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Prospect Reports: Dodgers’ Prospects Are Having Fantastic Springs

Los Angeles Dodgers
Mar 10, 2018; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Jake Peter (87) throws to first base against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

So far this Spring Training the Dodgers as a whole are doing quite well. Most of their expected primary contributors are healthy. And most of them are also performing well. Even more importantly, the Dodgers’ prospects are by and large having phenomenal springs. Let’s break down how many of the Dodgers’ prospects are doing so far this Spring Training.

The Top Prospects

Among the top 10 prospects at Spring Training are Alex Verdugo, DJ Peters, Keibert Ruiz, Will Smith and Yusniel Diaz. And man oh man is this trio killing it so far. Alex Verdugo has the most at-bats thus far, as expected. His .364/.391/.773 slash line gives him a whopping 1.164 OPS. In any other Spring Training, this would likely be a reason to begin talks of handing him the left-field starting gig. However, Matt Kemp currently has a 1.226 OPS and Andrew Toles has a 1.218 OPS. Because Verdugo does have options available, it is unlikely he will win the starting job straight out of Spring Training.

Next on the list is DJ Peters. Peters has made quite the strong impression by hitting .438/.438/.813 in 16 Spring Training at-bats. He is currently a non-roster invitee so he obviously won’t make the club this year. However, his Spring Training success should be a nice boost to his confidence going into the 2018 campaign where he is hoping to have a successful year at AA.

Keibert Ruiz is also having a very nice spring. He’s hitting .667/.667/.667, albeit in only 9 at-bats, and showing solid defensive chops. The 19-year-old Venezuelan catcher is showing why he is our #3 prospect, and one of the top catching prospects in the league. He, like Peters, is looking for a solid Spring Training to translate into an excellent year in the Minor Leagues.

Will Smith is another catching prospect having a solid Spring Training. Though he isn’t hitting like Ruiz is, his .974 OPS is still very encouraging. He also continues to show his strong defensive skills that have made him such a high-floor catching prospect in our farm system.

Lastly is Yusniel Diaz. Unfortunately for Diaz, Spring Training his not been as kind. He has only one hit, a home-run, in 10 at-bats. And has struck out in half of those 10 at-bats. He may be hoping for Spring Training to conclude sooner than the others on this list.

Prospects Not in the Top 10

There were quite a few non-roster invitees. Many of them numbering among our top 20 or 30 prospects. A few, however, are making a bit stronger of an impression than others.

Edwin Rios has long been a fringe-top-10 prospect for the Dodgers. A general lack of a primary position and questionable defense have caused him to consistently sit just outside our top 10. His power is unquestionably his strongest tool. And he is showing that to be the case with his 1.155 OPS in 22 spring at-bats. He is primarily playing at 1B so there is an obvious roadblock of Bellinger for him. His strong Spring Training actually is most influencing his trade value. There are plenty of teams who would love to have a slugging lefty like Rios who can play the corners and outfield.

Matt Beaty is another prospect having a nice spring. Beaty is one of a few utility-player prospects in our system right now. Among them, he is one of the more advanced. His line of .333/.333/.667 in 18 at-bats looks pretty good, and his defense has been solid as well. He’s currently not on the 40-man roster so he also will not likely see time in the Majors this year. Though he will likely be reaching AAA this season.

There is also the case of Jake Peter. Another utility player that is leading the Dodgers in home runs and RBI’s this Spring Training. Despite the robust .368/.381/1.000 (yes that is a 1.000 slugging percentage) he may not have a place on the Opening Day roster. The reason: not enough room. Even if the Dodgers carry only 12 pitchers on the roster, that leaves a mere four bench spots to fill. Barnes/Grandal occupy one, expect Kike Hernandez to take another, with Utley taking a third, two of Kemp/Toles/Thompson occupying a fourth, and possibly Farmer taking the last. It will be interesting to see how the Dodgers juggle the bench spots given Peter’s insane spring.

The last prospect we want to highlight is a name very familiar to Dodger fans this spring: Kyle Farmer. Presently Farmer checks in as #3 on the depth chart for catchers, but my oh my is he ever making a case for a roster spot. It is unusual for clubs to carry three catchers during the season. But then again it is also unusual for clubs to have two catchers who can play multiple positions. Like Austin Barnes, Farmer has the ability to play multiple infield positions in addition to catching. With team-best 1.579 OPS, Farmer is certainly making his case. But, like with Jake Peter, roster spots will be hard to come by for Opening Day. We shall see how the catching situation shakes out.

The Bottom-Line

It is wonderful to finally have Dodgers’ baseball back again. And it is definitely great to see not just the veterans doing well, but also the prospects. Furthermore, it isn’t just the top prospects doing well, but prospects from all up and down our farm system. One thing to note, in case you didn’t already notice it is a lack of pitchers in this article. This isn’t because pitchers aren’t doing well, it is more so because the pitching prospects are not really working out in actual games. They are mostly doing side work and instructional camps to help with mechanics and developing pitchers. Overall though this Spring Training should encourage every Dodger fan that not only is the present something to be optimistic about, the future looks bright as well.

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Written by Blake Coble

Born and raised in SoCal and bled Blue my whole life. Absolutely love baseball and absolutely love the Boys in Blue! I have a fascination with analyzing the statistics and trends that drive player performance, and I love following our minor league prospects as well! Active duty Air Force currently stationed in Central California! Follow me on Twitter @yarritsblake

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