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AJ Vanegas

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The countdown of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ top prospects for 2015 began with taking a look at Nos. 41-50, then Nos. 31-40.

Along the way, there’s been plenty of outfield depth reviewed and now pitchers take center stage.

30. AJ Vanegas, RHP

The Dodgers’ 11th-rounder in 2014, Vanegas spent time at Stanford both starting and relieving, but seems to have found his niche coming out of the bullpen. This allows him to focus on his two best pitches — a fastball that registers in the mid 90s and a hard breaking ball.

It also masks his command issues, as Vanegas walked 4.6 batters per nine in his debut season, though he went 8.1 innings with Great Lakes without issuing a free pass. The right-hander has had some injuries in the past, so his health, along with his ability to throw strikes, will dictate how quickly he moves through the system.

Vanegas has setup-man upside and could easily end up in a big league bullpen within a few years.

29. Matt Campbell, RHP

Another 2014 draftee, Campbell was taken two rounds ahead of Vanegas and had a similarly impressive debut. He pitched 26 games with Great Lakes and posted an ERA of 2.00 with 45 strikeouts in 36 innings.

Campbell works off a low-to-mid 90s fastball and a power breaking ball, and throws strikes. However, given his lack of height, he’s more susceptible to the longball, though he allowed just two in his debut. He should be moved aggressively and could start 2015 in High-A, with the possibility of finishing the season in Double-A.

28. Ramon Benjamin, LHP

Every so often, a player will catch you completely off guard. This year, that player was Benjamin. A Minor-League free agent signed in January, Benjamin entered a Triple-A game during the spring and began pumping consistent 97 mph fastballs, touching 98.

He added a breaking ball with good depth that threw hitters off balance. His fastball has movement which makes it even harder to hit. Benjamin is not a conventional prospect, already 27 years old and having missed two full seasons due to injury, but a lefty flirting with triple digits will always get another shot.

27. Jacob Rhame, RHP

Rhame, a sixth-rounder from 2013, came into the system and struggled initially in Ogden, which isn’t unusual for any pitcher. However, in 2014, he became a dominant closer in the Midwest League, posting a 2.01 ERA with 90 strikeouts in 67 innings.

The righty can reach 100 mph with his fastball and mixes in a hard breaking ball. His control improved dramatically from 2013 to 2014, as his BB/9 dropped from 4.1 to 1.9. I was surprised the Dodgers kept him in Low-A all season last year and I expect him to be fast-tracked in 2015.

26. Michael Medina, OF

One of the Dodgers’ top international signings of the 2013 period, Medina went to the Dominican Summer League and struggled to make contact, striking out 94 times in 56 games and hitting .198/.298/.411.

The Dodgers were aggressive with him and brought him to Arizona in 2014, where he improved his production with a .274/.384/.496 line. The rangy outfielder has a power bat and a power arm, racking up seven assists in 33 games in the field last season.

Just 18, Medina could spend another year in rookie ball before making his full season debut.

25. Trevor Oaks, RHP

My pick for a breakout in 2015, Oaks was drafted in the seventh round last year and debuted with Ogden, where he posted a 6.31 ERA and modest peripherals.

However, this spring, he was regularly touching 93 while throwing strikes with a quality four pitch mix. He has the size to be a durable starter and should thrive this season, leaving the pitcher’s nightmare that is the Pioneer League and going to the cavernous parks of the Midwest League.

CONTINUE READING: More Pitching Depth In The Minors

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One Response

  1. Tmax

    Dickson, Coulombe, Liberatore all impressive this Spring along with the Minor Crew of Urias, Seager, Holmes, Reed, Yimi Garcia, Pedro Baez, Jansen, Kikki Hernandez, Barnes,Schebler, Sweeney, Seager, Zach Lee looks to me like his new mechanics have helped him significantly. The point being the future looks good with Home Grown Talent. Which gives this very Financially Powerful Club more ability to buy the few players needed to fill the gaps in the Future. So Guggenheim should make a lot of money and we should have consistently great competitive teams. Or we can Hope anyway.

    Reply

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