As the minor league seasons come to a close and some lucky players get the call-ups for a shot at limited playing time in the big leagues through September, we can reflect on the season that was in the Los Angeles Dodgers farm system.
Despite finishing with a 67-71 record on the season, Single-A Great Lakes clinched a playoff spot because of a 40-28 run in the second half (with two more to play at the time of publication). Single-A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga finished 64-74 overall, in third place in the South Division of the California League.
Quite possibly the most talented affiliate, Double-A Chattanooga actually had the worst season among the Dodgers' minor league teams. After losing Yasiel Puig to a promotion and being a large go-between for players moving up or down through the system, the Lookouts finished in last place in their division, at 58-80. The team did go .500 in the first half and have two more games to go.
In Triple-A, the Albuquerque Isotopes are 75-68 with two games to play and have already seen a handful of their more important players shipped to the big league team for the stretch run.
For one of the final times in 2013, let's compare this week's top 10 Dodgers prospects to last week's list.
All stats courtesy of MiLB.com and current as of Sunday, September 1, 2013.
2013 stats: 28 G, 25 GS, 3.22 ERA, 142.2 IP, 132 H, 57 R, 51 ER, 35 BB, 131 K
Last week's stats: 1 GS, 3.86 ERA, 7 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
Zach Lee might squeeze one more start in before the Chattanooga season ends, but regardless, he's been fantastic this season. With only a few minor rough patches, Lee finishes the season as my top-rated Dodgers prospect for 2013.
Though Lee is likely headed for an absolute ceiling of a No. 2 starter (and that might be a bit hopeful), you have to like the command he has on four good pitches and a fastball that could evolve to a regular mid-90s offering. His walk-to-strikeout ratio has been absurd this season.
I'm hoping, though it's very unlikely at this point, Lee gets a September call-up and gets one start against big league hitting.
2013 season: 122 G, .279 BA, 22 HR, 58 RBI, 31 SB, .879 OPS
Last week's stats: 6 G, .177 BA, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 SB, .697 OPS
Joc Pederson is trying to end his year with a sputter, hitting below .200 in the final week of play and striking out in his only at-bat on Sunday before getting ejected from the game. It's hard to discount his great numbers over the course of 2013, but it's also tough to ignore his disappointing second half.
No matter, Pederson has shown flashes of 30-30 talent and could still make an impact in the next couple years for the Dodgers. His walk rate is pretty high (70 walks in 122 games), and that led to a nice, juicy .382 on-base percentage. His 80 percent stolen-base success rate is promising, too.
2013 stats: 100 G, .269 BA, 16 HR, 71 RBI, 10 SB, .827 OPS
Last week's stats: 6 G, .150 BA, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 0 SB, .389 OPS
I'm trying to be easy on Corey Seager here, since he is fresh into High-A. But my eyes won't divert from that OPS number over the last week. Obviously, that's not the only statistic to focus on, but we can't pretend Seager hasn't had trouble adjusting to the next level.
Seager was absolutely demolishing Single-A pitching, hence the call-up. His numbers over a full season look very good for a 19-year-old, and Dodgers fans are rightfully excited for his eventual emergence to the big league roster. For now, he needs to focus on getting that Rancho Cucamonga average over .200.
2013 stats: 27 G, 22 GS, 2.82 ERA, 127.2 IP, 115 H, 44 R, 40 ER, 30 BB, 117 K
Last week's stats: 1 GS, 2.57 ERA, 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
It's been a pleasure to track Ross Stripling's progress this year from a promising second-year arm to a full-fledged can't-miss prospect. The only real rough patch Stripling hit was when the Dodgers inexplicably moved him to the bullpen right around the All-Star break.
Since returning to his normal role as a starter, Stripling has once again been fantastic. Between Single-A and Double-A this season, Stripling has racked up 117 strikeouts in 127.2 innings and only walked 30 batters. Stripling also held opposing batters to a .238 average this season.
2013 stats: 29 G, 25 GS, 3.86 ERA, 137.2 IP, 128 H, 64 R, 59 ER, 63 BB, 106 K
Last week's stats: 1 GS, 8.31 ERA, 4.1 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 1 K
I'm not sure if Chris Reed really deserves to be in the top five of this list, but nobody else really stood out over the full season. I have to continue to give the young southpaw credit for his amazing turnaround. He started the season as the Dodgers' fourth-best prospect, fell off the earth because of terrible control problems and has bounced back to finish the year with respectable numbers.
We all know Reed has it in him to be a big league starter someday, but 2013 was a struggle of epic proportions. Here's hoping he hones his skills in the offseason and reports to spring training next year with improved command and a desire to be "that guy" again.
2013 stats: 18 GS, 2.48 ERA, 54.1 IP, 44 H, 15 ER, 16 BB, 67 K
Last week's stats: 1 GS, 0.00 ERA, 4 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K
I'll admit, I didn't expect Julio Urias to be this good for this long. Not because of any lack of talent, but for the simple fact that the lefty is only 17 years old. Urias has really adjusted to professional American baseball and has been downright unhittable since July 10.
In that 10-start span, Urias has thrown 22 innings (remember, the Dodgers only let him throw three to four innings at the most per start to lessen the strain on his arm) and only allowed five earned runs. Seven of those starts were shutout efforts, including his last three, in which Urias struck out 14 and walked just one.
