As you may have heard by now the Dodgers have made it to the 2020 World Series. This will be their third World Series appearance in four years. One of the hallmarks of the Dodgers is the strength of their farm system as they keep bringing up talent to fill up many gaps.
Some fans are huge on following players throughout the farm system from when they sign. As we watch them progress, new favorites emerge even before they reach the majors. In the National League Championship Series, 14 of the 28 players on the roster were originally either signed or drafted by the Dodgers.
While the World Series roster has not been finalized, there’s an outside chance that one or two more homegrown talents are added.
|Baez, Pedro||2007 IFA|
|Beaty, Matt||2015 Draft, Round 12|
|Bellinger, Cody||2013 Draft, Round 4|
|Buehler, Walker||2015 Draft, Round 1|
|Gonsolin, Tony||2016 Draft, Round 9|
|Gonzalez, Victor||2012 IFA|
|Jansen Kenley||2004 IFA|
|Kershaw, Clayton||2006 Draft, Round 1|
|Lux, Gavin||2016 Draft, Round 1|
|May, Dustin||2016 Draft, Round 3|
|Pederson, Joc||2010 Draft, Round 11|
|Rios, Edwin||2015 Draft, Round 6|
|Seager, Corey||2012 Draft, Round 1|
|Smith, Will||2016 Draft, Sup Round 1|
|Urias, Julio||2012 IFA|
Note: Gavin Lux was not on the NLCS roster but has a chance of being on the World Series roster so I am including him.
International Free Agents
Kenley Jansen was signed as a catcher and Pedro Baez was signed as a third baseman. When they became pitchers they were in the Major Leagues pretty quick. Jansen obviously has had an amazing career but Baez has had some good moments.
The legendary Dodgers scout Mike Brito, who discovered Fernando Valenzuela, discovered Julio Urias and Victor Gonzalez. Urías has been a top prospect for the Dodgers right off of the bat while Gonzalez struggled for quite a while before becoming a key member of the bullpen here in 2020.
Julio Urías, 93mph Fastball...and is the leader in the clubhouse for Sword of the Week. ?? pic.twitter.com/rlRz5EpbRA
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 5, 2019
First Round Picks
Two of MLB's star players were drafted in the first round by previous management, specifically Ned Colletti. Those players are Hall of Fame lock Clayton Kershaw and the 2020 NLCS MVP Corey Seager. There were plenty of first rounders that did not pan out, but these two will stand out forever.
The new regime lead by Andrew Friedman selected Walker Buehler, Gavin Lux, and Will Smith in the first round. One interesting note about the slot where Will Smith was chosen is that it was a compensation pick for losing Zack Greinke. Buehler was a very high-risk pick as he immediately had Tommy John surgery after signing with LA.
Will the real Will Smith please stand up? pic.twitter.com/U6hlPhSxmy
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 17, 2020
Draft Gambles That Paid Off
Cody Bellinger was taken in the fourth round in 2013 by Colletti's team. At the time he had hit just one home run in his high school career. Dustin May was taken under the Friedman regime as a third rounder in 2016. They saw potential that others did not as he was projected more towards the fifth round and was leaning towards going to college. Obviously, both of these picks have paid off as the Dodgers player development staff helped them become top prospects.
Now look at them. Bellinger was the 2019 NL MVP and Dustin May has become a key member of the pitching staff.
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) October 19, 2020
Finding Gems In The Lower Rounds
The Dodgers gambled on drafting Joc Pederson in the 11th round as he was committed to playing baseball at USC. Matt Beaty was drafted in the 12th round and was an unheralded prospect for most of his career. He got his chance in 2019 and became a solid contributor. Tony Gonsolin played the full four years of college, was drafted in the 9th round in 2016 and received only a $1,500 bonus. What a deal! Edwin Rios was drafted in the 6th round of the 2015 draft and was a bat-only type prospect. He has worked hard to improve his defense and has established himself as a legitimate power hitter.
YUNG JOC AND EDWIN RIOS GO BACK TO BACK AND IT'S 6-0 DODGERS IN THE FIRST pic.twitter.com/pDTo4alJWC
— Starting 9 (@Starting9) October 14, 2020
One player missing from this list is Alex Verdugo who was drafted by the Dodgers in the 2nd round of the 2014 draft and became an established major leaguer with them. However, the Dodgers were able to use Verdugo to trade for Mookie Betts. The more prospects that are signed or drafted that develop well the more trade flexibility a team has. Whether trading prospects to fill a hole in the roster or having them fill the gap themselves it is very beneficial for a team to develop their talent. In the Dodgers' case, their draft picks are lower but they have a great eye for talent and their development staff is outstanding.
LA has a great blend of homegrown talent, big trade acquisitions and under-the-radar pick ups, making it an easy team to like and root for.
Dodgers in 6.