5. Justin Chigbogu, 1B
Chigbogu is almost the opposite of Dickson, in that Dickson is a steady player who gives you consistency but nothing special. Chigbogu on the other hand can cause your jaw to drop with towering blasts or leave you shaking your head after he chases three pitches out of the zone.
Indeed, home runs and strikeouts are the two biggest parts of Chigbogu’s game, as he hammered 23 homers in just 91 games last year but also struck out 140 times. He desperately needs to make more contact if he wants to put his prodigious power to use.
4. O’Koyea Dickson, 1B
All Dickson does is hit; he’s hit everywhere he’s been. After posting a career-low .796 OPS with the Quakes in 2013, Dickson went to Double-A Chattanooga and improved his walk rate and power while lowering his strikeout rate.
The San Francisco native, who will be 25 next year, doesn’t have the star power to profile as a starter in the bigs, but could help a team off the bench.
3. Jeremy Rathjen, RF
Rathjen, who will be 25 on Opening Day next year, needed to have a productive season with the Quakes last season. Luckily, he did, posting an .829 OPS and collecting 11 outfield assists. The stringbean outfielder has the speed, arm and athleticism to play all three outfield spots, but settles in as a plus defender in right.
Rathjen struggled to make good contact early in the season but shortened up his swing and was more direct to the ball later in the year, enabling him to hit a career-high 16 home runs. After stealing a combined 49 bases in his first season and a half, Rathjen stole just nine last year, but does have value as a baserunner. If he continues to hit, he could provide the club with a valuable fourth outfielder.
2. Cody Bellinger, 1B
The Dodgers’ fourth-rounder in 2013, Bellinger got off to a slow start in the pros, batting just .210 in his debut. After suffering a separated shoulder early in his 2014 season, it looked as though the teenager was doomed to lose valuable development time.
However, Bellinger came back from the injury and didn’t miss a beat, finishing the season strong in Ogden. The lanky lefty shows rare athleticism for a first baseman, highlighted by his excellent defense.
Bellinger’s manager in Ogden, Jack McDowell, said he’s already Major-League ready with the glove. Don’t sleep on his offense, though. He batted .312/.352/.474 in 51 games in 2014 and even stole eight bases without being caught. Still just 19, Bellinger will be challenged with his first taste of full season ball in Great Lakes next year.
1. Scott Schebler, RF/LF
Even after a breakout campaign with High-A Rancho Cucamonga in 2013, Schebler was perceived as nothing more than a fourth outfielder by many evaluators. That changed in 2014, after he went to Double-A and actually improved some aspects of his game, including his walk and strikeout rates.
Signed as a 26th-rounder in 2010, the 24 year old struggled in his first taste of full season ball with Low-A Great Lakes in 2012, but has hit well over the past two seasons. In that time, he’s amassed 55 home runs, 52 doubles and 27 triples, along with 26 stolen bases.
Schebler has good speed in spite of his thick frame and enough arm for right field. Obviously, there’s quite a logjam in front of him, so look for his name to be mentioned in trade talks moving forward. Also of note, he was one of three prospects the Dodgers added to their 40-man roster in recent days.
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