Top 51 Prospects: Los Angeles Dodgers by Eric Longenhagen December 15, 2020 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. Top Prospects Team Lists 2021 2020 ALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFG ALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFG Dodgers Top Prospects Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV 1 Josiah Gray 23.2 AA SP 2022 55 2 Keibert Ruiz 22.6 MLB C 2021 50 3 Michael Busch 23.3 A 2B 2021 50 4 Andy Pages 20.2 R CF 2023 50 5 Jacob Amaya 22.5 A+ SS 2022 50 6 Ryan Pepiot 23.5 A MIRP 2022 45+ 7 Clayton Beeter 22.4 R SIRP 2021 45+ 8 Bobby Miller 21.9 R SP 2022 45+ 9 Wilman Diaz 17.3 R SS 2025 45 10 Kody Hoese 23.6 A 3B 2022 45 11 Diego Cartaya 19.5 R C 2023 45 12 Alex De Jesus 18.9 R 3B 2024 45 13 Miguel Vargas 21.3 A+ 1B 2022 45 14 Andre Jackson 24.8 A+ SP 2021 45 15 Zach McKinstry 25.8 MLB 2B 2021 45 16 Michael Grove 24.2 A+ MIRP 2022 40+ 17 Gerardo Carrillo 22.4 A+ SIRP 2022 40+ 18 Jesus Galiz 17.2 R C 2025 40+ 19 Luis Rodriguez 18.4 R CF 2025 40+ 20 Robinson Ortiz 21.1 A MIRP 2023 40+ 21 Victor González 25.3 MLB SIRP 2021 40 22 Nick Robertson 22.6 R SIRP 2021 40 23 Jorbit Vivas 20.0 R 2B 2022 40 24 Kendall Williams 20.5 R SP 2024 40 25 Landon Knack 24.1 R SIRP 2023 40 26 Jimmy Lewis 20.3 R SP 2024 40 27 Jake Vogel 19.4 R CF 2025 40 28 Jerming Rosario 18.8 R SP 2024 40 29 Alex Vesia 24.9 MLB SIRP 2021 40 30 Carlos Duran 19.6 R SIRP 2024 40 31 James Outman 23.8 A CF 2022 40 32 Sheldon Neuse 26.2 MLB 3B 2021 40 33 Zach Reks 27.3 AAA DH 2021 40 34 Brandon Lewis 22.3 A 1B 2023 40 35 Edwin Uceta 23.1 AA SP 2021 40 36 Cristian Santana 24.0 AA 3B 2021 40 37 Omar Estévez 23.0 AA 2B 2021 40 38 Carson Taylor 21.7 R C 2024 35+ 39 Jose Ramos 20.1 R CF 2025 35+ 40 Octavio Becerra 20.1 AAA SP 2023 35+ 41 Mitch White 26.2 MLB SIRP 2021 35+ 42 Devin Mann 24.0 A+ 2B 2022 35+ 43 Juan Morillo 21.9 R SIRP 2021 35+ 44 Osvanni Gutierrez 19.8 R SP 2024 35+ 45 Kyle Hurt 22.7 R SP 2024 35+ 46 Hyun-il Choi 20.7 R MIRP 2024 35+ 47 Jeren Kendall 25.1 A+ CF 2021 35+ 48 Jose Martinez 21.8 A+ SIRP 2022 35+ 49 DJ Peters 25.2 AAA CF 2021 35+ 50 Gus Varland 24.3 A+ SIRP 2021 35+ 51 Guillermo Zuniga 22.4 A+ SIRP 2021 35+ Reading Options Detail Level Data Only Full Position Filter All All C 1B 2B SS 3B OF LF CF RF LHP RHP 55 FV Prospects 1. Josiah Gray, SP Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from LeMoyne (CIN) Age 23.2 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/55 50/55 50/55 50/60 92-95 / 96 Gray is an athletic, undersized converted infielder with big time arm-acceleration. His arm action is a little stiff and long, but boy is it fast, and it generates a fastball in the 92-96 mph range (mostly 3s and 4s) with riding life. Gray’s size and the drop-and-drive nature of his delivery combine to create flat pitch approach angle that helps his fastball miss bats at the top of the zone. Thanks to his athleticism, Gray repeats his mechanics, and throws more strikes than is typical for someone who has this kind of nasty stuff but has only been pitching full-time since 2018, and he has an especially notable proclivity for locating his fastball to his arm side. The slider can slurve out and even get kind of short and cuttery at times, but when it’s well-located and Gray is on top of the ball, it’s a plus pitch. His changeup, which he seldom used in 2019, induced some ugly swings during the Dodgers’ pre-season intrasquad games, so it appears that offering has made a leap. Gray has been making constant adjustments to his repertoire for the last couple of years and has not only succeeded but quickly became good enough to compete (in a practice environment) against the lineup that would eventually win the World Series. He projects as a mid-rotation stalwart. (Alternate site) 50 FV Prospects 2. Keibert Ruiz, C Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Venezuela (LAD) Age 22.6 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr S / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 55/60 45/45 30/30 20/20 50/50 50 Ruiz is a slow-twitch, skills-over-tools catcher who projects to be a good everyday player. He has much better feel for contact than all but a few players in the minors, let alone the catchers. It has allowed Ruiz to get away with an overly-expansive approach. He swings at far too many pitches outside the zone, but he is so often able to get the barrel there that it hasn’t mattered, and he’s a .299 career hitter in spite of this. While Ruiz makes remarkably consistent contact, it’s not all that hard, and he’s unlikely to hit for more than doubles power in the big leagues. But I think even a one-dimensional, contact-only offensive profile like Keibert’s is enough to catch everyday, and while I consider him a capable defender, it’s worth noting that some clubs do not. Ruiz has baby soft hands and is a great pitch-framer and receiver, but he’s a casual, low-effort ball-blocker who’d much rather rely on his hands to pick balls in the dirt than be mobile and throw his body in front of the baseball. I think his hands are so good that he’ll get away with this, but others think it impacts his pitchers’ conviction in throwing breaking balls that finish in the dirt. Arm-wise, Ruiz’s slow exchange drags his pop times down, but he’s very accurate and I’m starting to think that so long as one has sufficient arm strength, accuracy might matter more than the pop time. But again, this is not a universally-held belief. I’ve got an everyday grade on Ruiz, but unless the Dodgers want to carry three catchers, I think he is the odd man out and a potential trade centerpiece this offseason. (Alternate site, MLB) 3. Michael Busch, 2B Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from North Carolina (LAD) Age 23.3 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 207 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/55 