Los Angeles Dodgers 2019 Top 50 Prospects

Gavin Lux- Photo credit @BaseballCensus

Los Angeles Dodgers Top 50 Prospects for 2019

Who knew the Andrew Friedman would turn this historic franchise into the “Tampa Bay Dodgers?” Friedman, with the help of old friend Farhan Zaidi (gone to bitter rival Giants) has completely restructured the way the Dodgers operate from an organizational standpoint. Gone are the days of being in on every top free agent (Harper, Machado) it seems. While the payroll remains high, the goal appears to be “fiscally responsible.” Friedman and his trusty sidekicks have built an incredibly deep farm system. While it’s a little less top heavy as it has been in recent years due to graduations and trades, this is one of the deepest systems in baseball.

Prospects missing from the last update (August 2018) include: LHP Caleb Ferguson (graduated), C Kyle Farmer (traded to Reds), 2B/SS Drew Jackson (claimed by Phillies), SS Ronny Brito (traded to Blue Jays), SS/CF Tim Locastro (traded to D-Backs via Yankees), OF Jacob Scavuzzo (signed by Padres), RHP Andrew Sopko (traded to Blue Jays), 1B Connor Joe (claimed by Reds), RHP Jesus Vargas (dropped off) and LHP Leo Crawford (dropped off).

Without further ado, here are the Top 50 Prospects for the 2019 Los Angeles Dodgers. With my luck, within 24 hours Verdugo and Smith will be off to Miami for Realmuto and Ruiz and May will be headed to Cleveland for Kluber.

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. Alex Verdugo, OF
Age: 22 (DOB 05/15/1996), Previously #1
2018 Highest Level: MLB
If it feels like Verdugo has been ready to be an everyday player in the show for the past two years, it’s because he has been.  In just about any other organization, Verdugo would have had 500+ at bats last season.  Instead, he spent the majority of the season in AAA due to the deep Dodgers MLB roster.  Verdugo still appears to have some power potential to tap into, but finished the AAA season at a very impressive .329/.391/.472 with 10 HR’s and 19 doubles.  The guy in an all around stud and will be an All-Star, potentially as soon as 2020.  ETA: Opening Day

2. Dustin May, RHP
Age: 21 (DOB 09/06/1997), Previously #3
2018 Highest Level: AA
“Gingergaard” remains one of the Dodgers most prized possessions.  He’s tall, he’s thin, he has flowing red locks, he’s dreamy.  May’s high strikeout rates, high ground ball rates and elite command all point towards a frontline MLB starter for the Dodgers.  Nearly a strikeout an inning to go with a 1.10 WHIP as a 21 year old in AA…..drool. ETA: 2020

3. Keibert Ruiz, C
Age: 20 (DOB 07/20/1998), Previously #2
2018 Highest Level: AA
Ruiz is a top 3 catching prospect in all of baseball because he does it all.  He started slow in 2018 as he had a tough time adjusting to AA.  However, he finished the season strong and maintained his solid bat to ball skills and defensive proficiency.  I’d take a switch hitting catcher with 26 XBH as a 20 year old in AA and solid defense 10 times out of 10.  The only question is do the Dodgers keep Ruiz or fellow catcher Will Smith?  Doubt both stay. ETA: 2020

Tier 2:
4Gavin Lux, SS
Age: 21 (DOB 11/23/1997), Previously #6
2018 Highest Level: AA
Lux, previously known as a glove first SS with projectable speed and hitting tools, has deservingly shot up prospect rankings in the last year.  He had a monster 2018 season as a 20 year old in AA (see a theme?) as he took away the “projectable” tag and turned himself into a performer.  With a .324/.399/.514 batting line with 15 dingers and 13 stolen bases, Lux opened a ton of eyes. The Dodgers can leave him at SS and shift Seager to 3B when Lux is ready.  If he’s ready soon, they can plug Lux in at 2B (Seager at SS, Turner at 3B). ETA: September 2019

