Yesterday, SandyIsTheGreatest, wrote that it is time for that vaunted depth to help out. I would agree, except outside of RHP, I am not sure what depth the Dodgers have. Certainly not in the form of regulars.
If you review FanGraphs’ Roster Resource – Depth Chart – It starts to get quite thin at the upper levels. Depending as to how they may develop, also at the lower levels. Since the AF era, the Dodgers have always found platoon/role AAAA players who can play MLB, but just not as a regular, with the exception of Will Smith and Gavin Lux.
Who are some of that depth from 2017?
Home grown players on the roster considered depth:
- 2017 – Andre Ethier (22 games) , Andrew Toles (31), Alex Verdugo (15), Kyle Farmer (20), O’Koyea Dickson (7)
- 2018 – Alex Verdugo (37), Kyle Farmer (39)
- 2019 – Matt Beaty (99), Edwin Rios (28), Will Smith (54), Gavin Lux (23), Alex Verdugo (106), Kyle Garlick (30)
- 2020 – Edwin Ríos (32), Gavin Lux (19), Matt Beaty (21), Keibert Ruiz (2), Zach McKinstry (4)
- 2021 – Gavin Lux (102), Matt Beatty (120), Zach McKinstry (60), Luke Raley (33), Edwin Ríos (25), DJ Peters (18), Zach Reks (6), Keibert Ruiz (6)
- 2022 – Edwin Ríos (27), Miguel Vargas (18), James Outman (4), Zach McKinstry (10)
Of that group, Will Smith and Gavin Lux have gone on to become regulars with LAD, while Alex Verdugo, Kyle Farmer, and Keibert Ruiz are starters on their new teams. However most of the other players have gone on to become bench/platoon/role players for their new teams. So yes, the Dodgers do produce multiple MLB players, just not regulars.
The Dodgers did have three regular position players from the Ned Colletti era: Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger.
That has been the Dodgers MiLB depth since 2017. They have had to supplement that with the likes of:
- Franklin Gutierrez
- Curtis Granderson/Terrance Gore
- Trayce Thompson/Scott Van Slyke/Brett Eibner
- Rob Segedin/Charlie Culberson/Tim Locastro
- Billy McKinney/Steven Souza
- Kevin Pillar/Jake Lamb
- Hanser Alberto
- Eddy Alvarez/Kevin Pillar
- Russell Martin
- David Freese
- Kris Negrón
- Tyler White/Jedd Gyorko (Bear’s favorites)
- Yoshi Tsutsugo
- Andy Burns
- Rocky Gale
- Joey Gallo
- Sheldon Neuse
- Tony Wolters
Not much of the above is much to build a WS championship team without a strong pitching staff, and players added via free agency and trade (Betts, Freeman, Taylor, Muncy, Turner, Turner, Barnes, Grandal, Machado).
The most glaring lack of depth in the organization is at SS. Below is the LAD depth chart at SS.
Yes, Yonny Hernández can play SS, but he is more of a 3B/2B. While he did play more SS in MiLB, it was still secondary to 2B. The LAD depth chart on their site lists Hernández as a 3B, his only position.
Now let’s look at the MiLB depth. Note, not a single AAA SS on the depth chart, and the sole AA SS (Eddys Leonard) is more inclined to be a utility player, another Dodger depth strength. Although the Dodgers just acquired infielder Bryson Brigman who will undoubtedly get the bulk of the SS responsibilities at OKC.
Staying up the middle defensively, the LAD 2B depth chart is:
- Miguel Vargas
- Miguel Rojas
- Chris Taylor
MiLB Depth Chart at AAA:
- Michael Busch
- Devin Mann
- Jahmai Jones
- Bryson Brigman (will probably play SS at OKC)
The only other ranked prospect is Jorbit Vivas who is slated to begin at Tulsa (AA).
It doesn’t get any better at 3B where the Dodgers depth chart on the 40 man is:
- Max Muncy
- Yonny Hernandez
- Miguel Rojas
The AAA 3B is currently Luke Williams (pictured), with Kody Hoese at AA. The Dodgers do not have a ranked 3B in their system. While Luke Williams is not on the 40 man roster, he is listed as the 4th option at 3B. Although because he can play 1B, SS, and corner OF, he is being considered as an option for the opening day roster. On the LAD depth chart, he is listed as 1B (#2), SS (#4), 3B (#4), LF (#5), RF (#4). Looks like a favorite AF player.
