DODGERS 2019 MINOR LEAGUE/PROSPECTS THREAD

Discussion in 'Los Angeles DODGERS' started by ColoradoKidWitGame, Jan 4, 2019.

  1. ColoradoKidWitGame

    ColoradoKidWitGame DSP Legend Moderator

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    2019 Top Prospect Lists

    Baseball America
    1. Keibert Ruiz, C
    2. Alex Verdugo, OF
    3. Gavin Lux, SS/2B
    4. Dustin May, RHP
    5. Will Smith, C/IF
    6. Caleb Ferguson, LHP
    7. Dennis Santana, RHP
    8. Tony Gonsolin, RHP
    9. Mitchell White, RHP
    10. DJ Peters, OF

    BA Top 100
    20. Ruiz
    35. Verdugo
    40. Lux
    82. May
    95. Smith

    Top 35 Catchers
    1. Ruiz
    7. Smith
    14. Cartaya
    35. Wong

    Top 20 1B
    12. Edwin Rios

    Minor League Ball
    1. Verdugo
    2. Lux
    3. Ruiz
    4. May
    5. Santana
    6. Gonsolin
    7. Smith
    8. White
    9. Omar Estevez, 2B/SS
    10. Edwin Rios, CIF/COF

    Prospects Live
    1. Verdugo
    2. Ruiz
    3. May
    4. Lux
    5. Jeter Downs, SS
    6. Santana
    7. Smith
    8. Gonsolin
    9. Peters
    10. Josiah Gray, RHP

    Top 100
    40. Verdugo
    58. Lux
    68. Ruiz
    Their Top 100 takes a much riskier approach than individual club Top 10's. If a guys upside is much higher than of a guy within his own system that may be a better prospect now, he is viewed in brighter light on the Top 100 than the Top 10. I hope I explained that well enough.

    Baseball Prospectus
    1. Verdugo
    2. May
    3. Ruiz
    4. Smith
    5. Lux
    6. Santana
    7. Gonsolin
    8. Peters
    9. White
    10. Gray

    Top 101
    19. Verdugo
    27. May
    31. Ruiz
    59. Smith

    Lux didn't make the Top 101, their "just missed list" or guys for next years list. Yet their write-up on him is very positive. They said he didn't miss the list by much and was back and forth between him and a guy that finished in the mid-80's. It really seems that they would like another good year before putting him on the list.

    MLB.com MLB Pipeline

    Top 100
    35. Verdugo
    36. Ruiz
    69. May
    70. Lux

    Prospects 1500

    1. Verdugo
    2. May
    3. Ruiz
    4. Lux
    5. Smith
    6. White
    7. Downs
    8. Santana
    9. Peters
    10. Jeren Kendall, OF
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2019
  2. ColoradoKidWitGame

    ColoradoKidWitGame DSP Legend Moderator

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    1. Keibert Ruiz | C
    Born: Jul 20, 1998
    Bats: B Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 200
    Drafted: Signed: Venezuela, 2014.

    Track Record: Ruiz mainly attracted teams with his defense as an amateur in Venezuela, training at the academy run by former major league shortstop Carlos Guillen. Almost immediately after signing with the Dodgers for $140,000, Ruiz began holding his own against older players. At age 17 he moved to the Rookie-level Pioneer League and hit .354 as the league’s youngest player. At 18 he jumped to full-season ball and hit .316 with an .813 OPS between low Class A and high Class A. And in his age-19 season, as the rare teenaged catcher in the upper levels, Ruiz had the lowest strikeout rate of any hitter in Double-A, hit a career-high 12 home runs and ably handled Tulsa’s high-octane pitching staff.

    Scouting Report: Ruiz originally intrigued with his glove, but as he has progressed his offense now stands out first and foremost. He is a gifted switch-hitter with excellent timing, bat speed and loose wrists that enable him to manipulate the barrel to all parts of the zone, giving him excellent plate coverage against all types of pitches. He has an aggressive approach and doesn’t walk much, but he stays within the strike zone and rarely swings and misses. Ruiz puts together quality at-bats from both sides of the plate, but he has faster hand speed and more natural lift in his lefthanded swing, resulting in significantly more impact contact from that side of the plate. Ruiz has progressively added strength and increased his home run total every season, now projecting for double-digit homers to go with a plus bat. Ruiz’s defense lags behind his offense but is still advanced for his age and constantly improving. He shows good timing blocking balls, is an above-average—if sometimes inconsistent—receiver and has developed a knack for back-picking baserunners. He has an average, accurate arm that occasionally gets slowed by footwork and transfer issues, but he made strides to clean those up and threw out a career-best 26 percent of basestealers 2018. Ruiz also became more confident handling a staff, from presenting game plans to pitchers to knowing when to take mound visits.

    The Future: Ruiz’s success on both sides of the ball as a teenager in Double-A makes him the top catching prospect in baseball. His potential as a switch-hitting, middle-of-the-order catcher has him in line to be the next great Dodgers homegrown catcher.

    2. Alex Verdugo | OF
    Born: May 15, 1996
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 205
    Drafted: Drafted: HS—Tucson, 2014 (2nd).

    Track Record: Verudgo rose quickly after the Dodgers drafted him 62nd overall in 2014. He represented Mexico in the World Baseball Classic at age 20, reached the majors by 21 and had a chance for a larger role in his age-22 season in 2018, but the Dodgers’ outfield glut forced him back to Triple-A. Verdugo finished fifth in the Pacific Coast League with a .329 batting average.

