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.

Dodgers Depth Chart Analysis: A Backlog of Backstops

Editor’s note: Over the next few weeks, our pal Christopher Jackson of the Albuquerque Baseball Examiner will be looking at the position-by-position organizational depth of the Dodger system. Today, catchers. Enjoy! — Mike

In the spirit of looking ahead, rather than constantly recapping 2012, I came up with this guest piece, the first in a series, to take an in-depth look at the players at each position in the Dodgers’ farm system. Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, there is no team that is stacked with multiple prospects at every single position. That is a pipe dream that all teams, and their fans, have every year that somehow there is a guy playing X position at Triple-A or Double-A who could seamlessly step into the shoes of his big-league counterpart should an injury or trade occur.

Tim Federowicz remains the Dodgers' top catching prospect, though more for his defense than his bat. (Photo courtesy of the Albuquerque Isotopes)

Tim Federowicz remains the Dodgers’ top catching prospect, though more for his defense than his bat. (Photo courtesy of the Albuquerque Isotopes)

So while it would be easy to say that the Dodgers lack this and lack that in the minors, just about every team could be substituted for Los Angeles in this type of analysis. The purpose of breaking down a team’s depth chart is to gain insight into the type of players it looks for when drafting and scouring the international amateur market. It can be a way to look at the quality of the system, since not every prospect or semi-prospect will actually help his organization, but might end up being traded for a needed piece elsewhere. Last summer the Dodgers dealt from a position of strength/depth, starting pitching, in order to obtain the likes of Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton, etc.

A common refrain this offseason has been “why can’t the Dodgers trade for Superstar Player? They can totally afford anybody now!” The problem lies in a lack of talent in the minors, probably the greatest lingering legacy of the McCourt Era. Good old Frank would simply not give Logan White and his staff the money they needed to spend on elite talent in the draft, and almost completely ignored Latin America.

The good news is the Dodgers have quantity at several positions, though this does not always equate to quality. A good example is catcher, where there are quite a few warm bodies floating around in the minors, but none who seem to stand out as an obvious challenger to A.J. Ellis for starting duties in Los Angeles. Again, this is not unique among Major League organizations. Baseball America has been releasing its top 10 lists by team for a while now, and of the 15 American League teams, only four clubs have a catcher ranked in their top 10. Seattle’s Mike Zunino, a first-round pick in last summer’s draft who has already reached Double-A, is the only sure thing (as much as any prospect can be a sure thing) among those four backstops.

The good news for the Dodgers is that in Ellis, they have a solid, reliable player who has exceeded just about everyone’s expectations so far. His .270/.373/.414 slash line was very solid for a first full season as a big-league starter. A September slump did occur, but the news that he needed minor knee surgery after the season offered at least a plausible explanation for that mini-funk. Of course, Ellis is on the wrong side of 30 and the general fear that, being a catcher and all, a major injury could leave the Dodgers up the proverbial creek without a paddle.

Behind Ellis the Dodgers currently have Tim Federowicz and a bunch of guys who, with a few die-hard exceptions, most Dodger fans could not hope to pick out of a lineup. The one known quantity, at least in name, is Federowicz, the starter at Albuquerque last summer. Acquired from Boston in an unpopular trade back in 2011, Federowicz has developed into a solid defensive catcher, albeit with lingering questions about his bat. His overall line in 2012 (.294/.371/.461, 11 HR, 76 RBI) seems solid, until the usual “but it’s Albuquerque!” comes into play. Federowicz hit a robust .350/.415/.569 at Isotopes Park, .245/.331/.370 elsewhere in the PCL.

Dodgers director of player development De Jon Watson shared this on Federowicz when he visited Isotopes Park in late July: “Defensively he’s definitely made some major strides especially as far as blocking the ball and managing the running game. Offensively the approach is still evolving. He has to get more consistent, trust in the fact that he can go into that right-center field gap. Once he gets that, he’s so quick on the inside it’ll be a reactionary thing for him.”

