Dodgers' system thrived in 2010
It may have been a disappointing year at the big league level, but if the performance of the Dodgers' farm system in 2010 was any indication, there might be help on the way, even if it takes a little while to get there.Dodgers affiliates finished with a .513 winning percentage, good for 13th in baseball. The Great Lakes club in the Midwest League clearly led the way with its 90 wins and .647 winning percentage the best marks of any Minor League team. The Loons lost in the second round of the playoffs to the eventual champion Lake County Captains. The Ogden Raptors made it to the championship series in the rookie-level Pioneer League, losing to the Helena Brewers. Getting players to learn how to win from the get-go is no coincidence in this organization. "I think it's part of the development process, understanding what the expectation is going to be as they progress," Dodgers farm director De Jon Watson said. "This organization has a strong tradition of winning and we want to instill that on all these kids as they get started. It plays a role in how we go about our business on a daily basis."
MLB.com's Preseason Picks Gordon, SS: He took this honor in 2009 and the thinking was he'd move up to the California League, hit for average, steal a ton of bases and start tapping into his raw power. Instead, the Dodgers sent him to Double-A, and he more than held his own, hitting .277 with 53 steals. The power hasn't come yet, but the Dodgers certainly aren't concerned as he'll be just 23 for the 2011 season and knocking on the big league door. Aaron Miller, LHP: The Dodgers' top pick in 2009 was making his full-season debut and the former two-way star from Baylor looked ready to take off as he focused solely on pitching. Things started that way as he posted a 2.77 ERA over his first 74 2/3 innings pitched with Inland Empire in the California League. He earned a bump up to Double-A Chattanooga, but after he went 1-4 with a 7.04 ERA over six starts, he went back down to Inland Empire. Still, his 3.68 combined ERA was third in the organization. He also struck out nearly a batter per inning and held hitters to a .227 average. MLB.com's Postseason Selections Sands, OF: The 25th-round pick in 2008 started the year as a slightly old for his level outfielder in Great Lakes. After 69 games and a .333/.432/.646 line, he was sent up to Double-A. He continued to hit, especially for average, and finished the year a combined .301/.395/.586. His 35 homers not only topped the organization, but placed him tied for third in all of the Minor Leagues. His 93 RBIs were second in the organization, and he even went 18-for-20 in stolen-base attempts. Allen Webster, RHP: The 2008 18th-round Draft pick has moved slowly, but certainly enjoyed a banner full-season debut in 2010. Webster led the organization with his 2.88 ERA and tied for the system lead with 12 wins. He held Midwest League hitters to a .239 batting average and was a Midwest League All-Star as a result, all at the age of 20. He now has a 2.76 ERA and 8.4 K/9 ratio in his brief career.