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The Dodgers May Bank on Their Prospects in 2020

If no trades are made, young players will play vital roles.



In a word, the Dodgers off-season so far has been uneventful. In two words, it’s been extremely uneventful. They missed out on all the top free agents and although they’ve been connected to practically every big name available on the trade block, no moves have actually happened just yet.

There’s still plenty of time for all that to change. However, if the Dodgers decide to stick to their past strategy of keeping top prospects instead of trading them away, it may not be as bad of an idea as many believe.

To be clear, this is not a piece advocating for the Dodgers to remain inactive this off-season. If a player like Mookie Betts and/or Francisco Lindor become available for the right price, the Dodgers should, and probably would, seriously consider it. On the flip side, if a deal isn’t feasible for whatever reason, fans shouldn’t dread too much considering the Dodgers success with past prospects and the talent of their current ones.

Past Success

If there’s one MLB team with a great track record with top prospects, it’s the Dodgers. They have 18 Rookie of the Year (ROY) winners in franchise history, double that of the New York Yankees, who are second with eight. The Dodgers have had ROY streaks of four years in a row (1979-1982) and five years in a row (1992-1996.) They also just had recent back-to-back winners with Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger in 2016 and 2017.

Despite the repeated success, skepticism remains amongst some fans when it comes to prospects. When the idea about the Dodgers possibly wanting to keep their young players, and not make a trade, you’ll often see people point out how “prospects are unknown” and “not all are going to pan out.”

This is true, but when you consider all the success the Dodgers have had with their prospects, it’s a little hard to understand the cynicism.

Over the last five years, practically every prospect that has come up for the Dodgers has excelled. They’ve had others that they traded away who haven’t panned out yet, like Jose DeLeon (Logan Forsythe trade), Willie Calhoun (Yu Darvish trade), and Yusniel Diaz (Manny Machado trade). They’ve also had some who have regressed at the minor league level, like Yadier Alvarez. But if you look at the top prospects who have reached the major league level with the Dodgers, they’ve all either met, or exceeded expectations.

Cody Bellinger is coming off an MVP season. Walker Buehler is one of the best starters in the game now. Along with those two, Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig, and Corey Seager are all former top prospects who have become All-Stars after making their debut.

Think about that for a moment. Every one of these past prospects came up and played at an All-Star level at some point. Not many teams can claim that kind of consistent production from their young players.

The new core of prospects

The Dodgers have a few top prospects this year that are ready to contribute right away and will play vital roles if the Dodgers decide to keep them. They could be the next crop of youngsters that are future All-Stars, Cy Young winners, and MVPs.

Perhaps the most intriguing prospect for the Dodgers is Gavin Lux. It remains to be seen where he’ll play next year and how much playing time he’d get, but Lux could legitimately put up ROY numbers if given a full-time opportunity. There’s a reason he’s the guy most teams are asking about in any return trade package from the Dodgers. And there’s a reason the Dodgers continue to say, “no thanks,” in response.

The Dodgers also have a couple of potential front-line starters in Dustin May and Julio Urias. May will likely be on an innings limit but he has true number two type potential. He could add a significant boost to the rotation if given a legitimate opportunity in the rotation. He’ll surely go through some rookie growing pains, but the stuff is there.

It seems like Julio Urias has been around for so long that it’s hard to believe he’s still only 23 years old, two years younger than Walker Buehler. There’s no denying that we haven’t yet really seen what Urias is capable of in the big leagues. He missed almost two years with a shoulder injury, and last year he was relegated to a relief role in order to limit his innings. Urias still hasn’t had a full season in the Dodgers rotation but that figures to change next season. He’ll be a big part of their rotation going forward and still retains ace potential.

Alex Verdugo isn’t a prospect anymore and has already showed his value during his rookie campaign last year. He slashed .294/.342/.475 before getting hurt at the end of the season. If healthy, he figures to be a staple in the Dodgers lineup and playing on a full-time basis somewhere in the outfield.

