Projecting the Dodgers’ Minor-League Rosters: Double-A & Triple-A

Editor’s note: Chris Jackson rounds off the minor league roster projections with Chattanooga & Albuquerque. Also, don’t forget to enter the Opening Day roster contest — open through 9pm PT tonight!

Van Slyke is one of nine outfielders who will vie for an Isotopes roster spot this spring. (Photo courtesy of the Isotopes)

Scott Van Slyke is one of nine outfielders who will vie for an Isotopes roster spot this spring. (Photo courtesy of the Isotopes)

Chattanooga Lookouts (Double-A Southern League)

Starting rotation: Onelki Garcia, Zach Lee, Aaron Miller, Rob Rasmussen, Chris Reed

All prospects, all the time, in east Tennessee this year! Garcia has the most pure stuff, but the least experience. Lee and Reed will hope their potential matches the results this season. Miller will have to fight to keep his starting spot after a middling season. Rasmussen will get some attention as the new guy in the organization.

Bulllpen: Geison Aguasviva, Steve Ames, Kelvin De La Cruz, Eric Eadington, Jordan Roberts, Andres Santiago, Chris Withrow

That is a lot of lefties, but it is hard to figure out where else to put them. De la Cruz is not a LOOGY and will give them a second long reliever to go with Santiago, who could start if Miller struggles. Aguasviva could fight his way to Albuquerque. Roberts is 27, so if he can’t stick here, his time with the Dodgers may be done. Ames and Eadington figure to share the closing job, though Withrow could see saves, too, now that the Dodgers have committed to him as a reliever. Just missed: Javier Solano

Catchers: Gorman Erickson, Christopher O’Brien

Erickson will be looking for some redemption after a lousy 2012. O’Brien was decent enough at Rancho to merit the promotion.

Infielders: 1B–J.T. Wise, 2B–Rafael Ynoa, SS–Alexis Aguilar, 3B–C.J. Retherford, UTIL–Joe Becker, Omar Luna

Wise and Ynoa have played well enough to earn promotions, but they are blocked at Albuquerque barring some trades. Aguilar is the pick I am least confident in; it could be a half-dozen other guys. In other words, please, Dodgers, sign some random Cuban defector shortstop to spare the poor fans in Chattanooga watching a guy with a career .662 OPS. Retherford had a big year at Rancho, but struggled with the Lookouts, so he will return here. Luna and Becker didn’t play a lot of shortstop last year, but they sure could this year. Just missed: Chris Jacobs 1B, Elevys Gonzalez 3B/2B, Miguel Rojas 2B/SS

Outfielders: LF–Yasiel Puig, CF–Joc Pederson, RF–Blake Smith, OF–Nick Buss, Bobby Coyle

Puig and Pederson are premium prospects. They both figure to play all three outfield spots here. Smith deserves to move up, and he certainly could, but for now I have him starting with the Lookouts. Buss and the talented but oft-injured Coyle return. Just missed: Kyle Russell

Final analysis: If some of the pitchers can translate their potential into results, then this team could be the favorite to win the Southern League. The rotation is six-deep and strong, while the bullpen is strong from both sides of the mound. The outfield should carry the offense, with shortstop being the only real concern on the infield. The Lookouts should be fun to watch this season.

Albuquerque Isotopes (Triple-A Pacific Coast League)

Starting rotation: Fabio Castro, Stephen Fife, Matt Magill, Matt Palmer, Mario Santiago

Magill is the legit prospect here. Fife returns and will be the first called up in the event of an injury to a starter in L.A. Palmer can chew up innings, but that is it. Castro was terrible last year with the A’s organization and might not last long in Albuquerque. Santiago is a gamble, with the Dodgers/Isotopes hoping he can carry over the success he found in Korea last year with the SK Wyverns.

Bullpen: Michael Antonini, Blake Johnson, Hector Nelo, Red Patterson, Paco Rodriguez, Cole St. Clair, Shawn Tolleson, Josh Wall

Antonini’s health is in question, so he might not crack this group. Rodriguez and Tolleson both deserve to pitch in the Majors, but I have Javy Guerra and Ted Lilly taking the last two spots. Johnson and St. Clair return in the long relief roles. Wall should close again. Patterson moves up, but it could easily be Ames instead. Nelo, a minor-league Rule 5 pick, gets the nod over the plethora of Triple-A vets signed this off-season. I am also betting that the veteran trio of Kevin Gregg, Mark Lowe, and Peter Moylan will opt out at the end of the spring. Just missed: Juan Abreu, Victor Garate, Gregory Infante, Wilmin Rodriguez, Luis Vasquez

Catchers: Jesus Flores, Matt Wallach

Flores could easily be subbed out for Federowicz if the Dodgers opt to have the prospect play every day and the veteran back up A.J. Ellis. Consider them interchangeable. Wallach has never hit, but he plays good defense and seems like a safe bet to the backup. Just missed: Eliezer Alfonzo, Wilkin Castillo, Ramon Castro

Infielders: 1B–Nick Evans, 2B–Elian Herrera, SS–Dee Gordon, 3B–Dallas McPherson, UTIL–Rusty Ryal, Justin Sellers

Evans always earned rave reviews for his defense, which could be a big help for Gordon’s wild throws (remember how Mark Teixeira made Derek Jeter look better back in 2009?). While it can be speculated that Gordon could or should be in the Majors, until he proves otherwise, I have him here. Sellers is another guy most people are counting out, but the Dodgers have not dumped him yet, even after his arrest in Sacramento. Herrera can, and likely will, play everywhere, but he should play almost every day. McPherson will DH against AL teams, since his back is unlikely to hold up for 144 games. Ryal gets the nod because the Isotopes need the left-handed bat. Just missed: Alfredo Amezaga UTIL, Brian Barden 3B, Ozzie Martinez SS

Outfielders: LF–Scott Van Slyke, CF–Tony Gwynn Jr., RF–Alex Castellanos, OF–Jeremy Moore

Unless Castellanos returns to the infield, this outfield is tough to figure out. Both he, Moore and Van Slyke are all right-handed hitters, so it would make a lot of sense for someone like Smith (who hits left-handed) to move up from Chattanooga. Unless the Isotopes only carry seven relievers (which, fat chance), it won’t happen unless the Dodgers move Van Slyke in a trade. Moore gets that backup spot because he can play all three positions and because the Dodgers obviously think very highly of him as he was the only free agent to participate in their prospect minicamp last month. Just missed: Matt Angle, Brian Cavazos-Galvez

Final analysis: This team does not look as talented as last year’s playoff squad, at least on paper. The rotation looks awfully suspect behind Fife and Magill. The bullpen could be good, at least. The lineup lacks left-handed bats, but should be able to score enough runs to keep games interesting. If the Dodgers can’t find any additional starting pitchers, however, it could be a long summer of 12-10 scores in Albuquerque, which this reporter is not very interested in watching anymore.

