John Sickels is bearish on Dodger number one pick

John Sickels reviewed the Dodgers minor league system and presented his rankings and grades.  John ranked 2017 number one pick Jeren Kendall at eight behind Diaz and Heredia. That doesn’t seem very bearish but he was the number one pick in 2017 and in the comment section he said he agreed with a very bearish comment about Kendall.

I think it is too soon to be discounting his considerable baseball skills based on a few hundred at-bats in the tough MidWestLeague.  He came right from college into pro ball, and it is doubtful any Dodger tinkering has had an effect yet. They may be right that his contact skills are going to be his downfall but I kind of see his floor as Drew Stubbs and if he can manage to get his contact skills under control, I’m not sure what his ceiling is.  He also needs to work on his baserunning skills because for someone with his speed, those caught stealing numbers are abysmal.  As Marc Hulet from Fangraphs noted, let’s give the excellent Dodger development team a chance with him.

 I’m really interested to see what the Dodgers’ player development staff can do with him. He has a chance to be an all-star even if he hits .250.

I also completely disagree with his evaluation of DJ Peters and I expect time to show that he whiffed on his future production.  DJ is going to be a playa

As expected most everyone is jumping on the Keibert Ruiz bandwagon. I said back in June that he was the Dodgers best positional prospect when he wasn’t even in the conversation and now he’s right behind Mr. Verdugo.  By the time the spring rankings come out I still expect that everyone will have jumped completely on his bandwagon and the rankings will show this.

Trevor Oaks barely pitched this year but he was listed above 2016 number one pick Gavin Lux. Not that he’s bullish on Oaks, he has him listed as 13th and Lux 15th. Not exactly where you want your 2016 number one pick to be at.  At noted here before Lux had a very strong finish to what had been a very disappointing season. If he can carry that forward he might be able to take a huge step forward. That Drew Jackson is even within shouting distance of Lux on the shortstop depth chart doesn’t make sense to me. Drew had his supporters in the comment section but I really don’t get it. The ISO popped in the Cal League but once he was promoted to AA it went right back to the horrible .90 level.  He is 23 years old and has played most of his considerable minor league career in A ball without much offensive success.  I would certainly rather have Errol Robinson over Drew Jackson, but I hope that Lux can put to rest who is the best Dodger shortstop prospect by kicking some ass in 2019.

I’d say he’s bullish on these players not so much on how he ranked them but based on how I expect others to rank them.

Estevez, Oaks,  Beatty, and Drew Jackson.

Bearish on:

Jeren Kendall, Gavin Lux, Edwin Rios, DJ Peters

In the comments, Matt Beatty is getting more love than Edwin Rios which seems improper but they might be right. Beatty had a surprisingly great year and if the left handed hitting corner infielder can play a passable third, he might carve out a major league career, something no one was saying one year ago.


Verdugo is the only major league ready outfielder in the system with Diaz/Peters probably not ready until at least 2019. Depending on how the Dodgers do free agency and settle the Adrian Gonzalez situation they may have an opening in left field. A battle for left field between Verdugo and Toles would make for an interesting spring.

I have to admit I’m not as high on Verdugo as the prospect folk. Marc Hulet loves him but I’m not sure I can trust a Marc with a C instead of a K. 

 Verdugo has an advanced approach at the plate and really understands what he’s doing — but he sacrifices pop to hit for average and make consistent contact. He’ll probably make an excellent No. 2 hitter who will score a ton of runs and perhaps flirt with a batting title or two if he keeps the current approach

I’m not sure what Vedugo gives you that Andrew Toles does not but evidently, I’m on the wrong page. Toles is older but just as toolsy. Verdugo has the better arm, but Toles kills him in speed. Both have average pop with excellent plate discipline.

I understand Verdugo being the number one positional prospect because he had a solid year at AAA at a very young age. But he wasn’t playing in the California League and tearing it up at 18/19 as a catcher now was he?

Tim Locastro wants to know what is up? Timmy blew up AAA, blew the minds of many when he was added to the Dodger roster and was being considered for the postseason.  I never thought of Locastro as a burner but there he was being considered for the spot of speed merchant.

Kyle Farmer has a very very small window to impress. If the Dodgers keep both Barnes and Grandal this winter, Farmer is headed back to AAA. Will Smith looks to have better baseball tools across the board than Farmer and will be playing in AA and possibly AAA in 2018. Behind both of them is Keibert Ruiz who was playing high A ball at the age of 18 and should be two years away but who knows.  Connor Wong seems to be in the exact same mold as Barnes/Farmer/Smith, an athletic infielder who was turned into a catcher.  It will be interesting to see if the classic catcher Keibert will be better than the transitional catchers.  I’m betting on Ruiz.


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    1. Dodger prospect updates from BA, Fangraphs, and John Sickels | Dodgers, Yesterday and Today

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