Los Angeles Dodgers 2021 Top 50 Prospects

Graphic design by John Stewart, @jonance on Twitter

Dodgers’ How To: Turn One Championship Into Many

After winning their first World Series since 1988, the Los Angeles Dodgers find themselves again atop the proverbial mountaintop of Major League Baseball. For most organizations a ‘one and done’ title can sustain a fanbase for up to a century (the Chicago Cubs, for example). However, the City of Angels accepts only championships — plural. So now what?

The Rich Get Richer

The Dodgers are the exemplary instance of this phrase. The organization with an imminent ring ceremony to plan for also features the (according to mlb.com) 62nd and the 68th best prospects in baseball — right handed pitcher Josiah Gray and catcher Keibert Ruiz, respectively. Additionally, the Dodgers reportedly signed the 3rd and the 8th best international prospects in the world – Wilman Diaz, SS, from Venezuela at a reported $2,697,500 and Jesus Galiz, C, also from Venezuela, for a reported $812,500. Then there’s the 2020 MLB Draft. Albeit an abbreviated version of an MLB Draft, the Dodgers still cleaned-house. College arms were the three top targets for LA. All of which have ceilings higher than the Sistine Chapel. But I’ll get to that later.

Homegrown Talent

Here’s a question Dodgers fans. Who were the two undisputed heroes of the 2020 MLB Playoffs and the World Series? Hint: Both were homegrown talents.
Answer: World Series MVP Corey Seager and the Baby-Faced Assassin, Julio Urias. Both players were developed entirely within the Dodgers’ system, one premier shortstop and one premier pitcher. Player-development is what the Dodgers do. From this point forward, throughout the Top 50, please try to remember just how good the Dodgers are at developing Major Leaguers from highly talented globs of clay. Yes, the scouting department and front-office are elite. They make sure to draft and sign über-talented, endlessly high ceiling, high character and high work ethic-type players. And they do it well. Yet the difference between the Dodgers and the rest of Major League Baseball is — the transformative process — working a moldable, yet talented piece of clay into (not just a professional but) a Major League Baseball player.

With that said, please sit back, relax, and enjoy your exclusive peek into the future of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Prospects1500 Tiers:
Tier 1:
 Players with high expectations of both making the majors and playing at an All-Star level for a number of years
Tier 2: Players with an above average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 3: Players with an average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 4: Players who have the potential of making the majors, or have high likelihood of making the majors but providing minimal impact (e.g. middle reliever, low-ceiling UT guys)
Tier 5: Players who are worth keeping an eye on, but likely to never make a team’s 40-man roster

Tier 1

1. Josiah Gray, RHP
Age: 23
Highest Level: Double-A

It’s possible that Gray’s arm may have less mileage than anyone in AA baseball, today. Playing shortstop until his junior year of college has presumably proven to be advantageous in ways we we’re not even familiar with yet. He just turned 23 yet the sweet smells and sounds of Chavez Ravine are in his very near-future.

Armed (pun intended) with a rising 4-seam that lives in the 95-97 MPH neighborhood, a slider that’d bite your ear off if Gray left it off-leash for too long. I argue that though his 4-seam is widely considered his best pitch, Gray’s slide-piece induces an immense amount of spin. Generating a blow-away FB isn’t easy whatsoever. However, Gray’s slider leaves hitters buckled, humorless, and ready for nap-time. That invisible lasso whip (slider) will eventually prove to be his best asset.

Gray also sports a change that’ll improve over time but, if the earlier (and brief) portions of his career hold-true, all of these improvements are expected to show themselves much earlier than your typical RHP.

Tier 2

2. Kody Hoese, 3B
Age: 23
Highest Level: Single-A

Hoese was acquired in the 1st round of the 2019 Draft by LAD. Due to COVID-19, he obviously only had one year of pro-ball, with only 147 AB. The silver-lining however is that he was a seasoned hitter with an above-average hit tool before the pandemic struck.

With better overall numbers than JJ Bleday, Hunter Bishop, and even Spencer Torkelson (in some categories) throughout the 2019 NCAA season, Hoese’s current hit-tool is a still developing 55 with the intent of marching past 60 and into 65 territory. 

I believe Hoese will stay at third-base due to his premium hand-eye coordination and his fully capable arm. And although he won’t jump 45″ or run a 4.3 40-meter, Hoese’s far more athletic than people think. His range is quite extensive at the hot-corner, and because of that range, he’ll stick around. 

At the dish, further mastering the strike-zone, adding a little more loft to his gorgeous righty-swing, and ratcheting-up his explosion, bat-to-ball, will add that lauded backspin everyone strives for. Creating true game-power realistically at 60-65 and perhaps even up to 70. 

