Today was the day in the off-season that a bunch of minor leaguers earned their free agency, and the Dodgers were no exception, with 25 players in the system earning the right, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America.
Let’s take a look at the list and the notable players.
RHP: Juan Abreu (AAA), Angel Castro (AAA), Kyle Cofield (AAA), Blake Johnson (AAA), Anthony Ortega (AAA), Matt Palmer (AAA), Mario Santiago (AAA), Daniel Tamares (A), Luis Vasquez (AAA), Sean White (AAA)
A pair of Spring Training 2013 invites here in Palmer and Abreu, but nobody really notable in the sense that there’s a chance for them to rise above organization depth elsewhere. Abreu had a live arm but he missed the whole year and his status is in doubt.
LHP: Kelvin De La Cruz (AAA), Thomas Melgarejo (AA), Jonathan Sanchez (AAA)
De La Cruz was a ST 2013 invitee, but it’s Sanchez that’s notable here, as for a moment in time everybody was fearing that he’d be the #5 starter. Unfortunately (or fortunately), it just never worked out, as he missed a ton of bats in AAA (10.7 K/9), but had a 5.13 ERA and walked 5.7 guys per nine.
C: Eliezer Alfonzo (AAA), Damaso Espino (AAA), J.R. Towles (AAA), Matt Wallach (AA)
Alfonso was a ST 2013 invitee but didn’t make it due to illness. The real stories here are the free agencies of Tim Wallach‘s son, Matt, and Towles, who was once a highly-regarded prospect for the Astros but could just never put it together.
1B: Sean Burroughs (AAA)
Yes, that one. Burroughs put up a .755 OPS at 22 in the MLB and was basically out of the league by 25.
2B: Rafael Ynoa (AA)
Ynoa might actually be an interesting pickup for somebody and I’d like him back with the Dodgers. He only had a .708 OPS in AA this year at 25, and will likely end up as org depth, but he walks a lot, plays three infield positions, and has solid bat to ball skills. Scouts have said they could see him in a future utility role in the MLB.
3B: Brian Barden (AAA), Pedro Guerrero (AA), Ryan Mount (AA)
Barden was invited to ST 2013 and … that’s about it.
OF: Matt Angle (AAA), Tony Gwynn Jr. (AAA), Jeremy Moore (AAA)
Angle is probably most famous for somehow sticking on the 40-man roster for seemingly forever in 2012, and Moore was a ST 2013 invitee. Gwynn Jr. simply can’t hit, but he can play defense and has utility in the system if they can retain him. He was actually signed to a two-year deal in 2012 but was designated before the end of the season and never made it back to the bigs after being cut in ST 2013.
Most of the players were fighting against long odds to make the MLB (and you need a place to check MLB lines every week), but nevertheless I expect a bunch of them to remain in the system as depth or filler.