"I had a good season for James Madison but being a sophomore I was sort of under the radar coming into the draft," he told LADugout. "But I had been working hard after the season, lifting and hitting.
"The Yankees called me and said they wanted to draft me in the fifth round. But they didn't offer what I was asking. It wasn't just about money. I wanted a mutual commitment and felt that if they couldn't make a commitment to me, I couldn't make a commitment to them. The Dodgers did make that commitment and I was very happy to sign with them."
Caseres bypassed the Gulf Coast rookie league and moved directly to Ogden, where he hit .268 with seven home runs and 38 RBI. He led the Raptors in the playoffs against Orem, collecting a pair of doubles and a home run while hitting .462.
Then in 2009, he jumped past Low-A Great Lakes and played the entire season at Inland Empire, hitting .287 the first half with 10 of his home runs and a .912 on-base plus slugging average, keyed by a .418 June (28-for-67) during which he launched six home runs.
But as many players do when moving onto a full-season club for the first time, he tailed off the second half and finished with a .268 average
He hit .297 against right-handed pitching but again struggled with lefties, hitting .155, however he had no letdown in power, hitting three of his 15 homers off southpaws and recorded about the same percentage (12.6%) of RBIs per at bat as against right-handed pitching (15.8%).
In 2009 he finished 12th with 64.21 runs created. He was eighth on the short season runs created charts as a rookie. He also improved both is on-base percentage (.327 to .360) and his OPS (.796 to .828).
A hard worker, he may move to Double-A in 2010 at age 23, certainly well within the normal rate of progression. He hopes to cut his strikeout ratio, and pick up his home run totals, a tough order but necessary for a first base candidate.
1B STEVEN CASERES
6-4 220 Bl Tl Born- March 26, 1987 New City, NY Obtained- Selected in the ninth round, 2008 year team ave obp ops gm ab r h 2b 3b hr rbi 2008 Ogden .268 .327 .796 44 170 24 48 11 2 7 38 2009 IEmp .260 .360 .828 113 393 61 102 25 6 15 55 ---------------------------------------------------------------- Totals .262 .350 .819 157 657 85 150 36 8 22 93
We would like to thank Jared Massy of ThinkBlue, Evan Chavez of NewMexicoFan.com, Nick Eustrom, Brandon Lennox and Yadja and Bob Bacher for their much-appreciated help in compiling this list. Each had a different slant on the top 40 and when I set up my list, their thoughts were extremely valuable. If there is any criticism of the LADugout Top 40, be advised that these gentlemen are not at fault, the blame lies with me.