Dodger Chatter: Romer Cuadrado – MLB Pipeline Dodger Prospect No. 27

MLB Pipeline recently came out with its updated Top 30 rankings for Dodger minor league prospects. One addition to the list, albeit at No. 27, is outfielder Romer Cuadrado who played the full 2017 season as a 19-year-old  with the Ogden Raptors of the rookie level Pioneer League. Actually, he turned 20 on September 12 just five days before the Ogden squad won their first league championship. MLB Pipeline is not the only prospect list that includes Cuadrado. John Sickels, whose assessments I always appreciate, ranked the 6’4”/185-pound outfielder No. 21 on his prospect list. His caveat was that because the youngster is so far from the majors it is difficult to get an accurate feeling.

Cuadrado was signed as an international free agent by the Dodgers during the 2014-15 signing period. At that time the right-handed hitter was not ranked among the top 30 international  prospects by Baseball America or, but was cited as a noteworthy prospect by Ben Badler of Baseball America who described Cuadrado as, “… a raw project in the field and at the plate, where he’s still smoothing out his swing and learning to recognize pitches.”

From  Maturin, Venezuela, he played his first year with the Domincan Summer League Dodgers and his second season with the Arizona League Dodgers. He experienced some difficulty at the plate hitting .222 and .236 respectively over the two seasons.

So how did those including Cuadrado on their prospect lists get even a tentative feeling he could rank on a Top 30 list in the loaded Dodger minor league organization? His 2017 statistics spoke for themselves.

The Pioneer League is known as a notorious hitter’s league as evidenced by the team earned run averages in the league. The Grand Falls Voyageurs lead the league with an aggregate ERA of 4.73, the Raptors came in at 5.46 and the Idaho Falls Chukkars topped it off with a team ERA of 6.91.

Having said that, the hitter still has to hit the ball and Cuadrado did so with the best of them. He posted a triple slash of .335/.364/.411 along with nine home runs and 60 runs batted in. His RBI total ranked second in the league as did his 87 hits. One area in which he would hope to improve in 2018 is to cut down on his strikeout total.

Cuadrado was a driving force in the Raptors surge to a league championship in 2017 and could have been described as the team’s, “Mr. Clutch”.

After a five-for-five night at the plate to lead the Raptors to the Southern Division Championship, Cuardaro’s manager, Mark Kertenian, lauded the young team leader. “He plays hard every single night on all sides of the baseball,” said Kertenian, lauding his player’s ability to contribute defensively and on the base paths as well. “He’s very young, but he’s been steady. He’s been our steadiest hitter all year. Behind all of that is a young man who’s 19 years old, turns 20 tomorrow, from Venezuela, which is a challenging place to be in our world right now. He shows grit and determination and true character every single day.”

Raptors 2017 assistant hitting coach, Justin Viele,  spoke highly of Cuadrado’s  approach at the plate: “Romer has a knack of driving the fastball to every part of the field. He can hit an inside fastball to right center field for a home run.”

Romer Cuadrado will no doubt begin the 2017 season with the Great Lakes Loons of the Class-A Midwest League and continue his climb on the prospect  lists and upward through the Dodgers farm system.

Photo credit: Tomo San | LA Dodgers

This article has 56 Comments

  1. Welcome DC. This is now the home of AC/DC and we have the best minor league coverage of any blog with Always Compete and Dodger Chatter… and maybe I can get a little credit too. However, they are the Masters of the Minor Leagues, I am really looking forward to all of the knowledge AC and DC can impart!

    PLUS, IT’S LESS WORK FOR ME…. but don’t tell them – they will want a raise and they already make millions…

    1. So the half-million you’re paying me to contribute is chicken feed? I need to speak with my lawyer.
      By the way, welcome, DC. Great to have your insight on board.

  2. Still early in spring training and anything can still happen but as of 3/2/18, this is what I see.
    Verdugo leads all players with 6 hits, wondering if he continues to hit and Kemp doesn’t would FAZ make that 42M decision?
    Toles is starting to find his game, but most likely will start the season at OKC.
    Thompson so far is playing himself on the team.
    Pederson so far is playing himself back to OKC or another team.
    D J Peters in his first spring with the Dodgers is making an impression.

