Los Angeles Dodgers 2020 Top 50 Prospects

Omar Estevez. Photo credit - Gail Verderico, @1baseballchick on Twitter

The Dodgers have continued to maintain one of the best major league rosters in the league over the past few seasons and while you might expect that to be a detriment to their minor league system, that has not been the case. Dodgers President of Baseball Operations, Andrew Friedman, and the rest of his crew have continued to do a terrific job in acquiring talent through the draft, via recent trades, and in international free agency.

The wildest part of the Dodgers’ equation is that they have graduated some of their elite prospects over the past few seasons, namely Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager, and Julio Urías — and have maintained a top-10 and potentially top-5 system. Recent call-ups of right-handed pitcher Dustin May, middle infielder Gavin Lux, and catcher Will Smith will eventually weaken the system at the top, but it is not a reach to say that the Dodgers possess one of the deepest systems in all of baseball. They will survive despite the imminent graduations of their system.

A major point of emphasis is that while the Dodgers have done their own homegrown homework with the draft, they have acquired elite prospects in recent seasons. Those names include middle infielder Jeter Downs (recently traded to Boston) and fast-rising right-hander Josiah Gray.

Overall, this farm system is in excellent hands with the current front office and likely will continue to be an emphasis for Friedman & Co.

These lists are fluid. Players come, players go. If you want to discuss any of this list with me, comment below or feel free to hit me up on Twitter at @DanJPreciado.


Dodgers Minor League Affiliates:

Triple-A: Oklahoma City Dodgers (Pacific Coast League)

Double-A: Tulsa Drillers (Texas League)

High-A: Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (California League)

Low-A: Great Lakes Loons (Midwest League)

Rookie: Ogden Raptors (Pioneer League)

Rookie: Arizona League Dodgers (Gulf Coast League)

Dominican: DSL Dodgers Bautista (Dominican Summer League)

Dominican: DSL Dodgers Shoemaker (Dominican Summer League)


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

*Editor note: Jeter Downs (6) and Connor Wong (16) were originally part of this list, but have been removed following the trade to Boston. 2.10.20


Tier 1

1. Gavin Lux, 2B/SS
Age: 22 (DOB: 11/23/1997)
Highest 2019 level: MLB

Lux received his long-awaited call-up to the big leagues in 2019 and while he did not show out and live up to the hype, there is no doubt that he will in the future. Lux had one of the best minor league seasons in the sport and in recent memory, for that matter. He posted an 87 wRC+ across 23 games at the big-league level and a 166 wRC+ across 113 games with Tulsa and Oklahoma City. Lux was even named the 2019 Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America. The 22-year-old figures to be the Opening Day second baseman for the Dodgers, likely making the keystone his long-term home. He has dealt with a case of the ‘yips’ playing shortstop and the presence of Corey Seager on the roster makes it all the more likely that Lux will be the Dodgers‘ long-term answer at second base. Expect him to find his groove at some point in 2020.

2. Dustin May, RHP
Age: 22 (DOB: 9/6/1997)
Highest 2019 level: MLB
May showed flashes of brilliance in his 34 2/3 innings of work at the major league level In 2019. He could be the second-coming of Walker Buehler or Noah Syndergaard. He has that kind of upside and dominant raw stuff. May sits about 94-96 miles per hour as a starter, but hit 97-99 as a reliever in 2019. May pitched to the tune of a 3.79 SIERA (Skill-interactive Earned Run Average) and held his walk rate to a minuscule 3.6%. For having such tremendous movement on his pitches, he demonstrates well above-average command. The Dodgers have yet to determine their official plan for his usage in 2020, but it seems likely that he starts the year in Triple-A considering their tremendous starting pitching depth. When May does get granted the keys to a rotation spot, though, he will likely capitalize. If not, he could turn out to be high-leverage reliever in midseason 2020 and work for a rotation spot in 2021.


