First-Quarter Stock Up, Stock Down for Los Angeles Dodgers' Top 10 Prospects
As we approach the quarter mark of the season, the Los Angeles Dodgers' farm system has seen its high points and its low points.
Joc Pederson has crushed the ball all year, and many of the lower-level pitchers have impressed. However, some of the bullpen arms have struggled with their control.
With a quarter of the season gone, sample sizes have started to approach the point that we can draw more legitimate conclusions. Not all statistics have yet stabilized, but discernible patterns have emerged.
The sections on each player will include their performance from the past week, but it will also look at full season trends and remark on the player’s progress from the beginning of the season.
*Nos. 8 and 9 Ross Stripling and Onelki Garcia are injured, so Nos. 11 and 12 Jose Dominguez and Matt Magill will take their place.
10. Matt Magill, RHP
Last week’s stats: 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 K, 5 BB
The up-and-down season for Magill continued this week as the righty allowed far too many walks in his May 7 start versus Sacramento.
While not his worst start of the year, this did mark the most walks he has conceded in any one game. Magill’s control is clearly not improving as the season goes on.
After walking over a batter per inning during his brief stint in the majors last year, the Dodgers must have wanted to see some improvement—to this point, they haven’t.
2014 stats: 35.1 IP, 4.84 ERA, 25 K, 18 BB
9. Jose Dominguez, RHP
Last week’s stats: 3.0 IP, 4 R (3 ER), 3 K, 3 BB
Dominguez has demonstrated some improvement this year, as the Dominican righty has finally turned his electric fastball into strikeouts. However, with 10 walks in just 14.1 innings across all levels, he has again proved unable to harness his control.
If the Dodgers didn’t have as much money invested in their big league bullpen as they currently do, Dominguez might have gotten more of an extended look.
As it is, the Dodgers could be looking for answers later in the year. And to this point Dominguez has not taken advantage of any potential opportunity.
2014 stats: 6.1 IP, 11.37 ERA, 12 K, 6 BB (majors); 8.0 IP, 4.50 ERA, 1 K, 4 BB (Triple-A)
8. Pedro Baez, RHP
Last week’s stats: 1.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 K, 0 BB (majors); 1.2 IP, 2 ER, 1 K, 0 BB (Double-A)
Baez made his big league debut this week, and he wasn’t good. However, that was just the first taste—he will likely be back later in the year. But it wasn’t all bad: The home run he gave up did all the damage, and the two strikeouts and no walks is a good omen.
A bad omen, though, is what happened when Baez was sent back to Double-A. Four hits in less than two innings led to another disastrous outing.
For the season, Baez has been relatively unimpressive. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is not particularly good, and he’s been more hittable (14 in 14.1 innings) than is ideal from a late-inning reliever.
2014 stats: 14.1 IP, 3.77 ERA, 9 K, 6 BB
7. Tom Windle, LHP
Last week’s stats: 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 K, 2 BB
Windle’s been a pleasant surprise thus far in 2014. He’s demonstrated good control and a surprising ability to strike batters out.
Nearly half of his season’s walks came in one start, and he’s been very good for the rest of the season.
His start this week wasn’t particularly noteworthy one way or another, which is a positive. Windle will be a factor in the future for the Dodgers if he continues pitching this well.
2014 stats: 35.2 IP, 4.04 ERA, 32 K, 11 BB
6. Chris Reed, LHP
Last week’s stats: 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 7 K, 1 BB
The lefty was dominant again this past week. He showed his potential with the seven Ks, and the command was among the best he’s shown all year.
Reed’s season-long quest has been for his control, and he has been just good enough.
His game log shows just three of seven games in which he’s walked two or fewer, but a total ratio of 17 walks in 43 innings is acceptable at this point in the 23-year-old’s career. The fact that he’s maintained his strikeout stuff (one per inning) is icing on the cake.
2014 stats: 43.0 IP, 1.88 ERA, 43 K, 17 BB
5. Chris Anderson, RHP
Last week’s stats: 4.0 IP, 6 R (5 ER), 1 K, 4 BB
Anderson got rocked this week. With no strikeouts, a ton of walks and way too many hits, there aren't many positives to take out of it.
However, it was just one start and doesn’t take away from the tremendous steps he’s taken over the past couple weeks. This was just his third start in which he struck out fewer than six batters, and his walk numbers looked better (1, 1, 2) over his past three starts than at any point prior.
It’s important to remember that Anderson is still very young. He’s just 21 and was a first round pick last year, so he’s still early in his development.
He’s shown some positives over the course of the year—particularly his strikeout numbers—but, like most young pitchers, he needs to improve his command before he can become a real factor.
2014 stats: 33.2 IP, 5.08 ERA, 40 K, 22 BB
4. Zach Lee, RHP
Last week’s stats: 5.0 IP, 5 R (2 ER), 4 K, 1 BB
Lee has been nothing if not consistent.
He’s struck out either three or four in each of his starts, and he’s walked either one or two in each as well.
Essentially, his performance comes down to how well his defense turns balls in play into outs. That is not a particularly good sign for someone drafted as a power pitcher, but if he keeps this level of control it could work at the back of a big league rotation.
2014 stats: 37.1 IP, 3.86 ERA, 25 K, 10 BB
3. Julio Urias, LHP
Last week’s stats: 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 K, 1 BB
Urias’ raw numbers don’t look great, but that is partially due to the innings cap the Dodgers have had on the 17-year-old.
He’s struck out more than a batter per inning and has gotten his walks under control as the season has gone on—just one combined in his last three starts.
It seems silly to harp on anything with a 17-year-old pitching in the hitter-friendly Cal League, so I won’t. Instead, just enjoy the fact that the Dodgers have a phenom on their hands—and he’s only getting better.
2014 stats: 21.2 IP, 5.40 ERA, 24 K, 13 BB
2. Joc Pederson, CF
Last week’s stats: 21 AB, 6 H, 0 2B, 4 HR, 0 SB
The lefty-swinging outfielder suffered some BABIP regression, but his power remained. He somehow has 11 home runs in 35 games, and he’s combined that with eight doubles and 10 stolen bases.
You have to think that if there were space in the big leagues for him, Pederson would be knocking on the door.
However, there isn’t.
With Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier fighting for everyday spots in left field, there simply isn’t room for a third player fighting for everyday at-bats. Instead, we have to watch Pederson mash Triple-A pitching and wait to see if he’s included in a trade.
2014 stats: .373/.479/.619, 8 2B, 7 HR, 10 SB
1. Corey Seager, SS
Last week’s stats: 21 AB, 8 H, 3 2B, 0 HR, 1 SB
Seager is the Dodgers’ infielder of the future, and he certainly played like it this past week.
He demonstrated excellent patience and power, combining his three doubles with five walks. He’s still developing his over-the-fence power, but at 20 years of age he’s got time.
It’s great for the Dodgers to see their elite prospect taking advantage of the offensive environment of the Cal League and putting up massive numbers.
2014 stats: .322/.383/.487, 9 2B, 2 HR, 5 SB