Dodgers Prospects: A Conversation with Infielder Marcus Chiu

chiu

For the past several years, the middle infield has been an area of the Dodgers‘ system where there is not an overwhelming number of elite prospects, especially at the lower levels of the farm.

At the top of the infielder rankings sits shortstop and reigning Minor League Player of the year Gavin Lux, but then there is plenty of daylight. Farther down in the middle of the pack are players like Errol Robinson, Omar Estevez and the newly acquired Jeter Downs, who are trying to prove that they are worthy of being among the highest rated.

However, there are a few infield prospects who are just beginning to climb the organizational ladder, and because of the scarcity of talent in the lower levels of the system, they may find their ascents to be much faster then say an outfielder or a starting pitcher.

One such player is Marcus Chiu.

The 22-year-old resident of Novato was selected by Los Angeles in the 15th round of the 2017 MLB draft. He played two seasons at the College of Marin and was considering enrolling at the University of Nevada before he got the call from the Dodgers.

The right-handed hitting Chiu played high school ball at San Marin High, where he hit for an overall .397 average and a .551 OBP, eventually earning MCAL Player of the Year honors. During his two-year collegiate career, he hit .332 while setting a single season record at Marin in 2017 for long balls with 13.

After the draft, he was quickly ushered to the Arizona League Dodgers where he slashed .297/.384/.459 with three homers and 15 doubles over 45 games. Hampered by several injuries in 2018, Chiu was still able to put together a respectable season across two levels of the farm, hitting a combined .231/.349/.441 with 11 home runs and 37 RBI in just 69 games. The 6-foot-2, 208-pounder also swiped 12 bases in 14 chances.

Marcus was kind enough to sit down and chat with us over the weekend, discussing all things baseball, while sharing a little insight regarding his outlook for 2019.

We started out talking about his childhood. Chiu quickly confirmed the rumors of him being a San Francisco fan as a youngster were true.

Barry Bonds was my favorite player,” he said. “Growing up, I was a huge Giants fan. Going to the games was my favorite thing to do.”

Like many of the prospects in the organization, Chiu has versatility written all over him. Between Ogden and Great Lakes last year, he played all over the infield after primarily being a second baseman in college. Surprisingly, he told us that he enjoyed hit time at the hot corner the most.

“I feel most comfortable at third base,” he explained. “It’s a new position for me, but I love how hard the balls are hit and how little time you have to react. Nevertheless, I’m still quite comfortable moving around the entire infield.”

It’s tough to determine Chiu’s strengths by just looking at his stats. There are flashes of power, speed and solid glove work, but he confirmed to us that he believes his offensive abilities are the most imposing parts of his game.

“I would say hitting and hitting for power are the strongest aspects of my game,” he explained.

While many fans don’t realize how much player skills differ at each level of the farm, we chatted briefly about the degree of competition, specifically between the Arizona League, the Pioneer League and the Midwest League.

“It was a pretty big jump from the AZL to Great Lakes,” Chiu confirmed. “Players were more consistent and pitchers had a lot more movement. It took me a little bit to find a groove, but once I found it, I felt confident in myself.”

Find a groove he did. Chiu hovered above the .300 mark for all of August. While with the Raptors, he went 2-for-5 with a homer and three RBI against Great Falls on August 20, boosting his season average at that point past .330. Five games later against Orem, he went 3-for-5 with a triple and five RBI to further exhibit his offensive prowess.

Moving along, we talked a bit about his teammates, and he was quick to point out his relationship with Eric Peterson, a 25-year-old infielder in the Dodgers system who played across three levels of the Los Angeles farm last year.

“He’s somebody who’s very understanding. He always pushes me to be the best person and player I can be,” Chiu said. “You can talk to him about anything whether it’s baseball or life.”

Looking ahead to 2019, Chiu told us his main goal was to stay healthy after noting how an injury to his throwing hand kept him sidelined for two months last year.

“My goal for 2019 is to have a healthy season. I had a lot of setbacks last year due to injury and this year one of my biggest priorities is to keep my body healthy.”

Entering his second full year in the organization, Chiu will likely begin the season in Low-A ball, but if he stays fit and has the opportunity to flash his skills in the batters’ box, a promotion to High-A ball at some point in the year wouldn’t be out of the question.

(Follow Marcus on Twitter: @marcus_chiu)

(Photo Credit: The Azul)

 

63 thoughts on “Dodgers Prospects: A Conversation with Infielder Marcus Chiu

  1. Never heard of him.

    But at 6’2”, 208 with speed I like him. And now that I like him I’m willing to trade him to Cleveland.

