Ranking L.A. Dodgers' Top 10 Prospects After the 2013 Minor League Season
The Los Angeles Dodgers’ system took a hit this season with the graduation of top prospect Yasiel Puig to the major leagues. However, the organization had a slew of other promising young players step up in his place.
Left-handed hitters Corey Seager and Joc Pederson both had strong seasons at their respective levels and continue to move at an accelerated pace through the minor leagues. The same can be said about right-hander Zach Lee, who turned in the best season of his career at Double-A.
And let’s not forget about 17-year-old Julio Urias—technically it was his age-16 season—who excelled this season as the youngest player at a full-season level. In what would have been his sophomore year of high school, the left-hander instead carved up considerably older hitters in the Low-A Midwest League.
Meanwhile, the organization added a pair of advanced college arms in Chris Anderson and Tom Windle through the first-year player draft in June, both of whom impressed this summer in their professional debuts and may not require much time in the minors.
Here’s a look at the rest of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ top 10 prospects after the 2013 minor league season.
Those Who Missed the Cuts
Matt Magill, RHP: Magill had a decent season at Triple-A Albuquerque, registering a 3.47 ERA and 101/50 K/BB ratio in 85.2 innings. But he struggled in six starts with the Dodgers, posting a 6.51 ERA with more walks (28) than strikeouts (26) in 27.2 innings.
Yimi Garcia, RHP: The 23-year-old projects as a late-inning reliever with a deceptive delivery and two potential plus offerings (fastball/slider). He recorded 19 saves and an 85/14 K/BB ratio in 60.1 innings (49 games) at Double-A Chattanooga.
Jesmuel Valentin, SS: The 2012 first-rounder struggled to begin his first full season, posting a .618 OPS in 33 games at Low-A Great Lakes. He showed a more consistent bat following a demotion to Pioneer League with a .284/.379/.396 batting line, 17 extra-base hits and 34/33 K/BB ratio in 62 games.
Noel Cuevas, OF: The 21-year-old enjoyed a breakout season this year at High-A Rancho Cucamonga. He posted a .795 OPS with 47 extra-base hits (25 doubles, 10 triples and 12 home runs) and 38 stolen bases in 123 games.
Scott Schebler, OF: Schebler also enjoyed a breakout season, though his is less credible as a 22-year-old in the hitter-friendly California League. He posted a .941 OPS with 69 extra-base hits (29 doubles, 13 triples and 27 home runs), 91 RBI and 16 stolen bases 125 games, but he also struck out 140 times (26.2 percent strikeout rate).
10. Onelki Garcia, LHP
DOB: 8/2/1989 (Age: 24)
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 220
Drafted/Signed: Third round, 2012 (Cuba)
Double-A/Triple-A: 62 IP, 2.90 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, .209 BAA, 67/35 K/BB (35 G/6 GS)
MLB: IP, H, 2 ER, 4 BB, K (2 G)
Fastball sits at 90-93 mph and noticeably sneaks up on opposing hitters; plus curveball is a hard downer with a pace that’s difficult for opposing hitters to time; struggles to throw it for a strike early in the count; still, it is still a legitimate out pitch and induces lots of whiffs; very uncomfortable at-bat for same-side hitters; development of his changeup and ability to pound the zone will ultimately determine whether he’ll be a starter or reliever.
9. Tom Windle, LHP
DOB: 03/10/1992 (Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 6’4", 215
Drafted/Signed: Second round, 2013 (Minnesota)
Low-A: 5-1, 53.2 IP, 2.68 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, .242 BAA, 51/20 K/BB (13 G/12 GS)
Windle has a projectable 6’4”, 215-pound frame with room to add strength; creates natural deception; minimal hip rotation; some use of lower half; almost max-effort delivery, though he repeats it well; tends to rely on arm strength; changes opposing hitters’ eye levels well; good sequencing; aggressive approach allows him to challenge both right- and left-handed hitters.
Fastball sits 90-92 mph with late life to his arm side; throws the pitch on a consistent downhill plane and pounds lower portion of the strike zone. Slider is an inconsistent offering but flashes plus potential; thrown in 81-84 mph range with depth and tilt off fastball plane; pitch is difficult to recognize due to arm action; only potential swing-and-miss offering. Changeup is a potential solid-average pitch thrown at 80-82 mph; really sells the pitch thanks to unorthodox arm action; turns it over well to create some sink and fade to the arm side.
8. Chris Reed, LHP
DOB: 5/20/1990 (Age: 23)
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 195
Drafted/Signed: First round, 2011 (Stanford)
Double-A: 137.2 IP, 3.86 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, .250 BAA, 106/63 K/BB (29 G/25 GS)
Only plus pitch is his fastball, which registers in the low- to mid-90s and will occasionally scrape 96 mph; two-seamer comes in a few ticks slower and has lots of late life to the arm-side; throws a hard slider in mid-80s with late, downer bite, though he struggles to throw it with a consistent, tight spin. Changeup has the makings of an above-average offering and is especially deceptive when he’s locating is fastball.
7. Alex Santana, 3B
DOB: 08/21/1993 (Age: 20)
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 200
Drafted: Second round, 2011 (Mariner HS, Fla.)
Rookie (Pioneer League): .327/.391/.444, 16 XBH, 7 SB, 39/20 K/BB (55 G)
Finally turned in the breakout performance in third tour of the rookie level; projectable 6’4”, 200-pound frame with room to fill out; currently a line-drive hitter who works the gaps; above-average bat speed; combination of physical strength and leveraged bat path suggests above-average power potential; bat path was more consistent this season as he worked to stay short to the ball; can still get long at times and leads to slumps.
