Connect with us

Dodger Baseball

Are LAD Prospects Withering On The Vine?

Brandon Gomes was recently quoted,

“Ultimately it’s just about continuing to add as much pitching talent and depth as we possibly can.”

I do not think the Dodgers have a depth problem as much as the upper register talent.  I believe that Gomes is letting all of us know that the LAD kids are not projectable top of the rotation starters.  At least for 2024.

It is now being hinted that with Ryan Pepiot being traded to Tampa Bay, that any potential trade for Dylan Cease is now on life support.  CWC’s Chris Getz was rumored to be very interested in Ryan Pepiot.  It was Getz’s decision to pull Cease off the market until the top FA were signed.  If he wanted Pepiot, he should have worked a little more diligently to try and make a deal.

Is he willing to pivot to other pitchers in the Dodgers stable?  Is he at all interested in Michael Busch or Miguel Vargas?  Do any of the LAD catching prospects interest Getz.

Glasnow for Pepiot was a one-for one swap, and while the addition came at the top of the rotation and not the back end of the rotation, LAD did improve the overall rotation but did not add to their depth.

It’s not Breaking News to say that current LAD management prefers veterans over their rookies. They prefer the experience.  More importantly they prefer MLB experience.  They preferred Jason Heyward to Jonny Deluca or any of their other OF blocked in AAA.  They preferred Max Muncy to either Miguel Vargas or Michael Busch. They preferred Tyler Glasnow to Ryan Pepiot.   AF/BG presumedly believe all of those moves makes the Dodgers better in 2024.  I agree.

I have steadfastly maintained that the Dodgers farm system is great for adding depth, but the elite everyday players or top of the rotation pitchers do not come around very often.  That is a different approach than Casey Porter, Dodger Daily, who has not seen a Dodger prospect who he does not believe will be an All Star.  So how do they acquire them?  FA or trade.  Will Smith, Gavin Lux, and James Outman are the only home grown regulars, and they have produced 1 All Star appearance.  Walker Buehler (2 X All Star) and Bobby Miller are considered top pitching.  Tony Gonsolin had a great ½ year and earned an All Star spot, but was never considered top of the rotation.

Reading the tea leaves, it certainly appears that the Dodgers may come in behind both NY teams and maybe SF in their quest for Yoshinobu Yamamoto.  Yamamoto was considered to be the only FA top of the rotation pitcher the Dodgers were looking at.  There are pitchers who may be available via trade.

But trades have their hiccups as well.  We do not know if the Dodgers would have pulled the trigger on the trade for Glasnow had they not been able to extend him.  Corbin Burnes says he is not expected to agree to an extension.  He wants to go through the FA process.  Does that disillusion AF/BG? Does the Adrian Houser trade who was considered the Brewers #4 change their strategy?  I just do not see it as the NL Central is very winnable…even the Pirates.

Two other top pitchers have been discussed as possible trade candidates.  Dylan Cease has two years and Jesús Luzardo has three years of team control, making a trade without extension more palatable.  I am certain there will be others that will be presented to the Dodgers.  The problem is, does either team match up with the Dodgers in a potential trade?  BTW, while both are considered available, I do not consider either Edward Cabrera or Trevor Rogers as front line Miami pitchers.  Braxton Garrett would be a good mid rotation addition, but not as a #1 or #2.  However, there is no indication that he is available.

But a burgeoning problem facing LAD AF/BG is the age and diminished trade value the Dodgers depth possess.  Fans love the stars, but those stars then tend to block MiLB prospects.  Last year the Dodgers gave Miguel Vargas a clear runway for the everyday 2B job.  At the same time, James Outman forced his way onto the roster and starting lineup.  Does he get that chance without LHH Gavin Lux getting injured?  Probably not.  The Dodgers needed another LH bat, and Outman proved he was ready.  The Dodgers were more than prepared to go into the season with Trayce Thompson as their CF.  MLB experience vs rookie.  The rookie got the chance and made the most out of it.

OTOH Vargas did not stick at 2B, but by being sent back to OKC, that led to Mookie Betts being more of the regular 2B, opening up for fulltime at 2B for 2024.  With Vargas no longer considered for the position as a regular.

