Stock Up, Stock Down for Dodgers Top 10 Prospects for Week 17
The Dodgers continue to roll in the second half, compiling a 9-1 record through the first 10 games and extending their lead in the NL West to 2.5 games over the Arizona Diamondbacks. After this list's most famous alumnus, Yasiel Puig, hit a monster walk-off to cap a series win over the Reds, the Dodgers look unstoppable.
For current members of this list, that's bad news if they were hoping to get a call up in 2013. While some of the players here may still get a look, there aren't many gaps to fill on the big league roster. But with contracts expiring at second and third base, not to mention platoon jobs to be won next year, there's still reason to play hard through September.
Jose Dominguez is on the 15-day DL right now, which opened a bullpen spot for Carlos Marmol. But Marmol has been shaky in his first few appearances for the Dodgers, so we might see Dominguez right back up in the bullpen when he gets healthy. In that event, would Marmol stick? Or is it a guy like Chris Withrow getting the boot?
Time will tell, but for now let's sit back and enjoy the last update before the trade deadline—after all, this farm system could look drastically different if GM Ned Colletti pulls off a few last-minute deals for major league depth. Here is a look at the Dodgers' top 10 prospects, as compared to last week's list.
All stats courtesy of MiLB.com and current as of 7/29/2013.
No. 1: Zach Lee
Season stats: 22 G, 20 GS, 3.23 ERA, 108.2 IP, 100 H, 44 R, 39 ER, 27 BB, 101 K
Last week's stats: 1 GS, 1.50 ERA, 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
After a slight rough patch over the last couple weeks, Lee seems to have recovered with a very solid outing last Friday. He posted a quality start, only allowing five baserunners over six innings and not walking a batter. His strikeout-to-walk ratio remains incredibly impressive in 2013.
Lee has been a picture of consistency in Double-A Chattanooga this season, and will likely be considered for a long relief or spot starting role when the big league rosters expand. Even if the Dodgers decide to shut him down at that point, they have to be excited for him to debut at some point in 2014.
No. 2: Joc Pederson
Season stats: 95 G, .285 BA, 15 HR, 42 RBI, 28 SB, .874 OPS
Last week's stats: 8 G, .250 BA, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 SB, .835 OPS
Pederson's stock takes a slight hit after he started the week with four straight hitless games. He did boost his stolen-base totals to an impressive 28, but was caught twice in the week. Still, he's swiped 28 of 33 bags and has that average hovering just south of .300.
Though it may be a lot to ask of a guy getting his first taste of Double-A ball to get that average back over the .300 mark, he's shown the ability to bounce back from his slumps with some mighty hot streaks. I won't expect it, but Pederson finishing the year over .300 would be a nice treat. I'd also like to see him get some late-season big league at-bats.
No. 3: Corey Seager
Season stats: 71 G, .308 BA, 11 HR, 55 RBI, 9 SB, .900 OPS
Last week's stats: 6 G, .385 BA, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 1.212 OPS
Seager could potentially rise to the No. 2 spot on this list over the next few weeks if he continues to tear the cover off the ball while Pederson stays put around the .285 mark. Since an early-season injury, Seager has been on fire, raising his batting average all the way up over .300.
He's in Single-A for now, but he might earn himself a few at-bats in Double-A before the year ends. Seager has shown power like his older brother Kyle has for the Seattle Mariners, and I'm interested to see if he continues to get better and better. If so, the Dodgers may have their third (or second) baseman of the future.
No. 4: Ross Stripling
Season stats: 21 G, 16 GS, 3.21 ERA, 1 SV, 95.1 IP, 86 H, 36 R, 34 ER, 20 BB, 93 K
Last week's stats: 2 G, 1 GS, 11.48 ERA, 5.2 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
Way, way down. This is by far Stripling's worst week of the season. The only reason he doesn't drop out of the top five is because he's been the most pleasant surprise of the farm system almost the entire year. Plus, I have a hard time pinning this tough week entirely on his right arm.
The Dodgers moved him to the bullpen out of nowhere to save his arm, which likely just messed with his psyche. Going from a starter's mentality to a reliever's isn't as easy as some pitchers make it look. Hopefully the funk is just temporary for Stripling, who had been dominant in Double-A prior to the switch.
No. 5: Chris Withrow
Season stats: 24 G, 1.78 ERA, 25.1 IP, 25 H, 10 R, 5 ER, 12 BB, 32 K
Last week's stats: N/A
Normally I would have dropped a guy in Withrow's position off the list by now, just based on the sheer amount of service time he has now accumulated. The actual amount of innings isn't huge, but he's been up with the big league club for an extended period of time. He's doing well enough to stick in the big leagues but might be the odd man out when Dominguez returns from the DL.
No. 6: Michael Thomas
Season stats: 32 G, 1 GS, 1.81 ERA, 10 SV, 44.2 IP, 34 H, 9 ER, 14 BB, 49 K
Last week's stats: 2 G, 6.00 ERA, 4 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K
This is a soft decline for Thomas, who has been the second-most-surprising regular on this list (he was called up to Double-A at the same time as Stripling) in 2013. One of the earned runs came in an otherwise dominant three-inning relief appearance. The only run was given up on a solo home run.
