Analyzing the Prospect Player Pool: NL West

Below is my latest in a series discussing each team’s 60-man player pool with a focus on prospects. Previous installments of these rundowns, including potentially relevant context for discussion, can be found here:

AL East and Intro
NL East
AL Central
NL Central

Arizona Diamondbacks

Prospect List / Depth Chart

Remember that, Greinke trade aside, the Diamondbacks have been operating like buyers for the last little while, and only four of their projected regulars/rotation members are under 29. It’s unknowable whether the shortened, but more condensed season will be good or bad for their veteran’s productivity and health, but the DH spot will probably help in that regard. It means little breathers for Kole Calhoun and David Peralta, and extra at-bats for Kevin Cron and Jake Lamb without the defensive drawbacks.

Some of the same benefits could result from rostering Daulton Varsho, especially if Carson Kelly gets dinged and suddenly 36-year-old Stephen Vogt and John Hicks are platooning. Varsho could caddy for any or all of Vogt, Calhoun and Peralta, keeping the older guys fresh while getting plenty of reps so his development isn’t stifled even though he’s technically playing a bench role. This is the type of move that might help Arizona catch Wild Card lightning in a 60-game bottle, but I don’t think their current catching depth allows for it right now. The club only has four backstops in their pool, and even if they eventually add spring NRI Dominic Miroglio they still have fewer catchers than most teams and probably not enough for sticking three on the big league active roster. Perhaps Wyatt Mathieson will put on the gear at the campsite.

The next-highest ranked prospect likely to debut this year is righty J.B. Bukauskas. Some of the Arizona bullpen pieces need to really pop if the team is going to compete (perhaps Archie Bradley truly returns to form, or Yoan López takes a leap, or Hector Rondón bounces back, etc.) and Bukauskas has the stuff to be part of a contingent that helps win coin-flip games. Aside from some other backend/middle relief prospects who might play a role this year (Jon Duplantier and Taylor Widener could usurp Merrill Kelly as the fifth starter, and Kevin Ginkel is a bullpen lock) and a couple likely role players perhaps debuting (bat-first infielder Andy Young and bat-only 1B/DH types Seth Beer and Pavin Smith), the other, more exciting D-backs prospects are young guys just getting reps in camp (Alek Thomas, Corbin Carroll, Blake Walston, Geraldo Perdomo, Levi Kelly, Luis Frias). It’s possible the roster clocks of Josh Green (who doesn’t have to be 40-man’d until 2021) or even 2020 draftee Bryce Jarvis are punched early but Arizona would really need to be in the thick of the postseason picture for that to happen. It’s more likely spot-starter types Jeremy Beasley and Keury Mella are called upon if they need to dip into the campsite for starters.

Colorado Rockies

Prospect List / Depth Chart

The headliner here should be the first consistent big league playing time for top prospect Brendan Rodgers, who has now been on the prospect radar for almost a decade and is about 70 at-bats away from graduating off of prospect lists. The very toolsy Sam Hilliard might break camp as one of the club’s starting outfielders because Charlie Blackmon has COVID-19. Almost all the rest of the prospects in the Rockies pool are pitching staff role players in their mid-20s. Antonio Santos, Ashton Goudeau, Ryan Castellani, Tommy Doyle, and even minor league free agent Alexander Guillen could all pitch competently out of the bullpen right now.

Corner role-playing prospect Tyler Nevin is the sole rookie-eligible hitter likely to start at Colorado’s offsite camp, as the club has yet to add any of its several recent college draftee hitters (Michael Toglia, Terrin Vavra, Aaron Schunk), or dudes who have been around a while (Colton Welker, Ryan Vilade); instead, Colorado has a bunch of NRI veterans in their pool right now. The draft emphasis on college corner performers would make it tough to roster all of these players even if Colorado were motivated to, but some of them should eventually be added to the Rockies pool, which is currently at about 52 players.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Prospect List / Depth Chart

The Dodgers’ player pool is absolutely loaded with exciting young players. No. 2 overall prospect Gavin Lux will open with the big league team while three other top 100 prospects — Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin and Brusdar Graterol — are all likely to play significant roles on the pitching staff in some capacity.

Beyond that, Josh Sborz, Victor Gonzalez, Dennis Santana, and Mitchell White are all likely to play minor roles at some point this summer, as will multi-positional bench bat Zach McKinstry and any/all of big-bodied sluggers DJ Peters, Edwin Ríos , and Luke Raley. This entire paragraph of prospects is already on the 40-man.

