Dodgers Top 30 Prospects – MLB Pipeline

The New MLB Pipeline Dodger Top 30 prospeccts have been published.  Jim Callis is a premier minor league talent evaluator.  He is not the typical sabermetrics talent evaluator.  He uses the eye test as well.  If he has not seen the player live, he has studied hours of tape.  Some people prefer Eric Logenhagen of Fangraphs or Baseball America’s Kyle Glaser, but I am partial to Jim Callis.

 

The current ranking, the player, position, and the previous ranking are identified below:

 

  1. Walker Buehler RHSP                1
  2. Alex Verdugo OF                        2
  3. Keibert Ruiz C                             6
  4. Mitchell White RHSP                   7
  5. Yusniel Diaz OF                           5
  6. DJ Peters OF                              16
  7. Jeren Kendall CF                          4
  8. Yadier Alveraz RHSP                    3
  9. Will Smith C                                   8
  10. Dennis Santana RHSP                12
  11. Dustin May RHSP                        14
  12. Edwin Rios 1B/3B                        15
  13. Gavin Lux SS/2B                            9
  14. Cristian Santana 3B                      26
  15. Connor Wong C                             25
  16. Caleb Ferguson LHSP                   20
  17. Starling Heredia OF                       11
  18. Jordan Sheffield RHSP                  10
  19. Imani Abdullah RHSP                    18
  20. Errol Robinson SS/2B/OF              28
  21. Morgan Cooper RHSP                   22
  22. James Marinan RHSP                    19
  23. Matt Beaty 3B/1B/OF                      29
  24. Tony Gonsolin RHRP                      NR
  25. Kyle Farmer C                                  24
  26. Drew Jackson SS/2B/CF                  17
  27. Romer Cuadrado OF                       NR
  28. Ronny Brito SS/2B                             21
  29. Luke Raley OF                                   27
  30. Donovan Casey OF                          NR

 

Omar Estevez (formerly 13), Carlos Rincon (formerly 23), and Jake Peter (formerly 30) are no longer on the Top 30 Prospect list.  Maybe being excluded from the prospect list upset Estevez who hit a 2 run HR on Tuesday.  He was only 19 last year at High A Rancho, and played fairly well.  I was surprised to see him drop off the list.  Let’s see if he can climb back up.

 

The biggest jumps came from Cristian Santana (up 12 spots), Connor Wong (10 spots), DJ Peters (10 spots, and Errol Robinson (8 spots).

 

Three catchers in the top 15, with the current AAA catcher and potential backup at the ML level at #25, the Dodgers are stacked at Catcher.  They also have a very good group of RHSP that show tremendous talent with high floors.  All five of the top 11 RHSP are at least projected to be late inning high leverage relievers.  I think Dennis Santana has the potential for a closer.  He has the mental makeup and the “forget about the last game” attitude that closers absolutely must have.  I think this is where he will eventually land.

 

I think Verdugo is a potential All-Star and Yusniel Diaz could be a steady starter.  DJ Peters will get pushed at AA this year, and if he cuts down on his K’s, he has the potential to get the mid-season promotion to AAA and be in line for a potential start at ML level in 2019.  His power will dictate how far he goes, but make no mistake, Peters is a complete baseball player with a very defensive discipline.  He has enough speed to play CF at least at AA and maybe AAA.  I think with his power he is destined to be a corner OF at the ML Level.  The wild card for me is Jeren Kendall.  He has the potential to be a quality All-Star CF, and the potential to be a bust.  High risk/High reward.

 

The Dodgers are lacking in middle infielders (infielders in general).  Gavin Lux, Errol Robinson, and Ronny Brito are the only true middle infielders on the list, and none of the three are projected to be potential All-Stars.  I did not include Jackson in this group, because I think he is truly being groomed to be a Kike’ Hernandez type utility player, as is Tim Locastro.

 

Besides the three that are no longer on the list, those that fell the most were Drew Jackson (dropped 9 spots), Jordan Sheffield (8 spots), Ronny Brito (7 spots).  With Starling Heredia dropping 6 spots and Yadier Alveraz dropping 5 spots, most of that vaunted 2015 International Group have tumbled, with the exception of Yusniel Diaz.

 

Of the 30, 21 were drafted, 8 are international signees, and 1 was acquired via trade.

