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Dodger Baseball

Dodger Rookies

I keep reading how good the LAD farm system is.  I do not disagree.  The Dodgers have a lot of players who will eventually play MLB at some level.  At an All Star level?  Not so much.  The Dodgers have not had a home grown position player make an All Star team since AF began as President of Baseball Operations (PBO) for the Dodgers beginning with the 2015 season.

AF has been fairly gifted at trying to find bargains at the waiver wire, and generally knowing which players to trade from the prospect pool. But drafting All Stars?  He has had 8 drafts, and as good as the Dodgers development team is, you would think that they would have had one All Star position player.  He has had two drafted pitchers make an All Star team…Walker Buehler and Tony Gonsolin.  This year both are a long way away from that honor.

This year, the long drought may be over and Will Smith will get his long-deserved spot on the NL All Star roster.  Like prior years, there will be competition.  Sean Murphy with Atlanta, J.T. Realmuto (Philadelphia), Elias Diaz (Colorado) and others.  Murphy is having a better year, Realmuto has the creds and the votes, Diaz could be the lone Colorado All Star.  After the first round of votes have been updated, Murphy is #1 with 603,051 votes and Smith #2 with 419,587 votes. No other catcher is within 250,000 votes.  Only top two go on to Phase II, so Smith should be in good shape.

The Dodgers have had 10 rookies for 2023 thus far: 3 starting pitchers, 3 relievers, 2B, OF (2), PH/DH.

  • Bobby Miller (24) – SP – 23.0 IP, 0.78 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, .150 BAA
  • Michael Grove (26) – SP – 25 IP, 8.28 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, . .305 BAA
  • Gavin Stone (24) – SP – 10.0 IP, 14.40 ERA, 3.00 WHIP, .451 BAA
  • Andre Jackson (27) – RP – 17.2 IP, 6.62 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, .289 BAA
  • Nick Robertson (24) – RP – 3.0 IP
  • Tyler Cyr (30) – RP – 1.2 IP
  • Miguel Vargas (23) – 2B – .225/.329/.415/.744
  • James Outman (26) – OF – .233/.332/.455/.787
  • Jonny DeLuca (24) – OF – .143/.250/.143/.393
  • Michael Busch (25) – PH/DH – .211/.348/.211/.559

Out of that group Bobby Miller is the only Dodger rookie who is having a ROY caliber season.  At this time, there is zero reason to take him out of the rotation.

I would project that both Miguel Vargas and James Outman will stick with the team for the season.  But both are seeing their ABs coming down.  DeLuca will stick as long as the Dodgers do not go out and trade for a RHH OF.  DeLuca will get his chance to stick.  Busch could be included in a trade this year, but I do not see him getting back to LA unless there is another injury.  The Dodgers have decided that Vargas is the rookie infielder they are sticking with.  Both Outman and DeLuca have been considered #4 OF.  Outman put himself in a position to become a regular for the long-term.

I keep hearing the Dodgers announcers on the broadcast and in the studio say how improved Vargas is at 2B.  For all 2B who have played 150 + innings, Vargas has a -3 DRS or 40th out of 44 second basemen. He also has a -2.0 UZR, placing him 43rd out of 44.

Statcast is also not kind.  7th percentile in Outs Above Average (OAA), 14th percentile in arm strength.  He has -4 OAA, 42 out of 45 2B.  He has 78.1 arm strength, 101 out of 118, 2B, 3B, SS.

To be comprehensive with the defensive metrics for the rookies, James Outman has -3 DRS (33rd out of 41) and a -0.8 UZR (29th out of 41).  Statcast OAA was more kind.  James has a 3 OAA good for 17th out of 37 with those playing 150+ innings in CF.

Other NL rookie position players:

  • Corbin Carroll (22) – Arizona (OF) – 253 PA – .308/.389/.579/.968
  • Spencer Steer (25) – Cincinnati (Corner IF) – 268 PA – .282/.362/.474/.836
  • Matt McLain (23) – Cincinnati (SS) – 119 PA – .336/.387/.518/.905
  • Elly De La Cruz (21) – Cincinnati (3B/SS) – 27 PA – .364/.481/.636/1.117
  • Jordan Walker (21) – St. Louis (OF) – 113 PA – .279/.336/.433/.769
  • Ezequiel Tovar (21) – Colorado (SS) – 235 PA – .252/.294/.410/.704
  • Francisco Alvarez (21) – NYM (Catcher) – 150 PA – .243/.293/.543/.836
  • Patrick Bailey (24) – SFG (Catcher) – 61 PA – .298/.322/.526/.848
  • Gabriel Moreno (23) – Arizona (Catcher) – 179 PA – .280/.318/.366/.684
  • Dominic Fletcher (25) – Arizona (OF) – 85 PA – .308/.349/.474/.823
  • Brett Baty (23) – NYM (3B) – 164 PA – .228/.311/.352/.663

