Rancho Cucamonga Quakes 2011 Season Review: Hitters

Dominican Summer League Dodgers: Pitchers
Dominican Summer League Dodgers: Hitters
Arizona League Dodgers: Pitchers
Arizona League Dodgers: Hitters
Ogden Raptors: Pitchers
Ogden Raptors: Hitters
Great Lakes Loons: Pitchers
Great Lakes Loons: Hitters
Rancho Cucamonga Quakes: Pitchers

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Today I continue my off-season recap of the Los Angeles Dodgers minor league affiliates, moving on to the hitters of the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.

I’ll be picking the prospects for the 2012 Prospective Prospect Profiles list from these reviews, so it might be worth reading. Or not.

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Angelo Songco – OF -22

Angelo Songco Statistics

Songco was probably the Quakes best offensive player, putting up a monster .311/.366/.579/.945 line with 29 bombs. Most impressively, his strikeout rate was only 20.6%, which was about in line with league average despite his huge power. Of concern is his walk rate though, which at 7.1% was below league average (8.9%) despite hitting the snot out of everything.

Another primary concern statistically is his platoon split, as he hits .334/.395/.621/1.016 against righties and .255/.292/.478/.770 against lefties. He’s on the correct side of that platoon, but since his value lies in his bat, it’s something worth worrying about. On the upside, his power generally remains regardless of handedness.

Speculation is that he might have problems with contact against advanced pitching, but I see little evidence that it’ll be the main issue. He does have an uppercut type of swing that produces a lot of fly balls, but he shows the coordination to consistently put bat to ball. If there’s any worry from me, it’s that he might not even be good enough defensively to stick at a corner, as he split time between left field/first base/designated hitter in 2011. If that ends up being the case, while his bat is good, it might not be that good.

Regardless, Songco is certainly an outfielder to watch in 2012 while going against advanced competition in AA.

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Blake Smith – OF -23

Blake Smith Statistics

Smith hit .294/.359/.539/.898 with 16 homers for the Quakes, once again proving that he can hit, even if the level of competition is a year or two younger than he is. At 25.2% and 9.7%, his strikeout and walk rates were solid but not spectacular. On the upside, he’s a true right fielder, with enough athleticism to stick, and a right arm that actually made me prefer him as a pitcher, because he can unleash the dragon almost as well as Rex Grossman.

I would have liked to have seem him get a taste of AA last year, but a hernia probably threw a wrench into that path. Regardless, he’ll be in AA in 2012, and there will rightfully be pressure on him to perform immediately if he wants to prove himself to be a MLB regular since he’s already 24.

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Jake Lemmerman – SS – 22

Jake Lemmerman Statistics

Put up a solid .293/.379/.420/.799 line with the Quakes, featuring average contact ability and above average plate discipline. The performance earned him a promotion to AA, where he struggled, putting forth a .234/.318/.390/.708 effort while striking out a tad more and walking a tad less.

Lemmerman has a level stroke that results in a lot of ground balls, but he does have gap power. With the defensive tools to stick at short, despite shaky results there so far, if he can prove his bat is worthy against advanced pitching, he has a MLB future. Whether that’s as a regular or a utility guy is yet to be determined though.

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Gorman Erickson – C – 23

Gorman Erickson Statistics

Hitting .305/.408/.491/.899 as a catcher with outstanding strikeout (15.4%) and walk (15.0%) rates will get you promoted, and that’s exactly what happened to Erickson in 2011. He didn’t exactly slow down once in AA either, posting a .275/.329/.479/.808 line that was almost 70 points above the league average OPS despite a .281 BABIP. His peripherals did suffer in AA, as his walk rate dipped to 7.0%, though he struck out even less against advanced pitching (14.0%).

A switch hitting catcher who was known more as a catch-and-throw guy before 2011, I can only imagine that the Dodgers are chomping at the bit for him to succeed given the dearth of catching depth in the system. With a productive 2012, he could be on track to make his major league debut.

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Austin Gallagher – 22- 1B

Austin Gallagher Statistics

Completely written off by many (me included) after two poor, injury plagued seasons that saw him shift to first base, Gallagher put it together a bit in 2011, posting a .292/.386/.451/.837 line. Perhaps most impressive were his peripherals though, putting up a 15.3% strikeout rate (League Average=20.0%) and 13.5% walk rate (League Average=8.9%).

Because he started early, he’s not that old for the level either, but like Songco, he struggles against lefties (.630 OPS) and is limited defensively, so the bat doesn’t have to be just good, it has to be exceptional.

About Chad Moriyama

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