The Dodgers OF depth chart is chock-full of players signed to MiLB contracts: Dodger OF on the 40 man:
- Mookie Betts
- Chris Taylor
- David Peralta
- Trayce Thompson
- Jason Heyward
- Bradley Zimmer
- Miguel Rojas (LF)
- Luke Williams (LF and RF).
Two OF not listed were James Outman and Andy Pages. Pages does not figure to be an option at the outset. However, he sure is showing a lot in ST, and now figures to be in the discussion for a mid-season promotion. He is looking a lot more svelte, and is hitting 2-4. Last year in the AFL, Pages showed far more discipline at the plate. That discipline seems to have carried over to ST. He has laid off multiple pitches that he whiffed at last year. It certainly appears that a light has gone off for young Andy.
Outman figures to get a lot of consideration for the 26th man. Outman certainly helped himself when he was able to stroke an RBI single, when the team was 0-5 WRISP at the time of Outman’s single. In his next AB he got the sac fly on a ball hit to the warning track in left-center. Outman barreled up three times in three ABs.
Outside of Outman and Pages, the depth at AAA figures to be Jason Heyward, Bradley Zimmer, Steven Duggar, Ryan Ward, Drew Avans, and Yusniel Diaz. Although I believe that Heyward will be on the 26-man out of ST.
Thus, the vaunted depth figures to be:
- Yonny Hernández
- Luke Williams
- Michael Busch
- Jason Heyward
- Bradley Zimmer
- Steven Duggar
- James Outman
- Andy Pages
The 13th position player figures to be one of Yonny Hernández, James Outman, or Luke Williams. Looking at the history of bench/role players, AF has almost exclusively gone with the veteran and let the younger players play full time at AAA. While I believe that Outman deserves the spot, I do not get a vote. Unless AF/Doc plans on playing Outman as a regular, I think he will start out in OKC. Thus I would think that Yonny Hernández will get the nod out of ST. But there will be plenty of changes throughout the campaign.
Of course, some of that youth is reaching the age where prospects turn into the prior years’ home grown organizational depth.
- James Outman (baseball age 26) – 2 options remaining
- Michael Busch (baseball age 25) – 3 options remaining
- Luke Williams (baseball age 26) – 2 options remaining
- Jonny DeLuca (baseball age 24 in AA) – 3 options remaining
- Yonny Hernández (baseball age 24) – 2 options remaining
Luke Williams and Yonny Hernández have arguably passed over that threshold.
The Dodgers have multiple prospect position players that will reach MLB, but most of them will be platoon/role players, as in previous years. Some will mention that the Dodgers are ranked #3 by Baseball America. I will remind those that the Dodgers have been ranked #1 in the not so distant past of the AF era, and it did not produce elite regulars.
Bottom line they may be quality, I am just not sure that the Dodgers current depth qualifies as vaunted.
One glaring mistake Jefe. Andre Ethier was not home grown. Ethier was obtained from Oakland in a trade for Milton Bradley. Heyward is going to make the team. Especially with them down to 3 lefthanded bats if he didn’t. Freeman, Peralta and Muncy, are the only left-handed bats. I do not count the switch-hitting Hernandez; he couldn’t hit my grandma and she is dead.
Hardly glaring, silly old bear.
We got Ethier from Oakland when he was in AA. He continued his development with us.
Call him grafted or hybrid or transplanted if you prefer, o great wordsmith you.
Well he damn sure was not homegrown. So it is a mistake. Oh, by the way, he played exactly 25 games at AAA for the Dodgers after he was acquired, so he hardly blossomed under their tutelage.
And I am far from being silly.
Ethier is close enough to being home grown.
Ethier can go down as one of the better Dodger trades in their history, but, he is far from being home grown.
And a player drafted out of college that moves to the majors after 1 year of minor league ball would not be home grown?
No he is not. Home grown means signed by your organization not acquired in a trade. And he was in the minors for three years not one. He started at Class-A in 2003 playing in 50 games for two teams. He played 99 games in 2004 at high A, 2005 he was at AA and AAA and played 135 games. He was traded to LA that winter. He played 25 games at AAA Las Vegas and was called up.
I recognize Ethier was not homegrown and neither was Andrew Toles. Ethier also was not an AF acquisition. I probably should have left Ethier out.
