Stock Up, Stock Down for Los Angeles Dodgers' Top-10 Prospects for Week 18
Earlier this week, there were two bits of very exciting news for the both the Los Angeles Dodgers farm system and readers of this column. First, the trade deadline passed without any of the Big Three being dealt. And second, MLB.com released their midseason prospect ranking updates, so the contents of this list get a breath of fresh air and a welcome overhaul.
This newly updated version includes two 2014 draftees, and we will also finally see a couple of other position players. Hopefully as the season goes on, readers will get more familiar with the three new names on this list: Grant Holmes, Scott Schebler and Alex Verdugo.
Those three replaced three relief pitchers—Matt Magill, Jose Dominguez, and Pedro Baez—who had experienced varying degrees of success but were undeniably low-impact and low-interest arms.
10. Alex Verdugo, CF
Last week’s stats: 21 AB, 5 H, 1 2B, 0 HR, 2 SB
Verdugo is a 2014 draftee who is currently plying his trade in the AZL. He was a high school outfielder who has spent most of his time thus far in center field. MLB.com’s prospect profile gives him at least an average grade in all five tools, which gives him a high probability of turning into something useful.
2014 stats: .305/.390/.448, 9 2B, 2 HR, 5 SB
9. Scott Schebler, OF
Last week’s stats: 24 AB, 9 H, 1 2B, 0 HR, 2 SB
Schebler spends his time alternating between right field and left field, but as the MLB prospect profile ranks his arm a 35 on the 20-80 scale, his future is in left. His limited defensive profile means that the pressure will be on his bat, and thus far in 2014, he has certainly performed. And, frankly, he has hit at every level he’s been at. His .700 OPS in the pitcher-friendly Midwest League at 21 years old is his worst year, and that was primarily driven by an abnormally low power output.
2014 stats: .274/.360/.524, 20 2B, 18 HR, 10 SB
8. Chris Reed, LHP
Last week’s stats: 7 IP, 2 R, 2 K, 3 BB
Reed was mentioned in this Dodgers Digest article that discussed possible internal options to replace Dan Haren. The flaws that have surrounded the young lefty all year in Double-A would not automatically disappear in the majors.
In terms of hits and runs, Reed pitched pretty well this week—although, as his ERA indicates, it hasn’t been raw performance that’s been the problem. Instead, it’s his peripherals that have been the issue recently. He has struck out just 22 batters in 34 innings in July, all while walking 14 as well.
2014 stats: 130IP, 3.32 ERA, 113 K, 53 BB
7. Tom Windle, LHP
Last week’s stats: 7 IP, 1 R, 2 K, 0 BB
Windle had a very good start this week, as he allowed fewer than four runs for the first time since July 2. It was not quite an elite performance, as the 2:0 strikeout-to-walk ratio is not exactly what one wants to see. But—as always—it is great to see him getting his walks under control, even if it didn’t come with an increase in strikeouts as well.
2014 stats: 110.2 IP, 4.47 ERA, 88 K, 31 BB
6. Zach Lee, RHP
Last week’s stats: 6 IP, 4 R, 3 K, 2 BB
The same Dodgers Digest article mentioned in the Reed section also discussed Lee’s viability as an option. The conclusion was not surprising: Given Lee’s struggles, it would be a bit of a minor surprise to see the righty in the big leagues prior to September.
Again, he allowed too many runs—but that’s not the main concern. Albuquerque is a tough environment, so it’s entirely reasonable that a talented pitcher could pitch decently well and still not see great results because too many hits fall in or too many fly balls leave the park.
Lee’s problem, though, is the same it’s been all season. He has been unable to strike batters out, and that has come with far too many walks. A walk every three innings is high, but when it’s combined with his hilariously low strikeout rate, the image is even worse.
2014 stats: 119 IP, 5.22 IP, 77 K, 44 BB
5. Chris Anderson, RHP
Last week’s stats: 6.2 IP, 3 R, 5 K, 0 BB
The young righty from Jacksonville, Fla. had an interesting start, as he allowed 11 batters to reach base—all on hits. The five strikeouts and no walks are a positive, and it’s entirely possible that the hits are an example of the hitter-friendly Cal League causing problems.
2014 stats: 103.1 IP, 4.70 ERA, 107 K, 56 BB
4. Grant Holmes, RHP
Last week’s stats: 5.0 IP, 0 R, 6 K, 3 BB
Holmes is another 2014 draftee. He was selected 22nd overall and has now made five appearances in the AZL. Thus far, he has been very impressive. Five of his six total runs allowed came in one outing, and his three walks in this week’s game more than doubled his season total.
2014 stats: 20 IP, 2.25 ERA, 23 K, 5 BB
3. Joc Pederson, CF
Last week’s stats: 29 AB, 4 H, 0 2B, 2 HR, 0 SB
The trade deadline came and went without a Dodger trade, so a spot still has not been opened up in the major league outfield for Pederson. The lefty struggled a bit this week, but that isn’t something to be overly concerned with. All players go through rough patches, so a short slump isn’t a huge concern.
If you are looking for nits to pick, though, they can be found. Pederson has struck out 28 percent of the time, a concerning number. Perhaps all will be fine, but it is certainly no guarantee that he would be an immediate upgrade on what is currently available.
2014 stats: .308/.435/.567, 14 2B, 23 HR, 25 SB
2. Julio Urias, LHP
Last week’s stats: 8 IP, 1 R (0 ER), 12 K, 3 BB
The teenaged phenom was brilliant this week, as he was allowed to go a bit deeper into the games than he had been. His 12 strikeouts and three walks is excellent no matter how you look at it, and he extended his streak of not allowing an earned run to five straight games.
It’s worth remembering, of course, that Urias is still over a week away from turning 18. At 17 years old and in the offensive haven that is the Cal League, Urias is putting together a great season.
2014 stats: 63.1 IP, 2.84 ERA, 73 K, 29 BB
1. Corey Seager, SS
Last week’s stats: 19 AB, 6 H, 2 2B, 0 HR, 0 SB
Seager has more than held his own in the 11 games he’s appeared in at Double-A. The lefty-swinging shortstop has six extra-base hits in 43 at-bats, although none of those have yet left the yard. The only thing he hasn’t done is take walks (just one), but that’s not a concern at this point: He is 20 years old, in Double-A and he can absolutely hit.
2014 stats: .349/.356/.512, 5 2B, 0 HR, 0 SB (Double-A); .352/.411/.633, 34 2B, 18 HR, 0 SB (High-A)