5. Will Smith, C
Age: 23 (DOB 03/28/1995), Previously #4
2018 Highest Level: AAA
Smith remains slightly lower than Ruiz on this list, if for no other reason than he’s older. Smith is probably MLB ready now but he has less room to grow and improve than Ruiz. We know that Smith can be a solid everyday defensively strong catcher that can hit 20 HR’s, likely to go with a decent batting average and good on base skills. ETA: September 2019

6. Mitchell White, RHP
Age: 24 (DOB 12/28/1994), Previously #6
2018 Highest Level: AA
White struggled in 2018 as he struggled coming back from a 2017 injury.  I’m still the high guy on White, as I always have been. If White is able to have a healthy 2019, I think he will shoot back up into the top of Dodgers prospects rankings. He has a nice repertoire of pitches with a fastball, curve ball and cutter.  If he can develop his changeup or another off-speed pitch, that can help him as well. ETA: 2020

7. Jeter Downs, 2B
Age: 20 (DOB 07/27/1998), Previously not ranked
2018 Highest Level: A
Downs was acquired by the Dodgers in the Yasiel Puig/Matt Kemp/Alex Wood/Kyle Farmer deal. The Dodgers shed money against the luxury tax in 2019, while also sacrificing several starters for two solid prospects (Downs and Gray). There is everything to like about Downs with his solid power (36 XBH), speed (37 SB’s) and on base skills (.351 OBP). I think he ends up at 2B long term, but he has the bat and speed to be a top contributor. ETA: 2021

Tier 3:
8. Dennis Santana, RHP
Age: 22 (DOB 04/12/1996), Previously #7
2018 Highest Level: MLB
A shoulder injury derailed what appeared to be a breakout season for Santana. He put together a strong start in the minors before he received a promotion to the big leagues. He struggled in a tiny sample size, but that could have been due to his injury. He still has elite strikeout stuff and good command which is why I’m not giving up on him being a starting pitcher. ETA: Opening Day

9. DJ Peters, OF
Age: 23 (DOB 12/12/1995), Previously #9
2018 Highest Level: AA
Peters “sexiness” appeared to fall off a bit in 2018 as he continued to struggle with putting the ball in play. Peters 2017 A season and 2018 AA season were comparable as far as power goes (2017: 29 2B and 27 HR, 2018: 23 2B and 29 HR), but far less hits dropped in and he also walked noticeably less.  The optimism after 2017 was due to his solid power and good on base skills.  The thought was if he could strikeout less, he’d become a top prospect.  Well 2018 came and went and the K’s remained high.  Here’s to 2019 and Peters turning a corner. ETA: September 2019

10. Jeren Kendall, OF
Age: 22 (DOB 02/04/1996), Previously #10
2018 Highest Level: A+
I’ll say it again about Kendall….TOOLS, TOOLS, TOOLS! The guy is still a phenomenal athlete, but is he a baseball player? That remains to be seen. He’s already an elite defender in the OF, if only he could put the ball in play more frequently. He remains high on my list due to his massive potential and still being young. This is a huge year for his development. ETA: 2021

11. Tony Gonsolin, RHP
Age: 24 (DOB 05/14/1994), Previously 13
2018 Highest Level: AA
Gonsolin’s 2018 was the definition of a “breakout” year. While he has always been solid, Gonsolin never projected to be more than a backend starter. 2018 opened a lot of eyes and hopefully gave us a look into his “true” potential. 155 K’s in 129 IP to go along with a 1.14 WHIP is impressive. If I were a betting man, I’d say 2018 is the true Gonsolin and it will only go up for him from here. ETA: 2019

12. Edwin Rios, 1B
Age: 24 (DOB 04/21/1994), Previously #11
2018 Highest Level: AAA
Rios’ carrying tool is obviously his power/hit tool. He’s a corner infielder, without much speed and less than great on base skills. One thing he has done and continues to do is hit. He could be a 30+ HR hitting in the big leagues, but he has to find a team that will give him that opportunity.  Dodgers are just too deep at the positions he plays. ETA: September 2019, earlier if traded to AL

