5 Impact Prospects Who Could Make the Los Angeles Dodgers' 2015 Roster
The Los Angeles Dodgers’ farm system is improving, and it has both depth and impact talent. However, it does not really have both at the same time. Joc Pederson is the only elite prospect who is close to the big leagues. The rest of the older prospects are not future superstars, and the high-upside players are still at the lower stages of the minor leagues.
Even with that, though, an infusion of youth is coming. The pitching depth in the organization is impressive, and some of those players will finally be arriving. With an aging big league roster and a bad bullpen, the new front office will be relying on new talent to fill some holes.
Joc Pederson, OF
Pederson is the obvious name on this list. He is 22 years old (and will be 23 early next season), he spent a full year at Triple-A and he was dominant in the minor leagues. He posted a 1.017 OPS with Albuquerque, even while playing a premium defensive position: center field.
The fact that he made his major league debut in 2014 obviously bodes well because it signifies that the organization recognizes that he is close to being an impact player.
The issue, of course, is where he would play. He profiles as a starting outfielder, so keeping him as a fifth outfielder is not ideal. Realistically, though, he talented enough to force his way to Los Angeles.
Scott Schebler, OF
A left-handed hitting but right-handed throwing outfielder, Schebler is actually in an entirely different situation from Pederson.
He profiles more as a corner outfielder than a center fielder (according to MLB.com), and his lack of pedigree means that the team will be more likely to let him grow as a fourth or fifth outfielder—imagine a left-handed version of Scott Van Slyke.
Corey Seager, SS
This is the cream of the crop. Seager is the elite prospect of the Dodger system: a 20-year-old shortstop who can absolutely hit.
Considering that he played a total of 38 games in Double-A, there is a zero percent chance that he starts the season with the big league team. But that does not preclude him from seeing the majors at some point.
Seager’s immediate future is likely dependent on the decision the front office makes regarding free-agent “shortstop” Hanley Ramirez. If Ramirez is re-signed, then Seager will probably spend much of the year in the minors.
However, if the Dodgers move on from Ramirez, they could sign a placeholder who Seager pushes aside at midseason. Regardless, even if Ramirez returns, Seager should see some playing time in September if all goes according to plan.
Zach Lee, RHP
Given the big league team’s struggles with pitching health in 2014, Lee probably should have made his debut this past season. However, he was so horrendous in the minors (5.38 ERA in Triple-A) that there was simply no justification for rewarding him with a call-up.
He has an impressive pedigree, though. He is a former first-round pick who has made multiple appearances on top 100 lists, so it’s reasonable to assume that a bounce-back season is coming. If it does, he could feature prominently in Los Angeles in either the rotation or the bullpen.
Chris Reed, LHP
Reed’s story is actually quite similar to Lee’s. He, too, was a first-round pick, although the numbers he has put up haven’t quite been as elite as Lee’s had been.
But like Lee, if he had been as good as he could have been in 2014, he would have seen the majors. For that reason, it wouldn’t be shocking to see him with the Dodgers.
However, he does need to pitch better. There are concerns that he can’t get righties out—he had sizable platoon splits in 2013 and in a tiny sample in 2011—and his walk rate has not improved over the course of his career.
At the very least, though, he should be a valuable bullpen option, even if he can’t pitch well enough to start.