Projecting the Dodgers’ Minor-League Rosters: Low-A & Hi-A

Editor’s note: here’s where it gets fun. Chris Jackson predicts the minor league rosters of the top four Dodger clubs. We’ll do Great Lakes & Rancho Cucamonga today, followed by Chattanooga & Albuquerque next. Also, don’t forget to enter the Opening Day roster contest — open through 9pm PT Monday night.

After plowing through the Dodgers’ minor-league depth chart position by grueling position, now comes the fun part. Yes, it’s time to put on the prognosticator hat and do the almost-impossible: project four minor-league rosters just as pitchers and catchers are reporting to Camelback Ranch.

Dustin Nosler over at Feelin’ Kinda Blue has been doing the same thing, team by team. I agree with some of his picks, disagree with others. As I have said many times on this site and on Twitter, the Dodgers work in mysterious ways, so at best my predictions and his are nothing but educated guesses. (That’s the nice way of saying the Dodgers will make us both look foolish come April 4.)

Will Garrett Gould return to Rancho for another season? (via Dustin Nosler

Will Garrett Gould return to Rancho for another season? (via Dustin Nosler)

Great Lakes Loons (Single-A Midwest League)

Starting rotation: Ralston CashLindsey CaughelJake HermsenArismendy OzoriaRoss Stripling

Picking this rotation was toughest of all among the four full-season teams. Cash will be here if he is healthy, which is a big “if.” Caughel pitched well enough at Ogden, but there are other, higher-drafted players who could move up. Hermsen gets the nod as the token lefty, but Miguel Sulbaran will push him for the spot and probalby has more upside. Ozoria is repeating the level after a middling campaign (8-8, 4.51 ERA). Stripling has the most upside of the bunch and could skip a level to Rancho, but for now I’ll put him here. Just missed the cut: Zachary BirdCarlos FriasGustavo GomezJonathan Martinez, Miguel Sulbaran

Bullpen: Gregg DowningSawil GonzalezScott GriggsOwen JonesJoel LimaKazuki NishijimaJuan Noriega

Griggs figures to be the closer. Noriega deserved to move up but there’s no room. Downing and Nishijima weren’t great at Ogden, but there aren’t any other left-handed options. Gonzalez, Jones, and Lima are on the bubble. Just missed: Aris AngelesJharel CottonAlan GarciaJordan HershiserTravis JonesJackson MateoRicky PerezJuan RodriguezCraig StemSamuel Taveras

Catchers: Tyler OgleEric Smith

Ogle did most of his damage in the Arizona League, so he won’t end up any higher up the ladder despite his Isotopes cameo in 2012. Smith hit well at Ogden, but he also spent more time as a designated hitter than catcher, so it’s a judgment call over the guys listed here. Just missed: John CannonJose CapellanAustin Cowen, JJ Ethel

Infielders: 1B–Jesus Valdez, 2B–Malcolm Holland, SS–Corey Seager, 3B–Bladimir Franco, UTIL–Delvis MoralesJeffrey Hunt

Valdez raked at Ogden, earning the promotion. He could also see time in the outfield corners. Holland has speed and can draw a lot of walks, but his hit tool is a work in progress. He can play center field as well. Seager is one of the Dodgers’ top prospects. Franco will compete with Alex Santana for the third base gig this spring. Morales will back up the middle, Hunt the corners. Just missed: Tae-Hyeok Nam 1B, John Sgromolo 1B, Zachary Babitt 2B, Kevin Taylor 2B, Alex Santana 3B, Jesmuel Valentin SS, Justin Boudreaux UTIL

Outfielders: LF–Devin Shines, CF–James Baldwin, RF–Joseph Winker, OF–Pat Stover, DH/OF–Paul Hoenecke

Shines’ father, ex-Expo Razor, is the Loons’ manager. Baldwin repeats the level after striking out 177 times. Winker struggled as well and also repeats. Stover could force his into a starting gig. Hoenecke can also back up first base. Just missed: Nick Akins, Cory EmbreeGregory Pena

Final analysis: Seager and Stripling are the stars here, along with a slew of sleeper types such as Ogle and Holland, plus guys looking to reestablish themselves like Baldwin. This team has a chance to be much more competitive in 2013.

Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Single-A California League)

Starting rotation: Garrett GouldJarret MartinJon Michael ReddingAngel Sanchez, Duke von Schamann

Gould pitched poorly, Sanchez pitched worse, so both have to repeat a tough level for pitchers. Redding pitched better, but there is nowhere to put him in Chattanooga’s rotation. Martin earned the promotion despite missing some time last year with an undisclosed injury. Von Schamann also probably deserves to start a level higher, but again, there is no room. Just missed: Brandon Martinez

Bullpen: Manny AcostaDaniel CoulombeJuan Dominguez, Yimi GarciaMatt SheltonSteve SmithMichael Thomas

Garcia has promise and could close, though if Dominguez gets his act together, his 100 mph fastball could put him in the ninth inning. Coulombe and Thomas offer up a decent pair of lefty arms. Shelton pitched well at Great Lakes and at 24, he needs to move up the ladder. Acosta and Smith return due to the logjam ahead of them (which yes, will be a frequent theme at multiple positions as I go through these lists). Just missed: Freddie CabreraHector CorreaThomas Melgarejo

Catchers: Pratt MaynardMichael Pericht

Maynard is a former third-round pick, but he struggled last year, so he won’t move any higher. Pericht has some pop, but otherwise is just an organizational guy.

