If the adage about never having enough pitching is true, the Dodgers are trying their best to make sure they're ready.
Los Angeles has always been big on drafting, signing and developing big arms. Slowly but surely, the Dodgers' young hurlers move up the organizational ladder. Some are hard-throwing high schoolers such as top picks Chris Withrow and Ethan Martin and the less heralded Allen Webster. Some are college arms like 2008 draftee Josh Lindblom or last year's top pick, Aaron Miller. Just for good measure, the Dodgers can sprinkle in an exciting converted catcher in Kenley Jansen. With this group, the potential to light up radar guns and be effective presents an exciting future on the mound.
The Dodgers are not all about pitching, of course, though that is a strength. With toolsy players like Dee Gordon and Trayvon Robinson progressing, there's speed on the basepaths, not just from the mound, on the way. On both sides of the ball, there are players on the rise who, if fans can be a little patient, just might help the Dodgers get over that playoff hump and back to the World Series.
Ivan DeJesus, SS
DeJesus would probably be in the big leagues if he hadn't missed nearly all of the 2009 season. Now healthy, he'll start the season in Triple-A Albuquerque. The middle infield is set in Los Angeles for now, but DeJesus will be ready to fill in on either side of second, should the need arise.
Scott Elbert, LHP
It may seem like the left-handed Elbert has been "coming soon" for quite some time, but he's still just 24. He was competing for the No. 5 starter spot this spring, but got sent down. He's sure to ride the Albuquerque-Los Angeles shuttle quite a bit in 2010, though, either as a starter or reliever.
Josh Lindblom, RHP
The past two springs, 2008 draftee Lindblom has done nothing but impress in big league camp. Now, he'll be just a phone call away, starting in the Albuquerque rotation. He's got plenty of bullpen experience, so he's ready to fill any role the Dodgers may need as the season goes on.
Kenley Jansen, RHP
A defensive-minded catcher for the first five summers of his pro career, Curacao native Jansen took his arm strength from behind the plate to the mound in 2009. He made 12 appearances with Inland Empire and based on pure raw stuff, he struck out 19 in 11 2/3 innings pitched. He created some buzz in the Arizona Fall League with his upper-90s fastball, and the Dodgers protected him on the 40-man roster. He has the potential to be a filthy short reliever, once he harnesses his stuff.
Alfredo Silverio, OF
The Dodgers have been very patient in developing Silverio, who signed out of the Dominican at age 16 back in 2003. Last season was his second with Great Lakes, and he showed more signs of improvement, hitting .284 with 34 doubles and 13 homers. Silverio still needs to work on plate discipline, but he should get to move up a level this season to see how much he's matured as a hitter.
Allen Webster, RHP
It's hard to know how under-the-radar Webster is after the 2009 season he had. The 2008 draftee had major command issues during his pro debut, but last summer, he posted a 2.36 ERA and .222 batting-average-against over 68 2/3 innings pitched between the Arizona and Pioneer Leagues. He walked just 18 and struck out 77 across the two levels. An 18th round pick in that '08 First-Year Player Draft, he'll head to full-season ball to show just what kind of steal the Dodgers got.
LHP Aaron Miller (1) was a two-way standout at Baylor, but it looks like the Dodgers made a good call having him pitch, as he compiled a 2.08 ERA and .208 BAA with 38 Ks in 30 1/3 IP with Great Lakes last summer. ... OF Angelo Songco (4) struggled when he went to Great Lakes, but found his stroke when he went down to Ogden, hitting .306 with an on-base percentage of .361 and a .583 slugging percentage over 144 ABs. ... C Jeremy Wise (5) hit .338 for Ogden over 39 games to go along with 8 homers and 23 RBIs. He finished with a .401 OBP and .566 SLG. ... OF Jonathan Garcia (8) went to the rookie-level Arizona League and hit .304/.362/.500 in 41 games at age 17. ... OF Brian Cavazos-Galvez (12) was the Pioneer League MVP after hitting .322/.353/.618 in 71 games and leading the league in six different offensive categories. ... RHP Steven Ames (17) closed games for Ogden and finished with seven saves in 17 appearances. He compiled a 2.10 ERA and .192 BAA while striking out 47 (vs. 6 walks) in 30 innings.
Hitter of the Year -- Gordon
It will be back-to-back awards for shortstop Gordon. He'll move up to the California League, continue to hit for average and steal a ton of bases. In addition, he'll start tapping into his raw power a bit, turning him into a true five-tooler.
Pitcher of the Year -- Miller
Miller, the Dodgers' top pick in 2009, will continue to show it was a smart move to draft him as a pitcher. Even if he starts the season with Inland Empire, he'll finish it in Double-A, beating out those hard-throwing righties throughout the system for this honor.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less