Baseball Prospectus had this to say about LAD.
The Dodgers have procedurally generated devastating slider and changeup shapes for nearly every arm in their system, while the hitting corps boasts a trio of power-hitting backstops amidst a wider variety of potential impact bats. Despite recent graduations and deadline buys, LA’s system retains its depth.
It is that depth that is special. They do lack elite prospects, but most on this list will become MLB players and many could become regulars. Baseball Prospectus Top 10.
- Dalton Rushing – C
- Josue De Paula – OF
- Nick Frasso – RHP
- Thayron Liranzo – C
- Michael Busch – 2B/OF
- River Ryan – RHP
- Kyle Hurt – RHP
- Andy Pages – OF
- Diego Cartaya – C
- Payton Martin – RHP
Dalton Rushing (catcher in picture) is medium risk with a grade of Occasional All Star – Hit First Backstop. Still needs to work on his bat to ball skills, but has good power projection. He has a good eye and patience. He draws a lot of BB’s so his OBP will be good. And combined with his projected SLG, Rushing should have a good OPS throughout. It is Baseball Prospectus’ opinion that Rushing should begin to be pushed, and I could not agree more. He will be 23 to start the season, and I would expect that to be in Tulsa.
“He goes I got a curveball… then he throws a heater. And I was like oh FUCK” pic.twitter.com/h59mCYElEn
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) July 9, 2023
Josue De Paula is rising very fast in the prospect rankings. He has an excellent hit tool, but a power tool that is going to need work. He has a low launch angle that I am sure the LAD development crew will work on. He was 18 years old in full season A Ball and was not overwhelmed at all. He is not a GG corner OF, but should be more than capable of playing LF. Excellent bat to ball skills with a good eye who draws nearly as many BB as K. With an excellent projection for OBP, if he can get his SLG up, he could be a perennial .800+ OPS everyday corner OF.
Nick Frasso is another big (6’5”) RHSP. Now that Pepiot has moved to Tampa Bay’s rotation, Frasso has catapulted to the top of my favorite LAD MiLB pitcher. He is a Southern California product who went to Palos Verdes Peninsula High School in Rancho Palos Verdes. Frasso was a Toronto 4th round draft pick out of Loyola Marymount. The Dodgers acquired Frasso at the 2022 trade deadline for Mitch White and Alex De Jesus (INF). The Dodgers also got LHP Moises Brito, who I am cautiously optimistic about. Frasso had UCL surgery right after being drafted (Walker Buehleresque). It was not a full TJ surgery but was done with an internal brace.
Frasso has a mid-90’s fastball that will touch 100 with arm side run.. He has two potentially excellent secondary pitches. He has a two planed slider that consistently sits in the upper 80’s. He also has a potentially plus plus changeup. The biggest concern for Frasso is his durability. However that is going to be hard to discern. He was less than 2 years removed from elbow surgery and got stomach flu last year, losing 15 pounds sapping his strength. He still managed 93 innings. He has good swing and miss and decent control. Baseball Prospectus says he is “a gangly weapon fine-tuned in a laboratory to carve through a lineup exactly twice.” He will make the MLB roster in 2024. Probably not as a starter, but should see bullpen action. He has long term projection as a starter, and IMO the Dodgers were looking at Nick Frasso assuming the projected role of Ryan Pepiot.
Thayron Liranzo is a hit/slug first catcher. He is getting a little too much DH and 1B time rather than catching. While his swing and miss is very apparent, so is his potential prodigious pull side power. Baseball Prospectus loved his elite exit velocities as a 20 year old in full season A Ball. But they project him as a DH who will catch some.
River Ryan is a converted SS drafted in the 11th round by San Diego in 2021. He was acquired March 2022 for Matt Beaty. He is a power fastball/slider combo pitcher. He sits in the mid-90‘s and touches 100. His slider is upper 80’s with some in zone whiff. He has a curve with 12-6 shape that comes out of the same tunnel as his fastball. He does have a change that he is still developing. Baseball Prospectus projects him to be a mid-rotation starter that still needs to work on his command and control. He is going to get a good education this year at AAA.