3. Bobby Miller, RHP
Age: 21
Highest Level: College

The last time Miller found himself in an article of mine, he was mentioned in the 10 Names You Need to Know for the Dodgers back in August. A bit of a throwback power-pitcher type body, 6’5″ at 225 with plenty of filling out still to come. That’s scary too because he’s only 21 and his legs already mirror two white tree-trunks when they play at home. His downhill FB lives in the high-90’s, and as he gets more coaching and more familiarity with his secondary stuff, a truer slider (not a cutter) should be his most dominant pitch. Perhaps even a curve or continued work on his serviceable changeup. The downward motion already naturally fits.

Personally Miller’s one of my very favorite pitching prospects in baseball because of the blank-slate potential within the Dodgers’ Organization. He’s essentially clay ready to be molded. Sure his delivery is a little funky but after the Dodgers clean that up, give him a couple pointers here or there, he’ll fly through the minors.

4. Michael Busch, INF
Age: 23
Highest Level: Single-A

After a compelling showcase at the 2020 LAD Instructs in late September, Busch has been one of the Dodgers’ prospects accompanied by hype of quickly developing ascension. Not only was hit bat amongst the best at Instructs, even more impressive was his improvement at 2nd base-a position he only briefly played as an amateur.

Another soon-to-be mover and shaker, Michael Busch was the top NCAA hitting draft-pick in 2019 and he’s done absolutely nothing to dissuade that reputation. He’s actually only furthered his previous reputation, making me a believer. His approach is textbook. His hands are light, fluid, and his entire body moves as one through the hips and the hips alone. He can spray from one end of the field to the other and the more physically stronger he becomes, the more and more I envision Chase Utley.

Keibert Ruiz (C, below) plays a premium position but I believe that Busch will hit somewhere in the .320/25/100 vicinity annually, and higher counting stats as his matures. In short, I believe Busch is a better prospect overall than Ruiz. I may get crushed because of it, but I’m fully confident in the decision to put Ruiz at #5.

5. Keibert Ruiz, C
Age: 22
Highest Level: MLB

A perennial staple amongst MLB.com’s Top 100 list and other multiple publications, the only question remaining for Ruiz is, once he breaks, how will it look?

Upon breaking into the Majors just last season, to quote former Minnesota Vikings Head Coach, Dennis Green, “He is what we thought he was.” Make no mistake however, by no means is Coach Green’s quote a bad thing. After a player like Ruiz has been a perennial mainstay on consensus Top 100’s for half a decade, either he’ll look exactly like everyone expected or he’ll deform into MLB’s version of Ryan Leaf (insert scream here).

A discerning eye from both sides of the box, Ruiz’s last tool to develop-his power-is now quickly developing from the left side of the plate. Now that his power is becoming a reality, his plus-approach and plus-hit tools will become that much louder. Ruiz’s future should be very bright. 

6. Ryan Pepiot, RHP
Age: 23
Highest Level: Single-A

Another college arm (Butler) taken by the Dodgers in the 3rd round (2019) who’s absolutely taken flight. In the video below he humiliates the defending NL MVP Cody Bellinger during (I believe) the MLB Summer Camp.

At 6’3″ and listed by MiLB.com at 215 lbs (I’d say 225), Pepiot’s frame doesn’t necessarily pop from the screen and into your living room, however he’s a big kid who’ll only get stronger and smarter. His FB rises and rides while typically surpassing the 95 MPH mark. He’s able to spot that heater seemingly at will.

Pepiot’s greatest strength is his disgusting changeup (which, at the time, the reigning NL MVP waived at twice). Pepiot’s arm motion is in sync with his FB creating a beautifully hidden deception upon delivery. Once the change leaves his hand it dips with very late life and continuously plummets from the starting point to arm-side dirt, pulling the string and leaving the hitter fraught with rage. Look for Pepiot to be in MLB’s Top 100 universally by year’s end.

7. Andy Pages, OF
Age: 20
Highest Level: Single-A

An elite Cuban athlete with a buggy-whip for a swing from the right side. He relies mainly upon his hands which float to the ball with accuracy and superior speed. If a pitch happens to cross the zone, look out. Though he’s not the largest kid to defect to the States, his outstanding athleticism more than makes up for his “lack” of size (Pages still stands at +6’0″, 195 lbs).

Pages is not a ‘all or nothing’ hitter, if that’s how the description reads. In 2019 he paced the Rookie-level Pioneer League in extra-base hits (EBH) as an eighteen year old, ranking second in jacks with 19, second in RBI (55), total bases (TB) with 153 and finished second in slugging at a incredibly mature .651 SLG. All-in-all it’s quite apparent that Pages is an athlete who relies upon “seeing it and hitting it” this early in his young-career.

Luckily for the Dodgers, Pages was supposed to be part of that deal for Ross Stripling to the Angels that inevitably fell-short of reality. Pages has the explosive talent bestowed upon most premier 5-tool OFs. Hopefully he’ll have a chance to showcase said-tools at Dodger Stadium in the somewhat near-future.

