Los Angeles Dodgers’ 2021 Preseason Top 50 Prospects

With a strong young core, LA's upper ranks are beginning to get crowded

As we prepare for the season ahead, the Pitcher List staff will be creating profiles for every fantasy-relevant player for 2021. Players will be broken up by team and role through starting pitchers, bullpen, lineup, and prospects. You can access every article as it comes out in our Player Profiles 2021 hub here.

The Dodgers system isn’t nearly as deep as its been in the past, but there is still a good crop of talent in the pipeline. They have thrived off homegrown talent, with their refusal to trade guys like Walker Buehler, Corey Seager, and Cody Bellinger as prospects helping lead them to a World Series victory. Add in more recent high-profile graduates like Gavin Lux and Dustin May, and all of a sudden their farm looks significantly thinner. Like most winning teams though, they have thrived by creating sustainable player development and by turning careers around (see Max Muncy). This is nothing but great for the players in their system, but doesn’t always translate to fantasy success.  Additionally, their major league roster filled with those aforementioned young stars is beginning to block some top prospects still in the upper minors…these are the perils of being a good team.

Below is a ranking of the top-50 prospects in the Dodgers system. This ranking is done from a fantasy baseball perspective, and parts of the order have been adjusted accordingly. There are many on this list that could turn into quality baseball players, but whose skillsets limit their fantasy appeal. Aspects like that will be noted in their blurbs. The lack of a minor league season in 2020 means that our last look at many of these prospects was in 2019, so expectations should be tempered accordingly.

 

1. RHP Josiah Gray

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: Double-A

Josiah Gray sits atop the Dodgers list and is likely the closest to making a big league impact. The athletic righty is a converted infielder with a fairly advanced feel on the mound for someone who only started pitching full time in 2018. His arm action is clean and lightning quick, getting good ride on his 93-96mph FB. After jumping three levels in 2019, he looked sharp in spring training and in a pre-season intra-squad outing, showing both good mechanical consistency and command of all three pitches. He pairs that riding FB with a SL and CH that both project to be above average offerings. The SL appears to have two distinct looks, with a slower slurvy look in the 78-81 range and a tighter “slutter” look that sits in the mid-80s. The changeup has been a work in progress but generated some off-balance swings from notable big league hitters in the intra-squad game linked above. After posting strong numbers across a healthy 130 innings in 2019, Gray is a consensus top prospect among non-dynasty publications—but I’ve seen him as low as No. 8 on other dynasty-focused rankings. I understand the argument for him to be lower in dynasty rankings, even for the sole reason of him being a pitcher, but I think Gray is severely underrated in the dynasty community. Though pitchers are more volatile than hitters, all prospects come with inherent risk. Personally I could not consciously overlook his proximity to the majors, recent improvements, and team’s developmental reputation. With less milage on his arm a clean injury history, I think he has No. 2-3 starter upside and should battle for a rotation spot in 2021.

ETA: 2021

 

2. INF Michael Busch

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: Single-A

Busch is the latest draftee in an increasingly popular shift-aided 2B Max Muncy/Mike Moustakas profile. He played 1B and LF at UNC (with some reps at 2B in the Cape League) though his 6’0″ 200lb frame makes for some positional ambiguity. The Dodgers drafted him as a 2B and think he can be passable there on a semi-regular basis. Wherever he ends up, they will stomach the defensive downfalls if he continues to hit. Busch slashed .282/.429/.492 over three seasons in Chapel Hill and had a similarly productive .322/.450/.567 slash over 111 PAs on the Cape. He has a patient approach at the plate, with an 18% BB-rate furthering the Muncy parallels. He has decent power, though he’s yet to fully show it in-game yet, with 26 of his 32 career homers coming in his final two collegiate seasons. A hand injury ended his instructional league debut prematurely, but he will enter 2021 as an advanced college hitter with improved versatility helping fast-track his path to the majors. There are other options ahead of him on the depth chart—notably Gavin Lux and Zach McKinnstry, not to mention Muncy himself—but Busch shouldn’t be too far away from being deployed as a bat-first utility option.

ETA: 2022

 

3. OF Andy Pages

 

Age: 20

Highest Level: Rookie

Pages is now three years removed from signing for $300k out of Cuba, having added clarity to a previously raw profile. After positive, albeit not dominant showings, in his pro debut, Pages exploded in 2019 leading the hitter-friendly Pioneer League with 43 XBH  (17HRs, 55RBI, .651 SLG). He was poised to get a taste of A-ball in 2020 before COVID halted the minor league season. He possesses impressive power, with a steep uppercut swing expectedly generating both light-tower power and hefty strikeout rates (his 24 degree launch angle would rank among the highest in baseball). That swing helps maximize power from his 6’1″ 180lb frame, but Pages has added strength since signing and that should hopefully allow him to refine the bat path without sacrificing power. While strikeout totals are not as deterring in today’s game, contact is really the only thing preventing Pages from being a star. He has above average speed, with good instincts and a plus-plus arm in CF. That athleticism will allow him to stay in CF for now, though given the arm strength he could easily move to RF. Undoubtedly still raw, the power/speed combination creates a tantalizing path for Pages to produce star-level offensive output while sticking in CF. In a worst-case scenario, Pages moves to a corner where he profiles as a typical strikeout-prone power bat. I see a likely outcome somewhere in between, where he makes small contact improvements and is able to play CF in the short term before shifting over to RF as he matures.

