Top 51 Prospects: Los Angeles Dodgers
Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers. Scouting reports were compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as my own observations. As there was no minor league season in 2020, there are some instances where no new information was gleaned about a player. Players whose write-ups have not been altered begin by telling you so. For the others, the blurb ends with an indication of where the player played in 2020, which in turn likely informed the changes to their report. As always, I’ve leaned more heavily on sources from outside the org than within for reasons of objectivity. Because outside scouts were not allowed at the alternate sites, I’ve primarily focused on data from there. Lastly, in effort to more clearly indicate relievers’ anticipated roles, you’ll see two reliever designations, both in lists and on The Board: MIRP, or multi-inning relief pitcher, and SIRP, or single-inning relief pitcher.
For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of our prospect content is governed, you can click here. For further explanation of Future Value’s merits and drawbacks, read Future Value.
All of the numbered prospects here also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It can be found here.
Editor’s Note: Jesus Galiz and Wilman Diaz were added to this list after they agreed to deals with the Dodgers on January 15.
Sheldon Neuse and Gus Varland were added to this list after they were traded to the Dodgers in exchange for Cody Thomas (previously ranked 40th on this list as a 40 FV) and Adam Kolarek. Thomas will appear on the forthcoming A’s list.
Kyle Hurt and Alex Vesia were added to this list after they were traded to the Dodgers in exchange for Dylan Floro.
Josh Sborz (previously ranked 39th on this list as a 35+) was traded to the Rangers in exchange for Jhan Zambrano. Sborz will appear on the forthcoming Rangers list. Zambrano sat 86-91 in 2019 and would not have been ranked on the Rangers list.
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Other Prospects of Note
Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.
Toolsy Lottery Tickets
Sauryn Lao, 3B
Luis Yanel Diaz, 3B
Carlos Rincon, RF
Yunior Garcia, RF
Leonel Valera, SS
Lao has clumsy-looking bat control similar to Todd Frazier’s, who has made quite a career out of somehow getting the barrel where it needs to be. He’s a 35/40 at third and probably fits better at first or in right, which puts more pressure on his bat than I’m comfortable with for the main section of the list, though I do dig him. Diaz is perhaps the most explosive rotator in the entire system, and he has among its highest exit velos (93 average, 100 max, both incredible for a teenager) but he has very little feel for the game and takes erratic at-bats despite having been in pro ball for a couple of years now. Rincon and Garcia are right field power prospects. Rincon, now 22, has reached Double-A, where his approach has been exposed. He posted a .282 OBP in over two months at Tulsa. Garcia is similar, a strong-bodied, 18-year-old powder keg with plus-plus bat speed and a totally unhinged approach. He walked just once all last year. Valera, 20, has a great build and significant power projection for a shortstop but — you guessed it — is a low-probability prospect because of his hit tool.
Eddys Leonard, 2B
Hunter Feduccia, C
Luke Raley, RF
Justin Yurchak, 1B
Drew Avans, OF/LHP
Sam McWilliams, 2B
Romer Cuadrado, 1B
Leonard is a stocky, contact-oriented infielder with limited physical projection. He hit .285/.379/.425 in the AZL last year and is a well-rounded ballplayer likely to play some kind of role down the line. There was some support for Feduccia, 22, to be on the main section of the list. He had a strong statistical 2019 but it was at Low-A, a level with pitching worse than what he saw at LSU. He projects as a third catcher for now. Raley is a plus runner underway despite his size, and has big raw power the Dodgers did well to tease out of him in games before trading him to Minnesota as part of the 2018 Brian Dozier deal, only to later reacquire him in the awko-taco Kenta Maeda trade. While explosive in some ways, Raley is stiff and unathletic, and at times an adventure on defense. He could end up as a bat-only bench outfielder, or low-end platoon option. Yurchak keeps hitting. He’s 23 and now has a .300/.400/.450 career line in the minors, though he lacks the physical tools typical of big league first basemen. Avans and McWilliams are small school gamers from the swampy southeast. Avans may end up pitching once in a while but mostly he’s a speed and contact outfielder who might play a bench spot. McWilliams is a sleeper second base prospect with lots of average tools. Cuadrado is a 30 athlete with huge power and a swing that the org hasn’t been able to dial in to produce power yet.
