Stock Up, Stock Down for the Dodgers' Top 10 Prospects for Week 6
Well, the losing streak has finally subsided! We've seen Dee Gordon and Scott Van Slyke both make the jump to the majors this past week and provide their own sparks in a couple big games. Matt Magill is still surviving at the big league level, too. So who's next?
The usual suspects seem to be staying hot for the most part, and some of them (Yasiel Puig, for example) must be dying for a shot at a promotion.
But even with the plethora of injuries to the Dodgers starting lineup and rotation, the front office has elected to use utility guys like Elian Herrera as temporary stopgaps rather than throw off their top prospects' rhythms.
Let's take a look at the movement from last week's stock report and reveal the list for Week 6.
All stats taken from MiLB.com, unless otherwise indicated, and are current as of May 12, 2013.
No. 1: Yasiel Puig
Stats: 24 G, .286 BA, 5 HR, 20 RBI, 5 SB, .888 OPS
Puig had a nice week for RBI, driving in five over his last five games. Other than that, it was a relatively unremarkable week for the guy who destroyed pitchers through spring training and the first few weeks of the regular season.
He hit just over .200, though he did tally one RBI in each game. Puig also went 1-for-3 on stolen base attempts. It's a hard week to judge because we've never seen him put up such pedestrian numbers in his young career.
This may temper the hype surrounding Puig a little bit, which in this writer's opinion, is probably a good thing. I have no doubt that Puig will be a force someday in MLB, but he needs to do his time and perfect his plate discipline (19 strikeouts versus seven walks) first.
No. 2: Zach Lee
Stats: 8 GS, 2.61 ERA, 41.1 IP, 40 H, 16 R, 12 ER, 14 BB, 36 K
The Dodgers' top pitching prospect is starting to put together quite a solid line for himself in Double-A this year. Since we last checked in with the young righty, he has started two more times and amassed numbers that couldn't have been more opposite.
In his start at the beginning of the week, Lee went six innings, giving up just three hits and a walk, and fanning five batters while allowing zero runs. He registered a win in that game but got rocked just five days later when he allowed nine baserunners (five walks) in 3.2 innings.
Lee still managed to strike out six batters in that short stint, but he had his worst control of the season. Looking at his body of work as a whole, Lee has been very impressive and might still be on track for a call-up later in the summer.
No. 3: Joc Pederson
Stats: 35 G, .351 BA, 8 HR, 19 RBI, 10 SB, 1.048 OPS
What a huge week for Pederson, who keeps inching his way closer into consideration to bypass Lee and/or Puig at the top of this ranking. Pederson has been the most consistent minor league hitter for the Dodgers this year and shows no signs of slowing.
In his last seven games, Pederson is 17-for-27 with four strikeouts. Granted, he's only racked up two RBI over that time span, but that's not necessarily something he has control over. The point is that Pederson has gotten better as the season has progressed and now has a legitimate shot at a 25-25 or 30-30 season.
Just in the last week, Pederson raised his average 50 points and his OPS 90 points, so you can imagine how hard it was for me to keep him in the No. 3 spot. Check back next week and you may see the slugger moving up the board.
No. 4: Matt Magill
Stats: 4 GS, 2.84 ERA, 19 IP, 13 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 14 BB, 23 K
Magill is still a part of the Dodgers major league roster, filling in for the injured Ted Lilly. Or Chad Billingsley. Or Zack Greinke. You get the point. I'm not sure how much longer Magill will stay at the major league level, but we've seen him post a great start, a mediocre start and an average start thus far.
As far as I'm concerned, Magill has held his own in the big leagues but hasn't quite earned a permanent spot. And once Greinke returns to the rotation, I fully expect Magill to return to the minors to hone his craft a bit more.
With the struggling bullpen, they may move Magill there to see how he fares and to see if he can inject some life into the group, but my money is still on him returning to Albuquerque in the next week-and-a-half or so.
No. 5: Corey Seager
Stats: 29 G, .267 BA, 3 HR, 15 RBI, 5 SB, .743 OPS
His season thus far has been disappointing, but he's still in the early stages of a season at a very young age. For now, I want to see the kid take time to rehab this injury so it doesn't hamper him down the road.
Who knows? This unexpected time off might help him lock in and give him some more time to fix mechanical flaws in his swing that have been contributing to the lackluster numbers.