60/60 35/55 50/45 30/35 40 It’s been hard to get a concrete feel for where Busch will end up playing defense because he’s missed game reps due to the pandemic and a 2019 hand injury. It makes sense for the Dodgers to keep working with him at second base, just in case he can get good enough to actually play there some of the time. I did not have an extended look at him in the Fall but the scouts who did think he could eventually be passable there, 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 patient, tracks pitches well, and has big, strength-driven power. I consider Busch a high-probability big leaguer who could have some years of star-level WAR output if he can play second semi-regularly. (Alternate site, Fall Instructional League) 4. Andy Pages, CF Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (LAD) Age 20.2 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 60/60 35/65 50/50 45/50 45 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. 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 instead has a power-driven 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 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 I don’t think it’s likely. He’ll be toward the back of this offseason’s overall top 100 list. (Fall Instructional League) 5. Jacob Amaya, SS Drafted: 11th Round, 2017 from South Hills HS (CA) (LAD) Age 22.5 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/60 40/45 30/40 55/55 45/55 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. Amaya comes off as a utility guy during a quick glance because of a lack of BP power and physical projection, but he 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, I have Amaya projected as an everyday shortstop. (Alternate site (later), Fall Instructional League) 45+ FV Prospects 6. Ryan Pepiot, MIRP Video Drafted: 3rd Round, 2019 from Butler (LAD) Age 23.5 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/60 50/55 60/70 35/45 90-93 / 94 Count the Dodgers among the teams whose pitchers are more often throwing a changuep in the style of Devin Williams, 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, once he does it is a lethal offering. 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. This is Pepiot’s style generally, relying on stuff much more than precision. Now that he’s had a velocity spike (sitting 93-96, up from 90-94 throughout an up-and-down 2019), that type of approach is more viable. Remember that Pepiot’s stuff took a nose dive during his 2019 draft year and the 2020 developmental environment was weird, so we don’t know if he’ll hold that velo all season as a starter. If he can, he’ll move onto the overall top 100 list. (Alternate site) 7. Clayton Beeter, SIRP Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from Texas Tech (LAD) Age 22.4 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 70/70 70/70 60/60 30/40 30/40 94-97 / 98 Beeter had Tommy John in 2017, an arthroscopic surgery in 2018, and then was one of many volatile, hard-throwing mustangs in the 2019 Texas Tech bullpen. 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 also threw strikes. It was at this point that his draft stock exploded in a very short amount of time. His fastball has big carry thanks to its backspinning axis, and it works similar 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 has a four-start track record of viable strike-throwing. (Pre-draft, alternate site, Fall Instructional League) 8. Bobby Miller, SP Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from Louisville (LAD) Age 21.9 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr L / R FV 45+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/65 55/60 45/55 30/45 92-96 / 98 Miller moved into Louisville’s rotation part way through his sophomore year. His junior season was cut short because of the pandemic but he was still widely seen, even in 2020, because he pitched in a prospect-heavy Week 1 matchup versus Ole Miss and then in an early-March duel with Wake Forest (and fellow first rounder Jared Shuster) that was attended by a huge contingent of scouting directors and crosscheckers. Miller shoved, especially in that last game against Wake Forest. He has a long, atypical arm action but he throws a starter-worthy ratio of strikes and holds his velo deep into games, reaching back for 95-97 when he needs it. That pitch has nasty, bowling ball sink. In addition to the velocity, Miller has a plus, mid-80s slider and a developing power changeup. Not all teams were comfortable with his delivery but it’s not all that dissimilar from that of 2019 first rounder Ryan Jensen, and Miller has better secondary stuff, so I thought it was clear he belonged in the middle of the first round. He was still throwing hard in the Fall. I think Miller has a better chance to start than Beeter. (Pre-draft, alternate site, Fall Instructional League) 45 FV Prospects 9. Wilman Diaz, SS Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Venezuela (LAD) Age 17.3 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/60 40/50 20/50 60/60 40/50 50 His frame isn’t as angular and projectable as the other top-of-the class infielders but Diaz is the best pure hitter among them. While there’s not overt power projection on the frame, you can project more future in-game power from Diaz because he’s an explosive rotational athlete whose backswing threatens to clip the mask of the catcher behind him. He’s arguably a bit safer than some of the other top amateur shortstops in our international rankings because of how he’s hit in games. 