The Los Angeles Dodgers head into spring training with a chance to see several of their prospects earn big league roster spots. While we won’t see much of their best minor league talent because they are still at least a year away from being ready to make an impact at the major league level, a few notable names will be in big league camp.
According to MLB.com’s prospect watch, Yasiel Puig is the Dodgers' top prospect. And as the only one of their top six prospects on the 40-man roster, he is the main attraction for prospect hounds this March.
Puig is an outfielder with a high upside, but his professional career has been so short that no one really knows what to expect at this point. He was impressive last season in High-A Rancho Cucamonga, but he only played 14 games.
However, he’s unlikely to get a real shot at the big league team because of the Dodgers’ backlog in the outfield. With the three slots all but guaranteed to Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, Puig isn't going to have an opportunity to prove himself.
That being said, his appearance at spring training will be quite exciting. No one has seen him play against elite competition, so his performance against big league pitching will be a big deal. If he impresses, it’s a great sign for the Dodgers.
Tim Federowicz is the Dodger prospect most likely to make the big league club. He’s not an impact player at this point, but he’s expected to be the backup catcher on Opening Day.
According to fangraphs.com’s Marc Hulet, Federowicz is a “defensive whiz” who will likely struggle to hit, but if he can develop into a passable hitter, he will be worth watching. For that reason—and obviously that he will probably be on the big league team right away—he is an intriguing member of the Dodgers' spring training roster.
Chris Withrow is a hard thrower who has struggled with his control and in his attempts to develop as a pitcher. However, the Dodgers believe he can be a high-value reliever, so he’ll be worth watching to see how his development progresses. If he impresses, he could go to Triple-A and be available for a call-up soon.
Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com rates Matt Magill as the Dodgers’ seventh-best prospect, and he is the final rookie member of the Dodgers’ 40-man roster who is in the least bit intriguing right now.
While he won’t make the big league team, he is worth keeping an eye on for the future. He isn't particularly close to the major leagues, but if he performs well, it’s a good sign.
Paco Rodriguez is noteworthy primarily because he was the first member of the 2012 draft class to make the big leagues. He is a left-handed reliever who is uninspiring, but might be on the big league roster at the start of the season.
The Dodgers lack high-upside, close-to-the-majors talent, so in the end, it is worth keeping an eye on the bullpen prospects because they’re the most likely to be relevant.