    Scouting Report: Verdugo is the purest hitter in the Dodgers’ system with a simple, balanced swing. He generates hard line drives to all fields and is extremely patient, recording nearly as many walks (86) as strikeouts (97) over the last two years. Verdugo’s average home run power is mostly to his pull side, but he can drive the ball hard the other way, too. He stays dialed in at the plate, but an indifferent attitude affects the rest of his game. He has average speed and gets good jumps in right field when he’s focused, but he often isn’t and lets balls drop that shouldn’t. His slow motor also shows up on the bases, frustrating teammates and coaches alike.

    The Future: Verdugo has the potential to be a high-average, moderate power outfielder like Nick Markakis, but only if he improves his effort.

    3. Gavin Lux | SS
    Born: Nov 23, 1997
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 190
    Drafted: Drafted: HS—Kenosha, Wis., 2016 (1st).

    Track Record: When the Dodgers drafted Lux 20th overall in 2016, he was a skinny teenager with athleticism and instincts but was short on physicality. After a middling first full season, he bulked up and broke out in 2018. Bigger, stronger and faster, Lux led all full-season minor league shortstops in average and slugging as he surged from high Class A to Double-A.

    Scouting Report: Lux caught up to velocity and recognized pitches even when he struggled, and his added strength with a swing adjustment unlocked an above-average hitter with growing power. He has a rhythmic, athletic setup that allows him to fire his barrel through the zone, and his path adjustment to get on plane resulted in significantly more hard contact in the air. Lux mostly pulls the ball on a line, but can elevate for home runs to tease average power. He stayed limber as he got stronger and remains an above-average runner with plus baserunning instincts. He has the range, hands, athleticism and above-average arm for shortstop, but accuracy issues have him projected to second base

    The Future: Lux has the bat to profile at either middle infield position, likely as a No. 2-type hitter with a lot of doubles. He’ll see Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2018.

    4. Dustin May | RHP
    Born: Sep 6, 1997
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'6" Wt.: 180
    Drafted: Drafted: HS—Justin, Texas, 2016 (3rd).

    Track Record: A string-bean high schooler with bushy red hair, May sat in the low 90s when the Dodgers drafted him in the third round in 2016. After two years of growth, May’s fastball velocity jumped from 89-92 mph to 93-96 mph in 2018 and sent him skyrocketing. He cruised through high Class A up to Double-A as a 20-year-old, capping his season with a win in the Texas League. championship clincher.

    Scouting Report: May’s ability to command his fastball and pitch downhill made his heater a weapon even at lower velocities. Now with his velocity bump, it’s a true plus pitch with power sink. May used his fastball more than half the time early in 2018, but after bumping that usage to around 70 percent in mid-June, he took off. May’s power curveball and cutter each flash above-average but aren’t consistent because they’re relatively new to his arsenal. His low-80s power curve replaced his slider, and his cutter became his go-to pitch for lefties after his firm, below-average changeup stalled. He is the rare long-limbed pitcher with plus control.

    The Future: May has size, velocity, control and performance all on his side. If he improves his secondaries, he can be a mid-rotation starter or better.

    5. Will Smith | C
    Born: Mar 28, 1995
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 192
    Drafted: Drafted: Louisville, 2016 (1st).

    Track Record: An infielder by trade, Smith impressed with his ability to catch Kyle Funkhouser, Zack Burdi and other flamethrowers at Louisville. He immediately showed the same impressive catching ability as a pro, guiding Walker Buehler, Dennis Santana and other high-octane arms through the Dodgers’ system. Despite missing a month with a deep thumb bone bruise, Smith hit a career-high 20 home runs between Double-A and Triple-A in 2018, all while splitting his time between catcher (49 games) and third base (43).

    Scouting Report: Smith’s best asset is his athleticism. He has quick feet, soft hands and an above-average arm he can get to from multiple angles, making him a plus defensive catcher and above-average defender at third base. Smith was a contact hitter in college, but the Dodgers reworked his swing to generate more loft. An adjustment to get ready a tick earlier revealed above-average power in 2018, though his uphill swing yields more swings and misses than expected given his solid bat speed, hands, direction and approach.

    The Future: The Dodgers brought Smith to Los Angeles at the end of 2018 to observe how big league catchers prepare. His debut is on the horizon in 2019.

    6. Caleb Ferguson | LHP
    Born: Jul 2, 1996
    Bats: R Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 215
    Drafted: Drafted: HS—West Jefferson, Ohio, 2014 (38th).

    Track Record: Ferguson had Tommy John surgery his senior year of high school, but the Dodgers still gave him $100,000 to sign as a 38th-rounder even with the injury. After rehab and three years of careful workload management, the Dodgers turned him loose in 2017, and he went out and won the California League ERA title. He followed with 10 dominant starts at Double-A and Triple-A to open 2018 and reached the majors in June.

    Scouting Report: Previously able to touch 94 mph only in his first inning before dropping to 89-92, Ferguson improved his nutrition and fitness in 2018 and better sustained his velocity. With a slimmer and stronger body, his fastball now sits 93-95 mph and touches 97 in relief, and he holds it over multiple innings. His main secondary is an above-average upper-70s curveball with 12-to-6 bite that he controls better than his fastball. Ferguson’s fringy changeup is raw and rarely used.

