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Dodgers: Homegrown Talent is Paying Off for Los Angeles

Half the roster is homegrown



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.

Player How Acquired
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.

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.

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.

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

NEXT: Dave Roberts Has One Simple Message for Dodgers Fans

Written by Tim Rogers

A fan of the Dodgers since 1973 since I got my first baseball cards while living in Long Beach. I came to San Diego for college and never left nor did I ever switch my Dodgers' allegiance. Some know me as the "sweater guy". #ProspectHugger

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  1. That list left off Taylor Munci and Kike, who were both obtsined while still minor leaguers. It’s also relevant to list players who are not homegrown as a comparison. That would be Turner, Pollock, Betts and Wood (not counting the ever changing bullpen).
    Starting pitchers?
    Kershaw,Buehler,Urias,May and Gonsolin ALL homegrown!
    THis is a very good trend in the long term strategy of Kasten and Friedman.

  2. Question: Would you trade Bellinger, maybe Lux or another prospect and Gonsolin for Trout?

    Before you guys answer here is my view of near term future for field players. I’m curious to see what people think.

    I wouldn’t trade for Lindor unless they could be guaranteed to sign him long term. I’m going to lay out my view of the near future and you guys can comment.

    1. Trading for Trout (who might be more willing to leave now that his GM friend got let go) is cost controlled by he has a long-term contract with no opt outs. He is owed I believe about $360 million over the next 10 years.
    2. How much is it going to cost to sign Bellinger for the same amount of time?
    3. The team also needs to extend Seager soon which is going to be costly.
    4. The team needs to decide what to do with Turner. Do they sign him short term and move him to 1st base? They have Rios and Kody Hoese as perhaps the future at 3rd base. Both will be cheap for the near future.
    5. If we trade Lux for anybody you can think of then that probably means 2nd base will be Muncy, Taylor, or even Turner.
    6. It will be difficult for the team to keep Kiké and Joc.
    7. The catcher situation looks great with Smith and Ruiz for the future but having one as the DH (which is most likely here to stay, which is good for the Dodgers) does present some problems.
    8. The team struggled with lefty pitchers this year. Having Trout would really help with that situation especially since Mookie is better against RHP.

    The goal is to create a team that can win multiple championships. Building a dynasty takes long term thinking.

  3. Here are just some thoughts on the Dodgers near term future.

    Should we try to trade for Trout? We could offer Bellinger and perhaps Gonsolin but we would probably have to include another top prospect maybe even Lux.

    I wouldn’t trade for Lindor unless they could be guaranteed to sign him long term. I’m going to lay out my view of the near future and you guys can comment.

    1. Trading for Trout (who might be more willing to leave now that his GM friend got let go) is cost controlled as he has a long-term contract. He is owed I believe about $360 million over the next 10 years.
    2. How much is it going to cost to sign Bellinger for the same amount of time?
    3. The team also needs to extend Seager soon which is going to be costly.
    4. The team needs to decide what to do with Turner. Do they sign him short term and move him to 1st base? They have Rios and Kody Hoese as perhaps the future at 3rd base. Both will be cheap for the near future.
    5. If we trade Lux for anybody you can think of then that probably means 2nd base will be Muncy, Taylor, or even Turner.
    6. It will be difficult for the team to keep Kiké and Joc.
    7. The catcher situation looks great with Smith and Ruiz for the future but having one as the DH (which is most likely here to stay, which is good for the Dodgers) does present some problems when manipulating the line-up.
    8. The team struggled with lefty pitchers this year. Having Trout would really help with that situation especially since Mookie is better against RHP.

  4. The strategy is to replace expensive players with good young talent from the farm system. Why get an expensive Trout when you are stocked at the minor league level? With Buehler, Seager, Bellinger then Urias getting closer to free agency you have to decide which ones to sign and who to let go because if you sign them all you are spending way to much money and your young players get blocked.
    I would definitely sign Buehler. Seager seems like a lock, Urias is valuable. But an outfielder who swings and misses and occasionally connects can be replaced w young talent. Sounds hard to let a guy like Belli go but if he wants 10 yrs at 350,000,000 so be it!

    • I can’t believe we’re already talking about these guys being FA I feel like it was just yesterday they were new and they still don’t seem like veterans to me. Gotta win this year so we don’t waste these guys

  5. Management has created flexibility with the payroll, as Betts is the only money committed for the 2022 season and beyond. They can sign Seagar, Bellinger, Buehler and any of the other young players to long term contracts if they want. They won’t be constrained by albatross contracts like Pujols, etc.

  6. people forget that it’s still California lol There going to come back eventually, so why not take advantage of cheap rent. I’m still planning to move to LA next year. Already have 2 other roommates so finding a spot should be easy for us in a reasonable neighborhood… great tips though.

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