Federowicz himself agreed with that assessment in a lengthy interview he gave to me last summer.

For better or worse, Federowicz appears to have a clear path to becoming Ellis’ backup in 2013, though many believe he might benefit from full playing time in Albuquerque to keep improving his hitting. Unless the Dodgers sign another catcher between now and Opening Day, Federowicz will be the clear No. 2.

The Dodgers, amid all of their injuries in 2012, were lucky to get through the season really only using Ellis and the now-departed Matt Treanor behind the plate. But rarely does good luck strike twice, so what lies beneath among the Dodgers’ minor-league backstops? It’s not full of future stars, but at least there are some options down the line.

Wilkin Castillo: The offseason’s token (so far) veteran free agent signing, Castillo has limited MLB experience with the Reds and can also play the infield if needed. Right now, he projects as the starter in Albuquerque, largely due to the lack of forward progress shown by the next two catchers on this list. He is coming off a middling .254/.273/.365 season with Colorado Springs, the only Triple-A team that plays at a higher elevation than the Isotopes.

Gorman “Griff” Erickson: A breakout player in 2011 with Rancho Cucamonga and Chattanooga, Erickson flopped in a second stint with the Lookouts, batting .234/.345/.328. A 15th-round draft pick out of San Diego Mesa JC back in 2006, Erickson was a late bloomer, but now he appears to be a mirage of inflated Cal League stats. Expect him to repeat with Chattanooga again, with the Dodgers hoping his patience at the plate (44 walks vs. 56 strikeouts) can eventually help him rediscover his missing swing.

Matt Wallach: Son of third base coach Tim, this Wallach has a rep of being all defense, no offense. His stats at Chattanooga bear that out (.232/.340/.321), though he would have been bumped up to Albuquerque for the PCL playoffs if not for a minor injury late in the year. If he can stay healthy, the former Cal State Fullerton Titan has a shot at being Castillo’s backup, or possibly even his platoon partner (Wallach hits lefty, Castillo is right-handed) with the Isotopes. This will be a pivotal spring for Wallach.

Chris O’Brien: The starter at Rancho Cucamonga most of last season, O’Brien fits the recent mold of most Dodgers draft picks at the position — he was a collegian, his bat was considered more advanced than his defense, and the club has been willing to promote him aggressively. O’Brien did not exactly light it up with the Quakes, batting .252/.305/.377 with seven home runs and 44 RBI. He was considered a better hitter than fielder in college, with his pitch-calling his greatest defensive attribute. A switch hitter, he should join Erickson in Chattanooga this year.

Pratt Maynard: If for nothing else than the quality of his name, Maynard was the rare drafted Dodgers catcher who inspired interest among prospect mavens. A third-round pick out of N.C. State in 2011, Maynard was considered a bit of an over-draft, and it showed in his first full season, where he hit a combined .248/.321/.335 with just three home runs and 37 RBI between Rancho and Great Lakes. Baseball America said prior to the draft that Maynard “needs work in all aspects of defense,” while praising his plate discipline and line-drive power. He did not show much of either, yet, but he is still young. The odds favor him as the starter at either Rancho or Great Lakes, depending on his performance in spring training.

Steve Domecus: Yet another catcher who was praised for his bat and referred to as a future left fielder when he was drafted, Domecus barely played in 2012 for undisclosed reasons. He hit .277/.362/.386 with eight RBI for the Quakes. Due to the uncertain nature of his status, Domecus could end up just about anywhere in the Dodgers’ farm system, though a return to Rancho to pair his right-handed bat with the switch-hitting Maynard seems likely.

Jan Vazquez: A native of Puerto Rico, Vazquez was drafted in the sixth round off the island back in 2009. He has not played much since, bouncing around from team to team, often as a third-string catcher. He hit just .252/.321/.299 in 2012, including a late cameo at Chattanooga. Vazquez might not even end up on a roster to start the season, instead waiting in extended spring until an injury crops up.