    “Replying to
    @DustinNosler
    No better. Probably worse. Sqeeked in. Slithered through and were spanked.”

    This guy has a unique and direct way of getting to the point.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the write up Dennis. I remember the name from the draft but then I lost track of him. Sounds interesting, but I feel that I need to remind you once again that these posts of yours usually lead to trades. As you can see, Scoop already has us sending him to Cleveland. Straight up for Kluber sounds about right.

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    1. I’d throw in our #49 (right in front of Sopko last year) Jefe Souffrant, another guy I never heard of. We’d be doing Cleaveland a favor. Kluber is due for a breakdown.

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      1. You bring up an interesting point Scoop. Every day I wake up and hope that we’ll trade for Kluber and by mid morning I’m thinking to myself “why in the world would they be willing to trade such an exceptional pitcher”? Perhaps they know something the rest of us don’t. Not enough to void the trade should one be made, but enough to sell high on him while they still can. Is Nick Goody still available? Much less wear and tear on his arm.

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      2. Maybe we don’t know how willing the Indians actually are. Perhaps their demands are much higher than we think. If it was that simple, I think Friedman would have pulled the trigger by now. Either that, or Friedman is overthinking the situation entirely. For a club who needs to get over the final bump on the road to a championship, a guy like Kluber may be quite handy.

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      3. I wonder what the difference in their ask is between Kluber and Bauer and conversely I wonder what the difference is in what teams have offered for each of them.

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      4. Apparently they only wanted him so they could flip him to the Reds for Senzel. I wouldn’t do that if I were the Reds. I think Senzel is going to be really good and the Reds don’t need Kluber yet. They won’t be contending for the next couple of years, even with Puig hitting 40 homers out of that bandbox this year.

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      5. From the moment I heard the rumor Kluber and Bauer were being dangled I asked “why?” You don’t trade cost effective 6 WAR pitchers if you intend to compete. Makes no sense. Cleveland is on the list of potential AL playoff teams, ranked #4. I think Dennis nailed it. If someone is willing to offer something akin to “stupid money” in the form of players, then sure. But honestly I never believed it. I certainly don’t believe Friedman will step into that snare.

        I’m still hopeful something will happen to replace the lost WAR and actually improve the club. If this is it I won’t pay to watch.

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      6. If this is it, I think there will be a lot of people in the boat along with you. I think the fans are hungry for a little flair, too, especially with the loss of Yasiel. Flair doesn’t necessarily translate to WAR, but it sure does sell a ton of jerseys.

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  3. No question Puig was a fan favorite. But I don’t think he was as popular with his teammates. I think he took a step back last year as a good teammate. Late to meetings etc. Back to always trying to make the hero look play. He had finally worn out his welcome with the organization. Verdugo’s time. At least he’ll hit the cutoff man

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    1. There may be something to that Rich. I know as much as I appreciated his abilities, I found his antics irritating. I have no idea what his teammates thought of him but it would not surprise me if they didn’t much care for his antics either.

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    2. I could care less if he did not get along with everyone in that clubhouse. He was the most exciting player on the team, and a major percentage of the time, he made the right play. Now and then he would cut one loose that was ill advised, and when he did, Roberts let him know about it. But what he brought to the defense and the energy he brought to the field far out weighed his peccadillo’s. The A’s of the early 70’s fought all the time and won 3 titles in a row. Makes no difference now, he is no longer a Dodger. Verdugo is an unknown quality. Nobody can predict how he will do being out there everyday. If he is so good, how come he was in so many trade discussions? I have read a few reports that have said he is not so highly thought of in the FO as everyone thinks he is. We will see, unless of course he is traded. Too many question marks on this roster and far too many if’s. At least with Yasiel, you knew what you were getting. With this roster, save Turner, you have no clue.

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      1. If the front office didn’t think as much of Verdugo as we think they do, I’m pretty sure he would be gone by now. His name has come up in potential trades for 2-3 years now. That means other teams are asking for him and AF hasn’t yet decided it’s worth it to trade him. Could that change? Yes, if our front office gets desperate or if somebody throws a deal at them that is just way too good to resist. But otherwise, I think Alex is our opening day right fielder. The two negatives we’ve heard about him are lack of power and potential problem with attitude, both of which could be overcome with maturity. If not, send him on his way in the next year or two. As many of us have commented, it’s time we had a few guys in the lineup with really good bat to ball skills.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. If the team does nothing else I think there will be some backlash from the fans, it may not be overwhelming, but something, a little less attendance, or a little less in the ratings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They might care about attendance but they sure don’t care about ratings. If they did, they would have seen to it long ago that all Dodger fans could actually watch the games on TV. They’ve gotten their TV money, ratings be damned.

