Dodger Chatter: All-Stars in Waiting – Position Players
By now you all know I am a huge fan of minor league baseball. Naturally in following the Dodgers minor league system I have favorite players that may not be highly rated prospects or all-stars. However, they put in all of the same hard work as the more highly rated players and are battling much greater odds than the more gifted players.
So with that preamble, I have compiled a list of Dodger minor leaguers that make up my all-star team. It is composed of players that are not on the Dodgers Top 30 Prospect List and mainly from the lower levels of the system, all below the AAA level. The main difficulty is that it must be limited by numbers.
Catcher: Hunter Feduccia (Loons)
Feduccia was selected by the Dodgers in the 12th round of the 2018 First-Year Player Draft out of Louisiana State University. That was a relatively high selection in that he was coming off of a bit of a disappointing 2018 college season complicated by having broken a bone in both of his hands during the season. After a slow start with the Loons he kicked it into high gear at the plate hitting .315 in August with a .381 OBP and a .360 average with runners in scoring position. Behind the plate he had 310 total chances while committing but one error and allowing no passed balls. He threw out 28 per cent of would be base stealers.
First Base: Jared Walker (Quakes)
It was a toss-up between Walker and Dillon Paulson of the Ogden Raptors with Walker getting the nod. He was a 5th round selection by the Dodgers in the 2014 draft out of McEachern High School in Powder Springs, Georgia. He was in his fifth minor league season in 2018 yet is still 22 years of age while Paulson is 21 in his first year of professional baseball. On the season between Great Lakes and Rancho Cucamonga Walker hit .255 with an OBP of .365 along with 25 home runs and 75 runs batted in. His .980 OPS with the Quakes would have been league leading if he had enough at bats to qualify. At one point with the Quakes he homered in five consecutive games. Initially a third baseman, Walker has transitioned primarily to first base where he posted a .990 fielding percentage in 2018.
Second Base: Jeremy Arocho (Raptors)
.This time the youngster gets the nod. Arocho is 19 years of age and was selected by the Dodgers in the 27th round of the 2017 Amateur Draft out of Old Mill High School in Millersville, Maryland. The switch hitter hit better in 2018 from the left side in many more at bats. He hit equally well in each half of the season and especially well in August. On the season he hit .313 with an OBP of .401 along with 12 stolen bases and .316 with RISP. He struck out 31 times and walked 29 times.
Third Base – Miguel Vargas (Loons)
The toss up this time is between 21-year-old Jefrey Souffront and 19-year-old Miguel Vargas. On the season their statistics are quite similar although Vargas pushed the .400 mark with the Raptors in 22 games. He was promoted to the Loons in early August but did not find the going as easy as he did in Ogden. On the season over three levels he hit a combined .330 with an OBP of .404. The native of La Habana, Cuba drove in 30 runs over 53 games while striking out 36 times and walking 23 times.
Shortstop – Deacon Liput (Loons)
The decision here is between Liput and teammate Jacob Amaya who split his season between the Raptors and Loons. It is a bit more challenging – actually very challenging – as Liput had a short season with the Loons after being selected in the 10h round of the June Draft out of the University of Florida. He played in 42 games while Amaya played in 59, 27 of them with the Loons after his promotion from Ogden. Amaya played the entire season as a 19-year-old while Liput was 22. My take is a bit slanted as I tuned in to so many Loons games with Liput playing. In the leadoff spot he was a catalyst and a grubber in the infield. On the season he hit .280 with an OBP of .332. At 5’10”/185-pounds he will not be a power hitter but did hit five home runs in 2018 along with 21 runs batted in. The Yankees has previously selected him in the 29th round in 2015.
Left Field – Zach Reks (Drillers)
Reks was selected by the Dodgers in the 10th round of the 2017 June Draft out of the University of Kentucky. He made three stops during the 2017 season – Ogden, Midland, Rancho Cucamonga – posting a .317 batting average across the three levels. He started the 2018 season with the Quakes but moved on to the Drillers after 10 games in which he hit .405. With the Drillers he posted a. 288 batting average and a .368 OBP. Over 78 games he hit .328 with RISP and had three hits in six at bats with the bases loaded.
Center Field- Brayan Morales (Loons)
Morales was selected by the Dodgers in the 15th round of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft out of Hillsborough Community College. In his second full year of professional baseball Morales was limited to 86 games due to a hamate bone injury during the third week of July. His speed was missed by the Loons in the play-off run and may well have been the difference in advancing to the championship round. On the season he hit .273 with an OBP of .338. He stole 46 bases, just three behind the eventual league leader.