10. Kody Hoese, 3B Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from Tulane (LAD) Age 23.6 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/50 50/50 35/55 45/40 45/50 50 Every year, a college player who was draft-eligible the year before takes a sudden leap, performs at an elite level, and forces teams to consider whether there’s been a real uptick in his skill or if he’s just beating up on familiar competition, in essence repeating a level. Hoese was the 2019 case. After putting up an .803 OPS in his draft-eligible sophomore year (he went in the 35th round and didn’t sign), he put up a 1.276 OPS in his junior year, with 23 homers and a 38:30 BB/K ratio. He was handled with care by the Dodgers after he signed, spending a lot of time in the AZL and DH’ing due to wrist and forearm tendinitis. He dealt with more wrist trouble during the spring of 2020 and had just been totally cleared and begun to throw to bases a week before the game shutdown due to COVID-19. He picked up additional reps during Fall Instructional League. Hoese’s exit velo data was way down in pro ball, something I’m dismissing because of the injury and therefore am excluding from The Board until we get a valid sample (his college avg/max was 88/104, pro was 84/100). He’s not tooled up and doesn’t have huge raw power, even with a healthy wrist. Instead he’s a very athletic swinger with a quick bat, whose swing is geared for airborne contact. That should help him get to power in games even though there’s not huge raw. Hoese will need to attain a balanced hit/power combination to profile at third base, but the Dodgers have had internal conversations about trying him in the middle infield (they tried him there a bit during the Fall), which is obviously an easier bar to clear. His already odd, slow developmental track was further warped and flagged by the pandemic, and the soon-to-be 24-year-old has yet to see an at-bat above Low-A. (Alternate site, Fall Instructional League) 11. Diego Cartaya, C Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Venezuela (LAD) Age 19.5 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/45 50/60 25/55 40/30 40/50 60 He’s not an advanced receiver, so a large slice of the confidence in Cartaya staying behind the plate is derived from the assumption that we will soon have an automated strike zone. But his run-stopping arm strength and accuracy, as well as his prodigious field general presence, mean he’s likely to have a defensive impact. Cartaya 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 catcher, his exchange is very quick and remarkably consistent. He’s out of his crouch fast and in one fell swoop, 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. He expands the zone a bit too much right now, but he has the physical ability to hit and hit for power, which is rare for catchers and catching prospects. The rate of failure for teenage catchers is high but Cartaya has an All-Star ceiling. (Alternate site, Fall Instructional League) 12. Alex De Jesus, 3B Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (LAD) Age 18.9 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/40 45/60 20/55 40/30 40/50 60 De Jesus signed for $500,000 as a slow-but-graceful big-framed infielder with feel for airborne contact. He became more agile and twitchy between when he signed and his pro debut in the DSL, and it was quickly evident that he was too advanced for that league, so the Dodgers pushed him Stateside, where his swing decisions were poor. Though he’s especially adept at impacting balls toward the bottom of the zone, De Jesus has shown other hitter-ish traits early on. He adjusts his posture to alter his bat path depending on pitch location, and I’ve seen him make in-flight adjustments to breaking balls and wait for them effectively, all at age 17 against older pros in the AZL. But he does swing too often and that part needs to get better.The physical tools and body projection (DeJesus body comps to Manny Machado) are exciting, though. DeJesus has seen early-career time at shortstop, when on the day he signed it seemed like a foregone conclusion that he’d only play third base. He may end up back at the hot corner eventually but has a fair chance to stay up the middle. If he does, and he grows into all the raw power I think he will, he could be a star. If he kicks to third base, then hopefully the swing and miss rates from the 2019 season are just a result of him being 17 rather than a sign of things to come. (Dominican Instructional League) 13. Miguel Vargas, 1B Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Cuba (LAD) Age 21.3 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/60 50/55 30/50 45/40 40/45 55 While Vargas’ swing has become less conservative during his time in pro ball, his approach still prioritizes contact, and all the power he generates comes from squaring up the baseball and the strength in his hands and wrists. Athletically, Vargas is on the 3B/1B fringe. It’s pretty rare for a player with this type of defensive fit to become a great everyday hitter without generating more power, but the game has a promising, prominent, and recent example in Phillies third baseman Alec Bohm. Because of his frame, Bohm (who was a 50 FV prospect) has better long-term power projection than Vargas (and more present power), but that’s what the latter’s path to an everyday role looks like. I consider Vargas a high-probability role player similar to Yandy Díaz. (Fall Instructional League) 14. Andre Jackson, SP Drafted: 12th Round, 2017 from Utah (LAD) Age 24.8 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops 50/50 50/50 45/50 50/55 45/50 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 have expanded his repertoire from two viable pitches to four, including a fastball that has been up to 98 and a hard cutter/slider that has quickly developed into his best pitch. Last year, I rounded his FV down a tad due to his age, though you could argue there are fewer miles on Jackson’s arm and that his relative inexperience means he actually has a better chance of holding his stuff into his 30s than that adjustment assumes. Now that he’s on the 40-man, and