8. Clayton Beeter, RHP
Age: 22
Highest Level: College

A recently converted starter, Beeter had one of the livest arms in the 2020 MLB Draft. Somehow managing to snag him late in the 2nd round (66th overall), it’s in general agreement that the Dodgers once again pulled-off one of the great steals of the 2020 Draft.

Beeter’s FB is something from a video game. His delivery is extremely deceptive. From a high arm-slot his FB explodes from his hand and into the catcher’s mitt without any real warning. Along with the FB from nowhere, Beeter also features a 12-6 hammer curve that buckles more hitters than your local Birkenstock supplier. His starting prowess in the pros will depend upon the development of his third breaking pitch which will most likely be a harder slider.

At 6’2″ and 225 lbs, Beeter is a bull on the hill. There’s no fluff in that stuff. As long as Beeter maintains arm health, there’s no reason why he cannot be the future #3 starter in the Dodgers’ lauded rotation.

Tier 3

9. Diego Cartaya, C
Age: 19
Highest Level: AZL (Rookie)

The highest rated catcher in the 2018 International class, Cartaya was signed out of Venezuela for a cool $2.5M. Already measuring in at 6’2″ and 200 lbs, Cartaya typically receives comparisons with Salvy Perez. Upon watching Cartaya’s tape, the comps make sense. Solid contact is made with seemingly every swing. At only a 19 years old, I’d love to see what his exit velocity is and where it started because the kid is an animal in the box.

Wilson Contreras also comes to mind when watching Diego Cartaya swing the bat. Like both of his predecessors, Cartaya’s balance at the plate is impeccable. For a player as advanced as Cartaya is, this early in his career, the sky is ultimately the limit. It’ll just take another 2-3 years.

10. Luis Rodriguez, OF
Age: 18
Highest Level: DSL (Rookie)

Yet another highly-rated Venezuelan from the International J2 pool. Rodriguez happened to rank somewhere between #3 and #4 overall in 2019 and the Dodgers signed him for just over $2.67M. Extremely young, yet extremely talented, Rodriguez is 6’2″ and 175 lbs. There’s plenty of room to grow without having to sacrifice any/all baseball-centric movements.

Although he’s not the fastest J2 5-tooler to tip the pay scale throughout the years, his real calling card is his superior swing from the right side of the plate. However there are reports from the Dominican that Rodriguez began falling in love with his power-swing over his previously touted hit-first approach. Apparently the damage was significant enough to become an issue loud enough to make it here to the States.

Rodriguez is still ridiculously young. His career can go in two drastically different directions. Hopefully the Dodgers have surrounded him with the right people so he can move forward, not backward, into his pro career.

11. Landon Knack, RHP
Age: 23
Highest Level: College

Hailing from the state of Tennessee, Knack pitched for two years at Walters State Community College (TENN) and then transferred to East Tennessee State University (ETSU). Undrafted after every one of those 4 years, Knack hit the gym and toned up his already “farm-strong” physique which consequently added another 4 MPH to his zone-filling FB. The additional strength also increased the potency of his secondary pitches.

As a 5th-year senior, before the 2020 COVID-shortened season, Knack started in only 4 games for ETSU. However, it’s very possible that Knack got more out of those 4 starts than literally any other pitcher in 2020.

Of those 4 starts, Knack amassed 4 wins. With a stellar 1.08 ERA through just 25 innings pitched, Knack struck out 51 hitters as he paced all of Division 1 Baseball. Yet the most impressive feat was his K/BB ratio, 51/1. We should see Knack pitching at Chavez Ravine in virtually no-time, wearing his Dodger Whites.

12. Miguel Vargas, 3B
Age: 21
Highest Level: Single-A Advanced

Prior to defecting from Cuba, Vargas played alongside two now-MLB prospects: outfielder Lázaro Armenteros (A’s), and 2020 MLB-debutant, LHP Adrian Morejon, during the 15-and-under World Cup, in Mexico. The trio eventually won the Gold Medal for Cuba and later that year, Vargas and his father decided to defect.

Two years later, Vargas signed with the Dodgers for $300K. One of the youngest pros at every stop of his young career, Vargas has sailed through full-season ball thanks to his effortless hands. Intimately familiar with the strike zone, Vargas fully trusts his elite bat-to-ball skills. Letting his hands fly, rhythmically spraying balls to every part of the field, and coasting into 2nd base for the majority of his pro career. At 19, Vargas led the entire Dodgers’ farm system with 38 doubles in 2019.

Now still just 21-years-old, Vargas’s lifetime batting average through three levels of pro ball over only two short years rests at an exceptional clip-.314. As his body continues to mature and the Dodgers inevitably coach up his power stroke, Vargas has every opportunity to ascend into greatness.