Infielders: 1B–O’Koyea Dickson, 2B–Scott Wingo, SS–Darnell Sweeney, 3B–Jesse Bosnik, UTIL–Jesus ArredondoPedro Guerrero, DH/1B–Angelo Songco

Dickson could put up big numbers in the California League. Wingo was mediocre last year, so he figures to be stuck repeating the level. Sweeney had a solid debut and should skip a level. Bosnik struggled at Great Lakes, but he moves up now that Pedro Baez is converting to pitcher. Arredondo and Guerrero could easily be replaced by others. Songco is caught up behind other first basemen in the organization, but he will get more at-bats here since there is no designated hitter except against AL teams in Double-A. Just missed: Casio Grider

Outfielders: LF–Scott Schebler, CF–Jeremy Rathjen, RF–Jonathan Garcia, OF–Noel Cuevas

Schebler is perfectly average, but he should start ahead of Cuevas, who can play all three outfield spots. Rathjen is old enough to skip Great Lakes; he may not stay in center, but his bat is intriguing. Garcia was dreadful last year; thus, he returns.

Final analysis: Dickson, Sweeney and Rathjen will lead the position prospects, while Songco, Maynard and Garcia are the guys in search of atonement for last year’s woes. The pitching staff has experience, but not an overwhelming amount of talent. It could be a rough year in that respect in the hitter-friendly Cal League.

Dodgers Depth Chart Analysis: Relieved to be at the End

Well, this is it, the final chapter of the Dodgers Depth Chart Analysis. Relief pitching, ah, that fickle beast. Some of the guys listed below may very well see Los Angeles someday, but most probably will not. Rather than break them all down, I’ve lumped a lot of guys together, largely due to the “meh factor” and/or the lack of available info beyond their basic stats.

Lefty Eadington is one of several promising relief pitchers in the upper levels of the Dodgers' farm system. (Courtesy of Dustin Nosler)

Lefty Eric Eadington is one of several promising relief pitchers in the upper levels of the Dodgers’ farm system. (Courtesy of Dustin Nosler)

Once upon a time the minor-league reliever was going nowhere. Times have certainly changed with the specialization of bullpen roles. Now pitchers are thrown into relief straight off the bat following the draft and can sometimes rocket to the big leagues that way (see Rodriguez, Paco). So who could be next to help the Dodgers’ relief corps? I split it up between the handful of lefties first and the long list of right-handers below.

Left-handers

Paco Rodriguez: The Dodgers’ second-round pick in last year’s draft, Rodriguez rocketed from the University of Florida bullpen to Los Angeles in the span of four months. He skipped the two hitter-friendly teams (Rancho and Albuquerque), going a combined 1-0 with a 0.90 ERA and five saves in 21 games between Great Lakes and Chattanooga. Utilizing what Baseball America described as “deception” in his delivery and “funky arm action,” Rodriguez utilizes a high-80s cutter to get right-handers out. His fastball ranges from 88-93 mph, which he also complements with a “sweepy” slider and occasionally a changeup. Rodriguez will fight for a bullpen spot with the Dodgers this spring, but if he gets squeezed out, he could end up with the Isotopes or the Lookouts.

Michael Antonini: 2012 was a tough year for Antonini, whom the Dodgers acquired from the Mets for Chin-Lung Hu back in 2011. He got called up to the Majors twice but never threw a pitch, then he lost his rotation spot in Albuquerque and finished the year in the bullpen. He also had some sort of offseason surgery, so the timetable for his return in 2013 is unknown. Antonini went 2-7 with a 5.71 ERA in 30 games (13 starts) for the Isotopes. He seems likely to remain a reliever, but based on the paucity of available starters for Albuquerque, he could still start from time-to-time this season if he is healthy.

Kelvin de la Cruz, Thomas Melgarejo, Wilmin Rodriguez: The trio of southpaws signed as minor-league free agents this offseason. De la Cruz is more of a long reliever who went 5-8 with a 4.92 ERA in 30 games (18 starts) at Double-A Erie (Tigers) last season. He seems likely to hold that swingman role at Chattanooga to start this season. Rodriguez struggled with Fresno (Giants), going 5-5 with a 5.92 ERA in 37 games (three starts). He gave up four unearned runs on three hits and a hit batter in one-third of an inning against the Isotopes back on May 24; he will fight for a bullpen spot with Albuquerque. Melgarejo was originally signed by the Dodgers out of Mexico in 2005. He has spent most of his pro career on loan to Mexican League teams. He will be a longshot for a bullpen spot with Chattanooga or Rancho this year.

Cole St. Clair: The veteran lefty, now 26, put up so-so numbers with the Isotopes (3-3, 4.24 ERA in 41 games). A former seventh-round pick out of Rice in 2008, St. Clair did make three starts last year and could get stretched out this spring. The odds are he will be back in Albuquerque for a second season.

Geison Aguasviva: A 25-year-old Dominican, he had a fairly good year with Chattanooga (2-5, 2.53, one save in 50 games). In most years, that would be enough to earn him a promotion, but he will likely have to beat out some veterans in spring training.

Eric Eadington: The Dodgers signed him as a non-drafted free agent out of Harvard in 2011 and so far all Eadington has done is get outs. The 25-year-old sports a fastball that sits 89-93 mph and touches 95. He has a mid-to-upper-70s slider as well. He went 4-3 with a 3.63 ERA and 26 saves last season, striking out 77 in 67 innings. Eadington projects this season as the closer, or possibly co-closer, at Chattanooga, where he finished 2012.

Jordan Roberts: More than a standard LOOGY, the 27-year-old Roberts held his own in the hitter-friendly California League last season. Roberts threw 88 1/3 innings in his 38 appearances, going 8-0 with a 3.67 ERA. He is a former 28th-round pick out of Embry-Riddle back in 2008, so while that might scream “organizational arm,” he should push forward to Chattanooga this year and could eventually present himself as a cheap relief option for the big-league team.

Daniel Coulombe, Michael Thomas: The two southpaws spent most of last season at Great Lakes with different results. Thomas, 23, finished the year at Rancho and was a combined 4-2 with a 1.59 ERA and five saves, striking out 73 batters in 62 1/3 innings. Not bad for a former 35th-round pick out of Rider back in 2011. Coulombe was the Dodgers’ 25th-round pick last summer out of Texas Tech. He started at Ogden and finished with the Loons, going 0-1 with a 3.20 ERA and one save in 23 games. He struck out 37 in 25 1/3 innings. Both figure to open 2013 with Rancho.

