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11/12/08 10:00 AM EST

Young Dodgers making an impact

Heralded pitching prospects knocking on door in L.A.

Before the 2008 season began, MLB.com took an in-depth look at every big league team's Minor League system. Now it's time to recap and analyze all 30 organizations, from top prospects to the recent Draft class.

Those young, upstart Dodgers. We've been hearing about the Baby Blues for a while now, haven't we? Considering the team made it to the NLCS, it seems they're living up to the hype.

The Dodgers once again received an influx of talent from their farm system to help them reach the postseason. With Blake DeWitt, Clayton Kershaw and other contributors pitching in, Los Angeles showed that its pipeline is far from dry.

There is more to come, with several prospects nearly ready to step into larger roles. There might be a bit of a waiting period after that, but rest assured the Dodgers' scouting and player development folks won't let it last long.

Organizational Players of the Year

MLB.com Preseason Picks

Blake DeWitt, 3B: We predicted DeWitt would turn the corner and show more consistent power. He spent 117 games in Los Angeles and was a fairly consistent performer on the big stage.
DeWitt smacks three-run triple

James McDonald, RHP: We thought McDonald would continue to refine his pitching skills and steadily move up the Dodgers' ladder. Mission accomplished: he finished second in the organization in strikeouts and third in ERA before making his big-league debut and earning a spot on the Dodgers' postseason roster.
10th strikeout for McDonald

MLB.com Postseason Selections

John Lindsey, 1B: While not a prospect per se, it's hard to ignore what the 31-year-old did in 2008. Lindsey finished third among full-season hitters in the organization with a .316 average while leading in homers (26) and tying for the lead with 100 RBIs. He finished eighth in the Pacific Coast League with a .964 OPS, seventh with a .407 OBP and tied for fifth in RBIs.
Lindsey jacks three homers

James McDonald, RHP: After posting a 3.19 ERA in 22 Double-A starts, he moved briefly to Triple-A and had a 3.63 ERA over 22 1/3 innings before getting the call to the big leagues. Combined, he held Minor League hitters to a .223 average and struck out exactly one batter per inning.

•  Monday, Oct. 6: Washington Nationals
•  Tuesday, Oct. 7: Seattle Mariners
•  Wednesday, Oct. 8: San Diego Padres
•  Thursday, Oct. 9: Pittsburgh Pirates
•  Friday, Oct. 10: Baltimore Orioles
•  Monday, Oct. 13: Atlanta Braves
•  Tuesday, Oct. 14: San Francisco Giants
•  Wednesday, Oct. 15: Cincinnati Reds
•  Thursday, Oct. 16: Colorado Rockies
•  Friday, Oct. 17: Detroit Tigers
•  Monday, Oct. 20: Kansas City Royals
•  Tuesday, Oct. 21: Oakland Athletics
•  Wednesday, Oct. 22: Texas Rangers
•  Thursday, Oct. 23: Cleveland Indians
•  Friday, Oct. 24: Arizona Diamondbacks
•  Monday, Oct. 27: Florida Marlins
•  Tuesday, Oct. 28: Toronto Blue Jays
•  Wednesday, Oct. 29: St. Louis Cardinals
•  Thursday, Oct. 30: Houston Astros
•  Friday, Oct. 31: Minnesota Twins
•  Monday, Nov. 3: New York Yankees
•  Tuesday, Nov. 4: New York Mets
•  Wednesday, Nov. 5: Los Angeles Angels
•  Thursday, Nov. 6: Chicago White Sox
•  Friday, Nov. 7: Milwaukee Brewers
•  Monday, Nov. 10: Chicago Cubs
•  Tuesday, Nov. 11: Boston Red Sox
•  Wednesday, Nov. 12: LA Dodgers
•  Thursday, Nov. 13: Tampa Bay Rays
•  Friday, Nov. 14: Philadelphia Phillies