13. Jimmy Lewis, RHP
Age: 20
Highest Level: High School

Drafted in the 2nd round (#78 overall) of the 2019 MLB Draft, out of Lake Travis HS (TX), Lewis already has a natural affinity with pitching in high pressure situations. If Lewis’s HS sounds familiar that’s because his teammate, 3rd baseman Brett Baty, was also drafted in 2019 but he went at #12 overall. Imagine the scouting presence at most of Lake Travis’s ballgames.

Standing 6’6″ tall and weighing 200 lbs, Lewis checks virtually every box on a scout’s list: athletic yet repeatable delivery, pitching bloodlines (his father was also drafted in the 2nd round), high release-point creating plus-downhill movement, considerable velocity even in high school (up to 95), natural extension in his launch — accelerating Lewis’s perceived velocity — fearless strike-zone filler, and that frame.

The Dodgers signed Lewis for an above-slot $1.09M even after their doctors found a partial torn labrum in his shoulder during the pre-signing physical. Some could call the Dodgers’ decision to inevitably sign the youngster as naïve. I view the signing as the total opposite. To me, it’s obvious that the Dodgers knew what they had in Lewis and took the necessary precautions in dissuading him from fulfilling his commitment with a lauded LSU program.

14. Kendall Williams, RHP
Age: 20
Highest Level: Single-A (Rookie)

Williams was acquired in the deal that sent Ross Stripling to Toronto. A prep prospect taken in the 2nd round of the 2019 MLB Draft by Toronto (#52 overall), Williams is as projectable as they come. Standing 6’6″ and weighing 205 lbs, Williams was a force for IMG Academy — a perennial prep-powerhouse.

In a rare win-win MLB trade, both organizations must feel great about its outcome. Williams will probably get a lot of Noah Syndergaard comps due to his immense frame and long blonde hair. Although the FB velocity isn’t Thor-like yet there’s still a ton to love about Kendall Williams.

More agile than most his size, Williams gets the most from his FB because of his length, extension, and therefore his perceived velocity. His curveball is a high spin rate hammer that has plus-plus written all over it as he matures further as a pitcher. The downward plane his height creates, along with his high arm slot, should kill quite a few worms and rallies.

15. Gerardo Carrillo, RHP
Age: 22
Highest Level: Single-A Advanced

After gaining around 25 lbs of muscle over the past year or so, Carrillo’s stuff has played up in a big way. His FB has natural arm-side fade and usually works within the 95-97 MPH range. It’s because of his weight-gain that the velocity grew and now he induces more shattered wood than a sawmill.

Listed at 5’10” and 154 lbs by MLB.com they’ve admitted that he’s more in the 180 range after adding the weight. His first two pro seasons went swimmingly, accumulating a 2.08 ERA, but he hit a wall with the Quakes in 2019.

By the start of the 2019 Arizona Fall League, the key to his development weighed heavily upon his girth. Now Carrillo is built like a bulldog, hitting triple digits with his FB, and his hook is plainly filthy. He eventually finished his AFL stint as one of the best starting pitchers in 2019. Suddenly equipped with top-shelf stuff, Carrillo’s future as a Big League arm appears all but certain.

Tier 4

16. Zach McKinstry, INF/OF
Age: 25
Highest Level: MLB

Another super-utility man for the Dodgers is on the rise. After making his MLB debut in 2020, McKinstry had finally climbed the mountain higher than the one that sounds like his last name.

Scrappy on the field with the capabilities to play virtually anywhere, MLB.com said it best regarding McKinstry: “His combination of offensive ability and versatility could make him a lefty-hitting version of Chris Taylor.” They could’ve also used Kiké Hernandez’s name but he’s elsewhere now (Boston).

McKinstry’s developed a decent amount of raw pop from the left-side of the plate. A typical staple of the Dodgers’ player development, adding loft to a hitter’s swing, they could probably turn Olive Oyl into Aaron Judge. Just ask Cody Bellinger.

17. DJ Peters, OF
Age: 25
Highest Level: Triple-A

Speaking of Aaron Judge, anytime a prospect has a high K-rate and/or a low BB-rate I say, “If Aaron Judge can do it, anybody can.” This is exactly why no player should be written off due to low contact ratios, especially in their development. True light tower power cannot be taught. As is the case with Peters, his overwhelmingly ‘plus’ tool is his power.

A giant in the OF, Peters makes extremely loud, hard, and deep contact. However, MLB pitching and MiLB pitching are two entirely different animals. But, “If Aaron Judge can do it, anybody can.”

Drafted in 2016 in the 4th round by the Dodgers, 2021 has a ‘make it or break it’ type-feel for Peters. He’s athletic enough, a plus defender in center despite his 6’6″ 225 frame, and of course his power is prodigious. He has RF written all over him. It’s unfortunate that the Dodgers’ deepest depth is in the OF. Of all the players ready for a ‘universal DH,’ it’s gotta be Peters.