after seeing the need for pitching depth throughout 2020, I’ve moved Jackson up a tier. (Alternate site, Fall Instructional League) 15. Zach McKinstry, 2B Drafted: 33th Round, 2016 from Central Michigan (LAD) Age 25.8 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr L / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 50/50 45/45 35/35 55/55 60/60 45 He had a significant power production increase last year but McKinstry’s big league role is likely tied to his defensive versatility and excellence, especially at second base, where he’s a plus defender. As such, he’s an internal candidate to assume Kiké Hernandez’s role as a multi-positional defensive replacement who occasionally hits for A.J. Pollock and Chris Taylor. His arm is a little light to play shortstop consistently, and the pop for an everyday hitting role likely isn’t there, but McKinstry is a major league-ready, high-probability role player. (Alternate site, MLB) 40+ FV Prospects 16. Michael Grove, MIRP Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from West Virginia (LAD) Age 24.2 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ 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 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. In 2019, his first year back, the Dodgers sent him straight to Hi-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, touching 95 with the fastball and working with two different breaking balls, a low-80s curveball and an upper-80s slider. It’s not big velocity, but Grove creates weird angle on his fastball, which has near perfect backspin as well as carry at the top of the zone. Grove spent 2020 at the alternate site at UCLA. He’s now 24 and because of the timing of his injury, he’s never had to stand up to the rigors of a starter’s workload, either in amateur or pro ball. As such, I have him projected in a fastball-heavy relief profile, but I think his ability to locate the heater will enable him to work more than three outs at a time. (Alternate site) 17. Gerardo Carrillo, SIRP Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Mexico (LAD) Age 22.4 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/65 50/55 50/50 45/55 30/40 93-96 / 99 Carrillo showed up to Dodgers summer camp in what looked like the best shape of his young career, but it didn’t seem to aid his ability to repeat his delivery and he struggled to throw strikes during July intrasquads. In my opinion, his posture and violent delivery make it likely that Carrillo’s destiny lies in relief. He does have a four-pitch mix, though. His hellacious sinking and tailing fastball has movement that mimics his changeup (which did look better during intrasquads), while he also bullies hitters with a firm slider and a power curveball, which looks good but is easy to identify out of his hand. The way his stuff works, Carrillo would just need better touch and feel to start. I have him projected in a late-inning relief role and think one of his breaking balls might eventually be scrapped. (Alternate site, Fall Instructional League) 18. Jesus Galiz, C Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Venezuela (LAD) Age 17.2 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/45 45/50 20/45 30/20 40/60 60 Every year it seems like there is a top-of-the-class, well-rounded Venezuelan catcher lauded for his defensive acumen, and this year it’s Galiz. He’s a physical young man with plus raw arm strength and a solid-but-unexplosive contact/power blend. Teenage catching, no matter where it comes from, is volatile, but Galiz is a potential everyday big leaguer. 19. Luis Rodriguez, CF Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Venezuela (LAD) Age 18.4 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/55 35/45 20/45 55/55 45/55 55 Rodriguez, who signed for $2.6 million in 2019, is a feel and instincts center field prospect with advanced feel to hit and a medium frame. Though it caps his power projection, his modest size gives him a better chance of staying in center. He has table-setting, leadoff man characteristics, but is probably four or five years away from the big leagues. The lost minor league season meant the Dodgers sent most of their upper-echelon prospects to the alternate site and then Instructional League, which meant the Fall group skewed older. Rodriguez was not among them as he likely would have been in a typical year. He played instructional ball in the Dominican Republic instead, and still has a tweener fourth outfielder physical profile. But while he has a chance to make plenty of contact and exceed that role, his development has now been slowed by a year. (Dominican Instructional League) 20. Robinson Ortiz, MIRP Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (LAD) Age 21.1 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40+ 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 in the bullpen before the shutdown (he was 90-93, touching 95 in 2019). His delivery has been tweaked, with his stride direction altered to help him get over his front side and on top of his breaking ball. He appeared to be plateauing as a low-slot changeup guy with stagnant command development, but he has a chance to break out now that his curveball has better action and Ortiz can more easily work east and west with this new delivery. (At-home dev) 40 FV Prospects 21. Victor González, SIRP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2012 from Mexico (LAD) Age 25.3 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/60 60/60 45/45 40/40 93-95 / 97 Gonzalez signed at the same time Julio Urías and for a while, he was valued similarly as a prospect until Urías’ stuff blew up and Gonzalez’s did not. He was sitting 88-92 coming out of Tommy John rehab and entered 2019 on the minor league roster bubble. His velocity rebounded and he added a curveball, and Gonzalez had a breakout 2019 