New Dodger Top Ten Prospects

With September looming and the season nearing the playoffs, I thought I would share my thoughts on what the Dodgers Top 10 Prospect list looks like to me. It might be fun to compare mine to AC’s as well. I am sure we will differ.  I tend to look at this differently than many people.  Here’s the list.

Dodgers Top 10 Prospects

#10 Kyle Farmer  C/Infield – He has taken a big step forward this year and it seems to be coming together for him in 2017.  He may never be starter but he is not unlike Austin Barnes, in that he can play multiple positions and play them well.  His bat is perfect for a backup catcher and/or utilityman. He is ready now.

#9  Will Smith C/Infield – Think Austin Barnes on steroids.  More power, more speed, rocket arm, amazing footwork.  He will be a Gold Glove Caliber Catcher and can also play other infield positions.  He’s 22 and should be ready by 2019.

#8 – Dustin May RHP – Just 19 and a lanky 6 feet 6 inches tall, May has some more growing and filling out to do. I think he will be in the high 90’s next year (he’s 95-96 this year).  He is just mastering the art of pitching, but I see him as a backend of the rotation starter. I see him arriving in 2020.

#7 – Omar Estevez 2B – He is mostly playing shortstop right now but he’s more suited for 2B.  He’s also just 19, and will mature physically. He has a good glove and I can see him hitting 15+ HR and hitting .280 .  He is just a  ballplayer. I mean that in a good way. He’s a ways away… like 2021.

#6 – Dennis Santana RHP – He might be a solid starter, but I see him more as a high-leverage bullpen piece.  He can throw in the high 90’s and has an awesome sinker and an above average slider to go with a 98+ MPH fastball.  He throws across his body which in my mind is not good for a starter. He could be a closer. He will be ready for the pen in 2019.

#5 –  Yusniel Diaz CF – He is a young 20 and figures to mature a lot. He can patrol CF and has plus speed and a plus arm.  I see him as an everyday CF in the fashion of Lorenzo Cain. Look for him in a Ravine near you in 2020.

#4 – Mitchell White RHP  –  Mitch could be a #2 or #3 starter.  His stuff is that good. He has a 96 MPH fastball and a cutter that is as good Mariano Rivera’s.  His curve is adequate.  He is 22,  and has the body to be a strong starter, so he could progress quickly.  He likely enters the rotation in 2o19.

#3 – Alex Verdugo LF/RF – Has played a lot of CF in the minors but does not have the foot speed to play it in the majors. His bat is the deal.  He can be a Tony Gwynnesque type of player.  In other words, he might be a future batting champion.  He has a great arm and I see him in RF.  He is not a “lock” like Cody and Corey, but he’s close.  He ready now.

#2 – Walker Buehler RHP – He can hit three digits on the gun, but what is most impressive is that he has several other pitches that are outstanding.  He could be a #1 starter on many teams. He reminds me of Zack Greinke and is very athletic.  He will be ready in 2018, but he will be in the pen later this year.

#1 – Keibert Ruiz C – Kay Bear is special.  He will be the Dodgers starting catcher by 2019.  Write that down.  As a catcher he is outstanding in every phase of the game, except for his arm, which is average.  A switch hitter, this guy can be a #2 or #3 hitter.  He’s more like Corey Seager than Cody Bellinger… if you get my drift.  He won’t hit 30 HR but he will hit .300. He’s a “can’t miss” guy!  I think he is the best catching prospect in baseball and Smith ain’t bad either. Kay Bear is the next Dodger ROY after Buehler or Verdugo.

So, if you have been paying attention, the following players are not in my Top 10:

  • Yadier Alvarez
  • Jeren Kendall
  • Gavin Lux
  • Jordon Sheffield
  • Starling Heredia
  • Trevor Oaks
  • Edwin Rios
  • DJ Peters

Some of them will be very good players, but I am not convinced.  I am pretty convinced about my Top 10.  Also, don’t forget that Julio Urias will be back in 2019.  He’s also a #2.  WOW!