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      1. As long as attendance is good the team has no incentive to try to solve the problem, even though they aren’t really the cause of it. That said, if they reallllllllllly wanted to find a solution they could do more than they have.

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      2. You guys are right. The fans may bark in blogs but the stands are always full and the tv money is rolling in. There is no incentive to change anything. I believe we can expect more of the same, and from my recliner that probably means we go with a roster that projects to squeak, slither and get spanked (love that line) with a possible deadline pickup if needed. I’ll read about it daily but I’m not going to Spring Training this year and I’m not buying the MLB package. If they sign Harper I may change my mind.

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    2. The lemmings will continue to flow into the stadium if the FO does nothing at all. They did pretty much the same last year and the attendance went over 3,000,000 again. All they care about is profits and they made a half billion in profits last year. Plus they raised ticket prices again. 6 bucks for a Dodger dog? You have got to be kidding me. 9 dollars for a container of garlic fries, which are damn good, but not worth 9 bucks when I can get the same fries at the Quakes game for 5. It is getting to the point where only rich people can afford to attend the games. The last game I went to last year the tab was over 400 bucks counting tickets, parking, refreshments. And that was without getting a souvenir which I used to do all the time.

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  5. It is a kick reading about the kids. The one thing that the Dodger media guide quit doing and I really miss, is that they did profiles on all the kids in the system. Had their stats and everything. Now they do the 40 man and non roster guys only. Still is the best source of bio’s and info on the players. When I was young, I bought the Dodger yearbook every year. Believe me it was more informative than the rag they put out now. And these cost 10 bucks or more. 50 cents. That’s what the yearbooks were for years. I also bought a scorecard every game I went to. They do not sell those anymore either. Good write up on Yardbarker about another boring off season in major league baseball. Few trades, major free agents unsigned as February bears down and less than a month til pitchers and catchers report. Hope all of you out in Cali are staying dry. Your storms are coming into Colorado this week which means your rain becomes our snow.

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  6. Lets see what kind of feedback this little poll gets………who is your choice for the sleeper player who makes the roster out of spring training? Can be a rookie or a non roster guy.

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    1. Don’t know he’s a sleeper as his name has been mentioned a lot, but I’ll go with Gonsolin, primarily because he will be 25 in May and has more than 1 swing and miss pitches. A look at his grades is curious – fastball 60, curveball 55, slider 50, splitter 60, control 50…… but overall only 50. With 3 pitches that grade 55 or better, and 155 K’s in in 128 innings between A and AA, I would think he should grade out over 50. At 25 i think maybe it’s time.

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    2. Tough question Bear since the roster seems pretty much set. It’s almost a matter of which player that we thought was a given to make the roster is actually sent down or traded. However, that’s not what you asked so I’m going with…………..……..The Big K! Marshall Kasowski. He would have to have a great spring to make it but stranger things have happened. And, I think the bullpen has the greatest chance of having a sleeper sneak in.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Both good choices. Both those guys are on AA Tulsa’s roster. Funny how last year we had so much depth at AAA. So far there are about 10 guys on that roster. None of the 3 outfielders signed last month are listed on the roster as of right now. I really believe, and do not ask me why, that if Kevin Quackenbush as a killer spring, he could sneak into that bullpen because I still see holes there. Stetson Allie and Broussard are both on the AAA roster and time is running out for them as they both turn 28 in the next couple of months. Allie impressed after switching to being a pitcher from the outfield.

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  8. I like Rios. I think he has a big spring and if someone gets hurt or Muncy falters I think he could be the 2019 surprise! Only problem is he’s limited to first base but love his bat!

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    1. Rios has spent a decent amount of time at 3rd and also in the outfield. Not saying he earned any Gold Gloves but he has played those positions.

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  9. Just saw the White Sox offer to Machado is reputed to be 7 years 175 mil, at those kind of #s would that be more interesting to the dodgers? If Seager is healthy, move Turner to 2nd, Taylor to the outfield?or is it Harper or bust?

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    1. I was just thinking the same thing Keith but my guess is that we’re probably not in on Manny even at that price. It’s Harper or a right-handed hitting outfielder, but that could be anyone including a bunch of guys we would hold our collective noses at.

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      1. Turner wouldn’t be the best defensive second baseman in the organization but he’s the only one that would likely make the All Star team. I have no problem moving him there, but I’d make sure it was ok with him.