Michael Pericht: Quick, who led all Dodgers minor-league catchers in home runs? If you guessed Pericht, buy yourself a beer or the non-alcoholic beverage of your choice. Those 12 homers, though, were about the extent of the highlights for the former 16th-round draft pick out of a small Indiana college (back in 2009). Pericht hit .229/.326/.458 while bouncing around the system in 2012. He has more value than Vazquez, but will probably just end up the backup at Rancho or Great Lakes.

Tyler Ogle: A late promotion to Albuquerque suddenly put Ogle on people’s radar, but it was mainly due to Wallach’s aforementioned injury and Great Lakes being well out of the playoff chase at that point. Ogle’s overall numbers — .340/.432/.590, 9 HR, 38 RBI — look great at first glance, but consider that he was a college player dominating the Arizona League for most of the summer. He is another draft pick, ninth round out of Oklahoma in 2011, who was praised for his bat and downgraded for his defense, particularly a “fringy arm.” Ogle would probably benefit from a full season at Rancho or Great Lakes and seems unlikely to return to the Isotopes in 2013.

Eric Smith: A high school shortstop who did not play catcher until his junior year at Stanford, Smith was the Dodgers’ 18th-round pick last summer. He appeared as much as a designated hitter as he did behind the plate with Ogden, batting a robust .336/.417/.492 with three homers and 55 RBI. He is actually not considered a bad defender, just inexperienced at the position. He deserves a promotion to Great Lakes, which in turn could push someone like Pericht into limbo.

Jose Capellan, J.J. Ethel, Austin Cowen, John Cannon, Andrew Edge: The other random backstops who played sparingly for Ogden and/or the AZL Dodgers last summer. They are all organizational types, none drafted higher than the 24th round. All seem likely to bide their time in extended spring, though not all will make it through the regular spring.

All in all, it is not the most impressive group, but there is enough depth to cover for an injury or two, in the Minors, at least. Like most teams, the Dodgers have struggled to find capable catchers. Their recent preference for college players with more advanced bats than defensive skills is interesting, seemingly born out of a belief that it might be easier to teach a young man to catch than hit. Perhaps it is just a reflection of the position at the amateur level, where there are plenty of people who can catch, but few who can catch well, and most of those are long gone from the draft board by the time the Dodgers get around to finding catchers to fill out their organization every summer.

Look for corner infielders up next in this series, where the more interesting names seem to lie on the side of the diamond where the Dodgers are set, and not at the position they are in need of help.

A Brief Look At Your 2012 Chattanooga Lookouts

Last week, I took a look at a prospective roster for the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes and enjoyed the process enough that I thought I’d do the same thing for the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts, in no small part because this pitching staff has the potential to be loaded with talent. It helps, of course, that the Dodgers tend to keep their pitching prospects in Chattanooga and skip them straight to Los Angeles, rather than promoting them to the high altitudes of the PCL. Though the Isotopes are in the “highest” league, Double-A often has more talent, since so many clubs use Triple-A as something of a Quad-A dumping ground for fill-in veterans as needed.

In a lot of ways, trying to predict the Double-A team is more of a crapshoot, both because it’s tough to guess how the organization sees a young player who could either start at Hi-A or Double-A, and also because in many ways, it’s a simple numbers game as far as spots available. On the other hand, you generally don’t have to worry about 15 non-roster invite veterans floating around like you do with the Triple-A club. Obviously, this is just a best guess because injuries and trades can and will happen, and it can also be sometimes difficult to find updated information on some of the older players who may be minor league free agents, so I’m sure there’s at least one position here where I’ve completely whiffed on someone.

And before you ask, no, there’s no shot I’m going to keep going and try to look at what the lineups could be at Rancho Cucamonga or Great Lakes.

