Dodger Prospect #19 - 3B Pedro Baez

The Dodgers have in the past depended on a pipeline of talented players that arrived each year from the Dominican Republic. Pedro and Ramon Martinez, Raul Mondesi, Henry Rodriguez and later Adrian Beltré, Tony Abreu, Ramon Troncoso, Mariano Duncan ... the names goes on and on. And soon the name of Pedro Baez will be added to the list.

At age 19, Baez signed for $200,000, jumped to the United States and held his own in the Gulf Coast League. From the first he had the look of someone who could well become special. He's a solid 6-1, 190, and shows range, a glorious arm, a quick bat and soft hands.

Longtime Dominican instructors favorably compared him to Adrian Beltré when he was just beginning and that's high praise, indeed. Dodgers GM-Scouting Logan White first worked him out in the U.S, stashed him away, then took him back to the Dominican where he was signed.

He hit .274 and excelled with men on base. He finished the season with a .408 slugging average (8th among Dodger short season teams), scored 35 runs (seventh), was third in doubles (14) and second in RBI (40). He was ranked the sixth best prospect in the Gulf Coast League.

In 2008, Los Angeles sent him to Low-A Great Lakes but it turned out to be a league too far and he struggled. Sent back to regroup at Ogden, he led the team with 12 homers and 50 runs batted over 61 games. He collected finished with a roar, hitting six homers and knocking in 19 runs over just 22 games in August.

Last year, jumping to High-A Class A Inland Empire, Baez was second on the club in RBIs, is among team leaders in home runs and continues to show one of the strongest arms in the system, despite playing only 79 games before his season ended after knee surgery.

He is capable of dazzling plays at third base and his throws to first base have been clocked at 95 mph. His arm is rated first in the Dodgers system by Baseball America, For a big kid (6-2, 195), Baez is well coordinated. He has a quick first step and decent range. Pedro's most obvious defensive tool is his outstanding arm strength.

He is still learning the intricacies of the strike zone as his 16-85 walk-to-strikeout margin will attest. He gets pull-happy at times but has the power to reach any of the fences if he hits the ball ukp the middle of the field.

He was the only Dodgers representative in the XM All-Star Futures Game in St. Louis, playing first base for the World Team.

Scouts say of Baez: "Maturely built youngster with bat speed and strong wrists that make him capable of plus power. Lacks pitch recognition, not rare in young hitters, so his average may fluctuate in lower minors. Possesses plus arm strength and soft hands in providing above average defense."

Deric McKamey, Minor League Analyst, says of Baez. "Maturely built youngster with bat speed and strong wrists that make him capable of plus power. Lacks pitch recognition, so average may fluctuate in lower minors. Below average runner and has to watch body. Possesses plus arm strength and soft hands in providing above average defense." McKamey gives him the probability of reaching an elite rating, with above average power, average and defense.

Truncated though it was, his 2009 season was his best of a short professional career. In just over a half-season he created 43.98 runs, a total that projects to the fifth-highest in the Dodgers franchise and trailing only Scott Van Slyke, Travon Robinson, Kyle Russell and Mitch Jones, outfielders all.?

The Dodgers thought so much of him, they traded Josh Bell who was only a year older. Baez is certainly the third baseman of the future and must be penciled in to take over for Casey Blake in another couple seasons. His ceiling is very high, but it's still very early in his development.?

?The Dodgers will push probably him to AA Chattanooga in 2008.

His record:

3B JUAN 'PEDRO' BAEZ
6-2 195 BR TR
Born- March 11, 1988 in Bani, Dominican Republic
Obtained- Signed as a free agent 2007

year	team    ave   obp  ops   gm   ab   r   h  2b 3b hr  bi  sb
2007	GCLg   .274  .341  .731  53  201  35  55  14  2  3  39   3
2008 GLakes .178  .244  .503  59  185  23  33  10  1  1  16   3 
     Ogden  .267  .317  .819  61  247  37  66  20  1 12  50   2
2009 IEmp   .286  .326  .771  79  308  48  88  17  1 10  61   5
---------------------------------------------------------------
  Totals    .257  .311  .726 252 1039 143 242  61  5 26 166  13        
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