It’s a time some of you consider Christmas part 2: Baseball America ranked the Dodgers farm, with a familiar name on top and a not-so-known name following. Ben Badler rated the top 10 prospects in L.A.’s farm.
Cody Bellinger tops the list after a noteworthy ascension over the last year. He was rated the Dodgers’ fifth best prospect heading into 2016 before climbing to No. 24 overall in their midseason list. He’ll open the season in Oklahoma City with a chance to crack into the Majors sometime this year. His ability to play outfield and first should be a great help to that.
Dodgers Top 10 prospect rankings and scouting reports are up at BA. One of baseball's best farm systems: https://t.co/ww6B699wKX
— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) January 13, 2017
Badler said of Bellinger:
“Bellinger has a chance to be a foundational hitter in the middle of a lineup who can also save runs with his fielding at first base. The Dodgers have first baseman Adrian Gonzalez signed through the 2018 season, but Bellinger will be ready before then, so Bellinger’s versatility and athleticism in the outfield could come in handy soon. Bellinger should start 2017 in Oklahoma City, but he could make his major league debut in the second half of the year.”
20-year-old Yadier Alvarez leapfrogged Jose De Leon into the No. 2 spot. While he isn’t a household name yet, Alvarez flashes the potential of a top of the rotation arm. We heard whispers this offseason L.A. prefers Alvarez to De Leon and this is another nod to that. Alvarez struck out 81 batters in 59.1 innings between two levels in 2016. De Leon dominated in Triple-A last season and was called up in September. He made four starts and could be a rotation piece on Opening Day 2017 (that is, assuming he’s still in the organization).
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 12, 2017
Alex Verdugo and Willie Calhoun rounded out the top five. Calhoun could make his debut later this season if the Dodgers don’t pay premium for a second baseman and he performs as anticipated. Verdugo has similar aspirations.
Andrew Toles is No. 6 and should see a growing role in 2017. Our Brian Robitaille named him one of five overlooked players who could make a big impact this season.
Cuban outfielder Yusniel Diaz is next. Badler is bullish on Diaz and said he believes he could develop into an everyday player with further adjustments at the plate.
Brock Stewart is No. 8. He’ll have the opportunity to earn the fifth rotation spot but may settle into a bullpen role. He could also start in Triple-A for consistent playing time.
2016 first rounder Gavin Lux cracks the list next. Lux was committed to Arizona State but elected to go with the Dodgers. He still needs to add weight, but he has a smooth swing with high defensive potential. He’s played in 56 total games in the Dodgers organization, hitting .296 in 253 plate appearances.
Austin Barnes completed the list. With A.J. Ellis and Carlos Ruiz out of the way, Barnes will be the primary backup catcher in Los Angeles for the first time.
The list finalizes as:
- 1B/OF Cody Bellinger
- P Yadier Alvarez
- P Jose De Leon
- OF Alex Verdugo
- 2B Willie Calhoun
- OF Andrew Toles
- OF Yusniel Diaz
- P Brock Stewart
- SS Gavin Lux
- C Austin Barnes