Los Angeles Dodgers: Re-Ranking Dodgers' Top 10 Prospects Post-Draft
Los Angeles now has a new ownership group in place that is long on money—with financial backing from Guggenheim Partners CEO Mark Walter—and veteran MLB know-how in the form of new team president Stan Kasten, who is best known as one of the architects of the Atlanta Braves dynasty during the 1990s.
Armed with financial security and baseball knowledge, assistant general manager Logan White was empowered to approach the draft without feeling hamstrung. The results showed, as he put a priority on adding high-ceiling position players, the biggest shortcoming in a system that was ranked as low as 26th by Baseball America prior to the draft.
Now that the rebuilding process has officially begun, it’s time to reassess the Dodgers’ top 10 prospects after last week’s amateur draft.
10. Scott Van Slyke, of
Scott Van Slyke, son of former major league star Andy Van Slyke, isn't what many would consider a high-ceiling prospect. However, he is perhaps the most major league-ready hitting prospect that the Dodgers have in their farm system, which may say more about the lack of talented position players in their system than Van Slyke himself.
He's a big kid with a rocket arm in left field and a lot of pop in his bat. The Dodgers relied on Van Slyke and Jerry Sands to platoon in left field while Juan Riveira was on the disabled list, but he was sent back down yesterday with Riveira healthy again.
Look for Van Slyke to make his way back to the major league club at some point later in the season, but Dodgers fans shouldn't expect too much out of him in the long-term.
9. Jerry Sands, Left Field
It's may seem like it's a stretch for Jerry Sands to still be considered a prospect, but the Dodgers still have high hopes for the young outfielder.
Sands hasn't caught on as quickly as the organization would have hoped—they were hoping he would play well enough this spring to win the left field job—but he only has a shade over 200 major league at-bats under his belt, so it's far to soon to give up on the 24-year old. With his size, the Dodgers could see him as a long-term replacement for first baseman James Loney.
8. Jesmuel Valentin, SS
Jesmuel Valentin has a lot in common with Corey Seager, as they are both shortstops and projected to switch to other infield positions at the major league level (second base in the case of Valentin). Like Seager, he also has major league pedigree, as the son of former major leaguer Jose Valentin.
Jesmuel, along with No. 1 overall pick Carlos Correa, starred in the PRBA. Though he has signed a letter of intent to play baseball at LSU next season, the high selection in the draft will likely guarantee that he doesn't make it to the college ranks.
Look for the Dodgers' 2015 starting lineup to include an infield of Valentin, Gordon and Seager.
7. Ross Stripling, RHP
Ross Stripling could be a diamond in the rough for the Dodgers. Selected in the fifth round of this year's amateur draft, he's been one of the best pitchers in college baseball over the past two years, leading the NCAA in wins in 2011 and throwing a no-hitter last month.
As a college senior, Stripling has the maturity and pure stuff to advance through the minors at a rapid pace. He's a little raw since he hasn't been pitching for that long. But his path to the majors could be very similar to that of Chad Billingsley, another Dodgers right-hander with great stuff who also started his major league career as a reliever before transitioning into the rotation. Los Angeles fans can only hope that he ends up with more consistent results when that day comes.
6. Alfredo Silviero, of
Jerry Sands' loss could be Alfredo Silviero's gain in the future of the Dodgers outfield. The 25-year old, multi-tooled outfielder was signed out of the Dominican Republic when he was 16 and has been slowly working through the minor leagues ever since.
He caught the attention of many when he homered in the 2011 Futures Game, and he looked great last season at Double-A Chattanooga. He's still a little raw on the basepaths, but has the speed and power to be a regular 20/20 player.
If his progress continues, Silviero could get a shot at being the Dodgers' starting left fielder in 2013.
5. Corey Seager, SS
The Dodgers may have gotten their third baseman of the future in Corey Seager, the 21st-rated prospect in this year's draft as rated by ESPN.com's Keith Law
Corey is the younger brother of Seattle Mariners rookie infielder Kyle, who's unexpectedly outplayed fellow youngster Dustin Ackley as the best Mariners rookie infielder.
Corey played shortstop in high school, but at an already strong 6'3" and 190 pounds, he projects to be a third baseman at the major league level and should emerge as a nice complement to short stop Dee Gordon on the left side of the infield.
As a power-hitting infielder with superb defensive skills, Seager could turn out to be the best third base prospect the team has selected since Adrian Beltre in 1994.
4. Nate Eovaldi, RHP
Starting pitcher Nate Eovaldi, like fellow starter Rubby De La Rosa, actually got his first cup of tea with the Dodgers in 2011, pitching 34.2 innings for Los Angeles. Showing that he still needed to work on his control, he started the year at Triple-A.
With the recent shoulder injury that put Ted Lilly on the disabled list, Eovaldi has been called upon to hold the fort down while the Dodgers fight to maintain the best record in the major leagues. He too could find himself with a permanent rotation spot as soon as next year.
3. Allen Webster, RHP
Allen Webster is another in a long line of quality starting pitching prospects in the Dodgers pipeline. Webster still has control issues and has looked terrible the last two years at Double-A Chattanooga, where he currently has a 1-6 record while sporting an earned run average of 5.68 in just over 50 innings pitched.
He's only 22, so the Dodgers are in no rush to get him to the majors, especially with more major league-ready prospects like Eovaldi and De La Rosa already on the horizon. The hopes are that he can get a taste of the majors sometime in 2013 in preparation for being a part of the starting rotation in 2014.
2. Rubby De La Rosa, RHP
Rubby De La Rosa made his major league debut with the Dodgers last season and quickly showed why he is considered perhaps their best current pitching prospect. His rise to stardom has been delayed by Tommy John surgery that is expected to keep him out until at least the All-Star break.
De La Rosa hopes to return around the time of the Midsummer Classic, but expect the Dodgers to be cautious with his recovery. Hopefully, he can still return at some point this season to help the team in long relief before returning to the rotation in 2013.
1. Zach Lee, RHP
Lee is the Dodgers' top pitching prospect and rated as one of the 40 top prospects in all of baseball by Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Doug Mead in his most resent post-draft rankings.
The 20-year-old former first-round pick isn't exactly lighting it up at the Single-A level, but he's striking out more than a batter an inning and has showed improved control.
Look for Lee to spend at least another full season working his way through the Dodgers' minor league system before possibly debuting with the big league club in late 2013 or early 2014.