Los Angeles Dodgers Top 51 Prospects by Eric Longenhagen May 6, 2022 © Ron Holman / Visalia Times-Delta / USA TODAY NETWORK Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Scouting reports were compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as my own observations. This is the second year we’re delineating between two anticipated relief roles, the abbreviations for which you’ll see in the “position” column below: MIRP for multi-inning relief pitchers, and SIRP for single-inning relief pitchers. A quick overview of what FV (Future Value) means can be found here. A much deeper overview can be found here. All of the numbered prospects below also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It has more details than this article and integrates every team’s list so readers can compare prospects across farm systems. It can be found here. Top Prospects Team Lists 2022 2021 ALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFG ALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFG Dodgers Top Prospects Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV 1 Diego Cartaya 20.7 A C 2024 50 2 Bobby Miller 23.1 AA SP 2022 50 3 Michael Busch 24.5 AA 2B 2023 50 4 Andy Pages 21.4 AA CF 2023 50 5 Ryan Pepiot 24.7 AAA SP 2022 45+ 6 Maddux Bruns 19.9 A SP 2026 45+ 7 Jose Ramos 21.3 A RF 2025 45+ 8 Rayne Doncon 18.6 R 2B 2026 45+ 9 Jorbit Vivas 21.2 A+ 2B 2023 45 10 Miguel Vargas 22.5 AAA 3B 2023 45 11 Michael Grove 25.4 AA SP 2022 45 12 Landon Knack 25.3 AA SP 2023 45 13 Edgardo Henriquez 19.9 A SP 2024 45 14 Clayton Beeter 23.6 AA SIRP 2022 45 15 Jacob Amaya 23.7 AA SS 2022 45 16 Andre Jackson 26.0 MLB SP 2022 45 17 Wilman Diaz 18.5 R SS 2025 40+ 18 Nick Nastrini 22.2 A+ SIRP 2025 40+ 19 Carlos Duran 20.8 A+ SIRP 2024 40+ 20 Joel Ibarra 19.8 R MIRP 2025 40+ 21 Gavin Stone 23.6 A+ MIRP 2024 40+ 22 Peter Heubeck 19.8 R SP 2026 40 23 James Outman 25.0 AA CF 2022 40 24 Thayron Liranzo 18.8 R C 2027 40 25 Emmet Sheehan 22.5 A+ MIRP 2025 40 26 Jesus Galiz 18.4 R C 2025 40 27 Maximo Martinez 17.9 R SP 2026 40 28 Nick Robertson 23.8 AA SIRP 2023 40 29 Ronan Kopp 19.8 A SIRP 2026 40 30 Eddys Leonard 21.5 A+ 3B 2022 40 31 Ben Casparius 23.2 A MIRP 2025 40 32 Jonny DeLuca 23.8 A+ RF 2024 40 33 Gus Varland 25.5 AA MIRP 2023 40 34 Ryan Noda 26.1 AAA 1B 2023 40 35 Hyun-il Choi 21.9 A+ MIRP 2024 40 36 Carson Taylor 22.9 AA C 2024 35+ 37 Juan Alonso 18.5 R CF 2027 35+ 38 River Ryan 23.7 R SP 2025 35+ 39 Yeiner Fernandez 19.6 A C 2024 35+ 40 Kyle Hurt 23.9 A+ MIRP 2024 35+ 41 Ryan Ward 24.2 AA LF 2024 35+ 42 Brandon Lewis 23.5 AA 1B 2023 35+ 43 Alex De Jesus 20.1 A 3B 2024 35+ 44 Jose Hernandez 24.3 A+ SIRP 2023 35+ 45 Guillermo Zuniga 23.6 AA SIRP 2022 35+ 46 Tanner Dodson 25.0 AA SIRP 2023 35+ 47 Carlos De Los Santos 21.5 A SIRP 2023 35+ 48 Madison Jeffrey 22.1 A SIRP 2026 35+ 49 Jorge Gonzalez 19.7 R SIRP 2025 35+ 50 Nelson Quiroz 20.5 R C 2025 35+ 51 Robinson Ortiz 22.3 A+ MIRP 2023 35+ Reading Options Detail Level Data Only Full Position Filter All All C 1B 2B SS 3B LF CF RF SP SIRP MIRP 50 FV Prospects 1. Diego Cartaya, C Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Venezuela (LAD) Age 20.7 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 219 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/45 50/60 35/60 40/30 40/50 70 Cartaya only suited up for 31 games in 2021 due to multiple back injuries and a strained hamstring. When healthy, he hit 10 homers in those 31 games and his receiving was better than it had been the two years before. While the recurring injuries are somewhat worrying — and while it’s fair to wonder whether Cartaya would produce at anything close to his 2021 output (.298/.409/.614) if he were catching for a whole, grueling season, or playing in a more neutral run environment — he is very gifted in all facets of baseball and has an All-Star ceiling. He has run-stopping arm strength and accuracy, and is not afraid to backpick runners, which is rare for a catcher this age, especially when the infielders are typically not reliable recipients of such lasers. For such a large backstop, his exchange is very quick and remarkably consistent. He’s out of his crouch fast and in one fell swoop, he unfurls, releases, and then folds forward, bent at the waist, as the ball sizzles on a line to the base. Cartaya is also a balanced, explosive hitter with feel for hitting the ball in the air. His batting stance looks similar to that of the departed Keibert Ruiz, and is quite compact despite Cartaya’s lever length, enabling him to impact balls out in front of the plate to his pull side. He seemed to have a better idea of the strike zone in 2021, though Low-A West pitching was quite bad. The power, strikeouts, aggressive approach, frame, and arm strength are all reminiscent of Salvador Perez. There’s extreme variance here because we’re talking about a very young catcher, one who hasn’t played all that much yet, but Cartaya has the ability to be a star. 2. Bobby Miller, SP Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from Louisville (LAD) Age 23.1 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 65/70 60/60 45/55 40/45 97-100 / 102 Miller presented a bit of a conundrum to teams heading into the 2020 draft. He was a physical pitcher who threw hard and threw strikes, but a lack of certainty as to his future role saw him slide towards the bottom of the first round. He pro debut was wonderful on a rate basis, but it was also interrupted by an oblique strain and clouded by some extreme conservatism as to his workload. While he frequently started games, he got to four or more innings in just five of 17 starts while exceeding 60 pitches just six times. He was outstanding during 2021 instructs and in the spring of ’22, often sitting 97-101 mph while bending in a plus (or better) slider. While he clearly has a starter’s repertoire, there are some qualities that create relief (or at least pitch-inefficiency) risk here. For one, Miller’s fastball fails to perform as well as that velo suggests it should because it features shape and break similar to that of Sixto Sánchez‘s heater and because Miller lacks precise command of it, instead bullying hitters in the zone. And while his delivery isn’t as noisy as it was in college, Miller still has a pretty long arm swing and a bit of a head whack. His slider command has been mediocre to start the 2022 regular season. While Miller still seems to throw the occasional curveball (he lacked feel for it in college), that pitch may be re-emphasized as a way of stealing strike one as he’s asked to go deeper in games, especially if he continues to pitch with fringe command. While his ultimate role still feels fuzzy, there’s just too much stuff here for Miller not to be an impact arm, and while his delivery scared away some teams on the amateur side, he hasn’t had any arm issues and was holding velo deep into games at Louisville. 3. Michael Busch, 2B Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from North Carolina (LAD) Age 24.5 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 207 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 50/55 60/60 45/55 50/45 30/35 30 The strong-bodied Busch has never done anything but hit, amassing a .282/.429/.492 line at North Carolina, then a .267/.386/.484 line at Double-A Tulsa in 2021, his first full year at an affiliate. Busch’s swing is simple but still athletic and explosive. His hands work with natural lift, but Busch keeps their path short and on time, and he can move the barrel all over the zone. He can get extended on pitches out away from him and drive them into the opposite field gap, and has the power to do damage that way, and he can move the bat head all over the strike zone. Busch is not a good defensive player. Scouts who have had an extended look at him think he could eventually be passable at second base, but definitely not good, much like Tommy La Stella. Busch played the keystone for an extended stretch on the Cape in 2018 but spent his career at North Carolina playing mostly first base and some corner outfield, and those are the two positions pro scouts think he’ll move to if second doesn’t work out. But most importantly, Busch really hits, and is probably an everyday player even if he ends up mostly playing left field. He’s a well-rounded offensive player and a high-probability big league regular. 4. Andy Pages, CF Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (LAD) Age 21.4 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 60/70 35/70 50/50 45/50 60 Pages (it’s pronounced pá-hāz) was on this list last year but not even we would have guessed that he’d skip Low-A, go straight to High-A Great Lakes, and hit 31 bombs as a 20-year-old. Pages’ average launch angle in 2019 was a whopping 25 degrees, which would have been the highest among major league players that year (Rhys Hoskins averaged 24 degrees), and would have been second among qualified 2020 hitters behind only Joey Gallo. His pull-and-lift proclivity was on display again in 2021, as Pages’ 24% groundball rate was the lowest among qualified hitters in full-season ball, tied with Nicholas Northcut of the Red Sox. As you would probably expect from a hitter with such a steep swing (this is about as steep as one can get without it becoming a problem), Pages swings and misses quite a bit, and has a power-driven profile. He’s now put a year of full-season statistics on paper and it looks like he has the ball/strike discipline to help support his profile. He can hit balls out with a flick of the wrist even when he hasn’t taken his best swing. His speed under way and his defensive instincts give him a chance to stay in center field, which would obviously give Pages a little more margin for error as a hitter. If he stays in center, he has a star-level ceiling. If not, then he has a whiff-prone, traditional right field profile driven by obvious impact power. Even if the latter occurs, it’s very likely Pages not only gets to all of his raw power, but might outperform it because of how often he’s able to lift the baseball. He’s a launch angle unicorn with the thump to take advantage of it and a non-zero chance of staying at a premium defensive spot, though it’s not likely. 