season, traversing three levels all the way to Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he moved to the bullpen. His vvelocity continued to climb in 2020 and, especially after Caleb Ferguson went down, he played an integral middle-inning role on the big league club. That’s where he fits going forward. (Alternate site, MLB) 22. Nick Robertson, SIRP Drafted: 7th Round, 2019 from James Madison (LAD) Age 22.6 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 265 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Command Sits/Tops 60/60 60/60 30/40 93-96 / 98 When comparing his 2019 data to my 2020 in-person look (with high speed video), Robertson has had both a velocity bump as well as a shift in his fastball’s spin axis, which now has near perfect backspin. He now looks like a two-pitch power reliever with a plus fastball/curveball combination. He has a non-zero shot to race to the big leagues in 2021. (Fall Instructional League) 23. Jorbit Vivas, 2B Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Venezuela (LAD) Age 20.0 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 145 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/55 35/40 25/45 45/45 40/50 50 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) but 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, it’s not likely to be much thump. Vivas may be a second base-only defender, which means his only path to a role would be to hit enough to play every day, but early indications are that he may do just that if he grows into more power than I have projected based on his size. (Fall Instructional League) 24. Kendall Williams, SP Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019 from IMG Academy HS (FL) (TOR) Age 20.5 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/55 45/55 45/50 30/40 90-94 / 96 Williams had one of the biggest frames among the high school prospects from the 2019 draft, standing in at a very projectable looking 6-foot-6. He was much older than the typical high school prospect (he and Adam Kloffenstein, who was drafted the year before, were born nine days apart), which colors his long-term fastball projection, but what is lost there might be gained through a better delivery. Williams had some cross-bodied mechanical violence as an amateur that might be ironed out in pro ball, and already may have been. He had a Mike Clevinger look in the bullpen last spring. The Blue Jays traded Williams to Los Angeles for Ross Stripling during the summer (he was one of two PTBNL in that deal), and he’s already a big, strong kid whose fastball has been up to 96 in the past (I have him topping out at 94 during 2020 Fall Instructs), and he creates vertical depth on his 78-81 mph breaking ball. There’s sizable relief risk here because of the delivery (and that’s ultimately where I have him projected) but there’s also a No. 4 starter ceiling if that’s corrected or overcome. (Alternate site, Fall Instructional League) 25. Landon Knack, SIRP Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from East Tennessee State (LAD) Age 24.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops 60/60 50/55 30/40 94-97 / 98 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 season shut down. He touches 98, has an above-average slider, and was the highest-priority senior sign in the 2020 draft. He went in the second round and could move quickly as a stalwart middle reliever, though it’s possible that once he’s exposed to pro development, Knack takes yet another leap. (Pre-draft, Alternate site, Fall Instructional League) 26. Jimmy Lewis, SP Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019 from Lake Travis HS (TX) (LAD) Age 20.3 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 40/40 45/50 45/55 35/55 90-92 / 93 Because he has such advanced feel for pitch location (most notably a tumbling changeup, which is a grade better now than it was when he was drafted), Lewis has a better chance to start than many of the prospects ahead of him in this system. While he repeats his delivery, it is quite stiff, and remember that he’s a year removed from a labrum issue. I have him in as a backend starter prospect, and most of the modest variance I associate with him is due to the injury rather than the gap between his ceiling and floor. (Fall Instructional League) 27. Jake Vogel, CF Drafted: 3rd Round, 2020 from Huntington Beach HS (CA) (LAD) Age 19.4 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/50 40/45 20/35 70/70 45/60 55 My pre-draft report on Vogel was light compared to the kind of bonus he got from the Dodgers and what he looked like during Instructional League, so he’s moved up a FV tier into the 40s. I initially had him in as a one-tool speedster with some crude bat control, but he hit the ball pretty consistently during the Fall, and against advanced pitching. I’m still skeptical about his power projection but with his speed and the defensive fit it enables in center field, all he needs is a vanilla blend of contact and power to be a useful big leaguer. (Alternate site, Fall Instructional League) 28. Jerming Rosario, SP Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (LAD) Age 18.8 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 40/50 40/45 50/60 25/60 89-92 / 94 I quite like Rosario’s feel to pitch and how well-balanced he is over his lead leg. He is sleight of build, and he may not end up throwing much harder than he does right now, but I still think that leaves him as a strike-throwing backend starter or bulk innings reliever. He has great feel for finishing his changeup, and his breaking ball need only be good enough that it works when he executes it, and I’m betting Rosario will based on his combination of mechanical grace and advanced feel for the location of his other pitches. (Fall Instructional League) 29. Alex Vesia, SIRP Drafted: 17th Round, 2018 from Cal