No. 6: Chris Withrow
Stats: 12 G, 0.71 ERA, 12.2 IP, 11 H, 5 R, 1 ER, 9 BB, 17 K
Very, very slightly "up." Withrow finally allowed his first earned run of the season in his last appearance, allowing a hit and two walks. Despite his stellar stat line, I can't put Withrow any higher than this position for now, because he's still struggling with the free passes.
Withrow clearly has good stuff and is striking out a ton of batters because of it, but unless he cuts down on the walks, he will struggle at the major league level.
With all that said, the Dodgers are in dire need of bullpen help, and Withrow is one of the best they have in the minor leagues right now. He may get a call in the near future, especially if guys like Brandon League continue to struggle.
No. 7: Steve Ames
Stats: 11 G, 0.75 ERA, 12 IP, 15 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K
Ames makes his first appearance—inexplicably—on our list, and debuts in a pretty good spot at No. 7. He's been the de facto closer for Triple-A Albuquerque and has posted a 1-0 record and three saves in the short season thus far.
I'm very impressed with his control and the K-to-BB ratio, but allowing over a hit per inning is worrisome, especially for someone in the closer's role. His future in MLB is likely not as a closer anyway, but it has to at least be on the front office's mind.
Similar to Withrow and Magill, we may see Ames on the short list of promotion candidates if the bullpen continues to struggle or anyone else goes down with an injury. I'm looking forward to seeing how Ames responds to big league hitters after a hot start in the minors.
No. 8: Ross Stripling
Stats: 6 GS, 2.94 ERA, 33.2 IP, 24 H, 11 R, 11 ER, 11 BB, 34 K
It's strange to see someone get bumped down a spot when their stock is up, but that's just my complete oversight on Ames over the past few weeks. A congratulations is in order for the young Stripling, who was recently promoted to Double-A.
Stripling has made one start for Chattanooga, and it was a good one. He went six innings, allowed just five hits, one walk, no runs and struck out eight in getting a win in his Double-A debut.
For the season, Stripling has been one of the best pitchers in the system. His K-to-BB ratio is a beautiful sight, and his sparkling ERA is what has propelled him up the minor league ladder so far. We're still a year away from seeing Stripling in the bigs, but he's been fun to watch.
No. 9: Michael Thomas
Stats: 13 G, 1.15 ERA, 15.2 IP, 11 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 21 K
Welcome another pitcher to the top 10 for the first time, as lefty Michael Thomas makes his debut. Thomas was also promoted to Double-A this week and had a couple solid appearances there to add to his resume.
In Single-A, Thomas had racked up 17 strikeouts in 12.1 innings and posted nine saves in 11 games. The 24-year-old is a bit of a late bloomer (most minor league players his age have already reached Double-A), but this is only his third year since being drafted, and he made major strides in 2012.
It's no surprise, after his year last year, to see Thomas promoted. He could continue to fly through the system and become a deadly left-handed weapon out of the bullpen if he continues to thrive. Look for him to make regular appearances on this list and to continue to climb the rankings.
No. 10: Tyler Ogle
Stats: 33 G, .296 BA, 4 HR, 19 RBI, 2 SB, .876 OPS
Ogle is coming down to earth a little bit after a blazing-hot start at Single-A. The good news is Ogle still hangs on to the list at No. 10 and still has a ridiculous .441 on-base percentage. The bad news is all the other numbers are declining rapidly.
Even if Ogle is an A.J. Ellis-OBP clone, you'd like to see him maintain power numbers as a catcher. Despite the drop in numbers, Ogle has been a good story this year, and I'm excited to see if he can put together a solid season overall.
You can never have enough catching depth, and I'm sure Dodgers fans are like me and wouldn't mind at all if the front office stopped signing old, beat-up veterans to back up Ellis. Unfortunately for Ogle, the recently recalled Tim Federowicz looks like the catcher of the future in Los Angeles.
Just Missed Top 10
We had a couple guys moving up to Double-A this week and an old mainstay of the top 10 (Chris Reed) drop out altogether. That did make room for Steve Ames and Michael Thomas to move in, and we're still keeping an eye on the skyrocketing stocks of Joc Pederson and Ross Stripling.
Here are a few guys who are right on the fringe, and you may be seeing in future rankings:
- Blake Smith, OF (Double-A)
- Yimi Garcia, RHP (Double-A)
- Chris Reed, LHP (Double-A)
- O'Koyea Dickson, 1B (High-A)
Don't forget to tune in next week for the Week 7 edition of Dodgers Stock Up, Stock Down.