45+ FV Prospects 5. Ryan Pepiot, SP Video Drafted: 3rd Round, 2019 from Butler (LAD) Age 24.7 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/60 40/45 70/70 40/45 92-95 / 97 Count the Dodgers among the teams whose pitchers are throwing a changeup in the style of Devin Williams more often, pronating around the baseball and using side spin to get arm-side action on the pitch. Pepiot is one of the pitchers in this mold, and while it can take him a few tries to get feel for his changeup’s release, it is a lethal offering once he does. He can mis-locate it and still get a swing and miss, or freeze left-handed hitters who think the pitch is inside when in fact it tails back over the plate, and it’s his best swing-and-miss offering against righties, too. Part of that is because he hasn’t found a very good breaking ball yet. He came to pro ball with a curveball, then used an upper-80s cutter in 2021, and now has a mid-80s slider — typically 83-87 mph — that has been short and typically lacks vertical action. Pepiot’s command isn’t good enough to offset this and his slider is going to be very vulnerable to big league hitters when he misses with it in the zone. His changeup and rise-and-run style mid-90s fastball, however, are nails. Pepiot’s velocity has held in the 93-95 mph range the last couple of years, a good sign after it swooned in his draft year. He’s been just outside the Top 100 each of the last two seasons, waiting for some progression in either the breaking ball or command departments, and with a seemingly new slider in tow we have another development to key in on in 2022, as Pepiot is in his 40-man evaluation year. He has a shot to debut at some point this season but is a virtual lock for a key role in 2023. 6. Maddux Bruns, SP Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from UMS-Wright Prep HS (LAD) Age 19.9 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Command Sits/Tops 55/60 55/60 60/70 20/45 93-97 / 98 Bruns, the Dodgers’ first rounder from 2021, entered pro ball with plenty of perceived relief risk due to strike-throwing issues and an effortful delivery exhibited in high school. He also had premium stuff, a carrying fastball up to 97 mph, and a power breaking ball that was already plus. Bruns’ physique and delivery have already changed, as he’s now more svelte than he was during his pre-draft summer, and he’s also landing more open, resulting in a high three-quarters arm slot instead of his extreme over-the-top style from high school. This hasn’t affected the action on Bruns’ pitches, as his fastball still has huge life and carry at the top of the zone (he was sitting 93-97 mph early during minor league spring training), or detracted from the depth on his two breaking balls, a mid-80s slider and an upper-70s curveball. Bruns’ curveball already has much more power than in high school, when it was often in the low-70s, and some of the curves he threw during his first minor league spring outing (which you can see through the video link) were so good that they fooled the umpire. He has three plus or better pitches and just needs to show an improved ability to throw strikes while building an innings count befitting a starter. He’ll be a top 100 guy within the next year if he does. 7. Jose Ramos, RF Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Panama (LAD) Age 21.3 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/45 60/65 35/60 50/45 40/55 70 Ramos entered 2021 as a projectable center field prospect whose carrying tool was his defense and ended it as a prototypical right field prospect with huge power and some issues chasing breaking balls. Blocked from Low-A by seven-figure draftee Jake Vogel, Ramos began 2021 in extended spring training and laid waste to the pitching there. The 21-year-old Panamanian outfielder hit at least eight home runs during the few weeks of extended, and because the Dodgers’ backfield group was such a high-priority look for opposing teams given the likelihood of LA being deadline buyers, almost the entire industry was quickly aware of his ability. His in-the-box footwork is actually fairly conservative, as his stride is quite short and simple. His explosive hitting hands are what generates his plus, all-fields power, and he still has room on his frame to add more mature strength. Ramos’ epic tear during extended continued into the regular season on the complex, and he dominated for a few weeks there before promotional dominoes fell and he headed to Low-A Rancho Cucamonga, a more age-appropriate level. Ramos slashed .313/.377/.559 at Rancho but it became more obvious that he has some issues recognizing breaking balls, and he was sent back there to start 2022. His peak exit velos were not only the highest in this system but are among the highest in all the minor leagues, an indication of his All-Star ceiling. Early returns in 2022 indicate Ramos simply won’t be challenged until he’s forced to deal with upper-level pitchers who can more consistently execute their secondary stuff. Especially as he trends to a corner outfield spot, Ramos is a fairly risky prospect due to his underlying swing-and-miss issues, but he has 30-plus homer potential. 8. Rayne Doncon, 2B Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Dominican Republic (LAD) Age 18.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 176 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/60 40/55 20/55 45/40 30/45 40 Doncon became scout famous during 2021 instructs when, having just turned 18, he was sizzling hard contact all over the field against a rather select group of opposing pitchers. The twitchy infielder has 70-grade bat speed and a natural feel for hitting pitches on the outer third to the opposite field. He can flatten his bat path to impact pitches at the letters, he’s shown an ability to make in-flight adjustments to breaking balls and barrel them even when he’s out on his front foot against them, and he can get the bat head out and crush weak stuff that gets left on the inner half. Lithe and wiry, Doncon is extremely likely to grow into more strength, which could give him absurd power for a middle infield prospect. He tended to offer at pitches outside of the strike zone during instructs and the ball/strike recognition is still a volatile, tough-to-peg aspect of the profile here. Doncon is also not a great defensive infielder and may not only have to move off of shortstop, but is a candidate to move to the outfield eventually, though he runs well enough to give center field a try if that comes to fruition. Though far flung from a frame/body standpoint, the skills-based comp here is Rickie Weeks Jr.: premium bat speed and precocious hitting skill that give him an All-Star ceiling despite potential defensive issues. 45 FV Prospects 9. Jorbit Vivas, 2B Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Venezuela (LAD) Age 21.2 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 155 Bat / Thr L / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/60 35/40 30/40 45/45 40/50 40 Vivas has a strong heuristic profile: he’s a lefty-hitting infielder with advanced feel for contact. He also has a swing that is both short and compact (making him tougher to strike out), and also includes some natural lift, giving Vivas a chance to both hit and hit for whatever power he ends up growing into. At a small-framed 5-foot-10, he’s not likely to show you titanic 5 o’clock thump, but Vivas is a dynamic athlete who swings really hard and hit a surprising 14 homers in 2021 after he had previously only hit two during his pro career. This is not a conservative contact hitter: he swings hard and is still very difficult to make swing and miss even though he hacks with such effort. The short-levered Vivas has enough pull-side power to ambush bad inner-half fastballs and breaking balls that don’t finish abou 12-15 times per year while playing reliable second base defense. He doesn’t have typical left-side arm strength but he has lots of experience at third as well. There are some scenarios in which Vivas could be a low-end second base regular and others where he’s a lefty-hitting 2B/3B cog. 10. Miguel Vargas, 3B Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Cuba (LAD) Age 22.5 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 50/60 45/50 35/45 40/40 35/40 45 Vargas hit 23 homers combined between High-A Great Lakes and Double-A Tulsa while slashing .319/.380/.526 across those two levels in 2021. His feel for contact has been lauded since he first entered pro ball, while his defensive ability at third base and his middling power (which would be an especially relevant issue in the event that he is only capable of playing first) have kept him in more of a “high probability role player” bucket here at FanGraphs, with comparisons