 

Top Hitter            60 Grade                              Alex Verdugo

Top Power          60 Grade                              DJ Peters

Top Run               70 Grade                              Jeren Kendall

Top Arm               70 Grade                              Alex Verdugo, (Drew Jackson)

Defense               60 Grade                              Will Smith, (Ronny Brito, Jeren Kendall, Errol Robinson)

Fastball                 70 Grade                              Walker Buehler, (Yadier Alveraz)

Curve                    65 Grade                              Walker Buehler

Slider                     60 Grade                              Walker Buehler, (Yadier Alveraz)

Change                 55 Grade                              Jordan Sheffield, (Imani Abdullah, Morgan Cooper)

Control                 55 Grade                              Dustin May, (Imani Abdullah, Walker Buehler)

 

With 3 plus plus pitches, and above average control, Walker Buehler only lacks experience to join the rotation.  He could be an early summer addition, but will definitely be a permanent fixture in 2019.  Alex Verdugo is good enough to start on most ML teams (he would be a star in SF), but with the crowd in front of him, he has time to gain even more experience at OKC.  He is the Dodgers future in RF if Puig decides to test free agency, and should be the starting LF in 2019 if not this summer. Buehler and Verdugo have to be as close to untouchable as there are.

 

Obviously 2017 was a major disappointment for Yadier Alveraz, but with his pitch grades, his ceiling is as a top of the rotation pitcher, and with a floor of late inning high leverage reliever.  His arm is can’t miss, but his head and heart and what is questionable.  I have heard he has come to camp with a better attitude, ready for a challenge.  This will be a year he makes his move to back to the top of the prospect list.

 

I have been following Cristian Santana from his 2016 DSL days.  He really came into his own this past year at both the rookie level at Ogden and low A in Great Lakes.  As a 20 year old he slashed .363/.390/.563/.953, in 228 PA.  He had 10 HR, 41 RBI, 11 BB, and 48 K.  Like most players today, he is an aggressive hitter who does not like to walk. But he only struck out 20%, so he is making contact.  I look for him to make High A at Rancho this year.  If he does not start there, he will not be long at Great Lakes.  He has nothing to prove at Great Lakes, and I think he deserves to be pushed.

 

I have also been a steadfast supporter of Caleb Ferguson, and I am pleased that he continues to move up the prospect list.  He is the only LHSP in the group, and he projects to a mid to bottom of the rotation starter.  He is not in the group of Buehler/Urias/White, but he is not that far behind and he is a fierce competitor.  Nobody will do more with what they have than Caleb Ferguson.  Like Trevor Oaks, Jharel Cotton, Grant Holmes, Chase De Jong, and Jose De Leon, he is a potential trade piece, and I would be very disappointed if that happens.

 

I was surprised to see Romer Cuadrado and Tony Gonsolin make the list, but both had very positive 2017 seasons, and are deserving of the status and the scrutiny that it brings with it.

I think this is going to be a telling year for Yadier Alveraz, Gavin Lux, and Jordan Sheffield.  If nothing else, Alveraz and Sheffield may find themselves in the bullpen, and Lux could find a permanent home at 2B or with another team.  I know I say it every time, but I still cannot believe they selected Lux over Bo Bichette.

 

It will be very interesting to see where all of the prospects land this year.  I am starting to make out my potential rosters for AAA, AA, A+, and A.

This article has 34 Comments

  1. Thanks AC. Enjoyed that.
    .
    The outfield depth makes it very hard to think the Dodgers would spend on Harper next year.
    .
    The thin infield depth makes it easier to think the Dodgers might go after Machado next year. But, he would have to play second base to fill the weakest spot in the infield and I can see Taylor moving to second to make room for some of the young outfielders.
    .
    If Kemp becomes a stud righty bat and Verdugo’s bat knocks the door down, I think Puig could be a mid-season trade.

  2. Excellent, AC. Quite a jump for Peters. I must admit the names Cuadrado and Casey are new to me.
    *
    Off topic – Do any of you kind people live in the Sacramento area? My wife and I are considering moving from Portland in the next few years to be closer to our daughter and her family in Chico. I’ve been researching Roseville and would greatly appreciate any input. Please contact my alter ego atfredvogel3@yahoo.com. Many thanks.