13. Josiah Gray, RHP
Age: 21 (DOB 12/21/1997), Previously not ranked
2018 Highest Level: Rookie
Gray is the second half of the prospect duo the Dodgers received from the Reds in the Puig trade. He was drafted in the 2nd Round of the 2018 MLB Draft by the Reds.  He put together a strong start to his pro career striking out 59 in 52 IP, to go with a 0.87 WHIP.  That is insanely impressive.  Gray, like a lot of pitchers, is a former infielder.  With two plus pitches, he projects as a dominant back end bullpen guy, unless he’s able to develop another pitch. ETA: 2021

14. Connor Wong, C
Age:22 (DOB 05/19/1996), Previously #17
2018 Highest Level: A+
Wong is another exciting prospect for the catcher rich Dodgers.  He’s an agile defender with power and gets on base at a good enough rate (.350 OBP in 2018) to be a solid contributor in the MLB.  2019 will be a fun season to watch Wong’s performance, one that could convince people that he can be an everyday catcher in the MLB. ETA: 2021

15. Yadier Alvarez, RHP
Age: 22 (DOB 03/07/1996), Previously #12
2018 Highest Level: AA
I think I want to believe in Alvarez, more than I actually truly believe in Alvarez.  The control issues to go along with reports of attitude/work ethic problems are enough reason to be concerned.  I’m not usually one to buy into “attitude/effort” reports, but the specificity of these reports do lend credibility to the concern.  He still really has elite stuff, hopefully this is the year he puts it all together. ETA: 2020, but tempted to say NEVER

16. Edwin Uceta, RHP
Age: 21 (DOB 01/09/1998), Previously #22
2018 Highest Level: A+
Uceta’s small frame and delivery cause many to project him as a reliever.  2019 will be a big year for him coming off a 65 IP increase from 2017.  If he can get through the year healthy, he may earn some believers in his ability to stay a starter.  131 K’s in 120 IP in 2018 proves he has the ability to put up solid numbers. ETA: 2022

17. Miguel Vargas, 3B/OF
Age: 19 (DOB 11/17/1999), Previously #31
2018 Highest Level: A
Vargas looks the part with his height and frame.  I hope he reaches A+ in Rancho this year because I’d like to see him in person.  I’m mostly going off of his statline and a few videos I’ve seen.  The rumor mill pegs this guy as a potential sleeper in the system. I can’t rank him too high until I actually see him play a game. ETA: 2022

18. Braydon Fisher, RHP
Age: 18 (DOB 07/26/2000), Previously #18
2018 Highest Level: Rookie
Fisher is one of my favorite Dodgers prospects even though he has not been around long.  I love the big Texas HS pitchers being drafted, especially the ones with power fastball/slider combinations like Fisher.  I think he has the potential to end up in the Top 10 by seasons end.  He may be the best projectable arm in the system aside from May. ETA: 2021

19. Diego Cartaya, C
Age: 17 (DOB 09/07/2001), Previously #16
2018 Highest Level: Just signed
The Dodgers signed the #1 overall international free agent from the previous signing period, according to MLB Pipeline.  Being a large catcher from Venezuela, he naturally receives comparisons to Salvador Perez.  While he is only 17 and I think it’s a bit early for those comparisons, he has shown scouts enough to be highly praised. ETA: 2023

20. Cristian Santana, 3B
Age: 21 (DOB 02/24/1997), Previously #23
2018 Highest Level: A+
Santana’s power turned into production in 2018 with 47 XBH’s (24 of which were HR’s) over the course of the season.  He still needs to get on base at a better rate and hopefully increase his walk rate in order to become a true stud prospect. ETA: 2022

