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Which LA Dodgers Top Prospects Are Considered Untouchable?

Figuring out who the Front Office considers untouchable.

Dustin May against Diamondbacks on March 2, 2019 (Photo Credit: Tim Rogers)

It is Trade Season which means the Dodgers will be trading some prospects. Over the years the Dodgers have done a good job of keeping the “right” prospects, no matter who might be the return. There were opportunities to acquire pitchers like Johnny Cueto, David Price and Cole Hamels in 2015 but the cost had to include Corey Seager, Julio Urías or Joc Pederson. Cody Bellinger, Walker Buehler  and Yadier Alvarez were also in high demand in 2016 and 2017. Alvarez is a total mess but of the rest of them only Joc Pederson has shown he doesn’t have star potential anymore, even though he’s been a good and valuable player at times.

Some prospects that they did give up that turned out to have some potential include Yordan Alvarez, Oneil Cruz, Jharel Cotton, Frankie Montas, Devin Smeltzer and Yusniel Diaz. None have those have had long-term success but that Alvarez for Josh Fields will probably haunt the Dodgers for a long time.

So many prospects, especially at the lower levels are wild cards. They are very young and not fully developed physically or emotionally. One thing that we should know by now, the Dodgers organization has a list of untouchable prospects that they will not budge from. For example, Cole Hamels in 2015, could possibly been acquired if they parted with players such as Urías and Seager. Hamels had a contract that would have kept him under team control through the 2019 season, yet they didn’t do it. This feeds my theory on the untouchables. We’ll look at who might the Dodgers consider to be untouchable.

Positions of Strength

I think some players could be left off the untouchable list just due to the depth of some positions. Where the Dodgers have a lot of depth throughout the system are right-handed starting pitchers, catchers and middle infielders. Another weird strength they have is left-handed hitters. Look at their current lineup that features Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager, Max Muncy, Alex Verdugo and Joc Pederson. Even recent players demoted like Edwin Rios and Matt Beaty are left-handed hitters.

The Major League Roster

Many players on the Major League roster aren’t going anywhere during the 2019 season but the Dodgers have traded A.J. Ellis during the season before. They also tried to trade Yasiel Puig for Bryce Harper in late August of 2018. In general, don’t expect too many off the MLB roster to be moved.

The “Obvious” Untouchables

All the prospect publications rank the top 5 prospects (in various order) as Keibert Ruiz, Dustin May, Gavin Lux, Tony Gonsolin and Will Smith. I would think three of the five are on the untouchable list. I think Gavin Lux is a top candidate for the list. He was just promoted to AAA and he is tearing it up. The weak spot for him though is where does he play on defense? He is playing shortstop now but his throwing is not close to an MLB level. He will be a second baseman soon and how many of them are untouchable? Still, I think he’s on the list and could contribute soon.

Between the two catchers I’d think the 20 year-old Ruiz would be on the list over the 24 year-old Smith. However, the Dodgers should consider bringing up Smith now to get the majority of the at-bats from the catching position. If that happens does that make Ruiz available? I still doubt Ruiz is available even if they bring up Smith. Some insist that the Dodgers must keep Austin Barnes because the pitchers love him, but having an empty bat in the line-up is simply a mistake the Dodgers cannot make again in the playoffs.

Between the two right-handed pitchers May and Gonsolin, I think the 21 year-old May is the untouchable. However, Gonsolin did make his MLB debut and could get more starts as the Dodgers look to give their starting pitchers some extra rest via a six-man rotation. I’ve watched a few of May’s starts and he has some nasty pitches. However, I see him not being ready for the rotation until late 2020. There are some things I see that indicate that MLB might be too big of a stage for him right now.

