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.

Dodgers Add Five, Remove Ely & Monasterios

Today – by which I mean, about an hour from now – is the deadline to add eligible players to the 40-man roster before the Rule 5 draft, which takes place on December 8. I saw a lot of teams announce who they’d be adding this morning, but clearly the Dodgers took just about every minute available to them. As a reminder, eligible players who were not added to the 40-man roster are exposed to the draft, and if they’re selected they must stay on their new team’s 25-man roster (or disabled list) for the entire season – like Carlos Monasterios did in 2010.

Minor leaguers Scott Van Slyke and Alfredo Silverio were added a few weeks ago, and they’ll be joined by outfielder Alex Castellanos and pitchers Michael Antonini, Josh Wall, Chris Withrow, and Stephen Fife. Only Wall and Withrow were Dodger draftees; Castellanos came from the Cardinals in the Rafael Furcal deal, Antonini came from the Mets for Chin-lung Hu, and Fife came from Boston as a part of the Trayvon Robinson trade. Monasterios and John Ely were removed from the 40-man and outrighted to Triple-A, though that doesn’t necessarily mean their time with the Dodgers is over. That puts the 40-man roster at 38, at least until Hong-Chih Kuo is inevitably non-tendered, and Dana Eveland, Ramon Troncoso, Trent Oeltjen, and Jamie Hoffmann could all easily be removed if space becomes an issue.

Brandon Lennox at TrueBlueLA has a list of interesting eligible names who weren’t added, most of which will mean absolutely nothing to you:

Ethan Martin, Kyle Russell, Tony Delmonico, Jon Michael Redding, Cole St. Clair, Nick Buss, Jordan Roberts, Austin Gallagher, Andres Santiago, Chris Jacobs, Griff Erickson, Justin Miller, Tim Sexton, Jaime Pedroza, Matt Wallach, Pedro Baez, Geison Aguasviva, Rafael Ynoa, Carlos Frias, Bladimir Franco, Ramon Jean, Jose Dominguez, Daniel Tamares, Charlie Mirabal, Pedro Guerrero, Elian Herrera, Josh Walter, Steve Smith, Joseph Becker, Robert Booth

Not 100% sure on E Martin, but I do think he is eligible

While it may seem surprising to see interesting names like Erickson and Russell unprotected, remember, a team would have to carry such a player on their big-league roster all season, making them unlikely to take such a risk. To be honest, the name that stands out there to me is lefty Cole St. Clair, who has struck out 187 in 176.1 minor-league innings, with a 46/13 K/BB in Double-A last year. He’s occasionally been mentioned as someone who might be a depth piece for the Dodger bullpen last year, so it wouldn’t be a complete surprise if a pitching-needy team snaps him up. (That goes for Martin as well, though as Lennox mentions, I’m unsure of his eligibility.)