    The Future: Ferguson has already shown himself to be a bullpen asset in the majors. Depending on the Dodgers’ needs—and if he develops his third pitch—he could still grow into a starter.

    7. Dennis Santana | RHP
    Born: Apr 12, 1996
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 160
    Drafted: Signed: Dominican Republic, 2012.

    Track Record: Santana signed with the Dodgers as a shortstop for $170,000 but converted to pitching after his first season. He took to pitching quickly, earning all-star honors in the Midwest League in 2016 and California League in 2017 before shooting through Double-A and Triple-A up to the majors in 2018. Santana was set to make his first major league start on June 7 but was scratched with a strained rotator cuff and missed the rest of the season.

    Scouting Report: The long-limbed Santana whips his arm around his body out of a low slot to create a potent combination of deception, velocity and movement. His fastball sits 93-95 mph and touches 97 with significant sink and run, handcuffing righthanded batters. It’s a plus offering, but its premium movement also makes the pitch difficult to command. Santana’s above-average 82-85 mph slider is effective against righties but runs into the barrel against lefties, so the continued improvement of his 85-87 mph changeup will be key.

    The Future: Santana has the stuff and track record to start, but his arm slot and resulting suspect command have most evaluators preferring him in the bullpen.

    8. Tony Gonsolin | RHP
    Born: May 14, 1994
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 180
    Drafted: Drafted: St. Mary’s, 2016 (9th).

    Track Record: Gonsolin played both ways at St. Mary’s as the Gaels’ starting right fielder and top reliever. The Dodgers, intrigued by his arm strength, drafted him in the ninth round in 2016 and signed him for $2,500 with the idea his velocity would jump if he focused on pitching. That hunch proved correct. Gonsolin asked the Dodgers for the chance to start in 2018 and took advantage when they granted his request, leading the system in ERA (2.60) and strikeouts (155) as he rose to Double-A.

    Scouting Report: Gonsolin flashes three above-average or better pitches as a starter, though not always at the same time. His fastball sits 94-96 mph and peaked at 99 in 2018 with ride, and he holds that velocity into the late innings. His 78-81 mph curveball with big depth was voted the best breaking pitch in the California League, and his diving 85-88 mph split-changeup increasingly became a favored option. He also flashes an average upper-80s short slider. Gonsolin mixes well and throws all his pitches for strikes, though his command is a bit scattered. He remains a dangerous hitter for a pitcher owing to his two-way past.

    The Future: Gonsolin’s four-pitch mix has him firmly in the Dodgers’ rotation plans. He’ll see Triple-A in 2019.

    9. Mitchell White | RHP
    Born: Dec 28, 1994
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 207
    Drafted: Drafted: Santa Clara, 2016 (2nd).

    Track Record: White’s career has been a frustrating tale of success interrupted by injury. He had Tommy John surgery right before college but recovered to emerge as Santa Clara’s ace as redshirt sophomore and be drafted 65th overall. In his first full season he posted a 2.93 ERA while advancing to Double-A but also missed six weeks with a broken toe. In 2018 he missed the first month of the season with general soreness and struggled to find a rhythm most of the year before finishing strong..

    Scouting Report: White has plus stuff at his best but is woefully inconsistent. Sometimes he works 94-97 mph; others he sits 90-93. He has a fluid arm action but crosses his body and loses his direction to the plate, resulting in his stuff playing down and an inability to locate to his arm side. Tulsa pitching coach Dave Borkowski made late-season tweaks to liven White’s backside, yielding some improvement. White’s short, tight upper-80s slider is his most consistent pitch and shows plus at its best. His 12-to-6 curveball flashes above-average and his changeup average.

    The Future: White looks like a potential frontline starter at his best but struggles to sustain it. Maintaining his health and refined delivery will be key in 2019.

    10. DJ Peters | OF
    Born: Dec 12, 1995
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'6" Wt.: 225
    Drafted: Drafted: Western Nevada JC, 2016 (4th).

    Track Record: Muscular and massive, Peters signed with the Dodgers for $247,500 as a fourth-round pick. Playing for the organization he grew up rooting for, he led the Pioneer League in total bases in his pro debut, won California League MVP his first full season and led the Double-A Texas League with 29 home runs in 2018, albeit with a league-high 192 strikeouts.

    Scouting Report: Peters’ carrying tool is his enormous raw power, which some scouts grade an 80. With a chiseled core and long limbs, Peters creates prodigious leverage and demolishes anything left over the plate, frequently clearing 400 feet to all fields. His long arms leave him vulnerable to velocity inside, and he led both the California and Texas leagues in strikeouts despite good strike-zone discipline because he swings and misses in the zone so much. Peters is tremendously athletic for his size and a serviceable center fielder with average speed and long strides that allow him to cover enough ground. His above-average arm strength helps him profile in right field too, though accuracy is an issue.

    The Future: Peters’ strikeout rate is alarming, but the hope is he can get to his power enough to still make an impact. He’ll move to Triple-A in 2019.
     
