Ranking the Top 10 Prospects in the Los Angeles Dodgers' Farm System

Mike Rosenbaum@GoldenSombreroMLB Prospects Lead WriterDecember 1, 2012

Ranking the Top 10 Prospects in the Los Angeles Dodgers' Farm System

0 of 10

    After countless seasons under a strict budget, the Los Angeles Dodgers underwent a much-needed transformation in 2012 following their purchase by Guggenheim Baseball Management. Given the new ownership's endless bankroll, they became the biggest spender in the game seemingly overnight and implemented a “win-now” mentality.

    However, the change in ownership also had a drastic impact on the team's already fringy farm system. Shortly before the July 31 trade deadline, the Dodgers dealt their first-round draft pick from 2008, right-hander Ethan Martin, to the Phillies in exchange for Hunter Pence.

    And then later in the season, they traded another top pitching prospect, right-hander Allen Webster, to the Red Sox as part of the blockbuster deal that landed them Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford.

    Although both of the aforementioned prospects flashed Nos. 2 or 3 starter upside, they were each regarded as somewhat expendable considering that the organization had selected a pitcher in the first round of each of the last five drafts.

    Thankfully that streak came to end this past June when the Dodgers drafted prep infielder Corey Seager with the 18th-overall pick. Additionally, the organization made a big splash in the international market in late June when they signed Cuban defector Yasiel Puig to a massive seven-year, $42 million contract.

    And even though their top-10 prospects has a vastly different look than it did at this time last year, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re without a solid crop of high-ceiling prospects, especially on the mound.

10. RHP Ross Stripling

1 of 10

    Position: RHP

    DOB: 11/23/1989 (Age: 23)

    Height/Weight: 6’3”, 190

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: Fifth round, 2012 (Texas A&M)

    ETA: 2014

    2012 Stats: 1-0, 36.1 IP, 1.24 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 6.4 H/9, 9.2 K/9, 1.5 BB/9 (14 G; 12 GS, Rookie-level Ogden)

    Scouting Notes: Stripling was impressive this past season as part of a talented Texas A&M rotation that included first-rounder Michael Wacha (Cardinals); would have received a more aggressive assignment to a full-season league had he not endured a heavy workload during the spring; 6’3” right-hander is surprising athletic, while both his delivery and feel for the strike zone is advanced even for a college guy.

    The 23-year-old’s fastball has a wide velocity range at 88-96 mph, though he typically works in the low-90s; his top-to-bottom curveball has a nice shape and he’s able to locate it with consistency, and will likely be at least an above-average secondary offering; he also has a feel for an average changeup that could potentially improve against more advanced hitters.

    Stripling as excellent in his rookie-level professional debut this past season, though it was expected given his experience; more of a high-floor pitching prospect with the upside of a Nos. 4 or 5 starting pitcher.

    2013 Opening Day Level: High-A Rancho Cucamunga

9. RHP Chris Withrow

2 of 10

    Position: RHP

    DOB: 4/1/1989 (Age: 23)

    Height/Weight: 6’4”, 220

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2007 (Midland HS, Texas)

    ETA: 2013

    2012 Stats: 3-3, 2 SV, 60 IP, 4.65 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 7.8 H/9, 9.6 K/9, 5.4 BB/9 (22 G; 7 GS, Double-A Chattanooga)

    Scouting Notes: The Dodgers’ first-round draft pick in 2007, Withrow has been regarded as one of the organization’s top pitching prospects for what seems like an eternity; 6’4”, 220-pound right-hander’s pure stuff and deep arsenal can be electric, but the results have never been there; has pitched at Double-A in each of the last four seasons but is yet to throw a pitch above the level; despite ongoing struggles, the Dodgers remained steadfast in his development as a starter; after throwing nearly 130 innings in both 2010 and 2011, his 2012 campaign was plagued by a slew of injuries, including a season-ending shoulder injury in Sept.