Gregg Downing, Kazuki Nishijima: The primary lefties at Ogden, along with the since-released Michael Drowne, both should move up to Great Lakes despite so-so numbers. Downing, 22, went 3-0 with a 5.33 ERA and two saves in 54 innings over 21 appearances, including three starts. Nishijimi, who signed as an amateur out of Japan in 2010, was 8-1 with a 4.67 ERA. He threw 47 1/3 innings in just 16 games, so he is not a traditional LOOGY.

Right-handers

Josh Wall: The 26-year-old made his Major League debut in 2012 after racking up 28 saves for the Isotopes. He struck out 52 in 53 2/3 innings, largely thanks to his big, mid-80s slider. Wall seemed reluctant to utilize his 93-94 mph fastball, which tended to get a bit too straight in the Albuquerque air. A former second-round pick back in 2005, he was a starter until the Dodgers moved him to the bullpen full-time at Chattanooga in 2011. He may not project as a closer in the Majors, but he should return to close for the Isotopes this season.

Blake Johnson, Luis Vasquez: A couple of organizational arms, Johnson seems far more likely to pitch again for Albuquerque this season. Johnson, 27, was a second-round pick by Los Angeles back in 2004, but he was later dealt to Kansas City. He returned to the Dodgers organization last spring and started the season in Chattanooga before moving up. Overall, Johnson went 5-4 with a 4.77 ERA and one save in 42 games (five starts). He pitched well for Magallanes in the Venezuelan Winter League, going 2-0 with 0.69 ERA, allowing one earned run in 13 innings. Vasquez, 26, was savaged for a 7.47 ERA in 53 innings between Albuquerque and Chattanooga last summer. He may not make it out of spring training.

Juan Abreu, Hector Correa, Gregory Infante, Hector Nelo: Three veterans picked up during the offseason, the first three via free agency and the latter by the minor-league portion of the Rule 5 Draft. Abreu, 27, ranked as high as the Astros’ No. 19 prospect after 2011, according to Baseball America, but he fell on hard times in 2012 and finished the year in the Blue Jays’ system. Between Oklahoma City and Las Vegas, Abreu posted an ugly 6.80 ERA. Correa, 25 in March, was the Marlins’ fourth-round pick out of Puerto Rico back in 2006. He was traded to the Giants for Ronny Paulino prior to the 2009 season, but never got past Double-A, and appeared in just eight games (three starts) at Single-A San Jose last year. Infante, 25, appeared with the White Sox in five games in 2010, showcasing a 96 mph fastball, but he has yet to make it back to the Majors. He appeared in just 20 games at Charlotte last season, going 4-1 with a 3.55 ERA and one save. Nelo, 26, was rated as having the best fastball in the High-A Carolina League in 2011 when he pitched for Potomac (Nationals). He put up good numbers (1-6, 2.73 ERA, 16 saves) with Double-A Harrisburg last season, but as colleague Clint Hulsey told me, his high-velocity fastball is awfully straight and tends to play up, not a good recipe for a potential Isotopes reliever. All four will likely vie for one or two spots in the Albuquerque bullpen this spring, though Correa might end up at Chattanooga or even Rancho.

Steve Ames: A promising arm, Ames was an afterthought in the 2009 draft as a 17th-round pick out of Gonzaga. Since signing, however, all he has done is get outs. John Sickels rated him as the Dodgers’ No. 15 prospect entering this season after he went 3-3 with a 1.56 ERA and 18 saves, striking out 72 batters in 63 1/3 innings at Chattanooga last year. Ames, 25 in March, was added to the 40-man roster this offseason and could make the jump to Albuquerque or return to Chattanooga if the Dodgers fear the effect altitude might have on his low-90s fastball. He also sports a good slider that sits in the mid-80s. For his career, Ames now has 236 strikeouts and just 35 walks in 172 2/3 innings of work.

Red Patterson: In an unusual move, the Dodgers took Patterson, 25, and moved him to the bullpen full-time in 2012. While he responded well, going 7-1 with a 3.07 ERA and striking out 71 batters in 70 1/3 innings at Chattanooga, it was odd because he had put up good numbers (12-5, 3.69) the year before as a starter between Rancho and Great Lakes. Patterson threw for the Isotopes in the playoffs last year and seems like a good bet to remain in Albuquerque this season.

Javier Solano: The Mexican native has shown promise in his career, but has yet to advance past Chattanooga. He threw 62 2/3 innings over his 38 appearances with the Lookouts last year, going 3-0 with a 2.73 ERA. Solano’s fastball sits 88-91 mph and can touch 93. He also has a mid-70s curveball and a fringy changeup. He will battle for a spot in Albuquerque’s bullpen this spring.

Chris Withrow: A former first-round pick, Withrow was taken with the 20th selection in 2007 out of Midland (Texas) High School. He has good stuff, with a fastball he can run up to 98 mph, but he has always lacked the command. The Dodgers gave up on him as a starter last year and he will now be a full-time reliever. FanGraphs still rates him as the Dodgers’ No. 8 prospect, with Keith Law and John Sickels both pegging him at No. 9. Withrow went 3-3 with a 4.65 ERA and two saves last season, striking out 64 in 60 innings. Though he is on the 40-man, he seems more likely to return to Chattanooga than move up to Albuquerque, at least at the start of the season.

Ryan Acosta, Freddie Cabrera, Steve Smith: The trio of mediocre middle relievers at Rancho last season, they are pretty much all organizational filler. Cabrera, 23, at least has youth on his side, but he also posted a 6.34 ERA in 66 2/3 innings for the Quakes. He figures to return to Rancho this year. Smith, 26, is a former non-drafted free agent out of New Mexico. He finished last year at Chattanooga and should open there if he can battle his way into a spot. Smith went 4-2 with a 3.79 ERA and three saves in 61 2/3 innings overall. Acosta, 24, joined the Dodgers organization as a free agent in 2011, got released on April 5 last year, then ended up re-signing on April 21. He went 4-2 with a 4.30 ERA, striking out 79 in 67 innings for the Quakes. He will also vie for a Lookouts roster spot.

Jose Dominguez: A promising arm if he can keep himself out of trouble, Dominguez finished last year at Chattanooga but will have to earn his way back there. The 22-year-old Dominican was ranked as the Dodgers’ No. 20 prospect by MLB.com. He struck out 87 in 79 innings between the Lookouts and Loons, but he finished just 4-4 with a 4.90 ERA and five saves. He has a plus-plus fastball that sits 96-98 mph and hits 100, but unless he develops his fringy curveball into an out pitch he will remain a velocity-only guy and likely never advance to the Majors.

