Top 15 positional prospects
Take this with a grain of salt but here are my top fifteen positional prospects.
If you read this blog at all you know that I’m all in on Keibert Ruiz. His hitting approach for such a young player, his success at the age of 18 in the very tough MWL environment, the fact he’s a catcher and the Dodgers promoted him to Rancho when they could very well have simply kept him in the MWL. I’m not sure why the Dodgers put him on such a fast track, but he met the promotion head on and crushed it at Rancho for most of his time there. Ruiz may not have a high offensive ceiling, but he probably has a very high probability of having a successful major league career.
Alex Verdugo will be placed higher than Keibert Ruiz by just about everyone else. I’m not sure why except the group think may simply be smarter than myself. He doesn’t seem like a starting CF to me, and his lack of power could prove a problem in a league that is now dinger crazy. His hitting approach might have played better in an earlier era so it will be interesting to see which of DJ Peters or Alex Verdugo actually has the more productive major league career. I may be prejudiced by having watched Joc Pederson lack of footspeed try to handle CF these past few years, and Alex does not seem to have any better footspeed than Joc. Routes are cool, but Alex will need to prove to me his routes can make up for his footspeed. Still, want to see the gun though. Can you imagine that arm from left field?
Yusniel Diaz didn’t make much of an impression while playing two years at Rancho but he sure took to Tulsa. You don’t usually see someone hit 100 points higher in OPS moving from the offensive California League to the Texas League but that is what Diaz did. At only 20, he’s already in AA and almost put up an OPS of .900. That is why he is above the older Jeren Kendall.
Starling Heredia crushed the rookie leagues and was promoted to the Loons where he predictably struggled. Most kids do and he’s still just eighteen. I would not be surprised if Starling Heredia is the next great Dodger offensive prospect.
Jeren Kendall was the Dodgers number one pick in 2017 but he has a signficant wart in that he is already 21 and still has mighty swing and miss issues. For all his speed he has been a horrible base stealer, having been caught eight out of seventeen attemps so far in his professional career. He must have the speed because he rocketed seven triples in just 140 plate appearances for the Loons. Aren’t too many players who have more triples than doubles or home runs but he is that guy right now. And I love the triple. I look forward to watching this kid play as his tool kit spells excitement.
DJ Peters was the California League Player of the Year. He was called by Rotowire the most impressive player in the California league. He looks like he could walk right onto a movie lot and play a super hero. He has power to spare. He’s not higher because he also struck out over 30% of the time in an A ball league. At only 21 he has plenty of time to work that out, and if he does, BOOM BOOM.
The first six seemed somewhat easy to me. The next group was much tougher.
Gavin Lux was the 2016 number one pick and you would have liked to have seen him higher on the list. He actually needed a very nice second half to get this high. He was another young prospect struggling with the Loons (see why I like Ruiz so much) but he got it going and might be ready to zoom up this list. His August OPS was .885 and after not hitting a home run in April/May hit seven over the final three months. It is not easy for anyone to hit home runs with the Loons in April / May. Lux can take a walk, and stole twenty seven out of thirty seven attempts. I’d like that to be better but it works.
I choose Edwin Rios next because he continues to hit at every level, and hit with power. As a left handed hitting 1st/3rd he will have to continue to hit. I don’t seem him having a Dodger career but I think he could find his way onto a major league roster by virtue of his bat. The scouting reports say his swing is slow and that he’ll eventually find out that he’ll be outmatched at the highest level, but so far he’s handled every level just fine.
The Dodgers drafted two very similar players in Will Smith in 2016 and Connor Wong in 2017. Right now Will Smith is ranked higher as he is in AA and Wong is in A ball but it is hard for me to tell much difference between them. They are both converted athletic catchers with good speed. Smith seems to have the better plate discipline while Wong has more raw power.
Omar Estevez is only here because of his age. He has been a workhorse at a very early age, netting almost 1,000 plate appearances in just two years while still a teen-ager. He spent the whole year at Rancho and while he didn’t knock the socks off of anyone, he held his own. Once Drew Jackson was promoted to AA, Estevez took over at shortstop.
Cristian Santana may have the worse plate discipline in the system. The chances of him overcoming this problem is not very high, but when he makes contact, things happen. Even as I write this I’m having second thoughts about putting him in the top 15.
The late blooming Kyle Farmer is next, mainly because…………….he is
Carlos Rincon beat off a plethora of other prospects because of his power but I don’t hold out much hope he can do something with it.
Matt Beaty was the Tulsa League Player of the Year. Like Rios he is a left handed 1st/3rd baseman. He had a great year but no one seems to think much of him but I couldn’t deny what he did for Tulsa this year.
Other players considered were