Final Hawaii/Arizona Winter League Stats

Both the Hawaii Winter League and Arizona Fall League have completed their seasons, so I wanted to take a little time to post the Dodger Prospects final stats, along with a little analysis.

Hawaii Winter League Hitters:

Josh Bell – 94 AB’s, 3 HR’s, 17 RBI’s, .213 average

Jamie Hoffmann – 97 AB’s, 0 HR’s, 7 RBI’s, .278 average

Russell Mitchell – 111 AB’s, 3 HR’s, 19 RBI’s, .270 average

Ryan Rogowski – 93 AB’s, 3 HR’s, 18 RBI’s, .237 average

Kenley Jansen – 63 AB’s, 0 HR’s, 2 RBI’s, .206 average

Well, the final hitting stats for the Dodger prospects were not impressive at all.  Kenley Jansen, Jamie Hoffmann, and Ryan Rogowski have never really been on the Dodgers radar as they have not had great minor league numbers, so their poor seasons didn’t really matter.  For Josh Bell and Russell Mitchell, however, I’m sure the Dodgers were hoping for a little more out of them.  Josh Bell is one of the Dodgers more highly rated prospects.  Although he was sent to the Hawaii League to mainly work on his defense at 3rd base, a .213 average is no excuse.  He is only 21, however, so let’s just hope this doesn’t hinder his growth next season where he will probably play for the Dodgers High A team (Inland Empire 66ers).  Russell Mitchell, who plays 1B, hit 22 HR’s last season for the Dodgers High A team, so the Dodgers were hoping he would continue to show some power.  With only 3 HR’s, however, they are probably a little disappointed, but he did lead the team with 11 doubles.  Look for him to start the year at AA Jacksonville next season where he will hopefully continue to develop his power.

Hawaii Winter League Pitchers:

Steve Johnson – 30.2 innings, 23 K’s, 2.05 ERA, 0.88 WHIP

Kyle Wilson – 20.2 innings, 26 K’s, 7.84 ERA, 1.89 WHIP

Garrett White – 8 innings, 9 K’s, 7.88 ERA, 3.13 WHIP

So one great season, and two bad ones.  Let’s start with the good.  From what I’ve heard, Steve Johnson has been described as an average pitcher, but he showed otherwise in the Winter League.  He had the 2nd best ERA on the team, and demonstrated that the had good control as he only walked 7 batters.  In four of his seven starts, he did not allow a run, and was one of the bright spots on the team.  While his season last year for the Dodgers low A team was nothing to brag about, he’s only 20 years old, and he’ll look to carry over his dominance from the Hawaiian league into next season, which will most likely be at High A.  For the other two pitchers, Garrett White and Kyle Wilson, it looks like they just never got things going in Hawaii.  They both had great minor league seasons last year, but they just couldn’t get the job done for their new team.  Neither of them pitched very many innings, so hopefully they’ll forget about Winter Ball and go into 2008 with a fresh start. 

Arizona Fall League Hitters:

Xavier Paul – 105 AB’s, 0 HR’s, 8 RBI’s, .248 average

Blake Dewitt – 57 AB’s, 0 HR’s, 6 RBI’s, .281 average

Chin-Lung Hu – 33 AB’s, 1 HR, 2 RBI’s, .273 average

Delwyn Young – 21 AB’s, 1 HR, 4 RBI’s, .524 average

Andy LaRoache – 18 AB’s, 1 HR, 4 RBI’s, .333 average

This is a disappointing set of hitting statistics for some of the Dodger prospects, but other did very well.  Xavier Paul is supposed to be one of the Dodgers top outfield prospects (not including those who have already debuted at the MLB level), but that did not seem to be the case this Fall.  He followed up an average 2007 minor league season by showing no sign of power, and at this point the Dodgers may wonder if it will ever develop.  Blake Dewitt was hitting over .300 for most of the Fall season, but slowed down at the end.  He didn’t get enough playing time to really display his talent, and I think he’ll do well at either AA or AAA next season.  Chin-Lung Hu had his season cut short due to a hamstring injury, but he should be ready to compete for a spot on the Major League Roster this Spring.  Andy LaRoache and Delwyn Young got to play with Team USA, and did well in limited action.  These stats do not include the tournament that they played over seas where they both did very well, especially LaRoache.  Barring a trade, both of these guys should be on the Dodgers roster next season.