ETA: 2023

 

4. C Diego Cartaya

 

Age: 19

Highest Level: Rookie

Cartaya leapfrogs Keibert Ruiz as the Dodgers’ top catching prospect, though he is the riskier option between the two. He is carried by his hit tool, with an advanced line-drive approach showing promise of not just contact but good contact. His bat explodes through the zone from an upright load (think Ronald Acuña and Aaron Judge), though that approach does not produce oodles of power nor does it significantly limit strikeouts. That being said, Cartaya has a solid offensive floor and an approach that should translate well as the competition gets tougher. Defensively Cartaya is not an advanced receiver but has an absolute cannon of an arm—developing a reputation for back-picks and an overall run-stopping presence. Receiving skills take time to develop and there is still hope for him to be above average (an automated strike zone would all but alleviate those concerns), though the arm alone is enough for him to remain behind the plate for now. Teenage catchers are hard to project, but Cartaya has all the makings of an above average regular. The existence of fellow young catchers Will Smith and the aforementioned Ruiz leave him without a clear path to playing time barring trade (more on that below), but being a few years behind those two allows Cartaya to take time developing and allow future playing time to sort itself out. Given a chance to play regularly, Cartaya will be an above average offensive catcher with a doubles approach and line-drive power.

ETA: 2023

 

5. C Keibert Ruiz

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: MLB

Ruiz has joined Will Smith near the top of Dodgers prospect lists for the past several seasons, and got a brief 8 AB cup of coffee in 2020 that included him homering off Julio Teheran in his first big league AB. He falls to No. 5 on this list not because of anything he has shown, but simply because Smith seems to have asserted himself as the starter for the foreseeable future. Defense is below average but not entirely hampering, with advanced receiving and framing skills helping make up for a lack of athleticism behind the dish. He may eventually move to a 1B/DH role, but should be able to catch in the short-term. Ruiz is a switch hitter with great contact skills, though much power has yet to materialize from his stocky crouch at the plate. His bat-to-ball skills seem to mask an undisciplined approach, where he often chases outside the zone that leads to weak contact. So even with good contact skills it’s important to remember that not all contact is good contact, especially for a catcher who doesn’t run particularly well. That being said, Ruiz is clearly near big league ready going into 2021 and will continue to be a sought after prospect in trade talks—a trade that could open the door to everyday playing time and would greatly benefit his fantasy outlook. This goes back a few years, but the comp that keeps coming to me is Victor Martinez. The resemblance just hits you over the head, everything from the switch hitting to the free swinging contact approach to the remarkably similar crouch at the plate. He has been passed by Cartaya now, as I think Cartaya has more potential and is at less risk of being blocked, but Ruiz is still a good player and a valuable prospect. He should produce at an average or better rate if given the chance to play regularly.

ETA: 2021

 

6. SS Jacob Amaya

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: High-A

Amaya continues to shoot up this list after being taken in the 11th round in 2017. While he doesn’t have the pedigree of some guys on this list, he is a well rounded player who does everything well despite not having a carrying tool. This is a player type I personally tend to favor more than most, so take that for what you will. After a solid showing in rookie ball, Amaya slashed .262/.381/.394 with a 129 wRC+ at A ball in 2019 before earning a promotion to High-A at the tail end of the season. He has a good eye (15% BB rate) and has decent BP power which shows the potential for at least doubles power in-game. The 6’0″ 180lb SS is another good player that got lost in a glut of SoCal prep talent, but the Dodgers plucked him from their backyard in East LA and have turned him into someone who projects to be an everyday SS in the majors. There is some utility risk if the bat goes cold, but I think he will hit well enough to be an above-average regular.

ETA: 2022

 

7. 3B Kody Hoese

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: Single-A

Hoese is an interesting prospect, and probably the top-10 ranking I most struggled with. He has the prospect pedigree, taken in the 1st round in 2019 after a strong season at Tulane. It was a draft year break out that saw him hit 23HRs and increase his OPS by over 200 points. After regressing in pro-ball thus far, some are wondering whether Hoese’s breakout was real. Some, including Gavin Lux, reported Hoese was the best hitter at the Dodgers 2020 alt site, so take that into consideration as well. There are other contributing factors, most notably a wrist/forearm injury that saw him miss time both at the end of 2019 and this past spring before the shut down. That forced him into a DH-only role in his pro debut and completely sapped his power. He was never a big power hitter though, with more of a quick, double-oriented swing, so it’s not like the injury eliminated his only tool. He is athletic enough to play other INF positions, including SS, so a move there could lessen the burden on his bat. Assuming the wrist has healed, 2021 will be a pivotal year for Hoese. This is the ranking I am most worried about, and if the bat comes back to life he should move quickly though the system, but there is still more risk with Hoese than you like to see from older college draft picks.

