Dynasty: Los Angeles Dodgers 2020 Preseason Top 50 Prospects

Adam Lawler takes a look at the Top 50 Dodgers prospects.

The Dodgers seemingly have tapped into their elite reserves. They have brought forward the brightest stars to the Big Show, traded them away for one of the 5 best players in the game, or will disqualify themselves from being prospect eligible within the first few weeks of the season. Yet somehow there are still depth. Granted, it’s not nearly as strong as names like Walker Buehler, Cody Bellinger, or Max Muncy, but they are still good enough to take note on. This speaks to the organizational structure itself. Unlike the Astros or Cubs, the Dodgers will not have a “reload” phase. They will continue to poor fuel onto the fire for the foreseeable future.

Note: These Top 50 lists are all done through a fantasy baseball focused lens. Many players who are ranked higher or lower on other platforms will get a boost here. For example, players who profile as middle relievers or glove-first infielders likely won’t have much fantasy relevance, so they won’t be ranked as high. 

 

1.  2B/SS Gavin Lux

Age: 22

Highest Level: MLB

Surprised? Lux, an MLB 2016 draftee out Indian Trail HS & Academy in Wisconsin, has taken the long road to uber-prospect status. Initial reports pegged him as a glove first, contact first utility infielder. The fantasy community collectively yawned and moved on with their lives. This belief held true in his first two campaigns, but in 2018, things shifted when the Dodgers brought in a new hitting coach and modified Lux’s workout regime.  The results were startling, Lux began to clearly pair launch angle, bolstering his HR/FB rate, with the already contact and established double digit walk rates. Since that point, Lux has rocketed up prospect lists and is another feather in the cap of an already stupidly successful Dodgers player development system.

Surprisingly, the glove lagged behind a bit but, when you have Corey Seager manning short, those things matter less. Lux is locked in at the Dodgers keystone and should receive a healthy amount of plate appearance albeit at the bottom half of the order. One caveat, there have been times when Lux has struggled against lefties. Even if Lux is just okay against southpaw’s, don’t be surprised if the Dodgers opt for a platoon given their insane depth and need to get players at bats.

ETA: Opening Day

 

 

2. P Dustin May

Age: 22

Highest Level: MLB

In more ways than one, May has been on a similar trajectory to that of Lux in more ways than one. The 2016 high school draftee was met with a collective wait-and-see response, which is totally sensible given that high school pitching prospects are the riskiest of gambles. That said, he has performed very well at every stop along the way to his big league debut last year.

It’s hard to not be excited about May. From an aesthetic perspective you can’t overlook the luscious red lox of hair, the old-timey leg kick within the delivery, and the low-angled arm slot are lots of fun! Pair that with mid-90s heaters and a breaking ball that generates enough air to power a small country and you have yourself a bonafide top-of-the-rotation starter.

If you want to pick at the value of May here it is: (1) the Dodgers are going to play games with workload, so you can’t honestly envision the Big Red getting more than 140 innings for next couple of seasons. (2) He has been known to struggle against lefties, giving up more homeruns and walks with just as many hits allowed in fewer innings across the span of several seasons. (3) The venerable Shelly Verougstraete sees him as a reliever.

Still, you could do worse. The Dodgers know how to optimize performance and will utilize every tool in their box to get the best possible result out of May. Go ahead and enjoy the benefits.

ETA: Opening Day

 

 

3. P Josiah Gray

Age: 20

Highest Level: AA

Despite just 39 innings pitched over last year’s campaign in AA, Gray is likely the pitcher with most upside in the Dodgers farm who is not named Brusdar Graterol. Gray has some nice, repeatable,near effortless mechanics that help keep hitters off balance. On the mound, the fastball plays, displaying some high octane velocity could play up given the aforementioned mechanics.

The last sentences main operative word was could. Gray’s bugaboo is command. As I mentioned before, the fastball is live, but it is a double edged sword. He’s not particularly efficient when he is on the mound. Given the lack of control on the fastball there is very little in the way of swing-and-miss stuff at the moment and his so-so slider needs improvement before he actualizes his ceiling.

