Today I continue my off-season recap of the Los Angeles Dodgers minor league affiliates, moving on to the pitchers of the Great Lakes Loons.
I’ll be picking the prospects for the 2012 Prospective Prospect Profiles list from these reviews, so it might be worth reading. Or not.
Garrett Gould – RHP – 19
His 2.40 ERA is being a bit kind, but he certainly had the breakout season people like me were waiting for. He posted a 3.23 FIP with a K% of 20.4 (Average=20.7%) and a BB% of 7.3 (Average=8.6%). His peripherals still need work, but he was among the youngest to play in the Midwest League, so it was certainly a noteworthy performance.
Watching him pitch since he was drafted, he always appeared to be victim of horrid umpiring and defense, so I was always higher on him than his statistics indicated, but this was a surprise nevertheless. His fastball now sits in the low-90s, but his sharp curve will always be his out-pitch. Despite reports, this was the first year I have seen him try to use a third pitch (change) and it wasn’t that bad. His control didn’t improve much, but his command in the zone did, inducing more ground balls than before.
He’ll probably see high-A in 2012 and could be pushed to AA if he thrives.
Zach Lee – RHP – 19
While this wasn’t a bad professional debut by any means, he’s the same age as Gould and had a worse season statistically, so he didn’t exactly set the world on fire like some predicted.
He carried a 3.47 ERA and a 3.68 FIP over 109 innings with a 19.4 K% and a 6.8 BB%. The most disappointing part about his year was the lack of missed bats, but his command and polish were immediately apparent.
Lee shows command, confidence, a fastball with solid movement, and two good off-speed pitches. However, his fastball velocity leaves me short of anointing him. He still generally sits in the low-90s and unless that takes an uptick, I’m just not seeing this #1 starter potential people keep talking about. I know that sounds negative, but I get e-mails penciling Lee in as the #2 starter behind Kershaw in 2014 like it’s his god given right and I just don’t have that level of confidence in him.
I like Lee plenty, I’m just not willing to crown him because he might be the best prospect the Dodgers have.
Scott McGough – RHP – 21
Serving as the primary closer for the Loons, McGough struck out 25 in 20.1 innings while walking only 6 batters en route to a 2.21 ERA (2.27 FIP).
I haven’t seen him get much attention but I liked him at the University Of Oregon and I think he has a chance at a bullpen role down the road. Sitting 91-93 and touching 95, there’s plenty of velocity to make it to the show. However, his low-80s slurve will need to improve, not so much the command like most young pitchers, but the break itself needs to be sharper or it’ll get hammered as he moves levels.
He should move to high-A in 2012 with an eye on AA.
Red Patterson – RHP – 24
He split time between A and A+, but was basically the same at both levels. Overall, he posted a 3.69 ERA with an impressive 3.19 FIP due to his 24.7 K% and 6.5 BB%.
While that’s all well and good, the problem is that he’s 24 and in A-ball. He doesn’t just need to do well next year in AA, he needs to destroy it. Maybe he’s a late bloomer, but I don’t know many impact pitchers who were in A-ball at 24. Just saying.
Juan Rodriguez – RHP – 22
Acquired in what I still maintain was a pointless trade that sent Trayvon Robinson away, Rodriguez shows raw promise on the mound. He posted a 5.19 ERA with the Red Sox before coming over and putting up a 1.59 ERA for the Dodgers, but nothing truly changed. He had a 2.91 FIP with the Red Sox and a 2.96 FIP with the Dodgers on the strength of an unreal 31.9 K% and a wild 12.4 BB%.
He throws the ball hard, regularly in the mid-90s, but his frisbee slider could use depth, consistency, and command. Rodriguez obviously has the stuff to succeed, but he’s extremely raw for his age and will need time. I’m not sure he will ever develop better command unless he makes changes to his motion, which is violent and wild. Additionally, he has an easy tell on what type of pitch is coming.
Rodriguez should move to high-A in 2012, with the possibility of AA.
Angel Sanchez – RHP – 21
Making his professional debut at age 21, Sanchez proved worth the wait, posting a 2.82 ERA and 3.43 FIP in 99 innings primarily as a starter. He struck out 20.3% of batters and walked 9.4%, both of which were below league average.
Statistically, there were hiccups, but his stuff is legit. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and he can touch high-90s, while he has two potential plus off-speed pitches in his curve and change. He still has a ways to go refining everything, but it was an impressive debut. However, I would advise against letting the surprise aspect of his debut lead to overrating him.
He should be in high-A in 2012, though I would probably keep him there for the year as he develops and adapts.
Shawn Tolleson – RHP – 23
I think he had an okay year in 2011.
He started with the Loons, posting a 0.00 ERA and -0.40 (yes, really) FIP, which consisted of a 58.9 K% and 7.1 BB%. That’s just stupid. He then moved on to the Quakes in A+, where he posted a 0.93 ERA with a 1.96 FIP. His K% was 47.2 and his BB% was 8.3, so you can see how he was already on his way to mediocrity. Then he moved on to the Lookouts in AA, where he posted a 1.62 ERA and a 2.16 FIP. His 29.8 K% and 6.1 BB% were both way better than league average.
His fastball is average, clocking in the low-90s, but his high-80s cutter is all he has needed. It has late, sharp break and he commands it well, making the offering devastating to just about everybody. Moreover, he throws it against his body, hiding the location well. When it’s on, it doesn’t matter if the batters know it’s coming. Of course, the bad part about having awkward mechanics is injury risk, and he has a history of it, having undergone elbow surgery in high school.
Wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Tolleson making an impact on the 2012 Dodgers, but he probably won’t start there since the roster is crowded.
Logan Bawcom – RHP – 22
Serving as a reliever, Bawcom posted a 2.78 ERA and 2.30 FIP with the Loons and a 3.74 ERA and 3.62 FIP with the Quakes. His 30.7 K% highlights his performance, but his BB% sits at 10.2, so his command will need to improve down the road.
He sits in the low-90s and has two off-speed offerings (slider/change) that could grade out as above average. I doubt he’ll ever have elite stuff, so his command has to take strides if he’s to be an impact arm out of the pen.
He’ll probably spend 2012 in high-A, looking to move to AA.