I have not had a Top Ten for a while, at least not ranked in order, but I’ll break form and name my Top 10 for 2012. Absent from the list are Jerry Sands, Nate Eovaldi, Josh Lindblom and Dee Gordon, all of whom made the show for various intervals last year and all of whom should make the team next year as well.
#10 Tim Federowicz – A true defensive specialist, Fed-X has a decent arm, but excellent footwork and an amazing release, make him a great catch-and-throw catcher. He’s smart and is a leader. He has below-average speed, but is a solid base-runner. His hitting is the question, but it’s not unusual for a catcher to mature a little later. He’s 25 years old. I see him as a .250 – .260 hitter who might hit 12-15 HR, but who will be outstanding defensively. Maybe not Gold Glove…. but close.
#9 Garrett Gould – He improved his mechanics last year and was outstanding at Great Lakes. His velocity was better than the year before and you have to remember that he’s just 21, but his curveball is major-league ready. He is developing a “man’s body” and I see him as a workhorse #4 starter in a year or two.
#8 Chris Withrow – This guy has the stuff to be a #1 or #2…. sometimes! Other times, his pitches are flat and lack “bite.” His control is erratic because of poor mechanics. If he can ever consistently replicate his release point, he’ll be a horse. If not, he’s a RH Greg Miller.
#7 Scott Van Slyke – Many discount his success last season because he’s nearly 25 years old, but I think he’s just starting to “get it.” I see him as a 1B and maybe a platoon partner for the #6 Top Dodger Prospect (next).
#6 Angelo Songco – He’ll have to play 1B or LF in the majors and I see him as a platoon partner who will own RH pitchers, but fail to hit lefties. He’s a guy who can get 400 AB’s and hit 20 HR while hitting .270. Not a star, but a solid pro.
#5 Shawn Tolleson – Good slider, fastball that touches 97 and maybe higher next year. The thing is: he has excellent control and could make the team as early as next season as a middle reliever.
#4 Alex Castellanos – This guy can hit… for a 2B, and while he is older, he won’t be the first 26 or 27 year-old to finally make the show. He’s a reserve unless he can play 2B and I believe the Dodgers will move him there next season. .280 and 20 HR are a possibility.
#3 Alfredo Silverio – I’ll call him Tommy “HITMAN” Hearns because this guy is a stone-cold hitter. His style reminds me of Cal Daniels. He won’t walk much, but he will swing the bat and get on base. He could be a LF or a 4th outfielder.
#2 Zach Lee – This guy is a number 1 on any staff not having Clayton Kershaw. He’s likely to make the show in 2013, which is the only reason I have Allen Webster ranked #1. Lee has the makeup of a champion and is mature beyond his 20 years. Control, power, curve, change-up, slider – he does it all. #2 at worst!
#1 Allen Webster – He only has pitched for about 3 years, but he has four pitches, an excellent “short” delivery, a 95+ MPH fastball and will be ready next season. If he improves his curve-ball, he will be devastating. He is my dark-horse to make the team next season and he’s the reason I would not waste money on Hiroki Kuroda. Again, he’s a number #2.
Travis Denker – At 3B he’s a better choice than Russ Mitchell.
Russ Mitchell – Is catching really in the cards?
Justin Sellers – For God’s sake, he’s a utilityman!
Jamie Hoffman – Been around forever…