Corbin Carroll and Spencer Steer are the two clear favorites for NL ROY.  Although McLain and De La Cruz are potential to join the list.  Gabriel Moreno is not technically a rookie, but Baseball America included him as a pre-season rookie so I am keeping him.  Dominic Fletcher is back in AAA, and tearing it up.  Patrick Bailey figures to stick at catcher with SFG as Joey Bart is back in AAA. Joey Bart is a real potential to be traded.  San Francisco should make out well if they do.

Other AL rookie position players:

  • Josh Jung (25) – Texas (3B) – 261 PA – .285/.333/.508/.841
  • Ryan Noda (27) – Oakland (1B) – 227 PA – .249/.410/.452/.862
  • Masataka Yoshida (29) – Boston (OF) – 256 PA – .300/.375/.467/.842
  • Gunnar Henderson (21) – Baltimore (3B/DH) – 209 PA – .236/.349/.455/.804
  • Zach Neto (22) – LAA (SS) – 190 PA – .253/.337/.404/.746
  • Royce Lewis (24) – Minnesota 3B – 41 PA – .317/.317/.488/.805
  • Edouard Julien (24) – Minnesota 2B – 81 PA – .246/.338/.478/.816

Ryan Noda was a Rule 5 pick-up from the Dodgers.  He would not have got this chance with the Dodgers.  It is great to see Ryan succeeding, even if it is in Oakland.

From a position player point of view, the Dodgers rookies are really not up to the caliber of other rookies.  Cincinnati has 3 rookies position players that should provide the core of the next Big Red Wave.

From a pitching perspective, there are limited rookies.  For this exercise, I am only considering starting pitchers.  Other than the Dodgers three, other prominent NL rookie starting pitchers:

  • Kodai Senga (30) – NYM – 64.2 IP, 3.34 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, .205 BAA
  • Andrew Abbott (24) – Cincinnati – 11.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1.11 SHIP, .150 BAA
  • Brandon Williamson (25) – Cincinnati – 26.2 IP, 5.40 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, .240 BAA
  • Drey Jameson (25) – Arizona – 26.1 IP, 3.76 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, .267 BAA
  • Ryne Nelson (25) – Arizona – 67.1 IP, 4.95 ERA, 1.46 ERA, .287 BAA
  • Hayden Wesneski (25) – Cubs – 50.2 IP, 5.33 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, .255 BAA
  • Jared Shuster (24) – Atlanta – 35.2 IP, 5.05 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, .231 BAA
  • Connor Seabold (27) – Colorado
  • Jake Irvin (26) – Washington
  • Matthew Liberatore (23) – St. Louis
  • Dylan Dodd (25) – Atlanta

Bobby Miller and Andrew Abbott are the two starting pitchers (even with limited IP) that are clearly at the top of the NL rookie pitcher list.

While NL position player rookies loo to be a bit stronger than the AL, the AL starting rookie pitchers look to be a little more advanced.

  • Hunter Brown (24) – Houston – 3.69 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, .237 BAA
  • Grayson Rodriguez (23) – Baltimore – 45.1 IP, 7.35 ERA, 1.74 WHIP, .307 BAA
  • Taj Bradley (22) – Tampa Bay – 38.2 IP, 4.19 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, .250 BAA
  • Logan Allen (24) – Cleveland – 51.2 IP, 3.31 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, .277 BAA
  • Louie Varland (25) – Minnesota – 51.2 IP, 4.70 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, .254 BAA
  • Ken Waldichuk (25) – Oakland – 54.2 IP, 7.24 ERA, 2.01 WHIP, .323 BAA
  • Joey Wentz (25) – Detroit – 56.0 IP, 7.23 ERA, 1.68 WHIP, .302 BAA
  • Tanner Bibee (24) – Cleveland – 44.1 IP, 3.05 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, .230 BAA

Cleveland has two more rookie pitchers which is why Shane Bieber is on the possible trade short list.