State East Bay (MIA) Age 24.9 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/45 45/45 60/60 45/45 91-94 / 95 Vesia has a plus changeup and his delivery’s funk helps his fastball play even though it isn’t that hard. He looked very good during the 2019 Fall League, but struggled in his brief 2020 big league debut with Miami. He’s a volatile bounce back candidate who the Dodgers received in the Dylan Floro deal. (Alternate site, MLB) 30. Carlos Duran, SIRP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (LAD) Age 19.6 Height 6′ 7″ Weight 250 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/55 55/60 40/50 25/50 89-94 / 96 A teenage Leviathan, Duran has present arm strength (he’ll bump 96) and spins the occasional plus curveball. His arm slot creates sinking movement on his fastball, which should pair well with his change if that becomes more consistent. After he threw a ton of strikes in 2018, his control regressed last year, and his fastball shape doesn’t pair well with his curveball, so there’s more relief stink on the profile now than there was a year ago, but Duran still has rare size, arm strength, and breaking ball talent for a teenager. (Dominican Instructional League) 31. James Outman, CF Drafted: 7th Round, 2018 from Sacramento State (LAD) Age 23.8 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 50/55 40/50 60/60 50/55 55 Outman is a pull-and-lift hitter whose best tool is his speed, which helped him swipe 20 bases in 2019 and enables him to play a good center field. His contact issues (a 25.1% strikeout rate as a college-aged hitter in Low-A last year) mean he could bottom out, but he squared up balls pretty regularly during Instructs. He also plays a premium position and the lift in his swing should enable him to hit for some power as long as he’s not striking out all the time. He’s somewhat similar to Cody Thomas but three years younger, meaning he has a platoon/fourth outfielder projection, i.e. a 45 FV at peak. (Fall Instructional League) 32. Sheldon Neuse, 3B Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2016 from Oklahoma (WSN) Age 26.2 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/40 60/60 35/55 40/40 45/50 60 Neuse is a power-over-hit infielder with a pretty long performance track record, save for a 2018 Triple-A hiccup. His peripherals have always been a little scary, but he’s hit for power pretty consistently. Neuse’s broad strokes profile is like J.D. Davis‘: a two-way college guy who’s a third base fit thanks to his arm strength and whose big righty power comes with Ks. I have Neuse in as a four corners bat with uncommon power for that profile. He’s an interesting roster compliment to Edwin Ríos, though the A’s weren’t inclined to give Neuse reps last year even as Matt Chapman was hurt and their second basemen were struggling. (Alternate site) 33. Zach Reks, DH Drafted: 10th Round, 2017 from Kentucky (LAD) Age 27.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 45/45 55/55 45/50 45/45 30/30 40 Reks has taken a scenic route to the Dodgers’ 40-man, but he was added this offseason. He did not comport himself well as a freshman at Air Force, so he transferred and took two years away from baseball before walking on at Kentucky as a junior. He was the Dodgers’ 10th round senior sign in 2017 and was quickly assigned to Hi-A Rancho Cucamonga, the first of three consecutive mettle-testing years to which Reks has responded. He hit 28 homers split between Double- and Triple-A in 2019, an uptick in power production that coincided with a multi-year shift in his batted-ball profile, throughout which Reks has more often hit the ball in the air. He really can’t play defense, but I think he has some current trade value as a lefty reserve bat. His Dominican Winter League tenure was off to a good start until Reks hurt his quad legging out a triple and was sent back to the U.S. in late-November. (Alternate site, Fall Instructional League, LIDOM) 34. Brandon Lewis, 1B Drafted: 4th Round, 2019 from UC Irvine (LAD) Age 22.3 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/50 55/55 30/50 30/30 35/45 60 Predictably, he had trouble adjusting to advanced rookie and full-season pitching late last summer, but the Dodgers have an interesting late-blooming prospect in Lewis, who has one of the more bizarre amateur career paths in pro baseball. At one point Lewis 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 Lewis 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. By 2020 Instructional League, Lewis had a swing that looks an awful lot like Justin Turner’s. He’s trending toward first base defensively, and has already moved from “tip of the iceberg developmental flier” to “pre-arb plug-and-play first baseman” as he turns 22. (Fall Instructional League) 35. Edwin Uceta, SP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (LAD) Age 23.1 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/45 50/55 50/55 45/55 89-92 / 94 Uceta is already a capable 40-man arm and projects as a No. 4/5 starter. He’s athletic, his delivery is well-balanced, he hides the ball well, commands his fastball to both corners, can both bury his breaking ball and throw it for strikes, and in his best outings, his changeup also has bat-missing fade. Uceta reached Double-A as a 21-year-old, spent 2020 at the alternate site and then continued throwing in the Dominican Winter League, where he has been unspectacular but solid. (Alternate site, LIDOM) 36. Cristian Santana, 3B Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (LAD) Age 24.