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  3. ColoradoKidWitGame

    ColoradoKidWitGame DSP Legend Moderator

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    Graduates and expected Removal's from last years Top 10's
    Walker Buehler (Graduated)
    Caleb Ferguson (Graduated on some)
    Yusniel Diaz (Traded)
    Jeren Kendall (Poor Performance)
    Yadier Alvarez (Poor Performance)
    Starling Heredia (Poor Performance)
    Jordan Sheffield (No Longer a SP)
     
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  4. irish

    irish DSP Staff Member Administrator

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    good stuff as always ckwg!
     
  5. irish

    irish DSP Staff Member Administrator

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    i fear peters may be like that hayseed from trouble with the curve...

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Doughty8

    Doughty8 DSP Legend

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    Keibert Ruiz being named the Dodgers TOP prospect by Baseball America is fantastic!!!
     
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  7. Bluezoo

    Bluezoo DSP Legend

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    Do you know where he stands overall in MLB?
     
  8. Doughty8

    Doughty8 DSP Legend

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    List hasn't come out yet. Stay tuned.
     
  9. ColoradoKidWitGame

    ColoradoKidWitGame DSP Legend Moderator

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    Well it took 4 tries, but I finally properly moved this to the right thread...
     
  10. ColoradoKidWitGame

    ColoradoKidWitGame DSP Legend Moderator

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    I would not be shocked if he is a Top 25 prospect, but he could also still be in the 30's-40's. He has a decent bit to work and improve on both with his offense and defense. He is getting a lot of publicity since he is just so advanced for the position at his age, but catchers still take the most time. There are scouts that love him and even some of them think he still needs two more years in MiLB and it is not really an insult. If he continues to improve and puts up better offensive numbers next season, he should be top 10 after this season. One thing to remember is that pretty much all catching prospects have a year where their offensive numbers take a step back, usually when the parent club drops more defensive responsibilities on them. So there is a question whether that was his 2018(which was still solid, but struggled against LHP'ing) or if it could be coming.
     
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  11. BigDaddyKaine

    BigDaddyKaine DSP Legend

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    According to the Marlins, we should be able to get Mike Trout+ for him
     
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  12. ColoradoKidWitGame

    ColoradoKidWitGame DSP Legend Moderator

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    Here is the BA prospect chat. Some great stuff and interesting to see that we are still considered a Top 10 Org again. What makes things a little more interesting is that there is likely only going to be a handful of graduations potentially from this class with a lot of potential jumpers as well. Lower minors are in desperate need of being restocked, so this upcoming draft will be incredibly important.

    Kyle Glaser: Hey everybody, Happy Friday. Look forward to chatting the Dodgers system with you. It's an excellent system with a lot of talent and depth (yet again) and was a lot of fun to dig into. Let's get started


    • I'm a bit surprised not to see newly acquired Jeter Downs on the top 10. Was he considered, and do you believe his future is at short or 2B?

    Hey J.P., my pleasure. Downs was given some consideration as high as No. 9, but the talent of both White and Peters and the fact they’ve shown flashes of sustained success at Double-A put them over the top without a whole lot of consternation. Downs has talent, but he’s primarily about the bat and he didn’t exactly set the Midwest League on fire in his first full season. His future will likely be at third base, although second base is possible. Shortstop isn’t something anyone expects to be his future position. The trade occurred after our Handbook deadline, but if it had happened before Downs would have slotted in as the Dodgers’ No. 13 prospect.


    • What can you tell us about Gerardo Carrillo? I've started to see quite a bit of buzz about him since late '18.

    Carrillo really excited a lot of people this year. He’s small, but he’s very athletic with a clean arm action and delivery and a really, really mature feel for pitching at 19. The biggest thing with him will be durability. He worked 90-94 and teased a 96 early but by the end of the year he visibly tired and was in the 87-90 range by his final starts, and that was after only 60 innings. He’s got some building up to do. The athleticism, feel and three pitches are there to get excited about though.


    • How many of these guys are likely to make the next BA 100?

    The Top 4 are locks and I think you’ll see No. 5 on there too.


    • What are your thoughts on Diego Cartaya, especially behind the dish?

    He’s a really mature player for his age, which will only help him as he moves up. Great feel and understanding for the game, both behind the plate and in the box. He’s more of a contact and high OBP bat than a masher, but he’s got plenty of time to grow into his power. International catchers (Keibert Ruiz excepted) can take 6-7 years or more though, so don’t expect anything super soon. It’ll be a long, slow burn, but all the tools are there on both sides of the ball.


    • What are the chances of Yadier Alvarez being a major leaguer, and in what capacity?

    If he gets his head on straight enough to make it, it will be as a reliever only. He doesn’t throw enough strikes or compete consistently enough to close. It’s going to be 7th inning unless he fixes those two issues, and he hasn’t for two-plus seasons now.


    • Has Kendall's stock gone down for you, especially due to his alarming number of strikeouts?

    It has gone down for everyone across the entire baseball world. I actually will have a piece coming out shortly about the myth of the fourth outfielder “floor”. Short version – Even the guys who actually become backups in the big leagues hit a lot in the minors. Kendall right now is nowhere near the threshold to project as even a backup. It wasn’t just the fact he was striking out – it’s how many of his swings were just utterly non-competitive. The “victory” the Dodgers were excited about by the end was that his swings and misses were actually more on time. That’s the level we’re talking about here – digging for positives within swings and misses. It’s not good. At all.


    Alex Verdugo (Still Hanging On):


    • With Puig's departure, do you think I'll be residing in his spot now, or will they pull the rug out from under me and get Harper?