Posted by Mark Timmons

We started LA Dodger Talk in 2001. This site is about giving another perspective outside of the average day-to-day reporting. We don't do game recaps or such things -- lots of sites do that well. I value sabermetrics, but don't think they are the "end-all-be-all.". This is where you should start your day as a Dodger Fan. Welcome! We'd like to hear your voice.

This article has 38 Comments

  1. What amazes me is the number of good catchers we have at the major league level and on the farm. That is one position where you just do not have enough good players.

  2. In looking ahead on what we have on the present Dodger roster. Bellinger will be at first and Seager at SS. JT will be at third, but we need to start looking at who could replace him. Will Smith or Kyle Farmer are possibilities. You have three catchers in your top 10. I am not worried about second because Taylor can play there if needed and be very good. You also have Estevez in your top 10. Ruiz as catcher. Barnes needs to play somewhere. Outfield-we have Puig and Taylor with Verdugo, Diaz and Kendall. Pitching-looks like we are loaded. The competition is going to be fierce. Now FAZ needs to figure out who is our kinda guys (OKG). It is so important to eliminate knuckle heads before other teams realize they are knuckle heads and trade them. Knuckle heads will always be knuckle heads.

    1. Idahoal

      There have been some catchers, that have become pretty good, third basemen.

      But I don’t remember so many catching prospects, even last year.

      But Mark keeps on talking about Keibert Ruiz, so I might have to go take a look at him.

      I don’t follow the prospects closely, but I do trust both Mark and AC assessments, about our prospects, and in general, because they have been much more right, then wrong, about the players, they have spoken about.

  3. 1. Buehler
    2. Verdugo
    3. Ruiz
    4. White
    5. Alvarez
    6. Santana
    7. Diaz
    8. Kendall
    9. Smith
    10. Peters

  4. Nice list, with 3 catchers on it and 2 at the big league level what do they do with Grandal? Next year is his final arbitration year before FA. Do they extend him and block Ruiz? Do they trade him for a haul? Barnes is a perfect backup catcher who can play other positions and pinch hits well. Smith is great defensively and has power but has not hit for average in the minors and can play other positions. Farmer hits for a higher average but is not as good as Smith defensively and came up as a SS and can play the other IF positions. Are they developing multiple Kike’s? Ruiz is a stud with the bat and adequate defensively. As he matures his arm should get better and will be under team control for a long time.

    Kendall has all the tools defensively and a ton of speed. He would be a great leadoff man if he cuts down his K’s and he has some pop. DJ Peters is the real deal, mad RH power and decent speed, a true corner OF and above average arm. Those two are not that far away from the bigs.

    There are others like Ibandel and Rios who can really hit but are a liability on defense and might be better in the AL as a DH. There are some starters who may be better as relievers. There are some really good infielders too but not at 3B, but maybe someone can be moved over. JT has 3 more years on his contract so not a huge need yet.

    All of these prospect can’t make the big club but they provide great depth and valuable trade pieces. The Dodgers are building a powerhouse for the future at an affordable and controllable price.

  5. Grandy leading off & Puig in 5 spot

    1 Granderson LF
    2 Seagar SS
    3 Turner 3B
    4 AGon 1B
    5 Puig RF
    6 Utley DH
    7 Forsythe 2B
    8 Barnes C
    9 kike CF
    Maeda P

    No Taylor?

    1. Watford

      I think Taylor deserves a day off, he hasn’t had one, for a while.

      And our players off the bench, need to get in some games, to continue to be sharp.

  6. Mass and family take a precedence on Sunday AM’s. But I will put together my list later today. I am already thinking of mine.

  7. I like when we talk about the minor leaguers.

    More exciting news: the Dodgers magic number to eliminate sf from the NL west is 1

  8. The Giants can be officially eliminated from the NL West on Sunday with either a loss or a Dodgers win

    1. Hawkeye

      I wish our guys would lay off those high fastballs, especially with two strikes, the ump isn’t calling them, that high.