    1. Verdugo is not flashy, but at the end of the day, he usually gets his hits and he is solid in the field. He doesn’t make your eyes pop out. He’s not smooth like Corey and not spectacular like Cody, but he gets his. If he were to play regularly, I think he could be the ROY. Now, that’s blocked!

      I would not put it outside the realm of possibility that 2 or 3 of the outfioelders could be moved for a starter… now or later.

  3. Back to the Cuadrado Show. Frankly, I had never thought he was a Top 30 Prospect but several analysts have and I can see why. Physically, he fits the profile and as he matures he could easily add 30 pounds of muscle. I think this year is an important one in his development. I will make it a point to see him play this year. The Padres Mid-West League A Affiliate is in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. The Reds is in Dayton, Ohio and the Cubs is in South Bend, Indiana. Those Parks are all less than a 2 hours from Indy. I plan to watch the Loons several times this year at those venues.

  4. I was somewhat surprised to see Romer Cuadrado and Donovan Casey make the Top 30, but more so because Omar Estevez and Carlos Rincon were left off. Rincon was overwhelmed at Great Lakes but as a 19 year old. Omar Estevez played fairly well for a 19 year old at High A. I am not sure what he did to fall off the list. I would have preferred to see how Romer plays this year at Great Lakes before putting him on this list. He was so-so with the Dodgers AZL League in 2016 and in the DSL in 2015. He had a breakout year at Ogden, but so did Mitchell Hansen in his first go in Ogden in 2016, before crash and burning in Great Lakes to start last year. He went back to Ogden and did very well . The entire Ogden team hit well, especially the OF of Hansen, Casey, Cuadrado. The Pioneer League is a hitters league especially in Ogden.
    I am looking forward to seeing the three play together this year in Great Lakes.

  5. Cuadrado won’t come to Loons with the same hype as Rincon and Heredia so perhaps will adept a bit better to the Midwest league in his first attempt. He tends to stay more low key in his at bats. He hit well all season with the Raptors but just better and better each month. (.354 August, .429 September) The 2018 season will be his first long season so that will present another challenge for him.

    Rincon and Heredia will both be 20 to start the season with the Loons and are still loaded with talent and should grow exponentially in 2018. When Rincon connects it sounds like a canon shot. Three 20-year-old outfielders for the Loons should be exciting to watch.

  6. AC/DC,

    What’s your guess on the infield and C positions at Great Lakes? What about Starting Pitching?

    Will Kendall start at GL? Will Lux repeat at GL or go to RC? Will Brito go to GL?

    Will Morgan Cooper start at GL?

    Will Cristian Santana start at RC?

    Will Conner Wong start at RC and play 2B?

    I have lots of questions….

    1. Will have to give it some thought. A few years ago it was quite predictable as players moved in a lockstep way through the system. FAZ has blown that all apart so it is not nearly as predicable now as it is not unusual for minor leaguers to skip a level and drop back if need be rather than wait in line to move up.