    With Pederson, Taylor, Hernandez, Bellinger and Toles all around, I actually think the Dodgers best move is to package you for a veteran at one of their weaker positions (cough, J.T. Realmuto, cough). Bryce Harper is obviously a special talent. Other teams need him more than the Dodgers do. I don’t think he's a great fit TBH.


    • What are your thoughts on Rincon? Can he perform anywhere near as well at higher levels as he did in the CAL?

    No one I’ve found thinks so. He made some approach improvements and dove into the advance scouting process, which are sustainable changes that should help, but he’s still an extreme free swinger who is a liability on the bases and in the outfield. He’s pretty unanimously seen as an up-and-down bench bat, at best.


    • Did Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray merit any top 10 consideration?

    We addressed Downs earlier. There was a little bit of discussion but didn’t go very far. Gray not yet. Both are in the 11-20 range, though, in what is a very good system. Both are talented prospects to keep an eye on, but they’re not elite stud types.

    • Would recent acquisition Jeter Downs have ranked in the #7-#10 range in the Dodgers system? Outside of Lux, Downs would seem like the clear cut #2 middle infield prospect in the Dodgers organization. With Downs moving over to an organization with affiliates located in more hitter friendly destinations, would you be surprised if Downs put up a 20 HR / 20 SB year in 2019? If so, do you see him eventually cracking the top 100?

    To follow up on Downs a little more, the range of discussion for him was 9-14. He is the Dodgers clear-cut No. 2 middle infield prospect behind Lux, and a fine player, but keep in mind the Dodgers had very little middle infield depth beyond Lux, so being No. 2 isn’t a huge accolade in and of itself. As far as a 20-20 season, if it comes with him hitting .sub-.250, it’s not going to mean much. He’s patient and has a good eye, but he’s going to have to make more contact than he did in the MWL. If he starts creeping into that .280-range, then we can talk about Top 100.


    • What’s the probability of Verdugo playing opening day?

    That’s going to depend A. On the effort he puts forth in spring training, and B. If a righthander or lefthander is on the mound. If the D-backs start Greinke on Opening Day, there’s a higher likelihood we see Verdugo and than if they start Robbie Ray (assuming both are still D-backs on Opening Day, that is).


    • If Urias was still a prospect, where would he rank given his age, stuff and injury?

    Interesting question. I’ve always been a little lower than others on Urias, but I’d still comfortably have him No. 2 in this system. The fact he came out and held his own in the NLCS and WS, often getting put out there in big spots, was nice to see and a solid indication of the talent that’s still in there.

    • Jacob Amaya had a really nice season. Was he close to the top 10? Is he more likely to be able to stay at shortstop than Gavin Lux and Jeter Downs?

    Amaya probably generated the most excitement of any position player in the Dodgers front office in 2018, just in terms of what the organization’s expectations were vs. what he showed. He wasn’t close to the Top 10 yet just because we’re still talking about a system with a lot of really good upper-level talent, and Amaya still has some swing things he needs to work on to be successful against higher-level pitching, but he’s comfortably in the 30 and some in the organization think he’s one of their top 20 prospects (but not top 10). And yes, he is the more likely to stay at SS than Lux or Downs.


    • Hey, Kyle. I'd love to hear your thoughts on SS/2B Omar Estevez. Was he anywhere near your top 10? Do you agree with some others I've read elsewhere who say he could be a breakout candidate in 2019? Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

    Hey Danny. It was really impressive to see the strides Estevez took last year. The Omar Estevez I saw at Rancho in 2017 to the Omar Estevez at Rancho in 2018 were two completely different players. I don’t want to spoil the Handbook writeup, but short version is he began doing some new hitting drills that helped him stay behind and through the baseball more, and we saw the results pretty quickly. That all said, he doesn’t really have many tools to lean back on. His arm, defense and speed are all fringy to below-average, and while his bat improved, it’s a potential average bat, not anything beyond. As such, most see him as a potential bench contributor, not a guy who would be a 2019 breakout star or anything. But he’s moving in the right direction finally, and if he can replicate the size of the jump he made form 2017 to 2018, maybe that starts to change.


    • Who are a few guys not on this list that could break out and join it next offseason?

    Keep an eye on Zach Willeman. His stuff came back waaayyy better after TJ and he’s got one of the most gifted arms in the system. If he shows the flashes of 99 mph with two plus breaking balls weren’t a small-sample fluke, he’s going to fly up the rankings.


    • Thanks for the chat Any under the radar Dodger prospects coming up creating some buzz? If I go to a Rancho game, who do I keep an eye on?

    My pleasure Dan. Thanks for joining in. SS/2B Decon Liput really made a positive impression with Great Lakes after getting drafted and should be in Rancho at the start of next year. His college career got sidetracked by some off the field stuff, but he can really hit, play both middle infield positions and shows some impressive leadership attributes.


    • What’s Will Smith’s offensive upside? Does he have the bat to play at 3B if they move him there?

    You’re going to be looking at low average, solid power from Smith now with the way the Dodgers have reworked his swing. .230-.240, 18-22 home runs is probably fair. He might get to .250 in his best years. I don’t think Smith will ever be the true everyday 3B. He’ll be more catch two days a week, play 3B two days a week, fill in at 2B a day or so. Kinda of bounce around but get enough ABs that it’s a full-season’s worth. He’ll hit plenty to do that.


