5. Alex Guerrero, 2B
Guerrero was another Cuban defector connected to the Dodgers for a while before he finally signed. He’s also significantly older than Arruebarrena and Yasiel Puig, as he’ll turn 28 on Nov. 20.
Guerrero played shortstop in Cuba, but is a better fit at second and the club has even tried him in left field. His bat is his calling card, as he slugged 15 home runs in 65 games with the Isotopes last season.
With Dee Gordon’s breakout campaign, it’ll be tough for the Dodgers to find room for Guerrero, who has very little trade value given the clause in his contract that allows him to become a free agent the winter after changing teams.
4. Erisbel Arruebarrena, SS
It was something of a surprise when the Dodgers signed Arruebarrena in the middle of Spring Training, even though they’d been connected to him for a while. He began the season in the Minors but made his way to the Dodgers in May, where he showed off an outstanding glove at short.
The bat is a major work in progress, though he’s still just 24. Arruebarrena is the leading contender to take over for Hanley Ramirez in 2015 should the free agent moves on from the Dodgers. While the offensive dropoff would be huge, expect great things on defense.
3. Alex Verdugo, CF
The Dodgers were connected to Verdugo before the draft, so when they selected him with their second pick, it didn’t surprise anyone. However, when they announced him as an outfielder, the industry was baffled, as he was ranked as a Top-3 round pick as a left-handed pitcher.
But it didn’t take long for Verdugo to make the Dodgers look good, as he dominated the Arizona League, ranking as the circuit’s sixth-best prospect. He even earned a late season promotion to Ogden, where he went 8-for-20.
Verdugo is a good natural hitter who finished the season with more walks (20) than strikeouts (18). At least an average runner, he plays center field now but could end up in a corner, where his plus arm strength would play.
2. Joc Pederson, CF
After a historic season in the PCL, where Pederson became the first player in 80 years to slug 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in the same season, the 22-year-old Palo Alto, Calif., native received a September callup to the big club.
It didn’t go as planned, with Pederson getting just three starts before being relegated to pinch-hitting duties, but it was a positive experience nonetheless. Drafted in the 11th round in 2010, Pederson displayed five average or better tools coming out of high school.
Pederson broke out in 2012 with Rancho Cucamonga and has posted big numbers in both Double-A and Triple-A despite being young for each level. In 2014, Pederson won Pacific Coast League MVP honors after posting a 1.017 OPS with 100 walks and 54 extra base hits. If the Dodgers had an open spot in the outfield, he’d fill it in a heartbeat.
1. Corey Seager, SS
Even though some evaluators don’t see Seager as a long-term shortstop, the Dodgers are clearly focused on keeping him there for the near future. While he doesn’t have the range or quickness that you see in top-notch defenders, he does have fluid actions, plenty of arm and soft hands to make his fair share of plays.
However, where his real value lies is in his bat. Between High-A Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Chattanooga, Seager hit .349/.402/.602 with a Minor-League leading 50 doubles. At just 20-years-old, Seager was four and a half years younger than his average opponent in the Southern League and still managed to OPS .915 with the Lookouts.
After his promotion, he was named MVP of the California League and its second best prospect according to Baseball America, as well as the Southern League’s third best prospect. Seager will likely make his Major-League debut late in 2015 and could gain a foothold in the big leagues the following year.