Trading For Now, Or For the Future?

The Dodgers, as Jon Weisman astutely notes this morning at LA Magazine, find themselves in a very difficult position as the trading deadline nears. They’ve been in first place or close to it for basically the entire season, and that along with a new ownership group eager to impress and a general manager hoping to hang on to his job means that they have to continue trying to win this year. But the reality increasingly seems to be that the hot start to the season is just not backed up by a roster with the talent needed to compete, not with the worst corner infield situation in baseball, zero production out of shortstop, very little coming from left field, and a starting rotation that may actually need to send the unheralded Stephen Fife to make his major league debut against Roy Halladay tonight. Even if they could fill all of those holes in the next two weeks – and due to the quantity of them, I think it’s pretty clear that they can’t – they’re held back both by a minor league system which doesn’t have the top-end talent other teams desire and a new playoff system which will make the few clubs willing to sell ask for sky-high prices.

You have to compete, but you may not realistically be able to win. What do you do?

I can’t say I know what the Dodgers will do, but I know what I would do, and that’s try to build for the future right now. I’ve said a few times that my highest priority is not making the playoffs in 2012, it’s trying to create an organization which can be a consistent contender for years to come. That doesn’t always correspond with what the casual fan wants to see, since they they see a team in position to make a playoff run and think that going for it all right now is the only option, but taking an unpopular position is fine with me.

That means that simply adding a rental player, never a path I like anyway, should be a “break glass in case of emergency” type of move. Sure, I’d like to add Ryan Dempster, and if the price is right, fine. But the price looks increasingly less likely to be right as more teams seek to add pitching, and with the new CBA rules, the Dodgers couldn’t even collect draft pick compensation should Dempster leave at the end of the season. Dempster’s a nice add, but he alone isn’t going to fix the problems that ail this team, and if you haven’t also figured out a way to fix first base & third base & left field & shortstop, then it barely seems to matter.

Looking at the list of available free agents over the next year or two, a few trends seem to stand out. You can buy starting pitching, led by Cole Hamels & Zack Greinke, along with a few others. You can buy another outfielder if you choose to, though adding another megadeal to Matt Kemp & Andre Ethier may be a bit unwieldy. But what you absolutely cannot do is find quality infield help, and that’s what the Dodgers need more than anything. You could even argue (assuming that Mike Napoli is a catcher, where he has stated he feels far more comfortable) that James Loney is the best free agent first baseman this winter. Yuniesky Betancourt may be the best shortstop; Maicer Izturis the best third baseman. The following year is as bad if not worse, without even considering that some guys will be locked up before then.

If you can’t fill those holes through free agency – and you absolutely, 100% cannot go into 2013 with the same mess at first and third as you have now – and you can’t fill them through the minor leagues, which you can’t unless you’re suddenly optimistic about Jerry Sands & Scott Van Slyke, then you have to fill them through trade. That’s why it’s so important that if you’re going to pay inflated July prices, you do so for players who help you for more than two months. That’s why Chase Headley makes so much sense. That’s why Jimmy Rollins, even though I’m not convinced the Phillies would actually move him, makes an increasing amount of sense in a down shortstop market. (After all, Luis Cruz is awful, and Dee Gordon has proven nothing.) If you like Justin Morneau, Aramis Ramirez, & Michael Cuddyer – which I’m not sure I do – they help you into the future as well.

None of those guys, on their own, are going to make this roster good enough to win it all in 2012. But they’ll help a little, and they’ll allow you to say that you didn’t stand still, and most importantly, they’ll fill a spot in 2013 that you’ll need as you attempt to sign a Hamels or a Greinke or a Josh Hamilton or a Michael Bourn.

As I’ve always said, I don’t mind trading prospects when the return is worth it. Two months of a rental on a team that probably isn’t good enough is rarely worth it. One or two years plus two months on a team with a good core and lots of money to spent this winter just might be.

It’s a tough situation to be in, I’ll admit, and there are going to be moves we don’t like. Let’s just hope that if we’re saying goodbye to prospects with a future, it’s for players with a future of their own.