18. Jake Vogel, OF
Age: 19
Highest Level: High School

Arguably the best athlete in the 2020 MLB Draft class, Jake Vogel was drafted by the Dodgers in the 3rd round (100th overall) for a well-above slot of $1.6M. Ecstatic Vogel was still available, the Dodgers knew they’d have to reach high for the 18 year-old to sign-away from his commitment to UCLA.

With 70-grade speed, great hands in the box, and a natural in CF with a rocket for an arm, Vogel fell to the 3rd mainly because of his somewhat slight frame and his approach at the plate. Though his hands are phenomenal and he’s a good hitter, he currently lacks a consistent drive to his swing. The Dodgers will undoubtedly address and improve his swing by teaching him to use more of his lower-half, which currently does not exist.

He’s an elite athlete with disruptive speed and Gold Glove potential in CF. Vogel and the Dodgers are equally lucky to have found each other because their player-development can levitate Vogel’s potential beyond previous comprehension. Great fit for both parties.

19. Devin Mann, 3B
Age: 23
Highest Level: Single-A Advanced

Mann is yet another product of the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes’ power-development program. I’m making this “program” up, but it’s impossible to ignore the point of contact (so to speak) where Dodgers’ prospects grow-up (for lack of a better term). Endless examples — starting with the most celebrated — such as Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, Chris Taylor, Jeter Downs, Joc Pederson, Gavin Lux, Zach McKinstry, and Will Smith, just to name a few, have all seemingly obtained their power in Rancho. Perhaps it’s something in the water.

Aggression, lower-body usage, and added loft all seem to be embedded into these players’ DNA’s upon making it to the California League. Devin Mann is simply the latest example of such as he ripped 17 HR’s last year while maintaining most of his plate discipline.

20. Alex De Jesus, SS
Age: 18
Highest Level: AZL (Rookie)

Signed by the Dodgers in 2018 as one of the top J2 prospects at 3B, De Jesus quickly converted to shortstop. Hailing from the Dominican Republic, De Jesus’s natural ability already shines brightly and at 6’2″, 170 LBS there’s still plenty of room to grow.

With wide shoulders like Manny Machado and a swing that could stunt-double for him as well, the comparisons with the one-time Dodger come naturally. As the second-youngest position-player in the 2019 AZL (at just 17), De Jesus held his own and then some. He certainly profiles as a player who traditionally fits into the Dodgers’ mold.

21. Omar Estevez, 2B/SS
Age: 22
Highest Level: Double-A

Undersized and perhaps overpaid — the Dodgers signed Estevez for $6M and then incurred a penalty for going over the allotted limit costing them another $6M — Omar Estevez is still only 22 years-old. There’s a lot of talent in his 5’10” 185 LBS frame however, he traditionally sells out for power with a giant leg-kick and if the ball isn’t on the inner-half, he won’t get much of it. Pull-heavy would be an undersell for Estevez’s approach. Still he managed to pace the California League in doubles and runs in 2018 only to succumb to a hammy injury in 2019 and wasn’t the same afterward.

It’s hard to put a solid report out on Estevez because we haven’t seen him play — really — since 2018, which is no fault of his own. Yet it’s hard to imagine that we’ve already seen the best of Omar Estevez, he’ll be back.

22. Hyun-il Choi, RHP
Age: 20
Highest Level: AZL (Rookie)

Instead of vying for the #1 draft selection in the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO), Choi decided to instead sign with the Dodgers. Having already rostered two of the best Korean baseball players ever in Chan Ho Park and Hyun-Jin Ryu, the choice for Choi must’ve been pretty simple.

After leading the AZL in strikeouts during his first taste of pro-ball and pro-ball in the States, Choi’s arrow is pointing straight up into the stratosphere. He already possesses a plus-changeup that will only play-up more as Choi gains another tick or two with his FB which typically sits 90-94 MPH. His ability to spot his locations, mix pitches, mix speeds, rise and dip his FB whenever he wants speaks to his already high floor. Certainly signing with the Dodgers was the right choice as Choi will improve over time.

23. Brandon Lewis, 3B
Age: 22
Highest Level: Single-A

Aside from perhaps DJ Peters, Brandon Lewis has the most power in the Dodgers’ system. Drafted in the 4th round of the 2019 MLB Draft, Lewis socked 13 bombs in only 219 AB’s and through three levels in his very first taste of professional baseball.

The year prior to that, while still playing for UC Irvine, Lewis hit a whopping 14 HR’s — which at first doesn’t sound like a lot until you realize that he played his home games in the cavernous Cicerone Field at Anteater Ballpark where it’s 335′ down both lines, 405′ to dead center, and (here’s the kicker) a 12′ high fence — despite playing at the Polo Grounds.

