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Toles, Calhoun, Bellinger bopped for Dodgers

Winning organization featured breakout performances across all levels
November 14, 2016

This offseason, will be honoring the players -- regardless of age or prospect status -- who had the best seasons in their organizations. We're taking a look at each team to determine the outstanding seasons in Minor League Baseball.

Over the last two seasons, the Dodgers have graduated three of baseball's most electric prospects -- Joc Pederson, Corey Seager and Julio Urias -- but the Minor League system doesn't appear to have lost any steam. In addition to boasting multiple breakout performances, Los Angeles affiliates went 438-393 for a .528 winning percentage (compared to .486 in 2013 and .513 last season) with four making the playoffs.

The organization is particularly loaded with right-handed pitchers, including Jose De Leon, Trevor Oaks, California League Pitcher of the Year Josh Sborz, Texas League Pitcher of the Year Chase De Jong, Yadier Alvarez, Imani Abdullah and second-round pick Mitchell White, who maintained a perfect ERA through his first 11 appearances across three levels. Walker Buehler completed his recovery from Tommy John surgery in time to debut with five hitless innings over three games.

As the quality of the performances honored below suggests, the organization also features considerable position player depth. Alex Verdugo, the Dodgers' No. 3 prospect, made steady progress over a full Double-A season, and Rookie-level Ogden got impressive production from infielder Brandon Montgomery and outfielders Mitchell Hanson and D.J. Peters.

Dodgers Organization All-Stars

Catcher -- Keibert Ruiz, AZL Dodgers (eight games), Ogden (48 games): In his first season in the States, Ruiz led the organization with a .374 batting average while posting a .412 on-base percentage and .527 slugging percentage. He also collected 27 extra-base hits in 56 games. Defensively, Ruiz -- who turned 18 in July -- allowed five passed balls and committed one error in 288 2/3 innings for the Raptors but caught only 12 of 54 basestealers.

First baseman -- Cody Bellinger, Tulsa (114 games), Oklahoma City (three games): A year after Bellinger hit 30 homers in the Class A Advanced California League, he proved his power was real by going yard 23 times in the Double-A Texas League and three times in three games in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. He did all that while cutting his strikeouts from 150 to 94 and increasing his walks.

"The pitching is so much better in the Texas League. We talked a little bit about shortening his swing, but his pitch selection is outstanding," Drillers manager Ryan Garko said. "He uses the middle of the field better, he uses the whole field. He made a commitment to drive balls and taking base hits to left-center. He made a lot of adjustments, but we just let Cody go out and play."

As for his glove, well ...

"He's excellent at first base, defensively," said Bill Haselman, who managed Bellinger at Oklahoma City this year and at Rancho Cucamonga in 2015. "He's the real deal."

Honorable mention: Ibandel Isabel and Mike Ahmed consistently did damage at the lower levels.

Second baseman -- Willie Calhoun, Tulsa (132 games): This fourth-round pick from last year's Draft led the Texas League with 236 total bases and 88 RBIs -- which also tied Matt Beaty for the system lead -- while hitting .254/.318/.469 with 27 homers, 25 doubles and 75 runs scored. He was a Futures Game selection, a Texas League end-of-season All-Star and the MVP of the Arizona Fall League's Fall Stars Game.

"He can just hit," Garko said. "Willie is as pure a hitter as you're going to find. His swing-and-misses are so low. He doesn't strike out a lot. It's pretty special. The thing is, he can get so much better. He's just started to scratch the surface is what's scary. He's still so raw, still learning how to be a pro. His ceiling is so high as a hitter."

Third baseman -- Edwin Rios, Great Lakes (33 games), Rancho Cucamonga (42 games), Tulsa (33 games): Rios, who also saw time at first base, was the Dodgers' Branch Rickey Minor League Player of the Year, and he was tied with Calhoun for second in the system with 27 homers, tied for fourth with Kyle Garlick with 76 RBIs and ranked second among full-season players with a .301 batting average.

"Coming up from Great Lakes, which is not a tremendous hitting environment, we were working to get him acclimated to facing a lot harder fastballs," said Quakes manager Drew Saylor, who had Rios from June 5-July 27, a 42-game stretch during which the 22-year-old Florida International University product hit .367 with 16 homers.