Will Smith came up late last season and contributed immediately, clubbing 12 home runs in his first 28 games, including two walk-offs. He came back to earth in September, but there’s no doubt he’ll be the Dodgers main catcher going into next year. Even with his end-of-year slump, Smith finished 2019 with a .907 OPS, which would be second in baseball for catchers if he had enough plate appearance to qualify.

Going forward

Again, this is not to advocate for the Dodgers keeping all these prospects instead of trading for an established superstar. It’s just to point out that if they did, it may not be the worst thing in the world for the team. Remember, at one point Cody Bellinger and Walker Buehler were just “unproven prospects” with no guarantee.

Imagine a rotation where both Urias and May live up to their potential and team with Buehler to make a solid starting rotation. Also imagine a lineup with someone like Verdugo being a great leadoff hitter, Will Smith being one of the top offensive catchers in the game, and a possible ROY candidate in Gavin Lux. Add those guys to the already talented core of Bellinger, Seager, and Muncy, and that’s a pretty good proposition if you’re a Dodgers fan.

Obviously, not every prospect is going to pan out. But whether it’s because of the player development system in place, or just plain luck, the Dodgers continue to have their prospects flourish. And if the front office remains inactive before next season, they may need that trend to continue.

NEXT: 5 Possible Prospect Surprise Stories for 2020

Written by Brian Robitaille

Originally from Southern California, and currently stationed in Northern Virginia, Brian is a devoted Dodgers fan, and has been since he was a kid. He's an Active Duty member of the U.S Air Force, and has been serving for the last 16 years. While he loves all things sports related, and supports all his teams (Lakers, Steelers, L.A Kings, & USC) his true passion is the Dodgers, and loves writing about the boys in blue.

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  1. Typical Dodgers apologist article. This diehard Dodgers fan chuckled when the writer bragged about the Dodgers having twice the number of ROY winners than the Yankees, when the Yankees have over 4 times the amount of World Series wins as the Dodgers. Are win in it to win ROY awards or WS championships? I’m over the do nothing Kasten-Friedman Dodgers!

    • Since 1989 the Dodgers have been only about individual achievements and franchise firsts, basically everything under the sun except a championship

      • Getting a WS ring after 7 failed post seasons is not a priority with this current management, but $100 million in Stadium renovations is, because of the ASG that chances are will not have 1 Dodger starting in that game. I would also bet that the NL squad is thankful that someone other than Roberts will be managing the NL All Stars

    • If your that clueless on what this FO is doing, and that under appreciative of them being the winningest team in baseball over the past 7 years maybe it’s time to finally change teams. I can assure you neither Friedman, Kasten, or any of fans that understand care. Try the Giants, they can always use more whining fans in SF.

    • I’m definitely not a Dodgers apologist. Talking about the ROY and WS titles are independent of each other and was not comparing them at all. Was simply pointing out that the Dodgers have had repeated success with their young prospects.

  2. It does make me wonder if some of these “bloggers” earn their access to the dodgers by writing these pro-managment articles. Years and years of ROYs are worthless when most of them were when the team actual won championships. Most of the young hitters today are too similar. There is no balance. No Steve Saxs or Fernandos. All our young guys swing for power, no emphasis on contact. So we end up with Joc, Cody, Corey, Will Smith, and probably Lux, a bunch of guys that rack up the homers versus SD or the Rockies, bit rack up the Ks versus good pitching. We need mote than 1 weapon in the arsenal.

      • I’ve never seen a guy perform like an MVP for only 3 months out of the season and still win the award.

    • Not really. Verdugo is not a HR hitter and Lux is well rounded. I loved guys like Sax and that era of baseball more then today, but the game has changed. The ball is “juiced” and the game is dominated on P and HR’s now. Base hitting and speed teams will never amount to anything again unless the game or AKA ball changed. HR’s sale tickets and baseball is a business so don’t ever see that happening(sadly).