made to Rays third baseman Yandy Díaz. While Vargas’ 2021 slugging output looks great on paper and is especially impressive considering his age (which is part of why model-driven pro departments appear to be the highest on him), visual evaluation of his pop and his underlying peak exit velos suggest that it was a caricature of his true ability. The mean exit velos of the top 10% of Vargas’ balls in play were pretty comfortably below the big league average and his barrel rate was, too. This is not to denigrate Vargas’ skill as a hitter, as he has precocious feel for contact and terrific breaking ball recognition for a player his age. Even though he’s 22 and has actually worked to make himself more lithe and athletic since Eric first saw him on the Dodgers backfields shortly after he signed, Vargas doesn’t have the sort of projectable, statuesque frame typical of a hitter his age. We’re not inclined to project raw power gains deep into Vargas’ 20s and think the cement is quite dry on his physique. “Caricature” might be an appropriate way of describing his 2021 on-paper thump, but “mirage” would not be. Vargas’ swing was hyper-conservative in the early part of his pro career but now has more movement and athleticism, and he’s adept at hitting the ball in the air consistently, though he is a little more swing-happy than is ideal. We think he’s going to be a doubles machine but wouldn’t expect him to crush huge homers, enough that his bat will play some sort of consistent role at the big league level but not so much that he’ll be an impact regular, especially as a below-average corner defender. While he’s good enough to project as a third baseman, Vargas’ hands and arm accuracy are both below average and he may be error-prone there. We’re not inclined to project him to first base, where he’d have to handle the baseball even more. Specific to why Vivas over Vargas: Their hit tools are a wash (Vivas actually has the better swinging strike rate, Vargas the better approach) and their measureable power is similar (Vivas’ peak exits are just a tick slower, with their barrel rates within 1% of each other), while Vivas is the better defender, runner, and has more favorable handedness. 11. Michael Grove, SP Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from West Virginia (LAD) Age 25.4 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/60 45/50 55/55 40/40 45/50 90-93 / 95 Grove was working 92-96 mph with a good slider when he blew out his elbow two months into his sophomore season at West Virginia. Aside from some pre-draft bullpens, he didn’t pitch as a junior, and spent the rest of the year finishing rehab and working on secondary stuff in the ‘pen. The Dodgers, who tend to take risks on rehabbers who, if healthy, otherwise wouldn’t fall to them, popped Grove in the 2018 draft’s second round; at least here at FanGraphs, he was the first player taken that year who wasn’t on our pre-draft ranking. In 2019, his first year back, the Dodgers sent him straight to High-A to work in abbreviated starts over the course of a whole season rather than pitch five-plus innings every start and be shut down mid-year. He was 90-93 mph, touching 95 with the fastball, and working with two different breaking balls, a low-80s curveball and an upper-80s slider. Grove’s velocity has improved since then and he sat 93-96 in 2021, and again so far this season. Like several other pitchers in this system, Grove’s workload has been conservative. He never threw more than five innings in a start in 2021 and averaged just over 60 pitches per outing. Perhaps that means Grove wouldn’t throw quite so hard if he were working like a typical starter. If we extrapolate his 2021 innings uptick, he’s on pace to throw 90 innings this year, his first on the 40-man. While Grove has a vertical arm slot, he tends to work with downhill plane toward the bottom of the zone. This helps him set up his plus slider, which looks like a fastball near the bottom of the zone until it bends beneath it. His curveball, which he tends to land in the zone, has big depth. His breaking ball utility is diverse enough that he has a starter’s repertoire even though he barely throws a changeup. Grove may be called upon to make some five-and-dive spot starts this year, and he could sneak into the back of the 50 FV tier if he can assuage concerns about his in-zone fastball playability and his ability to sustain his current velocity under a heavier load of innings. 12. Landon Knack, SP Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from East Tennessee State (LAD) Age 25.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops 60/60 50/55 45/50 55/60 40/50 94-97 / 99 Knack had multiple freak shoulder injuries as an underclassman and had 40-grade velocity in the two years afterward. He took a huge leap as a fifth year senior and struck out 51 hitters while walking just one in 25 innings of work before the 2020 shutdown. Knack didn’t break camp in 2021 until June, when the Dodgers sent him to High-A for his pro debut, and he dominated there across about 10 outings before a late-season promotion to Double-A. His regular season ended in September as the Dodgers shelved him with a hamstring strain, then he picked up innings in the Fall League, where he looked fine. Again to start 2022 he was not ready to break camp, and was left back in extended spring training due another hamstring tweak. Knack has been sitting 95-99 mph during extended, way up from where his velocity was during Fall League looks when he was 93-95. Scouts have seen his mid-80s cutter and changeup this spring, and he was also using an overhand, upper-70s curveball last fall. Even though Knack is a heavier guy who has had some injury hiccups, his delivery is athletic and repeatable, and he has enough command of his stuff to be considered a No. 4/5 starting pitching prospect who is quite near the big leagues. 13. Edgardo Henriquez, SP Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Venezuela (LAD) Age 19.9 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/65 55/60 50/50 30/45 30/50 94-98 / 100 Henriquez’s starts on the complex in Arizona were heavily attended prior to the 2021 trade deadline, as the 19-year-old righty was often sitting 94-97 mph and touching 99 with a promising breaking ball. While he doesn’t have typical physical projection, Henriquez is built like a Division-I quarterback prospect at a sturdy 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, and looks like he can withstand a full slate of starter’s innings. We don’t know that for sure, though. The Dodgers tend to deploy their young pitchers with extreme caution. Henriquez often worked fewer than three innings at a time in 2021, and he only exceeded four innings once. That continues to be the procedure early in 2022. Henriquez was sent to Rancho to begin the year, so while he sits 95-99 mph during his starts, they aren’t exactly testing his stamina. The meaningful development he’s shown early in 2022 is improved demarcation between his curveball and slider. It was unclear if Henriquez was using one or two distinct breaking balls in 2021, as there wasn’t a ton of consistency to their shape or velocity, though his breaking balls were still often very nasty even when they weren’t consistent. Now he seems to have found two clearly differentiated offerings, including a slider that is quite hard and could mature as an elite upper-80s weapon. The cadence of Henriquez’s delivery, which compares mechanically to a lot of the Yankees pitchers, including Jonathan Loáisiga, can be a little clunky and deliberate, and perhaps easy to time. If he can find something more fluid and repeatable, he’s going to weaponize three plus pitches en route to a mid-rotation role. 14. Clayton Beeter, SIRP Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from Texas Tech (LAD) Age 23.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Command Sits/Tops 60/60 60/60 60/60 30/40 94-97 / 98 Beeter had Tommy John in 2017, an arthroscopic surgery in ’18, and then was one of many wild, volatile, hard-throwing hurlers in the Texas Tech bullpen in ’19. He came out of the gate as a Red Raiders starter in 2020 and was not only electric, sitting in the mid-90s with two plus or better breaking balls, but for the first time in his life, was also throwing strikes. It was at this point that his draft stock exploded. His fastball has big carry thanks to its backspinning axis, and it works similarly to the way Rays righty Nick Anderson‘s does, as do his breaking balls. This is ready-made elite bullpen stuff, but because of the shortened season, Beeter only had a four-start track record of strike-throwing when the Dodgers drafted him 66th overall. They deployed him exclusively as a starter in 2021, and while his walk rates were not glaringly bad, visual assessment of Beeter’s feel and command continue to bucket him in the bullpen. His delivery is stiff and he tilts out to create a vertical arm slot that helps impart the carry on his fastball and the depth on his two breaking balls. He’s sitting 93-96 mph as a starter and might be able to crank it higher than that in relief, though he was also 93-96 in the short instructs outings Eric saw in the fall. It can sometimes be tough to discern his curveball (78-81 mph) from his slider (83-86 mph) in terms of their shape, with the former more likely to be used in the zone. It’s possible some of Beeter’s consistency issues will force him into a lesser role, but he has the stuff of a set-up man or better. 