    2. I just got back from my grandson’s track meet. These are all day affairs, very much unlike baseball games.
      I agree with DC that it is early and a lot can change. I will need to think about the starting lineups for Great Lakes, but the individual players I can give a shot to their placement.
      I think Jeren Kendall starts at GL to try and build some confidence in his offense. He needs to concentrate on making solid contact. With his speed he does not need a big swing. He should be able to get doubles and triples and OWN CF. However, with the number of OFs due in GL this year, and because I think he is a candidate to be pushed, I would not be surprised to see him go to RC to start.
      Gavin Lux will be in RC. He hit well in the 2nd half at GL, and he is another that needs to be pushed. Cal League is a very hitter friendly league, and it will be a big test for Gavin. The big question will be is this the year that Gavin starts a transition to 2B.
      Brito will probably start in GL. He should begin his first full season this year. If he struggles or seems overwhelmed, he could go back to Ogden in June.
      Morgan Cooper was held back last year because he pitched a lot of innings at Texas, and he had 2014 TJ surgery. I will have to work down the starters from OKC to Tulsa to RC, but it is possible that due to his age, and that FAZ may want to keep Cooper in a warmer environment, I can see Cooper going directly to RC to see what he can do. Again, depending on the number of pitchers at the higher levels, it is possible that Cooper will start out in Extended Spring Training to get some innings in, and then go to RC. Some pitchers will be in extended ST, and I think Cooper would be a good candidate. I am very excited to see Cooper this year, so I do hope he gets to RC so I can see him in NorCal. He is one I look forward to following.
      I think the easiest to predict will be Cristian Santana to RC. He has nothing to prove at GL and 22 is a good age for a prospect in the California League. This should be a big year for Cristian. I do predict that he will do well at RC, and get a promotion to Tulsa during the season.
      I do think Connor Wong starts at RC, but as a catcher. Like pitchers, catchers will be placed depending as to what happens with the 25 man. It is very tough for any player to “skip” AA, but maybe Will Smith will be the exception and begin the year at OKC. Defensively, he would be fine. It is entirely plausible that he could be the best defensive catcher in the PCL. There is no doubt that he will have the best catcher’s arm. The pitching at AAA can be very good, so it may be asking a lot for Smith to bypass Tulsa offensively. I do not consider three PA with 2 HBP and 1 K to have played at AA. But Smith and Ruiz both need to play and be pushed.
      I have started my projections for OKC, Tulsa, RC, and GL but they change by the hour. With the number of youngsters having good springs it should be a good set of rosters with a lot of movement up and down.


    Tom Koehler has a mild anterior capsule strain. Ken Gurnick of reports that Koehler was seen in a sling, later noting that the righty will be out for “an extended time”, which could be weeks or months.

    Koehler is going to miss a lot of the season… if not all of it!

    Next Man Up!

  8. Verdugo and Toles are not going away. If they keep playing like they are now, there will be some tough decisions coming up. Joc needs to be traded now to give Toles and Verdugo more at bats. It looks to me like Joc is dropping his left shoulder and hitting pop ups. At best Joc is a platoon player anyway. Sorry Bum. Peters is making a name for himself. I hope Koehler is not hurt. We have great depth and we may need it.

    1. Joc is certainly getting off to a slow start this spring. I agree he has hit a few popups and his swing looked loopy when he hit those.

  9. With Koehler going down, I’d like to see what Chagrois can do a bit more now. He looked good last time out. I’d also think this yelps Yimi as well.

    Joc looks like the Joc we’ve seen from from the 2nd half of his rookie year to the beginning of the World Series. It’s clear he needs to stay in OKC for a while, or go somewhere like Tampa where nobody cares, and he can go about his business fixing himself.

    1. I haven’t given up on Joc yet but I agree, he looks bad.
      Joc and Grandal are being overshadowed by Kemp, Verdugo, and Toles for the former and Farmer and Smith for the latter.

  10. Mark,
    Give me a holler if you want a travel buddy when you go to see the Loons play. Really enjoy minor league baseball and often go with my wife who loves to go to games as well.

  11. Welcome AC & DC… Twice the pleasure and knowledge to boot…
    Heard a great story on K. Bear yesterday from David Vassegh… The kid wanted to immerse himself in the English language (damn smart idea), so he moved in with Travis Barbary (LAD roving C instructor) in South Carolina. Also trained at Clemson with Travis. Barbary has said that many have compared him to a young Yadier Molina!!! Yikes…

    1. Kay Bear is going to be a special player. In the past 10 years, I have only said that about 3 other Dodgers and their first names all start with C: Clayton, Corey and Cody. Maybe he should change his name to Cay Bear!

        1. I said 10 years! That was more than 10 years. The Statute of Limitations is up.

          I’m trying to forget about him.


    2. I like comparisons. But I think Will Smith is more comparable to Yadi Molina because of his arm and release. Keibert reminds me of a young Manny Sanguillen more than a Yadi Molina. Either way, the Dodgers are very fortunate to have both catchers, and if either live up to the hype of a Molina or Sanguillen comparison, the future for catching is outstanding.

