The Dodgers’ class Low A affiliate, the Great Lakes Loons of the Midwest League, has released their preliminary roster for the upcoming season. Unfortunately, there isn’t the name power of a guy like Julio Urias or Corey Seager, but there are plenty of young players who could take big steps forward in 2014. Half of my #20-11 prospect list is represented.
Behind the plate, Kyle Farmer figures to be the team’s starting backstop. The 23-year-old was the organization’s 8th round pick in 2013. A converted shortstop, Farmer has made strides in learning a new position, showing obvious athleticism behind the plate and a strong arm. The Dodgers are apparently going to be careful with Kyle, as I expected him to join the High A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes to begin the year. He’s the club’s best catching prospect, so taking time with his development is understandable.
The infield offers plenty of upside, starting at the corners with first baseman Justin Chigbogu and third baseman Alex Santana manning the corners. Chigbogu has as much power potential as any player in the system, but must learn to control the strike zone better after striking out in 34% of his plate appearances last year. Santana, a second rounder in 2011, took a step forward in 2013 by making more contact in the rookie Pioneer League. The 6’4 athlete needs to continue to polish his defense, as he has the tools to be a good defender down the road.
A double play combo of second baseman Jesmuel Valentin and shortstop Brandon Trinkwon offers some value at the plate as well. Trinkwon, the team’s 7th rounder from last year, raked in rookie ball but struggled with the Loons in his debut. Valentin, a supplemental first rounder in 2012, has struggled to hit in pro ball but could be a valuable defender at either second or short in time.
The outfield offers tons of athleticism and a good amount of power potential. Headlined by Jacob Scavuzzo, who led the Pioneer League with 14 home runs in 2013, he’ll be flanked by Joey Curletta and Malcolm Holland. Curletta profiles as a classic right-fielder, with power potential through the roof, while Holland is a speedster who figures to wreak havoc on the basepaths.
On the pitching staff, the Martinezes return to improve on their 2013 campaigns. Brandon, now 23, posted a 4.73 mark while Jonathan, who will turn 20 in June, sat at a comfortable 3.51. They’ll be joined by teenagers Victor Arano and Greg Harris. Arano, who showed two potential plus pitches in his professional debut, ranked 20th on my preseason top prospects list. Harris, a 17th rounder in last year’s draft, posted a 5.29 ERA in 10 games for the Arizona League Dodgers in his debut. One more notable starter is Zachary Bird, whom the Dodgers selected in the 9th round of the 2012 draft. Bird struggled with the Loons last year and was demoted to rookie level Ogden, where he showed some improvement. Still just 19, Zachary has plenty of upside and will hopefully continue to improve in 2014. Jacob Rhame, the club’s 6th rounder from last year, figures to be the team’s closer.
Overall, the club figures to be pretty competitive. Lots of younger talent in the lineup with some serious upside. The pitching staff leaves a little to be desired but there’s a good amount of depth.
Be sure to check back for analysis of the rest of the Dodgers’ minor league rosters as they’re revealed in the next few days.