Yimi Garcia: The de facto closer at Great Lakes last year, Garcia finished the year with Rancho and was 6-5 with a 2.92 ERA and 16 saves overall. He struck out 82 in just 52 1/3 innings, using a delivery described as “unorthodox” by MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo, who ranked him as the Dodgers’ No. 14 prospect. He has a live fastball and a slurvy slider with average command. Garcia figures to be the Quakes’ closer to open 2013.

Joel Lima, Juan Noriega, Juan Rodriguez, Matt Shelton: A quartet of organizational arms who spent the bulk of their 2012 seasons with Great Lakes. Lima, 23, had a 4.52 ERA in 77 2/3 innings with the Loons. Noriega, 22, was signed away from Monclova of the Mexican League in 2011. He went 3-2 with a 2.78 ERA and one save in 68 innings. Rodriguez, 24, was the third player acquired from Boston in the three-way trade that sent Trayvon Robinson to Seattle in 2011. It seems safe to say that he will not follow Tim Federowicz and Stephen Fife to Los Angeles after Rodriguez posted a 6.34 ERA in 38 1/3 innings last year. Shelton, 24, has pitched well for a former 24th-round pick out of Sam Houston State. He went 3-5 with a 2.81 ERA and two saves while striking out 70 in 67 1/3 innings last year.

Jharel Cotton, Carlos De Aza, Alan Garcia, Sawil Gonzalez, Scott Griggs, Owen Jones, Craig Stem: The right-handers who made up the bulk of the bullpen for Ogden last summer, they are a mixed bunch. Cotton, 21, is the most promising of the bunch, though he threw just 15 innings with the Raptors, posting a 1.20 ERA and striking out 20 batters versus three walks. A 20th-round pick out of East Carolina, he sports a low-90s fastball, a slider and a changeup with plus potential. He could get stretched out as a starter this year. Griggs, 21, was an eighth-round pick out of UCLA, where he was the Bruins’ closer. He could hold that role in Great Lakes this year. The rest seem like organizational arms and will compete for spots with the Loons in front of Griggs.

Aris Angeles, Jordan Hershiser, Travis Jones, Jackson Mateo, Sean O’Connell, Ricky Perez, Samuel Taveras: The primary relievers in the Arizona League last summer, this group is also a mixed bunch. Hershiser, 24, is the son of the former Dodgers great who battled injuries throughout his college career at USC. He had a 2.55 ERA and struck out 20 in 17 2/3 innings. Jones, 23, is a converted catcher who used to play in the Royals’ system. Perez was solid in July, racking up nine saves, but got slammed in August and finished with an 8.46 ERA in 22 1/3 innings. The rest are organizational arms only.

Scott Barlow: The Dodgers’ promising sixth-round pick in 2012, Barlow succumbed to Tommy John surgery and missed all of 2012. Barlow, 20, will likely open in extended spring, but if he can rediscover his big-breaking curveball again, he can move back into the prospect picture.

* * *

Well, that’s all for the depth chart series. For pure fun (or possibly as a sign of insanity), I will throw out my projected rosters for Albuquerque, Chattanooga, Rancho Cucamonga, and Great Lakes while Mike is wrapping up his vacation. It should be fun to speculate on who ends up where, and then have the Dodgers do their usual thing and make me look like a fool for ever trying to project things before a single exhibition game has even been played.

Dodgers Depth Chart Analysis: All is Right Among the Right-Handers

Editor’s note: Chris Jackson moves on to the righty pitching in the organization, which is probably the deepest group the Dodgers have. No, I definitely don’t miss seeing Allen Webster here. No, not at all. Not even a little. 

Right-handed starting pitching is the backbone of every organization’s depth on the mound. For all the future stars, however, there are also plenty of guys working merely as filler. The Dodgers have plenty of organizational arms who throw right-handed, along with a few legitimate stars inching closer to the big leagues and some sleepers scattered about from Double-A to rookie ball.

This is Fife. He is probably not going to be the Isotopes' right-hander that will get Dodgers' fans excited this season. (Photo courtesy of the Isotopes)

This is Stephen Fife. He is probably not going to be the Isotopes’ right-hander that will get Dodgers’ fans excited this season. (Photo courtesy of the Isotopes)

If there is a surprise this season it is in the lack of random veterans, the kind of guys used to fill out Albuquerque’s staff. So far the Dodgers have only brought into two right-handed vets and one lefty (see the entry on the not-so-fabulous Fabio Castro). It is perhaps a reflection of Triple-A vets shying away from both Albuquerque’s altitude and, even more likely, the lack of a perceived opportunity to move up to Los Angeles. The Dodgers have eight legit starters in the mix this spring, which does not make them very attractive to job-hunting journeymen.

So from the guys expected to be Isotopes to those who will stay behind in extended spring training, here are the Dodgers’ right-handed starters. Take note, to be listed here, a pitcher would need to have made over half his appearances last season as a starter. Not all are still guaranteed to start this season, and some relievers (who will be in the next post on this series) from last year might be stretched out as starters this year.

Stephen Fife: A perfectly average starter, with average stuff and average velocity, every team seems to have a few Fifes lying around. The key is that they are usually at Triple-A, only called upon for a few spot starts per season. That figures to be Fife’s role again after he went 11-7 with a 4.66 ERA with the Isotopes and 0-2 with a 2.70 in five starts with the Dodgers. He’s not a big strikeout guy — 93 in 135 1/3 innings at Albuquerque; 20 in 26 2/3 in L.A. — and he joined the short list of pitchers with a better ERA at Isotopes Park (3.68) than on the road (5.58). Barring a rash of injuries to the guys in front of him, or an injury of his own, he should be the Isotopes’ opening-day starter against the Iowa Cubs on April 4.

Matt Palmer: A 34-year-old journeyman, Palmer is the type of guy the Dodgers sign to pitch at Albuquerque just about every off-season. He has 672 2/3 career innings in the Pacific Coast League with Fresno, Salt Lake and Tucson, posting a 4.86 ERA and going 41-46 since 2008. He suffered through a fairly lousy campaign with the T-Padres last year (6-9, 5.66) and only made three relief outings in San Diego. Palmer once went 11-2 with the Angels back in 2009, but that seems eons ago. He will eat innings at Albuquerque, nothing more, nothing less.

