Los Angeles Dodgers: Top 10 Prospects

General Manager: Ned Colletti
Farm Director: De Jon Watson
Scouting Director: Logan White

FanGraphs’ Top 10 Prospects:
(2009 Draft Picks/International Signees Not Included)

1. Devaris Gordon, SS, Low-A
DOB: April 1988 Bats: L Throws: R
Signed: 2008 4th round – Seminole Community College
MLB ETA: Mid-2012 40-Man Roster: No Options: 3

The son of long-time closer Tom ‘Flash’ Gordon, Dee is a speedy middle infielder with game-changing speed. The left-handed hitter stole 73 bases in 98 attempts this past season in low-A ball. He also showed some offensive potential with a line of .301/.362/.394 in 538 at-bats. Obviously the power is not there for him right now (.093 ISO) but he’s a valuable player even if he hits five homers in a season at the MLB level. His speed will help him turn a lot of singles into doubles and triples by moving up via the steal. His walk rate is OK for a top-of-the-order hitter, but it would be nice to see him break the 10% mark. The strikeout rate is acceptable at 16.7%. Gordon should be good enough at shortstop to remain there for the foreseeable future.

2. Ethan Martin, RHP, Low-A
DOB: June 1989 Bats: R Throws: R
Signed: 2008 1st round – Georgia HS
MLB ETA: Late-2012 40-Man Roster: No Options: 3
Repertoire: 89-94 mph fastball, plus curveball, change-up

Martin’s first pro season was a success despite a rather high walk rate of 5.49 BB/9 in low-A. His walk rate was just 3.35 BB/9 while pitching with the lead so it may be a mental issue that he needs to overcome; his stuff is good enough that he doesn’t need to nibble in tight situations. The 20 year old posted a 3.45 FIP while allowing just 85 hits in 100.0 innings. The right-hander also tossed up a strikeout rate of 10.80 K/9. He also allowed just four homers (0.36 HR/9) despite a scary ground-ball rate just shy of 40%. Martin may not get away with so many fly balls at higher levels so he has some adjustments to make. Even so, he’s an exciting arm to watch in 2010.

3. Andrew Lambo, OF, Double-A
DOB: August 1988 Bats: L Throws: L
Signed: 2007 4th round – California HS
MLB ETA: Late-2010 40-Man Roster: No Options: 3

After tearing the minor leagues apart for much of the first two years of his career, Lambo hit a rough patch in double-A in ’09. He hit .256/.311/.407 in 492 at-bats, while playing much of the season as a 20 year old. The corner outfielder was not completely overpowered, though, and he posted a strikeout rate of just 19.3%, and his walk rate was a modest 7.2%. He possesses more raw power than what we witnessed by his .150 ISO last season (The 39 doubles are a good indication of that). Despite swinging from the left side, he showed better results against southpaws: .785 vs .690 OPS. Once he matures as a hitter, Lambo should be an offensive threat. Defensively, he’s an average-at-best fielder who may move permanently to first base.

4. Josh Lindblom, RHP, Triple-A
DOB: June 1987 Bats: R Throws: R
Signed: 2008 2nd round – Purdue University
MLB ETA: Mid-2010 40-Man Roster: No Options: 3
Repertoire: 89-94 mph fastball, curveball, splitter, change-up

With good, but not great, results in the starting rotation, Lindblom was shifted to a relief role upon his promotion to triple-A in ’09. He started off the season in double-A where he allowed 55 hits in 57.1 innings of work. His strikeout rate was a respectable 7.22 K/9 and his FIP was 3.50 (4.71 ERA). In triple-A, he allowed 34 hits in 39.0 innings and his strikeout rate rose to 8.31 K/9. His walk rate was solid all year long at 2.20 in double-A and 2.77 in triple-A. The right-hander’s ground-ball rate was average. Lindblom projects to be more of a set-up man as opposed to a game-changing closer. He deserves another shot in the rotation.

5. Scott Elbert, LHP, Majors
DOB: August 1985 Bats: L Throws: L
Signed: 2004 1st round – Missouri HS
MLB ETA: Now 40-Man Roster: Yes Options: 2
Repertoire: 89-94 mph fastball, plus curveball, change-up

It seems like Elbert has been around forever, thanks to a long list of injuries and control issues. The southpaw, now 24, has spent parts of the past two seasons in the Majors and now appears poised to spend the bulk of the season in the Dodgers’ big-league bullpen. Elbert has a slightly-above-average fastball for a lefty and he pairs that with a solid breaking ball, which is death against left-handed batters (.162 batting average in the minors in ’09). He needs to cut down on his home-runs-allowed in the Majors (six in 25.2 innings) if he’s going to have success. Elbert is at worst a LOOGY, and at best a set-up man, but that’s a pretty steep drop from the potential he had coming out of high school.