It is the LAD contention that unless the kids get a clear runway, there is no reason to keep them in MLB.  Keep them back in MiLB where they get their ABs and they continue to get stretched out.  But is that fair to the prospects?  Even if it is fair to the prospects, is it the correct strategy?

Let’s take a look at some of the aging MiLB talent.

Pitching Depth

  1. Emmet Sheehan – 24 – exceeded rookie limits 2023
  2. Nick Frasso – 25 – Has not made MLB Debut
  3. Kyle Hurt – 26 – Still a rookie
  4. Landon Knack – 26 – Turns 27 July 15 – Has not made MLB debut
  5. River Ryan – 25 – Turns 26 on August 17 – Has not made MLB debut – Not on 40 man
  6. Gavin Stone – 25 – Still a rookie
  7. Alec Gamboa – 27 – Has not made MLB Debut – Not on 40 man
  8. Michael Grove – 27 – exceeded rookie limits 2023

If the Dodgers move any of the above, is Kendall Williams (23) ready to replace them on the organizational ladder?  How far away is LHSP prospect Justin Wrobleski (23)?  I am not a big Ben Casparius fan, but there are some that are.  Could he have a breakout year in 2024 as others did in 2023?  Ronan Kopp could be a LHRP ready this year.

MLB Ready players with no position

  1. Miguel Vargas – 24 – exceeded rookie limits 2023
  2. Michael Busch – 26 – Still a rookie

It serves absolutely no purpose to have either player back at OKC.  How good of a pitcher can they acquire with one of them as a headliner in a package?


  1. Diego Cartaya – 22 – Has not made MLB Debut
  2. Hunter Feduccia – 27 – Has not made MLB Debut
  3. Dalton Rushing – 23 – Has not made MLB Debut – Not on 40 man

This does not take into consideration Thayron Liranzo and other potential catcher prospects…Jesus Galiz.  And more long term, a couple of teenagers just out of the DSL.

AAA Outfield Depth

  1. Drew Avans – 28 – Has not made MLB Debut – Not on 40 man
  2. Ryan Ward – 26 – Has not made MLB Debut – Not on 40 man

Both of those OF are older than a OF reclamation project they are hoping to catch lightning in a bottle with…former Oakland A’s 1st round pick (#6 overall), Austin Beck.

I purposely left off Andy Pages.  He is young enough to still be considered a viable regular OF prospect.  But do the Dodgers hold onto him until he is healthy, or include him as a highly touted prospect in a package before his trade value diminishes?  For instance, the Trade Simulator says that a Andy Pages for Shane Bieber straight up trade is fair.  I have no idea if either team thinks that it is fair.  Bieber says that he is amenable to an extension if that is a consideration.  Cleveland needs OF prospects at Pages’ level.  Bieber would fit in nicely at the back end of the rotation.  He is no longer an Ace, but how nice would it be to have a 29 year old former CY winner at the back end?

Or do the Dodgers hold onto Pages as long as they can as they have with Avans and Ward?  Avans and Ward are now the AAAA depth the team signs to MiLB contracts before the season.  Former Dodger AAAA players, Jake Marisnick and Jake Lamb, have both signed MiLB contracts with other teams.

We are blind as we have no idea how other teams value the Dodger prospects, nor the Dodgers.  But IMO, if the Dodgers believed that their “kids” were ready to shine in a contender’s rotation, they would not be so eager in trying to acquire front line pitching.

So if the Dodgers are not able to ink Yamamoto, look tor the team to package 2-3 players for a front line starter, and maybe sign another back end FA pitcher like Lucas Giolito and Shōta Imanaga, or settle on an even more risky FA with potential upside (Sean Manaea, Michael Lorenzen, Frankie Montas).

I do not see the Dodgers signing any multiyear deals with high leverage late inning relievers, as the above list of prospects have more relief risk than starting.  They have already signed Daniel Hudson to a MiLB contract.  Kyle  Hurt could be ready.  Ronan Kopp not far behind.  Alec Gamboa is another LHP who could find the LAD bullpen.  If they do want relievers, Ryan Brasier and Shelby Miller would be top considerations if they were to agree to a one year deal.