Time to Kick Off the Second Half

A little less than 11 hours from now, Clayton Kershaw will throw his first pitch against the Padres in Dodger Stadium, and the second half will officially begin. (“Second half”, we should say, given that the Dodgers have already played 87 games, or approximately 54% of their schedule.) I think it’s fair to say that the team we’re going to see tonight is going to look very different than the one saw collapse before the break, and I think the team we’re going to see in two weeks is going to look even more different.

For tonight, Matt Kemp & Andre Ethier are each expected to be in the lineup together for the first time since May, and that alone is a cause for celebration. Gone, fingers crossed, are the days of the 3/4 spots in the lineup being filled by James Loney, Jerry Hairston and friends. Gone as well will be Scott Van Slyke, and while we can all hope that Juan Uribe is finally getting cut, I’m starting to believe more and more that Elian Herrera will take his options back to Albuquerque, given that he’s struggling terribly and he’s no longer needed in the outfield. (Even if it’s not today, I still doubt Uribe lasts the season.)

I doubt any team can say they’re getting a bigger July boost than adding Kemp & Ethier, yet that’s far from the end of it. The Dodgers, eager to flex their financial muscles and put the stink of the McCourt era behind them, are in on just about everyone. (Hey, Chase Headley will be in town tonight!) They absolutely will trade for a starter and at least one bat if not two, and while we’ve been over the options extensively and will continue to do so, you can be absolutely sure that at least two of the prospect group headed up by Zach Lee, Chris Reed, Garrett Gould, the guys just below them will be saying goodbye. We may like whatever the deal is, we may hate it (okay, we’re more likely to hate it, given Ned Colletti’s track record, and especially if it’s for Michael Cuddyer), but accept that it’s going to happen. That’s both exciting and downright terrifying, I think.

All that, plus the minor league debut (amid encouraging reports) of high-priced Cuban import Yasiel Puig, means that the next few weeks are going to be among the most interesting we’ve seen around here in years. (Yay, site traffic!) While the Dodgers start the second half in first place, they do so by only a half-game over San Francisco, and their June debacle burned so much of their April/May buffer that merely playing .500 ball – which would give them an 84-78 record – isn’t going to be good enough. Fortunately, they have the fourth-easiest remaining schedule in the NL with which to work with.

I’m pretty sure that this is in no way the second half we anticipated we’d be gearing up for when the season began. (I’m also pretty sure that if you had read this post in March, you’d have said, “who the hell is Elian Herrera and what exactly is a Yasiel Puig?”) I have no idea how things are going to turn out, but I know that after four long days without baseball, I’m ready to get things moving.

2012 Midseason Grades: Pitchers

I’m guessing the pitching reviews will be just a tad more fun to read than yesterday’s offensive grades…

Starting Rotation

Clayton Kershaw (A-)

You know, people can argue that he’s not as good as last year, and as long as you don’t try to say it’s because of his 6-5 record, you could potentially have a point. Strikeouts are down a bit, walks are up just a touch, he’s allowing a few more homers, so fine, I guess. There’s just a big difference between “not replicating a magical Cy Young season” and “isn’t any good any longer,” and let me tell you, he’s still pretty damn good. Are we really complaining about a guy with the sixth-most strikeouts in baseball and a top-13 FIP, right between Josh Johnson & Matt Cain? Please.

Chris Capuano (A)

I don’t want to get sucked into misleading wins and ERA, but Capuano’s obviously been a really nice find and so far, a good feather in Colletti’s cap, which is more than most of us could have expected this winter. Kudos all around for that. The funny thing is, he’s not really pitching all that differently than he did with the Mets last year, with similar K and BB rates, when he ended up with a 4.55 ERA. That says more about ERA than it does about Capuano, I suppose. Still, as long as his arm holds together, he’s a good guy to have around.

Chad Billingsley (D+)

I’m still looking for a way to explain the fact that Billingsley has a better K rate, a better HR rate, a similar walk rate, and better FIP & SIERA than supposed hero Capuano, yet has had his results be so poor. I say that not in a snarky way; I honestly don’t know what the cause is. That doesn’t completely excuse Billingsley, of course, because there’s a big difference between what should have happened and what did happen, and the results haven’t been there. Still, there’s a lot of reasons to think that we’ll see a better Billingsley in the second half. What we won’t see, of course, is fans who don’t hate him.