    • Does Dennis Santana have mid rotation arm upside, or can he be more?

    It’s more No. 4 starter upside because of where his third pitch and control are. Both are usable, but No. 3 starters in the majors have a better than usable third pitch and certainly better than usable control. Santana's arm is that of a big leaguer though, and he's going to help the Dodgers win games. It's just more at the back of the rotation or in the bullpen - both of which are critical to be successful.


    • What are the odds that Will Smith ends up as the better player than Ruiz?

    They’re very different. Ruiz is kind of your straight catcher with impressive feel to hit. Smith is the versatile infielder who is really good behind the plate but you also can move around. It’s honestly not that different than Yasmani Grandal and Austin Barnes. They are really different and not really all that comparable, but they complement each other very well. I think when all is said and done, we might see a similar arrangement between Ruiz and Smith as we saw with Grandal and Barnes, although I think Ruiz is better than Grandal and Smith is better than Barnes.
     
  13. ColoradoKidWitGame

    ColoradoKidWitGame DSP Legend Moderator

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    • Looks like you are really sold on Keibert Ruiz behind the plate, but is there any chance Will Smith surpasses him and becomes the Dodger catcher of the future?

    Just as Barnes is a better defensive catcher than Grandal, Smith is a better defensive catcher than Ruiz. That’s not in question. But with Smith’s ability to play other positions and everything else Ruiz offers you at the plate, the best arrangement for your team is to have Ruiz behind the plate and Smith bouncing around.



    • So where would Bannon, Yusniel Diaz, Kremer and Zach Pop appear in the Handbook's top Dodger 30, if at all?

    Diaz would check in between 3-5, Kremer would probably be early teens, Bannon and Pop somewhere in the 18-22 range.


    • Hello! Where would Jaren Kendall rank in the Top 30? Or did he even make the Top 30? Will he ever get his Ks under control? Thanks!

    Kendall is still in there, in part because the Dodgers depth drops off quite a bit. And his K's are a function of his setup and stance. He needs to blow it up and start completely from scratch to get the K's under control. If he doesn't come back with a 100 percent different setup, then the answer is no, the K's will not improve


    • Is Andre Ethier a fair comp for Alex Verdugo?

    Ethier had a lot more power than Verdugo does. He had four 20-HR seasons and a 30-HR season. Verdugo's better comps are in the writeup - Nick Markakis, Melky Cabrera, guys like that who maybe got to 20 once or twice but mostly stayed in the 13-18 HR range


    • How far down the list did Yadier Alvarez slide?

    He's still in the top 20, but that's due more to the Dodgers dropoff after their top dozen prospects or so


    • When Healthy, Mitch White has been really good. But health remains a question mark for him. What do you expect out of White in 2019?

    It's hard to say without having access to his medical records. He finished strong and made some delivery changes that should help moving forward, but none of that will matter if he can't stay on the mound.


    • Thank you for chatting with us today. Where would the recent acquisitions of Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray fit into the Dodgers top 10? Would it be fair to say Downs would probably fit at #8 behind Dennis Santana and Gray somewhere in the #11-15 range?

    You're high on both counts. Downs would be the Dodgers No. 13 prospect, Gray No. 18 if they had made it into the Handbook


    • Ríos going to start the year off in the big leagues?

    He deserves to, but it's hard to find him a spot with Justin Turner, Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy on the corners.


    • Will Sheffield or Alvarez make to mlb as RP next year? Which has best path.

    Alvarez way more than Sheffield. I wouldn't count on either of them though.


    • What are your thoughts on Michael Grove? When do you expect he returns? Chances he winds up high in this top ten next year?

    Grove is definitely a candidate to ascend to the Top 10 if he proves he's healthy. Up to 96 with excellent carry through the upper third of the strike zone and a plus power slider, yeah, that's a starter's kit for a potential top 10 pitching prospect in the organization. Of course, we need to see if that stuff is actually still there when he comes back.

    • What are your thoughts on DJ Peters, Cody Thomas and Errol Robinson? Any chance we see any of them suit up for the Dodgers?

    Peters would be the one. The others have their talents but are seen as minor leaguers for the most part. Peters though should get a chance at some point, although whether he stays in the majors is going to depend on some swing adjustments he made in instructs sticking.

    • Where will julian smith start in 2019? What is his upside? Rp or SP.

    I'm glad you brought up Julian Smith Bob. This is the super sleeper in the org. Juco guy who had some arm problems, came out in instructs and made only one appearance, but it was a hell of an appearance. He probably starts in Great Lakes because he's got some building up to do, but there is a chance he blossoms into a very promising lefty SP prospect sooner rather than later


    • With Seager set at SS for a while, could Lux turn into a posible 20/20 2B? What about his possible future OBP?

    20/20 may be a little high for Lux. You're looking more at 35+ doubles, 15ish home runs, 15ish stolen bases. Maybe he gets to 20-homers in his best years. But he'll do all that hitting .280 or better, with an OBP of .360 or better. That's a darn, darn good player.

    • May seemed to jump up quite a bit. Any thought he can advance more to top of rotation type as he continues to grow into his body and develp secondaries? The red-haired Thor comps are obvious.....

