Well, folks. It seems I've been wrong this whole season. Not only did I agree with the decision to keep Yasiel Puig in Double-A for so many weeks, citing anything from him being ill-prepared to the plethora of big league outfielders on the roster, but he is making me pay for that train of thought.
Along with most pitchers who dare to throw him a pitch within swinging distance. Though it may be a simple hot streak, methinks the Dodgers have their very own version of 2012's Mike Trout in Anaheim. Puig seems to do no wrong, and for that, we humbly thank him.
It's nice to see a spark back in the lineup and among the crowds at Dodger Stadium, but the Dodgers have still only gone 4-3 with him in the lineup. The bullpen is still shaky and the veterans continue to drop like flies to the disabled list.
This means we could be hearing some more familiar names getting the call to the major league level. For now, let's just compare the 10 best prospects (excluding the new draftees for lack of minor league experience, and Matt Magill, who I think has run his course as a "prospect") in the Dodgers system and rank them based on last week's article.
Season stats: 40 G, .313 BA, 8 HR, 37 RBI, 13 SB, .982 OPS
Last week's stats: N/A
As mentioned in the intro, Puig made the jump from Double-A after Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp hit the disabled list with hamstring injuries (Andre Ethier also has sat out recently after fouling a pitch off his ankle). And let's just say the Cuban sensation hasn't missed a beat.
In his first seven MLB games, Puig has made some dazzling defensive plays, showed off a right arm that earned him the Twitter nickname "the Cuban Cannon," and hit four homers and drove in 10 runs. All while hitting well over .400 from the leadoff spot.
Season stats: 13 G, 12 GS, 2.62 ERA, 65.1 IP, 58 H, 23 R, 19 ER, 18 BB, 57 K
Last week's stats: 1 GS, 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K
I was in the camp of Dodger fans who thought Lee might get the call-up instead of Magill yesterday to face the Braves in place of the now-disabled Ted Lilly. Instead, it was Magill. And he got shelled...again. At the very least, this strengthened the case for the Dodgers to look long and hard at bringing up their top pitching prospect for a big league start soon.
Lee has maintained his stellar numbers for a solid third of a season at Double-A now, and seems to be really locked in. In his last start, he had a quality start, walked nobody, and scattered five hits over seven. The most promising statistic up there is his K:BB ratio, which means he's really improved his control. That should benefit him when he gets that inevitable call later this season.
Season stats: 60 G, .308, 8 HR, 24 RBI, 18 SB, .894 OPS
Last week's stats: 5 G, .350, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 1 SB, .917 OPS
It was nice to see Pederson bounce back from a rough week previously to hit .350 in his most recent stretch of games. But even while he was getting on base and doing some damage on the base paths over the last five games, he really isn't playing like the run-producer that we were seeing early in the year.
Granted, he doesn't have Puig getting on base around him anymore, but this is still a big test for Pederson to prove that he can be "the man" in Chattanooga. The Dodgers have high hopes for this sweet-swinging, toolsy player, but until he gives them a little more reason to promote him, Pederson will probably stick in Double-A.
Season stats: 36 G, .282 BA, 4 HR, 22 RBI, 7 SB, .800 OPS
Last week's stats: 6 G, .391 BA, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 2 SB, 1.242 OPS
Not only does Seager get to jump into Magill's old spot, but he may have earned it anyway. Seager had a monster week, hitting nearly .400 and driving in seven runs in just six games. In four of the five games he registered hits in last week, Seager had at least two hits.
After a bit of time on the DL, Seager not only seems healthy, but he may also have corrected whatever was wrong with his swing when he was struggling earlier in the year. And the sooner he catches fire, the better. With so much turmoil at third base in the big leagues, it would be nice to see this kid climb the ladder quickly.
Season stats: 11 G, 10 GS, 58 IP, 57 H, 22 R, 21 ER, 15 BB, 61 K
Last week's stats: 1 GS, 4 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
Stripling's stock took a small hit this week as he ran into his first rough patch in five appearances since being promoted to Double-A. He's been rock solid for Chattanooga after dominating Single-A for weeks, but finally surrendered a few runs in a no-decision last week.