ETA: 2021

 

4. 3B Kody Hoese

Age: 22

Highest Level: A

The 2019 first round pick of the Dodgers. Hoese, a college bat out of Tulane, was a late blooming monster. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and peep the junior year slash line: .391/.486/.779. After absolutely crushing the ball, he slowed down in his first taste of big league ball as one does. But don’t get it twisted, slowing down from a torrent pace just means he did very good instead of absurdly good.

There’s no reason to think this is noise either. He’s a big boy with an easy swing that will put on more muscle over the next couple of years, which could do two things: (1) move him off of 3B and (2) push him for more power beyond what’s already presented. Don’t be alarmed though, I truly believe he has enough in the bat to play at a corner outfield or 1B slot.

ETA: 2022

 

5. 3B Miguel Vargas

Age: 20

Highest Level: A+

Boy do I love me some Miguel Vargas. The Cuban defector signed with the Dodgers in 2017 and immediately displayed a penchant for controlling the zone and his body while his eye has been on full display. Outside of an initial struggle in 2019, Vargas has never posted an OBP below .353 and SLG below .400. Pair that with with digestible K rates and it all bodes well for the big boy. Buy in now before his value sky rockets beyond his actual worth.

ETA: 2021

 

6. P Tony Gonsolin

Age: 25

Highest Level: MLB

Oh look, another really good reliever that could be a serviceable starter when called upon. I really like Gonsolin’s fastball and splitter. They are nasty. Pair that with an ability to control a strike zone and two other average pitchers and it’s a little maddening to think about him as a swing man. The Dodgers have an embarrassment of riches and Gonsolin is exhibit G.

ETA: Opening Day

 

7. C Kiebert Ruiz

Age: 21

Highest Level: AAA

In the world of dynasty baseball, you were either a Will Smith stan or a Kiebert Ruiz boi. Smith has won the battle, but Ruiz is prepared for war. The hit tool hasn’t yet actualized, but you can see it in his approach and swing. Power might get him to 15+ homeruns, but I wouldn’t bank on more than that. So what are we left with in the end? Francisco Mejia with less playing time? Eh? The lead time for his arrival is a bit murky as well. If I were to place a bet on it, I would assume Keibert doesn’t wear Dodger blue.

ETA: 2022

 

8. C Diego Cartaya

Age: 18 

Highest Level: R 

But a child in this world. Signed out of the womb by the Dodgers in 2017 (?). Has a frame to build upon, but I hate catchers and the lede time to seeing what he can do is a long one. He’ll finally get his first taste of full-season baseball coming up in 2020. Go ahead and pencil him in for a good walk rate paired with decent power. If he can fill out, he’s going to be an intriguing name and the heir apparent to current starter Will Smith.

ETA: 2023

9. 1B/OF Edwin Rios

Age: 25

Highest Level: MLB

If Rios were a Yankee’s prospect the hype would be unreal. Hit tool carries the day for my beautiful pet project. An absolutely gorgeous uppercut swing which permeates a salivating level exit velocity. Unfortunately, he lacks a defensive home, which gives him the look and feel of a Quad A player. The glove is so bad. Please give me baby boy a home to play in so baseball can be that much more fun.

ETA: 2020

10. P Brusdar Graterol

Age: 21

Highest Level: MLB 

Initially known as the reason the Mookie deal could fall apart, now known as the return in the Kenta Maeda deal. The scan on his shoulder is the reason why everything was held up, and that doesn’t bode well for a guy with a history of health concerns. Still, the stuff is undeniable. A veritable ace in the hole or heir apparent to an aging Kenley Jansen.

ETA: Opening Day

11. P Gerardo Carillo

Age: 20

Highest Level: A+

Carillo is sneaky. With a tiny frame and shoulder issues, red flags abound and the howls from a prospect industry claiming reliever are fair.  I don’t love the delivery. It’s slow and jerky. He doesn’t check his runners very well which allows for people to advance on him with relative ease. Still, he has very good stuff. During the 2019 AFL, the heavy bite on his fastball showed, as multiple bats broke when hitters tried fouling off the 100 mile-an-hour offering in on the hands. Like most Dodger pitchers, if you give him 100 innings as a starter, he might be very good. Anything beyond that and I would worry about his ability to sustain performance.

