Dodgers 2015 Top Prospects: Taking A Look At 20-11

Vincent Samperio-Dodgers Nation
Vincent Samperio-Dodgers Nation

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15. Jeff Brigham, RHP

A surprise fourth-rounder by the Dodgers in 2014, the University of Washington righty was recovering from Tommy John surgery and had barely begun throwing his breaking ball again prior to the draft. The arm strength was evident, though his slight frame and injury concerns likely scared other teams off. Their loss.

At his best, Brigham sits in the mid-90s with his fastball and has a hard breaking ball that’s a swing and miss pitch. He made 11 appearances for Ogden in his debut, surrendering just a 3.58 ERA with 33 strikeouts in 32.2 innings.

Jeff still has plenty to prove, including staying healthy over the long grind of a pro season. When he’s on, the stuff is premium, but his ability to maintain it over an extended period is yet to be seen. He should start the year in full season ball but will likely have his workload limited.

14. Jharel Cotton, RHP

Jharel Cotton came to the Dodgers in their excellent 2012 draft haul. A 20th-rounder out of East Carolina, the Virgin Islands native pitched well mostly out of relief in his debut before moving to the rotation in 2013. He moved three levels that season, breezing through Low-A and High-A. When he got to Chattanooga, the team decided to use him out of the pen and he struggled, returning to High-A to start 2014.

Jharel struggled out of the gate in 2014, with high ERAs through the first three months of the season. However, he began to turn things around in July with a 3.00 mark in six starts and finished very strong with a 1.65 ERA in his final five starts. He also saw his strikeout to walk ratio rise to 5:1 over those final two months.

At his best, Cotton can get into the mid-90s consistently and throws a very good changeup. His curveball is still a work in progress and, due to his size, some people believe he’ll eventually move to the pen. However, the Dodgers seems intent on continuing to develop him as a starter and that decision could pay dividends if he builds off his strong end to 2014.

13. Chris Reed, LHP

After spending his junior season at Stanford serving as the Cardinal closer, the Dodgers decided Chris Reed could start and drafted him 16th overall in 2011. He struggled in his debut, which is understandable, but has been productive in his three seasons since.

The big southpaw posted a 3.97 ERA in 2012, a 3.86 mark in 2013 and a 4.26 ERA last season. He was cruising through the Southern League during his second stint, with a 3.22 ERA in 23 starts, before the club decided to challenge him with a late season promotion to Albuquerque. Turns out, Albuquerque is a tough place to pitch, as Reed found out after producing a 10.97 ERA in five starts with the Topes.

Reed was a power pitcher in college but has since changed his approach and become a groundball artist, with a 1.85 career ratio. His slider still gives him a strikeout pitch and would allow him to move back to the bullpen if starting doesn’t work out. His ceiling is lower than some on this list, but his floor is higher.

12. Scott Schebler, OF

When the Dodgers took Zach Lee in 2010, their spreading out his bonus over five years allowed them to spend more on that class, including giving $600,000 to Joc Pederson and a six figure bonus to Scott Schebler.

After playing just five games in his debut, Schebler went to Ogden in 2011 and crushed the ball, posting an .853 OPS in 70 games. He then moved up to Great Lakes where his offense dried up and his OPS plummeted 150 points. Despite his rough experience with the Loons, he moved up to Rancho in 2013 and re-established himself by clubbing 27 home runs and OPSing .941.

Last year, Schebler had one job: to prove to doubters that his 2013 performance wasn’t a Cal League mirage. He succeeded. Moving to the pitcher-friendly Southern League, Scott nearly replicated his previous OPS and hit one more home run while walking more and striking out less. Even though the Dodgers still has a logjam in the outfield, the organization seems to be high on him and Schebler could find his way onto the roster if one or more of the veterans are moved.

11. Darnell Sweeney, 2B/CF

Yet another 2012 draftee, Darnell Sweeney was drafted out of the University of Central Florida in the 13th round. While his defense at short and the presence of Corey Seager prompted a move to second base (and more recently the outfield), Sweeney has hit everywhere he’s been as a pro.

In his debut, Sweeney started off in Ogden and hit well, which is to be expected. It was also expected that, after a promotion to Great Lakes, his offense would disappear. However, he put up a .291/.372/.447 line in 51 games with the Loons. In 2013, he moved up to Rancho and continued putting up strong numbers, hitting 34 doubles, 16 triples, 11 home runs, and stealing 48 bases.

Last season, Darnell went to Chattanooga and actually improved, raising his OPS from .784 to .850 while hitting 14 home runs. He also stole 15 bases but was caught 16 times. Sweeney spent most of his time at second but also played some short and center field. His bat, speed and defensive versatility make him at least a candidate for the bench, with a possibility of starting if he proves he can handle second defensively.

Dodgers 2015 Spring Training – Darnell Sweeney

Written by Staff Writer


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