The new MLB Pipeline Top-30 prospects list was just released. Like last year around this time, we’ll compare the new Dodgers’ list to the list from last Spring Training. We’ll also take a look at some of the more interesting changes in the players and begin to get to know some new players. It should not be any surprise that the new list is lead by Gavin Lux and Dustin May. From there it sees some big changes from the year before. One thing to notice is that some good prospects actually dropped off the list.
The first column is a note about why a Dodgers’ prospect is missing from then until now. The second column is the list from February 27, 2019 and the last column is for the new list. The ranking number is in the third column.
|Notes||Feb 27, 2019||Rank||March 5, 2020||Position||Change|
|Traded||Alex Verdugo||1||Gavin Lux||SS/2B||3|
|Keibert Ruiz||2||Dustin May||RHP||1|
|Dustin May||3||Josiah Gray||RHP||15|
|Gavin Lux||4||Keibert Ruiz||C||-2|
|Tony Gonsolin||5||Brusdar Graterol||RHP|
|Graduated||Will Smith||6||Tony Gonsolin||RHP||-1|
|Dennis Santana||7||Kody Hoese||3B|
|Traded||Jeter Downs||8||Michael Busch||2B|
|Mitchell White||9||Diego Cartaya||C||1|
|Diego Cartaya||10||Luis Rodriguez||OF|
|DJ Peters||11||Mitchell White||RHP||-2|
|Jacob Amaya||12||Jacob Amaya||SS/2B||0|
|Edwin Rios||13||DJ Peters||OF||-2|
|Traded||Connor Wong||14||Andy Pages||OF|
|Michael Grove||15||Miguel Vargas||3B/1B||13|
|Off||Jeren Kendall||16||Dennis Santana||RHP||-9|
|Off||Yadier Alvarez||17||Gerardo Carrillo||RHP||2|
|Josiah Gray||18||Edwin Rios||3B/1B||-5|
|Gerardo Carrillo||19||Michael Grove||RHP||-4|
|Omar Estevez||20||Zach McKinstry||INF/OF|
|Edwin Uceta||21||Victor Gonzalez||LHP|
|Off||Leonel Valera||22||Devin Mann||3B/2B|
|Off||Braydon Fisher||23||Alex De Jesus||SS|
|Off||John Rooney||24||Omar Estevez||2B||-4|
|Off||Robinson Ortiz||25||Edwin Uceta||RHP||-4|
|Off||Marshall Kasowski||26||Hyun-il Choi||RHP|
|Off||Cristian Santana||27||Jimmy Lewis||RHP|
|Miguel Vargas||28||Ryan Pepiot||RHP|
|Off||Zach Willeman||28||Brett de Geus||RHP|
|Graduated||Matt Beaty||30||Andre Jackson||RHP|
Both Josiah Gray and Miguel Vargas made the biggest leaps over the past season for the Dodgers. Both started the season in Low-A. Gray went up to High-A and finished the season in AA with an invitation to the Major League side of Spring Training. Vargas went up to High-A a little past mid-season and held his own as one of the youngest players in the league.
Gray was famously part of the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig trade in what looks like an absolute heist. He looks like he will be a good one. Vargas was signed out of Cuba at the end of the 2017 season after not playing for two years. His main tool is hitting and he’s put up some nice batting averages but there isn’t a ton of power yet. He is still young and maturing physically so I expect more power from him within the next two seasons.
Biggest Drop Offs
Jeren Kendall was the Dodgers’ first-round draft pick back in 2017. Since the beginning of 2018, he has struggled with contact which is the only cause for him dropping off the list. However, he is one of the best athletes in the farm system as he does have power, great speed and is an excellent defender.
The Dodgers seem to believe in him as they did invite him to the Major League side of Spring Training. There was a definite improvement in his results during the last month or so of 2019 so there is no reason to give up on him.
Yadier Alvarez was given a $16M bonus to sign with the Dodgers in July of 2015. He had some initial success as he has an amazing arm. One problem is that he struggles with his control. The bigger issue seems to be behavioral.
Yadier Álvarez, former top prospect, spoke to reporters. He has had discipline issues during his unproductive four-season tenure with the Dodgers. He said several times the has been “acting like a child” and resolved to act more professionally. A psychologist helped him, he said.
— Pedro Moura (@pedromoura) February 19, 2020
He was given a chance to come off the restricted list, seemed to get hurt and he was sent off of the Major League 40 man roster. For some details see this Dodgers Nation article.
Who Are These Guys?
The Dodgers signed Hyun-il Choi out of Korea right out of high school. He spent the 2019 season in the Arizona League and was impressive. In 65 innings pitched, he had an ERA of 2.63, while giving up 57 hits, just 11 walks and striking out 71 as a 19-year-old.
Ryan Pepiot was a third-round pick in the 2019 draft and he’s moved quickly. His season started in Arizona in the Rookie League but was sent to Low-A after just four appearances. He has an excellent changeup and can top out at 96 MPH.
A Long Way Away But Watch Out
The ninth and tenth players on the Dodgers’ list are very intriguing. Diego Cartaya was their top international signing in 2018 and Luis Rodriguez was their top one in 2019. Cartaya is only 18 while Rodriguez is only 17. For their ages, they are ranked very high and there is plenty of buzz about them. We won’t see them in Los Angeles for quite a while but I see two possible superstars.
Where Are The Lefties?
I was surprised to see neither Robinson Ortiz or John Rooney on the Dodgers’ list. Baseball America is reporting that the just-turned 20-year-old Ortiz is touching the upper 90’s with his fastball. He pitched in Low-A so he should see High-A soon.
For Rooney, he has done nothing but excelled at every stop, including the hitter-friendly, California League. The 6’5″ lefty will probably start in High-A again but should be in AA before July.
He probably dropped off of the list because he’s not breaking radar guns but he gets batters out.
Never On The List
There are some players that have hardly been seen on any prospect lists. However, not every major league player is a highly rated prospect. For some, the tools don’t necessarily stand out but they make their own path to The Show.
Mark Washington is a 6’7″ right-handed pitcher who was in Great Lakes (Low-A) for the full 2019 season. He has been almost exclusively a reliever with the Dodgers and in 2019 threw 39.1 innings and gave up just 23 hits. That really stood out to me so I do expect him to be in High-A real soon.
Leo Crawford is one pitcher worth watching. His fastball sits between 88-90 MPH with a devastating changeup. What is unique about Crawford is that he uses many different ways to throw the ball like Johnny Cueto. His deception from his mechanics is great to watch and it makes him very effective. I have few doubts that he will be up with the Dodgers at some point.
The Dodgers will have quite a few players that will use up their rookie status in 2020 so the future list will not be that top heavily after that. However, there are players at the lower levels that will emerge soon. They were able to use former and current top prospects like Alex Verdugo and Jeter Downs to acquire Mookie Betts. At the same time, they traded for another top prospect, Brusdar Graterol who looks like he could be a stud. The system is still a top 3-5 system and should continue to produce some excellent players for Los Angeles.