ETA: 2022

 

8. SS Wilman Diaz

 

Age: 17

Highest Level: N/A

Diaz signed for $2.8M on January 15th, with the Venezuelan infielder having been rumored to sign with LA before the J2 period was pushed back. He was thought to be among the best IFAs available. He is one of (if not the best) hitter in this class, with explosive bat speed and natural pull power. He doesn’t project to hit for a ton of power, but he has excellent plate discipline and still has time to add strength to his smaller frame. I wouldn’t expect a ton of power, but the advanced hit tool should make up for that. Defensively he plays a clean SS, with the range and arm strength to stick long term. It remains to be seen whether his speed manifests itself in SB, but it looks to be above average and should help him stretch out a few extra XBHs. As always there is inherent risk with such a young player who has yet to debut, but Diaz has a solid all-around toolset and is advanced enough to have a spot in this top 10.

ETA: 2024

 

9. RHP Bobby Miller

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: N/A

After a string of hitters we reach Miller, the Dodgers 1st rounder in 2020. The righty out of Louisville is definitely an example of “what they look like,” standing at 6’5 220lb with a good SL and a FB that can touch 100. He began his college career in the pen but moved to the rotation mid-way through his sophomore season, where he and fellow 2020 draftee Reid Detmers formed a strong weekend pairing. Though the 2020 season was cut short, he had dominant showings against two formidable opponents in Ole Miss and Wake Forest. The lower half of his mechanics are clean, though he has funky long and straight arm action that I would almost describe as right-handed Alex Wood. Despite that, he sat in the 94-96 range and showed consistency going deep into games. With a plus high-80s SL and a mediocre-but-developing CH, Miller should have no problem being a starter at the next level. There is no clear No. 2 pitcher in this system behind Josiah Gray, but of the next group I think Miller has the best chance at starting.

ETA: 2022

 

10. OF Luis Rodriguez

 

Age: 18

Highest Level: Rookie

Rodriguez is someone I think will vault up this list in the near future. He signed for $2.6M in the 2019 J2 period and is a toolsy CF with advanced instincts. There is little video on Rodriguez, having been a fairly recent signing and then missing out on fall instructs as instead the Dodgers opted to send many of their older prospects for reps after the missed minor league season. Rodriguez has an athletic 6’2″ 175lb frame that can potentially make for an exciting power/speed combination. He obviously has room to grow, and from the short videos I was able to find he looks to have sneaky gap-power. He has enough speed to stick in CF, and lauded instincts should help solidify that even if he loses a step or two with growth. His speed at present would also translate to 15-20 SBs, as he would likely profile as a top-of-the-order hitter. He’s definitely few years away and losing a year of development hurts, but he has the potential for above average tools across the board and is someone to watch closely in 2021.

ETA: 2024

 

11. RHP Ryan Pepiot

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: Single-A

As his surprisingly active LinkedIn profile shows, the Dodgers took Pepiot in the 3rd round out of Butler in 2019. The 6’3″ right-hander has a filthy CH that he used to strikeout 31 batters in 23.1 innings while reaching A-ball in his pro debut. He has a simple delivery though with a slightly larger frame it often takes him a few batters to settle in. He pairs the CH with a running FF that sits 93-94 and a sharp CB. He was part of the Dodgers 60-man player pool in 2020 and had the chance to face a lineup of Dodger regulars in summer camp. That outing was a mixed bag, but highlighted by a strikeout of Cody Bellinger. The CH looked good when located, though he struggled with glove-side CB command and tended to leave the FF over the plate. With those three plus pitches he has the chance to start, though I think he ultimately moves to a multi-inning relief role where the stuff should play up while also masking command issues. He should move fairly quickly into that role with a likely 2021 debut, though that may be delayed if the Dodgers opt to develop him as a starter.

ETA: 2021

 

12. 1B/3B Miguel Vargas

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: High-A

Vargas is an advanced hitter signed by the Dodgers out of Cuba in 2017. He torched A-ball in 2019, slashing .325/.399/.464 at in 70 games at Low-A before earning a promotion to High-A where he maintained a respectable .284/.353/.408 line in 54 games against more advanced pitching. His setup at the plate has changed a bit, with less pre-swing movement but a bigger leg kick. The load/swing transition isn’t very smooth, at times making him look off-balance, but he has great bat speed to make up for it. His approach is geared toward airborne contact, which helps boosts power projections for someone who hasn’t shown a ton in pro-ball yet. Defensively Vargas is very much on the 1B/3B cusp, and though I don’t think he can be a regular 3B he can certainly play there in a pinch. He should settle into a corner role and has a well rounded bat that should provide plenty of fantasy value.

