As we wait for the playoffs to run their course so we can focus on 2013, it’s important to keep in mind that there’s still Dodger baseball being played right now. Well, sort of. News & notes from around the minors…
1) The Arizona Fall League starts today. The AFL, for those who don’t know it, is a six-team league that runs between now and November 15, and it traditionally features some of the best collection of minor league talent. This year, the Dodgers will combine with prospects from Baltimore, Chicago Cubs Detroit, and Houston to form the Mesa Solar Sox, and they’ll contribute nine players. I think you’ll recognize a few of these guys: pitchers Eric Eadington, Onelki Garcia, Red Patterson, Chris Reed, & Andres Santiago; catcher Gorman Erickson; infielder Rafael Ynoa; and outfielders Joc Pederson & Yasiel Puig. Chris Jackson has more about each of the nine Dodger prospects here.
2) Pedro Baez following Kenley Jansen to the mound? Though I can’t say this is 100% confirmed yet, it appears that the organization is finally doing something I’ve been asking for since at least 2010, moving minor league third baseman Baez to the mound. (At least according to the instructional league roster Jackson passed along, which looks legitimate.) Baez, 25 in March, somehow made the Southern League All-Star team despite mediocre stats in his third crack at Double-A this year… and was rewarded for that with a demotion back down to Single-A Rancho Cucamonga to play with guys years younger:
@feelinkindablue Good lord, Pedro. Get on the mound already.
— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) July 12, 2012
Baez hit just .228/.287/.429 for the Quakes despite being old for an offense-friendly league, and has a career line of only .247/.308/.391 in more than 2,000 plate appearances across six seasons. So it looks like they’re finally giving up on him as a third baseman and taking a chance on the rocket arm that has won him multiple “Best throwing arm in the system” awards from Baseball America. More than about time, I say.
3) Pederson & Puig getting some notice. John Sickels over at Minor League Ball named his preliminary Top 50 Hitting Prospects for 2013 today, and two Dodgers made the list. Puig came in at #34, two spots ahead of fellow Cuban Jorge Soler, and Pederson was #39. Unsurprisingly, Texas shortstop Jurickson Profar topped the list; no Giants were represented. Obviously, this is one man’s opinion, and the usual caveats do apply. Still, it’s nice to see the Dodgers with some minor league hitting potential after several years of being a pitching-heavy system.
4) So long, Trent? Finally, Trent Oeltjen, who played in 75 games for the Dodgers in 2010-11 and 112 more for Albuquerque in 2012, has declared free agency, according to MiLB.com. He’s now free to sign with any club.