3. Keibert Ruiz, C
Age: 21 (DOB: 7/20/1998)
Highest 2019 level: AAA

Ruiz had a down offensive year in 2019 to follow up a somewhat down year offensively in 2018. However, he was under consideration as the best catching prospect in the game prior to that. He still possesses one of the best defensive skill sets in the game all while possessing excellent plate skills and some solid potential to hit for power. It is not entirely out of the question to consider Ruiz a potential perennial All-Star in the future, but he needs to deliver in hitter-friendly Triple-A in 2020. While Will Smith is receiving all the praise, Ruiz is waiting in the wings. Expect the 21-year-old backstop to surface at some point in 2020, especially if he finds his groove at the plate once again.


Tier 2

4. Josiah Gray, RHP
Age: 22 (DOB: 12/21/1997)
Highest 2019 level: AA
Gray was one of the ‘low-level’ prospects that the Dodgers received in the Yasiel Puig trade with the Cincinnati Reds and boy has he risen up the ranks. Gray has 1/2 starter upside and immense strikeout potential. His raw stuff is really solid and his ‘pitchability’ is amongst the best in the system. In 2019, Gray posted a 2.28 ERA with 147 strikeouts across 130 innings of work. He could reach the big leagues in 2020, but the most likely scenario is that he makes his first major impact in 2021. This is a guy that is on one of the quickest climbs in the league in terms of prospect rankings. His current state makes him a safe bet to be a fantasy contributor sooner rather than later, but his ceiling is immense.


5. Tony Gonsolin, RHP
Age: 25 (DOB: 5/14/1994)
Highest 2019 level: MLB

Gonsolin has quite possibly the highest ceiling of any pitcher in the Dodgers organization and showed signs of being a solid 2/3 starter in 2019. Tossing 40 innings with the Dodgers, Gonsolin posted a 2.93 ERA overall and a similar 2.89 ERA as a starter. His numbers against righties and lefties were nearly identical, resembling his output in the minor leagues and demonstrating a high ceiling to go along with his tremendous floor. The Dodgers simply keep churning out starting pitching talent. Similar to Dustin May, the Dodgers have yet to announce a plan for him in 2020, but he is likely starting out in Triple-A and may resurface as a reliever in the early going.

6. Brusdar Graterol, RHP
Age: 21 (DOB: 8/26/1998)
Highest 2019 level: MLB

The Dodgers picked up one of the best pitching prospects in the game for Kenta Maeda as a result of the Mookie Betts deal that went down with the Boston Red Sox. It sounds like the Dodgers plan to bring him in as a reliever to start off his tenure, but he could run into starts if he fixes his slider. His sinker is excellent and can reach 100 miles per hour on the gun. Right now, he might be a two-pitch pitcher, but he is still young enough to develop an average third pitch to pair with plus-plus raw stuff.

7. Kody Hoese, 3B
Age: 22 (DOB: 7/13/1997)
Highest 2019 level: A-

Hoese was one of the Dodgers‘ first-round selections in the 2019 MLB Draft, taken 25th overall. When admiring his full body of work and his tools, it is hard to see why he slipped so far in a relatively weak class. Hoese played a combined 41 games in Rookie ball and with the Great Lakes Loons, posting a .299/.380/.483 slash line. His plate discipline is pretty solid for someone who projects to have somewhere around 60-grade power potential. Hoese seems like the type of hitter who could run into many seasons with 25-30 home runs and a .260 batting average seems like a good baseline at the moment.


8. Michael Busch, 1B/2B
Age: 22 (DOB: 11/9/1997)
Highest 2019 level: A-

Busch was the other first-round selection by the Dodgers in the 2019 MLB Draft and is one of the most intriguing prospects in the system. He walks at an uncanny rate and does not seem prone to strike out in the early stages. He played only 10 games of affiliated ball in 2019, but walked seven times. In college, he walked a ton and it is expected that he develops into an elite OBP threat down the road. He has some solid pop to add to the ledger and could prove to be one of the best values from the 2019 draft class.