Once Lewis makes it to Rancho I have a feeling we’ll hear about it, in a loud way.

24. Josh Sborz, RHP
Age: 27
Highest Level: MLB

Drafted in the 2nd round out of Virginia in the 2015 MLB Draft by the Dodgers, Sborz career thus far has been serviceable. Now a middle-reliever who transfer between AAA and MLB, Sborz does a good job of not allowing the big hit. Keeps his head and the ball down successfully.

25. Mitchell White, RHP
Age: 26
Highest Level: MLB

White finally debuted during last season’s pandemic-shortened stretch. He pitched 3 innings, with 1 BB, 2 K’s, and nothing else. White’s stuff has always been above average but after different stints on the DL and issues with his stuff, he’s got a rough road back to starter-dom.

Tier 5

26. Cody Thomas, OF
Age: 26
Highest Level: Double-A

Thomas is perhaps the first prospect listed here that really takes a hit because of the novel Coronavirus. He’s 26 and was perhaps on his way to a true breakout during Spring Training before everything shutdown. Sure he played at the Dodgers’ ATS but actual games are invaluable to a player like Thomas who wasn’t a traditional baseball prospect. One time heralded as the #1 QB in the country (ranking better than Jared Goff coming out of high-school) Thomas committed to Oklahoma and only managed to play in three games. The Dodgers’ saw him as perhaps an outfielder and he’s made it this far. Equipped with a lefty power-stroke rivaling the system’s best, Thomas needs opportunity at the highest level.

27. Michael Grove, RHP
Age: 24
Highest Level: Single-A Advanced

A true gamble-pick by the Dodgers in the 2018 MLB Draft. Grove was taken in the 2nd round (#68 overall) even after undergoing Tommy John surgery in his junior season at West Virginia. The risk was so big the Dodgers ended up losing their 1st rounder in 2018, JT Ginn, because they had already signed Grove for well-over his slot: $1.22M. Leaving Ginn high and dry.

Eventually making his debut in 2019 with the Quakes, Grove struggled to the tune of a +6 ERA but he also struck-out 73 through just 51.2 IP. So there’s some upside there. At 6’3″, 200 LBS, Grove will be cut loose (hopefully) in the approaching season to see how he’s handled the extended period of time-off.

28. Jacob Amaya, SS/2B
Age: 22
Highest Level: Single-A Advanced

Amaya impressed scouts in 2017 during the National High School Invitational but due to signability issues, fell to the 11th round and received a bonus of $247K. His grandfather played middle infield in the Dodgers’ system so there’s got to be some kindred spirit-type stuff going on there.

His bat-to-ball skills are near elite and if he can consistently hit for a little more power, Amaya could fly through the minors as soon as this approaching year. Drafted out of high school in 2017 and having moderate success the first two years as a pro but then plateauing in 2019 with the Quakes, these are all good signs of a major bounce-back in 2021. Still just 22 years old, it feels like Amaya’s been in the Dodgers’ system for much longer.

29. Edwin Uceta, RHP
Age: 23
Highest Level: Double-A

Perhaps a future #4 starter for the Dodgers and in short-order, Uceta has proven himself as a starter along every stop to this point in his career. His bread n’ butter is his tumbling changeup. If he’s in trouble Uceta has the ability to drag that change from out of his pocket and drop it on somebody’s toes, regardless of the count, outs, etc. His FB is serviceable enough to set up that potentially plus-plus change. And at only 23 years old, he’s yet to develop his actual ‘man’ strength. Thus pointing to better days ahead in a career filled with plenty already. The Dodgers love Uceta and it’s easy to see why.

30. Andre Jackson, RHP
Age: 24
Highest Level: Single-A Advanced

Drafted in the 12th round of the 2017 MLB Draft as a two-way flyer out of Utah (OF and RHP), the Dodgers must’ve been confident in their ability to craft his arm-talents into a permanent pitcher the further they went down the yellow-brick road. As I’ve pointed out several times already, the Dodgers are confident in their developmental abilities. So it comes as no surprise that Jackson ended 2019 with the highest k-rate in the entire system (11.1 K/9 IP).

Equipped with a rocket-launcher FB and a plus-changeup, Jackson’s athleticism, strikeout-trends, coachability, and innate leadership all point to a future Big League arm.

31. Robinson Ortiz, LHP
Age: 21
Highest Level: Single-A

Resembling a left-handed Marcus Stroman on the hill, Ortiz gave the Dodgers something to really get excited about during Spring Training this year before the pandemic shut it all down. Signed from the Dominican as a teen, Ortiz’s FB worked in the 90-94 MPH-range his ‘entire career’ (his still just 21). Yet during the shortened 2020 Spring, Ortiz lived in the 94-97 MPH-range.