      • Wrong Clueless101. The Nats played all around baseball. As long as you get in you can win. The team that can make contact, bunt, has speed and also hit homeruns and pitch will beat your beloved all or nothing Dodgers every time and that’s what the Dodgers should’ve aspired to be years ago but sadly they watched another team become that while they play homerun ball and have only one ace and an average bullpen

    • I can assure you I don’t have “access” from being a blogger. You, along with many others on here it seems, are missing the whole point of the article. I thought I clarified pretty well that I wasn’t advocating that the Dodgers not make a move or trade some of their young guys. All I was doing was point out the fact that they have indeed had repeated success with their prospects. That’s not really debatable. But some want to bring up their recent post season failure, like it somehow invalidates their prospect success. It doesn’t.

  3. Business. The Dodgers are an entertainment company, nothing more. They are in business to make money off their product. If a WS win comes along, it would boost that business. As of now, they have to real reason to invest more money to generate more fans. They are not the Marlins.

    • “they have to real reason to invest more money to generate more fans.”

      They sold more tickets than any other team in 2019. By almost 1/2 a million!

      They are doing fine as “an entertainment company.”

      They have LITTLE motivation to spend $$$$$$ on another player.

    • Bellinger, Pollack, and Seager were soooo far under their regular season stats, that the team in general stank.

      And yeah, other than Walker, pitching…’folded’

      • Trolls don’t speak the hard truth like I do Dan. Sorry you can’t accept reality and choose to live in your Dodger fantasy land… and don’t worry I’ve said plenty about the pitching already

    • It’s called a short sample size. Bellinger was the MVP but was very bad vs the Nats seris. So, should the Dodgers get rid of him?

  4. If the FO remains paralyzed, and we have no reason to expect it won’t, it’s time to give Stripling, Urias, and May 30 starts. In 2018, when Stripling was in the rotation (can’t these lunkheads see that he obviously pitches better as a starter than a reliever?), he was an all-star. Roberts is utterly incapable of handling a pitching staff…and yeah, I know we’ve made it to the playoffs 76 straight years. In a AA division.

  5. I like our current roster. It would have been great to get Cole or Rendon, but neither of them wanted to be a Dodger. We have more than enough to win the West again, and Lindor & Betts will most likely be cheaper at the trade deadline. Urias, May, Gonsolin all may contribute big time as starters. Lux, Verdugo, & Smith all look to have bright futures, and they should all be worth more at the deadline, vs Betts/Lindor cheaper. Think with your heads Dodger fans. Management & ownership is responsible for putting together a winning product, which they have. Its Robert’s job to make the right decisions and players have to execute. Plus we most likely have a title if Houston wasn’t cheating. If fans had it their way, then Bellinger, Buehler, & Seager would have been traded away in previous years. How many of you wish we had Yordan Alvarez in LF right now, rather than a broken Pollock?

    • You make good points Peter, but our current roster has problems hitting left handers. That is our achilles heel. We need a Betts or Lindor. Also, with Ryu and Hill (probably gone), that only leaves us with Kershaw and Urias. IMO, we need a number one left handed starter that is effective in the post season.

      • A RH bat would help but Verdugo and Muncy actually have reverse splits – they both hit lefties better than right. Don’t know about Lux yet.

    • Loved the post. Roberts cost us 1 series, you can debate if the cheating did another. People want trades and big FA signings for no reason. The team is loaded w talent. Verdugo is a start in the making and Lux has maybe a higher ceiling. Don’t think we’ve seen Bellinger’s peak yet either. Pollock was the best Dodger from July-Sept but people want to bash him. Roberts need to learn to manage in the playoffs and like another said, we could really use a middle of the order RH bat.

    • Agree. Roberts has to mange better and the players need to play better when it counts. Simple as that. I don’t really think roster construction by the front office is the probably.

  6. The team and current prospects who are here presently still fall way short in the big games in October. And we still have a manager that is not capable of managing big games or the pitching. with that said, Dodgers will be taking a step back in 2020, sorry to say, but lower your expectations and do not expect much is all the suggestions one could make at this point. WSS

  7. Have rationalizes we will never win a WS with Kershaw,therefore I am counting the seasons (2 more) until they say thanks for the memories!

