The Los Angeles Dodgers’ High-A affiliate Great Lakes Loons had quite an exciting 2021, with a core of prospects that can stack up against just about any other team in the High-A Central. Thanks to a few pop-up breakouts to go along with more well-known players simply taking the next step, this is the Dodgers farm doing Dodgers farm things.
Players are presented in alphabetical order.
Note: My personal preference is to use Baseball Prospectus’ DRC+ and DRA- statistics to evaluate overall hitter and pitcher performances, respectively. They have been demonstrated to be more reliable and have more predictive usefulness than other catch-all statistics and are easy to use. Example: 105 DRC+ is 5% better than the league average hitter at generating runs; 105 DRA- is 5% worse than the league average pitcher at preventing runs.
Names to Know
Clayton Beeter, RHP
- Age in 2021: 22
- DRA-: 71 (37.1 High-A IP)
Taken 66th overall in 2020, Beeter has become quite popular thanks to his strikeout ability and power arsenal. He also made some control gains in High-A in 2021, helping to round out his profile. His future role at the major league level is cloudy right now, which usually portends a move to the bullpen. He undeniably has late-inning stuff including a dizzying 12-6 curveball, but reliever profiles are just not ones I’m too eager to invest in.
LAD 2020 2nd rounder Clayton Beeter worked 3 innings today. Gave up just 1 hit and struck out 5.
FB was 91-94
CB was as good as ever. 79-82 with sharp 12-6 action. pic.twitter.com/1343mTtr8J
— Trevor Hooth (@HoothTrevor) August 1, 2021
Landon Knack, RHP
- Age in 2021: 24
- DRA-: 70 (39.2 High-A IP)
Knack, the Dodgers’ 2020 2nd round pick, aced his High-A assignment with stellar control and strikeout ability (32.5% K-BB). While his control stayed intact upon promotion to Double-A, he struck out fewer batters and started giving up more home runs. It was a small sample though, so it’s difficult to read too much into it. He’s been limited as a pro due to some injuries in 2020 and he turned 24 in 2021, so it’s important to get him some reps against more advanced hitters in 2022.
Eddys Leonard, SS
- Age in 2021: 20
- DRC+: 117 (184 High-A PA)
Leonard was one of the Dodgers breakout prospects in 2021, maintaining premium production between Low-A and High-A. Leonard’s always shown adept hitting ability, but he added robust power to his game in 2021, slugging above .500 at both Low-A and High-A. He also seemed to improve his contact rate (74%) and reduced his strikeout rate to 22% at High-A, even furthering the strength of this profile. Leonard has tons of potential, and I’m excited to see what he can accomplish at Double-A.
Andy Pages, OF
- Age in 2021: 20
- DRC+: 139 (538 High-A PA)
Pages spent all of 2021 in High-A mashing homers. He’s essentially a prototypical on-base power bat with some nagging strikeout tendencies that threaten the overall profile if they ever take over. So far, Pages has kept the strikeouts in check, though his 69.9% contact rate could stand to improve. The fact that he spent that much time at High-A without a promotion to Double-A makes me think the Dodgers might also have their concerns about his ability to make contact against upper-level pitching. He’ll get his shot at Double-A to open 2022, where he will hopefully hit the ground running. He might be a three-true-outcomes bat, but as long as he keeps putting the ball in the air and out of the park, he’ll be plenty valuable.
“This one is really demolished to center field.”
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) September 12, 2021
Bobby Miller, RHP
- Age in 2021: 22
- DRA-: 84 (47 High-A IP)
Miller has inherited the title of Top Dodgers Pitching Prospect and all the expectations and pressure that come along with that. He dominated High-A, posting an 85 DRA- and a 24 K-BB%. Miller’s power fastball sits in the high-90s and touches 100, and he can locate it for strikes. He earned a short stint in Double-A, and he’ll make it to Triple-A in no time if he can prove that performance wasn’t a fluke. Given the reports on the stuff and poise on the mound, he should see continued success at the upper levels in 2022.
Miguel Vargas, 3B
- Age in 2021: 21
- DRC+: 125 (370 High-A PA)
Vargas had a fantastic year, propelling himself into consensus top-100 status. He picked up right where he left off in 2019, and then some. While his High-A performance was great, he somehow managed to improve just about everywhere at Double-A, establishing a remarkably consistent professional career to date. This kind of year-to-year, level-to-level consistency is a rarity and something that makes projecting major league success just a little bit easier. Vargas looks the part of a middle-of-the-order slugger, capable of hitting for high average and power.
Jorbit Vivas, 2B
- Age in 2021: 20
- DRC+: 121 (102 High-A PA)
Vivas was a true pop-up prospect in 2021, with plenty of potential to increase his prospect stock in the near future. After easily handling Low-A pitchers, Vivas went on to post a tidy 12.7% BB% and 12.7% K% in High-A; the rare 1:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His plate discipline skills are certainly evident based on his minor league track record, and they’re backed up by strong contact rates as well. Vivas has at least average power, though it decreased noticeably upon his promotion to High-A. However, it is important to note that the Dodgers’ Low-A Rancho Cucamonga affiliate is more of a hitter’s environment than Great Lakes, which may account for some of the drop in power. Regardless, Vivas’ contact skills and hitting ability lay a strong foundation for success.
- Brandon Lewis, 1B: Huge power, unlucky BABIP kept average down. However, shaky plate discipline (63% contact rate, 6% BB%, 29% K%) threatens Double-A outlook.
- Hyun-Il Choi, LHP: Excellent control, though lack of strikeouts, flyball tendencies limit upside.
- Gavin Stone, RHP: Huge strikeout potential, great control, but seems like more of a reliever.
- Ryan Ward, OF: Good on-base, contact, power profile. 23-year-old at High-A caveat applies.
- Carson Taylor, C: More on-base/contact than power. Catcher caveat applies.