5. Ross Stripling, RHP (24)
One of the oldest prospects on the list, Ross Stripling has quickly become one of the top arms down in the minors. He was drafted in the fifth round of the 2012 draft out of Texas A&M. Last season, he split time between the Quakes and the Lookouts and was 8-4 with a 2.82 ERA in 27 games. Stripling started 22 of those games and had 117 strikeouts in 127.2 innings pitched.
In rookie ball in 2012, Stripling was brilliant in 14 games for the Ogden Raptors. He started 12 of those games and had a 1.24 ERA in 36.1 innings. After doing extremely well with the Quakes in 2012, the right-hander found himself in Chattanooga and went 6-4 with a 2.78 ERA in 94 innings. Stripling has a decent fastball with a lot of movement that can make up for his low-90s velocity. His curveball is his best off-speed pitch, although he continues to develop his changeup and slider.
Because of his age and rapid development, Stripling was put on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster and was invited to spring training with the club. While he doesn’t possess the raw stuff that Lee possesses, he could impress the Dodgers with his movement and repertoire of pitches. He’ll battle with Lee for the fifth spot in the rotation and first one called up in case of injury.
Stripling may begin the year in Double-A again, depending on his spring and could find himself with the Dodgers this season.
4. Joc Pederson, Outfield (21)
The name Joc Pederson became a hot commodity around the Dodgers this past year, finding himself in the running for the team’s top overall prospect. Pederson was essentially outperforming Puig with the Lookouts last season, but found himself stuck in Chattanooga as Puig got the call after injuries to Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford. The 21-year-old finished the season hitting .278 with 22 home runs and 58 RBI in 123 games.
Despite his strong season, Pederson struggled a bit in the second half of the season and he managed to strike out 114 times in those 123 games. Defensively, he’s an above-average defender with a strong arm that can play any spot in the outfield. Speed is another asset to Pederson’s game and he was able to steal 31 bases last year, being caught just eight times.
Blocked by a crowded outfield, Pederson was the subject of trade rumors this off-season, but it seems as if he will remain in the organization for now. The left-handed slugger has been invited to spring training and will have a chance to showcase his talents against major-league pitching.
Pederson will make the jump to Triple-A this season and will be waiting for a chance with the Dodgers.
3. Chris Anderson, RHP (21)
Chris Anderson was the Dodgers’ first-round draft pick in the 2013 MLB Draft out of Jacksonville University. The 6’4, 215-lb right-hander has an intimidating presence on the mound and uses his lower half to drive towards the plate. Anderson was sent to the Great Lakes Loons, the Dodgers’ Single-A affiliate, where he dominated in 12 starts. He had a 1.96 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 46 innings for the Loons.
Using a mid-to-high 90s fastball and a devastating slider, Anderson could have the best raw stuff of any of the other prospects. He struggled with his command last season, walking 24 batters in 46 innings, but small mechanical adjustments could help that. Many remember Clayton Kershaw’s early struggles with walks and he’s developed into a two-time Cy Young award winner.
Anderson will have to take a huge stride this season to impress the Dodgers, but in the end, could become one of the better arms in the entire farm system. His big body is ideal for a pitcher and will help him push through in the later innings. The 21-year-old has been projected as a number three starter, although with the Dodgers that means he would slot behind Kershaw and Zack Greinke.
After spending last season in Single-A, Anderson should make the jump to Double-A and continue to work on his control and other pitches. We likely won’t see him in Los Angeles for two more years.
2. Julio Urias, LHP (17)
Found on the same trip to Mexico that netted Puig, Julio Urias could prove to be a bigger steal than the Cuban outfielder. Pitching as a 16-year-old with the Loons last season, Urias racked up 67 strikeouts in 54.1 innings to accommodate his 2.48 ERA. The left-hander started 18 games but was usually limited to three or four innings to prevent fatigue. He’s quickly climbed the ranks in one year and was named the 14th-best prospect in all of baseball by ESPN writer Keith Law.
Urias’ best pitch could be his changeup, although he does have a mid-90s fastball and a breaking ball that he uses effectively. His young age gives him a couple more years to grow taller than the 5’11 he stands now. Many were impressed not only by his stuff, but also by his demeanor and poise, especially for someone so young. The Dodgers will take things slow with Urias and make sure he isn’t rushed to the majors.
Being from Mexico and left-handed, many Dodger fans may think of another famous Mexican left-hander by the name of Fernando Valenzuela. Although they appear much different, the comparisons will follow Urias in his path to Los Angeles. If he can remain grounded and focused, he could become one of the better prospects the Dodgers have found in recent years.
Urias’ innings will continue to be monitored and he’ll most likely make the jump to Advanced-A with the Quakes this season.
1. Corey Seager, SS (19)
The second teenager on the list, Corey Seager is being touted as the third baseman of the future, despite being a shortstop at the moment. Seager stands at 6’4 and weighs about 215 lbs, which would make him a giant among the other shortstops in the league. Many believe he’ll transition to third base and play the same position as his brother Kyle with the Seattle Mariners.
Seager was the first-round pick of the Dodgers in 2012 and has impressed thus far. In 2012, he played 46 games with the Raptors in rookie ball and hit .309 with eight home runs and 33 RBI. The 19-year-old was promoted to the Loons in 2013 and was tearing it up, hitting .309 with 12 home runs and 57 RBI in 74 games before being moved up to the Quakes. He became the youngest player in the entire league and hit just .160 in 27 games. Seager also played for the Glendale Desert Dogs of the Arizona Fall League and had a .181 batting average in 19 games.
Many scouts see Seager as a 25-to-30 home run hitter that can also hit for average. The Dodgers will take their time with Seager and could have him make the move to third, depending on their needs at the big-league level. He’s become the team’s “untouchable” prospect, meaning that it would take a lopsided deal to be able to pry him away.
Seager should begin the year with the Quakes and could be promoted much like he was last season. He’s still at least two seasons away from Los Angeles.
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