    Withrow boasts a plus fastball at 94-95 mph and will scrape 97-98 mph on occasion; has struggled to grasp a consistent feel for his late-breaking curveball, although it’s always flashed plus potential; his changeup is a fringy pitch in which he tends to slow down his arm which, in turn, impedes the pitch’s natural movement and makes it nearly impossible for him to locate it; he’ll also mix in a mid-to-upper-80s slider, although it’s yet another inconsistent pitch.

    The 23-year-old was ultimately moved to the bullpen this past season, and in the wake of his season-ending shoulder injury, it’s likely that he’ll be limited to a relief role moving forward; in my opinion, it’s a move that should have happened years ago.

    2013 Opening Day Level: Double-A Chattanooga (if healthy)

8. LHP Onelki Garcia

3 of 10

    Position: LHP

    DOB: 8/2/1989 (Age: 23)

    Height/Weight: 6’3”, 220

    Bats/Throws: L/L

    Drafted/Signed: Third round, 2012 (Cuba)

    ETA: 2015

    2012 Stats: 2 IP, 4 K (1 GS, High-A Rancho Cucamonga)

    Scouting Notes: 6’3”, 220-pound southpaw defected from Cuba in early 2011 with the hope of becoming an international free agent; was entered into 2011 draft but pulled his name out of the mix shortly thereafter; was entered in the draft again in 2012 but this time was drafted in the third round by the Dodgers; his frame involves little projection and he’s already 23 years old, but still has a fairly high ceiling.

    Garcia’s fastball sits 90-93 mph and noticeably sneaks up on opposing hitters; his plus curveball is a hard downer with a pace that’s difficult for opposing hitters to time, though he struggles to throw it for a strike early in the count; at the same time, it’s a legitimate out pitch and induces lots of whiffs; the development of his changeup is what will ultimately determine whether he’ll be a starter or reliever; given his age and the fact that he made his pro debut at High-A, Garcia could have a quick ascent to the major leagues.

    2013 Opening Day Level: High-A Rancho Cucamonga

7. RHP Garrett Gould

4 of 10

    Position: RHP

    DOB: 7/19/1991 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 6’4”, 190

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: Second round, 2009 (Maize HS, Kansas)

    ETA: 2014

    2012 Stats: 5-10, 130 IP, 5.75 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 9.7 H/9, 1.3 HR/9, 8.5 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 (27 G; 23 GS High-A Rancho Cucamonga)

    Scouting Notes: Another tall (6’4”), projectable right-hander, Gould enjoyed a breakout season last year for Low-A Great Lakes in his full-season debut; unlike many of their other pitching prospects, the Dodgers have eased the 21-year-old up the organizational ladder in addition to a team-imposed innings limit; has cleaned up his mechanics over the last two seasons and eliminated some of the injury concerns in the process.

    Fastball is slightly above-average in the 88-92 mph range, and he’ll occasionally reach back for a little extra; Gould’s curveball is, without a doubt, his best pitch and continues to receive plus-plus grades given its big shape and sharp bite; changeup gives him a third average pitch, though it pales in comparison to his breaking ball; oddly, the right-hander was far more successful against left-handed hitters (.588 OPS) than righties (.980 OPS).

    2013 Opening Day Level: High-A Rancho Cucamonga

6. RHP Matt Magill

5 of 10

    Position: RHP

    DOB: 11/10/1989 (Age: 23)

    Height/Weight: 6’3”, 190

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: 31st round, 2008 (Royal HS, Calif.)

    ETA: 2013

    2012 Stats: 11-8, 146.1 IP, 3.75 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 7.8 H/9, 10.3 K/9, 3.8 BB/9 (26 GS, Double-A Chattanooga)

    Scouting Notes: 31st-round draft pick has already proven to be a steal after turning in his best minor-league season in 2012 at Double-A; 6’3”, 190-pound right-hander has a lean and durable frame; his pure stuff isn’t overly impressive, but there’s something to be said for his steady improvements and subsequent success for the last four seasons.