Kyle Hurt is 5th round pick by Miami in 2020 out of USC. So you know I like him. Kyle has a four pitch arsenal that mid to upper 90’s fastball, with a put away change. He does have a slider and curve combo, but his fastball/change combo is so good that he screams late inning high leverage reliever. He is 26 with multiple Dodger RHP prospects who are more apt to start, but do not have the same feel for his fastball change combo ideal for relief work. IMO Hurt could be a very near closer for the Dodgers.
Andy Pages has torn labrum surgery last year after a very good start. Pages is a MLB ready OF who will need ABs to convince himself and others he still is a top OF prospect. We will get our first look at him in ST to see if he is still on the rise.
Diego Cartaya was once a top 10 MLB prospect and top catcher prospect. He has great power, but does have swing and miss tendencies. Cartaya has trouble with spin, and with upper MiLB pitchers landing these as strikes, Cartaya’s hit and miss problems were exasperated at AA. He is still a work in progress as a catcher, but his game calling skills improved greatly in 2023. His “in-game pop times south of 1.9 despite a release that can get long—the arm is just that good.” While the elite catchers seem to gravitate to MLB at an early age, many of the good to very good take a little more development. I think Cartaya has to start at AAA so as not to block their #1 prospect Dalton Rushing.
Payton Martin is another converted infielder that the Dodgers are developing into potentially a top pitcher prospect. I have written a lot on Martin. He was a teenager who dominated most of the time in full season A Ball. He still needs development, and he needs more stamina and durability, but he has every bit of promise to be a solid mid-rotation starter. Martin “looks like LA’s traditional fast-armed, athletic supination profile with a feel to land glove-side breakers.”
It appears that the Dodgers strategy with pitching is acquiring power arms and then developing a “procedurally devasting slider and changeup shapes.” That is who the Dodgers have a stable full of. Ryan Pepiot will be missed, but he is replaceable by multiple RHP in their system.
The next best:
- Justin Wrobleski – LHSP – My last year dark horse.
- Joendry Vargas – SS – Perhaps the best 5-tool player in the LAD system.
- Gavin Stone – RHP – His changeup worked in MiLB while MLB sat on his fastball.
- Trey Sweeney – SS – Best SS prospect in the upper minors for the Dodgers.
- Kendall George – CF – I am really looking forward to see him more in 2024. Will he be top ten at end of year?
- Eduardo Quintero – OF – He could shoot up the project lists or fizzle. I think he is a projectable MLB OF.
- Maddux Bruns – Publications are mixed on Bruns. He has good “stuff” but more than questionable control. Most, not all, project Bruns to be a reliever.
- Ronan Kopp – LHRP – Moved to the pen. He is a LH version of a high leverage late inning reliever to Kyle Hurt. He was outstanding in the Arizona Fall League.
- Jake Gelof – Future LAD RH hitting 3B with power and worrisome contact rates.
- Austin Gauthier – Utility – The next CT3, but with exceedingly better contact skills. He is an OBP machine. MiLB career .433. He will be in AAA this year.
- Landon Knack – Control over “stuff” RHSP. Back end starter with a mid-rotation ceiling.
- Hyun-Seok Jang – We should get our first look at 19 year old 6’4” RHP who already throws 98. 4 pitch arsenal with minimal command and control. Look for him to move up quickly after his professional debut in 2024.
Both Kyle Hurt and Ronan Kopp are explosive strikeout pitchers. Hurt could break with the MLB club after ST, while Kopp could (should) move quickly now that he is converted to full time reliever.
I did not include any write up on Michael Busch. A lot has been written on him. He has nothing left to prove in MiLB, so he will be on some team’s 26 man roster. Will it be the Dodgers?