ETA: 2021

12. P Dennis Santana

Age: 23

Highest Level: MLB

Oh look, a really good bullpen arm that’s yoyo’ed between the bigs and OKC. Injuries have derailed Santana’s once eye popping pedigree. His slider is the best in the system and generates a ton of swing and misses.  It’s a shame he’ll never be the starter everyone thought he would become.

ETA: Opening Day

 

13. 3B Michael Busch

Age: 22

Highest Level: A

I was able to watch Busch in a few games during his time at UNC. Has all the makings of the next dude who the Dodgers make into a perennial all star. A middle infielder with a sweet swing and patient plate approach, scouts tag him as more of a line-drive hitter than a masher. Wait. Are we talking about 2017 Gavin Lux? Give Busch 2 years in the hands of Dodger’s player development and check back with me.

ETA: 2022

 

14. OF DJ Peters

Age: 24

Highest Level: AAA

Once interesting, now not. Power and speed combo combined with a respectable glove still make him somewhat intriguing, but boy howdy is the hit tool slack. I’ve been burned one too many times on these types of players in dynasty leagues. You dream on 25-25 and wind up with waiver wire fodder.

ETA: 2021

 

15. OF Jeren Kendall

Age: 24

Highest Level: A+

Another, remember some prospect guys from the mid-2010’s. Once interesting, now not. He is a poor man’s DJ Peters. Speed was always his calling card, but it’s hard to run when you strike out at Rougned Odor levels. Kendall is way too old for his level. He’s a quad A player.

ETA: Expanded rosters in 2021. Injury replacement player…maybe. 

 

16. SS Alex De Jesus

Age: 17

Highest Level: Rookie

I absolutely love this kids swing. Power is always a question for someone this young, but he’s able to patiently sit back on the ball with a smooth leg kick, seemingly in control of his body through the entire swing path. This approach garners plenty of contact despite his aggressiveness, and should continue to manifest against advance pitching and nastier breaking balls. Allegedly a shortstop, bet on him being more of a 2B/3B type.

ETA: 2025

 

17. 2B Zach McKinstry

Age: 25

Highest Level: AAA

Bargain bin Gavin Lux. Honestly, there’s not much daylight between these two in terms of development. Once a slappy middle infield prospect that seems fine, but certainly not good. Then, McKinstry got a hold of the water in Oklahoma City and began displaying some very intriguing power. Color me intrigued.

ETA: 2021

 

18. OF Andy Pages

Age: 19

Highest Level: Rookie

A Cuban J2 signing, Pages destroyed advanced rookie ball, destroying lesser than pitchers to the tune of 19 dingers over 279 plate appearances. Unlike Dodger hitting prospect Alex De Jesus, Pages has a leg kick more pronounced (think Justin Turner). That is a yellow flag for someone who pulls balls and hits fly balls, which has played out to the tune of 50%+. Tread lightly, my friend. When it comes to advanced hitting and fielding, you can see this type of profile crater into the mesolithic age.

ETA: 2023

 

19. OF Luis Rodriguez 

Age: 17

Highest Level: Rookie

Perhaps the only thing the Dodgers have more than tweener pitchers is teenage outfielders. According to reports I’ve read, Rodriguez lacks the intrigue of the names ahead of him here, but he makes up for it in floor. It’s a smooth swing with all fields approach that isn’t as violent as Pages, but also doesn’t generate as much power. If you were playing the dynasty stock market, he’s more of a bond.

ETA:  2023

 

20. P Michael Grove

Age: 23

Highest Level: High-A

Oh hello there. A 6’3″ fella with plus fastball hurler with two plus breaking balls and is now coming back from Tommy John surgery?  Despite the fact that the Dodgers used kid gloves during the first season back from surgery, he still seems like a starter profile more so than the aforementioned names.

If I were into pitchers for dynasty drafts, I would definitely be into Grove.

ETA: 2022

 

21. P Mitchell White

Age: 24

Highest Level: AAA

White is 2020 exemplified. There was so much hope and promise and then…we have no idea how we ended up caught with our pants down outside of a San Bernardino Denny’s crying about how we were supposed to be something once.

No? Just me?