The untouchable list from the top 5:

  • Keibert Ruiz
  • Gavin Lux
  • Dustin May
  • Will Smith – conditional

The Not So Obvious Ones

The Dodgers gave catcher Diego Cartaya (bats right)  $2.5M in July of 2018 as an international free agent and he’s still just 17. Infielder Alex De Jesus (bats right) is another of those signings at $500K. He is also 17 and is doing very well in Rookie ball in the Arizona League. 2018 draft pick Devin Mann (bats right) has exploded on the seen at High-A and can play both second and third base. 2017 international signee Miguel Vargas (bats right) is only 19 but has quickly advanced to High-A. Both Jeter Downs (bats right) and Josiah Gray were part of the Kyle Farmer trade and have made their marks this season. From what I’ve seen of Josiah Gray, he is on a path to be a Major Leaguer. Two more that have been making some noise are Niko Hulsizer at High-A and Andy Pages at Advanced Rookie.

More additions for the untouchable list:

  • Diego Cartaya – especially of Ruiz is somehow moved
  • Alex De Jesus
  • Miguel Vargas
  • Josiah Gray

There are many other players in the Dodgers organization that many others would want. There are plenty of players that would be untouchable in other organizations and this amazing depth will yield some help to the Major League club in 2019. This is the list of who I believe are untouchable:

  • Two of Keibert Ruiz, Will Smith and Diego Cartaya
  • Dustin May
  • Gavin Lux
  • Alex De Jesus
  • Miguel Vargas
  • Josiah Gray

Of course this list is an educated guess at what the Front Office of the Dodgers is thinking.

Final Thoughts

Even with so many players no longer classified as prospects the Dodgers are still loaded with a lot of players other teams would want. The #ProspectHugger inside of me will take a hard hit if some players are traded but it only will provide further opportunities for those that are traded. As all of the players know, they not only are trying to impress not only the Dodgers but 29 other teams. The Dodger system is so packed top to bottom with a strong group of young players on the Major League roster. Getting traded will be the break that some players just might need to make a quicker path to the Big Leagues.

Written by Tim Rogers

A fan of the Dodgers since 1973 since I got my first baseball cards while living in Long Beach. I came to San Diego for college and never left nor did I ever switch my Dodgers' allegiance. Some know me as the "sweater guy". #ProspectHugger

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  1. I know they may trade a couple of prospects but everyone seems to think Ruiz is the most likely i personally would rather give up Smith before Ruiz, i think it’s such a big risk to give up prospects to get something now that may or may not help you win now its a tough decision do you trade or do you just pass on all trades and hope you have enough now,maybe if you take the leash off Urias it could be a possibility i doubt they would do this.

  2. Gavin Lux, Dustin May, Will Smith and those prospects obtained from the Reds in the Puig/Kemp and so on trade. Especially they should be untouchable for getting just a 2 month rental, who by himself WILL GUARANTEE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING !

  3. I’m not so sure Keibert Ruiz is untouchable, he may have just hit a bump(struggling) at AA. I’m sure the Dodgers FO think more highly of him than Will Smith. Diego Cartaya is still only 17 so he is probably a few years away from the Majors. Yordan Alvarez(Josh Fields trade) will definitely haunt the Dodgers for years to come. Is it just me or do the Dodgers not know how to play against an American League team. This year 1-1(Tampa Bay), 0-2(Angels), 0-?(Red Sox), ?-?(Yankees).

    • Lets face it the Dodger rolled the dice on Fields to be a hidden gem. At this point the Dodgers need to be looking at proven players not hidden gems and proven players will cost top prospects. Otherwise the Dodgers will continue to roll the dice on guys like Ryan Madson John Axford and Jim Johnson. Do we really want guys like that pitching in the post season for the Dodgers?

  4. No mention of Connor Wong in the catcher prospects? As a fan of watching the boys from the Qaukes go up and grow, I find myself thinking about the Ruiz trade mostly because we’re less attached to him. BUT it does seem it could make sense with Will Smith going up full time maybe next season. Do they need only one other hot catching Prospect waiting in the wings? Ruiz is more trade ready for now it seems and Wong will be moved up to AA himself shorty no doubt.

  5. Smith is untouchable, which makes Ruiz expendable. Also, Lux is the second baseman of the future, another Sax. Muncy moves to 1B. Finally, nobody ever notes Matt Beaty, but like Muncy, he may force his way into the Dodgers plans.

  6. The Dodgers are loaded with prospects what they aren’t loaded with is World Series rings since 1988.

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