Aaron Harang (C+)

This is where the “expectations” piece really comes in to play, because Harang has been just okay, yet “just okay” is all we ever hoped for in the first place. (Aside from that game where he struck out the first 73 Padres he faced, which, damn.) His ERA is fine, though the advanced metrics don’t really support it, and he’s been of course better at home than on the road, other than oddly allowing more homers at Dodger Stadium. He is what he is, a decent back-end arm, no complaints about having him, not a split second of worry about replacing him. I suppose every team needs a guy like that.

Nathan Eovaldi (C-)

This is a grade where I could see people arguing it in both directions, but honestly I’ve never been one of Eovaldi’s biggest supporters anyway. I think people got a little fooled by his decent cup of coffee last year and especially by his nice initial starts this year, but a guy who has trouble missing bats like he does – just 24 strikeouts in 47 innings this year, after a pedestrian 7.4/9 rate in the minors – is going to have difficulty succeeding. I still like him, and he’s okay at the back of the rotation, but I just don’t see stardom for him and I would have no problem trading him if the right deal came along. If not, I think he’s more likely to succeed in the bullpen. Remember when some people said that he was untouchable in any deal? Good times.

Ted Lilly (D-)

Yeah, I know a 3.14 ERA looks shiny. I also know that before he was hurt, Lilly was A) striking out far fewer than he ever had before B) walking more than he had since 2006 and C) was riding a completely unsustainable HR rate – a guy who has never allowed fewer than 1.12 HR/9 in his career doesn’t suddenly start allowing 0.55/9. That’s a dangerous mix which was almost certain to start blowing up his face before he went on the shelf with shoulder pain, and remember when that was supposed to a very minor injury? That was months ago, and there’s still no real ETA for his return. At this point, it’s August, if at all.

Bullpen

Kenley Jansen (A+)

I still laugh at the idiocy we had to go through when Jansen blew that one save in April. Remember the Broxton-level of hate there for a day or two? Yikes. What really kills me is that he’s throwing fastballs 94.1% of the time, more than any pitcher in baseball. (Belisario is second.) That’s basically telling hitters, “hey, we both know what’s coming, and there’s not a damned thing you can do about it.” While some are concerned about his slight dip in velocity, he’s managed to cut his walk rate significantly from last year while still keeping his strikeouts high, making him one of the most dangerous relievers in the game.

Josh Lindblom (B)

You probably don’t remember this now, but Lindblom came pretty close to not making the team out of camp, avoiding being sent to the minors mainly because Ted Lilly ended up on the disabled list. As the season went on, Lindblom became a primary set-up man and has cemented his place on the team… yet has had a disturbingly high home run rate, contributing to a FIP over 5. He gets a B because he’s stuck around all season and been decent doing so, I’m just not sure how to reconcile this longball issue.

Scott Elbert (A-)

So here’s something odd, and yes, the sample sizes are small. Elbert is crushing righties this year (.171/.261/.275, 18 K in 12.1 IP) but hasn’t been quite as successful against lefties (.281/.349/.429, 9 K in 14 IP). That goes a long way towards explaining why the Dodgers are reportedly in the market for a second lefty reliever, since Elbert isn’t the guy you want to bring in against the big lefty bats of the league. Despite that, he’s managed to establish himself as a quality reliever with strikeout stuff. Am I alone in feeling like he’s left no impression either way, though? There’s tons to talk about regarding Jansen or Guerra or Coffey; Elbert just seems like he’s “there”. That’s not a bad thing, I suppose, because generally a reliever who’s keeping his head down is doing a good job. Maybe it’s just me.

Javy Guerra (B+)

I know I’ve said this about a few guys, and this probably won’t be the last, but issuing Guerra a grade is immensely difficult. On one hand, basically everyone on the planet predicted that he’d regress and lose his closing job to the superior Jansen, and it took him barely a month to do exactly that. On the other hand, he’s not really performing worse than last year, with strikeout and walk rates that are basically identical, and he’s yet to allow a single longball. You could argue that his problems all stemmed from the Brian McCann liner he took off the jaw in April, since he twisted he knee attempting to avoid it, an issue which continued to get worse until he finally succumbed to surgery. I never thought I’d say “Guerra lost his job and he’s doing fine,” yet here we are.