21. Gerardo Carrillo, RHP
Age: 20 (DOB 09/13/1998), Previously not ranked
2018 Highest Level: A
Carrillo isn’t your standard size for a pitcher (6’0 155 lbs), which is why I originally left him off the midseason 2018 Top 50 list.  While I’m not against smaller pitchers, the sample size wasn’t large enough for me to throw him into the rankings.  Obviously his 2018 season impressed enough to shoot him up to #21.  His ability to keep guys off base has impressed me the most.  I’ll be keeping a close eye on him in 2019. ETA: 2022

22. Marshall Kasowski, RHP
Age: 23 (DOB 03/10/1995), Previously #19
2018 Highest Level: AA
Kasowski’s slight drop in the rankings says more about the Dodgers depth than it says about Kasowski.  111 K’s in 64 IP, to go with a 1.04 WHIP is beyond amazing and has me looking forward to watching him coming out of the Dodgers bullpen soon, possibly even this year.  ETA: 2019

23. Michael Grove, RHP
Age: 22 (DOB 12/18/1996), Previously #14
2018 Highest Level: Didn’t pitch
The Dodgers 2018 2nd Round Draft Pick out of West Virginia has yet to throw a pitch in a professional ballgame.  He recently underwent TJ surgery (a Dodger theme), but showed elite “stuff” prior to that. The Dodgers will fire him up as a starter to begin 2019. ETA: 2021

24. John Rooney, LHP
Age: 22 (DOB 01/28/1997), Previously #15
2018 Highest Level: A
The Dodgers 2018 3rd Round Draft Pick out of Hofstra is a large lefty that the Dodgers hope to develop as a starter.  However, knowing the Dodgers and how they operate, I see them pushing him quickly through the ranks in hopes to get him to the MLB to start his career as a nice lefty out of the pen with that fastball/slider combo. ETA: 2021

25. Josh Sborz, RHP
Age: 25 (DOB 12/17/1993), Previously #35
2018 Highest Level: AAA
It’s about time!  The Dodgers finally moved Sborz back to the bullpen as I have been begging them to do for the last couple of years.  He did not disappoint and projects as a solid reliever with possible setup man potential. ETA: September 2019

26. Carlos Rincon, OF
Age: 21 (DOB 10/04/1997), Previously #38
2018 Highest Level: A+
Rincon still has massive power (22 2B’s and 22 HR’s in 2018) and made significant strides in cutting down on K’s and getting on base more.  If he continues this trend, he will continue to rise. ETA: 2022

27. Jordan Sheffield, RHP
Age: 23 (DOB 06/01/1995), Previously #20
2018 Highest Level: A+
Sheffield has really done nothing but underwhelm since being drafted by the Dodgers.  Here’s to hoping they move him into a permanent bullpen role so he can maximize his stuff in short 1-2 inning bursts.  He can still be a stud in the backend of a bullpen. ETA: ???? Who knows? Could be 2019, or never.

Tier 4:
28. Starling Heredia, OF
Age: 19 (DOB 02/06/1999), Previously #21
2018 Highest Level: A
Falling, falling, falling down the rankings is Heredia.  Once nicknamed “Baby Puig”, he has been anything but Puiglike.  He is still surprisingly very young as it feels he’s been around forever, so I haven’t given up.  I have a sneaky suspicion this is a big year for him and he gets back up into the top 15. ETA: 2023

29. Robinson Ortiz, LHP
Age: 19 (DOB 01/04/2000), Previously #30
2018 Highest Level: Rookie
Small sample sizes sum up Ortiz’ stint as a Dodger, albeit with impressive numbers.  Over two seasons, Ortiz has thrown 69.2 innings to go with 77 K’s and only 17 walks.  This should be a year the Dodgers increase his innings. ETA: 2023

30. Matt Beaty, 3B
Age: 25 (DOB 04/28/1993), Previously #26
2018 Highest Level: AAA
While Beaty is getting a little old for a “prospect” and he missed the majority of 2018, I still like the bat.  He can be a solid platoon type bat in the big leagues if he proves worthy. ETA: 2019