15. Jacob Amaya, SS Drafted: 11th Round, 2017 from South Hills HS (CA) (LAD) Age 23.7 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 45/50 40/40 30/30 55/55 50/55 50 A $250,000 11th rounder from a high school east of Los Angeles, Amaya is a diminutive infielder with excellent secondary skills. Though not especially rangy at shortstop, he has plus hands and actions, and enough arm strength to stay on the left side of the infield. A lack of physicality and power will limit his impact, but Amaya has a great eye for the strike zone, as well as an idea of which pitches he can drive. He’s got a short, punchy swing you can’t just beat with velo. He’ll hit a bunch of doubles. Instinctive and fundamentally sound, Amaya projects as a utility infielder. 16. Andre Jackson, SP Drafted: 12th Round, 2017 from Utah (LAD) Age 26.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops 50/50 45/50 50/60 50/50 50/55 90-93 / 95 Like many of the prospects in the Dodgers system, Jackson missed time as an amateur due to Tommy John and also entered pro ball under-developed because he played both ways at Utah. Over two pro seasons, Jackson and the Dodgers expanded his repertoire from two viable pitches to four, including a fastball that has been up to 98 mph in the past (96 this year) and a hard cutter/slider. In 2021, his tailing and diving changeup was clearly his best pitch; he’s had trouble getting it to finish to his arm-side early in 2022. While Jackson’s fastball has flat angle and carry (he starts on the first base side of the rubber and strides way open, creating a fairly odd angle on his fastball) that would seemingly make his curveball tunnel off of the heater, he hasn’t gotten many hitters to go fishing for either breaking ball so far in 2022. There are still four quality offerings, starter’s command, and some late-bloomer traits here, and Jackson continues to project as a No. 4/5 starter even though he’s looked a little worse than that very recently. 40+ FV Prospects 17. Wilman Diaz, SS Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Venezuela (LAD) Age 18.5 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/45 40/50 20/40 60/60 45/60 60 Diaz has filled out a bit in the middle and does not have the same level of rotational explosiveness he did as an amateur, when he had some of the most exciting rotational athleticism some scouts had ever seen. This may be because the Dodgers have altered his swing, especially the way Diaz uses his lower half, as a way of helping him remedy plate coverage issues they thought would come with his old swing. During 2021 instructs and ’22 spring training and extended, his feel to hit has been middling. He’s not squaring pitches up with any authority and has tended to hit a lot of low liners and grounders. His defense at shortstop has been as advertised, though, and he finds lots of creative ways to turn the baseball around to first base. The context surrounding Diaz’s current look — namely that he had a huge amateur profile (he was one of the more exciting, tooled-up players in his signing class) and is currently going through some mechanical changes — are important to consider here, but if you walked into Dodgers camp without knowing any of that, you’d think he was a glove-oriented utility prospect, similar to Jacob Amaya except several levels behind him. 18. Nick Nastrini, SIRP Video Drafted: 4th Round, 2021 from UCLA (LAD) Age 22.2 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Command Sits/Tops 60/60 50/60 55/60 30/40 94-96 / 98 Nastrini dealt with several amateur injuries (including TOS surgery as a freshman at UCLA) and couldn’t get out of the first inning in either of his final two pre-draft college starts, but he pitched very well in the California Collegiate League just before the 2021 draft and had late helium because his stuff was so good. By 2021 instructs, the secret was out, and now he has a chance to explode. Routinely sitting 95-98 mph in short outings, Nastrini’s fastball also has big time carry through the zone. When both his breaking balls finish in the right spot, they are plus, and his curveball has enough depth to miss the occasional bat even when it’s mislocated. While Nastrini has uncommon upside for a college draftee who signed for just $500,000, his injury and strike-throwing track record are concerning, and create significant risk that he not only becomes only a reliever, but that he may not get there at all. 19. Carlos Duran, SIRP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (LAD) Age 20.8 Height 6′ 7″ Weight 240 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/60 60/70 40/45 30/40 94-97 / 99 Eric watched Duran hurt his shoulder this spring; he’s now listed on the Dodgers extended roster but Eric hasn’t seen him throw, and the couple of scouts he checked with who have also been on the Dodgers haven’t seen him yet, either. He came out pumping 95-97 mph early in the outing Eric saw, then dropped into the 91-93 range before asking for a visit from the trainer. Duran’s stuff is incredible. He will touch 99 with heavy sink and show you four viable pitches. In that early minor league spring training outing, he showed feel for landing an upper-70s curveball for strikes, his mid-80s changeup had action that complemented his sinker well, and his mid-to-upper-80s slider has plus potential. Duran’s bulky size and violent delivery create relief risk but his strike-throwing was perfectly acceptable in 2021. If his stuff returns coming off of this injury, then he has a shot of being an impact arm of some kind, one with a chance to start. 20. Joel Ibarra, MIRP Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Mexico (LAD) Age 19.8 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops 60/60 55/60 40/45 50/55 20/40 94-96 / 98 Ibarra was intriguing as a two-way amateur because of his on-mound athleticism and the whippiness of his arm action, but his stuff was only in the 88-92 mph range and he was very wild. His pro career began as a shortstop in the 2019 DSL. He spent 2021 in the DSL again, this time on the mound, and was a walk-prone 90-94 mph. During 2022 extended spring training, he has been 94-96, up to 98. He bends in several plus sliders in the 82-84 mph range at roughly 2,700 rpm, some plus cutters at 92-93 mph, and an occasionally good changeup or two in the 86-88 mph band. This is a 19-year-old former shortstop with monster stuff. As he continues to throw on the complex, and especially as he accumulates stats, we will learn more about whether he’s progressed in the command/control area that was an issue in 2021. If he hasn’t, he’ll project as merely a late-inning relief type with four offerings. We’re inclined to project on the command portion because of the two-way background and the extra year of reps lost to the pandemic, but Ibarra’s dev timeline might be compressed due to the Rule 5 draft. Even though he’s so young, you have to think he’s in play to be picked because his stuff is so huge. 21. Gavin Stone, MIRP Drafted: 5th Round, 2020 from Central Arkansas (LAD) Age 23.6 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/60 50/55 45/50 55/60 30/40 92-96 / 97 Drafted out of tiny Central Arkansas at the very end of the shortened 2020 draft, Stone presented the Dodgers with lots of workable ability (athletic frame and delivery, breaking ball feel, natural fastball carry) that he and the club have turned into big, actualized stuff. Stone sat 93-96 mph with big life and carry in 2021 (he was all 95-96 when Eric saw him this spring) and all of his secondary pitches will flash plus, though his changeup is the one that does it most consistently. Stone’s curveball has good shape but lacks power and his mid-80s slider tends to be terse, but both pitches are effective when they’re located. While his feel for release is still a little inconsistent, remember that Stone is a plus on-mound athlete, he isn’t all that removed from Central Arkansas, and his on-paper walk rates are not bad. Of all the undecided starter/reliever cases in this system, Stone is the one closest to 50/50. 40 FV Prospects 22. Peter Heubeck, SP Drafted: 3rd Round, 2021 from Gilman School (MD) (LAD) Age 19.8 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 40/60 45/55 45/55 30/50 20/40 91-94 / 96 We’re being disciplined and resisting the urge to 40+ Heubeck here as we try to be consistent across the minors with how we grade this sort of profile. Heubeck has a real chance to pop as a mid-rotation, Top 100 prospect because the thing he needs to develop is premium velocity, and there are things about him (his on-mound athleticism and prototypical frame) that indicate he will. He is very loose and fluid but doesn’t repeat his delivery consistently right now, working in the low-90s with carry at the top of the strike zone. He has inconsistent feel for creating vertical action on his curveball, but when he snaps it off right, it’s a really promising, exciting pitch. The Dodgers have tended to be an organization that can help players like Heubeck tighten these things up and come closer to reaching their ceilings, which in this case is substantial. But league-wide, for every teenage pitching prospect like this who hits in a big way, there are many more who never actually develop more arm strength, or who do but struggle to sustain it, or who get hurt, and that has to factor into how we view Heubeck more than the bias created by Dodgers player dev pixie dust. And it isn’t like Heubeck’s velo instantly popped: he was still in the low-90s and somewhat erratic when Eric saw him this spring. 