  9. Jacob The me just named as PTBNL in Brandy trade. Opens another 40 man spot. I wish Jacob a lot of success with NYM.

    1. That did not last long. The Dodgers just claimed Jordan Jankowski from Astros. He is just holding a spot for Buehler or Font or Verdugo (less likely with Grandy now on board). Spell check can’t master me twice…on the same name anyway.

    2. I thought he was a candidate to be DFA’d or moved. He didn’t really seem to be in their plans nor did he run with his opportunity this year while on the 40-man.

  10. Maeda is a 5 inning pitcher.

    Memo to Doc: Even if he has a perfect game after 5, take him out!

  11. What the he!! happened. Perfect thru 5 then gives up 4 runs on 5 hits? Did he lose his concentration because of Granderson’s HR in the top of the inning?

      1. You’re correct. The Tigers don’t have anyone worth a damn after their top two pitchers, but they do have a guy who should have been Cy Young last year, as well as the reigning AL Rookie of the Year. The Dodgers didn’t score an earned run off of either. I know today was the B lineup, but they looked over matched today.

        1. Hawkeye

          I have always been big on Verlander, after he healed from that oblique injury, and the oblique surgery he had.

          He has pitched pretty good since then, and he does pitch pretty well, in big games.

          But I thought Barnes did the right thing against him, because he hit it to the oppo side.

          I thought everyone, and especially Puig, should have did the same thing.

          And I could see Puig was getting frustrated in his at bats.

          But Turner didn’t really hit to much, in this series either.

  12. Since I do not have to worry about publishing an accredited top 10 list I can take a few liberties. For me, the top 10 should be more with high ceilings without as much consideration for the floor.