Mario Santiago: The 28-year-old returns to the U.S. after spending 2012 with the SK Wyverns in South Korea. Santiago went 6-3 with a 3.40 ERA in 18 starts for the Wyverns, who were the runners-up to the Samsung Lions for the second year in a row in the Korea Series. Santiago has never been overpowering in his career, which stretches back to 2005 when he was a 16th-round pick by the Royals out of Baton Rouge JC. Santiago has just 458 strikeouts in 714 2/3 career minor-league innings. He only struck out 49 in 95 1/3 innings with the Wyverns last year. His only Triple-A experience came in 2011 with Omaha (Royals), when he was 3-3 with a 5.70 ERA and two saves in 19 games (four starts). He seems more likely to start than relieve for the Isotopes, barring any additional pitching signings.

Zach Lee: A little bit of the shine came off the former first-round pick after a so-so campaign between Chattanooga and Rancho. Lee went 6-6 with a 4.39 ERA, throwing 121 innings in 25 starts. He struck out 103 and walked 32. His biggest issue, according to just about every prospect report, is that he lacks a signature out pitch. This will consign him to the dust bin of … No. 3 starters. Oh, darn. Look, Lee is 21, his fastball sits between 90-95 mph and can sink and cut, he has a good slider and a potentially plus changeup. There is still plenty of time for him to develop. He will return to the Lookouts, and with a legit No. 1 (Kershaw) and No. 2 (Greinke) already on the roster, if Lee only turns out to be a No. 3, well, the Dodgers will not complain, especially when his $5.25 million signing bonus comes out to about one-fifth of Kershaw’s inevitable mega-salary.

Matt Magill: While Lee lost some luster, Magill was on helium in 2012, shooting up the prospect lists. The 23-year-old right-hander was a 31st-round pick out of Royal High School in Simi Valley back in 2008, but he sure didn’t pitch like one with the Lookouts. Magill went 11-8 with a 3.75 ERA in 26 starts, striking out a Southern League-leading 168 batters in 146 1/3 innings. Magill’s out pitch is his slider, a sharp, late-breaking pitch that sits in the low 80s. His fastball sits 91-92 with movement and has touched 95. Now comes the tough part for the guy ranked No. 9 in the Dodgers’ farm system by Baseball America — pitching at Albuquerque. There are too many guys lined up behind him to pitch in Chattanooga this year (Lee, Santiago, Chris Reed, Aaron Miller, Onelki Garcia, Rob Rasmussen) and not enough guys for the Isotopes. Magill was added to the 40-man roster, but now comes the tough part. Hopefully he can get a hold of John Ely‘s phone number.

Andres Santiago: The 23-year-old Puerto Rican has been around for a while, but he finally seemed to put things together in 2012. A 16th-round pick in 2007, Santiago broke through between Chattanooga and Rancho (6-5, 3.69, 122 Ks in 112 1/3 innings). It might not be enough to guarantee him a rotation spot to open 2013 back in Chattanooga with all the guys I listed above, but he figures to at least be a spot starter/long reliever at the outset of the season. Santiago has an 89-92 mph fastball that touches 94, a low-to-mid-80s slider and a plus changeup. He has the stuff to start, but for now I expect him to open as a reliever with the Lookouts.

Garrett Gould: The 21-year-old’s name popped up in the spotlight back in July when the Dodgers were rumored to be sending him to Houston for the corpse of Carlos Lee. This created a small furor on the internet among Dodgers fans, who mostly wanted no part of Lee but were also loathing the thought of trading an actual prospect for the aging ex-slugger. Thankfully, Lee invoked his no-trade clause, and Gould stayed put. Well, Gould probably could have used a break from Rancho Cucamonga, where he took it on the chin most of the year. Gould was 5-10 with a 5.75 ERA, allowing 140 hits and 54 walks in 130 innings. Still, the former second-round draft pick is young enough, and the Cal League is challenging enough, that no one is about to give up on him. Gould’s fastball usually sits 87-89 mph, but it’s his sinker and a plus 12-to-6 curveball that are his bread and butter. Due to the logjam ahead of him, Gould will likely open back with the Quakes and get another shot at taming the Cal League.

Brandon Martinez: A former seventh-round pick out of Fowler High School, Martinez had a season to forget. The 22-year-old finished with a 7.19 ERA at Rancho last season. He gave up 140 hits and 55 walks in just 106 1/3 innings. Martinez has some decent stuff, including a 90-94 mph fastball, a good slider and a changeup, but his command evaporated in the desert air of the Cal League. At this point, a move to the bullpen might seem more likely than subjecting him to another season of getting savaged by High-A hitters. Martinez is certainly an interesting story — he suffers from Tourette syndrome and OCD — but if he pitches again like he did in 2012, he won’t be around much longer.

Jon Michael Redding: Essentially a poor man’s Fife, Redding put together an average season at Rancho in 2012. He was 9-7 with a 4.42 ERA, striking out 102 and walking 48 in 130 1/3 innings. A former fifth-round pick out of Florida College in 2008, Redding has been around for a while without really wowing anybody. He just seems to stick on the basis of his so-so pitchability. He has a low-90s fastball, an inconsistent slider and a hard curveball. In most years, he would move up to Chattanooga, but there are far better pitchers who need to start ahead of him, and with Santiago already (likely) in the long relief/spot starter role with the Lookouts, Redding seems likely to return to Rancho for another go-around at the not-so-young age of 25.

Angel Sanchez: The 23-year-old Dominican had a rough year with the Quakes in 2012. He went 6-12 with a 6.58 ERA, allowing 157 his and 51 walks in 130 innings of work. His fastball sits in the low-90s, but it is too straight and lacks movement. He has an average changeup and a below-average curveball. The Dodgers haven’t give up on him yet, but he could easily be moved to the bullpen in 2013, where he might function better as a two-pitch guy anyway. He will return to Rancho regardless of his role this season.

Ralston Cash: The 21-year-old was the Dodgers’ second-round pick in 2010, but little has gone well since then. He injured his hip in spring training in 2011 and never threw an inning that year. Cash ended up throwing just 40 2/3 innings with Great Lakes in 2012, going 1-6 with a 6.42 ERA. He gave up 45 hits, walked 24 and struck out just 29 batters. Back when he was drafted Cash threw a 91-92 mph sinking fastball that could touch 94. He had a good curveball, an average slider and needed to work on his changeup. Now he just needs to work on getting healthy and staying healthy. He will likely do so back with the Loons to start 2013.