    Top of the rotation is a bit much. Thor throws 100 with a ridiculous 92-mph slider. May is more 93-96 with secondaries that need some work. He's really, really good, and you can find an evaluator that absolutely loves him and thinks he has a chance to be a No. 2, but most see a No. 3. Thor isn't really in the cards.


    • Does Edwin Rios get a chance in LA or should he hope for a trade? Does he have anything else to prove in AAA?

    I would be very interested to see the Dodgers send Verdugo and Rios, along with some others, in a package to Miami for JT Realmuto. I think Rios would hit given the chance. He doesn't really have anything left to prove in AAA, especially after he made massive improvements to his defense at 3B last year

    • Dodgers 2017 second-rounder Morgan Cooper hasn't thrown a pitch in pro ball. Do you know what his injury is and whether he is expected to pitch this year?

    Cooper is battling the same shoulder tendinitis/tightness that has plagued him since he signed. It's a coin flip whether he pitches next year at this point. It's just about if that shoulder ever heals up. It hasn't in two years now.


    • Lot of top-10 are near majors. Who are some of the new faces we might see - Gerardo Carrillo, Josiah Gray, Robinson Ortiz as pitchers? What about recent signee Diego Cartaya? Thanks for doing chat!

    Hey Bill, my pleasure. Cartaya will be the first one on from that group. You'll see when you get your Prospect Handbook that he was close as is. Carrillo would be next, although there are other guys ahead of him you would see first.


    • Not a lot of big name guys come from Wisconsin so I'm excited to follow Gavin Lux. I realize he had a great 2018 and between organization need and throwing accuracy he's trending toward 2B. The Dodgers are known to have a lot of financial resources. Do you think Lux is a high end enough talent to make the Dodgers avoid buying their next 2B?

    Yes. Lux is a better long-term solution at 2B than anyone on the market currently.


    • Please tell me one encouraging thing about Yadier Alvarez that doesn't refer to his pure stuff.

    He looked better after moving to the stretch at the end of the season.


    • Do you belive the Dodgers plan to keep Connor Wong as a catcher or will they convert him to another position with Ruiz and Smith already in the picture?

    He'll remain a catcher. You can never, ever have too much catching depth.


    • DJ Peters was a little higher than I thought he'd be based on his struggles in AA. Was wondering what you are seeing that you like?

    I struggle with Peters a little bit. Guys who swing and miss in the strike zone that much are rarely ever productive big leaguers. But you see really good plate discipline (he doesn't chase), kind of amazing athleticism for his size, game-changing power - there's enough there to envision a power hitter playing all three OF positions as needed. At the end of the day, there is enough there to see a big leaguer, more than a lot of the other guys behind him on this list, even if what his exact role will be is a bit cloudy.


    • I haven't seen a Miguel Vargas question yet, and it seems to me that a guy who played at three levels at 18 deserves one. How high is his offensive ceiling? Will he be able to play 3B?

    There's a lot to like with Vargas. The approach, hand-eye and raw power are all there. He's still learning to pull the ball, but if he does you could see a pretty impressive hitter with power. As far as 3B, he's a big boy already without a lot of twitch or athleticism, so it's considered pretty slam dunk he'll eventually move to 1B. That will put more pressure on his bat obviously, but he has the track record and attributes to make it work


    • Keibert Ruiz had a very low strikeout rate last year but had a lower batting average than one would expect. Was he making poor contact, or just bad luck? I expect you see him to make strides given his age for the level of play and his ranking here.

    Ruiz's overall numbers looking a little lower than you like is actually the product of a pretty pronounced switch-hitting split. He hit .276 with 11 home runs batting lefthanded. If you saw just those numbers, you'd be ecstatic for a 19 year old catcher in AA. But he hit .238 with one home run batting righthanded, and that weighed his overall numbers down. His righthanded swing is kind of a pepper swing, where he makes contact but doesn't drive it, so it's a lot of soft contact that doesn't do much. He may end up junking that RH swing eventually. For now, he's going to keep working on it so that it doesn't weigh down his overall production.


    • Does Jeren Kendall go back to Rancho Cucamonga, any news on what he did at Instructionals to work on his swing/approach. Thanks!!

    He should go back to Rancho, but the Dodgers have seemed determined to keep pushing him at times. The main focus in instructs was going to be tweaking his setup a bit, especially with regards to his lower half - but that was the same deal last year, and the final product was worse than it was before. We'll see what it looks like coming out this year


    • Where does Dodgers Farm System rank?

    It's a top 10 system. You'll find out exactly where when our Org Talent rankings come out shortly



    • What about Cristian Santana?

    Santana wasn't too far off the Top 10, although he wasn't really in consideration to be in there either. He can demolish a fastball and makes Gold Glove level defensive plays at 3B, two things that are really promising to start with. He just has unbelievably poor breaking ball recognition and goes fishing a lot, which leads to all the strikeouts you see. He needs to tighten that up, big time, especially as he gets ready to move to AA.
     
