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Dodgers name their minor league player, pitcher of the year; they don't figure to be playing at Dodger Stadium soon

September 30, 2010 |  5:22 pm

The Dodgers’ farm system.

Not the cavalry to the coming 2011 Dodgers. Next season the Dodgers will need plenty of improvement to return to championship caliber, but it doesn’t figure to come from the kids.

The lower levels have their share of intriguing prospects, but there is no one at triple-A Albuquerque whose talent is pounding at the Dodgers’ door and demanding entrance.

It’s conceivable there won’t be a single player who spent the bulk of last season at Albuquerque who makes the Dodgers next year.

As if to confirm the situation, the Dodgers announced their minor league pitcher and player of the year Thursday, and neither has had a sniff of triple A.

Outfielder Jerry Sands was named their minor league player of the year. He split his 2010 between the Class-A Great Lakes Loons and the double-A Chattanooga Lookouts.

Right-hander Rubby De La Rosa, their minor league pitcher of the year, did the same.

Sands, 22, took a giant leap this year. In his combined season he hit 35 home runs (tied for third in all of the minors), with 93  runs batted in and a .301 batting average.

He’s headed to the Arizona Fall League to learn to play third base.

De La Rosa, 21, went a combined 7-2 with six saves and a 2.73 earned-run average. He spent the first half as a reliever and was switched to starter at the break.

In the past 11 years, the only winner of their minor league pitcher of the year who stuck with the Dodgers was Chad Billingsley (a two-time winner). The only player of the year in the past 13 years who became a Dodgers regular was James Loney.

-- Steve Dilbeck