Climbed the Ladder

Ivan DeJesus, SS: In previous seasons, DeJesus had shown signs of a greater offensive upside than his father. It all began to click in 2008: his .324 average was second-best in the organization among full-season hitters and placed him fifth in the Southern League. He led the circuit with a .419 on-base percentage and finished the year with a 23-game hitting streak. He also went 16-for-18 in stolen-base attempts.
DeJesus pokes an RBI double

Blake DeWitt, 3B: Despite starting the season in the big leagues, few thought he'd spend the majority of the season there. But he played well at second and third and held his own by hitting .264. He did hit .306 in 27 Minor League games, but it seems apparent that his days as a Minor Leaguer are now over.

Clayton Kershaw, LHP: We had a sneaking suspicion the 21-year-old lefty would spend a good chunk of the 2008 season in the big leagues. He had a 1.91 ERA in 61 1/3 Southern League innings, but showed he belonged in the big leagues with a 4.26 ERA over 107 2/3 innings. He actually was at his best in September, when he won three games and had a 3.45 ERA. Once he improves his command, the sky is the limit.
Kershaw notches back-to-back strikeouts

James McDonald, RHP: Just to add to the above accolades, McDonald went a combined 11 1/3 big-league innings (regular and postseason combined) without allowing a run.

Kept Their Footing

Josh Bell, 3B: Bell seemed poised to have a breakout season in 2008 after arriving in camp in the best shape of his career. Playing in the California League at age 21, he got off to a decent start, hitting .273 over his first 51 games. Then he was shut down for the year to undergo preventative knee surgery, so he earns an incomplete for the season. He should be 100 percent in 2009.
Bell breaks up a no-no

Scott Elbert, LHP: In many ways, Elbert is performing well beyond expectations. He missed nearly all of the 2007 season following shoulder surgery. He returned in June as part of Double-A Jacksonville's bullpen. He was so effective there -- 2.40 ERA, .157 average against, 46 Ks in 41 1/3 innings -- the Dodgers gave him some time in the big leagues. He'll be just 23 for most of the 2009 season and whether he's a reliever or a starter, it looks like he's back on the right track.
Elbert fans three straight

Andrew Lambo, OF: A fourth-round pick in 2007, Lambo had an outstanding debut that summer in the Gulf Coast League, hitting .343 in 54 games. This year the outfielder was a Midwest League All-Star and hit .288 with 15 homers and 79 RBIs at that level before earning a late promotion up two levels to Jacksonville. He went 14-for-36 (.389) in eight games there and has performed well in the Arizona Fall League. Expectations will be high next season.
Lambo belts a go-ahead three-run homer

Josh Wall, RHP: The 2005 second-rounder's numbers don't look that impressive -- 9-6, 6.28 ERA, .297 batting average against -- and it certainly wasn't a step forward from his 2007 campaign in the Midwest League. The question is how much of it can be chalked up to pitching in the California League. That's not an excuse, as many pitchers have excelled in that hitter-friendly environment, but we're willing to cut the 6-foot-6 21-year-old some slack and see how he bounces back in 2009.
Wall gets sixth strikeout

Slipped a Rung

James Adkins, LHP: The finesse lefty went straight to full-season ball after being taken in the supplemental first-round of the 2007 Draft. Pitching at Class A Advanced Inland Empire and Double-A Jacksonville in his first full season, he went 6-11 with a 5.16 ERA. He actually pitched a bit better in Double-A, particularly in the final month, but with a .287 batting average against and 66 walks in 125 2/3 innings, he allowed too many baserunners and was far too hittable.

Chris Withrow, RHP: Withrow hasn't had the introduction to pro ball the Dodgers were hoping for when they took him in the first round of the 2007 Draft. His 2008 debut was delayed initially by an injured hand that was cut by a snorkeling mask (don't ask). When he was about ready to return, a sore elbow shut him down. He ultimately threw four innings with Inland Empire in August, but he'll have to start all over again next spring.

