Prospect #17 - C Tony Delmonico

Tony Delmonico was a shortstop at Florida State when he was drafted in 2008. In his firs professional season he was switched to second base to work with shortstop Dee Gordon and last season was moved behind the plate. Despite all that, and the fact that he was in his first season as a catcher, Delmonico was selected at the top catching prospect in the Midwest League.

He caught in only 49 games before the injury limited him to 34 games as a designated hitter and 17 at first base. Despite that, he hit a solid .285 with a .838 on base percentage and an .813 on base-plus slugging mark, tying A.J. Ellis for the best catcher's percentage in the system. He also led all catchers in runs (53), hits (104), doubled (22), home runs (9), runs created (57.30) and was second in runs batted in with 43.

The Dodgers thought they had picked a virtual hitting machine when they selected Delmonico as their sixth selection in 2008 and they were quickly proved right.

He played a number of sports in high school and was an All-state shortstop in High School ranked 28th nationally by one major publication among top freshmen to watch when he enrolled at the University of Tennessee. He transferred to Florida State before being drafted.

He was named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American and earned a spot on the SEC All-Freshman Team. As a sophomore at Tennessee he led the team in runs scored, home runs, RBIs and walks and hit .335 and had a team-best .421 on-base percentage in 2006. In his two years with the Vols, Delmonico hit .329 with 12 home runs and 85 RBIs.

Transferring to Florida State he hit .374 with 69 rbi, a .455 on-base percentage and a on-base plus slugging (OPS) of 1.014, helping his team into the College World Series.

Milwaukee and the New York Mets representatives had shown much interest in him, but the Dodgers weren't on the radar until he heard his name called.

"I always dreamed of playing for Joe Torre and the New York Yankees," he said. "It was getting frustrating waiting (to get selected), but once they said L.A. Dodgers and Joe Torre, I was excited. Everything happens for a reason.

"I didn't get drafted as high as I thought I should have, but I was tickled to death with the Dodgers and I couldn't be happier.

"I didn't even get a call from the Dodgers," Delmonico. "I was on the phone with a Brewers guy who said they were going to take me in the fifth or sixth round. Right when I least expected it, they say, 'Anthony Delmonico goes to the Los Angeles Dodgers.' I was shocked and excited at the same time."

Logan White, Assistant General Manager-Scouting was delighted he was still available in the sixth round. "I loved his blue collar ethics," White said. "I think he could have been a second baseman with a good bat, average range, above average skills and well above average gamesmanship. We are impressed with his all-around skills that we think will take him to the Major Leagues."

White suggested at the time that that Delmonico might, at some point, trade in his infielder's gloves for some catching gear.

"I think catching is neat," Delmonico said. "It doesn't surprise me at all. Middle infielders have good arms and catchers are scarce. A lot of Major League teams are doing it."

Delmonico caught until he was 15 years old and has played shortstop and occasionally pitched in summer ball.

"I think it's his best position," said his father Rod Delmonico who coached his son at Tennessee and was an assistant coach at Florida State. "He has a very good arm, he's a very good athlete and he can catch and throw. I think it's his best chance to move up the ladder. He can be really good behind the plate.

"He caught a little last during the Team USA trials, a little during his sophomore and junior years in high school and a little bit in summer ball. He's been doing it all his life so I thought it would be an easy transition."

Delmonico (.340) hit well at Ogden his rookie season and was second only to Travis Vetter's .404 among Dodgers short season players. He was also second with .443 on-base percentage, led the franchise with a .716 slugging average and was second in OPS with a 1.159 mark.

He was also in the top five in doubles, home runs and runs batted in. He was second in runs created with 41.92.

He will natural progression would be to Inland Empire in 2010 and since he is a work in progress, it looks like his catching skills will dictate how quickly he will move up the system.

6-0 195 BR TR
Born- April 27, 1987
Obtained- Dodgers sixth pick in 2009 draft

year	team     ave   obp    ops   gm   ab   r   h  2b 3b  hr  bi sb
2008	Ogden	.340  .443  1.159   35  141  38  48  20  0  13  39  0
2009	GLks	.285  .383   .813  100  365  53 104  22  2   9  43  5
 totals         .300  .400  .910  135  595  91  152  42  2  20  82  5

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