31. Errol Robinson, SS
Age: 24 (DOB 10/01/1994), Previously #28
2018 Highest Level: AA
Good speed, good power, good defense but Robinson does nothing that jumps out as great.  Having said that, he should still get a shot in the MLB and be a solid utility type. ETA: September 2019

32. Jared Walker, 3B
Age: 22 (DOB 02/04/1996), Previously #44
2018 Highest Level: A+
From 2017 to 2018, Walkers HR numbers nearly doubled and his walks more than doubled which are both solid positive trends. 25 bombs, .365 OBP…I like it. ETA: 2021

33.  Omar Estevez, 2B
Age: 20 (DOB 02/25/1998), Previously #25
2018 Highest Level: A+
Estevez went from 4 HR’s in 2017 to 15 HR’s in 2018 to go along with a solid, yet unspectacular .336 OBP.  If he continues the positive trend, he too could become a real legit prospect. ETA: 2021

34.  Melvin Jimenez, RHP
Age: 19 (DOB 07/23/1999), Previously #34
2018 Highest Level: A+
Jimenez is still walking too many but also still striking guys out at a good rate.  He should be able to stay a starter for now. ETA: 2024

35. Jacob Amaya, SS
Age: 20 (DOB 09/03/1998), Previously #39
2018 Highest Level: A
I love this guy.  He’s going to be a better player for the Dodgers than he is a fantasy contributor, but there is nothing wrong with that.  He will help a team win games at the big league level and he will help your fantasy team by getting on base and scoring runs. The dude walked 47 times and only struck out an even 47 times, good enough to help him to a .432 OBP….crazy. ETA: 2021

36.  Cody Thomas, OF
Age: 24 (DOB 10/08/1994), Previously #36
2018 Highest Level: A+
Thomas had a nice bounce back 2018 as he increased has BA and OBP by about 60 points each, while still hitting 20 HR’s and increasing from 18 to 35 doubles. I love the bat, so hopefully he continues to produce as the Dodgers need to start challenging him at higher levels. ETA: 2020

37. Morgan Cooper, RHP
Age: 24 (DOB 09/12/1994), Previously #32
2018 Highest Level: Did Not Pitch
Cooper hasn’t pitched since 2001, not really, but it feels like it. He was a 2nd round pick in 2017 and has yet to throw a professional pitch. Still like the stuff he showed at Texas but he needs to pitch. ETA: Hard to say, I’ll go with 2021

38. Bryan Warzek, LHP
Age: 22 (DOB 01/17/1997), Previously unranked
2018 Highest Level: A
Warzek was a 6th round pick in 2018 and put up a solid pro debut. He struck out 38 batters in 22 IP and only walked 5. He could move quickly through the system as lefties are desired commodities. ETA: 2020

39.  Zach Reks, OF
Age: 25 (DOB 11/12/1993), Previously #45
2018 Highest Level: AA
Dodgers drafted Reks in 2017 in the 10th Round and he has quickly advanced to AA. The power still hasn’t come but he slashed a solid line in 2018, .303/.374/.424.  ETA: 2021

Tier 5:
40. Devin Mann, 2B
Age: 21 (DOB 02/11/1997), Previously unranked
2018 Highest Level: A
The Dodgers selected Mann in the 5th Round of the 2018 MLB Draft.  Mann has played mostly 2B, but could move to the OF or an infield corner due to his size.  He’s a grinder at the plate that taxes pitchers. There is more power potential in that frame. ETA: 2022

41. Romer Cuadrado, OF
Age: 21 (DOB 09/12/1997), Previously #37
2018 Highest Level: A
I once was heckled for rating Rincon higher than Cuadrado on this site. Well, it appears I was right because Rincon has shown the ability to adjust to higher level pitching and Cuadrado has not. Romer still has great tools, but strikes out too much and hasn’t advanced his approach at the plate. ETA: 2023

