Dodgers Top 40 Prospects Starts Tomorrow

LADugout begins to outline the top 40 prospects in the Dodgers farm system. One must realized that singling out 40 of the nearly 190 minor league players in the system means that less that 25% of the players will be included and that the process is less than scientific and is overwhelmingly subjective. No five baseball fans would list the same 40 players as prospects,

The word "prospect" has a number of meanings. Among them 1. the possibility or likelihood of some future event occurring; 2. a mental picture of a future or anticipated event; 3. chances or opportunities for success or wealth. 4. a person regarded as a potential customer or subscriber to something; 5. a person regarded as likely to succeed, esp. in a sporting event; 6. a place likely to yield mineral deposits. 7• a place being explored for mineral deposits and, 7. an extensive view of landscape.

The word came from late Middle English as a noun denoting the action of looking toward a distant object. It is from Latin prospectus ‘view,' from prospicere ‘look forward,' from pro- ‘forward' + specere ‘to look.'

As all words do, it evolved into a number of other meanings, as can be seen in the first paragraph.

For out purpose, it will be a person regarded as likely to succeed but be limited to those players who would be listed as "rookies" if promoted to the Major Leagues. Thusly, a player shall be considered a rookie unless, during a previous season or seasons, he has (a) exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the Major Leagues; or (b) accumulated more than 45 days on the active roster of a Major League club or clubs during the period of 25-player limit (excluding time in the military service and time on the disabled list).

That eliminates RHP James McDonald, who has 69 Major League innings under his belt. Shortstop Chin-Lung Hu is also eliminated as is RHP Travis Schlichting.

Ratings are unfair to players who have not crossed the rookie border. Many scouts feel that outfielders Xavier Paul and Jamie Hoffmann will certainly be major league outfielders. However, the consensus is that at this time they appear to be fourth-outfielders, not starters. This certainly is not written in stone and both may be not only starters, but stars in the future.

And, despite what many think, there is a good deal of talent in the Dodgers minor league system and because of that, some future major league players have been left off the list.

Then we have the puzzle of assessing the potential of a highly-selected pitcher, such as Garrett Gould, who hasn't seem much action yet, against against players who have shown an abundance of talent, but missed all or part of 2009 due to injury, such as Ivan De Jesus, Jr.

We've added a new twist to the list this year, spotlighting who is the closest to the Major Leagues. All eight of them could be placed on the to Top 40 list, and five -- Elbert, De Jesus, Guerra, Paul and Lindblom -- are on the list.

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