02/21/2006 3:42 PM ET
Dodgers rated No. 1 in Baseball America Minor League talent rankings
LOS ANGELES -- In the recently released Baseball America Prospect Handbook, the Los Angeles Dodgers are rated first in the Talent Rankings, having improved from 28th in 2002 to the top spot in 2006.
"We are proud of the talent that our farm system is developing and we look forward to the future of this franchise with a strong core of homegrown Dodgers," said Dodger Owner and Chairman Frank McCourt.
Considered by many as the foremost authority on recognizing baseball talent at every level of the game, Baseball America rated the Dodgers 28th in the talent rankings entering the 2002 season.
That year, the Dodgers hired Director of Scouting Logan White and Director of Player Development Terry Collins. Since then, the club has improved to No. 25 in 2003, No. 14 in 2004, No. 2 in 2005 and now it is No. 1 overall.
"We're honored to be considered among the top organizations in baseball in developing talent," said Dodger Assistant General Manager Kim Ng, who oversaw the farm system in 2004 and has been in her current role since 2002. "This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of all of our scouts, minor league coaches, managers and front office personnel."
In 2005, Baseball America tabbed the Double-A Jacksonville Suns as the "Most Talented Team" in the minor leagues before naming the Dodger affiliate as the Minor League Team of the Year. The club featured top Dodger prospects Chad Billingsley (rated No. 1 on Baseball America's list of Dodger prospects entering 2006), Andy LaRoche (No. 2), Joel Guzman (No. 3), Russell Martin (No. 4), Jonathan Broxton (No. 5), Tony Abreu (No. 9), James Loney (No. 11), Justin Orenduff (No. 12), Hong-Chih Kuo (No. 14) and Greg Miller (No. 18).
"While we are proud and honored to be recognized, the organization realizes that the job is not finished," said Dodger Vice President of Scouting and Player Development Roy Smith. "It is still our goal to get these highly-touted prospects in Dodger uniforms and playing for the fans in Los Angeles."
In the Arizona Fall League, the Phoenix Desert Dogs featured Dodger prospects Matt Kemp (No. 8), Abreu, LaRoche, Loney, Beau Dannemiller, Eric Hull, Miller and the newly-acquired Andre Ethier. That club went on to win the AFL championship while posting a 22-10 record.
"The people who wrote up each organization's rankings have talked to scouts, minor league managers, instructors, farm directors, scouting directors and anyone else they can find with an educated opinion on the players in every farm system," said Baseball America Editor in Chief Will Lingo in the book's introduction.