Now his likeness resembles Johan Santana more than a lefty-Stroman (though still a great comp). Even before the velocity uptick, Ortiz’s FB always ran arm-side. Now that it’s in the 94-97 MPH-range, it’s running like Usain Bolt. In addition to the additional MPH’s, Ortiz’s changeup is already advanced. Leaving his hand in the same slot and with the same arm-speed as his FB, Ortiz’s newfound velocity has simultaneously raised the potential of his already advanced change. Now we’re really in Johan Santana territory. Hopefully all of Ortiz’s greatest advancements have remained fully intact (no reason why they wouldn’t) because if they have, Robinson Ortiz may become LA’s latest light-speed ascender.

32. Carlos Duran, RHP
Age: 19
Highest Level: AZL (Rookie)

While he stands atop the mountainous hill, staring down into your soul, it becomes apparent that he’s not standing on any mountaintop, that’s actually him. And boom it’s on you. 96 MPH with the perceived velocity of 20 G’s. Carlos Duran is no teenager, he’s a monster. 6’7″ and 250 LBS with room to grow. If absolutely nothing else comes out of this experiment, it sure is fun to watch. Seriously though, the kid can throw, spin, and actually has a changeup. With that age, size, and the Dodgers behind him, this experiment could become a reality.

33. James Outman, OF
Age: 24
Highest Level: Single-A

Taken in the 7th round of the 2018 MLB Draft, Outman has prodigious power but hasn’t passed Single-A Ogden yet. At 24 with an entire year taken away from him, let’s hope he’s put in some serious work in this never-ending offseason.

34. Cristian Santana, 3B
Age: 24
Highest Level: Double-A

If players were to make it to the Bigs based solely upon talent, Santana would’ve made it years ago. Of course everyone knows that there’s plenty more to it than that. After crushing 24 HR’s in 2018 with (go figure) the Quakes but simultaneously sporting a K/BB ratio of 143/20 and then hitting .300 in 2019 but sporting a 80/10 K/BB ratio with Tulsa, Santana’s contradicting stats make my head hurt.

35. Jorbit Vivas, 2B
Age: 19
Highest Level: Single-A

Vivas is a hit-first 2B who happens to remind me of a much slower Vidal Brujan. His advanced-feel for hitting allows him to precisely operate within the zone while making contact at will. He also has a bit of a lift in his swing as well. The Dodgers will find somewhere for him if he continues to hit.

36. Robbie Peto, RHP
Age: 22
Highest Level: AZL (Rookie)

Peto is a innings-eating horse from Stetson who lives in the zone with a FB that tails arm-side and hovers in around the 95-96 MPH-zone. His changeup benefits from his repeatable delivery and natural action on his FB. He was the only undrafted FA the Dodgers’ signed in 2020.

37. Juan Morillo, RHP
Age: 21
Highest Level: Single-A

Morillo’s had some conflicting numbers throughout his three years in the minor leagues. For example he had a +4.30 ERA in 2019 but his opponents’ batting average was .191. Perhaps with some more seasoning in the minors Morillo will realize his potential.

38. Jerming Rosario, RHP
Age: 18
Highest Level: DSL (Rookie)

At only 18, Rosario has already developed a good feel for pitching. A stereotypical 18 year-old’s frame with a little length (6’1″) he’s pretty skinny but has still maintained considerable success versus his contemporaries. With added weight and coaching, Rosario should excel even further.

39. Jeren Kendall, OF
Age: 25
Highest Level: Single-A Advanced

Taken in the 1st round of the 2017 MLB Draft from Vanderbilt, Jeren Kendall — arguably the most tooled-up 1st rounder in recent memory — still hasn’t risen higher than Single-A Advanced. I went out on a limb before the 2020 season saying that Kendall still has a shot. Now, I’m not as optimistic as I once was.

40. Osvani Gutierrez, RHP
Age: 20
Highest Level: DSL (Rookie)

The Dodgers have always had a penchant for tall, skinny, young, right-handed starters from the Dominican and/or Venezuela. Why? Because 9/10 times they’re talented enough to be all-stars. Osvani Gutierrez is of no exception. 90-94 MPH heater with an advanced changeup and barely 20 years-old? What more can you ask for?

41. Octavio Becerra, LHP
Age: 20
Highest Level: MEX, AAA

Currently pitching  in the Mexican Pacific League, Becerra signed with the Dodgers in 2018. He’ll presumably return to the Dodgers in 2021. He’s a lefty with excellent secondary stuff who’s been playing year-round for the past two years. At 6’3″ he has a real chance of becoming a starter.

42. Jose Martinez, RHP
Age: 21
Highest Level: Single-A Advanced

A burly Venezuelan righty who signed with the Dodgers in 2016 now throws his FB in the 89-92 MPH range. That’s down several ticks from the last time he was scouted. Any drop in velocity cannot be good, let alone a 5-6 MPH-drop. Let’s hope he turns it around in 2021.

