Stock Up, Stock Down for Dodgers' Top 10 Prospects for Week 21
There are only two weeks to go until September arrives, at which point teams around the league are permitted to expand their rosters from 25 players to 40 for the final month of the season.
With the injury bug suddenly latching onto the Los Angeles Dodgers in August, it's becoming more apparent that the organization may need to turn to the farm in order to plug some holes.
After all, general manager Ned Colletti refused to part with his top minor leaguers at the trade deadline. Although he probably wasn't expecting injuries to force his hand, Colletti can take solace in his ability to tap into the raw talent that may not have been there had the Dodgers gone all-in on David Price.
Here's the latest look at how Los Angeles' top 10 prospects are faring with September just around the corner.
10. Alex Verdugo, CF
Last week’s stats: 15 AB, 6 H, 1 2B, 0 HR, 0 SB
The Dodgers drafted Alex Verdugo in the second round this past June. The two-way player out of Sahuaro High School in Tucson, Arizona, will continue his career as a center fielder rather than on the mound.
A productive two weeks while playing in the Arizona rookie league (AZL) has helped Verdugo raise his batting average 24 points since August 1. Los Angeles likes his versatility, as evidenced by MLB.com ranking him as at least "average" in all five tools.
2014 stats: .331/.403/.446, 10 2B, 2 HR, 5 SB
9. Scott Schebler, LF
Last week’s stats: 19 AB, 5 H, 1 2B, 4 HR, 6 RBI
Scott Schebler has picked up right where he left off after earning the team's Minor League Player of the Year award last season.
The former 2010 draft pick is crushing the ball at Double-A Chattanooga. After a three-home run game last Monday, Schebler added another one over the weekend to give him 25 on the year. Although he already has struck out 99 times (140 last season), he owns a solid .276 average.
Defensively, he has spent the season alternating between the corner outfield positions. Schebler will most likely end up in left field because his arm is ranked just 35 on the 20-80 scale, according to his prospect profile.
2014 stats: .276/.359/.548, 20 2B, 25 HR, 67 RBI
8. Chris Reed, LHP
Last week’s stats: 2 IP, 6 ER, 3 K, 1 BB
After completing the first four months of the Double-A season with a respectable 3.22 ERA, the Dodgers decided to promote their 2011 first-round draft pick to Triple-A Albuquerque on August 7.
The move may have been premature, as Chris Reed struggled in his first two starts at the next level. His most recent start on Thursday lasted just two innings, during which the left-hander was knocked around for seven hits and six earned runs.
2014 stats (Double-A and Triple-A): 144 IP, 3.62 ERA, 122 K, 59 BB
7. Tom Windle, LHP
Last week’s stats: 5 IP, 1 ER, 6 K, 6 BB
Tom Windle allowed just two hits and one earned run in his most recent start at High-A Rancho Cucamonga. The performance by the 2013 second-round pick out of the University of Minnesota dropped his season ERA to 4.24—the lowest it has been since July 12.
Although the ERA decrease is encouraging, it wasn't enough to raise his stock because of the six walks he issued in the game. His 2014 strikeout-to-walk ratio is just a hair above 2-to-1, and it must be improved in order to climb the minor league ladder with success.
2014 stats: 127 IP, 4.24 ERA, 100 K, 42 BB
6. Zach Lee, RHP
Last week’s stats: 11 IP, 8 ER, 8 K, 3 BB
The Dodgers did not expect Zach Lee to have an ERA greater than the record signing bonus they threw at him in 2010, but that's what has happened.
After surrendering six earned runs and 11 hits in his last start for Triple-A Albuquerque, Lee's season ERA ballooned to 5.36. Los Angeles paid him $5.25 million when it made the right-hander its first-round pick in 2010.
The problem for Lee all year has been an inability to strike out batters. With just 85 punchouts on the year, it's very troubling for the Dodgers to see that he also has walked 49 batters. That strikeout-to-walk ratio is putrid, and to make matters worse, opposing hitters have collectively maintained a .291 average against him.