Shortstop -- Tim Locastro, Rancho Cucamonga (86 games), Tulsa (45 games): Locastro tied for second in the system with 24 steals while totaling 25 doubles, six triples and six homers and batting .285 with a .341 OBP. He spent the bulk of his Cal League time at shortstop, committing eight errors in 349 1/3 innings, and made a couple appearances at second base. That trend was reversed in the Texas League, where he spent 17 of his 45 games at short.

Outfielders -- Andrew Toles, Rancho Cucamonga (22 games), Tulsa (43 games), Oklahoma City (17 games), Los Angeles (48 games): Toles, who was released by Tampa Bay in March 2015 and didn't play pro ball the rest of that year, couldn't be contained at any Minor League level. His first promotion came after batting .370 in the Cal League through May 1. From there, he rocketed through the organization to become a big league contributor into the postseason.

"Andrew got a second chance and he did not waste one at-bat. He came to the ballpark to work every single day. He's making this count," Garko said. "If a pitcher threw a strike, Andrew put the barrel on it hard. I've never seen anything like it. He was so locked in, with such good barrel control. He didn't foul anything off -- he put the barrel on everything -- and hard -- with torque movement."

Toles posted a .365 OBP in 48 big league games and earned widespread acclaim for his defense.

Johan Mieses, Rancho Cucamonga (122 games): Mieses, who'd hit 16 homers in 155 pro games entering the season, led Dodgers Minor Leaguers and the Cal League with 28 jacks, adding 31 doubles and plating 78 runs. Saylor said he sees Mieses' power playing at higher, less hitter-friendly levels.

"He's a very naturally strong human being. One of those, 'Wow, that just happened,' things: you would see him in the weight room and he picks up 300-pound weights like it's 135 pounds," the Quakes manager said. "You can see him mishit some baseballs, where he doesn't square it up, and the baseball still has an extra gear going out of the ballpark."

Defensively, Mieses recorded 14 assists while seeing time at all three outfield positions.

Kyle Garlick, Rancho Cucamonga (49 games), Tulsa (79 games): In his first full pro season, he led the system with 42 doubles and spanked 19 homers while hitting .293/.348/.508. His final numbers are all the more impressive, considering he batted .180 over his first three weeks in the Texas League.

Utility -- Rob Segedin, Oklahoma City (103 games), Los Angeles (40 games): Segedin, who came over from the Yankees for Tyler Olson and Ronald Torreyes in January, had a good track record in six Minor League seasons. This year, he demolished PCL pitching, leading the loop with a .598 slugging percentage and finishing third with a .319 average, while seeing time at both corner infield positions, one game at second base, another at short and five in left field. When he reached the Majors, he played four positions.

"He just got really consistent at the plate," Haselman said, "and he became better as far as bringing good plans up to the plate and sticking to and executing those plans. He has a lot of talent -- he's strong and he has a powerful swing."

Right-handed starting pitcher -- Brock Stewart, Rancho Cucamonga (two starts), Tulsa (10 starts), Oklahoma City (nine starts), Los Angeles (seven games, five starts): The Dodgers' Branch Rickey Pitcher of the Year, Stewart also earned a MiLBY Award as Top Starting Pitcher. While climbing from the Cal League to the Majors, the 2014 sixth-rounder went 9-4 with a 1.79 ERA in 21 Minor League starts, striking out 129 and walking 19 while holding opponents to a .200 average across 121 innings.

"To be honest, after the season started, I just hoped at some point to make it to Double-A in Tulsa," Stewart told upon winning the MiLBY. "When I got that good start in Rancho and then got to Tulsa and had a few good starts there in a row, I kind of realized that this could be a fun year -- and it was."

Left-handed starting pitcher -- Michael Boyle, Great Lakes (19 games, 18 starts), Rancho Cucamonga (seven games, six starts): Boyle had a 2.81 ERA in the Midwest League and, although a rough adjustment to the Cal League in August inflated that ERA to 3.53, he still led Dodgers lefties in that category. He also put up a 1.30 WHIP.

More Organization All-Stars

Relief pitcher -- Joe Broussard, Rancho Cucamonga (15 games), Tulsa (33 games), Oklahoma City (two games): Broussard's 50 appearances ranked second among Dodgers Minor Leaguers and he posted a 1.80 ERA and 1.03 WHIP while striking out 81 and walking 16 over 70 innings.

"He's got a swing-and-miss fastball that he can throw in a fastball count," Garko said. "We talk so much about the value in being able to get swings and misses, he threw his fastball by good hitters who knew it was coming, with guys on base."

Josh Jackson is a contributor to Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @JoshJacksonMiLB.