All the press in LA-LA Land has centered on the recent spending spree by the new Dodgers’ ownership. The Blue Crew worked their magic (Johnson), and their wallets to add a stockpile of proven stars to their roster heading into the playoffs. The new owners want to win, and they want to win now.
Not a surprise then when some may have overlooked headlines featuring Dodgers’ prospects. As the Dodgers’ were adding new players to their major league roster, they were also adding prospects to the Mesa Solar Sox roster of the Arizona Fall League. This next group of players will represent the Dodgers in the AFL.
LHP – Eric Eadington (24) – Signed by Dodgers in 2011 as an Undrafted Free Agent
2012 – Rancho Cucamonga: 3.29 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 36 H, 15 BB, 39 SO in 38.1 IP
What a ride the last two years have been for Eric Eadington. Coming out of Harvard, Eadington had aspirations of pursuing a career in professional baseball, even though his collegiate numbers were fairly pedestrian. His dreams took a hit when he went undrafted in the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft, but he did not give in. Eadington leveraged some old baseball connections from his youth, and sure enough the Dodgers signed him to a minor league contract. The signing has paid off for both sides. Currently closing for Rancho Cucamonga, Eadington has 21 saves in 2012, while striking out better than a batter an inning. He features a low 90s fastball with decent cut, complemented by a curve ball that throws left handed batters for a loop. He will step into a relief role with the Mesa Solar Sox this fall, continuing his unexpected run in the Dodgers system.
C – Gorman Erickson (24) – Dodgers 2008 15th Round Pick
2012 – Chattanooga: 0.237/.349/.333, 15 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 1 SB, 44 BB, and 55 SO in 270 PA
The Dodgers 19th rated prospect going into the 2012 season, Gorman Erickson, will be taking his position behind the plate for Mesa this fall. Erickson has spent his 2012 season as the backstop for the Dodgers AA affiliate Chattanooga, compiling decent numbers, and playing solid defense. Despite having only a decent season in 2012, the Dodgers love Erickson for a couple reasons. First, he’s huge for a catch, standing 6’4” and weighing in at 220 pounds. This gives him a plus power profile, even though his power numbers over his four year minor league career are underwhelming. In addition to his size, Erickson is a switch hitter, and professional clubs always like to have that flexibility in one player. The oversized catcher is also a disciplined hitter, drawing free passes in 16% of his at-bats. There is a lot to like in this prospect, and the Dodgers delegated him to the AFL to keep developing.
RHP – Red Patterson (25) – Dodgers 2010 29th Round Pick
2012 – Chattanooga: 3.12 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 70 H, 31 BB, 68 SO in 69.1 IP
The Dodgers send another relief pitcher to the AFL in prospect Red Patterson. The righty was a mid-season Southern League All-Star selection for the Chattanooga Lookouts, enjoying his best minor league season to date. Prior to his 2012 season in AA, Patterson was a starter at every level. In 2011, he started 14 games each for the Great Lakes (A) Loons, and the Rancho Cucamonga (A+) Quakes, finishing with a cumulative 12-5 record, a sub-4.00 ERA, and a sub-1.15 WHIP. He was delegated to the bullpen upon his promotion to AA, and likely preparing him for a long term role as a middle reliever that can eat up innings. With Chattanooga, Patterson has compiled the lowest ERA of his career, but he has allowed a significantly larger number of base runners per inning. This could be growing pains for the righty, but it is certainly a number the Dodgers brass will keep their eye on. At 25 years old, the Dodgers are likely wanting to see what this kid can do, and fast. His time in the AFL will give Patterson a chance to build upon his 2012 All-Star campaign.