Arizona Fall League Pitchers:

Greg Miller – 12.2 innings, 15 K’s, 12.79 ERA, 3.08 WHIP

Wesley Wright – 21.1 innings, 18 K’s, 5.06 ERA, 1.78 WHIP

Justin Orenduff – 16.1 innings, 14 K’s, 4.41 ERA, 1.71 WHIP

Zach Hammes – 14 innings, 7 K’s, 6.43 ERA, 1.64 WHIP

Cory Wade – 10.1 innings, 10 K’s, 1.74 ERA, 0.97 WHIP

Greg Miller just can’t seem to find his control.  For the season, Miller ended up walking 16 guys and hitting 2 others.  This Fall season was not only bad for his stats, but for his confidence as well.  He still has the makeup to be a great pitcher, and showed that he can strike guys out, but until he finds the strike zone, he will continue to pitch in the minor leagues.  Both Zach Hammes and Wesley Wright struggled this season as well, and it’s starting to look like they may never amount to anything at the big league level.  Justin Orenduff and Cory Wade, however, are a different story.  Both were recently added to the Dodgers 40 man roster, and looks like the Dodgers will give them a look this next year at AAA.  Wade pitched very well, and only walked 1 guy in his 10 innings.  Orenduff had a tough outing to end his season, which is why his stats don’t look so great, but besides that he looked very good.  Also, at 6’4" and 205 lbs, he has the makeup to be a big league pitcher.

Overall, the Dodger prospects had both ups and downs over the Fall and Winter Leagues.  It’ll be fun to see how these guys respond in 2008, especially the guys that played well.  Now, we have to sit back and wait for spring training.

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Since my last post, Mike Lowell re-signed with the Red Sox, and Torii Hunter surprisingly signed with the Angels.  That gives me a little relief, because I did not want either of these guys.  I mean, look at the money that Hunter is going to get…$90 million over 5 years…that’s $18 million a year for a career .271 hitter who has hit more than 30 HR’s in a season only once.  Sure he is a gold glove center fielder, but will he still have those same skills in 4 years when he is 36 and still making $18 million?  I don’t think so. 

What worries me, though, is that these signings might cause Ned Colletti to panic.  He sees these moves being made, and he might feel forced into doing something that he shouldn’t do.  My advise to Ned…Don’t do it!  Don’t overpay for a guy just to get attention.  Don’t trade away our best prospects for a guy who will be a free agent in 2009.  It’s just not worth it.

By all means, if the right deal falls into his lap, I want him to take it.  We do have a lot of minor league talent that has no where to go because they are blocked by guys on the current team.  If one or two of them can be traded for a decent starting pitcher or reliever, then I’m all for it.  I just don’t want to see our 3 or 4 best guys traded for Miguel Cabrera. 

When it’s all said and done, I think that Colletti will sign Aaron Rowand, and then trade away players like Ethier, Chin-Lung Hu, and James McDonald for a guy like Joe Blanton.  While I’m not sold on Rowand, and have written some negative things about him, he does goes go all out on every play and has a great attitude.  I like his style of play, and he would probably be good for the clubhouse.  Also, if we could get Blanton, we would have a very solid rotation, and I wouldn’t be too upset about giving up those prospects.  I’m not sure if this will happen, but since I know that Colletti will make at least at least a few moves, I prefer them to be the ones I wrote about above rather than some other stupid moves.

Latest Rumors

The latest rumors surrounding the Dodgers include a few guys I haven’t mentioned before…Aaron Rowand, Mike Lowell, and Joe Crede.   So let start with Rowand, who is asking for $15 million a year in a long term deal.  Last year he hit 27 HR’s, had 89 RBI’s, and had a .309 average.  While that’s a pretty good season, is that really worth $15 million a year?  If you look at his stats more carefully, you can see that he hit the majority of his home runs last season at home (17 of 27), in a stadium that has been know to give up home runs.  Also, his batting average in the previous two seasons (before 2007) were .262 and .270, and he only had 12 and 13 HR’s those years.  If you ask me, the Dodgers can get equal numbers from Andre Ethier, and much better numbers from Matt Kemp, and these guys play for a fraction of the cost.   So basically, there is no way he is worth that kind of money, and if they Dodgers sign him, they will have another Juan Pierre on their hands.