9. Diego Cartaya, C
Age: 18 (DOB: 9/7/2001)
Highest 2019 level: Rookie

Cartaya was one of the biggest prizes of the 2018 international free agency class and has shown why in the states. The current state of the catcher position in Major League Baseball justifies this ranking. Cartaya posted a mediocre .240/.316/.420 slash line in Rookie ball last season, but there are a plethora of reasons why scouts are salivating over him. His defense projects to be excellent, but his hit tool is what could drive him fantasy-wise. He might never hit for off-the-charts power, but he seems like a safe bet to develop an excellent bat. Cartaya is just another catcher in the long line of Dodgers prospects who can make a tremendous impact.

10. Luis Rodriguez, OF
Age: 17 (DOB: N/A)
Highest 2019 level: N/A

Rodriguez was signed by the Dodgers in the most recent 2019 international free agency class and was ranked as high as second in the class by some outlets behind the famed Jasson Dominguez. The young center fielder is extremely toolsy and could turn into one of those 25/25 threats that owners love. He will reach the states in 2020, without a doubt, and could climb up the boards in short order.

11. Omar Estevez, 2B/SS
Age: 21 (DOB: 2/25/1998)
Highest 2019 level: AA

You can justify placing Estevez higher on this list. There are many in the industry who are extremely high on him. I happen to be one of those people that are lukewarm. The middle infielder played 90 games in 2019, posting a .292/.353/.429 slash line. He only hit six home runs and has no real speed to speak of. He has a little 15-20 home run potential, but his batting average will carry his value in fantasy.

12. Miguel Vargas, 3B
Age: 20 (DOB: 11/17/1999)
Highest 2019 level: A+

There are a plethora of reasons why Vargas could be ranked higher on this list, but let’s just say this. Vargas would be on the fringes of the top five in most systems and it’s simply indicative of how deep the Dodgers are in the minors. The young third baseman started at Great Lakes and worked his way to Rancho Cucamonga in 2019, courtesy of a 150 wRC+ at the former spot. Combined, he posted a .308 batting average and an .820 OPS with just seven home runs. The power is not here in the present, but it could be in a big way in the future. He doesn’t strike out much and he knows how to draw a walk. He’s good.


13. DJ Peters, OF
Age: 24 (DOB: 12/12/1995)
Highest 2019 level: AAA

Peters is the owner of some tremendous locks, but also some tremendous power. He strikes out a lot at his current state to be entirely relevant fantasy-wise, but if he can cut down on the strikeouts and harness his eye at the plate, the ceiling is high. He had a pretty slow start with Tulsa, but raked in Oklahoma City. His raw power potential is excellent.

14. Dennis Santana, RHP
Age: 23 (DOB: 4/12/1996)
Highest 2019 level: MLB

Santana is another pitcher who used to be higher on this list. Some complications occurred in 2019 that included him leaving the team briefly, but he still has some upside. While he is a starter in the present, he could be an excellent back-end reliever in the future. He can hit about 95-96 miles per hour tops with his fastball and that could increase in the bullpen. He has some excellent movement on his two-seam fastball that paints a favorable picture for his long-term outlook if he can get on track.


Tier 3

15. Mitchell White, RHP
Age: 25 (DOB: 12/28/1994)
Highest 2019 level: AAA

White used to be higher on this list, but after getting picked apart in Triple-A, his stock is down. He pitched fairly well with Tulsa in 2019 (2.10 ERA in seven starts), but posted an ugly 6.50 ERA with Oklahoma City across thirteen starts. His floor is pretty average for a back-end starter, but his long-term outlook could be as a reliever.

16. Devin Mann, 3B
Age: 22 (DOB: 2/11/1997)
Highest 2019 level: A+

The Dodgers‘ fifth-round selection in 2018, Mann has continued to hit. Across 98 games, he crushed 19 home runs with a .278/.358/.496 slash line. He walks a decent amount and his ability to limit strikeouts is about average. He could rise quickly.