Ronald Belisario (A+)

I mean, A for still being in the country. A for not being in prison. A for still being alive, probably. A for not being injured. A-plus for not only being on the team, but for being an invaluable member of the bullpen. I’m both terrified by his .176 BABIP and fascinated that his bowling ball heater results in such poor contact that it’s the third lowest figure in baseball. Good to have you back, you big weirdo.

Jamey Wright (B)

We had absolutely no expectations for Wright coming in, and the fact that he’s actually been able to get some whiffs in while keeping his ERA and FIP in the 3s is a pretty nice payoff on a zero-cost deal. So why only a B? He’s still walking 5.05 per nine. That can’t possibly end well.

Todd Coffey (C-)

Pretty sure that when Coffey was signed, expectations were a bit higher than “4.66 ERA, weeks missed to knee surgery, season-ending Tommy John surgery before the All-Star break”, and when you put it that way, it doesn’t look great. Still, of the ten earned runs he gave up this year, six came in games he was clearly injured in, and before his arm blew up in his last outing, he’d gone ten straight (and 15 of 16) without giving up an earned run. I’m actually kind of sorry to see him go.

Matt Guerrier (inc.)

We’re at the point where we don’t really expect to see him back this year, right? Even if we do, will it matter? Can’t say I’ve really even missed him. What a disaster of a signing that could have in no way been predicted.

Mike MacDougal (inc., but nah, F)

I’m not sure whether to praise Colletti for swallowing his pride and cutting MacDougal barely a month into a guaranteed contract or sadly shake my head that the deal was ever handed out in the first place. Bet you can guess which way I’m leaning. By the way, MacDougal’s been so bad that he just got cut from the Cubs Triple-A team after getting lit up in 19 games there.

Shawn Tolleson (inc.)

I don’t want to put too much importance on 5.2 innings… so I won’t. I’ll say this, though; while it seems clear that maybe Tolleson wasn’t as ready for the bigs as we all thought, there’s absolutely talent there. He’s not to be counted on for this year, but I’m excited to see what he can bring for the future.

2012 Midseason Grades: Offense

With an extra day off before the second half starts, it’s time to get to midseason grades. (Of course, life doesn’t give days off, so these are going to be relatively brief.) As always, the grades are in relation to what was reasonably expected of the player at the beginning of the season, not in comparison to other players, so just because Aaron Harang gets a decent grade does not mean he’s one of the best players on the club. Fewer than 50 plate appearances or 10 innings pitched gets you an incomplete.

Catchers

A.J. Ellis .285/.404/.425 3.0 fWAR (A++)

We’d all been calling for Ellis to get more playing time for at least a year and probably two, but anyone who says they saw this coming is being something less than truthful. Even with the June slump everyone went through, he’d be one of the top ten OBP guys in baseball if he’d had enough plate appearances to qualify. Oh, and he follows me on Twitter, noted several of us here for trying to get #AJ2KC going, spawned his own legendary facts, and still finds the time to do his hilarious “Between Two Palm Trees” series. Best guy in baseball? Hard to argue.

Hey, remember when the Dodgers wanted to play Dioner Navarro ahead of him? Me neither.

Matt Treanor .224/.299/.397 0.1 fWAR (C+)

I think it says a lot – a lot – about how little we thought of Treanor coming into the season that he rolls into the break with a .299 OBP and the general consensus is “hey, not bad.” Of course, this all seemed better before he went hitless over his last five starts. He’s still not Chris Capuano‘s personal catcher, right?

First Base

James Loney .247/.309/.333 -0.2 fWAR (F)

I am so sick of talking about James Loney. He gets an F (“boy, this guy sucks”) rather than a C (“yeah, but we knew he’d suck”) just because his great finish to last year actually gave us hope he might have found something. He did not, and you know you’re bad when your team sees Carlos Lee as an upgrade. This might not be his last month as a Dodger, but it almost certainly is his last summer.

