Dodger Prospect #2 - OF Andrew Lambo

Before the 2007 draft the rumors were flying about Newbury High School (CA) first baseman Andrew Lambo. He was accused of skipping school and other violations. The word on the street and in the blogs pointed out he was very talented but anybody who drafts this guy would be asking for trouble. And there was also a published report that scouting directors were turned off by his flippant attitude.

OF ANDREW LAMBO
6-3 195 BL TL
Born-August 11, 1988 in Beverly Hills, CA
Obtained-Selected in fourth round of 2007 draft


With the miscellaneous charges swirling around him, his draft stock fell from an almost-certain second-rounder until the Dodgers took him in the fourth. Logan White, Dodger scouting guru, stresses character like Sister Margaret Mary did in your fourth grade class. So did White make a mistake?

"Oh, sure, he did some things," White said. "But nothing like they said he did. Those reports were all exaggerated. Scut Chuck Crim really liked him and when I talked to the kid I didn't find him that way. He made some kid mistakes and I believe in second chances."

Lambo himself was forthright about it all. "I always played sports with kids that are older than I am so I began running with an older crowd. Yes, I got into some trouble and wasn't headed in the right direction when I was a freshman and sophomore. So, my parents decided to move to a smaller town (from Reseda, California to Newbury Park). It's quieter and a great place and I got myself together."

His grades picked up and in his senior season, he had a .453 batting average, collecting nine homers, 30 RBIs and 36 runs scored. He was also a two-time Ventura County Player of the Year. Then he was offered a scholarship to play baseball at Arizona State as a senior. So what is it with all the stories?

"I honestly don't know how that started. At the tryouts, I was the one who went up to the coaches afterwards and thanked them for their help," Lambo said.

Even his critics didn't deny his ability on the field. White commented, "He reminds me of James Loney with the way he swings a bat. And, like James, he can really pick at first base."

And as an aside, like James he was an accomplished pitcher as well but it's that grooved lefthanded swing that attracted the Dodgers. They didn't see him at first, though, and moved him into the outfield. He's played in the Gulf Coast League where they wanted Kyle Orr at that position so he played the bag only occasionally. They put that arm to use in right field and that was okay with Andrew.

That sweet swing White spoke of produced regularly. In a league where the fences are major league distant, he finished with five home runs. At 6-3, 190, he's solid and it looks like he'll hit with with plenty of power as he matures. He doesn't run well enough to be classified as "five-tool" but does everything else in a style that projects very well.

The big thing is he's matured off the field. "I owe everything to Logan White," he declares. "He's given me my chance and I don't ever want to do anything that would make him sorry."

"I grew up a Dodgers fan and the only games I went to were Dodgers games," Lambo said. "I was so excited when I got drafted."

It took him a bit to get started with the Gulf Coast Dodgers but in mid-August he was pounding the ball at a .370+ clip before cooling off somewhat and finishing at .343, third in the minor league system.

He led everyone in on-base percentage (.440), was fourth in slugging (.519), and had an OPS (on-base plus slugging) average of .960 to rank third. In fact, he was on most of the charts: fourth in runs (38), sixth in hits (62), second in doubles (15) and seventh in runs batted in (32),

LADugout and Dodgers Dugout Magazine liked him so much, that we named the 18-year-old the 2008 Guy Wellman Award winner as Rookie of the Year.

But we've all seen one-year flashes who have trouble keeping a job in baseball as the move up the ladder. But Lambo put that sort of thought right out of the minds of everyone.

He played most of the season in Great Lakes during 2008 and was selected as a Midwest League All-Star. Jumping of Jacksonville in August, he ripped the ball at a .389 clip.

He ranked high in the league statistics, with 136 hits, 33 doubles, 15 home runs, 79 runs batted in and hit .288. At Double-A Jacksonville he added 101 points to is average and had 14 hits, three homers and 12 runs batted in over his 36 at-bats.

Between the two teams he led the entire Dodgers franchise in Runs Created (85.24), was third in hits (150), and home runs (8), fourth in runs batted in (91) and in the top 10 in slugging average (.482) and on-base plus slugging (.833).

Baseball America, who made him the #1 prospect in the system, said "he has plus raw power and bat speed with an ideal swing-path and mechanics." They also mentioned "he has mainly gap power now but has the big frame to provide leverage for more power."

Lambo has an adequate arm and reads the ball well in the outfield. If he was moved back to first base, he would be an above average fielder.

Analysts say he needs to cut down on his strikeouts (119 in 2008) and get a better read of the strike zone. He projects to be a 4-5 hitter in the lineup with the capability of hitting 25-30 home runs with a near .300 average.

He'll probably open in Chattanooga but could jump right to Las Vegas before the season ends and perhaps make his major league debut in 2010.

His record:

Andrew Lambo   

year  team   ave   obp   ops   gm  ab   r   h   2b 3b  hr  bi sb
2007  GCL   .343  .440  .808  54  181  38   62  15  1   5  32  1
2008  GLake .288  .346  .808 123  472  56  136  33  2  15  79  5  
      Jack  .389  .421 1.171   8   36   7   14   2  1   3  12  0
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  Totals    .308  .376  .868 185  689 103  212  50  4  23 123  6

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