Baseball’s Best Organization

By now it’s old news that the Dodgers were named the Organization of the Year in 2017 by Baseball America.  If we go back in time to when Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi took over the Dodgers three years ago, the Farm System was ranked number 14 in all of baseball by Baseball America.  In one short year, FAZ elevated that ranking to #3  and in 2016, they were ranked Number One.

By that time, the Dodgers had started graduating players:  Stripling, Seager, Urias and others.  In 2017, they were ranked number four and yet they produced their second rookie of the year in a row.  Of course, the skeptics will say that the farms system was ranked that highly because of the former Dodger front office of Ned Colletti and Logan White… and I would like to give them their props.  They did draft some good young players…. and FAZ kept them!

Baseball America’s annual ratings are not out for 2018, but I am confident that the Dodgers are TOP 10… maybe TOP 5 in the Farm Systems Rankings. Even after winning five straight NL West Pennants and picking low in the draft, the Dodgers are still right up there in prospects with teams that have tanked for several years.  After the Cubs World Series and their uneventful 2018, they will likely be near the bottom of the rankings.

If you look at the Dodgers TOP 25 Prospects, you will see that the majority are players picked and developed by FAZ (not in any particular order).

  1. Buehler – FAZ
  2. Verdugo –  Colletti/White
  3. Ruiz – FAZ
  4. Smith – FAZ
  5. Diaz – FAZ
  6. White – FAZ
  7. Santana (P) – Colletti/White
  8. Lux – FAZ
  9. Kendall – FAZ
  10. Heredia – FAZ
  11. May – FAZ
  12. Sheffield – FAZ
  13. Alvarez – FAZ
  14. Peters -FAZ
  15. Estevez – FAZ
  16. Marinan – FAZ
  17. Cooper – FAZ
  18. Wong – FAZ
  19. Brito – FAZ
  20. Ferguson – Colletti/White
  21. Rios – FAZ
  22. Jackson – FAZ
  23. Beaty – FAZ
  24. Robinson – FAZ
  25. Raley – FAZ

I did include Lux and Kendall but I am not a big fan of either one, however most ratings have them in the Top 10 or 15. In three years, the farm system has only 3 draft picks by Colletti and White left.  The Other Top 22 are from Friedman and Zaidi. In the interest of full disclosure, the three that are left are pretty dang good.

Next Pitching Coach

This week, the Dodgers continued to strengthen their system as they signed Mark Prior, who has garnered immense respect around the baseball community.  This was a guy who had Hall-of-Fame written all over him.  He was a phenom  who went 18-6 with a 2.43 ERA and finished 3rd in Cy Young voting. He was the Golden Boy, marching to the Hall-of-Fame. He soon had arm problems and never regained that form.  He tried to comeback, over and over and over and over and finally retired after 2013.

Here’s the deal: Mark Prior has been to the mountaintop.  He has been to the Penthouse and he has been to the Outhouse! He had elite ability and lost it, tried to come back repeatedly and failed.  Mark Prior understands any possible struggle a pitcher can go through.  He knows how to pitch and he knows what failure feels like.  Mark Prior is uniquely qualified to be the Dodgers Pitching Coach and will likely replace Rick Honeycutt in 2019 or 2020 as just that!  If Honey wants, he will move to a Front Office Position or retire.

Cold Stove

It has been a Cold Hot Stove League this winter.  The Hot Stove League has been colder than a well digger’s butt so far.  Some Dodger fans have been complaining about it.  What has FAZ done lately?

  1. Traded Gonzalez, McCarthy, Kazmir and Culberson for Matt Kemp in order to get under the Luxury Tax Threshold
  2. Signed Dylan Baker, Tom Koehlor and Henry Owens; and
  3. Traded for Scott Alexander.

MLB Radio on the Scott Alexander trade:

“This is another excellent trade. You don’t know much about Alexander now… BUT YOU WILL. This is another example of how Friedman and Zaidi are smarter than anyone else.!