So yes, the Dodgers are loaded with depth, and it behooves them to move some of them before they more than proverbially wither on the vine.  Will they?




Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Good write up Jeff. I would like to resign Ryan Brasier and Shelby Miller.


I believe in a culture of winning as it can carryover into the Major Leagues. I like that the Dodgers have good pitching in the minors. That said, all stars more often start their major league careers when they are much younger than the names you listed in your post today Jeff.

At this point I am hungry for a trade or free agent signing. Reminds me of the vulture joke where two of them are sitting in a tree waiting for their meal and one of them says, the heck with this, I’m not going to wait for the meal to come to me. Okay, I cleaned that up a little.

Singing the Blue

This is not the first time you’ve commented on the true value of Dodger prospects, Jeff, and I agree with your conclusions.

Of course, one could also say this proves that the system works. The best teams draft lower.

I guess we can’t argue with the way AF/BG are playing the prospect game because they win the division almost every year. It would seem, however, that once in a while it would pay to trade some of these prospects when they have the most value, that being when they’re 2-3 years younger.

With regard to re-signing Brasier and/or Shelby Miller, I’d bet my house that neither one of them will sign for less than two years and possibly three. Besides, we can’t bring back Shelby because we need his number for Yamamoto.

Singing the Blue

Courtesy of Noah Camras at Dodgers Nation:

“A source confirmed that Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto are expected to be at Sofi Stadium tonight for the Rams vs. Saints game.”

The minute their picture goes up on tv screens, the Mets, Yanks and Giants will increase their offers.

Shohei has already proven that he’s willing to put in the effort to build this team around him. First he defers most of his salary so that Andrew can sign more good players, and then he spends time and energy recruiting guys. He’s really special.

Last edited 6 months ago by Singing the Blue
Singing the Blue

Never mind.
False alarm.
Now they say he won’t be able to make the game.

No doubt on his way to Kansas City to sign with the Royals.


I’ve seen variations of this debate or paradigm elsewhere, but it’s a much better topic than opining on Glasnow for half a week straight.

It’s well-written.

Not sure where I come down, but being a prospect in the Dodger system does seem to have its ups (great player development, almost unmatched) and downs (outlined above.)

I tend to think the ups outweigh the downs, but I am sure Busch and Fedducia are frustrated at times if not always.

Would I rather see Grove and Hurt in the bullpen than Brasier and Miller? Probably, because I (like a lot of fans) have a penchant for youth, but it is a tough call.

Last edited 6 months ago by Bluto
Singing the Blue

Giants have been told they’re out in the YY sweepstakes.

And then there were 6.

Singing the Blue

It’s a good pitcher’s park and the weather shouldn’t bother him since he’s from Seattle.


Unless Dodgers sign him for $300MM 20 years


10 YEARS $325MIL!!!!



MLB Rumors: Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Dodgers Agree to Record 12-Year, $325M Contract


This is absolutely incredible. The Dodgers will be a must watch for the next few years. I would imagine full ballparks wherever they play. Over a billion dollars for three players!
Congratulations to AF and ownership!!!


Amazing. I read where he has a couple of opt outs. Hopefully we can win a couple of World Series before that happens. Still need a solid lefty. But Yamamoto is going to be the ace of the staff this year. Buehler is probably smiling from ear to ear.


Imanaga might be next.


AF and crew have won the off season. I think there is a blockbuster trade still to be made that nets Burnes, Cease or Luzardo.

What a great time to be a Dodger fan. What’s the next move by AF? Buckle up and hold on, we’re in for a wild ride.


I agree with you norcal. Currently, there are no LH on the starting staff and I don’t see a problem with that. But, adding someone like Luzardo would help give the rotation some balance. Plus he has three years of control. Being a quality pitcher, LH, and team control I would imagine it would take a good haul to obtain him. I researched on what the Marlins could use and it looks like 1B and catcher are the two obvious spots. So, how about Busch, Cartaya/Rushing and some pitching. I have no idea. Maybe, Bluto can plug some prospects into the trade simulator and see what’s what. Thanks Bluto!

With all this money being spent this year I can imagine the resigning of Buehler might be out of the question. It’s an important year for Buehler and I hope he can return to dominance. Especially in the postseason. He was a pitcher I enjoyed watching.