ETA: 2022

 

13. RHP Clayton Beeter

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: Rookie

Beeter was a late riser in the 2020 draft class after an injury-plagued career at Texas Tech. Coming off TJS in 2017 and arthroscopic surgery in 2018, the flame-throwing righty was sitting 95-98 out of the Red Raider bullpen in 2019. He maintained that velocity as a starter in 2020 with two dominant breaking balls to go with it. The Dodgers took him in the 2nd round and gave him reps both at their alt site and in fall instructs. He has a slow, deliberate windup with good extension and a high-3/4 arm slot generating good backspin on the FF. The SL and CB both look like well above-average offerings and complete a major-league ready reliever’s repertoire. Though he had small sample success as a starter in 2020, the injury history and pure stuff make me relatively confident Beeter ends up in the bullpen, though he is good enough to hold a high-leverage role and produce enough value to be relevant in fantasy.

ETA: 2022

 

14. 3B Alex DeJesus

 

Age: 18

Highest Level: Rookie

DeJesus signed for 500k in 2018 as a J2 player from the DR and is a big body 3B with good raw power. Though he was signed as a SS, he likely he moves to either 3B or 2B with below-average range limiting his defensive ability. The bat should be enough to carry him though. He projects to have above average power, with a leg kick and lengthy load setting up a quick swing. The bat speed and compact swing should give him the ability to make consistent contact. He looked like more of a free swinger in his pro-debut which is certainly something to keep an eye on, although he also showed the ability to make adjustments and specifically punish pitches low in the zone. DeJesus is still quite raw, but I think he can be a big league regular if the hit tool improves. A move to 3B likely heightens offensive expectations but his ability to play up the middle could help him fit a bat-first utility role.

ETA: 2024

 

15. INF Zach McKinstry

 

Age: 25

Highest Level: MLB

McKinstry made his MLB debut in 2020 after being taken in the 33rd round in 2017. The 6’0″ 180lb infielder hit at every level of the minors, jumping three levels in both 2017 and 2018. His longest stint at a single level came in a 95 game stint at double-A where he slashed .279/.352/.455 with 12 HRs, before following that up with a 177 wRC+ in a 26 game taste of Triple-A. It was a noticeable power surge for someone drafted as a glove-first middle infielder, and that opens eyes. He is still a capable defender, strongest at 2B but surely capable of playing 3B and SS. As a LHH, he projects to occupy the strong side of an infield platoon, but will likely have to settle for a bench role on the loaded Dodgers in 2021. Knowing the Dodgers carousel of players though, McKinstry should still see plenty of opportunities to help fill the voids left by Joc Pederson and Kike Hernandez.

ETA: 2021

 

16. RHP Andre Jackson

 

Age: 24

Highest Level: High-A

A 2017 12th rounder, Jackson was a two-way player at Utah that is still relatively new to pitching full time after undergoing TJS as an amateur. Despite that, he looks like a viable big league starter, with a FB that sits 93-96, a decent curve, and the recent implementation of a “slutter” that may end up becoming his best pitch. He struck out 91 hitters in 66.1 innings at High-A in 2019 and was added to the Dodgers 40-man this offseason. Given his age and roster presence he should be close to debuting, with starter traits and good enough stuff to make him fantasy relevant.

ETA: 2021

 

17. LHP Victor Gonzalez

 

Age: 25

Highest Level: MLB

Gonzalez made his debut for the Dodgers in 2020 and established himself as one of Dave Roberts’ go-to lefties in the playoffs. The breakout for Gonzalez stemmed from a velo bump, getting up to 97 in 2020 after years of sitting 92-94. That uptick was aided by a permanent move to the bullpen, where his stuff in general played up in shorter outings. He throws a mid-80s SL that posted gaudy numbers in his small 2020 sample—56% whiff rate, 40% putaway rate, .175 xwOBA, .125 xBA—it is a legit out pitch. He all but ditched the CH out of the pen, but it showed some promise for him as a starter which could conceivably give him three above average pitches. His command improved noticeably (2.5% BB-rate), and his batted ball profile is one of the best in the baseball. Obviously Kenley Jansen isn’t going anywhere, but Gonzalez looks to have found a home in the bullpen and is very much someone to target should he fight for high leverage opportunities in 2021.

ETA: 2020

 

18. RHP Michael Grove

 

Age: 24

Highest Level: High-A

Grove was a starter at West Virginia until a sophomore season elbow injury forced him to miss his draft-eligible season. He was still good enough pre-injury (and showed enough in pre-draft workouts) for the Dodgers to take him in the second round in 2018. He spent 2019 at High-A working in short outings, where he sat 91-94 with both a good mid-80s SL and low-80s CB. He worked the FB well up in the zone and looks to get good extension so there may be some added perceived velocity to account for. He pitched at the Dodgers alt site in 2020 and looks to be making a push to debut in the near future. It will likely be out of the bullpen, but I think he can be a solid multi-inning weapon with good enough ratios to be relevant in deeper leagues.

