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: Can Anyone Play Third?

Editor’s note: Chris Jackson continues his look at the Dodger organizational depth with third base. Lord, I can’t wait until we get to the outfield and actually find some talent.

Recently, the good folks over at have noted how many good third basemen are playing throughout the Majors. While it is true that the Chase Headleys of the world are shining elsewhere, there are just as many teams rolling the dice at the hot corner from Chicago (Jeff Keppinger, Ian Stewart) to Minnesota (Trevor Plouffe) to Oakland (Josh Donaldson) to Atlanta (Juan Francisco) to Miami (the corpse of Placido Polanco) to Colorado (check back in a while on that mess).

For the Dodgers, third base is also a problem, in both present tense (Luis Cruz) and future tense. I won’t get into the whole “Hanley Ramirez should be at third” debate, because that’s been going for a while now and obviously Ned and co. are not going to change their minds until Ramirez is at 25 errors on Memorial Day. And even that might not get him shifted over to his right.

Going into the Dodgers’ stable of minor-league corner infielders, I found a logjam building up at first base between Double-A Chattanooga and Single-A Rancho Cucamonga (see the previous post in this series), while the organization remains pressed to find enough warm bodies to man third base throughout the system.

At third base, the lack of depth at the upper levels was clearly seen when the Dodgers signed two free agents with big-league experience and re-signed one of their own who had become a free agent. The wild card here, and elsewhere on the diamond, is Alex Castellanos, who finished last year at third for the Isotopes. For the purposes of these analyses, I am leaving him in the outfield, but if the Dodgers decide he should be a third baseman again, then throw out most everything you read below.

Barden with Round Rock in 2011. Hope he likes the PCL. (a href="">via)

Barden with Round Rock in 2011. Hope he likes the PCL. (via)

Dallas McPhersonBrian Barden: The two veterans, the former of whom played for the Isotopes in 2008 when they were a Marlins affiliate, will compete for playing time this spring. Both were signed as free agents; either could end up the starter in Albuquerque.

Elevys GonzalezOmar Luna: Gonzalez was acquired in the minor-league portion of the Rule 5 draft while Luna was signed as a free agent out of the Rays organization. Both Gonzalez and Luna are more utility players than everyday guys. Gonzalez will compete for a reserve spot with the Isotopes, while Luna will do the same with Chattanooga.

C.J. Retherford: The 27-year-old was originally signed by the White Sox as a non-drafted free agent out of Arizona State back in 2007. He tore through the system until 2010, when he hit a wall at Triple-A and was eventually released. After playing at Double-A for the Braves, Tigers and an independent team, Retherford signed with the Dodgers for 2012. He promptly hit .311/.366/.546 with 23 home runs and 92 RBI, mostly at Rancho and finishing at Chattanooga. Retherford should return to the Lookouts to start the upcoming season.

Pedro Baez: The biggest mystery among third basemen, Baez has underachieved throughout his career and was listed as a pitcher during instructional league this past fall. Always praised for his arm, Baez could move to the mound after batting just .247/.308/.391 for his career. Baez hit just .221/.306/.374 with 11 home runs and 59 RBI combined with Chattanooga and Rancho last season. If he is staying at third base, expect him to start for the Quakes.

Jesse Bosnik: A 13th-round pick back in 2010, the 24-year-old has done little with the bat, while playing two-thirds of his games at third base, the rest at first. Bosnick hit .239/.290/.360 with eight home runs, 44 RBI and 21 stolen bases at Great Lakes last year. He projects, at best, as a utility man, but is more likely just an organizational player who should move up to Rancho as a backup, or a starter if Baez’s days at third base are over.

Jeffrey Hunt: Purely a backup, the 22-year-old hit just .237/.295/.422 with six home runs for Great Lakes last season. He will either repeat the level or see his walking papers in March.

Alex Santana: The Dodgers’ second-round pick in 2011, Santana has yet to live up to expectations. The 19-year-old hit .254/.306/.365 with two home runs and 31 RBI between Ogden and the Arizona League last year. The son of former big-leaguer Rafael, this Santana was just 17 when he signed and very raw, both in terms of hitting and fielding. He should still push his way up the ladder and start for Great Lakes.

Bladimir Franco: He was signed out of the Dominican back in 2007. Now 22, Franco has hit just .233/.321/.381 with 27 home runs in 253 games, none above rookie level. While he put up decent numbers between the AZL and Ogden last summer — .269/.335/.448, 8 HR, 31 RBI — he is low on the depth chart and could return to the Raptors to start this upcoming season.