Stone / Luzardo?

Late April, early May or so Buehler joins the staff and they go to a six man rotation?

I would be surprised if Kershaw doesn’t resign and join the team after the All Star break.

We know there will be injuries throughout the season with the pitching staff so depth is needed to avoid the catastrophe that was 2023.

It’s great to be a Dodger fan. Especially right now!

Carry on.


Better make a 6 man rotation there Ted.

If it were me, I would put Yamamoto between Glasnow and Miller. They are all RH but Glasnow and Miller are large flame throwers. Put the little spinner in between them. They’ll all get the same amount of starts of course. 26 maybe? Frankly I’d like to keep all the inning counts to <150 so they will be ready for Postseason.


Absolutely on the six man. That happens when Buehler joins the staff after the season starts. We’ve both been on the six man rotation bandwagon this offseason.

Will Smith has asked Santa for a Japanese Rosetta Stone program. Wara (Japanese for lol).


I was just in conversation with my wife about this. I mentioned that the Dodgers currently have an entire starting rotation that can’t pitch, most with a similar injury, and have just signed, for over $300 million, another guy who’s never pitched in the Majors and throws the pitch that eventually will likely put him on that list. She looked at me and asked “why?” Well dear, because this is how they plan to win a couple World Series and make hundreds of millions.

This world gets more ridiculouser every year I’m in it.

Go team!


Only a little surprised by this. LA is the place to be. Who’s next?

Imanaga is a lefty Bear.

I wonder how this is being received around the league? I think I know, but, I don’t care.

Winter can’t be over fast enough. Count down to pitchers and catchers.


Note to those were adamant that we’d NEVER outbid Steve Cohen:

Mets offered the 12/326 contract to Yamamoto, and the Dodgers matched it.

Perhaps keep negativity inside until things actually play out?


Their all welcome to their opinions,right? There are lots of opinions/ guesses here and elsewhere that don’t happen. Why focus on this one? Just let the kids play!


Yes, everyone is welcome to their opinions. And yes, let the kids play, and let the front office do what they do before assuming they won’t do.

Last edited 6 months ago by Bobby

Burnes and Giolito. Luzardo and Cease. Teoscar and…. who am I missing?


Fuck the Mets


The Yankees are sooo yesterday.


There is a real Sliding Doors moment here with Urias’ domestic abuse situation and the May/Gonsolin injuries.

I doubt we would see the Dodgers as aggressive if 2/3 of the above didn’t happen.

But, still Ohtani.

Singing the Blue

Really happy with the YY signing. In my mind, we needed him even more than we needed Ohtani.

AF is really on a roll. We’re supposedly about 15 mil under the highest tax category but maybe they’ve decided they don’t care. Passing through that level would also mean having our first draft pick moved down 10 spots, but again, maybe they don’t care.

Yesterday I announced that I would bet my house that neither Brasier nor Shelby Miller would sign less than a 2 year deal. Miller just signed a 1 year deal with the Tigers. He should get himself a new agent. Last year’s performance should definitely have earned him at least a 2 year deal somewhere. I believe my comment was in response to Ohio Dodger, so O.D. let me know where I should send my keys.

In any case, I’ll be absent for a while. It takes some time to pack up all your belongings from a house where you’ve resided the past 30 years. That should teach me not to open my mouth when I don’t know what I’m talking about. Of course, as Bums will point out, that would mean I could never open my mouth at all.


Yeah, we may not have needed Ohtani but ownership apparently sure will benefit by his arrival.

I think what they care more about now is the brand and winning the World Championship soon. Draft capital can wait and taxes be damned.

Sure hope this works. It will fun watching it. I’ll be here in my humble but paid for cave with my big screen high def tv watching it all unfold from my recliner.


Hey STB,

I was hoping the Dodgers would resign Miller. Still got a shot at Brasier.

Singing the Blue

I’m going to repeat what I said to you earlier. No way Brasier signs for less than 2 or 3 years and I don’t see AF doing that.

Luckily I only have one house to bet.


I would consider Brasier on a two year contract with a club option for a 3rd year.

Must See

More in Dodger Baseball

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x