Today, Baseball America released a few articles looking at some of the best young players in professional baseball. They released a list of the top 50 players aged 25 and younger, as well as a ranking of players of each age from 16 to 25 and an organizational list of 25 and under talent. So, how did the Dodgers fare?
In the top 50 list, the Dodgers landed only one player: Yasiel Puig. The 23 year old Cuban outfielder set the National League on fire after his June callup last season, placing second in Rookie of the Year voting after producing a WAR of 5.0 in two-thirds of a season. Puig displayed his explosive tools in an exhibition game against Australia’s National Team this morning, clubbing a game-tying home run and throwing a runner out at home to help the Dodgers achieve a comeback win. Big things are expected of Yasiel in the coming years.
The club was pretty well-represented in the second list, which ranked individual age groups. The first name that popped up was in the 17 year old group, where Julio Urias was ranked #1. The precocious teenager recently pitched a perfect inning against major leaguers, striking out a pair while showing mid 90s velocity and a nasty breaking ball. There are a growing number of evaluators who believe the Mexican southpaw could reach the majors at 18.
Corey Seager checked in at #4 in the 19 year old group, behind 2012 first overall draft pick Carlos Correa, Lucas Giolito and Albert Almora. Seager will turn 20 next month and figures to reach Double A before his 21st birthday. The 6’4 shortstop figures to eventually move to third, where his glove will be an asset along with his bat.
The final name on the list for the Dodgers was Yasiel Puig, heading the 23 year old group. He was ranked ahead of American League Rookie of the Year Wil Myers and 2011 first overall draft pick Gerrit Cole.
These lists were released a day after Clayton Kershaw turned 26. Coincidence, or conspiracy?
Finally, the Dodgers placed 24th in the organizational rankings. Spearheaded by outfielders Yasiel Puig and Joc Pederson, as well as teenagers Urias and Seager, the system seems to be fairly top heavy and the big league club is built more around veterans rather than youth. However, with increased spending in the draft and abroad, look for the organization to steadily improve in this area.
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