Overall, the lefty has been absolutely filthy out of the bullpen for both Single-A and Double-A. When and if the Dodgers need another left-handed specialist in their bullpen, you'd think they will take a long look at this kid. We'll have to keep tabs on how he does down the stretch, as he's never exceeded 62.1 innings pitched at the pro level.
No. 7: Chris Reed
Season stats: 22 G, 18 GS, 3.62 ERA, 104.1 IP, 93 H, 47 R, 42 ER, 44 BB, 84 K
Last week's stats: 1 GS, 12.00 ERA, 3 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 6 BB, 3 K
The much-feared, long-awaited return of bad Chris Reed has finally arrived. Reed's insane comeback story had to hit a road bump at some point, and the time is now. It was just one rough start, but the six free passes is cause for huge concern, because that's what dropped him from the preseason No. 4 prospect on this list to completely unranked in a matter of weeks at the start of the year.
Reed has great stuff, and this is the first time he's allowed more than two earned runs in nearly two months, but if he's losing control of his pitches again, it may spell doom for him. Getting so close to returning to his peak form and then losing it would be devastating. The Dodgers still have hope for Reed to contribute to the big league rotation some day, so let's hope he turns it around in his next start.
No. 8: Jose Dominguez
Season stats: 22 G, 1.78 ERA, 25.1 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 13 BB, 40 K
Last week's stats: N/A
Initial reports of Dominguez's injury had him being demoted back to Triple-A in favor of Marmol. It later turned out that he was actually headed to the 15-day DL, which made me feel much better about the promotion of Marmol. I hope Dominguez shakes this off, comes back healthy and supplants the veteran in the bullpen again. Dominguez has proven in a small sample size that he's definitely deserving of that chance.
No. 9: Julio Urias
Season stats: 12 GS, 2.97 ERA, 39.1 IP, 34 H, 13 ER, 15 BB, 46 K
Last week's stats: 1 GS, 9.00 ERA, 2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
It still blows my mind that Urias is only 16 years old and just tearing up Single-A hitters in his 12 starts so far. The later we get in the season, the closer we get to the impending shutdown on the young lefty's arm, but better safe than sorry. He is looking like an absolute steal and a future stud, but there's a long way to go.
For now, we've been treated to quite a show. His last start didn't go so well, but he only got two innings of work in and didn't look terrible. He just got touched up for a couple timely hits. Over the season, he's been spectacular through nearly 40 innings of work, though he's averaging just over four innings per start—right where a teenager's arm should be.
No. 10: Scott Schebler
Season stats: 94 G, .309 BA, 22 HR, 67 RBI, 12 SB, .987 OPS
Last week's stats: 7 G, .240 BA, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 SB, .633 OPS
It wasn't a great week for Schebler, who is my favorite anonymous Dodgers prospect so far this season. He still managed to keep his OPS within spitting distance of 1.000 and has ridiculous power numbers to go along with that .309 average and double-digit steals.
I don't necessarily expect the stolen-base numbers to translate to big league competition, but the power is very real. The Single-A outfielder should at least earn some at-bats at a higher level to see how he transitions, but hopefully one day baseball fans will read his name in minor league reports and not have to ask, "Who?"
Just Missed Top 10
It wasn't a great week overall for the Dodgers farm system, but most of these players are due for a rebound. Here are a few more players who just missed out on the top 10 this week but have a shot to sneak in very soon.
1. Yimi Garcia, RHP (Double-A)
Garcia threw three scoreless innings of relief last week, allowing just one hit and striking out seven batters. His season ERA dropped to 2.47, a nice complement to the 15 saves he's racked up for Chattanooga.
2. Onelki Garcia, LHP (Double-A)
This Double-A Garcia duo is double trouble out of the bullpen right now, though how long Onelki remains in the 'pen is a tough question. Despite struggling with control a bit, he managed 2.2 scoreless innings last week, recording his first save and dropping his ERA to 2.36.
3. Noel Cuevas, OF (Single-A+)
Cuevas recorded his 30th stolen base of the season last week, to go along with his 11th home run. He's keeping that batting average just under .300 but needs to be a bit more selective at the plate and on the basepaths (caught stealing 13 times, 79 K vs. 27 BB).
4. Carlos Frias, RHP (Single-A+)
Frias had a great start two weeks ago, posting 11 strikeouts over seven innings of three-hit ball. He wasn't quite as good this time around, but two runs, no walks, five strikeouts and a measly three hits over five innings isn't much to complain about.
5. Chris Anderson, RHP (Single-A)
It's very early, but the Dodgers 2013 first-round pick is looking pretty filthy so far in Single-A. Through seven starts, Anderson sports a 1.67 ERA and has thrown 15 innings over his last three starts without allowing an earned run.
Don't forget to check in again next week for another edition of Dodgers Stock Up, Stock Down.