42.  Niko Hulsizer, OF
Age: 21 (DOB 02/01/1997), Previously #48
2018 Highest Level: Rookie
One of Scott Greene’s favorites who saw him play summer of 2017 in Holyoke, MA with the Valley Blue Sox (NECBL), Hulsizer, AKA HR Derby Champ, is your standard three true outcome player.  He mashes the ball, misses the ball or watches the ball. I like this kid, he could be a quick riser if he continues to hit balls into oblivion and walk at a high rate. ETA: 2021

43. Deacon Liput, 2B
Age: 22 (DOB 06/27/1996), Previously unranked
2018 Highest Level: A
Liput is not a guy that jumps out at you when you look at the stat line, but when you watch him play he screams major leaguer.  He has a solid approach at the plate, but not a single carrying tool.  The guy that comes to mind is Joe Panik, good enough right? ETA: 2021

44.  Nolan Long, RHP
Age: 25 (DOB 01/19/1994), Previously #46
2018 Highest Level: AA
Long struggled a bit after his promotion to AA, but look for those numbers to improve in 2019.  He strikes out well over a batter per inning and he really does not give up a lot of hits. ETA: 2020

45. Wills Montgomerie, RHP
Age: 23 (DOB 06/02/1995), Previously #40
2018 Highest Level: A+
Still love me some Wills even though he’s being stubborn and refuses to walk less guys. If he gets there, he will be a solid back end starter. ETA: 2021

46. James Outman, OF
Age: 21 (DOB 05/14/1997), Previously unranked
2018 Highest Level: Rookie
The Dodgers snagged Outman in the 7th round of the draft, which I think was a steal.  The guy can absolutely rake, supported by his 11 HR’s in 208 at bats and his solid .264/.350/.490 line. ETA: 2022

47. Kenneth Betancourt, SS/2B
Age: 18 (DOB 02/05/2000), Previously unranked
2018 Highest Level: Rookie
Betancourt is an interesting infield prospect that has good speed and good bat to ball skills.  He’s still super young and the famous term “raw”, but there is some exciting potential with the bat/speed combination. ETA: 2024

48. Donovan Casey, OF
Age: 22 (DOB 02/23/1996), Previously #43
2018 Highest Level: A+
Casey’s performance dipped a bit after a lighting fast start in 2017.  I still like the potential enough to keep him on here, could be another Mitch Hansen situation where I keep him in the Top 50 far too long based on athleticism alone. ETA: 2022

49. Brayan Morales, OF
Age: 23 (DOB 12/08/1995), Previously unranked
2018 Highest Level: A
Morales is a burner man, just a pure speed guy. 46 stolen bases in 2018 shows he can be a solid contributor in the SB and maybe runs category.  He needs to get on base more, but he certainly has the ability to do so.  He’ll be another guy I watch closely in 2019. ETA: 2020 call-up for speed

50. Andre Scrubb, RHP
Age: 24 (DOB 01/13/1995), Previously unranked
2018 Highest Level: AA
Scrubb has the profile of a large middle reliever with high leverage strikeout ability.  72 K’s in 63 IP is nice, but would like that 1.25 WHIP to come down a tad. ETA: 2020

7 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Tuesday, January 29, 2019 – Fantasy Baseball Links | FantasyRundown.com
  2. Dodgers: The Top 5 Starting Pitching Prospects Heading Into 2019 | Dodgers Nation
  3. Dodgers Prospects: Comparing Top 30 Lists | Dodgers Nation
  4. Dodgers Prospects: Get to Know Edwin Uceta | Dodgers Nation
  5. Houston Astros Show Andre Scrubb Some Love, Add To Bullpen Depth - The Runner Sports
  6. Los Angeles Dodgers 2019 Midseason Top 50 Prospects | Prospects1500
  7. Arizona Fall League: Fall Stars Game Preview | Prospects1500

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