Prospect #8 - RHP Josh Lindblom

Josh Lindblom, the Dodgers' second round draft choice in the 2008 amateur draft, was a closer while in college at Purdue University. The 6-5, 240-pound right-hander was selected 61st overall in the June draft. He is now on the fast track and will apparently be a starter for the Dodgers.

6-5 240 BR TR
Born- June 15, 1987, in Lafayette, Indiana
Obtained- Selected in the second round, 2008

Even before he was drafted, for a bonus estimated to be $600,000, Assistant GM Logan White and Scouting Director Tm Hallgren projected Lindblom to be a starter. That was how he was used during his rookie season that involved eight starts at Great Lakes and a single start at Jacksonville.

In eight starts for the Loons, he posted a 1.86 ERA, allowed 14 hits in 29 innings and struck out 33 batters while walking only four. He surrendered a pair of runs at Jacksonville, allowing only five hits.

Drafted after a very a successful career at Purdue as a closer, Lindblom's conversion was positive. 

In his nine starts between Low-A Great Lakes and Double-AA Jacksonville, Josh did not have a decision but earned a 2.12 ERA and a spectacular 5 BB/37 K ratio over just 34 innings. Additionally, Lindblom held hitters to a .157 average.  Lindblom has a fastball that sits between 91-94 MPH, but he has been known to ratchet it up to 97 at times. His slider and splitter improved greatly in his final collegiate season which bolstered his stock as a potential starter.  

"I liked him in high school," Logan White said. "But we didn't have enough picks. He should have maybe liked him a little better. We followed him and saw a power arm and were going to pitch him out of the bullpen briefly and at some point were going to move him into a starting role. "He's a big guy with a good delivery and we feel he can start."

Scouts love his competitive makeup and the ability to control all three of his pitches, but he has yet to throw more than 90 innings in any given season. Given his size and strength, there is optimism that he should be able to handle a sizable workload in the future.

And with that in mind, the Dodgers have decided to convert him from a reliever to a starter. The former star closer at Purdue was in the Arizona Instructional League working on two pitches, a splitter and a straight changeup, in hopes of making one of them the third weapon in his repertoire.

"He is showing more poise and maturity," Dodgers assistant general manager De Jon Watson said. "He was receptive to the switch [back into the starting rotation] and a lot will depend on our needs as we go along.
"This kid can pitch."

Although he started 9 games last year, but most thought the Dodgers were just trying to get him innings more than make him a starter. Now, however, they are completely sold on the prospect of putting him in the rotation.

With a big, strong frame, Lindblom can run his fastball up to the mid-90s with ease, and also has a deadly slider that creates some awkward looking swings. He had struggled with control in the past but walked only five last season. High School Standout
Lindblom graduated from William Henry Harrison High School in West Lafayette, Indiana. He was drafted by the Houston Astros in the third round of the 2005 MLB Draft, turning down a reported $300,000 signing bonus. He was named by Baseball America as the top overall prospect in the state of Indiana.

He played his first college season (2006) at the University of Tennessee. He was 4-6 with a 5.01 ERA in 17 appearances on the mound, starting 15 games and winning his first four decisions. He struck out 68 batters in 88.0 innings of work and held opponents to a .264 batting average. After one he transferred to Purdue.

As a sophomore a Purdue, he worked 17 games, nine as a starter and was 3-4 with a 4.13 ERA and one save. He had 51 strikeouts and 10 walks in 56.2 innings and limited Big Ten hitters to a .080 average in six appearances out of the pen and didn't allow a run in his final seven appearances of the season.

While with the Boilermakers in 2008, pitching completely in relief, Lindblom went 1-2 with a 3.38 ERA and a dozen saves.

The Dodgers are quite pleased with Lindblom's debut and the chances of him starting the 2009 season with L.A.'s new AA affiliate in Chattanooga. It will be interesting to monitor his appearances to see how many innings Lindblom accrues this season at AA. 

Though he was limited to 3-4 innings per start last season, he will likely be stretched to 6 or 7 innings. The important thing is how this will affect his walk to strikeout rate  If he can to maintain it, he will immediately become a top prospect in a Dodgers system that seems shy of starting pitching. If not, he may move back to the pen.

Josh Lindblom 

year  team   w-l  era  gm gs  in  h  bb  so  ave
2008  Glake  0-0  7.86  8  8  29  14  4  33  .146
      Jack   0-0  3.60  1  1   5   5  1   4  .262
 Totals      0-0  2.12  9  9  34  19  5  37  .185

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