Gustavo Gomez: There is not much information out there on Gomez, a 21-year-old who was signed out of Panama back in 2008. He struggled at Great Lakes last year — 8-8, 5.63, 122 hits, 55 walks, 77 Ks in 110 1/3 innings — which was his first full year in a full-season league. For his career, Gomez has a 4.77 ERA and 303 strikeouts in 322 2/3 innings. He did not find the Midwest League very agreeable compared to rookie ball. His fate for 2013 is a mystery.

Arismendy Ozoria: Another Latin American who struggled in Great Lakes’ rotation, Ozoria is a 22-year-old who signed out of the Dominican in 2008. He went 8-8 with a 4.51 ERA for the Loons, with his other numbers looking an awful lot like Gomez’s numbers (115 2/3 innings, 124 hits, 50 walks, 77 Ks). Much like Gomez, he could move up to Rancho, repeat Great Lakes, or move to the bullpen with either team.

Raydel Sanchez: The 23-year-old filled the spot starter/long reliever role with Great Lakes, making 14 starts and 13 relief outings in 2012. He went 3-8 with a 4.64 ERA. He struck out 61 and walked 33 in 95 innings of work. Born in Cuba, Sanchez signed with the Dodgers as a non-drafted free agent out of Miami-Dade JC in April 2011. He could repeat his Loons role with the Quakes this season.

Duke von Schamann: The Dodgers’ 15th-round pick out of Texas Tech in last year’s draft, Von Schamann shot all the way up to Chattanooga to finish his first pro season, though it seems more likely that he will settle at Rancho in 2013. Using his sinker, slider and changeup, the 21-year-old went 6-4 with an ERA of 3.00 in 75 innings of work. He only struck out 44 batters, but he only gave up 14 walks as well. With that type of control he might just survive pitching for the Quakes.

Lindsey Caughel: Another later-round draft pick who may have overachieved a bit last summer, Caughel shined at Ogden and should move up to Great Lakes this year. The 22-year-old was a 23rd-round pick out of Stetson. He went 3-2 with a 3.38 ERA in 42 2/3 innings at Ogden, holding his own in a hitter-friendly environment. Caughel only gave up 33 hits and eight walks while striking out 29 batters. In college his fastball sat 88-91 mph and he had an average curveball. He will need more than that to succeed and keep moving up the ladder.

Carlos Frias: Signed out of the Dominican back in 2007, Frias bounced around the system in 2012. He finished the year 7-5 with a 4.73 ERA in 83 2/3 innings of work. There is not much more info out there on the 23-year-old, who just looks like roster filler in the low minors. He might move up to Great Lakes full-time this year, or he may be back with Ogden.

Luis Meza: The 22-year-old Venezuelan had a 2012 to forget, posting a 7.39 ERA in 28 innings of work. He made six starts and five relief appearances and could end up in the bullpen full-time this year, though he will almost certainly open in extended spring training.

Ross Stripling: The Dodgers’ fifth-round pick out of Texas A&M last summer, Stripling has caught the eye of scouts and prospectors alike. Baseball America pegged him as the Dodgers’ No. 10, while Keith Law had him at No. 8. A senior sign, Stripling is already 23 and could jump all the way to Rancho to open 2013, though Great Lakes might be a better place to stretch him out. He only threw 36 1/3 innings after a heavy college workload. Even in that short span he posted a 1.24 ERA, allowing just 26 hits and six walks while striking out 37 batters. He has a 92-93 mph fastball with run and sink that touches 96. He also has a plus 12-to-6 curveball, but he will need to improve his average changeup as he moves up the ladder.

Victor Araujo: A 23-year-old Dominican, he posted a 6.88 ERA in the Arizona League last summer. That’s not the type of thing that keeps one employed. Nine of his 64 hits allowed in 53 2/3 innings were home runs, which won’t play much better as he moves up the ladder, assuming he moves up at all. He will open in extended spring.

Zachary Bird: The Dodgers’ ninth-round pick last summer out of a Mississippi high school, Bird was more impressive than his numbers might indicate. Keith Law named him the Dodgers’ No. 10 prospect for 2013, as did FanGraphs. Bird had a 4.54 ERA in the Arizona League, but he did strike out 46 in 39 2/3 innings. Bird’s fastball sits 89-92 mph and touches 94. He has a good curveball, average changeup and a fringy slider that might get tossed aside as he moves up the ladder. With a strong spring the 18-year-old could force his way to Great Lakes, but Ogden seems more likely.

Jonathan Martinez: An 18-year-old who signed out of Venezuela in 2011, Martinez was impressive in the Arizona League. He went 3-0 with a 3.05 ERA, striking out 59 and walking just 16 in 59 innings of work. There isn’t much other info out there on Martinez, but if he pitches like that again this year at Ogden, there will be some buzz.

* * *

Well, that’s it for the right-handed starters. The relievers are up next (and no, I’m not gonna review every single guy who made at least one appearance out of the bullpen in all the Dodgers’ U.S.-based affiliates). Then that should be it, but that’s OK, because Mike is on vacation (and we usually know what that means) and pretty soon there will be real baseball to talk about.

Dodgers Depth Chart Analysis: The Few, the Proud, the Southpaws

Editor’s note: Chris Jackson checks in with a look at the lefty starting pitching in the Dodger organization. Not only are there several intriguing names in here, there’s the ongoing return from perhaps my favorite under-the-radar Ned Colletti deal ever: actually getting something back for the clearly about-to-be-DFA’d Dana Eveland.  

Left-handed pitchers who can get outs are prized possessions. They are often given far more leeway than their right-handed counterparts in terms of development and staying in rotations. Command is prized over stuff, for the most part, if only due to the fact that lefties with great stuff are few and far between. Yet command is never something that one can come by easily, which is why far too many southpaws end up pitching in relief instead of remaining as starters.

Reed is one of the promising, but still unrefined, lefty pitching prospects in the Dodgers' system. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Chris Reed is one of the promising, but still unrefined, lefty pitching prospects in the Dodgers’ system. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Like most teams, the Dodgers have far, far more right-handed starting pitchers in their farm system. The dearth of lefties here should not come as a shock, but merely as a stark reminder of the reality of the rarity of an effective enough lefty being able to start. Though their numbers are small, there is at least some talent in this group. There may not be another Clayton Kershaw on the farm, but few teams have any lefties of that caliber developing in the minors.