17. Michael Grove, RHP
Age: 23 (DOB: 12/18/1996)
Highest 2019 level: A+

Grove was the Dodgers‘ second-round pick in 2018 and the organization has been very cautious in his development considering his recent Tommy John surgery. He has a nice fastball/curve combo and needs to develop a third pitch to be able to be considered as a long-term starter. Strikeouts are there and he pitched better at Rancho than his 6.10 ERA suggests, marked by a 3.76 FIP.

18. Jeren Kendall, OF
Age: 23 (DOB: 2/4/1996)
Highest 2019 level: A+

This is a very aggressive ranking for the Dodgers‘ former first-rounder. However, he quite frankly has top-three upside in this system. He hits for power and has blazing speed to boot. He has struggled his entire pro career and his mechanics are still pretty ugly, but tangible tweaks produced tremendous results in the second half on 2019. Kendall slashed .264/.357/.514 over that span and if he continues on that pace, we could be looking at a 20/40 type asset. I’m not joking.

19. Edwin Rios, 1B/3B
Age: 25 (DOB: 4/21/1994)
Highest 2019 level: MLB

Rios hit extremely well at the big league level in 2019 (47 AB), but it is hard to see a sure spot for him to play. He has excellent power, but strikes out a bit too much. He played 104 games with Oklahoma City last season and crushed 31 home runs, so he is a very real prospect. However, he might need a trade out of Los Angeles considering he is blocked by Justin Turner, Max Muncy, and Cody Bellinger at the corners.

20. Jimmy Lewis, RHP
Age: 19 (DOB: 11/02/2000)
Highest 2019 level: N/A

The Dodgers signed Jimmy Lewis over-slot out of high school so they must be very high on him. When the Dodgers are high on someone, you have to pay attention. He hasn’t thrown a professional pitch yet, but his projectable body and big fastball as a teenager bode well for his long-term outlook.

21. Alex De Jesus, SS
Age: 17 (DOB: 3/2/2002)
Highest 2019 level: Rookie

De Jesus has some real potential and is only just 17 years old. He only has 57 pro games to his name, but has produced an decent .281/.340/.392 slash line. The power is lacking now, but once he fills out, look out.

22. Gerardo Carrillo, RHP
Age: 21 (DOB: 9/13/1998)
Highest 2019 level: A+

Carrillo has made some significant strides with his arsenal, including picking up a few ticks on his fastball. While he doesn’t sit in the triple-digits, he has been clocked as high as 99-100 miles per hour with the fastball. He was tremendous in 2017 and 2018, but fell a bit in 2019. Expect a bounce-back in 2020 and a climb up this list by midseason.

Photo credit – Gail Verderico, @1baseballchick on Twitter

23. Ryan Pepiot, RHP
Age: 22 (DOB: 8/21/1997)
Highest 2019 level: A-

Pepiot is one of my favorite prospects in this system. His potential is sky-high and he has demonstrated as such in a short minor league cameo. Pepiot amassed 31 strikeouts across 23 1/3 innings of work in 2019.

24. Edwin Uceta, RHP
Age: 22 (DOB: 1/9/1998)
Highest 2019 level: AA

Uceta is one pitcher in the system that has been very up and down. He started off to a hot start in the system in 2016, lost his way in 2017 and 2018, but since has gotten back to relevance in 2019. Uceta pitched to the tune of a 2.77 ERA across 123 1/3 innings in Rancho and Tulsa combined.

25. Andy Pages, OF
Age: 19 (DOB: 12/8/2000)
Highest 2019 level: Rookie

Pages could find his way to a lot higher of a place by midseason. Across 63 games in Rookie ball, Pages posted a 165 wRC+ and crushed 19 home runs. He has a lot of tools to work with, but his glove might be a question.

26. Jacob Amaya, SS
Age: 21 (DOB: 9/3/1998)
Highest 2019 level: A+

Like Pepiot, Amaya is one of my favorite prospects in the system, but it is mostly because of his well above-average glove. His hit tool is solid, but his power lacks. He will likely end up as a glove-first shortstop or a solid utility man down the road, but still has time to change the complexion of his future. In 124 games, Amaya posted a 123 wRC+ and only hit seven home runs.

