Watson weighs in on Dodgers in AFL

Watson weighs in on Dodgers in AFL

PHOENIX -- When not overseeing 60 farmhands at instructional league or welcoming Chili Davis and Rick Rhoden back to baseball as coaches, DeJon Watson is monitoring eight Dodgers farmhands playing for Don Mattingly in the Arizona Fall League.

It's a busy time for the assistant general manager who runs the Dodgers' Minor League system.

His most promising prospects -- such as organizational pitcher of the year Rubby De La Rosa and last year's organizational player of the year Dee Gordon -- are based at the shared training complex of Camelback Ranch-Glendale.

But in the AFL are the more accomplished, including Scott Elbert, on the comeback trail after missing time with personal problems, and Jerry Sands, this year's player of the year.

Here are Watson's summaries of each Dodger in the Arizona Fall League:

Sands, IF/OF: "He's on the taxi squad, so he'll play twice a week, and we're double-dipping with him because when he's not in the Fall League, he's at instructs. He's an accomplished outfielder and first baseman, and we are working with him to get ground balls at third base, just to get another glove in his bag. He's also working on his offensive approach. He had a big year offensively, but he still has things to work on offensively. There's more room for growth there."

Trayvon Robinson, OF: "He had a big year. Look at his numbers over the last three years, the trend is up. His on-base percentage has gone up 150 points in a three-year window. We're trying to expand his overall game, to get him to be more aggressive defensively. He's still pushing the envelope with his baserunning. We want him a little more aggressive going first to third. He gets good reads and jumps. He's relatively close to finishing off the skill set. This will be a really good test for him. Last year he was on the taxi squad until the last two weeks. He's playing against more advanced players to gauge where he is. And we'd like to find something [winter ball] for him after this. He has a chance to be a true center fielder down the road."

Matt Wallach, C: "He keeps getting better. He had a strong year defensively. He finished at Double-A. His swing continues to improve. He's changed his swing approach to be flatter. He had been a little hooky. Overall, his catching improved. We see him as a backup down the road. He has great makeup. His game-calling is getting better."

Ivan DeJesus Jr., 2B: "With Ivan, we want to keep him playing, keep him moving. He's coming off a broken leg and missed all of 2009. He'll play second base, and we'll mix him in at third, just to get his bat in lineup, not because that's where we see him as a player. And after the Fall League, he'll continue working at Camelback."

Jon Link, RHP: "He was up and down [from the Minor Leagues to Major Leagues]. He has a three-pitch mix. We'll use him here in a starting role to get him stretched out. We know he can pitch in the middle of the bullpen at the big league level. We want to get him stretched out here to create more value going into Spring Training."

Javy Guerra, RHP: "He was off-and-on with his health this year [shoulder tendinitis]. He has a chance to be a legitimate bullpen piece. He has a 94-mph fastball and a tight slider with a change. He needs innings. And he's more than likely going to Mazatlan to play in the Mexican Winter League and carry that into Spring Training to make up for the innings he missed while he was out."

Justin Miller, RHP: "We'll try to push the envelope with him. He has a sinking fastball. He's a ground-ball pitcher, and we want to get him prepared for next level. He'll probably start the season at Double-A. We want him facing better hitters here to understand the adjustments he'll need to make. He can be deceptive, and we want him to get to where hitters are chasing his pitches."

Elbert, LHP: "Obviously he missed time. We just want to get him back on the mound and acclimated and competing again. Physically, he's healthy. He's working out of the bullpen here, and we'll leave him in that role. We want him to tighten up his delivery and his mechanics and see where it takes us."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.