Marshall Kasowski, RHP
Logan Boyer, RHP
Jeff Belge, LHP
Jack Little, RHP
Mark Washington, RHP
Mitchell Tyranski, LHP
Zach Willeman, RHP
He doesn’t throw all that hard but Kasowski’s perfectly vertical arm slot creates weird angle and big carry on his fastball, so he’s struck out lots of minor leaguers amid strike-throwing issues. Boyer, the club’s $400,000 11th round pick from 2019, was 93-96 with a good slider when healthy in college but hasn’t thrown a pro game yet, exactly the kind of injured pitcher this org often ends up helping. Belge dealt with several freak incidents involving his eyes and also had issues throwing strikes at St. John’s, but he’s a lefty up to 96 with a good slider so he has a shot to pitch out of a bullpen. Little is a low slot righty reliever with starter’s command, but his pitches have diminishing utility over multiple looks. Washington, a Lehigh alum, and Tyranski are both backspinning fastball pitchers whose stuff sneaks past hitters. Both have an up/down relief shot. Willeman was a 35+ FV prospect last year, as he was throwing really hard in Arizona while rehabbing from TJ, which cost him much of 2017 and 2018. He was held back to start 2019 and his stuff was down a bit when he returned, more 89-94 than sitting in the mid-90s the way it was the year before.
Jeisson Cabrera, RHP
Reinaldo De Paula, RHP
Melvin Jimenez, RHP
Heisell Baro, RHP
Joan Valdez, RHP
Franklin De La Paz, LHP
Cabrera has pitched in domestic rookie ball but did not come stateside for Instructs — he has modest physical projection, is up to 98, and has a good changeup. De Paula, 21, is a relief-only prospect with a low-slot delivery. He’s only up to 95 but his fastball spins at 2700 rpm and has monster tailing action. Jimenez has missed a ton of bats — 90 K in 50 IP last year — sitting 88-93 almost entirely because of deception that I think will loose its tooth at the upper levels. Baro is an 18-year-old Cuban who sits 86-89 right now but he’s a plus-plus on-mound athlete who gets down the mound and whose arm works really well. He’s not a big-framed guy, I just love the delivery, athleticism, and feel for the breaking ball. Valdez and De La Paz are arm strength-only types up to 96.
The Dodgers traded for Mookie Betts and had an inordinate number of 2020 graduates, which combined to torpedo their placement on the farm system continuum. But since this org is among the best at both drafting and player development, several good players are already poised to replace them like a new tooth in a shark’s mouth. They don’t have the ceiling the industry thought (and still thinks) Gavin Lux has, nor Dustin May, but they still project as big league stalwarts.
And keep in mind Los Angeles has two big international amateurs on the way, with shortstop Willman Diaz and catcher Jesus Galiz likely to sign in January. If any prospect in the upcoming international group made a late run at Carlos Colmenarez for the top spot in the class, it’s Diaz. Galiz, meanwhile, was originally supposed to sign with the Yankees, who budgeted assuming they’d be able to trade for pool space and sign him for seven figures. When trading for pool money was disallowed in 2020, Galiz came free and now has a deal with the Dodgers for something like $400,000, a coup for this year’s most polished and physical Venezuelan catcher.
Teams across baseball took different approaches to playing their prospects at their alternate site and Fall Instructs. The Dodgers sent most of their top prospects, including their 2020 draftees, to the alternate site, and many of them also played ball in Arizona in the Fall, even though Instructional League is traditionally for a younger tier of player.
As always, this team is perhaps the best at reshaping “tip of the iceberg” prospects, guys who’ve missed time due to injury, had some weird break in their career due to circumstance, or have been obscured in some other way.
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.
It’s the most wonderful tiiiime of the yeeaaaaarrrr
Truly, Christmas season has now officially begun!!
Came here to write this!
Thanks fangraphs and thanks Eric!