As anyone can see, the Dodgers are cursed by the same lack of viable third basemen as most teams. While folks tend to focus on catcher and shortstop as being too thin, the Dodgers’ lack of help at the hot corner stands out. It is not a problem unique to the organization, nor one that can be totally attributed to the McCourt era’s financial woes.

So in other words, if you want your kid to have a shot at the pros someday, put the tyke at third base and cross your fingers.

Dodgers Depth Chart Analysis: Who’s On First?

First base is so thin, the Loon mascot might push past O'Koyea Dickson on the depth chart. (Via the Loons

First base is so thin, the Loon mascot might push past O’Koyea Dickson on the depth chart. (Via the Loons)

Editor’s note: Chris Jackson continues his look at the Dodger organizational depth with first base… if you’re wondering why the Dodgers felt it so important to upgrade the position with the big Boston trade, this might help, because, gross.

The corner infield positions were of great concern to Dodgers fans throughout 2012, at least until Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez arrived in separate trades to fill those spots at the big-league level. Though Ramirez is supposed to open at shortstop this year, at the very least the Dodgers have a couple of capable players on their roster at last.

All of this is due to the perceived lack of talent at the corners down on the farm. There is some truth to this, though there are some semi-promising bats lingering around first base. The logjam exists largely due to the likeliness that last year’s Double-A starter might not move up to Albuquerque. Here are the who’s who of who’s on first:

Nick Evans: A veteran free agent, Evans has been mentioned before on this site and on mine. He is what he is, a semi-capable bat with a reputation for good defense. In what essentially amounts to a season’s worth of games spread — 159 to be exact — over four years with the Mets, Evans hit .256/.305/.407 with eight home runs and 46 RBI. He should be the starter at Albuquerque.

J.T. Wise: A fifth-round draft pick back in 2009, Wise made the conversion from catcher to first base last season at Chattanooga. He put up a good slash line (.278/.377/.445) with the Lookouts, though his 125 strikeouts and measly nine home runs have Wise seemingly headed back to Tennessee to start 2013. Wise was actually considered more of a power hitter and less patient coming out of Oklahoma, but he has switched that up in the minors, showing less power and improved walk totals, including 62 last year. The biggest questions going forward for Wise are will he show more power and can he improve defensively?

Austin Gallagher: Once upon a time Gallagher was thought of highly in the Dodgers organization. A third-round pick in 2007 out of a Pennsylvania high school, Gallagher reached the Cal League in his first full season, splitting time between the infield corners. He has been a first baseman ever since, but only in the last two years has he begun to show signs of restoring some of his prospect status. Gallagher hit .283/.383/.481 with 15 home runs and 74 RBI for Rancho Cucamonga last year. He even played some outfield for the first time. Still, his lack of power (for a first baseman) has held him back, and Gallagher’s time is running out as he is already 24 and could be stuck in the Cal League for the fifth year of his seven-year career.

Chris Jacobs: The right-handed yin to Gallagher’s lefty-hitting yang (or is it the other way around?), Jacobs has made a slow trek up the ladder since being drafted in the 17th round in 2007. He spent three years in rookie leagues and all of 2010 and 2011 at Great Lakes. In his first shot at Rancho he hit .273/.353/.493 with 17 home runs and 49 RBI in a part-time role. He is what he is, an organizational player who has stuck around longer than anyone would expect, but not really an everyday player. He could end up squeezed out of the crowded first base picture this spring.

Angelo Songco: A former Loyola Marymount standout, Songco made the Cal League look like child’s play in 2011, batting .313/.367/.581 with 29 home runs and 114 RBI. He played 65 games in left field and 57 at first base that year as the future looked bright. Injury, though, derailed him as he suffered a badly broken leg after the season and missed the start of 2012. When Songco did come back, he was exclusively a first baseman/DH, batting a combined .201/.279/.357 with 12 home runs between Rancho and Great Lakes. The lefty masher will hope that being another year removed from his injury will get his numbers trending upward, but for now he is wedged between Gallagher and Dickson (see below). Songco’s 2013 status is uncertain, making him perhaps the biggest wild card of all when figuring out who will play where.

O’Koyea Dickson: The soon-to-be 23-year-old had a solid showing (.272/.366/.479, 17 HR, 48 RBI) at Great Lakes last season. A bat-first player, Dickson’s future power projection is not all that high, so he will have to continue to prove people wrong. A 12th-round pick in 2011 out of Division II Sonoma State, Dickson grades out as average at first base, but there is some potential in his bat. He might just continue to surprise people as he moves up the ladder, but with Wise, Gallagher, Songco, and Jacobs up ahead, he may have to repeat Great Lakes this year.