    10 – Melvin Jimenez – This is my dark horse sleeper. The youngest pitcher ever to pitch at Great Lakes was Julio Urias at 16. This year Jimenez pitched at 17. In his Great Lakes debut, he threw 4 scoreless innings. Jimenez, now 18, has pitched a total of 86 innings as a professional. His near 2 year career metrics are 1.57 ERA, .171 BAA, .97 WHIP, 108 K, 32 BB. But in those 86 innings, he has allowed 1 HR. His #1 pitch is a fastball. He needs to manage his control to become truly elite.
    .
    9 – Caleb Ferguson – No top 10 should exist without a LHSP. The best LHSP prospect in the Dodgers organization is Ferguson. But he isn’t on my list simply because he is left handed. He is also a very good pitcher. In 117.1 IP, he has a 2.84 ERA in the very hitter friendly PCL. That is good for #2 in the PCL behind current Seattle #2 prospect Nick Neidert. Neidert is now in AA, and will probably not qualify for ERA champ. Caleb is also #3 in K’s. While his walks are up this year, he had only 5 walks in 66 innings last year.
    .
    8 – Kyle Farmer – Farmer is probably the closest to MLB super utility player in the Dodgers organization. This is a critical position for the LAD. Tim Locastro is close, but Kyle has more power and can catch, so he gets the top 10 nod.
    .
    7 – Yusniel Diaz – 20 year old true CF in AA. That is 4 years under the average Texas League player age. Diaz is a solid CF prospect who can run and field. Diaz has tremendous bat speed and a smooth level swing that keeps the barrel in the hitting zone for a long time. But like Verdugo he has limited power.
    .
    6 – Jeren Kendall – Jeren Kendall can become an everyday CF with AS potential…or he could be a bust. With his defensive ability, arm, and speed, he is much too valuable to not push to improve his hitting stroke. He has power potential, but strikes out waaaaaaay to much. He needs a little less Joc Pederson, and a little more Brett Butler. He is the prototypical lead off hitter, but needs to lean on his speed to get on base more than his potential power. With his speed on the bases, Corey Seager is going to see a lot more fastballs. If he does learn to make better contact, the Dodgers have their CF for the foreseeable future.
    .
    5- Yadier Alvarez – Nobody in the Dodgers organization has a higher ceiling. But his floor is very low. His arm is unquestionable. His desire/confidence is not. Maybe the outstanding 6 innings he pitched yesterday for Tulsa will change his outlook for the final two weeks of the 2017 season (2 maybe 3 starts). He has three solid plus pitches, but limited control/command. Hopefully maturity will take control, and Alvarez will develop to the elite pitcher his arm displays.
    .
    4 – Alex Verdugo – Nobody has better bat to ball abilities than Alex Verdugo. He is not a prototypical CF, and RF is a more logical defensive position with his plus plus arm for Alex. However his lack of corner OF power may limit his overall potential. He will either start for the Dodgers next year, or for some other ML team. He is a definite projectable AS player.
    .
    3 – Keibert Ruiz – With 120 PA at Rancho, this 19 year old catcher has a .955 OPS. There does not seem to be any question about his offensive capabilities. While the California League is a hitter friendly league, Ruiz has excelled at every level. He does not have Will Smith’s defensive capabilities…yet. But he is becoming a very good receiver with good framing mechanics. His one weakness right now is his arm. But at 19, it is doubtful that he is fully developed, and his arm should continue to get stronger. He is now MLB #7 catching prospect per mlb.com.
    .
    2 – Mitchell White – All White has done is dominate at every level he is appeared at in his two professional years. He has a 1.80 ERA at Tulsa, and should have his innings limitation removed next year. He should start at OKC in 2018, and is a potential rotation pitcher next September. He could also become an effective reliever for the stretch run next year. He has three plus pitches, and if he can ever develop a change, that will give him 4 plus pitches, putting him at the elite “Ace” level.
    .
    1 – Walker Buehler – I have called Buehler a potential right handed Chris Sale. He has 3 plus pitches and his change is average, with plus potential. He also has plus control. If he can fully develop the change into a plus pitch, he will truly be an elite level pitcher. His fastball touches three digits, and his off-speed breaking balls are swing and miss. He needs better command, which will come with experience. Walker should be in a position to fill a rotation spot next year.
    .
    I also like Dennis Santana, and have been on record since last year. But with only two plus pitches, I think he will probably become a very effective high leverage reliever, which is why he is not in my top ten.
    .
    I am personally looking forward to the debut of Morgan Cooper. Cooper, the 2nd round draft selection, is a big RHSP with 2 plus pitches, and two average pitches. There are certainly red flags, but he is very much worth watching. He is a potential mid-rotation starter.
    .
    I like Will Smith. He is a potential GG catcher, but he needs to hit better to crack my top ten. Because of his lack of a bat, he is probably limited to C, even though defensively he can play multiple infield positions (and play them well). Catcher Connor Wong, 2017 #3 draft pick could also move quickly.
    .

    While Dustin May flashes potential, he still needs consistency. Next year he should be at RC, and hopefully he will develop that consistency. Grant Holmes’ star got tarnished at RC in 2016, so 2018 will be a big year for Dustin.
    .
    The last one that I want to bring up is 3B/1B Christian Santana. Next year at RC will also be a big year for him. He could rocket to a consensus top ten, or fall out all together. He is a true lottery pick.

  13. Fun fact: if we slump hard, and go 22-18 in the final 40 games of the year, we’ll still set the NL record for wins in a year

    1. They are currently 87 – 35. If they go 22 – 18 they will finish 109 – 53. The NL record is 116 wins by the 1906 Cubs. I don’t understand. They will need to go 30 – 10 to set the NL record for wins.

      1. Rick, I saw that too, but I keep hearing of the NL record being 108, and mlb record being 116 by Seattle (And the Cubs). I thought maybe records started being kept differently after 1906, when the Cubs did it or something.

    2. If they go 22-18 over the last 40 I will be concerned about their chances of going, let alone winning, the WS.

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