    • He’s gotta be up there amongst the most cursed players in history. For someone who’s such a great human and hall of famer it’s a major head scratcher. Maybe he’s got demons there’s gotta be some kind of bad karma

  8. The team and organization has gottene better every year since Friedman came on board, yet the same suspects whine every single day. Pathetic.

  9. Another silly article walking on both sides of the fence and not really saying what needed to be said.
    At this point they have no choice but to bank on their youth and the core from within.

    They should have strengthen the team using free agents and kept the core group of youngsters together. I fear that the front office will not want to be criticized for doing nothing and pay way to high a price just to make a trade.

    They could have done both keeping the youngsters developing in the dodgers system while giving us another shot at the World Series.

    I feel bad for the veterans that have put their heart and soul into the steam to try to bring home a championship for the Los Angeles Dodgers and they will not be rewarded. Kersh, Turner.

    It’s now up to the dodger system to develop these players. Dodgers Will be a competitive team in the West. Some of our rivals have strengthened the their teams while we have sat and done nothing. This isn’t a team that can take down the yankees or the astro’s or the nationals.
    This team will now have to build itself from within this will take time to do and patience for the youth.
    I still feel that the McCourt 2.0 front office will never really do anything to put this team all in or what it takes to put together a balanced team or fixing the weakness that this team has.
    G hiem will keep dangling the carrot I’m no longer a sucker will to take the bait.

    • That’s what I said. They could’ve filled the holes while also keeping all of their prospects

    • Thanks for reading my “silly article.” The top free agents didn’t want to sign with the Dodgers. That much is clear. So I’m not sure what you wanted them to do.

      If they can make the playoffs again, they have the opportunity to win it all. MLB playoffs are a crapshoot… they’re not like the NBA where the best team almost always wins. Look at the Nats last year.

  10. Urias and May will be out of gas or reach innings limitations by the end of the regular season. So what do you do in the postseason? The Dodgers will win the division by default. It’s not about making the postseason. It’s about finally getting it done in the postseason. Buehler, Kershaw and who else in the postseason? Maeda? He’s better out of the bullpen in the postseason. Hill? He won’t be ready, or probably even be a Dodger by then. The Dodgers need to trade for a frontline established starting pitcher. Wasn’t that the idea behind pursuing Cole? In 2021 the Dodgers should be fine with rookie pitchers (including Gonsolin), but they will have problems this season.

    • We aren’t gonna win if we make it to the World Series anyway so I hope they do have problems and don’t make it at all and come back in 2021 with more experienced prospects who are ready and hopefully some actual FA that are needed

  11. Seriously, why are some of you even Dodger fans? If you want the Dodgers to be the Yankees, go root for the Yankees! The negativity and whining is so reminiscent of those old St Louis Rams fans. Sheesh…

  12. Did anyone writing here actually play this game at a high level? Div 1 College and above, minor leagues AA or above I doubt it, the whining and knowledge level is pretty idiotic. Putting a 90+ mph slider on the corner and watching a major league hitter walk away shaking their head is the ultimate. Been there, this game is not easy and getting the right pieces in the right place at the right time is not only difficult but even if you can things might not pan out.

    This is a really good organization and will continue to be for a very long time. They are a break or two away from winning possibly a couple of titles. Consistency is extremely important in Baseball and the more you put yourself in position to win a championship the better. This team will be there again and possibly win the 2020 World Series. That really is all you can realistically ask of any organization, come on be honest.

    Na, you want to bitch and moan……………….

      • Reading your comments I’ve believed you weren’t very bright and just didn’t get it but I see I’ve underestimated you. You not only don’t get it but you have a rather unpleasant ugly manner. You should stop posting before you embarrass yourself further.

        • I have. Div 1, but only A ball(elbow surgery). Which may or may not be why I agree fully with Cat. Well there’s nothing really to agree or disagree with, because he’s simply correct. Not anything to really debate. Except how bad you Bum, actually embarrassed yourself with such a foolish response.

          • The reply was to Slapperman’s comment thus the indent. I agreed with Cat’s post.

