2011 Top 10 Prospects: Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants

Los Angeles Dodgers: Top 10 Prospects

1. Dee Gordon / SS / Gordon stayed pretty much par for the course in his move up to Double-A in 2010, which is about what I was expecting. It means he is a solid bet to be an effective everyday shortstop, with the possibility for greater things still looming if he can learn to be more patient at the plate and more consistent on the basepaths.
2. Rubby De La Rosa/ SP/RP / De la Rosa sits comfortably in the mid-90s with his fastball and even touches triple digits occasionally. His slider and change-up show promise, too, and his groundball rate in enviable. His endurance doesn’t seem to be lacking, either. So what’s not to like? His somewhat pedestrian strikeout rate is the only thing keeping his stock from exploding.
3. Zach Lee / SP / Lee has the raw, natural talent of a young ace with his exciting three-pitch mix, athleticism, and competitiveness. There’s a lot to like and a lot to prove.
4. Aaron Miller / SP/RP / Miller has a dangerous slider to go along with his above-average fastball, but his command is a work in progress, and his lack of a third pitch hurts his chances. Despite his age, 23, he has upside and could settle in as a mid-rotation starter one day.
5. Chris Withrow / SP / If Withrow could ever harness his enviable three-pitch mix, he could be dangerous. In fact, his curveball could be one of the best in baseball with control on his side. His mechanics are mostly to blame, and my aggressive ranking after a lousy season means I’m holding out hope that he will figure it out soon.
6. Kenley Jansen / RP / Jansen, a converted catcher, came out of nowhere in 2010, using his mid-90s fastball and tremendous natural movement to dominate not only the minor leagues but the 27 innings of big-league ball he saw, too. He has the upside of a closer but has to develop a consistent second pitch in order to get there.
7. Allen Webster / SP / Webster has an average three-pitch mix at present and the potential for more. He gained confidence in his change-up in 2010, giving him a sturdy building block for success. Increased velocity and sharpened command are next on the checklist.
8. Jerry Sands / 1B/OF / Sands posted a fantastic 2010 and has the strength, build, and patience of a major league slugger, but he struggles with good breaking stuff and has a slow swing, leaving him too reliant on his upper-body strength.
9. Scott Elbert / RP/SP / Elbert’s chronic lack of command is inching him closer and closer to being moved to the bullpen permanently. But his nasty fastball/curveball combination gives him a chance to excel in a relief role.
10. Garrett Gould / SP / Ethan Martin, Trayvon Robinson, and Ivan DeJesus received a long look, but the slow, consistent growth in Gould won me over. While his change-up has progressed nicely, his curveball has a chance to be a game changer.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Top 10 Players Under Age 26 (as of 4/1/11)

1. Clayton Kershaw / SP
2. Dee Gordon / SS
3. Rubby de la Rosa / SP/RP
4. Zach Lee / SP
5. Aaron Miller / SP/RP
6. Chris Withrow / SP
7. Kenley Jansen / RP
8. Allen Webster / SP
9. Jerry Sands / 1B/OF
10. Scott Elbert / RP/SP

San Francisco Giants: Top 10 Prospects

1. Zack Wheeler / SP / Wheeler’s velocity jumped up a peg in 2010 without a loss in movement, but his secondary offerings and command did not follow suit. He is a hurler with youth, velocity, and impressive movement on his side.
2. Brandon Belt / 1B / Belt put together an amazing 2010 campaign, showing everything you look for in a middle-of-the-order prospect from a statistical standpoint. I have little doubt that his patience and contact skills will continue forward, but, judging by his swing, I don’t see his home run numbers continuing, which is a serious negative for a first baseman. His swing fits more with the line-drive, gap-to-gap crowd.
3. Gary Brown / OF / Brown is a superb athlete with plus speed. At the plate he has a little power projection to work with, but he needs to clean up his swing and develop a consistent, patient approach.
4. Eric Surkamp / SP / Surkamp has below-average velocity but more than makes up for it with his knee-buckling curveball. He will be making the always-important transition to Double-A in 2011, where we will see how well his strikeout rate holds up.
5. Jorge Bucardo / RP/SP / Bucardo knows what he is good at. He keeps the ball low and lives in the strike zone. He frustrates hitters and has even managed a solid strikeout rate despite his below-average stuff.
6. Thomas Joseph / C/1B / As a catcher, Joseph’s power has the potential to be special. Whether or not he can handle catching is another story, as his pro debut got ugly at times. His plate approach needs a serious overhaul, too.
7. Ehire Adrianza / SS / It’s pretty clear that power is not a part of Adrianza’s game, but he has some useful speed and a solid plate approach to go along with his defensive prowess. If everything goes well, he will become an average big league shortstop.
8. Rafael Rodriguez / OF / Rodriguez sat in limbo in 2010, again showing the athleticism and tools that all stars are made of, but not producing anything in terms of results. Even the advanced plate discipline he hinted at in 2009 was nowhere to be found. But I’m certainly not giving up yet. I just hope he gets a crack at full-season ball this year.
9. Thomas Neal / OF / Neal’s home run power and walk rate faded in 2010, which is a bad sign for a wannabe corner outfielder. His gap power and ability to make contact are real, but he needs to show more if he plans to be a major league regular.
10. Francisco Peguero / OF / Peguero’s plus speed, strong defense, and solid ability to hit for contact could carry him for a while, but it won’t carry him to the majors if his terrible walk rate doesn’t improve. He is a talented player, but I have strong doubts about him.

