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Player Scouting, Baseball Mechanics, and Sabermetric Analysis Combined into One

Monday, November 24, 2008 | By Alex Eisenberg

Los Angeles Dodgers Top-15 Prospects of 2009: No's 6 - 15

For an overview of the process I use to grade players, the factors I use in determining where a player ranks, and other frequently asked questions, please click here. All grades are subject to change based on any new information I receive before the season starts. If you disagree, you can make your case by contacting me.

You can find a full listing of each team's top prospect list in the Top Prospects of 2009 Archive Page. Also, each team will have their Team Page published when their top prospect list becomes available. Team pages include team rosters, stats, payroll and front office information, past Baseball-Intellect articles related to that team, and links to some of the team's best fan sites. We continue with the rest of the Los Angeles Dodgers...

Also See: Los Angeles Dodgers, Prospects 1 - 5

6. Josh Lindblom | RHP | Single-A Great Lakes | Age - 21 | Drafted - Round 2 (61), 2008


Player Grades


Fastball - 55 Now | 60 Future

Curveball - 45 | 50

Splitter - 40 | 45

Change-Up - 30 | 35

Control - 55 | 55

Command - 50 | 55

Pitchability - 50 | 50

Final Grade - B-

Body Type - 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, big workhorse frame...no projection, but surprisingly athletic

Stuff

Fastball - sits in the 93 - 95 range with plenty of late life...it looks like it picks up an extra head of steam just before arriving...sneaky pitch and he commands the pitch well...plays up in the bullpen

Curveball - flashes solid potential, but is inconsistent...needs to tighten the pitch as it sometimes will go into its break a little earlier than one would like

Splitter - shows a good feel for the pitch and acts sort of like a change-up. It's not a nasty pitch, but It can be affective because it comes in on a similar plane as his fastball.

Lindblom also has a standard change-up, but he rarely needed it as a closer at Purdue. The Dodgers will work with him on developing the pitch.

On the left is Lindblom's 94 mph fastball out of the stretch, while his 87 mph splitter from the wind-up is on the right:

Josh Lindstrom fastballJosh Lindstrom splitter

Mechanics

Lindblom possesses a repeatable delivery and he is blessed with a loose, quick arm. He does a slight tilt of the shoulders, which allows him to lead with the hips and maintain balance. He unloads forward at foot plant. He maintains good front side mechanics as he keeps a firm glove out in front of his chest.

The biggest question facing Lindblom is his future role. His value gets a boost if he's a starter, but the only way that makes sense is if he can find a way for his stuff to play-up as a starter like it does as a reliever. At Purdue, his production as a starter paled to what he did out of the bullpen.

In 29 innings at Single-A, Linblom was dominant, sporting a K% of 30.8 to go along with a 3.7 BB%. The ERA of 1.86 matched the peripherals. One thing to watch out for is that he was a bit hittable at the college level. While I'm sure metal bats contributed to his hittability, it's also an indication that he needs to do a better job of commanding his pitches in spots where the batter has a more difficult time centering the ball.

Best Case Outcome - No. 3/4 starter

More Likely Outcome - stuff doesn't play-up as well as a starter, and he becomes a solid set-up guy out of the bullpen


7. Austin Gallagher | 3b | B - R | A+ Inland Empire | Age - 20 | Drafted - Round 3, 2007


Player Grades


Contact - 40 Now | 45 Future

Power - 35/40 | 50

Discipline - 40 | 45

Speed - 35 | 30

Defense - 40 | 45

Arm - 50 | 50

Instincts - 40 | 50

Final Grade - B-

Body Type - Big body, tall, projectable, a good athlete, but also a little stiff

Scouting Report

Gallagher skipped over two levels in 2008 and was actually the second youngest hitter in the California League with over 100 ABs and it was by a wide margin, too--5 months to be exact. When you take into account his age, Gallagher put up a very impressive line of .293/.349/.456/.809, which is even more impressive considering the line was actually an improvement over his numbers in 2007.

Gallagher has above average raw power, but that doesn't show up in games yet. Before the 2007 season, he had a problem opening up his hips too soon, neutralizing some of his power output. His power did improve this past year (ISO went from .117 to .163), but considering the league, his power production was not all that impressive. In fact, Gallagher wasn't really a standout in anything, but he was solid across the board.

