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Single-A Rancho Cucamonga featured two of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ top young prospects and neither disappointed. However, some other key players took a while to get going and the Quakes couldn’t turn things around quickly enough to secure a playoff spot.
The overall talent level should drop next season, so it may be a while before the Quakes make it to the postseason.
Player of the Year – Corey Seager
In his first full season, Seager hit well in Low-A Great Lakes and was promoted near the end of the year to High-A Rancho Cucamonga. However, the wear and tear of a six-month campaign caught up to the 19 year old and he struggled in his brief time with the Quakes and a subsequent trip to the Arizona Fall League last season.
However, the Dodgers’ top prospect came back with a vengeance and put up incredible numbers in 2014. Although he missed some time early in the year, Seager established himself as the best prospect in the league with an incredible .352/.411/.633 line in 80 games.
Seager’s 34 doubles ranked third in the California League despite playing 50 less games than the league leaders, who had 37. His 18 home runs ranked second on the club and his 1.044 OPS would have ranked second in the league if he qualified.
Seager continued hitting when he was promoted to Double-A Chattanooga late in the year and once again heads to the Arizona Fall League. Regardless of his performance there, Seager has established himself as one of the best prospects in baseball heading into 2015.
Pitcher of the Year – Julio Urias
It’s rare to see a teenager play in High-A. Even more rare is said player being a pitcher. That’s what Urias did this season as a 17 year old who performed better than most of his peers. Peers should be taken with a grain of salt, since, while they’re considerably older, few can match the maturity and pure talent of the precocious Mexican phenom.
After surprising everyone in baseball by dominating in Low-A as a 16 year old last season, Urias had his sights set on the majors in 2014. While the powers that be had other ideas, Urias stayed with the Quakes the entire season and, though there were a few bumps in the road, ended up dominating much older competition once again.
The southpaw posted a minuscule 2.36 ERA in 87.2 innings and struck out 109 batters. All three of his pitches have the chance to be plus and his poise on the mound is that of a seasoned veteran.
Some evaluators believe Urias will be ready for the majors in 2015. However, the 18 year old needs to log more innings and continue refining his command in order to challenge Major League hitters. Patience is the greatest virtue for both the Dodgers’ front office and their extraordinary young lefty.
Next Page: Prospects Finish Season On High Note