The Arizona Fall League Championship Game will be played on my birthday, November 18th, but of more importance is how certain Dodger Prospects are performing.
Yusniel Diaz has played very well in the Fall League with a .303 Batting Average and a .356 OB%. To date, he has displayed excellent skills in all phases of the game… except power. That may or may not come, but the only question I have is whether he starts in Tulsa or OKC next year. He has already performed well at AA last year, so AAA may make sense. Without a modicum of power he has to be a CF.
DJ Peters (22 years old) had only 7 hits in 37 at bats, but 3 were home runs, a double and a triple. He struck out 18 times in 37 AB’s. He has prodigious power, but has to hit the damn ball.
Matt Beaty will be 25 next year and finished strong after a slow start. He has a lot of work to do and is headed for a career as a minor league player with an occasional callup, unless something changes.
That brings me to the star of the Glendale Desert Dogs: Twenty-three year-old (in March) Will Smith, who has simply “arrived” and is pounding on the major league door. Let me say, that I will not be surprised if Will Smith breaks with the Dodgers next year as the backup to Austin Barnes. Now, mind you, I am not saying he will, but last year at this time I told you Cody Bellinger was ready and two years before that, I said that Corey Seager was ready. FAZ didn’t listen then, and brought in Jimmy Rollins instead.
Will Smith is MLB ready – he will likely go to OKC (maybe even Tulsa) next year, but I think he will break into the majors sometime in 2018. So far, Will Smith has hit .371 (third in the league) in the AFL, with a .452 OB% and a 1.017 OPS. He hit 2 HR and had 16 RBI to go along with 4 doubles and a triple. Smith’s defense was never in question – it was the hitting that people questioned. His bat may now push Kiebert Ruiz to another position.
It’s no secret that scouts love his athleticism, footwork, arm and defense and like Austin Barnes and Kyle Farmer, he can also play 2B and 3B. I don’t think he will pull a Cody Bellinger and become the 2018 Rookie of the Year (If any Dodger does that, it will likely be Alex Verdugo), but I do think he is MLB ready. What happens next is anyone’s guess, but it is going to be fun watching these young guys develop.
Just so we are clear, here are the Rookies I think could make an impact in 2018 (AC may disagree or he may have other names too… and that’s cool). It’s just my opinion:
- Kyle Farmer
- Will Smith
- Alex Verdugo
- Walker Buehler
- Trevor Oaks
- Dennis Santana (as a reliever)
- Doc and Clayton both finished second. Nice try! I have no issues with the voting….
- Some e-mailed me and asked if I was going to keep calling Friedman and Zaidi “FAZ” after AJ Antropolous took a job as Atlanta’s GM. I called them FAZ before AJ came, so I would think they still are “FAZ.” Friedman and Zaidi! Maybe AJ can send us Ender Inciarte for Joc Pederson. Yeah, that’s the ticket!