Although Mike Lowell had a great year last year, I’m still not sold on the guy.  He’s had his fair share of bad years, and he’s not getting any younger.  Basically, it’s a similar situation to Rowand because the Dodgers can probably get similar play out of Andy LaRoach this year, and a much cheaper price.  I’m not saying that Laroach will drive in 120 runs like Lowell did last year, but I can see him getting 20 to 25 home runs if he’s given a full season to play.  He’s been tearing it up for Team USA over the past few weeks, and I think he’s finally ready to make an impact for the Dodgers.  That being said, you can quote me right here right now…if the Dodgers do sign Lowell, he will not hit more than 20 HR’s, and will not break the 90 RBI mark.  Yet, he will still cost the team around $15 million a year.  Once again, not worth it. 

Joe Crede is injury prone and has only had one semi-decent season, where he hit 30 HR’s and had a .283 average.  In each of his other full seasons, he’s hit .261, .239, and .252, and averaged only 20 HR’s.  Unless we are trading DJ Houlton for this guy, then it’s a worthless trade.

Overall, it seems like Colletti wants to make a move just to say that he did.  He thinks that the fans want a change, but he is looking in all the wrong places.  The truth is that the free agent class this year is very weak, and the Dodgers already have guys who can put up great numbers if they are given the opportunity to play a full season.  If you project out Loney and Kemp’s numbers from last season over a 162 games, they would both have hit over 20 HR’s, which would have been better than anyone else on the team.  Also, Billingsley might have won 17 games had he been a starter for the whole season.  And who knows what Delwyn Young’s stats would have been last year if he had been the main pinch hitter instead of Olmedo Saenz.  Bottom line:  Colletti needs to learn that paying more money doesn’t equal better players.  I’m not saying to never sign a free agent…but please, just be smart about it!

Hot Stove

Most people know how I feel about the Dodgers getting players via free agency or trades.  I’m usually against it, and would rather stick with what we have.  However, I’m pretty sure the Dodgers are going to make at least a few moves this winter, so I’d might as well break down the possibilities and give my opinions on them.

A-Rod:  As much as I’ve written about not acquiring him, if we signed him to a deal for less than 6 years, then really this isn’t a bad move.  However, I will say that I only like such a move if he is the only high priced offensive player we get.  If we sign him and then a guy like Andruw Jones, then that is just too much money to spend.  Also, if we signed him, I would be OK with trading Andy LaRoach for some pitching talent because his road to 3rd base would be blocked in LA.

Miguel Cabrera:  You can read my other posts about how I feel about this trade.  As long as we don’t include any of our great young players, then I am OK with.  However, it is unlikely that we can get him without giving up a young star, so I say stay away from this trade.  Plus, he’s overweight!

Andruw Jones, Torii Hunter:  If we don’t get A-Rod or Cabrera, then I can almost bet that we will sign either Jones or Hunter.  Once again, I haven’t been a huge fan of this move in the past, but if getting one of these guys is the only move we make, then I guess I will be OK with it. 

Any of the FA pitchers:  Don’t do it, they are all horrible, and anyone signing them will be forced to overpay

So basically, my guess is that the Dodgers will get either A-Rod, Cabrera, Jones, or Hunter.  With Joe Torre in town, McCourt and Colletti are going to try their best to get a big name player, even if it means overpaying for them.  While I’m not extremely happy with this, I’ve come to terms with the idea because I know there is nothing I can do.  So as the rumors continue to fly, LA fans can almost rest assured that they will get one of these players.

For the record, my guess is that the Dodgers get Andruw Jones.  Also, I bet that for the amount we pay him, LA fans will be greatly disappointed with the numbers he puts over the next few years.