6. Chris Withrow, RHP, Double-A
DOB: April 1989 Bats: R Throws: R
Signed: 2007 1st round – Texas HS
MLB ETA: Mid-2011 40-Man Roster: No Options: 3
Repertoire: 88-92 mph fastball, curveball, change-up

Just 20, Withrow reached double-A in ’09 and should return there at least for the first half of 2010. The right-hander began the year in high-A where he made 19 appearances while posting a 2.96 FIP. He allowed 80 hits in 86.1 innings and showed rocky control with a walk rate of 4.69 BB/9. His strikeout rate, though, was good at 10.95 K/9 and he allowed just three homers despite a ground-ball rate below 40%. In double-A, Withrow’s walk rate improved to 3.95 BB/9 but his strikeout rate dropped to 8.56 K/9 and his ground-ball rate remained below 40%. His stuff isn’t electric and he projects as more of a No. 3 starter.

7. John Ely, RHP, Double-A
DOB: May 1986 Bats: R Throws: R
Signed: 2007 3rd round – Miami University
MLB ETA: Mid-2010 40-Man Roster: No Options: 3
Repertoire: 88-92 mph fastball, plus change-up, curveball

Despite jumping from high-A to double-A between ’08 and ’09, Ely showed improvements in a number of categories. The right-hander saw his batting-average-allowed drop from .257 to .241, his FIP went from 4.02 to 3.33 and his home-run rate slipped from 1.11 to 0.52 HR/9. Ely’s walk rate of 2.88 BB/9 was almost identical to his ’08 number, but his strikeout rate worsened from 8.30 to 7.20 K/9. The knock on Ely has been his lack of a consistent knock-out pitch. Despite his average stuff, the former Sox prospect could succeed at the Majors thanks to his good command and solid ground-ball rates (+50%).

8. Trayvon Robinson, OF, Double-A
DOB: September 1987 Bats: R Throws: R
Signed: 2005 10th round – California HS
MLB ETA: Mid-2011 40-Man Roster: Yes Options: 3

Signed as a raw prep athlete, Robinson took a big step forward in his development this past season. The outfielder repeated high-A ball but he hit a solid .306/.375/.500, thanks in part to a .391 BABIP. Although his strikeout rate remains high, he significantly improved his power output with his ISO going from .109 in ’08 to .194 in ’09. His walk rate just shy of 10%, which helped him get on base more often and he stole 43 bases in 61 tries (both career highs). Robinson received a 19-game taste of double-A and should return there in 2010. If his power spike is for real, he could develop into a 20-30 player at the MLB level.

9. Allen (Carl) Webster, RHP, Rookie
DOB: February 1989 Bats: R Throws: R
Signed: 2008 18th round – North Carolina HS
MLB ETA: Mid-2013 40-Man Roster: No Options: 3
Repertoire: 89-94 mph fastball, curveball, change-up

In just his second year removed from high school, Webster showed that he was a man amongst boys in rookie ball. The right-hander posted a FIP below 2.30 and he struck out more than 10 batters per nine innings. His walk rate was also good for his age at less than 2.50 BB/9. He did a nice job of keeping the ball in the park by allowing just one homer in 68.2 innings of work, despite an average ground-ball rate. Webster clearly got tired at the end of the season by allowing a batting average of .353 and a strikeout rate of just 5.25 K/9 in his last few starts. He’ll have to learn to pace himself even more in full-season ball in 2010.

10. Ivan DeJesus Jr., SS, Disable List
DOB: May 1987 Bats: R Throws: R
Signed: 2005 2nd round – Puerto Rico HS
MLB ETA: Late-2010 40-Man Roster: Yes Options: 3

There isn’t too much to say about DeJesus Jr’s ’09 season as it lasted just four games, thanks to a broken leg. Playing at double-A in ’08, he showed a good stick with a line of .324/.419/.423 in 463 at-bats. He has a good eye and walked 13.6% of the time. He also stole 16 bases in 18 tries but it remains to be seen how, if at all, the injury will affect his running. DeJesus owns a slick glove and should be the club’s shortstop of the future, unless Gordon has something to say about it.

Up Next: The Oakland Athletics

Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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14 years ago

Tom Gordon remains unsigned, but it would be the coolest thing ever if somehow Dee earns a cup of coffee in September 2011 and squares off against daddy in one of his first MLB ABs.