Even as top talent graduates, the Dodgers boast a deep farm system. MLB Pipeline’s top 100 list is the latest example of why.
Cody Bellinger, Yadier Alvarez, Alex Verdugo, Willie Calhoun and Walker Buehler all cracked the rankings. Bellinger came in highest at No. 13, placing him seven spots lower on this list than Keith Law’s No. 6 rating.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) January 29, 2017
Los Angeles saw Corey Seager and Julio Urias breakthrough in the past couple of seasons. Smart money says Bellinger is next up. Even with Adrian Gonzalez at first, Bellinger also plays the outfield, accelerating his path to Chavez Ravine.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) January 20, 2017
The recently dealt Jose De Leon comes in at 33, which would’ve made him the Dodgers’ No. 2 prospect. Instead that honor goes to Alvarez, who is four years younger than De Leon. The 20-year-old placed at No. 49. L.A. reportedly valued him more than De Leon in trade negotiations. I wrote about Alvarez being the next great Dodgers prospect last September.
Verdugo possesses an ideal blend of speed and contact. He projects as a middle of the lineup hitter who could develop 20-homer power if he continues to grow physically. Verdugo is a well-rounded outfielder projected in the Christian Yelich mold.
Calhoun, often considered the long-term solution at second base and perhaps the successor to Logan Forsythe, slotted at No. 82. Calhoun carries a viscous bat, but defensive limitations could keep him from skyrocketing up the rankings. He’ll be with the team throughout spring training, which will be a fair determiner in how ready he is to contribute at the Major League level. His lefty bat and Forsythe’s presence leaves a lot in the air.
Buehler came in at No. 93. The Dodgers were fortunate to grab Buehler, 2014 Baseball America’s top pitching prospect, 24th in the 2015 draft. He required Tommy John surgery and dropped with a health red flag. His fastball sits around 94-96 and is complemented with a curve, slider and changeup. The 22-year-old could be the Dodgers’ next fast riser.