    1. Rudy,
      .
      I live in the Sacramento area (El Dorado Hills), and am quite familiar with Roseville. I beleive Dodgerrick is in Rocklin which is next door to Roseville.
      .
      I would be happy to speak with you about the Sacramento area. I will follow up with an email to you.

  3. Nice to learn about the kids. Bumsrap, I agree with you on Harper and Machado. We need to sign the players we now have. Seager and Bellinger are going to require some some money to keep them in our system. Will Kershaw stay or go? I would like to see him stay. I think he will if they win the WS. He will get a taste of it and want more.

    1. My preference would be for the Dodgers to contribute to Kershaw’s foundation in exchange of him waiving his opt out. Easy for me to say. But its another story if that winds up increasing his AAV.

  4. Quick Question: Which Washington Nationals player under 30 years old has 1 more top-six MVP finish in his careerthan Bryce Harper?

  5. I get the feeling that Andrew Toles doesn’t read my column. He is trying to make this team. Joc hit the ball well too!

    That was a nice HR by Andrew and Joc hit the ball where it was pitched… just right at someone but he barrelled it up!

      1. I like Toles too. In fact, ask Scott Andes if I didn’t predict big things for him BEFORE his callup!

  6. I like what I”m seeing from Font here. Attack these guys from the start, using the stretch. Could be a good one for us this year!

    1. Bobby – hope the date goes well.
      Hope she doesn’t talk too much, that Brummie accent is hard work….

  7. Might need a quicker hook next time, Lowe has an ugly 40.5 ERA after 6 ER in one third of an inning.

    Grandal 0 for 3 with 3 K’s today and batting .000 for the spring. I believe Barnes is at .000 as well. Farmer and Smith are both outplaying them so far.

    Toles is throwing his hat in the ring for the LF extravaganza.

    Font does throw strikes but will give up a long ball now and then.

  8. Hawkeye

    You know I respect everything you say, but I just think Kemp could be that fifth guy that we really needed in the line up, last year.

    And this will take a little pressure off Puig too, because he is still learning to hit.

    Although I was really proud of the way that Puig handled clutch situations last year.

    I thought he make a big step last year, in that way

    Remember the HR Puig hit in Miami to win that game, and the big smile he had on his face, when his teammates run out there, to greet him?

    And you know I like Toles a lot too, and if he isn’t starting at the major league level, I rather he was down in AAA playing everyday, then sitting on the bench

    1. There was a game maybe even before the Miami HR where Puig got a clutch hit, It might have been off of Greinke. You could just feel the proverbial monkey off his back being lifted. Ideally, I would prefer Puig 5th and Toles 6th, but I’ve got a feeling Toles is going to get the treatment of someone with options. If Kemp is the guy I hope we can get the guy who hit well the 2nd half of 2014. Kike has the best numbers off of Bumgarner, he has to start somewhere opening day.

  9. For whom the bell Toles!!! Damned if that doesn’t sound like something out of M.T.’s book of dry humor!!!
    Seriously, I’m happy for the kid and I still think of his speed in the lineup… Oh well, the Kemp camp is strong and it will probably come down to the wire in regards to the OF congestion…

  10. Baseball America’s TOP 30 Prospects are somewhat different:

    1. Buehler
    2. Verdugo
    3. Ruiz
    4. White
    5. Alvarez
    6. Diaz
    7. Kendall
    8. Peters
    9. Smith
    10. Dennis Santana
    11. May
    12. Rios
    13. Lux
    14. Sheffield
    15. Oaks (Gone)
    16. Cristian Santana
    17. Heredia
    18. Wong
    19. Cooper
    20. Ferguson
    21. Beaty
    22. Abdullah
    23. Farmer
    24. Marinan
    25. Sborz
    26. Raley
    27. LoCastro
    28. Robinson
    29. Jackson
    30. Sierra

  11. By the way, did anyone see Chargois’ inning today? He had some nice movement on his pitches. There is no radar gun reading, but he was definitely throwing hard.

    1. It looked to me that he was in the high 90’s and his stuff was pretty filthy! Can he keep it up?

      2018 version of Brandon Morrow?

  12. Toles looked good yesterday and still has time to outplay everyone.
    Verdugo will improve as he gets more playing time but will go back to OKC before returning to the Dodgers.
    At this time it looks like a race between Thompson and Pederson for the bench spot.

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