Gallagher's swing doesn't have too much length to it, but his long arms makes it easier for pitchers to bust him inside.

Defense - Gallagher isn't the best of athletes as he's somewhat stiff and his speed is well below average. Some suspect he will eventually have to move off third base, which would lower his value as a player.

Best Case Outcome - Average everyday third baseman

More Likely Outcome - Below average everyday first baseman


8. Chris Withrow | RHP | A+ Inland Empire | Age - 20 | Drafted - Round 1, 2007


Player Grades


Fastball - 50 Now | 60 Future

Curveball - 50 | 60

Change-Up - 40 | 45

Control - 45 | 55

Command - 45 | 55

Pitchability - 40 | 50

Final Grade - B-

Body Type - athletic and projectable

Stuff

Fastball - sneaky fast with plenty of tailing action away from lefties...the pitch increased from 89/90 mph to 92/93 mph and is still rising. He was reported clocked at 98 at the end of the 2007 season (Source: Baseball America - http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/?p=705). He does have a tendency to leave his fastball up at times.

Curveball - the tight spinning and sharp breaking pitch is of the 11-6 variety and thrown in the mid-70's. He can throw the pitch for strikes.

Change-up - like most young pitchers, he has work to do on the change-up, but it is further along than most pitchers his age. He has a good feel for the pitch and it projects out as a close to MLB-average selection

Mechanics

Smooth and under control...as I mentioned earlier, his fastball has a sneaky quality to it. That's because 1.) his wind-up is slow until the very end of his motion and 2.) a late body rotation...because he's opening late, the hitter has a much more difficult time picking up his release point. I would argue, however, that a late body rotation does make it tougher to control each pitch, but Withrow's control is viewed as solid for each pitch.

That slow and deliberate wind-up was part of the reason many drooled over Withrow's velocity potential when he was drafted. If he were to pick up the pace, throw with perhaps a little more intent, and continue to fill out his projectable frame, then his velocity would soar and it appears it already has.

Because of Withrow's athleticism, he possesses the ability to repeat his mechanics as well.

The problems for Withrow? There is no track record to speak of. He has a total of 14 innings under his belt as a professional pitcher and he was injured for essentially the entire 2008 season, which cost him a year in development. In his four innings last season, Withrow recorded six walks to one strikeout. It's never a good sign for a pitcher to be dealing with elbow pain when they are so young and have so few innings of experience as a pitcher.

Best Case Outcome - No. 2 starter...I've got a good intuitive feeling about WIthrow, but it all comes down to health

More Likely Outcome - No. 4 starter or a reliever...I'll point out that like I said with Ethan Martin, it's almost impossible to project out the best case and more likely outcomes for a pitcher of this age and with such little actual pitching experience


9. Josh Bell | 3b | B - B | A+ Inland Empire | Age - 22 | Drafted - Round 4, 2005


Player Grades


Contact - 35 Now | 40 Future

Power - 50 | 60

Discipline - 40 | 45

Speed - 40 | 40

Defense - 45 | 50

Arm - 55 | 55

Instincts - 45 | 50

Final Grade - B-

Body Type - stocky and not all that projectable...has a heavy lower half

Hitting

A switch hitter that is a natural right hander, Bell has above average to plus raw power from both sides. He swings HARD, which naturally will lead to some swings and misses. Bell has sported the follow K% the past three years:

Ogden (Rookie) - 26.1
Great Lakes (A) - 24.8
Inland Empire (A+) - 25.6

Simply enough, that doesn't translate well to higher levels of competition and effectively caps his batting average and on-base percentage. His BB% was in the eights before last season, but that number soared to 14.2%. Keep in mind Bell only had 219 plate appearances last year as his season was cut short because of knee surgery. So is that BB% for real or a result of a small sample size? We'll find out next year.

Bell possesses good bat speed, but his swing can also get a bit long at times. He turns on a firm front leg, which is where much of his power is contrived from.

Josh Bell

Defense - Bell has the arm strength to play third, but he needs to improve his accuracy. He has lapses in concentration, which if you combine with his accuracy issues, leads to a lot of errors.