Good write up Jeff. Very informative.
Thank you for that Jeff. I can’t imagine how long that took you to put together.
Slight error on Ethier, but amazing stuff.
Dionysus…. Silly of you to call someone silly
“I am just not sure that the Dodgers current depth qualifies as vaunted.”
I think I’m with you on that, but I’m not sure as I believe Busch, Pages and Outman could all play somewhere else. Maybe I’m dreaming but I believe all 3 could handle ML pitching if given a chance. I don’t know about DeLuca and Williams. Maybe. I think our system ranks high because of Cartaya and Miller, followed by those guys and more pitching.
Yonny Hernandez? I don’t get a vote either but I go with Outman who projects 100 points higher in OPS.
We’re ok if no one else gets hurt and the pitching is strong. If Pages and Busch aren’t making the team, maybe it’s time to move them.
I fully agree with AC re Dodger vaunted depth. I also think there was plenty of tongue-in-cheek when SandyIsTheGreatest said that.
The Dodgers need Stone, Miller, and Pepiot to be really good to compensate for their weak position player depth. And they need Outman to own CF, now.
I don’t have confidence in Muncy or Taylor or Heyward.
I agree that Busch and Outman can play MLB at some level right now. As a regular? They have to be given a chance, and I do not see that happening with the Dodgers for either of them. If AF had all that confidence in Outman, he would not have signed Heyward and Peralta. I would love to see Outman at least get a legit shot at the CF position more than going out and paying a bundle of prospect capital on Bryan Reynolds, who is more of a LF now. Outman needs to hope that Trayce Thompson and/or Jason Heyward play themselves out of a roster spot. Outman has options, and the Dodgers do not want him sitting on the bench as a role player.
Busch is blocked at every position…2B (Vargas), 1B (Freddie), LF (at least 3 others), DH (JD Martinez). I like Michael, and do think he will make a decent to good MLB player, just not with the Dodgers. His best use right now for LAD is in a trade.
Pages is still 22. He will be in AAA. While he profiles more as a RF he should be able to play LF without a problem. I think Pages will be the Dodger LF for the 2024 season. He will be brought up this season as was Vargas last year, and he will get the long leash as Vargas will get this year. Pages is doing everything asked of him. He lost the weight and he is becoming more disciplined at the plate. His bat is still plenty quick through the zone.
What about Pages in CF?
Everything I have read on him, and after watching a lot of games from Tulsa last year, there is doubt that he can play CF at the ML level. He played almost exclusively in RF last year (103 starts in RF and 8 starts in CF). Now that was before he lost the weight this winter. Maybe he can get the quickness back. Outman is the better CF prospect.
Miguel Rojas has opted not to play for Venezuela in the WBC due to the loss of Lux and needing to prepare to play a bigger role for the Dodgers.
Good. We need him.
Dodgers and fans should be more worried about what we will get from LF and CF than at SS. Rojas and Taylor will do just fine.
Everyone will play everywhere all the time.
Well that would solve the problem Sandy.
If Rojas, Muncy, Vargas and Taylor remain available all year, we have utility covered. Heck,I read Betts could be in that mix. Outfield? Well, RF is settled, until Betts goes second. I believe Peralta starts in left, I can see Taylor relieving there. I still see a Thompson/Outman platoon in center. But honestly, I don’t know what the 6 month plan is.
I keep thinking there is a firm solution but really the situation is flexible and we will continue to be adaptable to any changes that come aboiut.
There, I now have my badge in Roberts/AF miasma-speech.
miasma: noxious exhalations from putrescent organic matter… dangerous, foreboding, or deathlike influence or atmosphere
Good word. Not sure I would go that far but respect your use of the word here.
I’m not sure those guys in the high chairs currently know how this will shake out. There are jobs available and hopefully players we have here will claim them. If not, Busch and Outman, and maybe lesser, high ceiling, low level arms can get the required return.
No, it’s the wrong word. I give you an internet point for calling me on it.
Thank you. I need all the points I can get.
Still a good word.
Defensively yes. Not so much offensively.
Speaking of defensively….. 4 unearned today.
Some good plays as well.
Michael Grove has looked good his 2 times out. Wonder if he’ll get a shot at a middle relief role
I like him as swingman. Capable of 2-3 inning stints too. Maybe keep Pepiot stretched out in AAA. He’ll get a start before too long.