Juan Rivera .257/.294/.352 -0.2 fWAR (D-)

This is where the ratings system gets flawed. Does Rivera deserve a better grade than Loney? Probably not, but I also expected so little of him, whereas at least Loney gave you some kind of hope. Honestly, I wish I could find some sort of listing for “biggest contract immediately after being DFA’d”, because this deal never made sense, ever – Rivera was lousy for the entirety of 2011 with the exception of the first four weeks or so he was a Dodger. Baseball Prospectus named him the “worst value” of any of last winter’s one-year deals recently, and I can’t say I disagree. Useless on offense, worse on defense.

Second Base

Mark Ellis .271/.371/.361 1.5 fWAR (B+)

This is a tough one, you know. For the first six weeks or so, Ellis was proving all of us who were unsure about his signing wrong, putting up a nice OBP to go along with solid defense at second. Then his leg exploded when Tyler Greene took him out at second, and the Dodger infield sort of fell apart after that. Yet while the injury seemed like a freak event, it’s hard to act as though it’s any sort of surprise that an older player with an injury history (average of 33.5 days on the DL over the previous four seasons) got hurt. I suppose that’s more on Ned Colletti than Ellis.

Jerry Hairston .297/.369/.424 1.3 fWAR (A-)

Hairston would probably get a full A if he hadn’t missed three weeks due to a hamstring injury and struggled in June along with everyone else, but his value has been clear nonetheless. I have a lot of doubts about him keeping this up – he’s already showing signs of declining – but that’s a discussion for another day. So far, so good.

Ivan De Jesus .273/.324/.364 0.1 fWAR (?)

How am I really supposed to give a serious grade to a guy who was nailed to the bench for weeks at a time? I don’t know if we’ll ever know exactly what De Jesus did to anger the Dodgers so much, other than the nebulous “clubhouse issues”, but the fact that he’s been missing out on September callups should have given us a clue as to his standing even before this season. How he’s still in the organization, I don’t know; with the amount of deals we expect to see in the next few weeks, it should surprise no one if he’s a toss-in to some club willing to give him a chance.

Shortstop

Dee Gordon .229/.280/.222 -0.8 fWAR (Dee-minus)

Yeeesh. We all expected growing pains, but Gordon’s been the worst regular shortstop in baseball by more than one measure, and his problems have come both on offense and defense. There’s been flashes, of course, especially on the basepaths, and I still remain hopeful for his future, but probably the only thing worse than Gordon’s play this year is Don Mattingly’s insistence on hitting him leadoff constantly. Perhaps the time away while he recovers from his thumb injury will be good for him.

Justin Sellers .205/.286/.386 0.3 fWAR (D)

Damn you, for getting exactly 50 PA and therefore getting a grade. I can’t wait until this roster gets to a point where trying to talk ourselves into a guy like Sellers isn’t needed any longer.

Luis Cruz .318/.385/.500 0.3 fWAR (inc.)

If you’re not in on the joke, there’s two or three guys on Twitter who have been hounding me for weeks, if not months, that Cruz is the best shortstop in Triple-A and deserves to be in the bigs. (The irony that the best shortstop in Triple-A is something akin to the tallest midget apparently being lost on them.) While I have no doubt that Cruz is a solid defender, his career minor league OBP is .298, and his home/road splits this year and ludicrous, and… oh, screw it. He’s been fine for 37 at-bats. I’ll eat my hat if he’s hitting .318 at the end of July. Mmm… hat.

Third Base

Juan Uribe .194/.250/.271 0.0 fWAR (JUAN URIBE THE WORST URIBE)

GO. AWAY.

Uribe is neck-and-neck with Loney in terms of “guys I’m sick of discussing.” He almost makes me ill to look at him in a Dodger uniform. Seriously though, whether he gets DFA’d now or later, it’s coming, and as bad as well thought this contract was the day it was signed – and we did – the fact that he’s barely going to survive half of it is shocking. Can’t wait to post the picture of him shaking hands with Colletti again.

Elian Herrera .243/.326/.331 (A)

Yeah, I know he’s been awful lately and that his hot start was a fluke. (I mean, really awful. Nine hits in his last 64 at-bats awful.) I’m pretty sure he’s not even really a big-league quality player. I also know that on May 1, none of us had ever even heard of this guy, and for a few weeks in a desperate situation, he provided a nice spark. There’s your A.