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/45 60/65 40/55 40/40 50/60 70 I’m still holding on to an extra FV tier’s worth of hope for Santana — even though he has one of the worst approaches in professional baseball — because he’s so ridiculously gifted from a bat speed and arm strength standpoint. The Dodgers have made changes to a swing that was once highly entertaining but not really viable, and even now Santana’s issue is simply that he swings too much. He’s a candidate for a move to the mound, but he hit pretty well at Hi- and Double-A during ’18 and ’19 so it’s probably too early to do so since even though I expect Santana to eventually flop as a hitter, he really hasn’t yet. (LIDOM) 37. Omar Estévez, 2B Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Cuba (LAD) Age 23.0 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 45/55 50/50 40/45 30/30 35/40 40 He’s not a good athlete and at best is only passable at second base, but Estevez can hit, and has a track record of hitting throughout his pro career even though he’s been young for every level at which he has played. Still, because he’s a shift-enabled second baseman who needs to come off the field late in games, he was unprotected and unpicked in this year’s Rule 5. I still think he’ll eventually be someone’s 1-1.5 WAR shift-enabled infield stick at some point. (Alternate site) 35+ FV Prospects 38. Carson Taylor, C Drafted: 4th Round, 2020 from Virginia Tech (LAD) Age 21.7 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr S / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/50 55/55 30/50 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, and in-person scouts who saw him catch regularly during the Fall think he’ll have to move to first base due to a lack of mobility and arm strength. 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 the profile. He was a draft-eligible sophomore who missed part of his freshman year due to a hamate break. During a 17-game sprint in 2020, Taylor hit .431/.541/.690 including two oppo doubles in a heavily-scouted Sunday matchup with Georgia Tech. (Alternate site, Fall Instructional League) 39. Jose Ramos, CF Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Panama (LAD) Age 20.1 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/50 30/45 20/30 60/60 50/70 70 Ramos is center field prodigy with a 70 arm. He was a little older for the 2019 DSL so he likely lost his first domestic pro season to the pandemic. The glove is the carrying tool here, but Ramos is really athletic and has okay feel for contact, too. Dominican Instructional League 40. Octavio Becerra, SP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Mexico (LAD) Age 20.1 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 209 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 40/50 45/55 45/50 45/60 30/45 90-93 / 94 Currently pitching for Algodoneros de Guasave in the Mexican Pacific League (Erisbel Arruebarrena is the team’s best hitter) is Becerra, who signed with the Dodgers as an 18-year-old toward the later end of a growth spurt that took him from 5-foot-9 to 6-foot-3. His secondary stuff, especially the changeup, is very promising, and the depth of the mix gives Becerra a chance to start. His breaking stuff is going to be tough on righties if he can back foot it consistently. He’ll likely begin domestic pro ball in 2021. (Mexican Pacific League) 41. Mitch White, SIRP Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2016 from Santa Clara (LAD) Age 26.2 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 207 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Command Sits/Tops 55/55 50/50 55/55 40/40 93-95 / 97 At times he’ll show you three plus pitches, but White has had fluctuations in stuff and missed lots of time with injury, dating back to when he was a college underclassman and had Tommy John. It’s been enough of an issue that it colors how I see his trade/prospect value. He’s a lightning-in-a-bottle sort who may come up and pitch really well for a stretch, but I’m scared enough of the stuff roller coaster and the health track record to prefer other arms in the org with slightly inferior stuff. He sat 93-95 in his 2020 big league debut innings, mixing two- and four-seamers and two different breaking balls. (Alternate site, MLB) 42. Devin Mann, 2B Drafted: 6th Round, 2018 from Louisville (LAD) Age 24.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 40/50 50/50 40/45 40/40 40/45 40 Mann was at the alternate site in 2020, but hasn’t been seen by external scouts anywhere since pre-COVID spring training, so his report mimics 2019, when his swing was altered and he had an unexpected power breakout at Hi-A Rancho Cucamonga, hitting .280/.357/.500 before going down with a mid-July injury. His hands work well, but he’s otherwise a pretty stiff-legged athlete. If he can be an inoffensive defender at second and third, then perhaps Mann can play a Wilmer Flores type of role as a somewhat versatile part-time bat. (Alternate site) 43. Juan Morillo, SIRP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Venezuela (LAD) Age 21.9 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/55 50/55 30/40 30/45 92-94 / 96 Morillo threw pretty well during Instructs (93-96, plus-flashing slider) but snuck through the Rule 5. I still have him in as a single-inning middle reliever. He’d be in the bottom of the 40 FV tier if not for his persistent injury issues. (Fall Instructional League) 44. Osvanni Gutierrez, SP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Cuba (LAD) Age 19.8 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 35/50 30/45 50/70 20/45 90-92 / 93 Gutierrez, who signed out of Cuba for $600,000 last year, threw just one inning in the Fall but I was lucky enough to see it and it was fairly exciting. He’s had an uptick in velocity (up from 86-90 in 2019, he was 90-93 in my look) and has a really good changeup for a pitcher his age. Not only does he create bat-missing movement, but he has precocious feel for location as well. And for now, that’s all. Gutierrez’s breaking ball might get to average and the ceiling on his velo isn’t really known. He might end up in relief with a dynamite