23. James Outman, CF Drafted: 7th Round, 2018 from Sacramento State (LAD) Age 25.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 55/55 40/50 60/60 50/50 55 For a second straight year, Outman came up just short of posting a 20/20 season, falling two homers shy of the mark while reaching Double-A Tulsa. Outman is a pull-and-lift hitter who has above-average power and speed, which has helped him go from small school college prospect to imminent big league contributor. Outman’s uppercut swing helps him hit the ball in the air regularly, and his ball/strike recognition helps him hunt pitches he can damage. A lack of barrel control and in-zone vulnerability against letter-high fastballs means he will likely end up with a 40-grade hit tool at best. There are scouts who consider Outman a viable center field platoon candidate, a 45 FV player whose left-handedness and the playability of his power make him comparable to Rays center fielder Josh Lowe, who is on the Top 100. Outman’s feel in center field is only fair, and while he’s a viable defender out there, he isn’t an impact one, which other scouts think is a meaningful distinction between Outman and guys like Michael A. Taylor and Drew Stubbs, who represent the Platonic ideal of a 45 FV center fielder. 24. Thayron Liranzo, C Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Dominican Republic (LAD) Age 18.8 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/40 45/55 20/50 30/30 30/40 45 While he has some things to clean up on defense, Liranzo’s offensive ceiling as a switch-hitting catcher with power makes him one of the more exciting, high-variance prospects in the lower part of this system. Liranzo is extremely strong and physical for a player his age and he shows power, as well as uncommon hand-eye coordination, from both sides of the plate. Even though his swings can sometimes be awkward and off balance, which is typical for a switch-hitter this age, Liranzo can still find a way to put the bat on the ball and use his strength to drive it somewhere hard. When he takes a comfortable, max-effort hack, there is rare power for an 18-year-old switch hitter here, let alone one who might catch. Liranzo has also seen time at first base, which makes sense given the presence of Jesus Galiz, Yeiner Fernandez, and Nelson Quiroz, all of whom are good prospects and part of the Dodgers’ lower-level groups typically playing one another on the backfields. Liranzo might have the least chance of staying back there of that whole group (his arm stroke is long and low, and he may eventually have mobility issues since he’s already the size he is), but it’s not no chance at all, and he pretty easily has the most offensive potential of that young contingent. 25. Emmet Sheehan, MIRP Drafted: 6th Round, 2021 from Boston College (LAD) Age 22.5 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/60 45/45 70/70 30/40 93-96 / 97 Sheehan had a velo spike after the 2021 draft, going from sitting 91-94 mph in the Boston College rotation to sitting 94-97 in the Rancho bullpen; he struck out more than two batters per inning during his brief late-season run in pro ball. Sheehan’s delivery at times seemed deliberate and out of sync while he was at Boston College, though the balance and power he showed in his lower half and the way he got down the mound indicated there might be more in the tank if he could get things dialed in. That seems to have happened, and his heater features big carry through the strike zone, making it a potential plus-plus pitch if he can sustain the mid-90s velo throughout a whole season. Now that Sheehan is in pro ball, expect more emphasis on his plus-plus changeup. He threw more curveballs than changeups in college but his changeup is what garnered more swings and misses. While the shape of Sheehan’s loopy, mid-70s curve plays nicely off his fastball, an invisible parachute pops out of the back of his changeup as it approaches the plate, and hitters flail over the top of it. Injuries are part of the equation here. Sheehan only pitched 28 total innings as an underclassman at BC, then missed a few starts in his draft year and went on the IL early in 2022. He projects solely as a reliever in pro ball but could have late-inning impact if he sustains the velo bump. 26. Jesus Galiz, C Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Venezuela (LAD) Age 18.4 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/40 45/50 20/40 30/20 40/55 70 While Galiz isn’t quite as polished a defender as his amateur billing might have indicated, he does do some ridiculous stuff back there and has enough of an offensive foundation to consider him a potential regular. His hands need polish, and he isn’t yet a tight receiver or ball-blocker, but most of the pop times Eric has noted from him throughout the last six months are in the 1.85-1.94 range, lots of them lasers Galiz sends to second base from his knees. While he shows pretty advanced breaking ball recognition at the dish, he swings through a lot of pitches in the zone and his head tends to fly all over the place when he swings. From a swing athleticism and bat speed perspective, Galiz is quite exciting for a teenage catcher with some premium defensive tools. There’s a lot of hit tool risk here and his most likely outcome is that of a great-gloved backup, but Galiz is still so young and has everyday ability if that stuff gets ironed out through maturity. 27. Maximo Martinez, SP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Venezuela (LAD) Age 17.9 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/55 40/50 50/55 30/40 25/55 93-96 / 99 Ho hum, here’s a 17-year-old who was sitting 95-98 mph the day before list publication. That’s up from last fall, when Martinez was sitting 92-95 and showing advanced breaking ball feel. Martinez was the youngest player at Dodgers instructs, the lone prospect with a 2004 DOB, and yet he had more polish than projectability, and his scouting report read more like that of a college pitchability prospect with a low-variance back-of-the-rotation eval until his velocity surged this spring. Martinez’s fastball doesn’t have big life and it gets tagged when it’s in the meat of the zone, but he is already throwing strikes (much more than most high school pitchers who throw this hard) and has a compact, repeatable delivery, so future plus fastball command seems in play here. His best-looking secondary pitch is his upper-70s curveball, which has big depth and plus raw movement, but it doesn’t play great off of Martinez’s fastball. While Martinez has a mid-80s slider (it bites late, but lacks length, and is almost cutter-y) and an upper-80s changeup, both pitches are below-average right now. Martinez is much more physically mature than most other pitchers his age, so there wasn’t an obvious path toward more velocity here, and yet he was still throwing much harder this spring. He needs to improve his secondary stuff to really break out. Until then, he feels more like a high-probability back-of-the rotation type, which is an odd thing to say about a pitching prospect this young. 28. Nick Robertson, SIRP Drafted: 7th Round, 2019 from James Madison (LAD) Age 23.8 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 265 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 70/70 50/50 45/50 30/40 94-97 / 99 Last year, we pegged Robertson as a candidate to rocket to the big leagues on the strength of the changes to his fastball, which was harder and had more life than before. While that didn’t quite happen, he pitched very well at Double-A in what was his first full pro season due to the pandemic, then showed even more velocity at the start of the 2022 campaign. Robertson was living in the mid-90s during 2020 instructs and sat 93-96 mph throughout the ’21 season, but he’s sitting 95-99 mph out of the gate this season. Robertson is mixing in his secondary stuff more heavily this year, surprisingly throwing his changeup about as much as his slider. He has pretty good arm-side feel for the changeup but he’s underneath that pitch a lot and it tends to have awkward running action rather than true bat-missing finish. While his feel for its location isn’t as good, when it bends in with glove-side bite at 85-87 mph, Robertson’s slider is what tends to look like a real plus secondary pitch most often. Robertson is a likely 2022 40-man add whose fastball quality should carry him to a consistent middle relief role, though anything more prominent will likely require finding a better secondary weapon. 29. Ronan Kopp, SIRP Drafted: 12th Round, 2021 from South Mountain CC (AZ) (LAD) Age 19.8 Height 6′ 7″ Weight 250 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/60 55/60 30/40 20/30 95-97 / 99 There was a little while during his pre-draft summer coming out of high school when Kopp looked like a potential first round pick. He was an extremely projectable, 6-foot-4 (now 6-foot-6) lefty who was already reaching back for mid-90s heat. But Kopp’s ability to find the strike zone evaporated, and he struggled to throw strikes against even Single-A varsity hitters in Arizona during his senior year at a little school in Scottsdale. His velocity regressed as he desperately aimed for the zone, and not only did area scouts start to develop fatigue here, but Kopp also de-committed from ASU and instead opted to go to South Mountain Junior College, where these issues continued. Fresh eyes got to watch Kopp throw in the MLB Draft League and at the Combine, seeing a young, projectable lefty with huge arm strength rather than fixating on his issues. Now scouts can’t believe Kopp, who is still 19, lasted until the 12th round. The extreme wildness is still often a part of the operation, but Kopp is a 19-year-old lefty sitting 95-97 mph with a routinely plus slider. He has high-leverage relief potential if the walks can get to an acceptable place. 