During the dark days of the Frank McCourt era, the Los Angeles Dodgers farm system was depleted. Gone were the days of the Dodgers producing Rookie of the Year candidates year after year until the Guggenheim Group stabilized the system about two years ago.
Now, the Dodgers have a farm system with major league talent and players that could earn promotions to the big league squad at some point in 2014. As he’s done throughout the off-season, Ben Badler of Baseball America ranked the top-10 prospects in the Dodgers system heading into the 2014 season:
1. Joc Pederson, OF
2. Corey Seager, SS
3. Julio Urias, LHP
4. Zach Lee, RHP
5. Chris Anderson, RHP
6. Chris Withrow, RHP
7. Alexander Guerrero, 2B
8. Chris Reed, LHP
9. Onelki Garcia, LHP
10. Ross Stripling, RHP
Of the 10, two have made their way to the big league level as Withrow was an important piece of the Dodgers bullpen while Garcia was a September call-up and provided insurance when Paco Rodriguez showed signs of wearing down.
Guerrero is the one on the list, along with Withrow, who will start the season with the Dodgers, while his position is yet to be determined. Meanwhile, the top four are the cream of the crop in the Dodgers system as any David Price trade scenario has included several of them. Pederson seems like the prospect that is most likely to be traded due to the outfield depth, which could change based on winter deals.
Lee has been heralded as the most major league ready pitcher in the system as he improved tremendously from 2012 to 2013. At Double A, Lee went 10-10 with a 3.22 ERA and if he’s kept over the winter, he has a strong chance of earning a promotion. Urias is only 16-year-old and after the Dodgers signed him out of Mexico City, he impressed at Low A with the Great Lakes Loons.
Seager impressed many at the Arizona Fall League and while he plays shortstop now, he’s been pegged as the Dodgers third baseman of the future. In his split-season between Low and High A, the 19-year-old hit .269 with 16 home runs and 72 RBI and has accelerated through the system.
Anderson, Reed and Stripling are all three solid pitchers in the system as Stripling seems the most ready to make an impact next season. Overall, the Dodgers farm system looks to be in solid shape, but could be facing significant change based on trades over the winter.
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