Reviewing the updated Fangraphs top 23 LAD Prospect List

Fangraphs dropped their updated LAD top 23 Prospect list today, and I have to admit I have some quibbles with it.  Acknowledging they know way more than I do about such things I still feel the need to put in my two cents.

This is a good article to read as they also address many other parts of the farm system besides the top-ranked 23. I do wonder why they stop at 23, it seems like such an odd number. I should probably ask (and I did).  10, 15, 20, 25, or 30. But they stop at 23. Must be a reason.

At this point, Yadier Alvarez is simply projection, but I don’t think you can rank someone that high simply based on projection when his actual production has been terrible.  Dennis Santana, on the other hand, has had to earn his way up the ranking because he didn’t come in with a multi-million dollar bonus and has had to prove himself at every level.  Santana is probably going to pitch in the major leagues this year and it could be an impactful debut. For me, Santana is clearly the Dodgers second-best pitching prospect and maybe even the top pitching prospect now that Walker is in the Dodger rotation.

You can really tell the scouting against the production when it comes to Alvarez and Ferguson. Alvarez gives up more runs in one inning than Ferguson has done all year and Ferguson can’t crack their top 23 list. Ferguson is mentioned later in the article but this seems like a huge omission for a Dodger top 23 prospect ranking list.

Jordan Sheffield is still listed as a top ten prospect. He doesn’t appear to be a major league rotation arm so if his future is in the bullpen just how dominant can he be in that role? We won’t know until he makes that transition and he might never do that until he’s actually asked to pitch in the major leagues.

I’d be moving Diaz and Lux into top ten, along with Connor Wong just sitting outside looking in.  Diaz was just added to the Baseball America top 100 updated list, granted he barely made the cut.  I may be getting ahead of myself with Lux but he is a shortstop and possibly the only shortstop in the Dodger system who might have a major league career in front of him.  He’s also a left-handed shortstop and I love those.

They did mention in the article that a concern for Ruiz is based on historical issues related to his age.  I’m ignoring those concerns myself and instead considering the fact that a 19-year-old has been so fast tracked by the Dodgers that they must love him internally because there is no actual reason the Dodgers needed to put Ruiz at AA after less than half a year at Rancho.

The only other concerns here are the attrition rate of teenage catching prospects generally and Ruiz’s lack of athleticism specifically.

The final sentence is a hurtful one.

It’s a very well-funded operation that looks poised to sustain success for a while, even as the pitching at the big-league level grows flimsy and old.

Rich Hill is flimsy and old but that broad brush wouldn’t appear to apply to the rest of the rotation. I’d have said “Flimsy or Old”. As Alex Wood is flimsy but not old.  I simply can’t say that Kershaw is flimsy even as he hits the DL again.  I have a different opinion of what “flimsy” is.

Rk Name Age Position My Notes My Rank
1 Walker Buehler 23 RHP Yup, electric arm, only question is can it handle the stress of starting in a MLB rotation 1
2 Alex Verdugo 21 RF Still taking Keibert Ruiz over Verdugo 3
3 Yadier Alvarez 22 RHP I really don’t get this. At some point performance has to matter and he’s been horrible for two years now 11
4 Will Smith 23 C Still taking Keibert Ruiz over Will Smith 7
5 Keibert Ruiz 19 C I’d have him 2nd on this list 2
6 D.J. Peters 22 RF He’s banging at AA, doing as expected 5
7 Mitch White 23 RHP Just showed up, has lots to prove. Staying healthy being a big one 6
8 Dennis Santana 22 RHP Never hurt, mostly dominating, he’s my 2nd best pitching prospect in the Dodgers system. 4
9 Dustin May 20 RHP Finally pitched this week, still far away. 8
10 Jordan Sheffield 22 RHP Not seeing anything MLB rotation worthy, has to be bullpen bound.
11 Yusniel Diaz 21 RF Top ten for me, BA just added him to their revised top 100 10
12 Jeren Kendall 22 CF Not doing much in hitter-friendly Cal League 15
13 Starling Heredia 19 CF Not doing much in cold weather Great Lakes. 14
14 Edwin Rios 23 1B Hasn’t played all year after monster spring 16
15 Cristian Santana 21 3B Hit tool 13
16 Matt Beaty 24 3B Hasn’t played all year after great 2017 17
17 Connor Wong 21 C Fast start, was destroying the Cal League 12
18 Gavin Lux 20 SS Destroying Cal League, moving way up for me 9
19 Drew Jackson 24 SS I see nothing, I rate Locastro higher WNL
20 Robinson Ortiz 18 LHP Brand new name, no nothing about im ?
21 Breyvic Valera 26 SS Utility player at best. Very unimpressive MLB at-bats WNL
22 Devin Smeltzer 22 LHP ?
23 Ariel Hernandez 25 RHP ?
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