Jesus Valdez: A 17th-round pick in 2011, Valdez, 20, spent about two-thirds of his time with Ogden at first base, the rest in the outfield. Valdez hit a robust .385/.421/.657 with nine home runs and 62 RBI against the Pioneer League. He will have to show more power and more walks (just 12 last year) to continue moving up the ladder. With the logjam ahead of him, he might end up more in the outfield at Great Lakes this year.

Tae-Hyeok Nam: A rare Korean-born player in the Dodgers’ system, Nam hit just .252/.316/.417 With Ogden last season. He has yet to show much power or discipline so far, not good for a 21-year-old. At this point he is merely organizational depth and might not crack a full-season roster to start 2013.

Paul Hoenecke: A 24th-round pick last summer, he also saw some time in the outfield while batting a robust .385/.421/.657 with five home runs and 40 RBI, mainly in the Arizona League. The 22-year-old is purely organizational depth and could be a reserve player at Great Lakes.

John Sgromolo: Another organizational player who shined in limited playing time, the 22-year-old hit .310/.375/.430 in the Arizona League. He will be lucky to crack a full-season roster.

Justin Chigbogu: The Dodgers’ fourth-round pick in last summer’s draft, a former football standout who checks in at 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds. He is very raw for a baseball player and it showed as Chigbogu hit just .200/.282/.313 in the Arizona League. He will open in extended spring training.

Dodger Camp Beginning to Get Interesting With Three Injuries

We’ve been bemoaning the lack of news from camp thus far, so I suppose this falls under the category of “be careful what you wish for”, because we have news about three separate injuries to young players of varying severity and importance.

Most troubling has to be Alfredo Silverio, who was in a one-car accident in the Dominican Republic on January 23. Tony Jackson provides terrifying details:

In short, the kid is lucky. From talking to various people (still haven’t been able to talk to Silverio), this is what I have been able to cull: the accident happened on a stretch of road called Curva de la Muerte, which translates to Curve of Death. Apparently, he was going about 60 mph and lost control, the car going off the road and flipping several times. He temporarily lost consciousness, and the car was demolished.

Jackson adds that in addition to a concussion, Silverio sustained injuries to his back, shoulder, elbow and neck; he’ll be sent to a concussion specialist next week and will almost certainly see the start to his season delayed. We’ve seen concussions ruin careers before – see Corey Koskie & Mike Matheny, among others – and Don Mattingly says there “there isn’t even a timeline right now,” which is clearly concerning. That said, I’m trying to stay cautiously optimistic if only because Silverio was able to fly from the Dominican to Arizona, and one of the last things concussion victims are supposed to do is fly. If the Dodgers were comfortable allowing him to do so, that should be seen as a good sign. Silverio, Baseball Prospectus‘ #7 Dodger prospect, was expected to start in the Triple-A Albuquerque outfield, so the potential for missed time does help explain a bit more why the Dodgers felt the need to supplement outfield depth by claiming Matt Angle from Baltimore recently.

But the fun doesn’t stop there, because 23-year-old 1B/OF Angelo Songco (unranked by BP) is going to have a tough season as well, per Jackson:

Anyway, another highly regarded prospect, outfielder-first baseman Angelo Songco, is expected to miss the next two to three months after having a rod inserted into his lower right leg. Songco was hit by a pitch late last season at high Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, where he hit .313 with 48 doubles, 29 homers, 114 RBI and a .367 on-base percentage, causing a stress fracture he was able to play through for the rest of the season. But when he started feeling intensified pain in the leg a few weeks ago, he was sent for an X-ray that showed it had turned into a full-blown fracture.

Songco was to move up to Double-A Chattanooga this year and was likely to play more first than outfield, so his absence may open up more time for sorta-prospect Austin Gallagher.

Finally, Dee Gordon took a bad hop grounder to the mouth during batting practice and had to leave the complex for stitches (which you can see here). Gordon returned afterwards and took some swings, so it doesn’t appear to be that serious, and we see players take pops in the mouth from bad hops all the time. Still, we’re constantly worried about Gordon’s ability to hold up over the course of the season, and this serves to remind us that the depth behind him is less than optimal. Mattingly has already said that he prefers to keep Juan Uribe at third base this year rather than shifting him around, and while Jerry Hairston is an adequate fill-in on Gordon’s days off, a 36-year-old who played nine innings at the position last year isn’t really an ideal long-term replacement. Stay limber, Justin Sellers.