ETA: 2021

 

19. C Jesus Galiz

 

Age: 17

Highest Level: N/A

Galiz is the second IFA LA signed in the delayed J2 period. The Venezuelan catcher is lauded for his defensive work, with scouts sighting his advanced baseball IQ and strong arm strength. He looks to be a well rounded, albeit not monstrous, offensive producer with a hit tool that is comparable to most higher profile J2 guys. Teenage catchers are volatile, and we have discussed the young catching depth this system already possess, but Galiz looks to be next in line.

ETA: 2025

 

20. RHP Gerardo Carillo

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: High-A

Speaking of bullpen arms, Carillo is certainly a name to keep an eye on for a future high-leverage relief role. The 6’0″ 160lb righty is on the smaller side but has a free-fire delivery that maximizes velocity, at times reaching 99. Repeatability is Carillo’s main struggle, with command issues all but sealing his fate as a relief-only profile. He has four pitches nonetheless, with an advanced changeup that plays well off his sinking FB (the Dodgers loooove power sinkers in the bullpen). His breaking pitches (typical SL and CB) are easily discernible, and may serve him best if morphed into a hybrid slurve. Command will be his make or break, as even average command could make Carillo a late inning bullpen weapon.

ETA: 2022

 

21. RHP Mitch White

 

Age: 26

Highest Level: MLB

I still have some cautious optimism for White, who finally debuted for the Dodgers in 2020. Injuries have plagued the 6’4″ righty, who was ranked among the Dodgers top 10-20 prospects just a short time ago. When healthy he can touch 97 with two quality breaking balls. He sat 93-95 in his 3 inning debut, effectively mixing 32% CB, 27% FF, 23% SI, and 18% SL (holy small sample size, batman!). He can be erratic at times and is no longer considered a starter, but I think he can put it together in shorter outings from the pen. He is likely to battle for a middle relief spot in 2021, and though he has the potential to outgrow that role he also comes with inherent injury risk. He’s treading water in the middle of this list but his roster presence gives him a leg up.

ETA: 2020

 

22. OF Jake Vogel

 

Age: 19

Highest Level: N/A

Vogel was LA’s 3rd round pick in 2020. He didn’t get a ton of pre-draft hype, but the Dodgers gave him a well over slot bonus of $1.6M and immediately invited him to their alternate site. That gave Vogel some helium. The 5’11 160lb outfielder was known to be a good runner, with the defensive capabilities to stick in CF. The bat reportedly showed promise at the alt site and in instructs though, both against advanced pitching. In an interview, Dodgers Farm Director Will Rhymes echoed that, and “was surprised” when he saw him hit in BP, noting that Vogel “hits the ball really hard” and hinted at a potential swing adjustment. He is very much a project, but all signs seem to point in a positive direction for Vogel. He has the speed and defense to play CF, and offensive consistency in 2021 could quickly propel him up this list.

ETA: 2024

 

23. 2B Jorbit Vivas

 

Age: 19

Highest Level: Rookie

Vivas isn’t the most exciting prospect, but he looks highly likely to find a major league role. The Venezuelan infielder had strong rookie ball showings in 2019, with advanced contact skills from the left side. He has a smaller frame and a compact swing but with some natural loft could tap into sneaky power. He isn’t the greatest defender, which likely limits him to 2B, but he is still just 19 and the bat is advanced enough I feel confident he will grow into a semi-regular infield role.

ETA: 2022

 

24. RHP Jimmy Lewis

 

Age: 20

Highest Level: Rookie

This brings us to a clump of pitchers I really struggled to rank. I have Lewis ahead because I think he has the best chance to start. The 6’6″ righty doesn’t throw that hard, last reported topping out at 93mph. What gives Lewis the best chance to start is his secondaries, with a big 12-6 CB and advanced changeup feel rounding out his repertoire. His command is on par with typical Texas HS pitchers—which is to say, a work in progress—but he commands the secondaries well enough that I think the FB command will come around. He is also coming off a shoulder injury, and I would be willing to bank on a few ticks of added velo when he’s full healthy. There is obvious risk with Lewis, but he’s a projection arm with a decent chance to start.

ETA: 2023

 

25. RHP Kendall Williams

 

Age: 20

Highest Level: Rookie

Williams is another 6’6″ righty from the 2019 draft, though the Dodgers recently acquired him from the Blue Jays as a PTBNL in the Ross Stripling deal. Though he has been a starter thus far there is certainly a chance Williams moves to the bullpen in the near future. The IMG product has a violent cross-body delivery and struggles to repeat his delivery. The FB sits 93-95, but his secondaries are not as advanced as Lewis’. There is an opportunity for Williams to refine his delivery (which could also help command issues), but he has a longer road to sticking in the rotation and is ranked with that in mind.

