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Dodgers Down on the Farm: May Impresses, Ruiz Falters

Dustin May against Diamondbacks on March 2, 2019 (Photo Credit: Tim Rogers)

This is a new recurring series at Dodgers Nation where we will take an in-depth look at some of the hottest and coldest players in our minor league system.

The Dodgers are perennially ranked amongst the best farm systems in the majors and this series is meant to demonstrate that. Although not all prospects pan out, of course, it will be a good indicator of success or failure to see who is hot and who is not.

Stock Up

Omar Estevez, 2B/SS (AA)

Stats: .387 AVG, .447 OBP, .573 SLG, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 0 SB, 10.5 BB%, 12.8 K%, 176 wRC+

Estevez is still just 21 years old and is the 19th-ranked prospect in the organization. His showing with Rancho Cucamonga last season was fairly average, even with a significant jump in power. So far this season, Estevez has cut his strikeout rate in half and has bumped his walk rate up to a solid rate. Many prospect evaluators expect him to be an everyday regular, albeit as more of a jack-of-all-trades type of player. The Dodgers also seem to be high on him as they have handed him invites to Spring Training in each of the last two seasons.

Dustin May, RHP (AA)

Stats: 24 IP, 1.50 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 2.96 FIP, 28.4 K%, 7.4 BB%, 51.8 GB%

May is also 21 years of age and is the Dodgers’ highest-ranked pitching prospect at number two in the entire system. The Dodgers expect him to make some sort of impact for the big club as early as this season and Dustin May is pitching like he’s almost ready. He was fantastic last year and is making even more strides at the season’s start. Expect May up sooner rather than later and expect a jump to Oklahoma City in short order.

Josiah Gray, RHP (A)

Stats: 23 1/3 IP, 1.93 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 2.24 FIP, 29.6 K%, 8.0 BB%, 40.7 GB%

Gray was acquired by the Dodgers in the offseason as part of the prospect package they received from Cincinnati in the Kyle Farmer Yasiel Puig trade. He has gotten off to a hot start for the Great Lakes Loons and should see a promotion to Rancho Cucamonga soon. He is 21 years old and has some real potential as the Dodgers’ 17th-ranked prospect.

Stock Down

Keibert Ruiz, C (AA)

Stats: .243 AVG, .289 OBP, .314 SLG, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 0 SB, 5.3 BB%, 6.6 K%, 62 wRC+

The Dodgers’ top prospect has been ice cold to start the season for Tulsa. His strikeout rate has gone down from last season which is quite interesting considering it was already crazily low. Mix that in with some more BABIP luck and he really is not struggling as much as the brutal numbers suggest. Ruiz is a top prospect for a reason and there is no real reason for concern…yet.

Jeren Kendall, OF (A+)

Stats: .196 AVG, .362 OBP, .261 SLG, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 6 SB, 20.7 BB%, 29.3 K%, 93 wRC+

Jaren Kendall take a swing during a Rancho Cucamonga Quakes games at LoanMart Field. (Photo credit: Tim Rogers, Dodgers Nation)

A former first-round pick out of Vanderbilt, saying Kendall has underwhelmed is an understatement. Kendall was brutal in his first two years of pro ball but showed some promise late in 2018. There still are some aspects of Kendall’s game that are solid: he knows how to take a walk, he possesses true plus-plus speed, and his in-game power is only on the rise. He is a long way away from delivering on his first-round selection and the clock is ticking as he is already 23 years old. Let’s just hope that Jeren Kendall can find himself on the top portion of this article by year’s end.

DJ Peters, OF (AA)

Stats: .225 AVG, .292 OBP, .338 SLG, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 1 SB, 6.7 BB%, 38.9 K%, 73 wRC+

Peters has some huuuge pop. I mean enormous 70-75 grade power. The issue, as with many power hitters, is the tendency to strike out. Peters is no exception. His strikeout rate in 2018 was already a hefty 34.3% in 2018 and actually has seen an increase so far this season. If Peters cannot bring that down, he may never reach the major leagues as a starter, or possibly at all. Peters is a guy, though, that has some really solid tools outside of the hit tool, including a 60-grade arm and decent 55-grade speed.

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Written by Daniel Preciado

My name is Daniel Preciado and I am 18 years old. I am a sophomore Sport Analytics and Broadcast Journalism dual major at Syracuse University. When I am not in New York, I live in Whittier, California --- not too far from Chavez Ravine. I am pretty old-school for being an analytics guy and I will always embrace debate. Also, Chase Utley did absolutely nothing wrong.

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