Stock Up, Stock Down for Dodgers' Top 10 Prospects for Week 19
As if you needed any more proof that the Los Angeles Dodgers were a team of destiny in 2013, Friday night's unbelievable come-from-behind victory over the Tampa Bay Rays might have killed the last doubter. And they are even doing it without Hanley Ramirez and Matt Kemp.
Triple-A shortstop Dee Gordon got called up and made a start in Ramirez's absence, but likely won't be sticking around for long whenever the star returns to the lineup. One guy who should be staying is right-handed reliever Chris Withrow, who dropped out of this list last week after amassing enough MLB service time.
And despite all the haters, Yasiel Puig continues to absolutely rake, proving that he wasn't just a flash in the pan. The Dodgers have built a huge lead in the NL West, largely thanks to Puig. Now, as we enjoy our spoils, we're left to wonder who the next prospect to make a big splash will be.
Let's compare this week's top 10 to last week's rankings.
All stats courtesy of MiLB.com and current as of Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013.
No. 1: Zach Lee
Season stats: 25 G, 22 GS, 3.10 ERA, 124.2 IP, 111 H, 48 R, 43 ER, 29 BB, 117 K
Last week's stats: 2 G, 1 GS, 1.80 ERA, 11 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 10 K
Don't let the "one game started" deal deceive you. Chattanooga's game on Friday was suspended in the first inning after Chris Reed took the bump. Zach Lee took over on Saturday and pitched six innings of shutout ball in a dominant "relief appearance" to earn the win.
Before that, Lee threw five innings on Monday and allowed two runs. Overall, it was a nice week for the Dodgers' No. 1 prospect. He continues to amaze in 2013, and I'm not alone in wishing the kid would get a spot start down the stretch. It would bring a ton of excitement to Dodger Stadium and give us a long-awaited sneak peek at the future.
No. 2: Joc Pederson
Season stats: 104 G, .272 BA, 15 HR, 44 RBI, 29 SB, .838 OPS
Last week's stats: 4 G, .133 BA, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1 SB, .388 OPS
Joc Pederson is coming dangerously close to a drop in the rankings after another tough week sent his batting average plummeting to the low .270s. He's really been struggling overall in the second half, and it's made his fantastic first half look like a bit of an overachievement.
I don't doubt that Pederson is a supremely talented five-tool player with a bright future. That future just may not be as soon as the Dodgers had hoped. Given the logjam in the major league outfield, that may not be such a bad thing. Let's see how Pederson responds over the next couple weeks before letting Corey Seager jump him.
No. 3: Corey Seager
Season stats: 82 G, .296 BA, 13 HR, 59 RBI, 9 SB, .883 OPS
Last week's stats: 6 G, .174 BA, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 0 SB, .517 OPS
Fortunately for Pederson, this young man has been having a rough go of it over the last week too. Seager was promoted to Rancho Cucamonga recently and has struggled in eight games. But he did hit a monster home run this week over the center field wall that had Twitter abuzz.
Seager is still putting together a phenomenal season between two levels of Single-A and looks like a promising future star for the Dodgers. If he can be anything like his brother Kyle (Seattle Mariners starting third baseman) in a few years, the Dodgers will have scored big time.
No. 4: Ross Stripling
Season stats: 24 G, 19 GS, 2.98 ERA, 108.2 IP, 102 H, 40 R, 36 ER, 27 BB, 104 K
Last week's stats: 2 GS, 0.85 ERA, 10.1 IP, 12 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 7 K
Ross Stripling is back in the Double-A rotation where he belongs and had two of his best starts to date since switching back from the bullpen. He remains the most pleasant surprise for the Dodgers' farm system this season, racking up a nearly 4-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio across two minor league levels.
The college-bred arm has a good chance to start next season in Triple-A or at least will be on the cusp of a call-up in Double-A if he has a strong spring training. Stripling has proven himself in his short time at Chattanooga so far, and I can't wait to see what he does against better competition.
No. 5: Chris Reed
Season stats: 25 G, 21 GS, 3.64 ERA, 116.1 IP, 102 H, 52 R, 47 ER, 52 BB, 91 K
Last week's stats: 1 GS, 0.00 ERA, 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K
The long-awaited climb back to the top five is complete for lefty Chris Reed, who started the season at No. 4. He struggled mightily for the first couple months of the season. Reed's control was especially troublesome, and it's something that started to sneak back in his last few starts.
By virtue of Michael Thomas' struggles and Reed's ability to limit damage, he is bumped to the top half of these rankings. Unfortunately, Reed is still trying to overcome some problems with wildness. Over his last five starts (including two three-inning starts and a one-inning suspended game that is technically a "start"), Reed has walked 18 batters in 18 innings, so we'll see if he can make a positive change soon.