ETA: 2024

 

26. RHP Nick Robertson

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: Rookie

Yet another 6’6″ righty? Yup. Robertson is my favorite of this group, though his relief profile limits fantasy upside. He emerged in 2020 instructs with a greatly improved FB that reaches the upper-90s and grades out well with spin metrics. The 2019 7th rounder pairs the FB with a power curve, and reportedly gets good mirroring having improved the spin-axis on both pitches since his pro-debut. The command is below avg, but an added year of development and full time move to the bullpen should help refine that. He is a Dodgers development project that may be nearing completion.

ETA: 2022

 

27. RHP Landon Knack

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: N/A

Knack might have the best stuff in this group, but his age and injury history are hard to ignore. The 2020 second rounder was drafted as a 5th year senior out of East Tennessee State, coming off a short season where he struck out over two batters per inning. He sits in the mid-90s and can reach 98 in short outings. He only has one secondary, though it’s a wipeout SL that looks like a legit putaway pitch. He is most definitely a reliever, but could advance quickly if he is able to stay healthy.

ETA: 2022

 

28. LHP Robinson Ortiz

 

Age: 20

Highest Level: Single-A

Ortiz took a massive leap heading into 2020 spring training, where he was consistently touching 98 after sitting 90-93 in 2019. The improvement stems from a delivery overhaul that aimed to help him get more break on his CB (which it did) but also looks to have greatly improved his velo in the process. Before the change he was a 3/4 arm-slot command-oriented middle relief guy, but with three average or better pitches now looks to have late-inning upside. He did not pitch at any of the Dodger affiliated sites in 2020, so it will be important to see how his development carries over in 2021.

ETA: 2023

 

29. RHP Edwin Uceta

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: Double-A

Uceta is a well rounded starter whose 40-man roster presence should give him an opportunity relatively soon. His FB sits 92-94, though he has advanced feel for both his CH and CB. The 2016 J2 signing spent 2020 at the Dodgers alternate site and had been pitching for Estrellas in LIDOM before their playoff elimination. He had a 3.21 ERA with 76 Ks in 73 innings at Double-A, but with middling velocity may struggle to miss bats at upper levels. Uceta projects to be a viable but uninspiring back-end starter.

ETA: 2021

 

30. RHP Jerming Rosario

 

Age: 18

Highest Level: Rookie

Rosario is a younger arm but is someone I strongly considered putting up with Lewis because of his chance to start. The 2018 IFA signing is still just 18 and already has a composed delivery to match a starter’s repertoire. He dominated in 13 games (all of them starts) at rookie ball in 2019, positing a microscopic 0.79 ERA in 45.1 innings. Granted, rookie ball numbers should be taken with a grain of salt and his 2.93 FIP shed some light on his pro-debut. The main concern is that he doesn’t miss many bats, with a 24% k-rate and 15.9% k-bb rate. With an average FB that tops out around 94, he would greatly benefit from added strength. He is certainly young enough to do that, but it’s harder to project given his small frame. The command is still developing, but Rosario has starter traits and could turn into a back-end starter relatively quickly.

ETA: 2024

 

31. OF James Outman

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: Low-A

Outman had strikeout issues at Low-A in 2019 as a college draftee from Sacramento State. That is cause for concern, but he was solid when he made contact. He has good pull power, with natural loft to his lefty swing. The carrying tool is his speed, which helped him steal 20 bases in 2019. That power/speed combo is tantalizing for fantasy managers, and is enough to make Outman a platoon OF if he can make more consistent contact.

ETA: 2022

 

32. 2B Omar Estevez

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: Double-A

Estevez can hit. He has hit at every level so far, without a season off-the-charts success but consistently producing at an above average rate. I was surprised that Estevez is still just 22, remembering that he signed out of Cuba back in 2015. He has been pushed aggressively and has been among the youngest at every level he’s played thus far. His approach is a polished balance of power and on-base skills, with a line-drive approach that should produce lots of doubles along with 15-20 HRs at peak. The main issue with Estevez is defense. He is a poor defender, even at 2B, which doesn’t contribute a ton to his fantasy relevance but also doesn’t help his chance at a big league roster spot. Additionally, he doesn’t run well enough to maximize XBH potential and will provide little to no value on the bases. The bat is good enough to be fantasy relevant, but he needs to improve athletically to have a real shot at regular playing time.

ETA: 2022

 

33. 2B Devin Mann

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: High-A

Mann had a mini power surge at High-A in 2019 before an injury ended his season. The added power stemmed from an offseason swing change, and resulted in a productive .280/.357/.500 slash line. He isn’t the most athletic player, but he has quick hands and a relaxed stance at the plate. He should be able to play a passable shift-aided 2B, potentially seeing time at the infield corners as well. It’s a fairly middling set of tools—40/45s across the board Mann comes across as the average computer generated player in MLB The Show—but it’s well rounded enough to push for a future bench role.