30. Eddys Leonard, 3B Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (LAD) Age 21.5 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 50/50 40/40 30/35 45/45 45/50 50 Leonard had one of the more surprising statlines in the 2021 minors, hitting 22 homers and nearly 60 extra-base hits while slugging well over .500 as a 20-year-old split between Low- and High-A. Leonard is a fundamentally sound, well-rounded baseball player but he doesn’t have the kind of power commensurate with a 20-homer threat. Instead, he projects as a versatile defender with a well-rounded, low-impact offensive skill set. Leonard’s compact frame and swing should enable him to make a fair amount of contact and hit for doubles power. While he has experience all over the diamond, Leonard is not a slam dunk up-the-middle athlete and is a better fit at 3B/LF/RF than SS/CF, as he lacks typical up-the-middle range. There’s enough offensive skill and versatility to make him a valuable bench contributor. 31. Ben Casparius, MIRP Drafted: 5th Round, 2021 from UConn (LAD) Age 23.2 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 208 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 40/45 70/70 40/45 30/40 91-93 / 95 Casparius’ sweeper slider often look like it’s going to finish in the middle of the right-handed batter’s box before it takes a hard turn and bends onto the corner of the plate. If he can ever develop consistent feel for landing his slide piece on the corner like this, the pitch will be unhittable. His fastball is clearly below average but it sometimes blows up hitters in on their hands because they are trying desperately not to pull off of the slider, and have guessed wrong. Casparius had a nomadic amateur career (starting at North Carolina, ending at UConn) and missed all of 2020, so maybe there’s a way to build a viable changeup off his fastball’s tailing movement and enable him to project as a starter, but for now he looks like a slider monster reliever. 32. Jonny DeLuca, RF Drafted: 25th Round, 2019 from Oregon (LAD) Age 23.8 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/45 45/50 30/40 50/50 30/50 60 DeLuca was perhaps the most surprising member of the 2021 Dodgers minor league 20-homer club (he hit 22), as he left Oregon as a speed-first prospect. He has gotten stronger and is now more of a well-rounded outfield prospect with a fair blend of contact and power, both of which are slightly undercut by his swing decisions. While he’s capable of playing all three outfield spots, DeLuca is a 40 in center field and his best fit is in right. He doesn’t have a corner regular’s tools, but he does enough stuff well to have obvious big league roster utility, pinch-hitting here, pinch-running there, representing a defensive upgrade once in a while and getting the occasional start against a left-hander. That’s a modern fifth outfielder. 33. Gus Varland, MIRP Drafted: 14th Round, 2018 from Concordia (OAK) Age 25.5 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/55 50/55 45/45 40/50 92-94 / 96 If you want a great example of how flush this system is with talent look no further than Varland, who was left off the Dodgers’ 40-man and exposed to a Rule 5 Draft that never happened this offseason. He almost certainly would have been taken if scouts had seen him look as good as he has this 2022, when he’s been pitching deep into games while sitting 92-96 mph with running life, flashing a plus slider, and showing starter-worthy changeup feel. Eric’s notes also have him throwing a cutter in the 86-88 mph range but those may have been firm sliders (Synergy certainly thinks so based on their pitch classifications from early in 2022). Most of Varland’s swing-and-miss damage is done with his fastball, and despite his slider’s bite and length and his changeup’s consistent location, those two pitches are not as dastardly and effective. His long arm action and the way his injury history has impacted his ability to establish a foundation of starter’s innings make it more likely that he makes a big league impact as a bulk, multi-inning reliever. 34. Ryan Noda, 1B Drafted: 15th Round, 2017 from Cincinnati (TOR) Age 26.1 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 217 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 45/45 55/55 50/50 30/30 50/50 50 The Dodgers have two older corner defender/DH types who have been superlative performers in the upper levels of the minors, both of whom were acquired from other teams. You have Justin Yurchak, who came over from the White Sox a few years ago in exchange for Manny Bañuelos, and Noda, who was a PTBNL from Toronto in the deal for Ross Stripling, and who has one of the more selective approaches in pro baseball. Not only does Noda know how to take a walk (he’s walked at a 13.3% career clip), but he tends to swing at pitches in a specific part of the strike zone, typically offering at strikes up and away from him. While he’s not toolsy or explosive in any way, Noda has enough power to be dangerous, enabled partly by his keen notion of which pitches to hunt. Average at first base (his hands are pretty good over there, his range is not) and below average in both outfield corners, Noda could play a lefty-hitting corner role for a contender or be a low-end everyday first baseman for a needy club. 35. Hyun-il Choi, MIRP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from South Korea (LAD) Age 21.9 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Splitter Command Sits/Tops 40/40 40/45 55/60 45/60 90-93 / 95 Starting 2022 on the IL with a forearm strain, Choi’s fastball velo and breaking ball are each below average, and he isn’t particularly projectable from either a frame or athleticism standpoint, but he does have an out pitch in his nasty, late-biting splitter and he’s an advanced strike-thrower. There are scouts who think Choi is a fit in the back of a rotation, but we think it’s more likely he fits in a bulk middle-inning role where he can hopefully enjoy a little velo bump, pitch backward off his curveball and make heavy use of his splitter one time through the order. 35+ FV Prospects 36. Carson Taylor, C Drafted: 4th Round, 2020 from Virginia Tech (LAD) Age 22.9 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr S / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 55/55 35/40 20/20 30/35 40 What teams think of Taylor depends pretty heavily on whether or not they think he can catch. He does not present a traditional look back there — he’s a heavy-handed receiver with a below-average arm who may need to move to first base. Data-driven looks at his pitch framing present a more favorable evaluation, but that may soon be unimportant. Regardless, it’s the bat that drives Taylor’s profile. A switch-hitter with pop, he was a draft-eligible sophomore who missed part of his freshman year due to a hamate break, then during a 17-game pre-draft sprint in 2020, he hit .431/.541/.690 and seemed like he might be a tip-of-the-iceberg type of prospect. Realistically, he projects as a bat-first backup catcher. 37. Juan Alonso, CF Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Panama (LAD) Age 18.5 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/50 40/50 20/50 50/50 40/50 55 Early looks at Alonso during 2022 extended spring training have been exciting. He is one of the younger hitters on the roster, has a fairly projectable frame, and he’s already generating plus bat speed despite having a relatively simple, compact swing. He’s also shown some ability to make adjustments to breaking balls and drive the ball with power to dead center field. It’s early days for understanding Alonso, but in a brief look before list publication, he showed enough to be preferable to the other developmental curiosities and up/down relief types in this system because there’s actually impact bat speed here, and fairly sentient feel to hit. 38. River Ryan, SP Drafted: 11th Round, 2021 from UNC Pembroke (SDP) Age 23.7 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Command Sits/Tops 50/60 45/60 30/50 93-95 / 97 Ryan was a two-way player at UNC Pembroke and one of the more exciting pitchers on the Padres backfields during their 2021 instructs period. He is a plus on-mound athlete with a great arm action, and a carrying fastball that was in the 93-95 mph range during the fall. The Padres have had recent success with two-way and conversion arms, most prominently Luis Patiño and Javy Guerra, and Ryan looked like a nice sleeper to follow in a system that had become quite shallow. Then the Dodgers plucked him away in a trade for corner role player Matt Beaty in late March. Ryan was more 95-97 mph this spring, with a promising breaking ball in the 82-84 mph range. While he’s approaching 24 years old, Ryan was only drafted in 2021 and has several years to develop, presenting the Dodgers with a foundation of a huge fastball and premium on-mound athleticism with which to work. 39. Yeiner Fernandez, C Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Venezuela (LAD) Age 19.6 Height 5′ 9″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/50 30/40 20/30 50/50 30/45 40 Fernandez is one of the more fun to watch prospects in all of pro baseball, as the vest-pocket Venezuelan catcher also sees time at second base. Fernandez is a loose, above-average rotational athlete with an athletic swing. He’s hard to beat with fastballs because of his short levers and he tones down his leg kick with two strikes, prioritizing balls in play. His twitch and speed give him enough infield range and make him quick enough out of his crouch to give you hope that he can viably play both spots despite lacking great arm strength, and Fernandez is a great ball-blocker. His skill set reads an awful lot like Austin Barnes‘ does, and Fernandez could occupy a similar role as a backup catcher and occasional infielder. 