  12. One thing I have noticed about Toles, he seems to rise to the occasion, when runners are in scoring position.

    He lost of RBI yesterday, because that shortstop got his glove on the ball, but he has been pretty good, when runners are in scoring position, since he joined the team.

    Verdugo has always looked like a hitter to me, and that is why I was hoping he would get a chance, when Granderson didn’t work out, if Ethier was not going to get a chance.

    All of our young players have made their mark, with the chances they are getting, with everyone else, going down sick.

  13. I think AC might know who would be the best guy to look at next, since Koehler is out for a while.

    Because he was the only one talking about Morrow, even before spring training ever began, last year.

    Bobby might be right about Chargois, since he is suppose to have really good stuff, because really good stuff, almost always plays, in the set up role.

  14. Refresh my memory: If Alex Wood pitches like that, why do the Dodgers need a Number Two?

  15. The only way Matt Kemp isn’t the Starting LF’er is if he is injured or in jail.

  16. The only way Matt Kemp IS the Dodgers RF’er is if BOTH Yasiel Puig and Alex Verdugo are either hurt, traded, or playing in OKC.

    I’m sure you meant LF’er. Even the best of us err on occasion. By the way, Kemp hit one out a little while ago.

    1. I must be a dyslecic , agnostic, insomniac – I stay up late at night and wonder if there really is a DOG.

      Good catch. 😉

    1. I mean Tolesy done fucked up again…In no way would I ever advocate actually whip-lashing anyone.

  17. Mark, I don’t suffer from all that, just “dementia”. It took a minute, but I finally figured out what that DOG referred to. There’s still some hope for me.

    1. Bobby

      That is what I was thinking too.

      I love Chase, but it is a shame he keeps a young player like Peters, off the roster.

      I really don’t think the team needs him as badly this year, but I trust AC’s judgement on this, and most anything.

      Forsythe better hit righties better this year, or Taylor might be moved to second sooner.

      And Toles becomes the Taylor of this year, just like Dionysis predicted, a few days ago.

  18. Welcome to Dodger Chatter and the dawning of AC/DC in Blue. I will probably now have too much info on the minor league side if there is such a thing.

    On the new links side I enjoy Dodgers, Yesterday and Today, interesting takes and perspectives.

    It’s still way too early to predict but there are multiple replacements for Koehler on hand. Verdugo seems like a future fixture in the OF. Muncy and Peter will contribute at some point this season, maybe Utley becomes more like a coach. Joc needs to make some adjustments or he will be in AAA to start the season. The young catchers are lights out this spring. Font is looking better than either Stripling or Stewart so far and Buehler has yet to pitch. Wilmer is the main beneficiary of Koehler’s injury if he keeps it up.

  19. I mentioned early on that Chargois had potentially the best arm of any in the pen other than Kenley. He just has not been able to stay healthy. Many of the pundits were wondering why the Twins released him…trying to sneak him through or is he still hurt from last year? Right now J.T. looks great, and it will be very hard to leave him off the 25 man, especially with Koehler now out. He and Font are making big noise to be on the 25 man. Liberatore has looked very much like his 2016 personna. Justin De Fratus has looked good, but there just may not be enough room him. Those four guys and Yimi, were not around last season, and have a legit shot this year. Fields and Cingrani have not yet even pitched. The bullpen depth should keep the OKC shuttle going quite a bit this year.

  20. If Jake Peter keeps this up, I do not think Chase would allow the Dodgers to send Jake down. I think he would fall on his sword. He’s that kind of guy.

    There are so many options in the pen and Doc and the Dodgers are going to bring everyone along slowly. With Koehler going down, I would think Brock Stewart should work solely out of the pen.

    Farmer is looking a lot better – he’s so much less stiff! I have been impressed with Estevez, Peters, Toles and Verdugo… to say nothing of Ruiz who is a star in waiting.

    Beaty, Puig, Rios and Kemp all look amazing. Muncy is capable. Joc and Grandal look lost and Barnes must be lost! Ruiz and Farmer might have to seize the day!

    On the pitching side, Chargois and Coping have looked good as has Yimi in his 1 inning, but the talk of camp is L-R Venditte. DeFractus has great stuff and I think Font makes the team.
    – Tom Kohler who?