Most of these moves have been met with contempt from morons (not on this board).  Maybe there is more to come.  Maybe this is it.  I’m ready for Spring Training either way… after all, this is the best organization in baseball.

I’m ready for Spring Training to begin…

Bye, Bye Trevor Oaks – I wish you nothing but the best… unless you are pitching against the Dodgers. I hated to see Trevor go, but he was just insurance. He had no chance in LA.  Hopefully, he can start in KC.

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 26 Comments

  1. Is there any news on Seager’s elbow? This is the largest area of concern that I have going into ST and was the reason why I suggested the Kemp/ Tulowitzki trade several days ago. I just don’t see any better option that doesn’t add money to the 2018 or 2019 bottom line. Ilike many of the young options for SS in the system but all need seasoning in minors. Thoughts?

    1. Like lots of teams, the Dodgers are close-lipped on injuries. I am sure Seager has had two, three or six second opinions. The Dodgers say his elbow is fine, so that is all I know. If there was a chance he might need surgery, I am sure it would have been done weeks ago. Who knows? Maybe it was scoped?

  2. We are certainly in a very good position for continued success going forward.

    One thing, who’s that at 8/9 on your list?

    1. Thanks, at first, I was not going to include them, but I changed my mind and then forgot to change the sentence. I did it now.

  3. I’m not much for trying to predict front office moves, other than the normal skepticism. I’ve followed the team by watching or listening religiously since 2008, and have been a fan all my life [65]. I’ve missed 6 games in the last 9 years. In the short time since FAZ , has taken over, I have learned a whole bunch of new baseball crap. I forget it all, but the knowledge was absorbed. I’m highly impressed with the way the organization has run the baseball side of things. Gotta win it all though. In all that time spent watching the Boys play, Trevor Oaks was rarely on the field. I like all of our players, so I wish him luck and await his return to Dodger Stadium someday. I don’t go to Arizona in person for Spring Training, and to be honest, for the first couple of weeks I mainly try and keep track of the ping pong news and shenanigans. Plus my yard has been white since Christmas…maybe when the green grass starts poking through, I will be more enthusiastic towards folks reporting to CBR. I’ve already wondered if Kemp has been working out, given directives of areas to improve. I’ve also wondered whether Kershaw and crew have began throwing at home? I watched clips of both youngsters acquired in the last trade. Alexander has good control it looks like and uses his fastball effectively by moving it on and off of the plate. He also spins the ball really, really well. The 2nd baseman Peter had quite a few game saving/winning hits/home-runs. Mark and AC you two have been doing a great job in the short time I’ve been following. Playing GM doesn’t get my motor juiced up, but learning does…I joke around a lot, I also smoke a lot stuff that sprouts up along the riverbank [I rarely drink alcohol though], so I usually forget whatever it was I once remembered.

  4. If it is true that the Dodgers were willing to trade Puig for Bradley, I wonder what was the reasoning. It would seem they want to improve the defense in CF. But they had to have a plan for RF. Verdugo is usually thought to be a year away.
    If Bradley were the CFer, would Taylor move to 2B or LF?
    Would FAZ trade for Yelich and can he play RF?
    Would the outfield be Pederson, Bradley, Yelich? Taylor, Bradley, Toles? Pederson, Bradley, Toles?
    There appears FAZ wants to make two more trades, maybe three.

    1. I think it’s simple why a trade for Bradley was discussed. Puig was/is a knucklehead and hopefully…he will continue going to his KA Meetings (Knuckleheads Anonymous) AND IMPROVE, BUT YOU NEVER KNOW WITH KNUCKLEHEADS! The Dodgers would have 3 years control over Bradley and he is an elite CF’er. Then, Taylor could go to 2B, but I think it would take a while for him to learn the keystone position. To me, he has not looked comfortable there.

      To get Yelich, the Dodgers would have to trade Verdugo, Alvarez and another good prospect is what it would take. Yelich has to play LF as he has a Below Average Arm. His arm would not play in RF at all. Verdugo has a Canon!