C: Gorman Erickson – who some prospect hounds prefer to Tim Federowicz – had something of a breakout season in 2011, most of which was spent at Rancho Cucamonga. After 157 plate appearances with the Lookouts, he should return there in 2012, though it’s not unreasonable to think he could be in Albuquerque later in the season if big-league injuries force Federowicz to be recalled ahead of schedule. Matt Wallach, who like Erickson was invited to the club’s developmental camp at Dodger Stadium, should also return after spending most of 2011 with the club. I suppose that means that J.T. Wise, 26 in June, may have to return to Rancho Cucamonga at least to start the season; he probably deserves a promotion, though you feel less bad for him when you look at his home/road splits.

1B: Scott Van Slyke should be headed to Albuquerque, so first base for the Lookouts could be something of a share between 2011 star Angelo Songco (29 homers at 22 in Hi-A) and Austin Gallagher, also coming off a good year for the Quakes. Songco will probably split his time between first and left field, so Brian Cavazos-Galvez, like Songco an outfielder who plays first, may see time here as well – though I expect him to make it to Albuquerque at some point this year.

2B: Jaime Pedroza has spent most of the last two seasons in Chattanooga, but since there’s not much room in the Triple-A infield with Ivan DeJesus, Jr. and Justin Sellers likely starting there, he’s probably coming back for year #3. He might be stuck in a numbers crunch moving up, but it’s not like there’s much behind him yet; last year’s Rancho second baseman, Rafael Ynoa, had just a .697 OPS despite playing in a high-offense league, so I expect him to repeat Hi-A.

3B: The hot corner is a mess. Sound familiar? The primary third baseman last year was Travis Denker, who keeps putting up superficially good stats but has been in five organizations in the last four seasons and was outright released by Seattle in 2010. Behind him was Corey Smith, a fun story at 29 who finally made it up to Triple-A, and Pedro Baez, who continued his long string of disappointing play before missing much of the season with a shoulder injury. If healthy, Baez should see plenty of time, though keep an eye out for second baseman-turned-catcher-turned-third baseman Tony Delmonico, who had a .387 OBP for Rancho in his first fully healthy season since 2009.

SS: Chattanooga’s primary shortstop last year was 28-year-old Ivan Ochoa, who hit a robust .233/.309/.326 for the Lookouts before becoming a minor league free agent. I think it’s safe to say he won’t be back; far more interesting is Jake Lemmerman, who struggled in a brief Double-A cameo near the end of the year after producing well in rookie ball and Rancho. The 2010 fifth-round pick should be the main Lookout shortstop for most of the season, and with Dee Gordon in the bigs and DeJesus lost in the Twilight Zone, Lemmerman is the top-rated middle infield prospect in the system.

LF: With Van Slyke, Alfredo Silverio, Kyle Russell, and Alex Castellanos all probably headed to New Mexico, the Lookouts could be starting just about from scratch in the outfield. Songco should see some time here, unless the organization now considers him strictly a first baseman, and Cavasos-Galvez will get some looks as well.

CF: Nick Buss. That’s all there is, and while he’s coming off a good season in Hi-A, he didn’t even make the honorable mention in John Sickels’ top 20 prospects list. Sure, Anthony Jackson – yes, the guy they got for Octavio Dotel – could be back, but who really cares? At this level, center field is something of a hole. Fortunately, the big club has that spot filled for the next eight years or so.

RF: Blake Smith, subject of a nice profile at LA Dodger Report this week, will move up after a big 2011 in what should be a very interesting season as far as determining what sort of prospect he’s going to be.

Others: The Lookouts had a pair of multi-positional non-prospects in Elian Herrera and Wilberto Ortiz, who could each return, and similar type Ramon Jean might move up. It’s also possible that outfielder Tyler Henson lands here. Henson was acquired from Baltimore in the Dana Eveland trade, and while I’ll admit that I completely forgot about him when I was writing about Albuquerque despite the fact he had 498 Triple-A plate appearances last year, he was also pretty awful for Norfolk and may be the victim of a numbers game in Albuquerque, considering how many outfielders Chattanooga is likely to send up.