    The 23-year-old right-hander has a solid feel for his three-pitch mix; fastball sits in the low-90s with sink when he’s consistently throwing it on a downward plane; slider has emerged as a slightly above-average secondary offering that has drawn more swing-and-misses over the last two seasons; changeup is fringe-average but is effective enough to keep hitters of his other two pitches; registered the best strikeout (10.33 K/9) and groundball (1.74) rates of his career, but also the highest walk rate (3.75 BB/9).

    Magill still needs to refine his overall arsenal and will receive plenty of time to do so next season in the minors; with a more consistent feel for the strike zone, he’ll likely serve as a No. 5 starter; don’t be surprised if he reaches the majors at some point after the All-Star break.

    2013 Opening Day Level: Triple-A Albuquerque 

5. LHP Chris Reed

6 of 10

    Position: LHP

    DOB: 5/20/1990 (Age: 22)

    Height/Weight: 6’4”, 195

    Bats/Throws: L/L

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2011 (Stanford)

    ETA: 2015 (2014 as reliever)

    2012 Stats: 1-4, 35 IP, 3.09 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 6.4 H/9, 9.8 K/9, 3.6 BB/9 (7 G; 6 GS, High-A Rancho Cucamonga); 0-4, 35.1 IP, 4.84 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 7.4 K/9, 5.1 BB/9 (12 G; 11 GS, Double-A Chattanooga)

    Scouting Notes: 6’4” southpaw was a closer at Stanford but has been developed as a reliever since turning pro; despite the lack of mileage on his powerful arm, the Dodgers have been careful not to overwork him but haven’t shied away from aggressively moving him up the ladder; Reed’s only plus pitch is his fastball which register 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.

    If his slider and changeup develop as the Dodgers hope, Reed’s ceiling of a Nos. 2-3 starter is realistic; however, he’s progressed slower than expected and is still a ways away from the big leagues despite spending the entire 2012 season at Double-A; seems more likely that he’ll return to the bullpen at some point over the course of the next year.

    2013 Opening Day Level: Double-A Chattanooga

4. OF Joc Pederson

7 of 10

    Position: OF

    DOB: 4/21/1992 (Age: 20)

    Height/Weight: 6’1”, 185

    Bats/Throws: L/L

    Drafted/Signed: 11th round, 2010 (Palo Alto HS, Calif.)

    ETA: 2014

    2012 Stats: .313/.396/.516, 96 R, 48 XBH (18 HR), 26 SB (14 CS), 81/51 K/BB (110 G, High-A Rancho Cucamonga)

    Scouting Notes: 20-year-old possesses quiet strength at 6’1”, 185, and showcased an all-around impressive set of tools this past at High-A; while his speed is only solid-average, his hard-nosed, aggressive mentality makes it play up a grade; has been developed as a center fielder over the last three seasons, though I’m not entirely sure he sticks there; both his reads and routes have an element of rawness, but his present athleticism and tremendous work ethic suggest 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.

    A left-handed hitter, Pederson made big-time strides at the plate this past season; power numbers were inflated thanks to hitter-friendly California League, but he should be good for average power by the time he reaches the big leagues; tracks the ball well and fires hands at the last minute; 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.

    2013 Opening Day Level: Double-A Chattanooga

3. SS/3B Corey Seager

8 of 10

    Position: SS/3B

    DOB: 4/27/1994 (Age: 18)

    Height/Weight: 6’3”, 195

    Bats/Throws: L/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2012 (Northwest Cabarrus, N.C)

    ETA: 2015

    2012 Stats: .309/.383/.520, 19 XBH (8 HR), 8 SB, 33/21 K/BB (46 G, Rookie-Ogden Pioneer League)

    Scouting Notes: At 6’3”, 205 pounds, has present physicality with room to tack on additional strength; in my opinion, far more projectable than his brother, Kyle (Mariners); highly impressive left-handed bat with the potential for above-average hit and power tool; exhibits all-around good habits that are uncommon in an 18-year-old; 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.