40. Kyle Hurt, MIRP Drafted: 5th Round, 2020 from Southern California (MIA) Age 23.9 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/55 30/40 55/60 30/40 93-96 / 97 Hurt was a SoCal high school arm of some repute, a projectable 6-foot-3 guy with low-90s heat. Throughout college, his arm strength stayed the same, showing 93-94 mph early in outings and more 91-93 late. Just before the COVID shutdown, he shoved against TCU (6 IP, 9 K, 1 BB, 1 R) at a heavily attended tournament in LA, touching 95 mph several times. The Marlins drafted him, and traded him (and Alex Vesia) to the Dodgers for Dylan Floro. Hurt spent most of 2021, uh, injured, and only pitched about 20 innings during the regular season before wrapping up in the Arizona Fall League, where he was sitting 94-97 with natural cut, and a plus-flashing changeup. The Dodgers continue to deploy him as a starter, but Hurt is more likely a changeup-heavy reliever on track to contribute in 2024. 41. Ryan Ward, LF Drafted: 8th Round, 2019 from Bryant University (LAD) Age 24.2 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 45/50 45/45 40/45 40/40 30/40 30 It isn’t pretty, but Ward has amazing feel for adjusting his hands and body throughout his swing, enabling him to make contact with pitches all over the strike zone. He also has great feel for doing so with lift, and has just enough strength to be dangerous. Ward hit 27 homers at Great Lakes in 2021, and has enough strength to take outer-third fastballs deep to the opposite field and enough barrel control to drop the bat head and golf homers out to his pull-side. While most hitters who are capable of doing this make it look cool, Ward does not; instead, it’s funky and not at all athletic looking. He tends to lean on his feel for contact a little too much and offer at more pitches than he should, something big league pitchers will take advantage of to limit the damage he can do. Because he is in the LF/DH area athletically, it’s important that stuff gets a little better. Still, Ward has raced to the upper levels and looks like a near-term corner platoon bat. 42. Brandon Lewis, 1B Drafted: 4th Round, 2019 from UC Irvine (LAD) Age 23.5 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/35 70/70 40/55 30/30 50/60 60 Lewis has one of the more bizarre amateur career paths in pro baseball. At one point, he weighed 285 pounds and struggled to get big programs to even consider him. He reshaped his body and transferred from Pierce College in Los Angeles to UC-Irvine, where he had one very strong year prior to signing with the Dodgers. Though he had a limited statistical track record, Lewis was one of the younger draft-eligible college players in his class, which, combined with his relative inexperience (not only did he not have much high-level experience, he also played two-ways for a while), lets you project more on skill growth than is typical for most college prospects. After hitting 30 homers in 2021, has some of that development started to happen here? Lewis has long had big raw power and his swing, which now features a big, elegant leg kick, is more athletic than before. He has gigantic strength and often hits great-looking oppo gap doubles and homers, and while he is trending toward a first base-only area, he’s actually becoming a very good defender over there. The issue is Lewis can really only make contact with pitches in the bottom third of the strike zone, and he tends to swing and miss in other areas, probably too much to profile even in a low-end first base role. It’s possible that Lewis has enough strength to tone down his swing in a way that cuts down on his strikeouts but still allows him to hit for power, but try telling a guy who just hit 30 bombs to change how he does it. 43. Alex De Jesus, 3B Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (LAD) Age 20.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/35 50/60 35/55 40/30 40/50 60 While De Jesus had been in the “shortstop trending toward third base” bucket during the earliest portion of his pro career, he is now firmly a third base-only defender for us. Eric once compared his frame to Manny Machado’s but now De Jesus is already bigger than Manny, and still just 20 years old. That means that managing the swing-and-miss issues that have been a problem for stretches of his career is now extremely important. Still, De Jesus has so much strength and power that even if he continues to trend down the defensive spectrum, one can envision him playing a role in the Bobby Dalbec/Matt Davidson mold, an extreme power-over-hit corner bat who can give you 30 annual homers if you’re willing to live with all the strikeouts. 44. Jose Hernandez, SIRP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (LAD) Age 24.3 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/55 45/50 45/50 40/40 93-95 / 96 Hernandez sat 94-96 mph during spring viewings and his fastball has backspin and tough-to-hit angle that make it a weapon at the top of the strike zone. His mid-80s changeup has enough bottom-out action to miss the occasional bat, while his breaking ball has added significant power, averaging 80 mph in 2021 but bending in in the 83-86 mph range this spring. Though projecting solely in relief, Hernandez is a lefty in the mid-90s with potential for three average or better pitches. 45. Guillermo Zuniga, SIRP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Colombia (ATL*) Age 23.6 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 70/70 55/55 40/40 30/30 94-97 / 99 Of all the players whose lives were upended by Atlanta’s 2017 international scandal, Zuniga may have the best chance to put on a big league uniform. Once a Braves sleeper prospect, Zuniga was made a free agent due to the fallout from the John Coppolella-era scandal, and signed with LA. This is the Colombian giant’s sixth appearance on a prospect list, and even as he approaches his 24th birthday and was again left off the Dodgers 40-man, he remains a relief prospect of note due to his arm strength and, more recently, his breaking ball consistency. Zuniga has long sat in either the mid- or upper-90s depending on the night, and had a concerning lack of athleticism and command. To start 2022, though, we’ve seen nothing but the upper-90s version of Zuniga, and he’s more trim than in years past and his slider execution has been more consistent. While his fastball’s angle causes it to play down a little, Zuniga has turned a bit of a corner and should be considered viable upper-level injury depth, and is likely to trickle into someone’s big league bullpen within the next year or two. 46. Tanner Dodson, SIRP Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Cal (TBR) Age 25.0 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr S / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/60 55/55 45/45 40/40 93-96 / 97 Dodson is primarily a two-pitch reliever, though he does mix in a curve as well. His current pitch mix and usage suggests he’s more of a groundball-generator than a swing-and-miss arm, as he relies on a two-seamer that works in toward the knees of righty hitters. The pitch has above average spin, and both his arm slot and attack angle suggest his four-seam variant should play better at the top of the zone than it seems to. Mechanically, he has a rock and fire motion, with a fast arm, three-quarters slot, and a stiff front leg when he lands with his weight going toward first. His slider is firm (either side of 90), with short, two-plane break, and his best ones have a bit more north-south movement than the usual fare. Hitters struggle to square the pitch up, but it doesn’t currently miss bats in the zone. The overall package should play in relief, though his control issues likely make Dodson a lower-leverage arm. 47. Carlos De Los Santos, SIRP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (LAD) Age 21.