Stock Up, Stock Down for Los Angeles Dodgers' Top-10 Prospects for Week 1
With Opening Day behind us and the minor league season underway as well, there are now real, quantifiable games for us to draw conclusions from. With top prospects such as Julio Urias and Joc Pederson having begun play, a quick report on each of the Dodgers’ top-10 prospects (according to B/R’s own Mike Rosenbaum) is in order.
All information we have is obviously accumulated in small samples, and so we can’t draw any larger conclusions about many of the players at this point in the season. However, there are interesting tidbits we can learn about each, even at this early date.
Notes: All statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference unless otherwise noted. All statistics updated through April 5 unless otherwise noted.
10. Chris Reed, LHP
2014 stats: 5.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 4 K, 4 BB
Last week’s stats: 5.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 K, 4 BB
Chris Reed’s first start of the season had some positives and some negatives, obviously. The scoreless outing is always good, but the control has been a problem throughout his career and is part of the reason why some scouts believe he is destined for the bullpen.
As of right now, though, he’s still in the starting rotation for Double-A Chattanooga despite the fact he spent all of 2013 there. The Dodgers will hope he can improve his command enough to stay as a starter, but he will also likely be available for them to call on in case of a bullpen emergency.
9. Zachary Bird, RHP
2014 stats: 4.0 IP, 6.75 ERA, 3 K, 2 BB
Last week’s stats: 4.0 IP, 4 R (3 ER), 3 K, 2 BB
Zachary Bird made his 2014 debut on April 4 for Class-A Great Lakes. He struggled a bit, but—as will be a common theme throughout this article—it was his first start of the season, so that shouldn’t be too big of a deal.
He’s still just 19 years old, so results aren’t the be-all, end-all for Bird. The Dodgers will be looking for improvement and development over the course of the season.
8. Tom Windle, LHP
2014 stats: 5.0 IP, 1.80 ERA, 6 K, 0 BB (through April 6)
Last week’s stats: 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 K, 0 BB
Tom Windle’s first appearance in 2014 came in relief of rehabbing Dodger starter Chad Billingsley on Sunday, April 6. He was excellent for High-A Rancho Cucamonga, as evidenced by his above line.
He is a starter for the foreseeable future, and outings like this one will make it difficult for the Dodgers to move him. So, without reading too much into just this small sample size of five innings, it suffices to say we can be cautiously optimistic about Windle’s future.
7. Chris Withrow, RHP
2014 stats: 4.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 5 K, 1 BB
Last week’s stats: 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 K, 1 BB
Chris Withrow retained prospect eligibility despite appearing in 26 games in the majors in 2013, and his stock is rising because he is in the major league bullpen.
He was impressive last year, and he has carried that over to this season. With three appearances in the first week, he has clearly earned Don Mattingly’s trust. He has been—and will likely continue to be—a great, low-cost option in the middle innings.
6. Ross Stripling, RHP
2014 stats: none
Last week’s stats: none
Ross Stripling is out for the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
5. Chris Anderson, RHP
2014 stats: 0.2 IP, 40.50 ERA, 0 K, 2 BB
Last week’s stats: 0.2 IP, 3 ER, 0 K, 2 BB
Selected to start Opening Day for the High-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, Chris Anderson struggled mightily in his debut. The righty was unable to even get through the first inning, which is obviously not a good sign.
However, it was his first start of the season, and the 21-year-old was just drafted last season, so he’s still relatively early in the developmental process.
It’s tough to make any judgments on such a small sample size, but the fact the Quakes selected him to start their opener is noteworthy.
4. Zach Lee, RHP
2014 stats: 5.0 IP, 3.60 ERA, 3 K, 1 BB (through April 6)
Last week’s stats: 5.0 IP, 2 R, 3 K, 1 BB
Likely nearly big league ready, Zach Lee is pitching for Triple-A Albuquerque, and he made his season debut on Sunday, April 6 against the Tacoma Rainiers. His performance was fine, particularly for an early-season start during which pitchers are still working into shape.
Should the starting rotation suffer devastating injuries (as they may unfortunately be on the way to doing, given the current absences of Clayton Kershaw, Josh Beckett, and Billingsley), we might see Lee in the big leagues shockingly soon. He simply needs to continue plugging along at Triple-A.
3. Joc Pederson, OF
2014 stats: .364/.417/.636, 0 2B, 1 HR, 2 SB
Last week’s stats: 11 AB, 4 H, 0 2B, 1 HR, 1 SB
Pederson has gotten off to an excellent start in 2014 (stats via MiLB.com). The small sample size caveats with hitters are even bigger than they are with pitchers at this point of the season, because the lefty has accumulated only 11 at-bats, so one good day can drastically alter the look and feel of his numbers.
The 21-year-old is in Triple-A this year, and he is probably already knocking on the door of the majors. But with four starting-caliber outfielders currently in the big leagues, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Pederson gets a shot without some major injury issues.
2. Julio Urias, LHP
2014 stats: 4.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 5 K, 4 BB
Last week’s stats: 4.0 IP, 0 R, 5K, 4BB
Urias threw four innings in relief of Beckett on the second night of the High-A Quakes season. His line is a mixed bag, although obviously, the scoreless outing is a big plus. The control was lacking, but he’s a 17-year-old in the California League—so I think we can cut him some slack.
Pitching coach Matt Herges described (via True Blue LA) Urias’s outing as “the worst I've seen him pitched [sic] and [he] held them scoreless.”
That quote speaks volumes about Urias’ potential.
1. Corey Seager, SS
2014 stats: .200/.250/.267, 1 2B, 0 HR, 0 SB
Last week’s stats: 15 AB, 3 H, 1 2B, 0 HR, 0 SB
Corey Seager is off to a rough start, with just three hits through his first few games (stats via MiLB.com). This, again, is nothing to worry about: The 19-year-old is the Dodgers’ future, and he destroyed Midwest League pitching last year on his way to forcing an early call-up to High-A.
He will likely spend this entire year with Rancho Cucamonga, where his offensive pedigree, skill set and the thin air of the Cal League should help him put up numbers befitting his elite prospect status.