OF – Joc Pederson (20) – Dodgers 2010 11th Round Pick
2012 – Rancho Cucamonga: 0.317/.396/.517, 26 2B, 4 3B, 18 HR, 26 SB, 51 BB, and 81 SO in 433 PA
One of the more exciting prospects across the entire Dodgers farm system is outfielder Joc Pederson. This 20 year old had all five tools at work in 2012, showing pop (18 long balls), speed (26 steals), consistency (.317 average), and defensive prowess (.991 fielding percentage and 9 assists). What’s more, Pederson’s production hasn’t dipped as the quality of his competition has increased. His steady and impressive production can be attributed to hard work in both the weight room and the classroom. Scouts have described Pederson as having an advanced plate approach for his age, a smart base-runner, and a technically sound swing from the left side of the plate. In a thin pool of offensive prospects in the Dodgers system, Pederson is a diamond among coal. His most familiar position is center, but he can and has played the corners, meaning a call up to the majors in the near term would not be blocked by Andre Ethier or Matt Kemp. Look for the Dodgers to give Pederson as much work as possible in the next 12 months, setting the stage for a quick ascent to the majors.
OF – Yasiel Puig (21) – Signed by Dodgers in 2012 as an Undrafted Free Agent
2012 – Rancho Cucamonga: 0.327/.407/.423, 2 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 7 SB, 6 BB, and 8 SO in 52 PA
The Dodgers got in on the run on Cuban defectors in 2012 when they signed 21 year old Yasiel Puig. LA scouts felt comfortable dishing Puig a 7-year, $42 million contract after only having seen him take three rounds of batting practice. I’m not a gambling man myself, but the Dodgers roll of the dice on Puig seems to be paying dividends in the early stages of his career. In 23 total games between the Arizona Rookie League and the Class A California League, Puig has delivered a .354 batting average, five homers, and 12 walks in 82 at-bats. The General Manager of the Dodgers
Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, Ned Colletti, has also commended Puig for his power, arm, and speed in the limited time he’s had coaching the youngster. The Dodgers organization as a whole have not seen enough of Puig to fully understand the type of talent they signed, so his time with Mesa in the AFL will be heavily scrutinized. Let’s see what this kid can do.
LHP – Steven Rodriguez (21) – Dodgers 2012 2nd Round Pick
2012 – Rancho Cucamonga: 1.38 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 6 H, 6 BB, 21 SO in 13 IP
Southpaw Steven Rodriguez will join the Mesa Solar Sox bullpen this fall, having kicked off his minor league career with a bang. After not allowing an earned run in six appearances with Great Lakes (A), the Dodgers quickly promoted Rodriguez to Rancho Cucamonga, where he has thoroughly outmatched his opponents. Rodriguez opted to attend the University of Florida rather than join the Houston Astros farm system in 2009. As a Gator, all he did was compile the lowest career ERA for a Florida pitcher in the aluminum bat era, and earn first-team all-SEC honors in 2012. Rodriguez projects as a utility type pitcher for the Blue Crew. He both started and came out of the pen for Florida, and was an especially tough match up for lefty bats. He has worked middle relief for Rancho Cucamonga, and could very well find his niche as a specialist for the Dodgers when his name is called. The Solar Sox are fortunate to have this prospect on their squad this fall.
2B – Rafael Ynoa (25) – Signed by the Dodgers in 2005 as an Undrafted Free Agent
2012 – Chattanooga: 0.280/.364/.351, 23 2B, 3 3B, 0 HR, 23 SB, 55 BB, and 69 SO in 410 PA
The final Dodgers prospect to join Mesa this fall will be Rafael Ynoa, the current second baseman for the Chattanooga (AA) Lookouts. Ynoa is somewhat of a seasoned veteran in the minor leagues. He has been in the Dodgers system for seven years now, playing two seasons in the Dominican Summer League, one season in the Gulf Coast League, a portion of a season in both the Pioneer and Arizona Leagues, and a season each in the Midwest League, California League, and Southern League. Ok, maybe seasoned veteran is an understatement. At 25 years old, Ynoa is no longer a young prospect who the Dodgers are waiting on to come into his own. He needs to start differentiating himself to have a feasible shot at the bigs. Over his seven year career, Ynoa has a .265 batting average and a .349 on-base clip. His most favorable offensive attributes are his plate discipline, plus speed on the base paths, and that he is a switch hitter. The Dodgers talent scouts will take a good look at Ynoa this fall to see where he fits in their future plans.