Prospect #10 - RHP Josh Lindblom

Josh Lindblom, the Dodgers' second round draft choice in the 2008 amateur draft, was a closer while in college at Purdue University. The 6-5, 240-pound right-hander was projected to be a starter early in his career and the thinking now is he might make the Dodgers bullpen staff but if he doesn't he'll return to the minors and start.

Pitching for Chattanooga and Albuquerque in 2009, he starter 34 times and appeared in relief on 14 occasions but much will depend on the Dodgers ability to sign another free agent starter. If spring training started tomorrow, there would be only three starters with guaranteed jobs: Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley and Hiroki Kuroda, with recently-signed Vincente Padilla an odds-on favorite for the #4 slot. 

Lindblom graduated from William Henry Harrison High School in West Lafayette, Indiana. He was drafted by the Houston Astros in the third round of the 2005 MLB Draft, turning down a reported $300,000 signing bonus. He was named by Baseball America as the top overall prospect in the state of Indiana.

"I liked him in high school," Assistant GM-Scouting Logan White said. "But we didn't have enough picks. He should have maybe liked him a little better. We followed him and saw a power arm and were going to pitch him out of the bullpen briefly and at some point were going to move him into a starting role. He's a big guy with a good delivery."

He played his first college season (2006) at the University of Tennessee. He was 4-6 with a 5.01 ERA in 17 appearances on the mound, starting 15 games and winning his first four decisions. He struck out 68 batters in 88.0 innings of work and held opponents to a .264 batting average. After one year he transferred to Purdue.

At Purdue, he worked 17 games, nine as a starter and was 3-4 with a 4.13 ERA and one save. He had 51 strikeouts and 10 walks in 56.2 innings and limited Big Ten hitters to a .080 average in six appearances out of the pen and didn't allow a run in his final seven appearances of the season.

While with the Boilermakers in 2008, pitching completely in relief, Lindblom went 1-2 with a 3.38 ERA and a dozen saves.

Drafted for a bonus estimated to be $600,000, he was given eight starts at Great Lakes and a single start at Jacksonville in his rookie season.

In eight starts for the Loons, he posted a 1.86 ERA, allowed 14 hits in 29 innings and struck out 33 batters while walking only four. He surrendered a pair of runs at Jacksonville, allowing only five hits.

When the Dodgers were searching for pitching during the latter half of spring training, he appeared in five Cactus League games, allowing just two runs in 13.0 innings (1.38 ERA). 

His second year was as solid. He recorded a 3-5. 4.71 at Chattanooga didn't miss a beat as he moved up to Albuquerque. He finished 3-0 with a 2.54 earned run average in 20 games, three of them starts. He allowed 34 hits and struck out 36 over his 39 innings.

The Dodgers love his competitive makeup and the ability to control all three of his pitches.

"He is showing more poise and maturity," Dodgers assistant general manager De Jon Watson said. "He was receptive to the switch [back into the starting rotation] and a lot will depend on our needs as we go along.

"We moved him from the bullpen to the starting rotation, and the kid didn't back off at all. His velocity has been consistently 91-95 miles an hour, and he has touched 96. He commands his fastball to both sides of the plate and has a solid breaking ball.

"This kid can pitch."

With a big, strong frame, Lindblom can run his fastball up to the mid-90s with ease, and also has a deadly slider that creates some awkward looking swings. He had struggled with control in the past but walked only 31 in his 130 professional innings.

He was the winner of the Dodgers July Pride Award after going 1-0 with a save and a 2.89 ERA (6 ER/18.2 IP) in eight July games (two starts). He did not allow a run and struck out seven in 9.0 innings in his six relief appearances ... he entered the season as having the best fastball in the Dodgers' system by Baseball America.

He was more effective as a reliever, posting a 2.42 ERA over 36.1 innings and 8.9 strikeouts per nine innings as opposed to a 4.05 in 59.2 innings and 6.64 K/9 as a starter. However, his batting average was relatively the same, .237 out of the pen and .234 starting.

He started 2009 strongly, posting a 2.71 ERA in April and a 3.54 in May, then struggled in June and July with a 4.25 accumulated earned run averages but finished with a 3.06 in August and a 1.57 in September.

He is a top candidate to make the Dodgers staff in 2010.

RHP JOSH LINDBLOM
6-5 240 BR TR
Born- June 15, 1987, in Lafayette, Indiana
Obtained- Selected in the second round, 2008
 
year  team    w-l  era   gm  gs   in   h   bb  so  ave
2008  Glakes  0-0  1.86   8   8  29.0  14   4  33  .146
      Jack    0-0  3.60   1   1   5.0   5   1   4  .262
2009  Alb     3-0  2.54  20   3  39.0  34  12  36  .254
      Chat    3-5  4.71  14  11  57.1  55  14  46  .236
-------------------------------------------------------
 Totals       6-5  3.38  43  23  130.1 108 31 119  .235
 

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