All sorts of news in the Dodger organization today…
Seager (#46) and Lee (#67) are the only two Dodgers who make the list. Seeing Seager that high is encouraging, but it also tells you a whole lot about how differently scouts can view prospects — last week, Jonathan Mayo put out his own Top 100 at MLB.com, and Seager wasn’t listed at all, while Yasiel Puig (#76) & Joc Pederson (#85) were. We’ll see how Baseball America‘s rankings, due out next week, see them.
In a chat today at ESPN.com, Law touched on why he didn’t include Puig or Pederson, noting that Puig’s short season and missed time due to the elbow infection makes any data on him extremely thin. He could, as Law noted, end up being very good, but it’s so difficult to know right now; he also included the somewhat odd note that “having shaken the man’s hand, he’s one of the oldest-looking 21-year-olds I’ve ever met”. As Justin D noted to me on Twitter, maybe that just means “Greg Oden disease”.
On Pederson, Law indicates that he still sees him as a fourth outfielder, and while that may be somewhat of a case of Pederson’s horrible AFL performance getting amplified since that’s where Law mainly saw him, that’s the general consensus I hear; Mayo seems to think more highly of him than most.
*** Chris Withrow is officially a reliever.
From Ken Gurnick’s report of last week’s “Young Guns” mini-camp:
Withrow, the Dodgers’ No. 1 pick in 2007, had early bouts with the yips and more recently chronic back problems. Withrow responded to a bullpen move late last year, and Honeycutt said it’s now permanent, hoping the role change can work Eric Gagne-like wonders for Withrow, whose electric arm is undisputed.
Maybe management recalls a hard-throwing second-rounder that struggled as a starter and was never tried as a reliever. Instead, the Dodgers let Joel Hanrahan leave as a free agent and he went on to be an All-Star closer. “Chris wanted the change,” Honeycutt said. “He likes attacking more. He reminds me a little of Gagne, somebody who might throw three or four innings as a starter but have one [bad] inning, and you can eliminate that if you’re only asking one inning of relief from him. Maybe one- or two-inning stints will be easier on his back. He’s got the arm.”
That’s unsurprising, and at this point it’s really a good thing. Even with the trades from last year thinning out the prospect depth, he’s still clearly fallen behind at least Lee & Matt Magill on the starting list. Withrow’s about to begin his fifth season in Double-A (most likely), and while he’s shown the big arm and the ability to miss bats (9.3 K/9), he’s never been able to harness his control or stay healthy. Allowing him to pitch in short stints might negate both somewhat, and Baseball Prospectus still ranked him as the #8 Dodger prospect in January, saying he “has the electric stuff to play up in short bursts out of the bullpen”.
*** Pedro Baez is officially a pitcher.
Hooray! We first heard an unconfirmed report of this in October — I was thrilled, noting that I’d been asking for it since at least 2010 — and from the same Gurnick article, it appears to be coming true.
Honeycutt mentioned Jansen, a transformed catcher, in reference to Baez, signed for $200,000 to be a power-hitting third baseman. Baez, a .247 hitter in six Minor League seasons, is starting over as a hard-throwing reliever a la Jansen, who came out from behind the plate to emerge as a bullpen strikeout king.
“They put him on the mound in instructional league and that fastball is really strong,” Honeycutt said of Baez, who turns 25 next month. “You talk about Kenley when you see the ball come out of his hand. He hasn’t been overwhelmed by thinking too much about pitching. He just sees the glove and throws it and that’s kind of refreshing.”
This is a move that’s long, long overdue because it was clear that Baez was absolutely never going to make it as a hitter — he even got demoted from Double-A back to High-A in 2012. Let’s temper those Jansen expectations, however, until we at least see the man on the mound in a professional game.
*** So long Chris Carpenter, but don’t get too excited.
Carpenter announced today that arm trouble will keep him out for the 2013 season, and from everything we heard it really sounded like this was a goodbye press conference that’s not officially being called a “retirement” so he doesn’t have to forfeit his 2013 salary. Obviously, many — myself included — noted that if the Cardinals need a starter, the Dodgers have more than one to offer. Still, it doesn’t seem that likely at the moment. Behind ace Adam Wainwright and veterans Jake Westbrook & Jaime Garcia, the Cards are loaded with young pitchers ready to step in to the rotation — guys like Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller, Trevor Rosenthal, & Joe Kelly. Even if they need to step outside, they could easily sign Kyle Lohse, who they know well and wouldn’t have to give up a pick to get. Not saying it’s impossible, but not likely; besides, it really sounds more and more like the Dodgers will keep their depth into camp to see how those returning from injury respond.