This was the first time Stripling has pitched less than 5.2 innings in a start in Double-A and allowed more than two earned runs. We'll have to keep an eye on him for next week to see how he responds to a rough outing. Stripling still jumps a spot because it wasn't that bad of a start, and Magill is now off the list.
Season stats: 22 G, 1.93 ERA, 23.1 IP, 23 H, 10 R, 5 ER, 12 BB, 30 K
Last week's stats: 2 G, 0.00 ERA, 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K
Withrow didn't see much action last week, but he was lights out in the two innings he did get to pitch. You have to think with the continued struggle of guys like Ronald Belisario in the major league bullpen, that this young right hander might get a shot here soon.
For now though, Withrow has been downright dominant in Albuquerque. The last time he allowed an earned run was on May 19th, and he's only walked one batter in his last 7.2 innings. As the season progresses, Withrow continues to make his case for a big league bullpen spot.
Season stats: 20 G, 1 GS, 0.99 ERA, 9 SV, 27.1 IP, 20 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 9 BB, 32 K
Last week's stats: 3 G, 0.00 ERA, 0 SV, 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K
Though Thomas didn't allow a single run or walk a single batter over his last week of work, I'm listing him as "even" because he came into a situational position in his last appearance and failed to record the out. But overall, he's been ridiculously good, especially since being promoted to Double-A.
Thomas, a 24-year-old lefty, has an ERA of 0.60 for Chattanooga in nine games, though he hasn't been put in a save situation just yet. His control has been mostly impeccable, but Thomas is clearly having a little more of an issue keeping men off base in Double-A, even if less are coming around to score (six of his nine walks have come since being promoted).
Season stats: 3 GS, 0.77 ERA, 11.2 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 13 K
Last week's stats: 1 GS, 0.00 ERA, 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K
The 16-year-old southpaw continues to make waves early on, earning his first career professional win last week in a dominant five-inning performance. Though I'm sure the Dodgers will be very careful with such a young arm (both in exposing him to the wrong competition and his pitch count), this will be fun to watch while it lasts.
Regardless of how long Urias stays in Single-A, the Dodgers seem to have landed a gem based on early returns. The skinny, lanky kid has a smooth delivery and can get the ball into hitters in a hurry. His repertoire is very advanced for someone his age, and we can only hope he just gets better with more experience.
Season stats: 42 G, .342 BA, 7 HR, 37 RBI, .973 OPS
Last week's stats: N/A
Mount's stock hasn't budged...and neither has he. He was placed on the seven-day DL recently and didn't see any game action in the last week. So, the numbers still stand, and Mount is still a career minor leaguer (to this point) who can put on a show at batting practice. This year, it's just finally translating to the actual game.
Season stats: 13 G, 11 GS, 4.13 ERA, 65.1 IP, 65 H, 34 R, 30 ER, 20 BB, 45 K
Last week's stats: 2 G, 1 GS, 4.50 ERA, 7.1 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 9 K
I know those numbers aren't staggering, but you have to take into account how atrocious Reed was to start the year. After debuting at No. 4 on this list, the highly-touted lefty starter just went straight downhill for the first six or so weeks of the season. Since, he's been slowly, steadily, climbing his way back.
With a triumphant return to the top 10, let's take a look at how he fared last week. Reed did have a relief appearance, in which he gave up a solo homer in one inning of work. But what was most impressive was his 6.1 inning, six-hit, one-run, zero-walk, eight-strikeout gem of a start right after that. In Reed's last three starts, he's allowed one run, two walks, and struck out 15 (over about 18 innings).
It was another good week for Dodgers prospects, as we saw the team's No. 1 guy get his shot in the big leagues—and definitely make the most of it. As Puig tears up the minors, it was nice to see Lee, Pederson and Seager have big weeks down on the farm.
Also, welcoming back Reed to the top 10 and seeing Urias get his first professional win is special, and gives hope to the future of left-handed starting pitchers for this organization (you know, besides that one Kershaw guy).
All in all, it's been a solid week. The big league team is hoping to take Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu to a three-game sweep over the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks, and we're anticipating another call-up soon.
Whether that be Lee to make a spot start or someone like Withrow to fill a bullpen slot, the mixing and matching is going to begin coming faster given the amount of injuries the team has suffered. Here are a few guys who may be on this list next week:
Check in next week for another edition of Dodgers Stock Up, Stock Down.