Starting Pitching

Now we’re talking, because the Lookout staff is the strength of the team and arguably of the entire system. Three-fifths of the main 2011 rotation – Michael Antonini, Will Savage, and Nathan Eovaldi – probably aren’t coming back, but that’s okay, because there’s better talent coming. As always, these are educated guesses, because spring performances, injuries, or other trades could impact placements up to Triple-A or down to Hi-A.

SP1: Allen Webster, 22 in February, made 17 starts for Chattanooga last year and ended up with an unsightly 5.04 ERA. That’s somewhat inflated by three poor August starts (20 ER in three games), because otherwise he was very good, and is still highly regarded enough that he’s #3 on Sickels’ list. It’s not out of the question that he could be seen in Dodger Stadium as soon as late 2012 – he’s three days older than Eovaldi – so this is a big year for him.

SP2: Yep, Chris Withrow is still here, ready for his fourth season in Double-A unless the club decides to let him sink or swim and push him to Albuquerque. While this isn’t exactly the career path anyone expected from the 2007 first rounder, the talent is still clearly there (130 strikeouts in 128 innings pitched last year) and he won’t even be 23 until April. It’s not a huge leap to think that he finally puts it together and makes it to the bigs; conversely, it’s not hard to see him flaming out completely.

SP3: I wasn’t a huge fan of Stephen Fife when he came over in the Trayvon Robinson deal, and I’m still not, really; the dwindling strikeout rates are a big concern. It’s possible he gets bumped up to Triple-A after spending the last two years in Double-A for Boston before a small look in Chattanooga, though we know how the Dodgers feel about young pitchers there. He, like Webster and Withrow, was invited to the offseason developmental camp; I’m guessing he at least starts out here.

SP4: There could be a few names here – we’ll get to those in a minute – but for the moment, I’ll go with Jon Michael Redding, who increased his K/9 rate from 5.4 to 8.5 while repeating Hi-A. Redding isn’t really considered a major prospect, though I’m intrigued by a starter who strikes people out while allowing just nine homers in 137 innings in the pinball California League.

SP5: Please. Half the teams in the bigs don’t know who their #5 starter is, and you want to know who it might be from a Double-A club? Let’s go with “an ever-changing cast of characters”. Matt Magill probably deserves a promotion from Hi-A; the team’s most recent two first rounders, Zach Lee & Chris Reed, could each make it here later on in 2012, and Rubby De La Rosa could return to rehab his elbow surgery. I’ll also throw out an interesting name – Red Patterson, who was a 29th rounder in 2010 but has struck out nearly four times as many as he’s walked and will be 25 in May. Lee’s 2011 teammates Garrett Gould and Angel Sanchez were very impressive last year, but probably won’t jump two levels so quickly.

Relief Pitching

In addition to starters De La Rosa and Eovaldi, the Dodgers plucked Javy Guerra and Josh Lindblom from Double-A in 2011. That doesn’t appear to be a fluke, because the Lookouts bullpen is going to be stocked with more than a few interesting arms in 2012. Chief among them are Shawn Tolleson, who blew through three levels in 2011, striking out 105 in 69 innings, and Steve Ames, who has 169 whiffs in 105 career innings. Both are invited to the offseason camp along with Josh Wall, a converted starter making a painfully slow path up the ladder, as this will be his eighth minor league season. Another former starter is Ethan Martin, the 2008 first rounder who looks to finally have moved to the bullpen. (Hey, maybe they can move him back to third base and finally put Baez on the mound where he belongs.) Like Martin and Withrow, 2009 first-rounder Aaron Miller has struggled and may or may not still be tried as a starter; either way, he’s probably in Double-A. Cole St. Clair, Logan Bawcom, and Javier Solano should also see plenty of time, plus the usual other names that come up from Hi-A throughout the season as this bullpen gets raided to support the big club.

******

There’s a few interesting names on offense – Erickson, Songco, Lemmerman, Smith, but for the most part, the talent here is concentrated on the mound. That alone makes the Lookouts interesting, since it’s so overwhelmingly likely we see a few of these arms make it to Dodger Stadium at some point this year.