Top Prospect #47: RHP Layne Dawson

Our look at the Top 50 Prospects in the Phillies system continues with a look at Layne Dawson, a young right-hander out of the University of Memphis. The Phillies have been pleased with the progress that Dawson has made in his first two professional seasons after finding him in the 26th round of the 2001 Draft.

After spending the major portion of his college career as a reliever at the University of Memphis, the Phillies slowly started to transition Layne Dawson into a starting pitcher's role in the minors. There are two very basic reasons for the switch. First, the Phillies are interested in seeing how Dawson makes the transition. Secondly, they want to get as many innings under his belt as they can to let him move swiftly through the system and to build arm strength. It's an old minor league trick, but it works well.

 

Another old minor league adage is that AA is where the men and boys truly begin to separate. If that's the case, then Dawson has some growing to do in 2004. He made 14 starts at AA Reading in 2003 and was simply hammered, going 1-9, 7.42. On the upside, Dawson managed two complete games and didn't let the experience drag him down. If the Phillies had any doubts about his ability to handle the transition and the struggles mentally, they likely wouldn't have pushed him along during the season.

 

The smart money is for Dawson to start 2004 at Reading and probably stay there for an entire season. Dawson turned 24 this past September, so there isn't really a need to push him too hard at this point. He can afford to spend a full season at AA and then an entire season at AAA in 2005 if that's what it takes.

 

Generally, Dawson is a pitcher with good command of the strike zone, who doesn't make many mistakes. At Reading, he was high in the strike zone and hitters caught up to him, taking him deep 12 times. That's not the true Layne Dawson. Scouts that saw Dawson felt he was working to get a little more velocity on his pitches instead of relying on location and movement. His pitches seemed to "level out" and when they were up in the zone, he became very hittable.

 

A better picture of Dawson is the guy who went a combined 16-10 in his 2 ½ minor league seasons before he hit Reading. Moving from the Gulf Coast League in 2001 to Lakewood in 2002 and Clearwater a year later, Dawson was strong. In his initial stretch, Dawson threw 232 innings and worked to a 2.75 ERA with 39 walks and 171 strikeouts. Those numbers all changed in his stint at Reading, but the folks there believe that experience will be the key for Dawson and they look for bigger and better things in 2004.

 

Layne Dawson Career Stats

 

Year/Team

W

L

ERA

SV

G

GS

IP

H/9 IP

BB/9 IP

KO/9 IP

2001 GCL

(Rookie)

3

3

2.06

1

10

8

48

7.9

0.9

9.6

2002 Lakewood

(Class A)

7

4

2.76

5

27

8

117.1

7.8

1.6

6.8

2003 Clearwater

(Class A)

6

3

2.24

2

14

10

66.2

10.4

1.8

4.2

2003 Reading

(Class AA)

1

9

7.42

0

14

14

74

12.4

3.3

5.5

Career Minor League Stats

17

19

3.90

8

65

40

305

9.5

1.9

6.4


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