There is no hotter team in baseball right now than your Los Angeles Dodgers.
Yasiel Puig and Chris Withrow, both prospects earlier this season, have played big roles in the team going from last place and 9.5 games back on June 22 to a first-place lead of 5.5 games by the end of play on Sunday.
Of course, the big news in the minor league ranks was Corey Seager's promotion to High-A after a blistering pace in the second half of the season had boosted his average to over .300. After Withrow dominated out of the Dodgers' bullpen again on Sunday, he's officially off my list of "prospects," based on MLB service time.
So the rankings will look a bit different this week, but some fresh names can't hurt. Will we see any of the top players on this list getting a chance to play for the big league club or at least getting a promotion like Seager? We'll check back in on that over the next few weeks.
Let's check out the new rankings, as it compares to last week.
All stats courtesy of MiLB.com and current as of Sunday, Aug. 4, 2013.
Season stats: 23 G, 21 GS, 3.25 ERA, 113.2 IP, 105 H, 46 R, 41 ER, 27 BB, 107 K
Last week's stats: 1 GS, 3.60 ERA, 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
Zach Lee fell just short of posting a quality start last week, but still came back with a decent line. Though he took the loss in this game, he allowed an average of one baserunner per inning and didn't issue any free passes. The six strikeouts in five innings weren't too shabby either.
The righty hit a bit of a rough patch for Chattanooga in the early parts of July, but has responded nicely. Overall, his numbers are still very impressive. I'm still hoping Lee will get a spot start for the Dodgers or at least the call to Triple-A at some point this year so we can see how he fares against better hitters.
Season stats: 100 G, .278 BA, 15 HR, 43 RBI, 28 SB, .856 OPS
Last week's stats: 5 G, .125 BA, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 SB, .447 OPS
This was undoubtedly Joc Pederson's worst week of the season. The most exciting outfielder not named Puig in the Dodgers farm system this year suffered through five games with only two hits, six strikeouts and his sixth caught stealing of the year.
For the better part of 100 games, Pederson had become a can't-miss prospect, but his .257 average over the last 10 games is a bit worrisome. His combination of average, speed and power still makes him one of the best prospects in the system, but we'll be looking forward to seeing if he can turn it around soon.
Season stats: 76 G, .307 BA, 12 HR, 57 RBI, 9 SB, .918 OPS
Last week's stats: 5 G, .214 BA, 1 HR, 2 RBI
As mentioned, Corey Seager was promoted from the Single-A Great Lakes Loons to the High-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. So far, he has only played in two games and has yet to register a hit. But it's an exciting moment for a fanbase that was waiting for this promotion.
Seager is the future of the hot corner (or second base) for the Dodgers. His performance this season has been fantastic and his promotion was well-earned. It'll take another week or so to get an idea of how he'll do at the next level, but I still maintain that he should get a shot at Double-A eventually.
Season stats: 22 G, 17 GS, 3.20 ERA, 98.1 IP, 90 H, 37 R, 35 ER, 22 BB, 97 K
Last week's stats: 1 GS, 3.00 ERA, 3 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K
Just for the sheer fact that Ross Stripling seems to be back in the starting rotation in Chattanooga, he's trending up. He's been a revelation for the Dodgers this year, sporting a nifty 3.20 ERA between Single-and Double-A.
I'm just hoping that jerking Stripling between the rotation and the bullpen over the last few weeks doesn't result in any lasting damage. Though it's likely out of the question, I'd also love to see Stripling get a spot-start. He's not ready for the big leagues yet, but I'd like to see him test his stuff against the highest level, just to get an idea of what we can expect down the road.
Season stats: 34 G, 1 GS, 2.27 ERA, 10 SV, 47.2 IP, 38 H, 12 ER, 16 BB, 52 K
Last week's stats: 2 G, 9.00 ERA, 3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
I'm not in the business of confusing anyone, but Michael Thomas is trending down on this list despite moving up into the top-five. I'm giving the lefty the benefit of the doubt because his numbers overall are so dominant, but his last week was very rough.
Thomas has actually allowed runs in four straight appearances, but is maintaining a high strikeout rate and keeping guys off the bases. We'll see if this is a slippery slope for the reliever or just a rough patch. Hopefully, Double-A hitters aren't finally catching up to Thomas.
Season stats: 24 G, 20 GS, 3.67 ERA, 115.1 IP, 102 H, 52 R, 47 ER, 51 BB, 90 K
Last week's stats: 2 GS, 3.90 ERA, 11 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 7 BB, 6 K
Chris Reed had one very solid start and one rough start over the last week. He has evened out a bit since tearing his way back into the top-10. At the outset of the season, Reed was No. 4 on this list, only to have a terrible streak of games that dropped him completely out of the rankings.
Since then, he's stormed back. Reed has been very good overall, but we've seen the numbers dip a bit over his last four or five starts, largely due to the amount of walks he's issued. If he can get his control back, he could move even higher in the next couple weeks.
Season stats: 22 G, 1.78 ERA, 25.1 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 13 BB, 40 K
Last week's stats: N/A
Jose Dominguez remains on the DL and there's been no official word yet if he will rejoin the big league rotation or go back to Triple-A. If this writer had his way, Dominguez would replace Carlos Marmol in the bullpen. Unfortunately, I think the former is the more likely scenario.
Season stats: 13 GS, 2.83 ERA, 41.1 IP, 36 H, 13 ER, 15 BB, 49 K
Last week's stats: 1 GS, 0.00 ERA, 2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
Julio Urias, a 16-year-old southpaw, continues to get it done in Single-A this year. Eventually, he'll hit an innings limit and may already be rapidly approaching it, as he pitched only two innings in his most recent start, despite cruising through both. When he reaches his limit, he will be dropped off the list.
For now, however, Dodgers fans should really take a minute to enjoy another gem of the international scouting department. Urias has a chance to be really special in a few years, so it's worth following his progress very closely.
Season stats: 100 G, .304 BA, 24 HR, 74 RBI, 12 SB, .971 OPS
Last week's stats: 6 G, .231 BA, 2 HR, 7 RBI, .725 OPS
It's hard to fault a guy with such gaudy power numbers, even when he has a rough week with the bat. The best part is that Scott Schebler's "rough" week still produced two home runs and seven RBI. The fact that Schebler posted six hits all week and still drove in seven runs is very impressive.
That is a testament to a guy who can hit in run-scoring situations and do whatever it takes to get something on the scoreboard. Though I haven't had the opportunity to see Schebler play in person, but his statistics remind me of Allen Craig of the St. Louis Cardinals, who approaches each at-bat with the intent of doing whatever it takes to drive in a run.
Season stats: 7 GS, 1.67 ERA, 27 IP, 19 H, 10 R, 5 ER, 14 BB, 29 K
Last week's stats: N/A
Chris Anderson, the Dodgers' first-round draft choice in 2013, has been thoroughly impressive in his first big league season. Over seven starts, the big right-hander's line looks like someone who has been there before. The only troubling stat so far is his amount of walks at the Single-A level.
If Anderson continues to flourish at Single-A, we could see him get promoted before the season ends. College pitchers tend to get on a faster path to the big leagues. If he can carry this type of success into 2014, any fear of him being a draft bust would be extinguished.
Don't forget to check in next week for another round of Dodgers Stock Up, Stock Down!