Players we cannot trade

I know I talked a little bit about this yesterday, but with all the Miguel Cabrera talks, I wanted to list the guys that the Dodgers absolutely cannot trade.  Each of these guys has tremendous talent, and it will be horrible if any of them leave the organization.  They are:

Chad Billingsley – A stud pitcher with the potential to be our ace sooner rather than later

Russell Martin – Pretty obvious why…one of the best catchers in baseball

Matt Kemp – A five tool player who can hit at least 35 HR’s as soon as next season

James Loney – Showed that he will be an awesome player for years to come with some power

Jonathan Broxton – Struggled at the end of last season, but is only 23 and will be a solid closer for many years

Clayton Kershaw – One of the best pitching prospects in baseball.  May be able to help the Dodgers as soon as next Summer

So while we may be drooling over Cabrera, they are almost surely going to want at least one or two of these players in return.  Like I said yesterday, if that is the case, then we’d better not take it, or we will regret that decision for the next 10 years.  There are plenty of other prospects out there (Abreu, LaRoach, McDonald, Hu, and even Ethier) and while I think each of them has potential, if Colletti can work a deal using some of them, then I’m all for it.  Just don’t trade those 6 players!

Dodger Prospect Video

Check out all the Dodger prospects from the Arizona Fall League in a video you will find at http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/winterleagues/?league=afl.  This will help you see the face of some of the guys I’ve mentioned such as Greg Miller and Blake Dewitt.  Unfortunately, Greg Miller started today and had another bad outing.  Looks like he’s going to need another year at AA or AAA to figure out what he’s doing wrong.  Dewitt, however, is having a good Fall season, hitting .350 in 40 AB’s.  Another guy I want to mention is Cory Wade, who in 7 innings of work has a 1.23 ERA and 7 K’s.  I’m not quite sure what the injury status is with Chin-Lung Hu, but he hasn’t played since October 22nd, so he’ll probably just sit the rest of the season out to recover from his pulled hamstring.

Also, I want to apologize for mentioning the Dodgers getting Andy Pettitte yesterday, because apparently I didn’t do enough research.  He has said that he will either retire or play only for the Yankees, so I guess there is no way we can get the guy.  Finally, there have been rumors that Miguel Cabrera might be available via a trade.  While I would love to see him in Dodger blue, the Marlins will probably ask for too much in return.  The trade I’d be willing to do is giving up Andy LaRoach, Tony Abreu, and James McDonald for Cabrera.  What the Marlins will want, though, will probably be a package that contains either Kemp, Loney, or Billingsley, and to that I say No Deal!

Will Torre be the Savior?

As Joe Torre was introduced today at Dodger Stadium, the city of LA wondered what else he would bring with him.  Would it be A-Rod?  Maybe Andy Pettitte?  Possibly Mariano Rivera?  While we’ll have to wait and see which players he brings, it was announced today that he would bring two of his former coaches.  Both Larry Bowa and Don Mattingly will be apart of the Dodger coaching staff next year, and I think that this will be a major upgrade from what we had last year.  Quick, name the Dodgers 3rd base coach last year.  Bet most of you can’t do it, because the guy just wasn’t very memorable.  I’ll tell you one thing, I can guarantee that you’ll remember Bowa as a coach.  As for Mattingly, I would love to see him be our manager in 3 years when Torre is done.  He seems like a great guy, and would be the future of LA for many years to come. 

Now, I won’t discuss A-Rod because I’ve talked about him in other posts, but I heard Brad Penny on the radio today, and he thinks that the Dodgers will make a few big moves this off season.  The guy I thought about today was Andy Pettitte.  After hearing that the Yankees had declined his option, I’m pretty sure the Dodgers will at least be interested.  In an off season with very few free agent pitchers, he would be the best bet if we could sign him to a 2 year deal for somewhere around $25 million.  I know it sounds like a lot of money, but I think he actually might be worth it, especially given that Estaban Loaiza is currently our 4th starter.  I’m still against Torii Hunter and Andruw Jones, but I think getting a pitcher will help us out in a big way.

Lastly, I think it’s funny that Gonzo wants to come back now.  I would never take the guy back, and I’m glad that he’s no longer on the team.