But that’s it. Despite how prospect-laden the rest of the Dodgers pool is, everyone else will require a 40-man move to see big league time. Several Dodgers 40-man members haven’t yet reported to camp, or are on the IL, or were put on the Restricted List, and so the campsite is poised to be full of exciting, if green, young players. That includes basically the whole 2020 draft class (including a surprising inclusion in prep outfielder Jake Vogel) and some early 2019 picks, too.

Among current NRI’s who might actually debut this year, there’s extreme vertical slot guy Marshall Kasowski (who had a rough intrasquad over the weekend) and swingman type Brett de Geus. Then I think there’s a gap in probability, then top 100 prospect Josiah Gray and perhaps one of the college pitcher draftees if any of them looks incredible. This is a 40-man evaluation year for Andre Jackson, Omar Estevez, and Gerardo Carrillo.

San Diego Padres

Prospect List / Depth Chart

Like Arizona, San Diego is a threat to sprint for 60 games and be in the playoff mix come September, and such a run would likely involve winning an unusually high rate of close games, which would probably require a couple members of the bullpen to take a leap. Two candidates to do so — Andres Munoz (TJ) and José Castillo (lat strain) — are hurt, which shifts the focus to a deep group of prospects consisting of David Bednar, Javy Guerra, Gerardo Reyes, Adrian Morejon, Ronald Bolanos and Michel Baez, any of whom might buttress the late-inning Kirby YatesEmilio PagánDrew Pomeranz Cerberus. It’s possible the Padres will push either or both of MacKenzie Gore or Luis Patiño into the rotation if they look dominant in camp, which might mean Dinelson Lamet or Garrett Richards kick into a high-leverage bullpen role. NPB kickback righty Pierce Johnson is an interesting unknown component, as well.

The Padres don’t have a true center fielder on the roster now that they’ve traded Manuel Margot, but Jorge Mateo has the speed to be one if he can return from COVID-19 and quickly acclimate to the position. If not then perhaps Edward Olivares will get some defensive replacement reps in center since he’s faster than Trent Grisham and has better instincts than Franchy Cordero.

Perhaps this opens the door for Taylor Trammell, who I have evaluated as a left fielder because of his lack of arm strength. He’s not yet on the 40-man, though he is by far the most experienced outfielder in San Diego’s player pool, which has five hitters (current shortstop but projected center fielder CJ Abrams, 2020 first rounder Robert Hassell, 2019 overslot draftee Hudson Head and slick-fielding infielders Gabriel Arias and Tucupita Marcano) under 21 years old who are likely there for developmental purposes only.

I expect the Padres 10-ish remaining player pool slots to be filled with more experienced pitching, as their projected campsite group is currently young and shallow. Some of them might be for trade purposes, though. Several of the guys I’ve mentioned already have 2020 offseason 40-man/Rule 5 timelines, as do several others who aren’t in the player pool, creating an upcoming roster crunch situation likely to be resolved via trades. If the Padres want to make for the stretch run it’s unclear if they’ll actually have to add players to their pool in order to deal them or if they can just deal a bunch of Players to be Named Later like they did in the Jorge Mateo trade. It’s also unclear how teams will behave if prospects who they haven’t seen in a while are on the table in trade talks. If they’re scared to deal for guys like that, and the Padres don’t package 40-man crunch guys by the end of July, then there will be a narrow Autumn window in which teams will need to evaluate Padres prospects in a theoretical Fall League, and then trade for them ahead of the roster deadline.

San Francisco Giants

Prospect List / Depth Chart

I don’t expect many prospects to play for the Giants this year. Mauricio Dubón should see plenty of playing time, and Rule 5 pick Dany Jimenez will get every opportunity to keep a roster spot. Post-prospect Steven Duggar is healthy.

Yes, Buster Posey’s opt-out shifts focus to Joey Bart, but the Giants should avoid Zunino’ing him. Aside from what will probably be plenty of Logan Webb, I think we’ll get another year of San Francisco cycling through older guys who couldn’t crack competitive rosters and seeing who might play well enough to either stick, the best and most exciting of whom is Jaylin Davis. This also includes Luis Madero, Rico Garcia, Trevor Oaks, Abiatal Avelino, Joe McCarthy, Sam Wolff, and some other players who were once on prospect lists but aren’t anymore.

The club’s offsite camp is loaded with exciting young talent that is highly unlikely to reach the bigs next year, let alone this year. Any of Melvin Adon, Jandel Gustave, Kean Wong, or Jose Siri, who aren’t currently in the player pool, are much more likely to be added and eventually come up this summer.





Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.

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Ericksonb32
2 years ago

Thanks, Eric. Love reading these.