In the spirit of the great movie “High Fidelity” I am completing the series of top 5 pitching prospect lists. The first top 5 list was the top 5 starting pitching prospects in the Dodgers organization. I then followed up with the top 5 relief prospects and now the top 5 under the radar starting pitching prospects.
After posting the top 5 for both starters and relievers we now will look at some under the radar Dodgers starting pitching prospects. There are plenty of lesser known pitchers in the Dodgers organization that have a chance to become known very fast. They are all in the lower levels of the farm system and don’t show up on any top 10 lists yet. They are all international signings. Here are my top 5 under the radar starting pitching prospects for the Dodgers.
- Signed in July 2016 / Dominican Republic
- Turned 21 on January 9
- 6’0” and 155 pounds
- ETA: 2021
Edwin Uceta started the season strong in Low A, was promoted to High A in early August and struggled a bit. Mixed in with the struggles was his second start for the Quakes where he struck out 10 in 5.2 innings. That was what got some attention. In his only appearance in the California League playoffs (which I saw in person) he pitched 5.2 innings and only gave up 2 hits and no runs. Overall, in the 2018 season he threw 120.1 innings, gave up 108 hits, walked 39 and struck out 131.
Uceta tops out at 95 MPH and is working on a curveball. His best pitch is a changeup. My guess is that he starts the 2019 season with the single A Quakes and moves up to AA by mid-season. He also jumped onto the MLB Pipeline top 30 prospects for the Dodgers during 2018 so others are starting to see something special, also.
- Signed in July 2016 / Mexico
- Turned 20 on September 13
- 6’0” and 154 pounds
- ETA: 2022
Gerardo Carrillo started the 2018 season in Arizona in Rookie ball after spending time in extended spring training. After only 4 appearances in Rookie ball he as promoted to low A. He started 9 games and had an ERA of only 1.65 in his 49 innings of work. He only gave up 35 hits, walked 15 and struck out 37. His best game was his second to last start as he went 7 shutout innings, giving up 6 hits, walking 1 and striking out 7.
There is a chance he starts 2019 in high A with the Quakes but it would not surprise me if he started in low A. He’s only 20 and, like Uceta, isn’t that big. However, he tops out at 97 MPH and has a good changeup. He has also broken into the MLB Pipeline top 30 and should be exciting to watch in 2019.
- Signed in July 2017 / Dominican Republic
- Turned 19 on January 4
- 6’0” and 180 pounds
- ETA: 2023
Robinson Ortiz played in the United States for the first time in 2018 by playing the full season in the Dodgers rookie league team in Arizona. He’s the lone lefthander on this list and is a strike thrower. In 32.1 innings pitched he walked 12 and struck out 42. Like Uceta and Carrillo, he has a good changeup and tops out at 94 MPH.
I’d expect Ortiz to either start the season later in Rookie ball again but there is a good chance he starts in low A. He got noticed by more people as he jumped onto the MLB Pipeline top 30 list at the end of the season. Don’t be surprised if he’s in Ranch Cucamonga by the end of the 2019 season.
[button link=”https://www.dodgersnation.com/2019-pecota-projections-for-the-dodgers/2019/02/10/” color=”blue”]2019 PECOTA PROJECTIONS FOR THE DODGERS[/button]
- Signed in December 2015 / Dominican Republic
- Turns 20 on July 23
- 6’0” and 170 pounds
- ETA: 2022 (as a starter) / 2021 (as a reliever)
Melvin Jimenez has been a starter but has received a lot of bullpen work over the last two seasons. His fastball tops out at 97 MPH with a solid slider and curveball. He started out the 2018 season as a starter then was shifted to the bullpen after 6 starts as they weren’t very good. He even got sent back to Rookie ball for a few days. Once he got to the bullpen he started to come around.
There are some eye-popping statistics for Jimenez, even factoring in his 6 bad starts. In his 63.2 innings he only gave up 43 hits. Over his professional career he’s thrown 157.2 innings and only given up 100 hit with 185 strikeouts. He should start 2019 in Rancho Cucamonga but will he be a starter or reliever? I’m betting they give him a few starts as he’s still only 19.
- Signed in July 2016 by Braves and November 2017 by Dodgers / Colombia
- Turned 20 on October 10
- 6’3” and 195 pounds
- ETA: 2023
Guillermo Zuniga was granted free agency after the Braves were given the death penalty for international violations and signed with the Dodgers soon thereafter. He pitched the 2018 season in Rookie ball in Arizona and didn’t start having much success until the end of the season when he finished the season with 5.2 innings of 1 run ball, while giving up 2 hits and striking out 6.
According to 2080 Baseball he throws his fastball between 92 and 96 MPH with a sinker in the low-90s. The 2019 season will be his year 20 season and he should start it in low A. 2080 Baseball likes his tools and his upside. Let’s hope that the results start to match the potential.
4 of the 5 guys are 6’ tall with only Zuniga being taller. All of them throw hard and most have decent control. All have starter capabilities but it looks like Jimenez could be in the bullpen fulltime by the end of 2019. I expect to see all of these players moving up the prospect lists as the Dodgers have a good group of young starting pitchers. For us in Southern California they should all be Quakes within the next 2 seasons.
[button link=”https://www.dodgersnation.com/dodgers-austin-barnes-says-he-has-improved-his-swing-this-offseason/2019/02/10/” type=”big” color=”red”]DODGERS: AUSTIN BARNES SAYS HE HAS IMPROVED HIS SWING THIS OFFSEASON[/button]