodgers, making the 40-man-roster for the first time.

Lucas May, who will be 23 in 2009, worked his way up the chain quickly but ran into trouble at Jacksonville, hitting .230 to go with a .697 OPS. However, he was the highest rated catcher in the system, throwing out opposing base stealers at a 28.6% clip (28 CS in 98 attempts). That ranked him 39th among all minor league catchers.

The hottest hitting catcher in the system, perhaps the hottest hitter of the entire system, was Carlos Santana who slugged his way through the California League, hitting .323 with a .994 OPS in only 99 games. He was traded to Cleveland, however, in the deal for Casey Blake.

At the lower levels, Matt Wallach, son of former Dodgers third baseman Tim Wallach, hit .283 at Ogden. Esteban Lopez hit .267 while replacing Santana at Inland Empire. Alex Garabedian had a .267 average for Great Lakes. Kenley Jansen ranked 22nd among minor league catchers and first on the Los Angeles list, having thrown out 35 of 94 runners for a 37.2%.

The complete list of Dodgers catchers, ranked only by their offensive efforts.

 Las Vegas	age  gm   ab   r   h  2b 3b hr  bi  ave   obp
A.J. Ellis	27   84  274  44  88  17  4  4  59  .321  .436
Danny Ardoin  	33   29   99  14  30   6  0  4  16  .303  .369
René Rivera	24   37  118  12  32   7  0  4  12  .271  .336
Kelley Gulledge	29    7   18   1   0   0  0  0   0  .000  .100
Gorman Erickson	20    2    5   0   0   0  0  0   0  .000  .000

 Jacksonville	age  gm  ab   r   h  2b 3b  hr  bi  ave   obp 
Kelley Gulledge	29   27   70   9  20   7  0   4  15  .286  .383
René Rivera	34   38  134  13  31   5  0   5  18  .231  .293
Lucas May	23  107  392  54  90  27  1  13  54  .230  .294 
Gabe Gutierrez	24   35   86  10  21   1  0   1   7  .224  .414

 Inland Empire	age  gm   ab   r   h  2b 3b  hr  bi  ave   obp 
Carlos Santana	22   99  350  88 113  34  4  14  96  .323  .431
Esteban Lopez	23   49  176  28  47  14  0   4  19  .267  .343
Gabe Gutierrez	24   19   64   4  14   4  0   0   9  .219  .242
Alex Garabedian	22   13   42   2   4   0  1   0   1  .095  .116
Fum. Ishibashi  24    2    2   0   0   0  0   0   0  .000  .000

 Great Lakes	age  gm  ab   r   h  2b 3b hr  bi   ave   obp
Esteban Lopez	24   3    7   0   2   0  0  0   0  .286  .444
Jesse Mier	23  14   54   5  15   3  0  0   0  .278  .278
Alex Garabedian	22  54  180  12  48  13  1  3  21  .267  .313
Kenley Jansen	20  79  247  31  56  15  0  9  27  .227  .298

 Ogden		age  gm  ab   r   h  2b 3b  hr  bi  .ave  obp
Matt Wallach	22  51  184  36  52  17  3  10  36  .283  .356
Ryan Arp	22  13   19   1   5   2  0   0   1  .278  .409     
Jessie Meir     23  28   98  21  26   6  0   1   7  .265  .405
Keyter Collado	22   4   11   1   1   0  0   0   0  .091  .091

 Gulf Coast	age  gm  ab   r   h  2b 3b hr  bi  ave   obp
Keyter Collado	22   19  52   5  15  3  0  0   5  .288  .393  
Gorman Erickson	20   29  92  11  24  5  0  2   7  .261  .349
And. Villalobos 22   75  70   8  16  2  0  0   3  .229  .299

 Dominican	age  gm   ab   r   h 2b 3b hr  bi   ave  obp 
Alexis DeLaCruz	17    7   20  26   3  6  0  0   2  .231  .333 
Pedro Tavarez	21   58  205  21  45  9  1  1  27  .220  .244
Edward Bens	19   41  117  19  24  5  0  1  15  .205  .336
Jean Eusebio	19   15   29   2   4  0  0  0   1  .138  .167

 

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