      But, I doubt the Dodgers trade Puig. He has the potential to be a Superstar. He could become a monster the next two years. I don’t think the Dodgers have to do anything. Let’s see what Spring Training brings. There is a lot to be said for Outfield defense. Puig is the best RF in baseball. Taylor will be very good in CF this year in his first full season and Toles, Verdugo, Kike and Pederson are solid in LF… Matt Kemp? Not so much! We have no clue what will happen there.

      I think what happens with Kemp will be one of two extremes:

      1. Total Bust
      2. MVP-Type Season

      No middle ground!

      1. I just read that Kemp is in really good condition. I still think defensive metrics have a ways to go to be singularly relied upon. Kemp has always passed my eye test for catching everything he gets to. Bad routes and delayed jumps might be his problem as well as loss of speed. He has a strong and accurate arm.
        Kemp’s bones might keep him from being a full time player. If Joc continues to flail against lefties, a Kemp/Pederson LF could be a winning combination.
        If Puig has a similar 2017 or better in 2018 his free-agent salary may be more than FAZ wants to absorb. That is one reason to either trade him now or keep Verdugo. Let’s see what happens in March.

        1. I have saw info, that makes me think Kemp will show up to spring training in great shape, too.

          And since I believe Kemp is going to show up to spring training in good shape, that makes me think Friedman didn’t say anything to Kemp, to try to discourage him, from trying to make it, on this team.

          Kemp had played in 150 games or more, since 2014, so Kemp had been able to avoid any injuries issues, for three years, up until last year.

          And I think coming into spring training, Kemp has to be considered, our best bat, in the outfield.

          And I think Turner Ward can help Kemp lay off those sliders on the outside corner, like he did with Puig.

          I did notice that Kemp didn’t have good splits against lefties last year, but I think that just might be one of those, outlier seasons.

          And I too, think Kemp is going to give us, one of those two extremes.

          And if it is a good extreme, this deal will look even better.

    2. I’ve nary read a single comment that Verdugo is thought to be another year away.
      Bradley in CF. Verdugo/Toles/Pederson in Left or Right.
      Taylor at 2nd.
      Forsythe to a UTIL role.

  5. There are three other acquisitions that you did not mention:
    1. Jesen Therrien – hard throwing reliever waived from the Phillies. Dodgers signed for two years because of TJ surgery. He will be on the 25 man come 2019.
    2. Angelo Mora – Minor League Rule 5 – Switch hitting infielder/utility – Organizational depth if nothing else.
    3. Jake Peter – Eric Stephen described him best in the article below.

    1. On MLB Radio, the announcers were very high on Jake Peter. They said he would likely make the team this year…

      1. As much as Alexander was a need and a good catch, I think FAZ wanted Peter as well. Alexander was obvious, but Peter is all FAZ. Give FAZ credit for navigating this 3 way trade, because you know they did. They also found a team that they have worked this 3 way trade before in the ChiSox.

  6. FAZ could be done… except for some fringe nibbling…


    They could execute a blockbuster tomorrow.

    They are so much smarter than we are are.

    1. Mixed in with the discussion of Puig for Bradlety was mention of a blockbuster with Brewers that included Braun. Might Puig and Kemp have been part of that trade exploration?

  7. I know that Bradley has a very good reputation for his defense in CF, and defense is important. But his relatively weak bat is not compensated for by his defense. And whatever power he has shown was achieved while playing in the AL East, which has homer friendly parks like Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park and Camden Yard.

    Bradley would fit well with the Dodgers as an extra outfielder, nothing more.

  8. I didn’t think the Dodgers were going to re-sign Utley for another season but with Jake Peter now a Dodger I’m sure Utley’s days as a Dodger are defiantly over. I think he still want’s to play, so good luck. When he decides to retire I hope the Dodgers find a place for him in the organization. Love watching him play.

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