43. Guillermo Zuniga, RHP
Age: 22
Highest Level: Single-A Advanced

6’5″, 230 LBS Colombian with above-average FB, slider, and extension. His size protects his high velocity and his slider bites harder than a National COVID-Lockdown. Let’s hope that he doesn’t loose his edge while training at home this entire time.

44. Carlos Rincon, RF
Age: 22
Highest Level: Double-A

6’3″, 190 LBS, Rincon is your stereotypical power right fielder. He’s mashed the ball to the tune of a minimum 13 HR’s a year (and those 13 came in only 180 AB’s). In 2018 he hit 22 HR’s. However, his K-rate is sky-high and if it weren’t for his initial pro debut in 2016 where he hit .328, his lifetime BA would be Mendoza-ish.

45. Luis Yanel Diaz, 3B
Age: 21
Highest Level: AZL (Rookie)

Diaz has some of the highest exit velocities in the Dodgers’ system for (at the time) a teenager. He averaged 93 MPH and hit up to 100 MPH. However, his AB’s are frantically aggressive, like he has little idea of what’s next. This wouldn’t be as frustrating if he hadn’t spent the past two years in professional baseball.

46. Leonel Valera, SS
Age: 21
Highest Level: Single-A

Valera’s offensive profile, physical frame, and glovework are all very exciting aspects of his game. However, his plus-power potential is hamstrung by his utter lack of a hit-tool. He’s 21, but he’s been playing pro-ball now for over 3 years. In 2019 in Ogden his OPS was just .647.

47. Luke Raley, OF
Age: 26
Highest Level: Triple-A

Raley was drafted by the Dodgers in the 7th round of the 2016 MLB Draft. The Dodgers traded him to the Twins in the Brian Dozier deal only to bring him back the next year in the Kenta Maeda trade. Did the Minnesota vacation do the slugger any good? Was this some long-con attempt at rallying Raley into MLB-form? Find out next on — Really Raley.

48. Drew Avans, OF/LHP
Age: 24
Highest Level: Double-A

Holding onto that dream that’ll never die, Avans was selected in the 33rd round (1004th overall) of the 2018 MLB Draft by the Dodgers. He’ll be Rule-5 eligible in December ’21. But lefty-arms and lefty-speedsters can always find a little bit of work as a professional ball-player. We’ll see how this plays out.

49. Jeff Belge, LHP
Age: 23
Highest Level: Single-A

Now we’re starting to see more than one or two lefty arms for the Dodgers’ system. A pitcher who’s had some difficult injury-related setbacks throughout his tumultuous career, Belge still can sling it though. 97 MPH and a great slider will get you some work as a reliever even at the MLB-level. Just ask Jesse Orosco.

50. Heisell Baro, RHP
Age: 18
Highest Level: DSL (Rookie)

Last but certainly not least, Baro has excellent stuff for an 18 year-old because of his delivery and his plus-plus athleticism. Cuban defectors always hold a spot nearer and dearer to my heart because of the sacrifices they’ve made to make their dream come true. Your arm doesn’t pump 98 on its own? No problem, make your entire body deliver the goods. 12 feet of extension later, and you’re looking at a perceived velocity of 110.




About Nate Eckert 7 Articles
I'm Nate Eckert, born and raised in Seattle, WA. However, I've been an LA import for the past 12+ years. I love the Mariners and I love the Dodgers equally, like a father's love for his children. My ultimate baseball dream is to watch my kids square-off against one another, in what would only be celebrated as the Mariners' very first World Series appearance. And then BOOM!! Ken Griffey Jr. is 19 again!! Let's PLAY BALL!!

4 Comments

    • You’re right Jay. There aren’t many LHP’s in the Dodgers’ system. Andrew Friedman goes for immense ceiling-potential in college-arms. Typically, LHP’s come at a very high premium during the MLB Draft at both HS and college levels. Because the Dodgers’ draft picks typically come at the bottom of the first round, a lot of the premier lefties have already been drafted, hence the RHP-heavy assortment above.

  1. Chris Taylor did not benefit from the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes’ power-development program simply because he played A ball for Seattle not LA. This comment and from a writer who loves both the Dodgers and Mariners as his child seems neglectful. Makes me question the information in the rest of the writing.

    • Sorry to read that Scott. Where then – I ask – did Taylor acquire his uppercut swing? I, like you, am a fan of both organizations, however I’m not ashamed to admit that the M’s made a huge mistake letting him leave. The Dodgers’ found – in the same manner they did with Max Muncy – untapped potential and have now transformed Chris Taylor into arguably the best utility-man in baseball.

      Lastly, Taylor hit a grand total of one home run with the M’s from 2014-16. Through 318 PA’s.

      In his first full year (2017) with the Dodgers he hit 21 home runs through 500+ PA’s. And he hasn’t stopped since.

      So again I ask, where did the power come from??

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