Los Angeles Dodgers Depth Presents Options
The Los Angeles Dodgers are World Series contenders despite a number of story lines which would make other organization’s cringe. Matt Kemp’s and Josh Beckett are questionable for opening day. 32-million dollar Cuban import Alexander Guerrero may not be able to handle second base, the position he was signed to play. It helps to have seemingly endless financial resources, but Los Angeles possesses the organizational pitching depth to withstand injuries or poor performance.
Dealing pitching prospects for immediate help has been a habit of the Los Angeles Dodgers in recent years. Zach Lee, Chris Withrow, Chris Reed, Onelki Garcia, Ross Stripling, Jose Dominguez, Yimi Garcia, Matt Magill and Seth Rosin are all under 25 and in the upper levels of the organation. Of the four, Lee, Withrow, Reed and Onelki Garcia are the cream of the crop.
Lee made a poor first impression in person, but multiple looks caused me to develop a soft spot for the right-hander. In the upper levels, Lee is the most likely to earn innings for the Los Angeles Dodgers this season. As 2013 wore on, Lee’s heavy, two-seam fastball became more consistent and the changeup developed into an above average offering. His curve changes the hitters eye level, but the slider is inconsistent and considered a poor pitch overall. Lee still lacks a swing-and-miss offering which limits his upside.
Withrow spent four seasons in Chattanooga before emerging as a legit relief prospect. Issues with spotty command and health issues plagued Withrow in Double-A. This pushed back his Major League debut. Once converted to reliever, Withrow ditched the curveball and attacked batters with a four-seam fastball which touches triple digits. His high-80’s slider is a formidable second pitch with swing-and-miss potential. Withrow’s two pitch mix leaves him a pitcher capable of late inning relief work if command continues to improve. He’s unlikely to reach that ceiling with the Dodgers though as they boast a deep and talented bullpen.
The Los Angeles Dodgers Have Lefties Too
Chris Reed and Onelki Garcia are lefties capable of spelling J.P. Howell or Paco Rodriguez if need be. To date, Reed has worked as a starter, but could be “Johnny Venters light” out of the pen. Reed’s slider isn’t on the same level as Venters, , but his fastball is heavy and will be difficult for hitters to elevate. Against right-handed hitters, he’ll flash a fringe changeup as well. Consistency has eluded Reed, but his floor is still that of a seventh inning reliever.
Like Reed, Garcia struggles with consistency. Injuries have also been an issue. Garcia flashed lights out stuff capable of blowing away hitters. A mid-90s fastball sets up hitters to chase power curveballs in the dirt. If fastball command falters, the curve suffers as well. Even with two pitches, Garcia is more than a left-handed specialist. If healthy, Garcia projects for more strikeouts and save opportunities than Reed at the Major League level.
Expect Lee, Reed, Withrow and Onelki Garcia to log big league innings this season. However, it may be for another organization as the Los Angeles Dodgers have dealt prospect arms for Major League pieces in recent seasons. In L.A., pitching depth at the upper levels of the organization is a luxury few teams have. Trust them to leverage it well and receive a maximum return on investment.
18 Feb 2014 / Chris Blessing / 3
Categories: MLB Analysis
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