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops 60/60 55/60 20/30 94-98 / 100 While quite wild and inconsistent, De Los Santos will show you 97-99 mph on his best nights and 94-97 on nights when he doesn’t quite have it. His slider, which has curveball shape but resides in the 83-86 mph range, flashes plus but its effectiveness is affected by his release inconsistency. There’s a sizable gap between where De Los Santos’ command is now and where it will need to be for him to crack someone’s bullpen, let alone the Dodgers’, but he’s also a college-aged pitcher pumping mid-to-upper-90s cheddar with a plus-flashing breaking ball. His ceiling is sizable if things click. He was sent back to repeat Low-A to start 2022 and has had a rough go from a strike-throwing standpoint so far. 48. Madison Jeffrey, SIRP Drafted: 15th Round, 2021 from West Virginia (LAD) Age 22.1 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Command Sits/Tops 50/55 60/60 30/40 93-95 / 96 While he was extremely wild in college, Jeffrey showed promising arm strength and a good breaking ball at West Virginia, touching 97 mph and sitting 93. He was more consistently 95-96 in the fall and creates depth on his low-80s power curveball, which was consistently plus. He’s an older relief prospect whose current command would limit him to up/down duty rather than a consistent role. 49. Jorge Gonzalez, SIRP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (LAD) Age 19.7 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 203 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/55 50/55 30/45 20/45 91-94 / 95 Gonzalez was just 16 when he began his pro career back in 2019, and spent the ’21 summer in the DSL. He came stateside for instructs last fall and sat 92-94 mph with a low-80s two-plane slider that has above-average potential. At a well-composed 6-foot-5, there’s room for more strength and velocity here. Gonzalez’s changeup is far enough behind to consider him a likely reliever at this stage. OG CONTENT 50. Nelson Quiroz, C Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Mexico (LAD) Age 20.5 Height 5′ 8″ Weight 194 Bat / Thr S / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/50 30/35 20/30 30/30 20/40 40 Quiroz is a compact, switch-hitting catcher who has above-average bat speed. He has to swing with big effort to generate that kind of bat speed, and he’s not quite the athlete that wee Yeiner Fernandez (above) is, but he still finds a way to put the bat on the ball consistently and spray hard, low-lying contact all over the place. Quiroz is not a lock to catch but he does have workable ingredients, and while definitely not built like a prototypical big league backstop, he’s much sturdier and more physical than the typical 5-foot-8 20-year-old. OG CONTENT 51. Robinson Ortiz, MIRP Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (LAD) Age 22.3 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/55 45/55 50/55 30/40 89-94 / 98 The pandemic ended what may have been a breakout season for Ortiz before it even began. He arrived to 2020 minor league spring training with a leaner lower half and was touching 98 mph in the bullpen before the shutdown (he was 90-93, touching 95 in 2019). His delivery had been tweaked, with his stride direction altered to help him get over his front side and on top of his breaking ball. Ortiz was already showing exciting velocity and a good changeup, and a better breaking ball might have helped him break out. Instead, Ortiz is now in limbo as he missed almost all of 2021 due to misdiagnosis of an injury that turned out to be a microfracture in his forearm rather than anything to do with his ligament. He had surgery in January. OG CONTENT Other Prospects of Note Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category. Athletic Sleepers Who Might Pop Mark Washington, RHP Darlin Pinales, RHP Frankelyn Feliz, RHP Kelvin Ramirez, RHP Orlando Ortiz-Mayr, RHP Lael Lockhart, LHP Benony Robles, LHP Reinaldo De Paula, RHP Everyone in this group has some combination of a) physical projection, b) a great-looking arm action, or c) a very athletic drop-and-drive delivery, and some have more than one of those things. Because of how pitching develops, especially in this org, it would wholly unsurprising if any of these guys found their way onto the main section of a list within the next year, or prove interesting enough for someone to trade for them. A 25th rounder from Lehigh in 2017 was Washington, a 6-foot-7 three-pitch reliever up to 97. He’s currently at Tulsa and could debut this year. Pinales, 19, is 6-foot-4, 240 pounds, has a smooth, efficient arm action and sat 92-94 mph the day before list publication. His secondary stuff is below-average. Feliz, 20, is an athletic relief prospect whose stuff has big lateral action. He sits 92-95 with tail, has a big, sweeping slider, and has a loose, drop-and-drive style delivery. Ramirez, 20, is a projectable 6-foot-4 righty who sits 92-95 with cut, but no good secondary yet. Ortiz-Mayr, an undrafted free agent from Puerto Rico, is much like Feliz (athletic drop-and-drive delivery, low-90s heater with lateral acton) without as much length to his breaking ball, which is more like a cutter. Lockhart and Robles have gorgeous arm actions. Lockhart also has a good breaking ball but sits in the low-90s and has 40 command. Robles, 21, is a very projectable 6-foot-4 but sits 91-92 with below-average secondary stuff. De Paula, 23, has a fastball that spins at a whopping 2,700 rpm but he hasn’t been healthy enough to build innings. Bench Players With Narrow Utility Jeren Kendall, CF Luis Rodriguez, RF Justin Yurchak, 1B Devin Mann, 2B Damon Keith, RF Kendall does everything but hit, and could be rostered as a runner, defensive replacement, and guy who can run into one off the bench. Rodriguez was a high-profile international signee whose tools are fair; he may get there but isn’t likely to have a big impact. Yurchak can really only hit, as he’s a first base-only player without much power, just great feel for contact. If Mann either hit left-handed or could play a viable shortstop, he’d be a big league bench infielder. Keith, a Cal Baptist draftee, has average power and speed, and a plus arm. Huge Arm Strength Jordan Leasure, RHP Waylin Santana, RHP Kelvin Bautista, LHP Carlos Alejo, RHP Cole Duensing, RHP Leasure, 23, was a 2021 Day Three pick. He sits 93-98 mph with big carry and below-average secondary stuff. Santana, 18, has been up to 97 and sits 94-95. He has an okay changeup but is very raw, even for his age. Bautista is a little lefty who typically sits 94-98, but has very little feel to pitch. The same is true for Alejo, who was up to 99 in the fall. Duensing was an Angels sixth rounder in 2016 and flamed out there, then showed up sitting 94-96 with the Dodgers this spring. Waaiiiit For It Franklin De La Paz, LHP Justin Wrobleski, LHP De La Paz, 23, sits 92-93 mph and has a plus-plus slider. He’s rehabbing from TJ. Wrobleski’s TJ rehab is nearly complete. The Dodgers’ 2021 11th rounder was in the low-90s with a good breaking ball before he blew out. Depth Starters Jerming Rosario, RHP Braydon Fisher, RHP Jimmy Lewis, RHP Kendall Williams, RHP Rosario sits in the low-90s, will creep into the mid-90s, and has a bevy of decent secondaries. He’s only 20 but isn’t all that projectable and he hasn’t sustained the advanced command he showed on the back fields. Fisher’s stuff has been all over the place, while Lewis’ and Williams’ were both down, with their fastballs hovering around 90 mph in our most recent looks at them. Water-Carrying Secondary Pitch Ryan Sublette, RHP Joan Valdez, RHP Octavio Becerra, LHP Jhan Zambrano, RHP Sublette sits 92-95 mph and has an above-average slider. Valdez sits 92-93, has a plus frame, is very loose, and has a weird, mid-80s changeup with big fade. Becerra is a lefty with a plus breaking ball but he sits 88. Zambrano, who came over from Texas for Josh Sborz, has a plus changeup and a low-90s fastball. System Overview This is among the deepest systems in all of baseball and is arguably the best overall even though it lacks the star-level players it has tended to have near the top for the last handful of years. Diego Cartaya’s toolset gives him the most feasible path to becoming the next one, but that is not a given. The meat of this org, where it separates itself from most other systems, is in the huge layer of good role players (Jorbit Vivas, Miguel Vargas, Jacob Amaya, etc.) and archetypical impact relief prospects in the 45 and 40+ FV tiers. Some of that group, especially the youngsters who have spent most of the last year and change on the complex in Arizona (Rayne Doncon, Maddux Bruns, Jose Ramos), are the next wave of potential impact players. The org’s ability to develop pitching shines through deeper in the list, with several pitchers showing a boost in arm strength or secondary pitch quality in just the short time between the 2021 draft and instructs. The amateur scouting staff tends to take chances on players who ordinarily wouldn’t still be on the board if they hadn’t dealt with circumstances that kept them from playing or performing, often injury. This most prominently applies to Walker Buehler, who was picked knowing he’d be in for a TJ rehab, and extends to Michael Grove, Carson Taylor, Ronan Kopp, and many others who the Dodgers tend to coax something from once they enter the org. This also happens with players who are no longer technically “prospects,” as seems to have been the case with Yency Almonte. The Dodgers’ dev primacy creates an interesting dynamic for the agents of players on the margins, like undrafted free agents. On the one hand, you know you’re giving your player the best chance he has to max out, while on the other, you know that’s also true of everyone else in the org, creating a crowded field against which your player is competing for big league reps. As National League teams have feared they would, the Dodgers have begun to snowball prospects. The Dylan Floro trade is a great example of this, with Los Angeles getting two prospects to whom they apply their means of development in return for the sort of player they can reliably draft and develop. This is as close to a juggernaut franchise as there is in the game.