    What an embarrassment of riches!

  21. By the way, you all are amazing. You know your stuff and you speak intelligently. I have never enjoyed a blog as much as now. We all have different ideas, takes and all that. Keep up the good work everyone!

    Thank you!

  22. I normally do not get excited about ST numbers, good or bad. However the one time I do is when there is actual competition for a position. This year there are two; LF and C. Unfortunately for catcher, Barnes has been hurt, but Grandal has certainly not helped his cause. Both Smith and Ruiz have filled in nicely. If Barnes gets healthy, I see no reason why he will not hit. He always has. Grandal needs to play as if this is his walk year…Oh that’s right, it is.
    Now LF is another issue. Kemp, Verdugo, and Toles have all risen to the occasion and have accepted the competition challenge and have played well. Joc is playing himself off the team at this point. There is still 3+ weeks to go, so there is time for him to embrace the challenge. But his two popups with the bases loaded in Friday’s game was not inspiring or convincing. Samardzija goes tomorrow, so maybe he gets another shot.

  23. I was at Friday’s game at CBR and Joc had two chances to seize the moment with two bases loaded at-bats and failed both times. Verdugo, Toles and Kemp have all outplayed him to this point and he might be OKC bound or traded for some pitching. Jake Peter looks great.

    Vindette pitched Friday and while he got out of the inning without any hits or BB’s, he doesn’t strike me as someone who will stick when camp breaks. I watched C.C. Lee pitch a bullpen (being coached by Hershisher, Hough and Honeycutt) and his stuff looked electric. Not saying he’ll make the team, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s not on the OKC to LA express train this year.

    Rios passes the “eye test” and looks big. Got two hits, but his defense at 1B looked painful. His lateral movement was pretty bad and he looks stiff. Estevez has a major league glove right now.

    1. I agree with you about Estevez. He does have a ML glove, but a 2B arm. He played well at RC as a 19 year old, and I think he might be able to hit as a 2B. Not a Dozier or Lemahieu, but a competent hitter. He will probably go back to RC and either he or Lux are going to need to make a switch to 2B.
      I have never seen C.C. Lee pitch except for ST Game 1 on TV, and he did not look great that game. I have heard he has good stuff, so I am glad to hear someone who has actually watched him live give a good impression.
      I think Rios is this year’s mid-season Willie Calhoun. I hope he tears up OKC to drive up his value. He can flat out rake, and if the NL had a DH, he would not be going anywhere.

  24. Man, I love Joc, and have always waited for him to “break out”, but he is so damn inconsistent, it just drives you nuts. The years are ticking by for Young Joc, he aint so young anymore on this team, and he’s got alot of guys pushing him. He needs Turner Ward RIGHT NOW, or I don’t think he’s gonna make it. If Puig can do it, Joc can.

  25. I had a chance to talk with Vindette when we played Texas last week I was really impressed with what a gracious and polite young man he is. He signed autographs for everyone lined up along the 3rd base line and there were a bunch of us. I also saw him pitch twice and I don’t see how he is going to consistantly get major leaguers out with his stuff. Does anyone know which pitches he has. His best fastball was 86mph and most of his pitches were in the 70s. He throws sidearm a lot and must have some good break on his curve/slider because he had several strikeouts. He is the kind of pitcher that the on deck batter can’t wait to hit against, and curses on the way back to the dougout after striking out. It would be a huge surprise to me if he makes the team.

  26. Chris Taylor went 0-2 yesterday. If you were not watching you would say he had a bad game. He did not. He walked the first time and was thrown out stealing. The next two at bats he hit the ball on the button, but right at fielders.

    When is Hill or Ryu going to pitch? I do not know how they are going to get the starters stretched out with so many starters competing for starting positions. Maybe they are pitching minor league games.

    Peters and Ruiz are gong back to the minors this year, but they are impressing management. Verdugo is major league ready. But where does he play? I can see Toles in CF and Taylor at second. Forsythe needs to pick it up a notch. So does Joc. I can see both being traded before the season starts.

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