ETA: 2020

22. 2B Devin Mann

Age: 22

Highest Level: A+

Have you heard the one about a Dodger’s middle infield prospect adjusting his swing plane and hitting for more power? He’s the next McKinstry who’s the next Lux, but right handed. Dodger’s gonna dodge…

ETA: 2022

23. P Ryan Pepiot

Age: 22

Highest Level: A

The Dodgers took Pepiot in the 3rd round of the 2019 MLB draft. It was actually surprising he fell that far and signed for such a tiny amount given the incredible numbers he put up during his college career. His build is prototypical starter type and you would think given his pedigree he would be a fast mover.

So what’s the catch? Well, his delivery is borderline bad which has led to concerns about consistency and health. If the Dodgers can work some devil magic on him, you have an ace lurking.

ETA: 2023

24. P Robinson Ortiz

Age: 20

Highest Level: A

After some respectable performances in the previous two seasons, Ortiz has leveled out some after coming into A-ball. His high leg kick makes his delivery a little wonky and there are reasons to question whether the adjustment in his delivery will produce a more effective curveball. Still just a 20 year old southpaw with high-end velocity leaves enough room for a flier in deeper leagues.

ETA: 2023

25. P Andre Jackson

Age: 24

Highest Level: A+

Being 24 in high-A should be enough to give anyone pause on investment. Consider that Jackson has had Tommy John. An athlete with a good frame and four offerings should be enough to pencil into the “check back soon” priority listing of your dynasty leagues.

ETA: 2022

26. P Carlos Duran

Age: 18

Highest Level: R

Imagine being an 18-year-old, 6’7″, 250-lbs. monster boy prodigy with a plus fastball and knee bending curveball. Now imagine being inconsistent in your growth and everyone tagging you as a “reliever”. Seems unfair? It is unfair. This is the last name on the list that I might take a flier on in 16-team’s or fewer depending on the size of your prospect pool. If there’s a rebound season, I’m buying. 

ETA: 2024

27. P Jimmy Lewis

Age: 19

Highest Level: N/A

Lewis would be much more interesting if he hadn’t torn his labrum. In my eyes, that’s a more-or-less a death sentence in a pitcher. If he salvages his talents over the next two or three seasons, the 6’6″ Texan could be very intriguing.

ETA: 2025

 

28. 2B Omar Estevez

Age: 22

Highest Level: AA

Though easily dinged up and not quick footed (three stolen bases over two years), Estevez has put the bat on the ball and listed respectable slash lines at every stop.  Still a 2B with mid-teens to low-twenties power and no speed isn’t super sexy.

ETA: 2024

 

29. 3B Brandon Lewis

Age: 23

Highest Level: A

There’s a limited track record on Lewis, but scouts tag him with above average power. After tearing up rookie ball over a couple hundred plate appearances, he came into A-ball and struggled a little. Fangraphs write up on him tells an interesting tale of an lost soul making his way in the world. It’s worth a read.

ETA: 2022

 

30. OF Cody Thomas

Age: 25

Highest Level: AA

While the power is major league level, the hit tool is well behind as exemplified by an atrocious 33% strikeout rate. He needs to grow with patience and plate recognition. Being 25 you and I have doubts will be realized.

ETA: 2021

 

31. P Edwin Uceta

Age: 22

Highest Level: AA

A tiny framed righty with a middling fastball and a nice cambio who needs muscle to become anything more than a very effective long reliever.

ETA: 2023

 

32. P Josh Sborz

Age: 26

Highest Level: MLB

His swing-and-miss stuff is of note, so much so that the Dodgers elected to call him up for a hand full of brief appearances that weren’t very notable. Struggling against lefties, he’ll need to figure it out to be something worthwhile in anything more than the deepest of leagues.

ETA: 2020

 

33. P Victor Gonzalez

Age: 24

Highest Level: AAA

Post surgery he began to throw mid-90s heat with ability vs both handed batters and displays middling control. He’ll be up whenever baseball starts again.

ETA: 2020

 

34. P Jerming Rosario

Age: 18

Highest Level: Rookie

There’s not enough here to definitively say he’s the next big thing for the Dodgers. However, the Dominican teenage wunderkind was the No. 23 international prospect and during his first season he limited the opposition to 4 total earned runs over 45 innings. Not too shabby.

