DODGERS NAME RIGHT-HANDER JAMES MCDONALD AS MINOR LEAGUE PITCHER OF THE YEAR AND IVAN DEJESUS JR. AS MINOR LEAGUE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
LOS ANGELES - The Dodgers today named right-hander James McDonald as Minor League Pitcher of the Year and infielder Ivan DeJesus Jr. as Minor League Player of the Year, presented by Under Armour. General Manager Ned Colletti made the announcement.
The 23-year-old McDonald has won the award for the second year in a row. He went 7-4 with a 3.26 ERA in a combined 27 games (26 starts) with Double-A Jacksonville and Triple-A Las Vegas in 2008.
The Long Beach native, who was selected by the Dodgers in the 11th round of the 2002 draft, went 5-3 with a 3.19 ERA in 22 starts with Jacksonville, and was a mid-season Southern League All-Star. He was promoted to Las Vegas on August 4, and went 2-1 with a 3.63 ERA in five games (four starts) there. McDonald was recalled to Los Angeles on September 1 when rosters expanded, and he has yet to appear in a Major League game. He entered 2008 as the club's No. 7 prospect according to Baseball America.
McDonald's 3.19 ERA with Jacksonville ranked second in the Southern League, and his 113 strikeouts ranked ninth. He struck out 141 batters in 141.0 innings overall with Jacksonville and Las Vegas. The 6-foot-5, 195-pounder struck out 10 in both of his first two Triple-A starts. He allowed three runs or less in 22 of his 26 starts overall. The Long Beach Poly High School grad was recently voted as having the best changeup in the SL in Baseball America's annual "Best Tools" survey of league managers and coaches.
McDonald earned SL Pitcher of the Week honors for the week of May 5-11, when he went 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA (2 ER/13.0 IP) in two starts. He also posted stellar numbers in June, going 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA (7 ER/35.0 IP) in six starts. In his final three starts of June, he allowed only one run in 18.0 innings. McDonald also went 2-1 with a 3.82 ERA (14 ER/33.0 IP) in six starts in May to share Jacksonville's Dodger Pride Award for the month with right-hander Jesus Castillo.
McDonald is 27-27 with a 3.41 ERA in 99 career minor league games (82 starts). He has 511 strikeouts in 472.2 innings since his pro debut in 2003, an average of 9.7 strikeouts per nine innings.
The 21-year-old DeJesus, making his Double-A debut, led the Southern League with a .419 on-base percentage and ranked fifth with a .324 batting average. He finished second in the circuit with 76 walks and tied for third with 150 hits. DeJesus was named to the SL's South Division All-Star team, but did not appear because he was selected to play in the XM Radio All-Star Futures Game at Yankee Stadium. He was the lone Dodger farmhand to be selected to the annual exhibition featuring the game's top prospects. He was recently named as the second baseman on Baseball America's Minor League All-Star Second Team.
DeJesus, who was selected by Los Angeles in the second round of the 2005 draft, ended the year with a 23-game hitting streak, batting .420 (37-for-88) with 27 runs scored to raise his average from .301. He hit .438 (46-for-105) with five homers, 16 RBI, and 31 runs scored in 27 games in August.
DeJesus earned Jacksonville's Dodger Pride Award for May, when he hit .299 (29-for-97) with 18 walks, 24 runs, and a .412 on-base percentage.
In 128 games overall, DeJesus had 21 doubles, seven homers, and 58 RBI. He also was 16-for-18 in stolen-base attempts, and batted .353 (41-for-116) with runners in scoring position. The Puerto Rico native finished fourth in the Dodger minor league system with his .324 average. He had entered the season as Los Angeles' 13th-best prospect, according to Baseball America.
DeJesus is batting .295 with 66 doubles, 12 homers, and 168 RBI in 428 career minor league games. He is one of nine Dodger farmhands who will play in the Arizona Fall League, which opens its season on October 7.
Both McDonald and DeJesus will be honored in a pregame ceremony on September 20, when the Dodgers host the San Francisco Giants.