  14. irish

    irish DSP Staff Member Administrator

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  15. ColoradoKidWitGame

    ColoradoKidWitGame DSP Legend Moderator

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    Some of this chat is really great to hear. Some of the highlights and lowlights for the TL:DR community:
    • Verdugo's character has once again been pulled into question and could be the biggest factor of why the team seems reluctant to give him a shot.
    • Yadier Alvarez and Jordan Sheffield showed improvements as relievers, but they look like middle relievers at best(not good).
    • Under the radar names to watch this season are Jacob Amaya, Omar Estevez, Zach Willeman, Decon Liput, Michael Grove and Julian Smith.
    • The above mentioned Zach Willeman returned from TJ towards the end of the season after being drafted in 2017. Tell me if you have heard this before, but his FB had ticked way up to 99 MPH and was now accompanied with "two plus breaking balls". He will need to show it was not a relief fluke, but that would be huge if we had another Walker Buehler situation on our hands....
    • He mentions how similar Ruiz and White are in the way they play to Grandal and Barnes. The difference being that both Ruiz and White project out to be better.
    • Jeren Kendall is an absolute atrocity at the plate and is no longer a serious MLB prospect.
    • IF HEALTHY Mitch White is a front line starter. He has never been able to stay healthy, so adjustments he made in 2018 could be key here.
    • Edwin Rios "made massive improvements" at 3B last season. The guy can fucking mash, but defense has been a major weakness, though he has cannon for an arm. He is said to have a great attitude and tremendous work ethic, so I am intrigued to see this play out.
    • Dodgers 2017 second rounder Morgan Cooper sounds like a lost cause. Injuries may have gotten the best of him
    • DJ Peters athleticism is keeping him in the top 10. Still some major holes in his game, but still has massive upside and 80 grade power.
     
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  16. irish

    irish DSP Staff Member Administrator

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    from what i've seen, he just seems confident to me
    of course that could come off as cocky and entitled to others who have to deal with him daily
    but it makes sense why he's not been given a better shot
    but the kid can play
    put him out there or trade him
     
  17. ColoradoKidWitGame

    ColoradoKidWitGame DSP Legend Moderator

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    See, I have felt the same way and I have also seen reports that agree with this view, but everyone formulates their own ideas. To be honest though, A LOT of players get pissed or act out when they are in MiLB when they truly should be up in the bigs. There are so many reasons for this that I couldn't fault the guy if he was just going through the motions in OKC at times last year. I think he is in LA next season no matter what and then we will truly see what he is.
     
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  18. irish

    irish DSP Staff Member Administrator

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    i hope so
    seems like he could hit .280 in his sleep
    and i've heard his defense (specifically his arm) is better than advertised
     
  19. ColoradoKidWitGame

    ColoradoKidWitGame DSP Legend Moderator

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    His arm will not be what Puig's was, which is like a 90 on the 80-20 scale, but I have seen 70 and 80 grade marks which is what you want out of your RF'er and he occasionally can make the impressive play.
     
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  20. ColoradoKidWitGame

    ColoradoKidWitGame DSP Legend Moderator

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    Does Edwin Rios get a chance in LA or should he hope for a trade? Does he have anything else to prove in AAA?
    I would be very interested to see the Dodgers send Verdugo and Rios, along with some others, in a package to Miami for JT Realmuto. I think Rios would hit given the chance. He doesn't really have anything left to prove in AAA, especially after he made massive improvements to his defense at 3B last year

    So the above exchange really stood out to me. I have been a big believer in Edwin Rios since he started mashing his way through the Dodgers system in 2016. Going into last spring, most scouts had him pegged as a surefire trade candidate due to his defensive shortcomings and likelihood to be more of a DH. The reports on his bat have always been favorable and as he had moved up the ladder, his skills never really diminished. Frustratingly on one of the last days of what was an incredibly impressive camp that saw Rios hit two of the springs most massive bombs, he injured his calf badly enough that he missed the next two+ months. Upon returning, some of the skills that had made a potential .280+ hitter with 25-30+ HR big league bat returned, but much of his power was zapped. In 2018 he started to hit ball on the ground significantly more than in the past and his strikeout rate jumped nearly 12% into the low 30's. None of that is acceptable for him to succeed going forward, but I read something in season where he admitted that the injury knocked him out of whack and altered his swing. The positive is that his defense now has come back into the spotlight and not because of how terrible he is. As BA notes, Rios took giant strides on defense. He was already known for a cannon arm, but a follow up conversation I had with BA revealed that he is now viewed as an average defender at 3rd with the skills to make the occasional above average play. This is a HUGE deal.

    So why exactly is this is a HUGE deal and what could it mean going forward? Even in a down year, Rios did a tremendous job of finding holes when making contact and put up his 3rd consecutive year of a .300+ BA and mid .300's OBP. His slugging dropped to below .500 for the first time since a short stint in rookie ball in 2015 and his K rate jumped from a more than acceptable 20% as a power hitter into the low 30's. With all that going on, Rios still put up an impressive .837 OPS. If he regains that power stroke, can find some middle ground between 2017-18 with his K rate and continues to make improvements in other categories, the Dodgers could be looking at a legit 3rd baseman to replace Turner in a couple years.... or could the team have someone that either moves Turner to 2B-1B or Rios plays 1B with Muncy at 2B? Rios is a left handed bat, but aside from two bouts of struggles in SSS’s after promotions, he has more than held his own against same handed pitchers. Rios has exceptional hand eye contact and unlike many left handed power hitters, he uses the whole field.

    Rios will be someone to watch early on. He is known as an incredibly hard worker and it will be interesting to see how he can bounce back. If he looks more like he did in 2017, but with the glove of 2018, the Dodgers could have another impact rookie bat on their hands in 2019.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
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