Santana was a shortstop as an amateur but has since outgrown the position; both his size and offensive potential is a cleaner fit at third base; still learning the position; fringy runner; needs to work on his reaction time and learn to take a more instinctual first step; possesses the arm strength necessary for left side.
6. Ross Stripling, RHP
DOB: 11/23/1989 (Age: 23)
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 190
Drafted/Signed: Fifth round, 2012 (Texas A&M)
High-A/Double-A: 127.2 IP, 2.82 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, .238 BAA, 117/30 K/BB (27 G/22 GS)
6’3” right-hander has clean, repeatable mechanics; surprisingly athletic; advanced delivery; good drive with lower half; cuts his stride a bit short so as to work on a steeper plane; floods the zone with strikes; throws his fastball in the low-90s with enough in the tank to scrape a few ticks higher as needed; top-to-bottom curveball has nice shape and he locates it with consistency; future above-average secondary offering; changeup is average but has steadily improved against more advanced hitters.
5. Chris Anderson, RHP
DOB: 7/29/1992 (Age: 20)
Drafted: First round, 2013 (Jacksonville)
Low-A: 46 IP, 1.96 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, .201 BAA, 50/24 K/BB (12 GS)
Strong, physical right-hander at 6’4”, 225 pounds; utilizes strong lower half; long strides; good extension toward the plate; durable frame; fluid arm action.
Fastball sits 90-95 mph; will work toward the high end early in starts; can scrape a few ticks higher; velocity has fluctuated with heavy workload; pitch can have late life at times. Curveball is least developed offering; inconsistent spin and pace; thrown sparingly; at best a serviceable pitch.
Slider is a plus pitch at 82-85 mph; good depth and tilt; sharp, late-breaking dive out of zone; above-average command; swing-and-miss offering. Changeup is average offering with the chance to add a grade with development; solid arm action; 80-83 mph; some late fade; present feel for the pitch.
4. Zach Lee, RHP
DOB: 9/13/1991 (Age: 22)
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 190
Drafted/Signed: First round, 2010 (McKinney HS, Texas)
Double-A: 142.2 IP, 3.22 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, .247 BAA, 131/35 K/BB (28 G/25 GS)
Lee possesses a highly projectable and durable frame at 6’3”, 190 pounds; excellent athlete who was poised to be Louisiana State’s quarterback before the Dodgers offered him a $5 million signing bonus after he was drafted out of high school.
Hasn’t showcased the mid-90s fastball that was present in the months following the 2010 draft; fastball usually sits 88-93 mph, and he uses it to attack both right- and left-handed hitters on the inner-half; mixes in both a two-seamer with arm-side run and cutter with late slice to the glove side; deep arsenal consists of both a curveball and slider, with the latter representing the better offering; changeup has nice fading action in the low 80s and projects to be an above-average to plus secondary offering.
3. Julio Urias, LHP
DOB: 8/12/1996 (Age: 17)
Signed: August 2012 (Mexico)
Low-A: 54.1 IP, 2.48 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, .227 BAA, 67/16 K/BB (18 GS)
5’11" left-hander already has projectable frame and is literally growing; special combination of stuff and pitchability at a young age; employs smooth, repeatable delivery; consistently uses lower half; easy arm action; fastball sits in the low 90s and bumps 94-95 mph; potential plus curveball, and he demonstrates confidence for throwing it in any count; present feel for changeup; ridiculously bright future with front-of-the-rotation upside.
2. Joc Pederson, OF
DOB: 4/21/1992 (Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 6’1”, 185
Drafted: 11th round, 2010 (Palo Alto HS, Calif.)
Double-A: .278/.381/.497, 81 R, 49 XBH (22 HR), 31 SB, 114/70 K/BB (123 G)
The 21-year-old possesses quiet strength at 6’1”, 185 pounds; showcases an all-around impressive set of tools and athleticism; speed is only average, but his hard-nosed, aggressive mentality makes it play up a grade.
Has been developed as a center fielder over the past three seasons and may be able to stick there; both his reads and routes have an element of rawness; present athleticism and tremendous work ethic suggest that they will continue to improve; above-average arm strength is more than enough for the position and will translate if he moves to a corner spot.
Continued to hit for power this season outside the California League; average or better power potential; demonstrates mature approach and works hard to put together at-bats; tracks the ball well and fires hands at the last minute; still has room to improve against same-side pitching; bat enters the zone on a nice downward angle, which results in backspin carry to all fields; potential for slightly above-average hit tool thanks to mature plate discipline and line-drive-oriented swing.
1. Corey Seager, SS
DOB: 4/27/1994 (Age: 19)
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 215
Drafted: First round, 2012 (Northwest Cabarrus, N.C)
Low-A/High-A: .269/.351/.473, 40 XBH (16 HR), 72 RBI, 10 SB, 89/46 K/BB (101 G)
At 6’4”, 215 pounds, Seager has present physicality with room to tack on additional strength; boasts advanced left-handed bat with the potential for above-average hit and power tools; exhibits all-around good habits at the plate that are uncommon in an 19-year-old hitter; has an easy, direct swing that allows him to sting the ball from line to line with impressive power to the opposite field.
Noticeably employs a consistent approach at the plate and doesn’t get himself out; he’s selective, but it doesn’t impede his ability to attack and drive the ball; potential impact bat capable of reaching the majors ahead of schedule.
Possesses slightly above-average speed on both sides of the ball that tends to play up due to his instincts; range is only average but enough to remain at shortstop for the time being; plus arm is suitable for either left side of the infield position; there’s a chance he outgrows the position as he develops physically and shifts to third base.