        One thing that comes to mind with Machado is his attitude. Did the other players like him? He did some crap I didn’t care for but I’m admin more patient with a**holes if they hit .297 with 35 home runs and drive in 100 runs. Hey, I’m not easy but I can be bought. As long as the team is ok with him I would be too. But are we even being mentioned?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Haven’t heard a word about our being in on Manny although I do hear us mentioned with Harper as an extreme afterthought. If by some chance we actually signed Machado my first choice would be to move Seager to second and play Machado at short. One of the reasons JT is our third baseman is that the guys that make those decisions thought he was really a pretty bad second baseman. Since we know his hands and arm are just fine I’m thinking the problem must have been extremely limited range. I think the team response to Manny was similar to that of Puig, they tolerated his personality because he produced in the field and weren’t overly sorry to see him go.

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      3. Nightengale has never been known for his accuracy. Not surprised that Lozano felt he had to do something here. If the Phils sign Harper and the rest of the GM’s think that the only spot left for Machado is the White Sox, he’s gonna have a helluva hard time getting him any money from another team, especially if they think that all they have to do is beat 7/175.

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  10. There is absolutely no chatter linking the Dodgers to Machado or Harper. All of the talk is about the Phillies and the Sox. The so called mystery team has not even been identified. The Yankees seem to be out of the running for either player. I think the Phils and DC are the only 2 serious bidders for Harper. Machado shot himself in the foot with his attitude and lack luster play in the playoffs. He is a solid bat, but I do not think the players cared for him all that much.

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  11. I hate to be Debbie downer, but I’m starting to believe that LA Times report about holding the payroll at 195 mil. Bear said we are projected around 186mil right now, which sounds close, so if you add 4 to 5 mil for maedas incentives, and another 5 mil for mid season acquisitions it puts us at around what the Times report said. I was thinking the budget was to stay under the salary cap(206 mil) but I’m not even sure we have that much money to spend. I thought the reds deal was a precursor of the next move, or moves, now it’s starting to look like a straight salary dump. I’m starting to worry that the chances of us signing any other significant free agents are dwindling.

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    1. Friedman has just announced that there is no collusion with Russia; however, he did admit to collusion with Theo Epstein. Both the Dodgers and Cubs have agreed not to spend this winter.

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      1. We’ve lost a couple of good minor league managers this off season. Do you know if he left to go somewhere else or just left? It’s all very strange.

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      2. Hoornstra just told me Hasleman might be a “roving instructor” of sorts. Apparently, he’ll be serving as Rancho’s manager while Kertenian serves some sort of suspension to open the year.

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      3. At least he’s still in the organization. Didn’t realize you had a relationship with Hoornstra. He always struck me as being a very smart, thoughtful guy. I would have expected him to be in a more nerdy profession rather than sports.

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  12. I had him Keith…………………………..and then he slipped through my fingers. It was really sad, he had this smile on his face and then he let go and I heard him scream “NO, anywhere but the Dbacks!!!” I’ll remember that wailing sound forever. So sad.

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  13. Why $195M? The tax cap is $206M. Why not just say we’re staying under the cap then STFU about it?

    Locastro is an interesting player. In 15 Major League plate appearances he has 5 stolen bases and hasn’t been caught once. Over a full season that computes to about 200 SB without being caught. That would be a record. And with a .167 average he has a .333 OBP. Makes me wonder what he might could do with a full time job.

    I’ve been busy all day. We sign anybody of note yet?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They signed 32 year old catcher Josh Thole to a minor league deal. He was in the Tigers system last year. He was not very good. if memory serves, he is an exe Met. Not long after getting Locastro in a trade, the D-Backs signed Wilmer Flores to a contract. According to s story I read earlier, LeMahieu is going to play multiple positions for the Bombers. Including some SS to spell Tulo.

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  14. I don’t know why $195 scoop, I’m just recollecting what the article said, but think about this, if the FO planned on staying under the cap this season, why in the hell did we make the trade last season to get under the cap. We could have kept all of those guys, and been out from under their salary’s this season, last year’s trade made the FO make the trade with the reds this season. Maybe they will sign somebody, but I think what we see is what we get. I hope I’m wrong and have egg all over my face.
    Hey were is mike Thomas today if he’s going to talk about us old fans the least he could do is stick around and have a post or two, we don’t bite mike, just don’t make to many geriatric jokes, you’ll hurt our feelings.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Natives getting restless on Twitter. There are still some who insist that the Dodgers are still in the game with Harper and Machado. Even though there is no evidence that they are even talking.

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      1. Oh he is still on there…..just not saying much. Dodgers are starting to load up the minor league side of things. None of those 3 outfielders they have signed are showing up on the AAA roster, so the deals must not yet be official. New Manager at OKC is Travis Barbary.

        Like

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