It's clear that Lee does not have the command necessary for the big leagues yet, but he will most likely get a shot as a September call-up.
2014 stats: 136 IP, 5.36 ERA, 85 K, 49 BB
5. Chris Anderson, RHP
Last week’s stats: 13 IP, 4 ER, 16 K, 2 BB
Chris Anderson struck out a season-high 10 batters in his most recent start for High-A Rancho Cucamonga. He gave up two earned runs and five hits in seven innings, his second consecutive start with at least six innings pitched and two runs allowed.
The 2013 first-round pick out of Jacksonville University still owns a 4.70 ERA, which leaves something to be desired. However, the encouraging part about that number is that it's tied for the lowest it has been since early May.
2014 stats: 120 IP, 4.70 ERA, 125 K, 60 BB
4. Grant Holmes, RHP
Last week’s stats: 3 IP, 7 ER, 4 K, 2 BB
The Dodgers' made Grant Holmes their first pick (22nd overall) in this past June's draft. Playing in the AZL for the first six starts of his professional career, Holmes compiled a solid 3.00 ERA. However, he got blasted for seven earned runs during his first start in the advanced rookie league last Friday.
That disappointing effort caused Holmes' stock to suffer for the time being, but the hard-throwing right-hander should bounce back.
2014 stats: 33 IP, 4.59 ERA, 37 K, 9 BB
3. Joc Pederson, CF
Last week’s stats: 23 AB, 6 H, 0 2B, 3 HR, 2 SB
Joc Pederson is closing in on becoming the first Pacific Coast League player in 80 years to finish the season with 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases. The last player to do it? The Los Angeles Angels' Frank Demaree in 1934, according to Eric Stephen of True Blue LA.
But Pederson, who has 29 long balls and 28 swipes, may be running out of time. Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti recently told ESPN.com's Jim Bowden that the team plans to promote its top outfield prospect when rosters expand September 1.
Although the lefty compiled just six hits last week, three of them left the yard. Pederson will most likely start some games for the Dodgers in September, an important opportunity for the former 2010 draft pick to showcase his talents in case Los Angeles decides to open up a spot for him by trading away Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford in the offseason.
2014 stats: .301/.424/.572, 14 2B, 29 HR, 28 SB
2. Julio Urias, LHP
Last week’s stats: 5 IP, 1 ER, 9 K, 1 BB
One day after celebrating his 18th birthday, Julio Urias took the mound for High-A Rancho Cucamonga last Friday and struck out a career-high nine batters in just five innings of work.
Welcome to adulthood, kid.
It's safe to say that Urias' stock is rising by the minute, as the young left-hander from Mexico continues to dazzle as he works his way through the minor leagues. Although the Dodgers have imposed a five-inning limit on Urias' starts this season, it hasn't stopped the teenager from compiling nearly 11 strikeouts per nine innings. Opposing batters are hitting just .215 against him.
2014 stats: 72 IP, 2.86 ERA, 87 K, 32 BB
1. Corey Seager, SS
Last week’s stats: 23 AB, 9 H, 2 2B, 0 HR, 5 RBI
Corey Seager was promoted to Double-A Chattanooga just about a month ago, and the Dodgers' top prospect is showing that he belongs.
In 24 games with the Lookouts, the younger brother of Seattle Mariners All-Star Kyle Seager is batting .355 with a homer and 15 RBI. The average is right on par with the .352 clip he had maintained in High-A for the first three-and-a-half months of the season.
While his prowess at the plate is carrying over nicely, Seager's fielding has regressed.
The 2012 first-round pick has already committed eight Double-A errors in 91 chances at shortstop compared to 12 errors in his previous 353 chances at High-A.
Seager, due to his 6'4" stature, may be better suited for third base. One scout even believes he has the potential to win future Gold Gloves at the hot corner, according to MLB insider Peter Gammons.
2014 stats (High-A and Double-A): .352/.403/.610, 43 2B, 19 HR, 85 RBI