One note of interest in the rookie reliever list is 25 year old Jose Hernandez.  While there are several quality rookie relievers, perhaps Hernandez is the best of the group.  For the season, Hernandez has appeared in 23 games and 25.2 IP, 2.10 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, and .204 BAA. Why this is interesting is that the Dodgers let him go in the Rule 5 draft, and Pittsburgh picked him, and he has been lights out all year.  I bet AF would like to have that one back.

The Giants also have a couple of good rookie relievers.

Yes, the Dodgers have good rookies, but outside of Bobby Miller, the others do not look like future All Stars.  Not every position needs to be filled with an All Star, but the hope is that the homegrown players will be the All Stars.  If not, then the team will have to trade for their All Stars (Mookie) or acquire them through free agency (Freddie and JDM).

I do like Cincinnati’s rookies as well as Arizona’s.  Both drafted high for multiple years.  Cincinnati youngsters:

  • Spencer Steer (25) – rookie corner inf
  • Matt McLain (23) – rookie SS
  • Elly De La Cruz (21) – rookie SS/3B
  • T J Hopkins (26) – rookie CF
  • Brandon Williamson (25) – rookie RHRP
  • Andrew Abbott (24) – rookie LHSP
  • Eduardo Salazar (25) – rookie RHRP
  • Nick Lodolo (25) – 2nd year LHSP
  • TJ Friedl (27) – 2nd year OF
  • Jonathan India (26) – 3rd year 2B
  • Tyler Stephenson (26) 3rd year catcher/1B/DH
  • Jake Fraley – (28) 3rd year OF
  • Hunter Greene – (23) – 2nd year RHSP
  • Alexis Diaz – (26) – 2nd year RHRP
  • Will Benson (24) – 2nd year OF
  • Stuart Fairchild (27) – 2nd year OF
  • Jose Barrero (25) – 3rd year SS/CF

They also have a bevy of outstanding middle infielder prospects.

Statcast Percentiles for both James Outman:

 

 

The book on Outman was that he did not make as much contact, but when he did, he hit the ball hard.  He was also considered a good defensive OF, with speed.  The above shows just that.  He has problems making contact:

  • Whiff – 1 percentile
  • K – 3 percentile
  • Expected On Base (21st percentile), Batting Average (4th percentile), and SLG (19th percentile)
  • Hard Hit % – 55 percentile
  • Max Exit Velocity – 66 percentile
  • Sprint speed – 88 percentile
  • OAA – 91 percentile
  • Arm strength – 85 percentile

 

 

The book on Vargas is that he has good bat to ball skills with good plate discipline but with little slug.  He was also not considered a good defensive player.

  • Whiff % – 70 percentile
  • Chase Rate – 92 percentile
  • Avg Exit Velo – 19 percentile
  • Max Exit Velo – 46 percentile
  • Hard Hit % – 15 percentile
  • OAA – 7 percentile
  • Arm Strength – 14 percentile

It sure looks like their respective rookie years are going according to scale.

 

 

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Bumsrap

Should have kept White in front office.

Should have kept Pederson.

Marcus

Vargas must earn his spot with his bat and thus far he has not done enough. Too many easy out ABs. He needs to forget about trying to pull the ball with power and go back to using the whole field. Dodgers need him on base not hitting HRs. I think he should be given a long leash, as there is nobody knocking down the door to take his place and the light should come on eventually.

Fred Vogel

Great report, Jeff. It’s been many seasons since I’ve been this concerned with the pitching.

tedraymond

Jeff D, thanks for all the insight to not only Dodger rookies, but the rookies throughout baseball. I’ve enjoyed watching and pulling for the all the prospects that have made an appearance with the Dodgers so far this year.

Outman, and especially Vargas, have been frustrating offensively to watch. I knew what Outman’s issues were with contact rate and they have been proven to be valid. He’s going to have to improve his K rate or I doubt he’s long for remaining in the majors.

With Vargas I’m somewhat disappointed in his production so far. He had a rough start to the season with the injured hand. But, if it has healed then Vargas should be having more success. As Marcus wrote Vargas needs to use the whole field. He should focus on putting the ball in play and knock in some runs. His power will come with time. Defensively, I’m not impressed at all. From what I have seen his range is awful. He doesn’t seem able to get to reachable ground balls. Add in all the other defensive metrics I give him a D.

I have been impressed with the limited play of LeDuca so far. He has hit the ball hard in the couple of games he’s played. I was pulling for him when he came up with runners on base on Saturday. Unfortunately, he struck out. I have a good feeling about his future with the Dodgers.

Michael Busch doesn’t seem to have a spot with the Dodgers and will probably be trade bait at the deadline. Or, maybe they hold on to him for DH duties if JDM is not with the team next year. He can definitely hit and hit with power.