    Played shortstop exclusively in professional debut despite larger frame; I like that the Dodgers are willing to develop him there, which gives his bat even more value; possesses 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 good chance he outgrows the position as he matures and shifts to third base.

    Honestly, Seager’s my favorite prospect in the organization and might have ranked No. 1-overall had it not been for the midseason addition of Puig; everything he does on the field is natural while each of his tools project favorably at higher levels.

    2013 Opening Day Level: Low-A Great Lakes

2. RHP Zach Lee

9 of 10

    Position: RHP

    DOB: 9/13/1991 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 6’4”, 190

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2010 (McKinney HS, Texas)

    ETA: 2014

    2012 Stats: 2-3, 55.1 IP, 4.55 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 1.5 HR/9, 8.5 K/9, 1.5 BB/9 (12 GS, High-A Rancho Cucamonga); 4-3, 65.2 IP, 4.25 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 0.8 HR/9, 7.0 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 (13 GS, Double-A Chattanooga)

    Scouting Notes: Possesses a highly projectable and durable frame at 6’4”, 190 pounds; excellent athlete who was poised to be Louisiana State’s quarterback before the Dodgers offered him a $5 million bonus; 20-year-old has performed well at higher levels (relative to his age) following multiple aggressive promotions; intelligent right-hander who’s adept to slowing down the speed of the game.

    Hasn’t showcased the mid-90s fastball that was present in the months following the 2010 draft; sits 88-93 mph and doesn’t shy away from attacking both right- and left-handed hitters on the inner-half; mixes in both a cutter and two-seamer that come in a few ticks slower but features late sinking action to the arm-side; deep arsenal consists of both a curveball and slider, with the latter serving as the better breaking ball; changeup has nice fading action in the low-80s and projects to be an above-average-to-plus secondary offering.

    Given his age, Lee’s advanced command of his entire arsenal is mature beyond his years and hasn’t faltered despite the quick ascent to Double-A; don’t think he has true No. 1-starter upside, as it seemed when he was drafted, but his ceiling of a Nos. 2 or 3 should be reachable.

    2013 Opening Day Level: Double-A Chattanooga

1. OF Yasiel Puig

10 of 10

    Position: OF

    DOB: 12/7/1990 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 6’3”, 215

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: June, 2012 (Cuba)

    ETA: 2014

    2012 Stats: .400/.500/1.000, 7 XBH (4 HR), 7/6 K/BB (9 G, Rookie Arizona League); .327/.407/.423, 3 XBH, 7 SB, 8/6 K/BB (14 G, High-A Rancho Cucamunga)

    Scouting Notes: Muscular and physical frame at 6’3”, 215 pounds; lots of lean and quick-twitch muscles despite thicker appearance; strong wrists and forearms help generate plus bat speed to whip the barrel through the zone; impressive hand-eye coordination allows him to barrel tough pitches and suggests the potential for an above-average hit tool.

    Possesses a relatively lofty swing with plus raw power to all fields, though it may take some time for him to truly tap into it; there’s some swing-and-miss to his game caused by a hyper-aggressive approach and inconsistent load; tends to get out on his front side too often which hinders his pitch recognition; lack of experience is evident in his propensity to chase breaking balls out of the strike zone; once he learns to work more counts in his favor and employs consistent approach.

    His defense in right field is currently his weakest attribute; struggles to get consistent reads and, at times, seemingly lacks the necessary instinctual first stop; more experience and reps should lead to more direct routes with less of a need to track to the ball; even if he gets bulkier, his athleticism should keep him in the outfield; prototypical plus arm strength for a right fielder but lacks accuracy; speed is presently above-average and plays up a grade once he hits full stride; has the potential to lose a grade as he matures and adds strength.

    Puig’s bat will likely always be his calling card and gives him the highest-ceiling in the organization; needs substantial refinement in all aspects of the game, but should steadily improve with much-needed experience; his first real test will come upon reaching Double-A Chattanooga, presumably in mid-to-late-2013. 

    2013 Opening Day Level: High-A Rancho Cucamunga