Right Field – Cody Thomas (Quakes)
Thomas almost seems to be the invisible man despite his prolific year in 2018. He was selected by the Dodgers in the 13th round of the 2016 Amateur Draft out of the University of Oklahoma. He hit well in 2016 with the Raptors but struggled with the Loons in 2017 although he did hit with good power with 20 home runs. His power surge continued with the Quakes in 2018 with 19 home runs and 35 doubles. His 87 runs batted in were second most in the league sandwiched in between teammates Christian Santana and Omar Estevez. Thomas led the league in total bases with 248 while finishing second with 82 runs. On the year he hit .285 with an OBP of .355.
Designated Hitter – Jacob Scavuzzo (Drillers)
Scavuzzo also seems to be an invisible man. Selected in the 21st round of the 2012 June Draft out of Villa Park High School he has been in the Dodgers system for seven years which should make him eligible for minor league free agency. During the past season he hit .266 with an OBP of .317. His 24 home runs were second only to teammates DJ Peters while his 79 runs batted in were fifth most in the league. His .550 slugging percentage led the league.
Dodger Chatter: All-Stars in Waiting – Pitchers
Right-Hand Starter: Alfredo Tavarez (Loons)
Tavarez was signed as an international free agent by the Dodgers in 2016 and came stateside in 2017. He slowed down a bit towards of end of the season, his second stint with the Loons, but posted good numbers for a 20-year-old in the Midwest League pitching against many college players. His final numbers included a 3.33 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP. With a few more innings he would have been included in the top five with his ERA. Over 95.1 innings he struck out 67 and did have some control issues walking 67. On May 28 he tossed five hitless innings.
Left-Hand Starter: Ben Holmes (Drillers)
Holmes was signed by the Dodgers in early July after he had been released by the Jupiter Hammerheads of the Advanced A Florida State League. He had initially been selected by the Miami Marlins in the ninth round of the 2014 Amateur Draft. The now 27-year-old left-hander had pitched only 7.2 innings above the Class-A+ level in his five years in the Marlins organization. After a stop with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in which he posted a 1.06 ERA over 17 innings he was assigned to the Tulsa Drillers and became a significant piece in their championship run. With the Drillers he pitched 38.1 innings with an ERA of 2.82 and a WHIP of 0.97. He also had two solid starts in the play-offs posting a 2.53 ERA. Holmes took a no-hitter into the seventh inning in his Drillers debut finishing with one hit over seven innings. Leo Crawford who fell off the Dodgers Top 30 charts re-established himself with the Quakes posting a 2.77 ERA along with a WHIP of 1.14 over 68.1 innings and causing a coin toss for left-handed starter.
Right-Hand Relief: Andre Scrubb (Drillers)
Scrubb – 6’4”/265-pounds – was selected by the Dodgers in the eighth round of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft out of High Point University. He has had smooth sailing except for his time with the Great Lakes Loons during the 2018 season. Once he was moved up to the Quakes and the Drillers he became pretty much unhittable. On the season he posted a 2.86 ERA along with a 1.25 WHIP. He struck out 72 in 63 innings pitched while walking 32. It was difficult to not include Shea Spitzbarth, the Drillers relief workhorse, but Scrubb was chosen because of his progress during the season.
Left-Hand Relief: Logan Salow (Quakes)
Logan Salow was selected by the Oakland Athletics in the sixth round of the 2017 First-Year Player Draft. He was acquired by the Dodgers on April 25th in a trade that sent right-hander Wilmer Font to the Athletics. After a slow start to his season he settled in with the Quakes posting a 2.82 ERA and a WHIP of 1.19 over 44.2 innings. He struck out 56 and walked 12. Salow made four appearances in the Quakes championship run holding opponents to a .077 batting average.
Closer: Melvin Jimenez
I think this was a time for Melvin Jimenez to get things straightened out and that relief will not be part of his near future. After an almost disastrous start to his season the 19-year-old right-hander returned to Arizona for some fine tuning. He returned to the Loons in late May in a relief role morphing into a closer role as the season wound down. As a reliever he posted a 2.61 ERA and a WHIP of 0.94 over 41.1 innings while striking out 45 and walking 16. Over his last nine appearances in 9.2 innings he allowed but two hits and no runs.