As Bluto mentioned, Baseball America just came out with their revised top 100 prospects, and the Dodgers topped the list with 7 (tied with St. Louis).
- There are two with 6 – Baltimore and Cleveland;
- There are five with 5 – Cincinnati, Texas, Pittsburgh, Colorado, Tampa Bay;
- There are four with 4 – NYM, Arizona, Boston, Washington;
- There are four with 3 – Miami, Philadelphia, Minnesota, Detroit;
- There are eight with 2 – Milwaukee, Toronto, Cubs, NYY, San Francisco, Oakland, CWS, San Diego;
- There are five with 1 – Seattle, Houston, Atlanta, LAA, KC;
Even though Baltimore has one less top 100 prospect than LAD, they have the #1 and #4 top 100 prospects. One a SS and one a RHSP. They also just promoted one of their top 100 prospects, LHSP DL Hall (#59).
Not coincidentally, MLB Pipeline also had the Dodgers with 7. Both publications listed the same 7 LAD prospects in their respective top 100, but obviously not in the same rankings.
The consensus LAD top 100 prospects are:
- Diego Cartaya – 9 (BA), 9 (MLB)
- Bobby Miller – 22 (BA), 27 (MLB)
- Miguel Vargas – 25 (BA), 44 (MLB)
- Michael Busch – 47 (BA), 45 (MLB)
- Ryan Pepiot – 51 (BA), 77 (MLB)
- Gavin Stone – 53 (BA), 81 (MLB)
- Andy Pages – 75 (BA), 69 (MLB)
There is probably one consensus elite prospect…Diego Cartaya. I know there are some who believe he should make the roster in 2023, but IMO the earliest he will crack the roster will be 2024. The Dodgers love both Will Smith and Austin Barnes, and both are under control through 2024. I would have preferred to see what Cartaya could do at AA, but I do think the Dodgers are being very careful with Diego.
Will the Dodgers include their prospects in the rotation or will the Dodgers trade for top of the rotation starters. Gonsolin, Urías, and May figure to be in the 2023 rotation. Buehler is an unknown as I am writing this. After that? The Dodgers spoke loud and clear at the trade deadline that they believe in their pitcher prospects, so I expect the top prospects will determine which FA pitchers will be considered for 2023, and more likely at the back end of the rotation.
Ryan Pepiot has earned consideration. Bobby Miller will undoubtedly continue to start at AAA, and that will go a long way to determine if he can harness that command and control to match his “stuff”. Gavin Stone is a wild card. He has done well all year at A+ and AA, and has moved up the prospect lists. It is not uncommon for a prospect to come out of nowhere and stick (Tony Gonsolin?), so Gavin has also earned the right for consideration. His time in AAA for the next month will go far in determining if he will remain a starter or move to the bullpen. Stone has a very high floor because of his relief potential. As long as he is successful in a starting role, he will continue to be monitored.
Michael Grove and Landon Knack are more realistically targeted for the bullpen, but they too have a chance to start. If this weren’t the Dodgers, all would be considered as starters. Grove’s last outing was exceptional.
Continually being rated at or very near the top of the Organizational Farm System Rankings is special, but how do the Dodgers continue to make the top of the lists? They are very rarely in a top 15 draft position. The last time they drafted in the top 15 was 2008 at #15 (Ethan Martin). The last time they drafted in the top 10 was 2006 at #7 (Clayton Kershaw). This year they drafted at #40, and seem to have perhaps uncovered yet another prospect…catcher Dalton Rushing. If he continues to hit (and hit for power), he could possibly make a top 100 list by mid-season next year. They traded for another potential top 100 talent, RHSP, Nick Frasso.
Top prospect lists seem to monitor potential MLB players, and not necessarily All Stars. Andrew Friedman just concluded his 8th Rule 4 Amateur Draft. He has yet to draft a position playing All Star, and Tony Gonsolin was his second draft pick that was selected to be an All Star. The first was Walker Buehler. None of his draft picks were All Stars after being traded. He has also not signed an International Free Agent (IFA) that has made an All Star team as a Dodger. I believe Yordan Alvarez is the only IFA signed by the LAD who has made an All Star team with another organization. And yet the roster is full of LAD prospects, and many former LAD prospects are included on multiple MLB rosters after trades. The Dodger scouts uncover MLB players, develop them and hope they become All Stars, preferably with the Dodgers.
Will Smith certainly deserved to be named an All Star for 2022 and Gavin Lux is certainly not far behind. Are any of the top five or six prospects potential All Stars? Who can say no? Dustin May (no longer a prospect per se) is a potential All Star. The Dodger development team has been very good at bringing the prospects along, albeit slow at times.
The Dodgers do not seem to be in any rush to push their prospects. If they make the roster a year (or two) later than they could with other organizations, that is the cost/benefit of playing for an organization like the Dodgers. Would Miguel Vargas and Michael Busch be in the daily lineup for other organizations MLB teams? Maybe yes, but then maybe they become another Jarred Kelenic, Alex Kiriloff, or Spencer Torkelson. I do not have a crystal ball to say if they are future All Stars, but they are future MLB regulars for some team.
Projecting pitchers is a lot more difficult because of the injury risk. One issue that I have noticed is that top MiLB pitchers are successful at getting MiLB batters to chase pitches around the strike zone, but those same pitches do not elicit a lot of swing and misses at balls out of the zone at MLB as the same rate as they did in MiLB. Walker Buehler, Julio Urias, Tony Gonsolin, and now Ryan Pepiot have all suffered with this. Once each of the pitchers chose to challenge hitters and trust their “stuff”, they began to excel. I expect Pepiot to get to that point. His only challenge will be how much more developed he can get his new slider to give him three solid pitches.
As far as top 30 prospects, it was interesting to note that 26 prospects made both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline lists. I am not certain what future All Stars are on the current top 30 prospects. Michael Grove and James Outman do not project to be All Stars, and yet both have made the 26 man this season. Is it unreasonable to believe that 15 of the current top 30 prospects can make an MLB roster? History shows that it is not only possible but also plausible. How many of the RHP not on the top prospect lists will become ML relievers. Are Ryan Ward, Drew Avans, Jonny DeLuca, Ryan Noda capable of being ML platoon players? Probably not with the Dodgers, but maybe other teams.
The Dodgers will not pause to trade some of these prospects if they can get an elite talent (Mookie Betts). If they can somehow retain Trea Turner, that will give them two elite perennial All Stars they traded potential All Stars for. Will they do it again? We do know they have the talent in their system that will draw interest from multiple organizations. That is why they continually get named as a top 10 (top 5 – top 2) MiLB system.