It’s one of the saddest times of the year. The Minor League season has officially ended for all of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ affiliates. However, this provides an opportunity to reflect on the 2014 season and evaluate top prospects while also attempting to identify diamonds in the rough.
So, let’s start as many prospects do, from the bottom up and take a look at the Arizona League Dodgers.
Player of the Year – Alex Verdugo
It wasn’t a surprise when the Dodgers drafted Verdugo, who had been connected with the team prior to the draft. It was, however, a surprise that the club selected him as a hitter, when most evaluators identified him as a pitching prospect. The early returns show that the Dodgers may have gotten a steal.
Verdugo spent most of his debut with the Arizona League Dodgers before a late promotion to Ogden for the Raptors’ playoff run. During his time in Arizona, his home state, he thrived at the plate, hitting .347/.423/.518 with 20 walks compared to 14 strikeouts.
He played all three outfield positions, spending the majority of his time in center field, and stood out with his arm strength, racking up four outfield assists in 48 games.
The Dodgers aren’t exactly short on outfielders and he could always revert to pitching, but Verdugo looks like a legitimate prospect as a hitter who will rank highly in the organization. His outstanding plate discipline shins and he should develop more power as he matures. Dodgers’ VP Logan White compared him to Joc Pederson and that may not be far off of his upside.
Pitcher of the Year – Jairo Pacheco
Pacheco turned some heads when he debuted with the Dominican Summer League Dodgers last summer and posted strong numbers. Then in his stateside debut, Pachecho dominated like a guy with elite stuff.
After a rough start to the season, Pacheco turned things around after skipping a start and finished the season with a flourish. He allowed 15 runs in his first four appearances, though only nine were earned, and allowed just five runs (three earned) in 10 outings after that. He struck out 54 batters in 48 innings and allowed only one home run.
Pacheco turned 18 in July, so for him to have this type of experience at such a young age is a bonus. It’s a safe bet that he’ll rank higher than No. 51 among the organization’s prospects going into next year.
Next Page: Bonus Prospects