ETA: 2025

 

35. 2B/SS Jorbit Vivas

Age: 18

Highest Level: Rookie

On namesake alone, I love Jorbit. There isn’t a lot of tape on Vivas, but reports are that he’s everything the Dodgers seek out in their hitting prospects. A lot of contact in a compact, strong swing. Unlike other players within the system, Vivas skews on the smaller side of the world. He needs more meat on him before I can buy in.

Vivas la Jorbit.

ETA: 2024

 

36. 3B Cristian Santana

Age: 23

Highest Level: A

Well, if he could take a walk I’d be much more interested. Strong progression and very impressive up until this point. Still, take a walk.

ETA: 2023

 

37. SS Jacob Amaya

Age: 21

Highest Level: A+

I actually really like Amaya as a real life player. I have no idea where he’ll land. He’s kind of old for the CV/FV to be as disparate as it currently stands. There’s not much power there, so…I guess what I am saying is that Amaya is a slappy middle infielder.

ETA: 2023

 

38. P Hyun-il Choi

Age: 19

Highest Level: R

In 2019, the Dodgers signed Choi straight out of a Korean high school. He went on to post strong numbers in the AFL. Don’t be fooled by the box scouting though, his velocity is subpar and the promise is on command and improvement on his breaking ball.

ETA: 2023

 

39.  P Jack Little

Age: 22

Highest Level: A

No stuff, good control. His changeup needs to be harnessed before taking him seriously as a prospect who can start in the show. Projectable swingman or a 5-and-dive starter.

ETA: 2023

 

40. P John Rooney

Age: 22

Highest Level: A+

The southpaw struggled with a finger dinger out the gate in 2019, which healed and proved effective during his stint in Rancho Cucamunga. Needs a put away pitch to become a starter.

ETA: 2022

 

41. P Brett de Geus

Age: 22

Highest Level: A+

Watching de Geus closely next season. His 31 innings in high-A ball was impressive, but he needs more control or his numbers will balloon.

ETA: 2022

42. P Jose Martinez

Age: 21

Highest Level: A+

Another southpaw with three good pitches and no put away pitch. I don’t love changeup first arms working out as starters in the majors.

ETA: 2023

 

43. 3B Luis Yanel Diaz

Age: 20

Highest Level: R

Signed as a child out of the Dominican, Diaz has been slow going through the Dodgers system moving off of short and onto the hot corner. He’s shown some power, but he clearly needs improvement in plate recognition. Give him another year or so before cutting bait entirely.

ETA: 2025

 

44. OF Ismael Alcantara

Age: 21

Highest Level: A

Old for his level and not a lot in the way of power, but efficient base stealer.

ETA: 2024

 

45. OF Zach Reks

Age: 26

Highest Level: AAA

Quad-A player smell all over this guy. Solid line every stop along the way, but nothing that had stood out until 2019 when his ISO started really popping. That tends to happen when you’re 3 to 4 years older than others you are playing against.

ETA: 2020

46. OF James Outman

Age: 23

Highest Level: A

Contact issues for the fleet footed Outman could lead to him being on the outs, man.

ETA: 2023

 

47. SS Eddys Leonard

Age: 19

Highest Level: A

Doesn’t hit for a lot of power, which is something you need when your position is definitely going to be 2B, not SS.

ETA: 2024

 

48. OF Starling Heredia

Age: 21

Highest Level: A+

One of my original dynasty loves. You will always and forever be in my top 50. He became eligible for Rule-5 at the tender age of 21 after being in the Dodgers system for what seems like a decade.

 

ETA: 2023

49. P Yadier Alvarez

Age: 24

Highest Level: AAA

What happened to you? You were Mitchell White before Mitchell White. A meteoric rise only to fall into the atmosphere and burn up like space trash. Outrighted in spring training, this star crossed righty has seen better days.

ETA: 2020

 

50. 3B Sauryn Lao

Age: 20

Highest Level: A

Mr. Irrelevant probably has a brighter future than most names ahead of the immediate names ahead of him, but he needs to pick it up in a hurry if he wants to survive at corner infield for a system loaded with them.

ETA: 2023

Image created by Zach Ennis, an angel among us.

Adam Lawler

Fun dad. Generally tired. Follow me @TheStatcastEra.

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