Adam Kennedy .228/.315/.309 0.3 fWAR (F)

Look, I was able to make a reasonable argument that he’s actually less valuable than Uribe. There was no chance that this was going to work, and it didn’t. What more needs to be said?

Left Field

Bobby Abreu .272/.371.377 0.7 fWAR (A)

Abreu gets an A, even though he’s a poor outfielder, even though he’s hitting .200/.268/.262 over the last month, even though the memories of his good start will almost certainly earn him more playing time than he deserves down the stretch and potentially even a return engagement in 2013. He still gets that A because he came in off the trash heap and was actually really good, at a time where the Dodgers were desperate for any sort of production. Now let’s hope that his playing time continues to decrease as the year goes on. And, please, please, don’t sully my good memories of him by making me hate him for coming back next year and doing a one-man production of “Garret Anderson‘s 2010″.

Jerry Sands .200/.238/.300 0.0 fWAR (inc.)

At least we knew Kennedy, Uribe, and the rest would be terrible. For most of the winter, we were hoping Sands would win the every day left field job, or at least supplant Loney at first. Not only did he not do any of those things, he’s been a mess in ABQ, falling behind Scott Van Slyke on the depth chart. I have no idea what happened here; what a disappointment.

Center Field

Matt Kemp .355/.444/.719 2.3 fWAR (B-)

I have no idea how to grade Kemp. For a month, he was the best player on the planet, but how far away does that seem now? He missed 2/3 of the first half with that bad hammy, and while you don’t want to kill a guy for being hurt, his absence was enormous. If he’s back healthy in the second half, no team will have a bigger addition.

Tony Gwynn .240/.288/.307 0.2 fWAR (C)

Gwynn is one of those guys who I can never seem to agree with people on, because there seemed to be an upswell of “hey, he’s hitting!” sentiment at points this year. Um, nope: that line above shows he’s just as impotent at the plate as ever. Of course, he’s still a fantastic glove, so he’s basically being exactly the guy you’d expect he’d be. Here’s to seeing a whole lot less of him as Kemp & Ethier return healthy.

Right Field

Andre Ethier .291/.357/.491 2.6 fWAR (B+)

That line adds up to an .848 OPS. Ethier’s career line? .291/.363/.480, .844. So he’s basically doing what he’s always done, except that with run-scoring down this year, it’s a bit more valuable. I’m still apprehensive about the huge deal he signed, especially as he seems more and more injury-prone, but at least for now you can’t argue with the production.

Scott Van Slyke.167/.196/.315 -0.3 fWAR (D+)

Van Slyke wasn’t, well, good, but he really never should have been in the bigs at this point anyway. Which he almost certainly won’t be on Friday when two roster spots are needed. But hey, we’ll always have that pinch-hit three-run dinger, right?

Alex Castellanos .143/.174/.238 -0.4 fWAR (inc.)

Of all the hamstring injuries the Dodgers suffered this year, one of the most unappreciated may have been the one AC suffered in ABQ in late April. As the big league club dropped like flies, Castellanos was almost certainly going to be the first Isotope recalled, since he was tearing up the PCL (and being one of the few ‘Topes to do so on the road). His injury cost him a major opportunity, and he didn’t do much in limited time once he healed. I still hope he’s got a future, but it really does hinge on his ability to play a passable second base. Hey, the next Ellis injury can’t be that far away…

Pitchers tomorrow! (Hopefully.)

Dodgers Lacking in Prime Prospect Trade Bait

Editor’s note: Hooray, four days without Dodger baseball! It’s a much-needed break. Today, we welcome back Christopher Jackson of the Albuquerque Baseball Examiner, who did such a good job providing us with an early Isotope status check in April. We talk so much about how the Dodgers have “a lot of starting pitching prospects” without actually looking into how they’re doing, so Christopher reviews how the young arms are coming along through the break. -Mike

The All-Star break is upon us. It is boring. Talking about the impending trade deadline is a lot more interesting. For better or worse, most of that trade talk deals with who the Dodgers are going to get, not how they are going to acquire those players. It takes two to tango, after all, and while some in the comments section might pop off with “just trade Jerry Sands for Justin Upton!” it is time to take a more realistic look at what the Dodgers have on the farm at midseason.