No. 6: Michael Thomas
Season stats: 37 G, 1 GS, 2.32 ERA, 10 SV, 50.1 IP, 44 H, 13 ER, 18 BB, 56 K
Last week's stats: 3 G, 3.00 ERA, 2.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
Michael Thomas continues to tumble slightly in the rankings. A 2.32 ERA in over 50 innings between Single-A and Double-A is nothing to scoff at, but he was far better in the first half of the year. There's still plenty of time for him to recover in the second half, though.
I've been most impressed with Thomas' ability to transition so seamlessly to Double-A, but he's been struggling lately. His first two appearances of the previous week resulted in scoreless efforts, but he did allow at least three baserunners in each outing.
No. 7: 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
I can't bring myself to move the injured Jose Dominguez out of this spot (or in either direction for that matter) until he comes back healthy and we find out exactly where he'll be placed. In this writer's opinion, he should be back in the big league bullpen. But he could go back to Triple-A for a while, too.
No. 8: Scott Schebler
Season stats: 104 G, .307 BA, 25 HR, 79 RBI, 13 SB, .979 OPS
Last week's stats: 5 G, .316 BA, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 1 SB, .947 OPS
Scott Schebler is climbing the rankings after another good week brought his home run total to 25 for the year. His OPS is just under 1.000, and he's become a dual threat on the basepaths. Schebler has stolen 13 of 17 bases now and has produced 10 triples to go with it.
The biggest downfall to Schebler's great season has been that he's struck out 122 times versus only 28 walks. But he's shown a knack for power, hitting for average and has decent speed. The 22-year-old advanced Single-A outfielder might be the most important Dodgers prospect nobody has ever heard of.
No. 9: Julio Urias
Season stats: 15 GS, 3.05 ERA, 44.1 IP, 38 H, 15 ER, 15 BB, 53 K
Last week's stats: 2 GS, 4.50 ERA, 3 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
Julio Urias is getting very close to a complete shutdown to maintain his 16-year-old left arm, hence the short starts (three innings total). But in his debut season in Single-A, the pitcher has been absolutely phenomenal. An ERA just peeking over 3.00 is especially impressive in a teenager's first 15 starts.
The key to his success and growth will be to keep a very close eye on his health and pitch counts over the next couple years. If the Dodgers raise him through the farm system correctly, we could be witnessing the blossoming of a very talented 20-year-old No. 2 or 3 starter.
No. 10: Chris Anderson
Season stats: 8 GS, 2.03 ERA, 31 IP, 24 H, 12 R, 7 ER, 17 BB, 34 K
Last week's stats: 1 GS, 4.50 ERA, 4 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K
The Dodgers' first-round draft pick in 2013 has breezed through his first eight starts in Single-A, compiling an ERA just over 2.00. That being said, Chris Anderson struggled in his last outing, though it's become a rare occurrence. It's a small sample size, but Anderson only has a 2-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio so far too.
In his last start, Anderson went four innings and allowed eight baserunners. He was able to escape a ton of trouble this time out, but it won't always work out so nicely. Overall, the right-hander has been fantastic early on and has Dodgers fans excited for his potential.
Just Missed the Top 10
These five guys just barely missed cracking the top 10 this week and have been on the fringe for most of the season. To break into the rankings, they need to find some consistency or have a huge week. Either way, we should be keeping an eye on them.
1. Onelki Garcia, LHP (Double-A)
Garcia pitched four innings in relief last week, racking up a ridiculous seven strikeouts while only allowing one hit, one walk and zero runs. The talented southpaw has dropped his ERA down below 3.00 and continues to thrive at Chattanooga.
2. Carlos Frias, RHP (Double-A)
Since being promoted to Double-A, Frias has started two games (three appearances total). He had a mediocre first start but went five innings in his start this past week, allowing six hits, one earned run and two walks.
3. Yimi Garcia, RHP (Double-A)
In 3.2 innings, Garcia had a decent week but did get roughed up for two runs in one inning in his most recent outing. Overall, he allowed just one hit and struck out nine of the 11 batters that stepped into the box against him.
4. Noel Cuevas, OF (Single-A+)
Cuevas is hitting .291 with 11 homers and 35 stolen bases in 49 attempts. His OPS is .819, and he's creating a dynamic Rancho outfield duo with Schebler. The 21-year-old is looking like the real deal so far.
5. Miguel Sulbaran, LHP (Single-A)
The southpaw makes his first appearance on this list in 2013 after being named the No. 14 prospect in the Dodgers system at midseason. The 19-year-old is a native of Venezuela and has a 3.01 ERA in 16 starts, including 85 strikeouts in 92.2 innings.