The Dodgers farm system has consistently been at the top of the baseball in recent years. Guys like Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager, Gavin Lux, Walker Buehler, and Alex Verdugo have come out of AAA and almost immediately made an impact in the majors. But who’s next up for LA? If you ask Mike Petriello of MLB.com, he’ll tell you to keep an eye not on DJ Peters or Keibert Ruiz, but rather on Connor Joe.
To say Joe has had a long past couple of years would be an understatement. He was traded from the Pirates to the Braves in August 2017, and was acquired by the Dodgers two weeks later in exchange for international slot money. The Dodgers left him unprotected in the 2019 Rule 5 Draft, and the Cincinnati Reds snatched him up before trading him to the Giants in March 21. He started in the outfield for San Francisco on Opening Day, but was returned back to the Dodgers after they designated him for assignment after he went 1-for-15 to start the season.
Connor Joe, a Rule 5 pick, was returned to the Dodgers.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) April 13, 2019
I got tired just typing that, but here’s what Petriello had to say about why fans should look out for Joe in 2020:
“Through it all, Joe has kept on hitting, posting a career Minor League OBP of .377. In 2018, he slugged .527 and followed that up with .503 in 2019, when he had 72 walks and 81 strikeouts. There are external factors here, as all of Triple-A added power in 2019 while using the Major League ball, and his home park in Oklahoma City (Triple-A) was very hitter-friendly. That wasn’t true in Double-A Tulsa, however, which is a neutral park.
“Joe can’t really run, and he’s not going to be the defender (Yankees center fielder Mike) Tauchman is. This is possibly not a perfect comp. But Joe made the list, and the Giants saw enough in him to have him start Opening Day. There might be something here.”
While more might be expected out of players like Lux or Peters in 2020, a true underdog story could be Connor Joe.