2013 stats: 123 G, .296 BA, 27 HR, 91 RBI, 16 SB, .945 OPS
Last week's stats: 6 G, .130 BA, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 SB, .450 OPS
Scott Schebler gets bumped up a peg by virtue of Jose Dominguez dropping out of the rankings (and, apparently, out of contention for a big league roster spot, as his quad troubles continue), as his numbers last week were anything but pretty.
But, the young outfielder has been stellar overall this season, posting a .945 OPS in 123 games. He fell just shy of a 30-homer, 100-RBI season and even swiped 16 bags for good measure. The most promising part of Schebler's line is hitting .329 with runners on base. He will have to cut down on the strikeouts in 2014 to be considered for promotion, though.
2013 stats: 45 G, 1 GS, 2.87 ERA, 11 SV, 59.2 IP, 53 H, 19 ER, 24 BB, 68 K
Last week's stats: 3 G, 19.50 ERA, 3.2 IP, 5 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 4 K
The long season must have finally gotten to the young lefty. After posting an incredibly impressive first four months of the season and dominating when he first got called up to Double-A, Michael Thomas came back to earth in August. His season stat line is still fine, but he'll need to work on conditioning before next season.
If the Dodgers plan on eventually making Thomas a reliable left-handed option out of the big league bullpen, they will need someone closer to the May and June version than the second-half guy. Thomas has good stuff; it's just a matter of growing and learning how to stay strong though a long season.
2013 stats: 12 GS, 1.96 ERA, 46 IP, 32 H, 15 R, 10 ER, 24 BB, 50 K
Last week's stats: 1 GS, 0.00 ERA, 4 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
The early returns on the Dodgers' 2013 first-round pick continue to look promising, as Chris Anderson put together another dominant performance last week. He scattered three baserunners (just one hit) over four innings and struck out four.
Anderson whiffed twice as many batters as he walked in his first 12 starts and has looked very good against Single-A hitters. Obviously, we'll need more of a sample from the young righty in 2014 to make a determination, but if he works at it this offseason, he could become a fast mover in the farm system.
2013 stats: 34 G, 6 GS, 2.97 ERA, 1 SV, 60.2 IP, 47 H, 23 R, 20 ER, 30 BB, 65 K
Last week's stats: 2 G, 0.00 ERA, 2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
Onelki Garcia has been masterful since moving to the bullpen this season, and the Dodgers seem to really like his upside, as he's gotten a chance to pitch at Triple-A Albuquerque over his last nine appearances. Garcia has been a pretty exciting pitching prospect out of Cuba since 2012, and 2014 might be his big jump.
After dipping into this list a little bit over the weeks, Garcia gets to end on a high note, jumping from the "just missed" group, to No. 10 overall (according to yours truly, anyway). The former Southern California beer league pitcher can hit the mid-90s on his fastball, throws a nasty slider and is apparently drawing rave reviews from his minor league coaches, per Jim Shonerd of Baseball America. His time is near.
Normally, I'd rank the top five guys who just missed the cut for the rankings. This time around, however, I'm going to make mention of any player who has put together a noteworthy minor league campaign for the Dodgers in 2013.
Keep in mind that this is not all-inclusive. The player must have been in enough games to merit such praise and performed well below the major leagues. Anyone (sorry Matt Magill) who is not eligible for the list because of MLB service time will not be included here.
1. Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes
- Matt Angle, OF (.282 BA, 7 HR, 60 RBI, 22 SB)
- Nick "Chili" Buss, OF (.307 BA, 17 HR, 100 RBI, 21 SB—2013 All-PCL selection)
2. Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts
- Carlos Frias, RHP (8-7, 3.31 ERA over Single-A, Single-A+ and Double-A)
- Yimi Garcia, RHP (4-6, 2.58 ERA, 18 SV)
- Hector Nelo, RHP (5-2, 2.67 ERA, 3 SV)
3. Single-A+ Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
- Noel Cuevas, OF (.282 BA, 12 HR, 66 RBI, 38 SB)
- O'Koyea Dickson, 1B (.281 BA, 15 HR, 88 RBI)
- Matt Shelton, RHP (6-2, 2.40 ERA, 3 SV between Single-A and Single-A+)
- Craig Stem, RHP (2-1, 3.36 ERA, 17 SV between Single-A and Single-A+)
- Darnell Sweeney, SS (.277 BA, 11 HR, 77 RBI, 48 SB)
4. Single-A Great Lakes Loons
- Geoff Brown, LHP (12-1, 2.08 ERA)
- Robbie Garvey, OF (.268 BA, 1 HR, 29 RBI, 33 SB)
- Tyler Ogle, 1B (.253 BA, 12 HR, 57 RBI)
- Tom Windle, LHP (5-1, 2.68 ERA)
5. Rookie Pioneer League Ogden Raptors
- Adam Law, 3B (.383 BA, 0 HR, 13 RBI, 17 SB in 19 G)
- Alex Santana, 3B (.330 BA, 2 HR, 26 RBI in 50 G)
- Jacob Scavuzzo, OF (.301 BA, 12 HR, 39 RBI in 56 G)