Mike did a solid analysis on the plus and minuses of trading No. 1 prospect Zach Lee already. The problem is that after Lee, things drop off fairly quickly within the organization. There is a reason that Stan Kasten and company have been said to be seeking to take on salary relief instead of giving up a lot of prospects that the organization simply does not have.

The Dodgers have a fair amount of depth in pitching, though in most cases potential will have to outweigh current performance. Most of the pitchers have at least been decent, but there are no real breakout performers. The starters at Double-A Chattanooga are heating up enough to potentially generate more interest. The position players have, by and large, struggled and few if any would bring back anything in return.

So let us break down the pitching prospects in the Dodgers system besides Lee and those prospects up with the Dodgers (e.g. Eovaldi, Van Slyke). All the rankings come from Baseball America.

No. 2 Allen Webster: This season has been a mixed bag for Webster, whose record (3-8) with Chattanooga is not really indicative of how he has pitched. His ERA (4.30) is decent and he has 73 strikeouts to 33 walks in 81 2/3 innings. The Dodgers did move him to the bullpen for five games earlier in the season, but it was temporary and he has posted a 2.25 ERA in seven starts since returning.

No. 5 Chris Reed: Last year’s first-round draft pick has gone 1-4 with a 2.52 ERA between Single-A Rancho Cucamonga and Chattanooga. He has struck out 51 in 50 innings spread over 11 starts and one relief appearance. The Dodgers have kept him on a tight pitch count as they stretch him out from college closer to future big-league starter.

No. 6 Garrett Gould: Well, we know the Astros were interested in the 20-year-old in the failed trade for Carlos Lee and the Dodgers are willing to move him. He has the usual Cal League blemishes (2-6 record, 4.96 ERA), but much like Webster, his record is deceiving. He has 77 strikeouts to 28 walks in 78 innings. Gould has arguably the best pure stuff in the system, something certain teams tend to cherish over actual results.

No. 7 Chris Withrow: The most frustrating arm in the organization is scuffling again in his fourth season with Chattanooga. He still walks too many (28 in 45 2/3 innings) and this year has had trouble staying healthy. At this point his future might lie in relief, so clubs that like to have lots of projectable relievers (looking at you, Padres) should have an interest.

No. 12 Angel Sanchez: The 22-year-old Dominican popped up out of nowhere last year and threw well at Low-A Great Lakes (8-4, 2.82, 84 Ks in 99 IP). Much like Gould, he has found the Cal League a tougher go, already allowing more hits (96) and home runs (12) than last season in 16 fewer innings. He could be ticketed for relief if his curveball does not improve.

No. 14 Scott Barlow: Last year’s sixth-round draft pick has yet to throw a pitch this season, making evaluating him fairly tough. He reportedly had Tommy John surgery recently, and may not be back at full strength until late next year or 2014, ruining any trade value he may have had.

No. 16 Aaron Miller: A sports hernia limited the southpaw to just 36 innings last season. Healthy this year, walks have been his nemesis (45 in 79 1/3 innings) with Chattanooga. His fastball velocity has dropped since he was drafted in 2009, a warning sign to most teams to stay away.

No. 17 Ethan Martin: Withrow’s rival for most perplexing has bounced back, somewhat, from a dismal 2011 campaign. He leads Chattanooga in ERA (2.99), but like Miller has been held back by walks (49 in 93 1/3 innings). Command has always been Martin’s biggest issue and despite the shiny ERA this year, it is clear he has still not turned the corner.

No. 23 Ryan O’Sullivan: The younger brother of former Royal Sean O’Sullivan, Ryan has already jumped from Great Lakes to Rancho Cucamonga this season. He has now made 15 relief appearances to nine starts, but the Dodgers view him as a potential starter down the line. O’Sullivan has a history of injuries at the college level.

No. 24 Josh Wall: The Isotopes closer has an above-average slider and a fastball he seems almost afraid to command. He coughed up three home runs in one inning in his final appearance of the first half on Sunday. If Wall could regain his confidence in his fastball he could at least be another cheap bullpen option, though he is likely a middle reliever/set-up man at the next level.