This small group is highlighted by a couple of talented but vexing former high draft picks, a promising arm who has yet to pitch much, and a few overachievers hoping to sneak into the picture. Despite a lack of numbers, there is talent in this collective.

Fabio Castro: One of the few veterans signed to a minor-league deal this offseason, Castro seems destined for the Isotopes’ rotation despite a 2012 campaign he would like to forget. The 28-year-old Dominican started last season at Sacramento for the A’s, only to get raked over the coals (6.92 ERA in 51 1/3 IP) and then get sent down to Double-A Midland. In the end, he gave up 145 hits and 68 walks in 125 1/3 innings combined, racking up 14 losses. Plenty of minor-league vets have signed with the Dodgers, gone to Albuquerque, gotten blown to smithereens, and earned their release before the All-Star break. Castro is the early favorite for that auspicious status in 2013.

Aaron Miller: As mentioned earlier, Miller fits the role of “vexing ex-high draft pick” quite well. The 36th overall selection out of Baylor in 2009, Miller cost the Dodgers $889,200 and has yet to put it all together. An undiagnosed sports hernia hampered him throughout 2011. In turn, he was kept on a fairly strict pitch count at Chattanooga in 2012. He made 25 starts, but only threw 121 1/3 innings while going 6-6 with a 4.45 ERA. Though FanGraphs ranked him as the Dodgers’ No. 11 prospect, most other sites were pretty down on Miller. His once promising fastball now sits in the 89-92 mph range, though that was an improvement on the 86-90 range it sat in during most of his injury-plagued 2011 campaign. Miller has an average slider and a fringy changeup, which has led plenty to suggest the bullpen lies in his future. He figures to return to Chattanooga as a starter to open 2013, but that staff is getting crowded, so he will have to continue to earn the right to start.

Rob Rasmussen: Undersized lefties are not as rare of a commodity as undersized righties, but Rasmussen still faces an uphill battle to remain a starter. At 5-foot-9, he looks more like a middle infielder. Rasmussen was drafted in the second round in 2010 out of UCLA, where he was the No. 3 starter behind current uber prospects Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer. The Marlins traded him to the Astros in the ill-fated Carlos Lee swap last summer. Houston, in turn, sent him to the Dodgers in the deal for John Ely. Rassmussen ranked as high as No. 13 on FanGraphs’ list for the Dodgers. His fastball sits in the 89-92 mph range and can touch 94. He has a plus slider, but his curveball and changeup are just average at best. He went 8-11 with a 4.25 ERA between Single-A Jupiter (Marlins) and Double-A Corpus Christi (Astros) last season, so he figures to open at Chattanooga. The Dodgers will keep him as a starter as long as possible.

Chris Reed: The Dodgers’ first-round pick, No. 16 overall, in 2011 was selected as much for his signability as his talent. A closer at Stanford, the Dodgers moved him to the rotation, but the results have been mixed at best so far. With blister problems and arm soreness, coupled with a strict pitch count, Reed struggled through 70 1/3 innings with Chattanooga and Rancho Cucamonga last season. He was just 1-8 with a 3.97 ERA and 67 strikeouts. Baseball America still tabbed him as the Dodgers’ No. 6 prospect, while FanGraphs had him at No. 2. Reed’s fastball sits in the low 90s, topping out at 95 mph. His spike slider is his out pitch, but overuse is the likely culprit behind his blister problem. Reed needs to work on his changeup and/or cutter if he hopes to remain a starter. Much like Miller and Rasmussen, Reed figures to start as long as he is able to. He also figures to join those two, plus right-handers Zach Lee and Andres Santiago, in an all-prospect rotation at Chattanooga.

Onelki Garcia: The wild card among the pitchers, Garcia is as much as an international man of mystery as his Cuban position player counterpart, Yasiel Puig. Despite throwing all of two innings with Rancho Cucamonga, three playoff innings with Chattanooga, four innings in the Arizona Fall League and 10 1/3 innings in the Puerto Rican Winter League, scouts are very high on Garcia. Unable to circumvent the draft and aim for free agency like most Cuban defectors, the 23-year-old was taken in the third round of the draft last summer. His fastball runs 90-95 mph with good sink. He has a plus 12-to-6 curveball that could play out of a big-league bullpen now, but if he hopes to remain a starter, he needs to refine his changeup and slider. With a strong spring he could force his way into the crowded Chattanooga rotation, or he could end up the ace at Rancho.

Jarret Martin: The more promising of the two minor-league players the Dodgers acquired from Baltimore for Dana Eveland last year, Martin endured some ups and downs while pitching mainly for Great Lakes. Martin went 4-6 with a 4.65 ERA in 18 starts overall, including two rough outings with Rancho. He was limited to 81 1/3 innings by injuries. While he struck out 80, he also walked 51, so refining his command will be a major issue in 2013. An 18th-round pick out of Bakersfield JC in 2009, Martin has exceeded expectations so far. His fastball sits in the low 90s and can touch 95. It has some sink, which will help him in the thin, dry air at Rancho this season. He has an average curveball and a below-average changeup.

Jake Hermsen: An organizational pitcher at best, Hermsen battled his way through 12 starts at Ogden last summer. The 23-year-old was taken in the 28th round out of Northern Illinois and was thrown into the fire with the Raptors. He finished 1-6 with a 4.24 ERA, allowing 64 hits in 51 innings. Hermsen struck out 37 and walked 16. He will fight for a rotation spot with Great Lakes this spring and should have a leg up on his right-handed competition.

Miguel Sulbaran: The Venezuelan, who turns 19 in March, proved to be a pleasant surprise last summer. He went 6-3 with a 2.51 ERA in 11 starts in the Arizona League, only to find things a little rougher in one start at Ogden and two at Great Lakes. Sulbaran finished the year with a 3.82 ERA in 68 1/3 innings. He struck out 69 and only walked 14. His fastball usually sits in the 88-91 range, touching 92. He features a curveball and a slider, though odds are he’ll drop one as time goes on, and a potentially plus changeup. Despite his age, he should compete for a rotation spot with the Loons.

* * *

That wraps up the lefty starters. Lefty relievers will be bunched in with their right-handed counterparts, but the jumbo-sized right-handed starters story will come first.