Best Case Outcome - average to slightly below average everyday third baseman

More Likely Outcome - a four corners utility player


10. Xavier Paul | CF | B - L | Triple-A Las Vegas | Age - 24 | Drafted - Round 4, 2003


Player Grades


Contact - 40 Now | 45 Future

Power - 40 | 40

Discipline - 40 | 45

Speed - 55 | 55

Defense - 50 | 50

Arm - 55 | 55

Instincts - 50 | 50

Final Grade - C+

Body Type - kind of a stocky build, but he's athletic

Scouting Report

If nothing else, Paul is consistent. He's moved up one level at a time for three straight years and has only once repeated levels--the Florida State League (A+) in 2005. Since repeating levels, Paul has made moderate improvements on his numbers each year, but has never truly broken out. He's shown a willingness to take a walk, but also a tendency to strike out. He's also shown an ability to hit for a moderately high average, as long as he keeps the strike outs to an acceptable level.

The most consistent thing about Paul has been his power production:

2005, 20, A+ - .145 ISO
2006, 21, A+ - .145 ISO
2007, 22, AA - .138 ISO
2008, 23, AAA - .147 ISO

Paul can struggle with his pitch recognition at times and really struggles against left handed pitching. On the positive side, Paul has posted strong numbers against right handed pitchers. He has a career lefty/right split of .604/.838 (OPS).

Defense - Paul can play all three outfield spots though he's best at one of the corner positions. His arm is strong, while his speed is good but not elite.

Best Case Outcome - the left hand side of a platoon in center field

More Likely Outcome - fourth outfielder...worst case scenario for Paul would be that of a AAAA player.


Prospects 11 - 15

11. Cole St. Clair | LHP | Ogden (Rookie) | Age - 22 | Drafted - Round 7, 2008

St. Clair has been marred by injuries as a college pitcher and should be considered an injury risk going forward, which isn't all that uncommon when you're dealing with pitchers from Rice University. St. Clair was more often in the high 80's last year than the low 90's he was pitching with when he arrived at Rice. His fastball is deceptive with some sink to generate ground balls and his curveball has a slurvy action, but it has a nice bit and solid depth. He has a change-up which gives the Dodgers the luxury of starting him if needed, but his future rule will almost certainly be out of the bullpen.

Grade - C+

12. Kyle Russell | RF | B - L | Ogden (Rookie) | Age - 22 | Drafted - Round 5, 2008

You can see my report on Kyle Russell by clicking here

Grade - C+

13. James Adkins | LHP | A+ Inland Empire | Age - 23 | Drafted - Round 1 (39), 2007

Adkins had a somewhat disappointing season. I suppose the most disappointing aspect was his control--he walked 9% of the batters he faced in A+ Inland Empire and that number sky rocketed to 15% in Double-A Jacksonville--since he was labeled a control/command guy out of college. He was also way to hittable, giving up over 10 H/9 at Inland Empire. Adkins is sort of an uninspiring pitcher. He has an above average to plus slider that sorta looks like a frisby pitch, but his fastball is below average and he doesn't have an affective third pitch. His mechanics are suited for a 6-foot-5 pitcher looking to throw 88 - 91 mph.

Grade - C

14. Nathan Eovaldi | RHP | GCL (Rookie) | Age - 19 | Drafted - Round 11, 2008

Nathan Eovaldi

Eovaldi slipped because of injury concerns. When healthy, Eovaldi has an 88 - 92 mph fastball with natural sink. His curveball shows pretty good depth, but is pretty unrefined as he will need to work on tightening the pitch and improving its command. He does have good command of his fastball and has a projectable frame, which means he should be able to add some velocity to his fastball as he fills out. Eovaldi has a quick arm and his mechanics are herky jerky, which does add some deception to his pitches. He has just 11 innings of experience under his belt so it's way to early to make any definitive statements, but he's a guy to watch going forward.

Grade - C

15. Jaime Pedroza | SS/2b | A+ Inland Empire | Age - 22 | Drafted - Round 9, 2007

For a scouting report on Pedroza, you will need to subscribe to the Baseball-Intellect Newsletter. You can use the form below. If you are already an RSS subscriber, please use this link

Honorable Mentions (in no particular order): Pedro Baez, Steve Johnson, Josh Wall, Justin Orenduff, Greg Miller

Next Up: San Diego Padres Prospects 1 - 5

Also See: Los Angeles Dodgers Team Page

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