ETA: 2022

 

34. OF/DH Zach Reks

 

Age: 27

Highest Level: Triple-A

The 27 year-old slugger was finally added to the Dodgers 40-man this offseason. He was a walk-on at Kentucky, and a 10th round senior sign by the Dodgers in 2017. He hit 28 homers between Double-A and Triple-A in 2019, with the typical three-true-outcome profile (27% K-rate, 12.5% BB-rate, .236 ISO) to go along with it. The downside is Reks is a liability in the field. He has primarily played LF, though the Dodgers have tried him at 1B both in ’18 and ’19. He has both below average range and arm strength, and shouldn’t see extended time on the grass. He would greatly benefit from a universal DH, though given his age he is likely a Quad-A fringe guy and/or trade bait for an AL team.

ETA: 2021

 

35. 3B/1B Brandon Lewis

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: Low-A

Lewis has a well documented career turnaround, which includes losing over 70lbs early in college before transferring to UC Irvine and ultimately becoming a 4th round pick. He is still a large human, standing at 6’3″ 215lbs, but it’s far more defined and allows him to play an uninsulting 3B. He had some issues adjusting to Low-A pitching in 2019, with a 28% K-rate in 12 games there after slugging his way through rookie ball. The hit tool still isn’t great, nor is the speed or defense, but the Dodgers can stomach that so long as he continues hitting for power. He has a cannon at 3B (played 2-ways early in career), but will likely move to a 1B/DH role in the upper minors.

ETA: 2023

 

36. RHP Carlos Duran 

 

Age: 19

Highest Level: Rookie

Duran is another Dodger-patented large human, with the righty hulking over hitters at an imposing 6’7″ 250lbs. His lower arm slot generates a sinking FB that sits 93-96, and would pair well with his CH if he could locate it regularly. The CB is his best secondary, though it is fairly recognizable out of the hand. Additionally he struggled with command in 2019, with a 39/20 K/BB ratio in his second year at rookie ball. He’s been a starter thus far but I think his size and pitch mix eventually end up in the bullpen. Duran is a younger high-risk/high-reward version of the big arms ahead (Williams, Robertson, Lewis, etc).

ETA: 2024

 

37. C Carson Taylor

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: N/A

Taylor is a bat-first switch hitting catcher the Dodgers took in the 4th round in 2020 out of Virginia Tech. He suffered a broken hand during his freshman season but as a draft eligible sophomore slashed .431/.541/.690 in 17 games, a hot streak that enhanced his draft stock and was likely the difference in getting drafted at all. He is a poor defender behind the plate but has an outside shot to stick with some minor improvements. Though a move to 1B is likely, Taylor’s bat is worth keeping an eye on.

ETA: 2024

 

38. OF Jose Ramos

 

Age: 20

Highest Level: N/A

The young Panamanian is an advanced CF defender with above average speed and a cannon for an arm. The bat is still a work in progress and doesn’t project to be anything spectacular, so that limits his fantasy upside. If he could reach base at a league average rate it would enable him to use his speed for some SB value. Look for any offensive improvements as the glove is his carrying trait and gives him a clear path to playing time.

ETA: 2023

 

39. LHP Octavio Becera

 

Age: 19

Highest Level: N/A

Becera is the younger left-handed version of Edwin Ucetca—a command-oriented pitcher without overpowering stuff but good secondaries and promising starter traits. His FB only sits 92-94, but as a teenage lefty there is still room to grow. The CH looks like a legitimate weapon, flashing a plus SL and CB as well. He was an older J2 signing in 2019 and spent 2020 in the Mexican Pacific League. He should make his pro-debut in 2021 and could move quickly given his age.

ETA: 2024

 

40. RHP Hyun-il Choi

 

Age: 20

Highest Level: Rookie

Choi chose to come stateside as a J2 player rather than the KBO route and it may very well pay off for him. At 6’2″ 200lbs he doesn’t have the most projectable frame, but the Dodgers say he has physically matured since signing. He doesn’t have most complete repertoire, with a low-90s FB and below avg CB, but he comes with a nasty splitter that could carry him to the majors. He has decent command and pitched well as a starter in rookie ball (sub-3 ERA over 11 starts). He might be physically maxed, but his advanced arrival gives him added time to develop with pro personnel in the minors and still debut at a young age.

ETA: 2023

 

41. OF Cody Thomas

 

Age: 26

Highest Level: Double-A

Thomas is a lefty thumper who has hit 19+ homers every year since his 2016 debut. He was a two-sport athlete in college and has only been playing full time since he turned pro. The lack of experience shows in his lofty k-rates, though he posted a career low of 27% in 2019. He has the power, runs pretty well, and looks like a capable corner OF defender. He was left untaken in the Rule IV draft but still has some late-bloomer traits. If he can cut down the strikeouts he would be a strong-side platoon candidate, but given the late development he has less time to do that.