27. John Rooney, LHP
Age: 22 (DOB: 1/28/1997)
Highest 2019 level: A+

Rooney currently projects as a back-end rotation guy or long reliever, but he is certainly doing his part to prove the scouts wrong. He had an excellent 2019 campaign, where he tossed 104 2/3 innings of a 2.84 ERA.

28. Jordan Sheffield, RHP
Age: 24 (DOB: 6/1/1995)
Highest 2019 level: AA

Sheffield is the best relief prospect the Dodgers have at present and it is truly surprising that no other MLB teams rolled the dice on him in the Rule 5 Draft. The only issue he has is with his control, as he sported a brutal 18.7 percent walk rate in Tulsa.

29. Zach McKinstry, 2B
Age: 24 (DOB: 4/29/1995)
Highest 2019 level: AAA

The Dodgers liked McKinstry enough to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft and place him on the 40-man roster. He hit well in Tulsa, but destroyed the hitter-friendly PCL. Across 121 games of play, the utility man hit for a 136 wRC+.

30. Marshall Kasowski, RHP
Age: 24 (DOB: 3/10/1995)
Highest 2019 level: AA

While I said that Jordan Sheffield is the best relief prospect in the Dodgers‘ system, Kasowski is the most major-league ready. He has never had a bad stop and across 31 2/3 innings in 2019, he struck out 51 batters and posted a 2.27 ERA. We could be looking at a potential closer down the road, if he ever gets out of Los Angeles.

31. Robinson Ortiz, LHP
Age: 20 (DOB: 1/4/2000)
Highest 2019 level: A-

Ortiz just turned 20 years old and has looked pretty decent so far in the minors. Strikeouts, or lack thereof, could be a concern, but he has a nice floor.

31(a). Luke Raley, OF
Age: 25
2019 Highest Level: AAA Rochester (Twins)
Acquired with Graterol in Maeda deal. Has power, skill set, but he strikes out a lot. Doesn’t have great athleticism and not the greatest defender. Likely to being 2020 in Triple-A Oklahoma and he waits for a potential opening in the LA outfield.


Tier 4

32. Braydon Fisher, LHP
Age: 19 (DOB: 7/26/2000)
Highest 2019 level: Rookie

Fisher has only thrown 22 innings of pro ball so it’s hard to project him right now, but the Dodgers felt strongly enough about him to invest a fourth-round pick.

33. Jerming Rosario, RHP
Age: 17 (DOB: 5/8/2002)
Highest 2019 level: Rookie

The only reason Rosario is ranked so low on this list is because there is not enough data to justify otherwise. However, he was fantastic in rookie ball last season at just 17 years old. He tossed 45 1/3 innings of a 0.79 ERA. Yes, the ERA begins with a zero.

34. Cristian Santana, 3B
Age: 22 (DOB: 2/24/1997)
Highest 2019 level: AA

Santana had an excellent 2018 in terms of power display, but while the power dropped off a little in 2019, his overall hit tool made strides.

35. Josh Sborz, RHP
Age: 26 (DOB: 12/17/1993)
Highest 2019 level: MLB

Sborz got lit up in limited time in the major leagues, but he has some really solid upside. He has good Statcast data in his favor.

36. Carlos Rincon, OF
Age: 22 (DOB: 10/14/1997)
Highest 2019 level: AA

Rincon had a pretty solid 2018, but faltered in 2019. He still possesses plus power even though it went by the wayside a bit last season.

37. Yadier Alvarez, RHP
Age: 23 (DOB: 3/7/1996)
Highest 2019 level: AA

Alvarez’s career is spiraling downward and according to reports, it is due to a lack of interest in the game of baseball. He has tremendous raw stuff if he can ever get on track, but it seems somewhat unlikely at this juncture.

38. Donovan Casey, OF
Age: 23 (DOB: 2/23/1996)
Highest 2019 level: AA

Casey is a pretty toolsy outfielder that a had a nice 2019. He played in 125 games, hitting 23 home runs and stealing 22 bases. He slashed .260/.322/.479 combined with Rancho and Tulsa.