On the Radar

Victor Garate, RHP: Garate led all Dodgers full-season pitchers with a 2.79 ERA while also topping the system with 150 Ks in 116 innings. In his first season with the Dodgers, Garate dominated the Midwest League (1.85 ERA, .215 average against, 103 Ks in 77 2/3 innings) to earn a promotion to the California League. He made seven starts there and had a 4.70 ERA in 38 1/3 innings while fanning 47.
12th K for Garate

Steve Johnson, RHP: If you're looking for a good comeback story, here's a decent choice. Johnson started Great Lakes' home opener in 2007 but missed a large chunk of that season with a shoulder injury. He returned to Great Lakes to start 2008 and promptly went 9-2 with a 2.34 ERA over 13 starts. He started the Midwest League All-Star Game and was promoted to Inland Empire shortly thereafter. The California League wasn't kind once it adjusted to Johnson (he had a 2.57 ERA in four July starts, then 8.74 in five Aug. outings), but he's just 21 and seems to be on the right path.
Johnson sets down his 10th batter

Brent Leach, LHP: A sixth-round pick in 2005, Leach has moved slowly up the Dodgers ladder, first making the transition from starting to relieving in 2006. He has spent parts of three seasons in Class A Advanced ball before finally moving up to Double-A this year, where he pitched well. Leach finished second overall in the organization with 15 saves, and had a 2.60 ERA and a .219 average against. This came a year after tossing just 20 innings due to a muscle tear in his side. Now the Dodgers have to decide if he warrants a spot on their 40-man roster.
Leach fans his second

Xavier Paul, OF: A fourth-round pick in 2003, Paul turned in another solid yet unspectacular season at age 23, hitting .316 in Triple-A. He also stole 17 bases, but didn't receive a September callup, so it will be interesting to see what his future looks like in a Dodgers uniform.
Paul goes 5-for-5

2008 Draft Recap

1. Ethan Martin, RHP: Things didn't start well for Martin, who tore the meniscus in his right knee during a fielding drill and did not pitch last summer. He was healthy in time for instructs and began to show why the Dodgers took him with the 15th overall pick.
Press conference with Ethan Martin

2. Josh Lindblom, RHP: The big right-hander out of Purdue excelled as a short reliever in his final college season, but the Dodgers are transitioning him to a starting role. So far, so good. He made nine starts in total -- eight for Great Lakes and then one up two levels with Jacksonville -- and finished with a combined 2.12 ERA. He allowed just 19 hits (.157 average) while striking out 37 and walking only five in 34 total innings.
Lindblom notches fourth strikeout

3. Kyle Russell, OF: The Texas outfielder may have cost himself some money by not signing as a Draft-eligible sophomore in 2007 after setting a Longhorns record for home runs. His loss may be the Dodgers' gain as Russell hit .279 with 11 homers, 46 RBIs and a .534 slugging percentage for Ogden in his debut. That earned him a spot on the Pioneer League postseason All-Star team, though he'll have to cut down on his strikeouts (82 in 61 games) as he moves up.
Russell belts triple

Others of Note: SS Devaris Gordon (fourth round) is the son of big-league reliever Tom Gordon. He hit .331 in 60 games for Ogden and also stole 18 bases. He was third in the Pioneer League in average and sixth in stolen bases. ... 2B Tony Delmonico (sixth round) hit .340 with 11 homers and 39 RBIs in 35 games for Ogden, finishing with a 1.159 OPS (.443 OBP + .716 SLG). ... LHP Cole St. Clair (seventh round), out of Rice, pitched well in Ogden's bullpen. The southpaw racked up five saves and a 3.18 ERA while striking out 22 in 17 innings. ... RHP Nathan Eovaldi made seven appearances, almost all in the Gulf Coast League, and allowed just one earned run in 10 2/3 innings. He struck out 11 and held hitters to a .189 average. ... 3B Austin Yount (12th round), Robin's nephew, hit .301 in 33 games for Ogden.

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