Except for Miller the rookie pitches have had their ups and downs. I think it has mostly positive and look forward to see how they develop. Miller’s performances so far has been totally unexpected considering what he had been doing at OKC this year. He has really excelled and gave the starting staff a boost.

The Dodgers may not produce many All Stars position players. But, considering where they draft most of the time I’m OK with a solid, everyday player. Many were very disappointed with Gavin Lux because he didn’t become an immediate superstar because of his outstanding minor league numbers. I was happy to see him produce some good offensive output at the nine spot and play some decent 2B. If Outman, Vargas, DeLuca, and Busch can do the same in the near future then all is good. And my favorite player, Will Smith, will be an All Star this year (or should be). And, we’ve had Seager and Bellinger who were Dodger draftees who became All Stars. Smith and Bellinger weren’t considered future All Stars when drafted. So, you never know. I appreciated the depth of the system. Besides, we have Mookie and Fredde as our resident All Stars.
Carry on.

Badger

Once again, outstanding post Jeff. I’ll need to read it a few times to digest all that is contained there.

What Marcus and ted said.

We have the money to hire free agents. Lucky us. One solid rookie a year should be enough. It feels like we now have too many to have a deep playoff run. These guys have never played 162, let alone playing in October.

I would ask if teaching launch angle is a good idea for rookies. Exit velocity yes, but, selection, using the whole field and hitting line drives might better serve young hitters. Home runs will come.

Oldbear48

Busch has heated up considerably. I bring the kid back, but then I am not the GM Bummer.

Bumsrap

Yes, and put him at third.

Bumsrap

I’ve said I wanted a shortstop and a good righty bat but was mostly in with Lux at short until he wasn’t. Betts fills that want for me at short. Maybe Deluca is the righty bat.

I am one of the very few that isn’t worried about pitching the Dodgers have in-house. Defense? Yes, I am more worried about defense than pitching.

SS Betts
1B Freeman
C Smith
DH Martinez
LF Peralta/Deduca
CF Outman
2B Vargas
3B Busch/Rojas
RF Heyward

If relief pitching continues to give games away then give some of the rotation prospects a chance to pitch in relief for the Dodgers.

I liked Jackson going 3 innings the other day. Dodgers need one or two more that can go 3 innings in relief.

Vargas is not the only Dodger that needs to spray the ball. Taylor, Barnes, Rojas, and Muncy do as well. If Muncy wants to swing for the fences then he needs to hit at least .240 or change his plan. A .192 BA and few walks should embarrass Roberts when he bats Muncy 3rd, 4th, or 5th.

Last edited 8 months ago by Bumsrap
Badger

Muncy could hit .199 and have an OPS over .800. It’s not the average anymore.

I wanted a real shortstop too, that’s why you heard me pimping Bogaerts for months. Wasn’t gonna happen. Not as long as the Bauer cloud hung over the franchise. We should have been ok with Lux. Now we must live with a backup and #9 hitter at that position.

We need to look at pitching. We are scoring enough to win games we are losing.

Speaking of pitching – Bryan Hudson, striking out over 15 per 9 at AAA. Am I the only guy asking the question about him? He’s a 6’8” left handed reliever that is blowing people away at OKC, and I see his name mentioned nowhere but in my posts.

Bumsrap

Bryan Hudson

I can live being the lone dissenter regarding Muncy.

Bumsrap

I just glanced at ladodgertalk and it was full of anti-Muncy talk. A few trade Ct3 and Muncy comments. Usually everybody just throws sand on me when I try to trade those guys.

I am ready to keep team we have unless young controllable players are obtained. Royce Lewis comes to mind. It might take a three or four team trade to get a young controllable player.

Badger

Muncy’s value is as a DH. Who needs one? And who is it you intend to put in the lineup who will hit 30 home runs and OPS over .800? Busch? Twins aren’t trading Lewis. He’s team controlled for a long time.

I don’t recall reading about Bryan Hudson Jeff. I may have overlooked it, or thought you were talking about our other Hudson. We need arms. There he is.

E-6. With another guy playing out of position.

Last edited 8 months ago by Badger
OhioDodger

Everything revolves around the starting pitching. I would build a team around 4 or 5 starters that can go 6 to 7 innings and give up 3 or less runs. Definition of a quality start. Doesn’t over tax the bullpen or the offense. By the way, a quality start of 6 innings and 3 runs is an ERA of 4.50. So they don’t have to be great pitchers to fill that roll.

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