    • Worst take I have ever seen. Putting yourself on some sort of moral high ground is pathetic. If you really played the game you would understand just how bad some things are. I suppose you agree Roberts should have let Kershaw pitch to Rendon then after giving up a Home run allow him to repeat pitch to a very hot hitter Soto. Then let a guy pitch 2 innings, Kelly who never does well going 2 innings. Thus blowing the playoffs. I can give you the same logic in 17 and 18 as well. There are loads of dumb moves by the FO as well. You are actually lost rather than having some superior talent.

  13. Thank God Dodgers didn’t spend on Cole or Strasburg as both Julio and May will replace both hill and Ryou, and this makes Dodgers better than last year.Why spend money on rendon,or l indor,Corey will handle 3rd base better with better offensive numbers cause his best is coming and only at 7 million.And no there’s no skepticism among us real dodger fans we know what we have only writers like you fill the bandwagon fans heads with fear with dumb articles,like Oh Dodgers need to trade or sign certain players to win it all and that’s a lot of bullshit.Kershaw is still the man and Julio finally will be given his starting position and he’ll be lights out like he was on his last start before he went to bullpen against brewers in Milwaukee where he pitch 6 scoreless innings only 2 hits and he striked out 9 or when he took a no hitter to the sixth .Before he injured his arm.Make no mistake about it he will be the ace,but not now.Kershaw will win his 4th Cy young.He was 15 and 5 with 3.03 era and if not for run support he would have won 20 but as usual for last 8 years he never gets those huge leads that Ryou and Buhler got.It’s different when you’re pitching tight games then when you have big leads and dumb fans Don’t look at those stats along with writers with no knowledge of the game.If Cole,Strassburg or Verlander got the same support That Kershaw gets,I guarantee you that their numbers would be way below his for last 3 years.I appreciate Kershaw for everything He’s done and he’ll shut down a lot of mouths come 2020.

  14. Bad bullpen, Bad Manager and horrendous closer. Along with unproven young stars does not get this team to the WS. It is the same team that will be depending on Roberts a terrible post season record along with Pollard, Kiki, Taylor, Pederson who have a combined 225 playoff /WS Average. Why make the Rookies hold up these guys? Get rid of them for a great pen then go out and predict just how these guys support the Dodgers Good Vets in the Post Season.

  15. Stupid article. Kershaw is done as a pitcher so you have Urias, May, Bueler as your starters that can produce good numbers. Who’s your 5th starter? Maeda and Stripling both have proven they are bullpen help at best. We no longer have Ryu. No longer have Hill, thank god. So who’s the fifth starter? LOL DJ Peters? Gonsolin? Our Pitching staff looks just awful and Will smith if he bombs out can be replaced by Ruiz who’s a better hitter anyway but Lux sure looked out matched at the pro level. And the line up this idiot suggests failed to beat washington in the playoffs. As did our pitchers. We’ve only gotten worse. At this stage Dodgers aren’t even good enough to win their division much less a playoff game.

  16. Brian don’t apologize for showing why the Dodgers are slated to contend for the 2020 WS. This team will be better than last years with a younger team and cap room should they need to spend money at the trading deadline.
    The problem is not with the Dodgers it is with the Sportswriters/Whiners that refuse to listen to Kasten explain the Dodger business plan again and again. Many of these so called journalists and fans actually have the gall to believe they know more about what the Dodgers need to do than the professionals that work for the Dodgers. It is an incredible display of hubris.
    It is amazing to read all of the uninformed whining from supposed fans on this and other sites. It is an analogy to life do your research get a clue…
    I will be laughing at them as I enjoy watching a young talented team in the Spring and watch this team win around 100 games and contend for the WS again in 2020.

  17. Anyone and any team can play their Triple A team at the major level during the regular season. Question for the kool aid drinkers, ” if the Dodgers Triple A team can’t win a PAC Coast League championship, what suddenly will make them win the World Series Championship?” The next level is where the 300 hitters 100 mph fastballs, and experienced veterans play ball. This Dodgers team has 1 300 hitter, and 0 flame throwers, and 0 prospects that have won anything. I guess all of those requirements miraculously don’t matter in Money ball!

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