Tier 5

39. Brandon Lewis, 1B/3B
Age: 21 (DOB: 10/23/1998)
Highest 2019 level: A-

Lewis was the Dodgers‘ fourth-round pick in the 2019 MLB Draft and put up some good numbers in 2019. Lewis played in 56 pro games and hit 13 home runs with a .297/.365/.534 slash line.

40. Andre Jackson, RHP
Age: 23 (DOB: 5/1/1996)
Highest 2019 level: A+

Jackson has some minor control problems that can be fixed and has some significant strikeout potential. He racked up a 3.06 ERA in 2019.

41. Leo Crawford, LHP
Age: 22 (DOB: 2/2/1997)
Highest 2019 level: AA

Crawford is on the upward trend. He posted 2.81 ERA in 2019 averaging a shade above a strikeout per inning. He’s one of our Cal League correspondent Gail (@1baseballchick) Verderico’s favorites!

42. Leonel Valera, 3B
Age: 20 (DOB: 7/9/1999)
Highest 2019 level: A-

Valera’s main fantasy calling card will be his speed and if he can ramp up the development of his hit tool, he could be a nice piece.

43. Morgan Cooper, RHP
Age: 25 (DOB: 9/12/1994)
Highest 2019 level: N/A

Cooper has yet to throw a pitch in the pros, but has some solid upside if he can ever get healthy. When he was drafted, he was a consensus top-30 prospect in the Dodgers system.

44. Errol Robinson, 2B/SS
Age: 25 (DOB: 10/1/1994)
Highest 2019 level: AAA

Robinson is someone that the Dodgers have seemed to be fond of in the past, inviting him to late-term Spring Training for a few seasons. He shows promise and then heads south. He’s a roller coaster wild card.

45. Yeiner Fernandez, C
Age: 17 (DOB: 9/19/2002)
Highest 2019 level: N/A

The Dodgers signed Fernandez out of Venezuela this past year and he seems to be really raw, but could be another excellent catching prospect along the likes of Diego Cartaya.

46. Melvin Jimenez, RHP
Age: 20 (DOB: 7/23/1999)
Highest 2019 level: A+

Jimenez stood out in 2019 in limited time, striking out a whopping 89 batters across 50 2/3 innings of work. There is justification for ranking him barely outside of the top-30 simply off the small sample size.

47. Hyun-il Choi, RHP
Age: 19 (DOB: 5/27/2000)
Highest 2019 level: Rookie

Strikeout potential with great command. Choi is a well regarded pitcher in the system and likely will move fast despite being a teenager.

48. Wills Montgomerie, RHP
Age: 24 (DOB: 6/2/1995)
Highest 2019 level: A+

Montgomerie, a 2019 Cal League All-Star, would not be in many evaluators’ top-50, but I would felt guilty leaving him off. He is a starter right now, but he will be a reliever eventually due to being a two-pitch pitcher and having control issues.

49. Hunter Feduccia, C
Age: 22 (DOB: 6/5/1997)
Highest 2019 level: A+

Feduccia, yes another catcher. He barely made this list, but he is no slouch. He posted a 130 wRC+ in 2019 across two levels.

50. Zach Reks, OF/1B
Age: 26 (DOB: 11/12/1993)
Highest 2019 level: AAA

There is a strong case for Reks to be higher on this list due to raw production in the minor leagues, but he seems to be somewhat of a ‘dime a dozen’ type of player in terms of fantasy. His long-term home is unlikely to be LA. If he gets traded, his projection gets more favorable.




2 Comments

  1. Nice list thank you for the time. Reads a little too stat driven for me. Case in point: Uceta.

    What is his upside? How are his mechanics? Best pitch? Room to grow?

  2. With the Dodgers Non-Roster Invitee list published earlier this week I was hoping your top 50 would include some insight on the selection of the attendees. I assume that Dodgers management sees something special in these guys. Daniel, do you have any insight into Cody Thomas, Zack Reks, Brett de Geus, and Zach McAllister?

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