changeup or develop a sufficient breaking ball to start. He’s just a pitching fawn with a really exciting cambio right now. (Fall Instructional League) 45. Kyle Hurt, SP Drafted: 5th Round, 2020 from Southern California (MIA) Age 22.7 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/50 40/45 50/55 30/50 91-94 / 95 Hurt was a SoCal high school arm of some repute, a projectable 6-foot-3 with low-90s heat. Throughout college, his arm strength stayed the same, 93-94 early in outings, more 91-93 late. It has some armside carry and plays when Hurt commands it. For most of his college career, Hurt was walk-prone, but 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 several times. Hurt’s slider is really short but it’s hard, and he can really kill spin on his changeup. If the early 2020 command leap is real, he could be a backend starter. (At-home dev) 46. Hyun-il Choi, MIRP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from South Korea (LAD) Age 20.7 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Splitter Command Sits/Tops 40/45 35/45 55/60 35/55 88-92 / 94 The org says Choi is physically maturing and that his fastball has been living more comfortably in low-90s as a result, though the high-end is still about 94. Choi’s fastball velo and breaking ball are each below average, and I don’t consider him 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. Many of the pro scouts with 2019 AZL coverage thought he was one of the better starting pitching prospects in the league, but unless his curveball gets better I think it’s more likely Choi ends up in a bullpen role, where I think he could live off that splitter. (At-home dev) 47. Jeren Kendall, CF Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from Vanderbilt (LAD) Age 25.1 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/30 55/55 40/45 70/70 55/60 60 The larger big league rosters become, the better chance Kendall has of having a sustained major league career. I’m past the point of hoping he’ll hit enough to be an everyday player. Instead, he projects as a situational bench player. He can run into one and hit you a home run, he’s a baserunning upgrade most of the time, and he’s also a good center field defender with a plus arm. Again, Kendall can’t hit, but he’s still a tooled-up Swiss army knife who could be a versatile late-game option if rosters continue to expand. (Fall Instructional League) 48. Jose Martinez, SIRP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Venezuela (LAD) Age 21.8 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 194 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/50 40/45 55/60 40/50 91-95 / 97 I have Martinez’s velo as being down a bit during the Fall, more in the 89-92 range than the 91-95, touch 97 from 2019. He generally profiles as a sinker/changeup swing man on the 40-man fringe. (Fall Instructional League) 49. DJ Peters, CF Drafted: 4th Round, 2014 from Western Nevada (LAD) Age 25.2 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/35 70/70 45/55 60/50 45/50 60 Peters was shrouded by the alternate site this year, so his report is the same. He’s another in a long line of strikeout-prone outfielders with game-changing power and speed. Drew Stubbs, Michael Taylor, Carlos Gómez… all are (or were) capable of spectacular plays and displays of power, sometimes for months at a time. Then there are the equally long (seemingly longer) stretches of whiffs and frustration. It’s this type of high-variance big leaguer that Peters projects to be. He has huge power, he hits for it in games, and he is a plus runner underway, which makes him capable in center field. On crowded rosters like the Dodgers’, players like this often end up spilling over to teams that are willing to take a chance that their tools actualize late, the way Toronto has with Derek Fisher-types. (Alternate site) 50. Gus Varland, SIRP Drafted: 14th Round, 2018 from Concordia (OAK) Age 24.3 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Command Sits/Tops 50/55 50/55 45/50 40/45 92-94 / 95 Oakland has drafted a few late-round, small-school college arms who have shown up to pro ball and looked really good. Varland is one, and he was a 2018 AZL revelation who the A’s pushed to Hi-A in 2019. He succeeded, but blew out and had Tommy John in August and missed all of 2020. Thick and physical throughout the torso and thighs, Varland has a lightning-quick arm that generates mid-90s velocity at peak. His fastball has bat-missing life, and both his breaking balls have sufficient bite to avoid barrels as well, especially when they’re well-located. He’s a relief prospect of advanced age. (TJ Rehab) 51. Guillermo Zuniga, SIRP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Colombia (ATL*) Age 22.4 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/60 55/60 40/45 30/40 91-96 / 97 Colombia had a nation-wide lockdown for over four months and Zuniga had trouble training in 2020. Originally an interesting Braves sleeper who was later made a free agent due to the fallout from the John Coppollela-era scandal, Zuniga is a big-bodied power arm (his velo was actually down in 2019 compared to ’18, but he still sat comfortably in the mid-90s) with a nasty breaking ball. He’s not athletic enough to project him to have starter command, and probably not enough for a good tertiary pitch, so I have the fastball projected up a half grade based on a move to the bullpen (which Zuniga has been in and out of), where he can work with it and his hard, mid-80s slider. (At-home dev) 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. Role Players 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. Older Pitchers 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. Younger Pitchers 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. System Overview 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.