Rancho Cucamonga Quakes 2011 Season Review: Pitchers

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

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Today I continue my off-season recap of the Los Angeles Dodgers minor league affiliates, moving on to the pitchers 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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Jon Michael Redding – 23 – RHP

Jon Michael Redding Statistics

Way older than his competition in the California League, Redding turned in a solid season, posting a 3.66 ERA and a 3.53 FIP. Seemingly average numbers, but made all the better when considering league average was a 4.90 ERA and a 4.13 FIP.

He missed bats and prevented walks at league average rates, so it’s not like he set the world on fire, but he could be solid AAA rotation depth, much like Jesus Castillo was for the Dodgers a couple years ago. A solid frame, a low-90s fastball, and a sharp slider also make him a candidate for relief, but the Dodgers are stock full of those types with superior stuff.

He’ll need to prove himself at AA in 2012 to have a shot.

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Allen Webster – 21 – RHP

Allen Webster Statistics

Posting a 2.33 ERA and 2.77 FIP in high-A, Webster struck out 27.2% of batters (League Average=20.0%) and issued free passes to 9.2% (League Average=8.9%). Based on his stuff and his performance there alone, I would have felt comfortable putting him in the same league as Zach Lee. Unfortunately, that’s not the whole story for Webster, as he struggled in AA, posting a 5.04 ERA. However, he was nowhere near that bad, with an FIP clocking in at 3.98.

Normally that’s enough of a disparity for me to dismiss, and his control was about the same as ever, but the area of concern is that his strikeout rate dipped to 17.9%, almost 10% lower than in high-A. I hate that number because it gives me pause as to whether or not his stuff is good enough to dominate advanced hitters.

It’s an odd question to ask considering Webster’s fastball sits 92-93, touches 96, and has both sink and tail. A rarity in the Dodgers system, Webster’s changeup is probably his best off-speed offering, whereas his slurve/slider struggles to find two-plane depth.

Webster has come a long way since I first saw him in 2009. I loved him then and I still do. Webster doesn’t have the projection and potential that Lee does, but in their respective current states, I don’t think they’re that far apart despite Lee being infinitely more touted. Webster will have to prove he can handle advanced bats in 2012 to ease concerns, but if he does so, he could be fighting for a September call.

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Matt Magill – 21 – RHP

Matt Magill Statistics

Solid but not spectacular, Magill posted league average strikeout and walk rates while scoring a 4.33 ERA and 3.93 FIP.

I observed that his stuff took an uptick last year, following through on his projectability, moving from 87-89 up to 89-91 or so. I was hoping that the progress continued, but his stuff stalled a bit, and if he doesn’t continue to develop, he could be in the same boat as Jon Michael Redding. Neither his slider nor change are knockout pitches against advanced bats, and with only an average fastball, I’m curious to see how he performs in 2012 if the Dodgers move him up to AA.

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Aaron Miller – 23 – LHP

Aaron Miller Statistics

Unfortunately, there’s not much to say here because he only threw 36 innings on the year (3.97 ERA/3.88 FIP) due to a groin injury.

That’s not the worst part though, as his stuff took yet another step backwards, going from 91-94 in college to 89-92 in 2010 to 87-90 in 2011. Due to injury? Perhaps, but it’s certainly not a positive.

He’s going to be 24 next year and he still doesn’t have a ton of experience on the mound, so he might be one of those late bloomers. However, he’ll have to actually stay healthy, regain his stuff of old, and show well in high-A at the minimum, if not moving up to AA.

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Ethan Martin – 22 – RHP

Ethan Martin Statistics

It’s never a good thing when a former first rounder has to move to the bullpen just to find the plate, but Martin found himself shifting roles in 2011, a sign the Dodgers don’t quite know what to do with him anymore.

In 95.3 innings between high-A and AA, Martin put up a 5.95 ERA and 4.75 FIP. The stuff is still there, the 23.5% strikeout rate shows that, but the problem remains his terrible 14.9% walk rate, which the Dodgers coaches can’t seem to solve.

Will he try starting again in 2012 or will the Dodgers convert him to relief? I’m not sure which they choose, but finding a role won’t matter if he can’t find his release point.

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Steven Ames – 23 – RHP

Steven Ames Statistics

Put up a 1.17 ERA and 0.59 FIP in high-A before moving up to AA and still doing work with a 2.48 ERA and 2.53 FIP. Given those numbers, it shouldn’t surprise that he had a 34.8% strikeout rate and a 6.6% walk rate between levels.

His velocity took a tick upwards from what I had last year when he sat around 89-91, as he was generally around 91-93 this year. His secondary pitches are a slider and a change, but both suffer due to his tendency to fly out with his lead shoulder. The slider is his strikeout pitch but it has inconsistent sharpness. He doesn’t use his change in the game often, but it flashes solid fading movement.

I expected him to have more dominating stuff after looking at the numbers, but he has solid command and isn’t afraid of mixing sequences. Should be interesting to see where the Dodgers put him to begin 2012, as he could be at AAA to start the year and a candidate for the Dodgers squad if he gets off the mark quickly.

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Chris Reed – 21 – LHP

Chris Reed Statistics

Reed only threw seven innings as a professional, so his performance isn’t worth noting. However, his stuff is enough to make him a good prospect alone, as he has a low-90s fastball, a slider, and a change for three legitimate pitches.

The Dodgers seem confident that his stuff will translate to his new role as a starter after being a closer in college, but it’s no sure thing. Needless to say, he’ll be one to monitor closely as 2012 progresses, and his immediate results probably won’t be as important as how his stuff grades out.

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Javier Solano – 21 – RHP

Javier Solano Statistics

Solano’s ERA in high-A was a mediocre 4.09, but his FIP was 2.59 on the strength of a 23.8 K% and 4.8 BB%. He also proved his mettle in AA, putting up a 3.03 ERA and 3.23 FIP. However, his peripherals sunk to 19.7 K% and 11.7 BB%, not doing much to allay fears that his prospect potential was built on good statistics but a shaky foundation of tools.

From my view though, it’s hard to complain too much, and he at least deserves to be in the conversation with the rest of the relief prospects considering he held his own at AA at 21. Solano sits 89-92 with a solid breaking ball and controls the strike zone well, so it’s not as if he doesn’t have potential major league grade stuff either.

2012 will be a big year for him as far as proving his prospect status, as he’ll likely tackle AA.

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Carlos Frias – 21 – RHP

Carlos Frias Statistics

Once dubbed a sleeper prospect with the potential to breakthrough into the top 25 or even top 10, Frias posted a 6.19 ERA with a 7.45 FIP thanks to an unbelievably terrible 14.5 K% and 22.4 BB% ratio.

That’s two years of cringe worthy performances in a row with serious peripheral regression in 2011, so it’s going to take a good 2012 just to keep him relevant. Throwing in the mid-90s can only take one so far.

About Chad Moriyama

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