20. Ross Stripling, RHP
Ross Stripling was drafted in the fith round of the 2012 draft. In his debut, Stripling pitched in limited appearances with Ogden, where he produced an outstanding 1.24 ERA in 14 games. In 2013, he began the season at High-A and quickly pitched his way into a promotion, posting a 2.78 ERA with Chattanooga while striking out 83 and walking just 19 in 94 innings.
The organization was so impressed that they brought him to big league camp last spring, where he made one appearance before complaining of elbow pain. Shortly after, he’d undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the season.
Prior to the procedure, Stripling sat in the low-90s with his fastball and showed both a curve and change that would flash plus at times. If he can get back to his pre-injury form, he’ll provide yet another quality arm in the minor league system.
19. Yimi Garcia, RHP
Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2009, Yimi Garcia has made a slow and steady climb toward the Major Leagues, making a stop at every affiliate before finally earning a September callup last year. He’s been remarkably consistent through his minor league journey, posting an ERA of 3.10 or better everywhere except the Arizona League.
The sturdy right-hander made eight appearances with the big club last season, allowing just a pair of solo home runs while striking out nine and walking just one batter in 10 innings. He doesn’t blow people away, but changes speeds and has some deception in his delivery, to go along with good command.
Garcia has a legitimate shot at making the big league pen out of Spring Training, after allowing just one run in 10.1 innings while striking out 15. He could eventually work his way into setting up Kenley Jansen.
18. Zachary Bird, RHP
Zachary Bird was identified as a potential draft steal after being taken in the ninth round of the 2012 draft. The lanky righty oozed projection but needed to polish up his command and secondary pitches. It’s been a process, but the club’s gamble looks like it’s beginning to pay off.
After a successful debut with Ogden, the club challenged Bird with a promotion to Great Lakes in 2013. However, it proved to be too much, as the 18-year-old walked nearly as many batters as he struck out and was eventually sent back to the Pioneer League.
Bird returned to Great lakes in 2014 and fared much better, lowering his ERA from 5.10 to 4.25 while seeing his walk rate drop from 6.8/9 to 4.2/9. His velocity ticked up as well, regularly hitting the mid-90s and touching higher. His command and secondaries still have some ways to go, but he’s still just 20 and has made strides already.
17. Cody Bellinger, 1B
The son of a former Major Leaguer, Cody Bellinger was the club’s fourth-rounder in 2013 and offers an interesting skillset. In his debut, Cody batted just .210 but showed unique speed for a first baseman, totaling six triples and three stolen bases. He also drew plenty of walks, leading to a .340 OBP.
In 2014, Bellinger suffered a shoulder injury that sidelined him for a while, but he bounced back and went to Ogden where he batted .328/.368/.503 with 14 doubles, six triples and three homers. The 6’4 lefty still has plenty of room to fill out and, at just 19 years old, should add muscle over the next few years.
Cody is an excellent defender and could play the position in the majors right now. His swing reminds me of Eric Hosmer’s. It’s likely that he begins the season with Great Lakes and figures to hit in the middle of what figures to be a potent, young lineup.
16. Austin Barnes, C
The Dodgers trade of Dee Gordon not only netted them Andrew Heaney (who they flipped for Howie Kendrick), a solid reliever in Chris Hatcher and a young utilityman in Kiké Hernandez, they also acquired a solid backstop who walked more than he struck out last year.
Austin Barnes, a Riverside native, drew 69 walks compared to 61 strikeouts last year between High-A and Double-A. He also hit a career high 13 home runs. In addition to playing catcher, he’s also spent time at second and third base, but the Dodgers see his future behind the plate.
The acquisition delays Barnes’ Major League debut but he should supplant A.J. Ellis in the Majors once the veteran’s playing days are over. Grandal figures to be the Dodgers’ starting catcher for the foreseeable future, so Austin could also find himself brought up in trade talks.
CONTINUE READING: See numbers 15-11