San Francisco Giants: Top 10 Players Under Age 26 (as of 4/1/11)

1. Madison Bumgarner / SP
2. Buster Posey / C
3. Pablo Sandoval / 3B
4. Zack Wheeler / SP
5. Brandon Belt / 1B
6. Gary Brown / OF
7. Eric Surkamp / SP
8. Jorge Bucardo / RP/SP
9. Thomas Joseph / C/1B
10. Ehire Adrianza / SS

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13 years ago

Nice list of Giants prospects.  First that I’ve seen where Wheeler is above Belt.  Most lists try to balance top potential and closeness to MLB, but tend to lean one way or the other. Do you have a side that you lean towards?

I would argue that Gary Brown has shown a lot of patience at the plate during his college and Cape Cod seasons prior to 2010 and that he properly adjusted his hitting to LESS patience because he was hitting so well.  I used linear weights to value and compare his proportions for hitting versus if he had 5 more walks instead, and his hitting was worth more than the walks. 

That’s something many people forget is that a hit, particularly extra-base hits (his ISO was higher than Evan Longoria did in the same conference, though different years, best going back 8 years) are worth much more than a walk, and that just blindly assuming that someone doesn’t take a walk during one season is “inpatient”.

I’m also pleasantly surprised that you placed Bumgarner above Posey and Sandoval.  It would be nice to hear why you think that, I think others would put one if not both above Bumgarner.  I’m just glad the Giants have all three, not sure who I would place above whom.  And with Lincecum, Cain, Lincecum, Wilson, the Giants look pretty set for years.

13 years ago

Sorry, but I do not think Gordon has a chance to be a ML shortstop.  I watched him play the 2009 season for the Loons.  He cannot make the throw on a ball hit in the hole.  Think of Juan Pierre playing shortstop.  The comparison is apt.  Offensively his upside is Juan Pierre – light.  After another year of maturation, he still cannot drive the ball in the hole.  Women’s olympic softball teams have one player on the roster as a pinch runner.  That is Gordon’s upside in baseball.

13 years ago

It should be noted that Eric Surkamp had a serious hip injury last season requiring surgery to repair torn cartilage and labrum.  Not sure, but I think he underwent further arthroscopic surgery this offseason.

I’m not convinced Bucardo’s stuff is going to play at higher levels.  The Cal League will be a test this year.

Otherwise it’s a nice list.  I especially like that you are still ranking Rafael Rodriguez in the top 10.  A lot of Giants fans have all but written him off.

I think Chuckie Jones should be in the top 10.  Don’t forget Dan Runzler still has prospect eligibility, at least by BA’s criteria.  I would have Jones and Runzler in the top 10 replacing Surkamp and Bucardo but the rest of the list is excellent.

13 years ago

I am shccked that Trayvon Robinson didn’t even crack the top 10 Dodgers’ list.  I think this is a mistake.  It makes me both like and respect you more (not afraid to make singular judgements different from the rest of the pack, etc) and wonder about this call at the same time.  Jack

Jim Michaels
13 years ago

No mention of Zach Wheeler’s injury last year?

13 years ago

Well, Wheelers injury was just to his fingernail, if I remember right, not really something that should linger or have long-term effects, that I know of.