ETA: 2022

 

42. 3B Christian Santana

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: Double-A

Santana is an interesting prospect case. While most young hitters struggle to make consistent contact, Santana actually makes far too much of it. He has great bat speed and above average raw power, but is massively held back by a swing-at-everything approach. This causes him to make tons of weak contact, with a frankly impressive amount of grounders from someone with his bat speed and bat path. He is a capable defender at 3B, with a good enough arm that some consider him a pitching convert candidate given his offensive woes. It’s a maddeningly good set of tools being held back by a maddeningly bad approach.

ETA: 2023

 

43. OF DJ Peters

 

Age: 25

Highest Level: Triple-A

Welcome to episode three of “Good Tools, Bad Approach.” Peters has legit power from the right side—hitting 27, 29, and 23 homers the past three seasons, respectively. Unfortunately he has the strikeout rates to match, posting rates of 32%, 34%, and 31% in those same three seasons. He moves remarkably well for someone who stands 6’6″ 215lbs, and can handle all three OF spots. He is close to the majors, but likely doesn’t have a role in a stacked Dodger outfield.

ETA: 2021

 

44. RHP Juan Morillo

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: Rookie

A relief prospect that has a good FB that hits 96 and may have room to grow. The issue is command and lack of secondaries. Morillo’s slider was reportedly looking better in instructs, but still neither that nor the CH look like good enough out-pitches. He was another Rule IV eligible player that went untaken, though his velocity and relative youth keep him on the roster fringe radar.

ETA: 2023

 

45. RHP Osvanni Gutierez

 

Age: 19

Highest Level: Rookie

Gutierez doesn’t have good velo, but has advanced feel for his secondaries and the makings of starter traits. The 2019 Cuban J2 signing debuted with just a single inning in the fall league, where he sat 90-92 with a plus changeup. He’s a ways away right now and is purely a speculative add until we get an extended look.

ETA: 2024

 

46. RHP Josh Sborz

 

Age: 27

Highest Level: MLB

Sborz debuted in 2019, had a four-game stint in 2020, and at this point is basically a non-prospect. He has the typical relief profile, with a middling FB/SL combo mixed with the occasional sinker. He has some deception, but likely doesn’t have the stuff to make an impact. He will likely be part of the Dodgers Quad-A bullpen carrosel again in 2021 and is not fantasy relevant.

ETA: 2020

 

47. OF Jeren Kendall

 

Age: 24

Highest Level: High-A

The 2017 1st rounder has taken a fall down prospect lists. Kendall still has loud tools, notably well above avg speed and defense, and can still hit for some power. The issue is contact skills, and he’s struggled enough to where he no longer projects to see regular playing time. A late inning defense/pinch runner role likely isn’t enough to produce fantasy value.

ETA: 2022

 

48. RHP Jose Martinez

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: High-A

Martinez fits the typical relief profile, with a sinking FB in the 92-94 range and a decent CH. The SL is below avg but he’s the type of player that rebuilding teams take a flier on.

ETA: 2022

 

49. RHP Guillermo Zuniga

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: Rookie

The 6’5″ Colombian initially signed with the Braves in 2016 but was one of the prospects freed in the aftermath of Coppollela-gate. His FB velo was down 2019 but he looked to gain it back when moved to the bullpen, which is where he now projects to stay. The SL is a good enough secondary that he is able to miss bats. Further progression hinges on command adjustments in short outings.

ETA: 2022

 

50. SS Leonel Vera

 

Age: 20

Highest Level: Single-A

Vera is still young but has sputtered a bit since debuting in 2016, reaching full-season A-ball in 2019 for the first time and posting below-average results. He is a good runner and plays a sure-handed SS, though his lack of arm strength will mitigate him to 2B down the road. Projects to be bench depth if he reaches the upper minors.

ETA: 2024

 

51. 2B Eddys Leonard

 

Age: 20

Highest Level: Rookie

At this point you are throwing darts. Leonard fits the type of profile I favor, well rounded athletic infielders. He hit very well in rookie ball, with a contact-oriented approach and whatever power he can grow into. Can play both middle infield spots well. I’m willing to bet on the subtle-but-well-rounded player to find a useful role over the “Good Tools, Bad Approach” guys, but that’s more personal preference than anything.

ETA: 2024

 

52. C Hunter Feduccia

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: Single-A

Feduccia and Leonard were mainly just keeping Top-50 seats warm for Wilman Diaz and Jesus Galiz, two of the top IFA prospects LA is expected to sign. Feduccia hit well at Low-A in 2019, but that is expected from an SEC hitter against bad pitching. He will likely stick around as upper minors catching depth.

ETA: 2024

Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Redler (@reldernitsuj on Twitter)

Natan Cristol-Deman

A California native and noted Mike Soroka fan, Natan's interests include player development, roster construction, strategy, and analytics. You can find him on twitter @natan_cd

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