Once again, Badger has given me an idea for a post. Yesterday he wrote…
“After reading all the interest in trading for other team’s young players I am left thinking – our system is supposed to be pretty good, why don’t we give them a try?”
That seems to be the same general position of AF. Getting younger.
I know sometimes I come across as someone not enamored with the Dodgers MiLB system. I love MiLB baseball, and especially the Dodgers MiLB players. I have always rooted for the Dodgers to have yet another ROY. The Dodgers (Brooklyn and LAD) have won more ROY (18) than any other team. They have twice as many as the #2 team (NYY with 9).
If placing rookies into the regular lineup was a recipe for WS victories, then the Dodgers should have twice as many WS Championships as NYY since 1947 (1st year of ROY). The Dodgers won ROY in five consecutive seasons (1992-1996). From 1992 thru 2007 (16 years), the Dodgers made 4 playoffs and were 1-12, losing all 4 NLDS. It was not until 2008 before they won a Divisional Series. And every one of those ROY (Eric Karros, Mike Piazza, Raul Mondesi, Hideo Nomo, and Todd Hollandsworth) were long gone. Not one of those players helped the Dodgers to win a playoff series or even a playoff game.
Yes, the Dodgers system is good. It is also absent of elite players. There are no Julio Rodriguez’s, Adley Rutschman’s, Wander Franco’s, Vlad Guerrero Jr.’s, Bobby Witt Jr.’s…players to build an MLB team around.
The Dodgers had 1 player on the Baseball America 1st team All MiLB team (Gavin Stone) and none on the 2nd team. And we all know that the Dodgers did not have any player on the MLB All Rookie team, since they did not have any rookies on the team for the full season.
No rookies and they won 111 games.
The Dodgers are rated as one of the top systems because of the number of good players. The only LAD prospect graded as a future All Star is Diego Cartaya. And he only has that distinction from Baseball America, not FanGraphs (50) or MLB Pipeline (60).
The other consensus top LAD prospects.
- Bobby Miller – #3 SP per Baseball America, #4 by FanGraphs, #3/#4 MLB Pipeline.
- Miguel Vargas – Plus regular per Baseball America, Above Average per MLB Pipeline, Platoon/Utility per FanGraphs.
- Michael Busch – Above Average per Baseball America and MLB Pipeline, Average Regular per FanGraphs.
- Ryan Pepiot – #3/#4 Baseball America and MLB Pipeline, #4/#5 FanGraphs.
- Gavin Stone – #3/#4 Baseball America and MLB Pipeline, #4 FanGraphs.
- Andy Pages – Average Regular per Baseball America and FanGraphs, and Above Average per MLB Pipeline.
The Grading Scale is described below. All publications use the table below as a tool, but they tend to tweak it for their publications. As you can see, there is no consensus as to how these players are rated. The biggest disconnect is with Miguel Vargas. FV of 60 with Baseball America and 55 MLB Pipeline, and a 45 with FanGraphs.
The Overall Player Grade
|Hitter||Starting Pitcher||Relief Pitcher||WAR|
|80||Top 1-2||#1 Starter||—-||7.0|
|55||Above Avg||#3/4||Mid Closer||2.5|
|50||Avg Regular||#4||Low CL/High SU||2.0|
|40||Bench||Swing/Spot SP||Middle RP||1.0|
|35||Emergency Call-Up||Emergency Call-Up||Emergency Call-Up||0.0|
It should also be a consideration as to whether the team in question is a contender or not.. A mid-rotation starter for a perennial contender could be a #2 or even a #1 for one of the other non-contending teams.
Would the Dodgers had been better with Muncy at 1B than Freeman, waiting on Vargas? Will the Dodgers be better at SS with Gavin Lux or Jacob Amaya than Trea Turner. Or breaking it down, were the 2022 Dodgers a better team with Trea Turner than they would have been with Keibert Ruiz and JoJo Gray? Gray and Ruiz were the #1 and #2 prospects for LAD at the time of the Scherzer/Turner trade, and they certainly are not considered perennial All Stars. Gray would have helped to stem the tide with the injured pitchers. But Ruiz? Where was he going to play. I know if we ask certain people, they would have moved Smith to another position and put Ruiz behind the plate. Not a great choice. It would have weakened two positions.
The Dodgers have 12 RHP in their top 30. 9 are at AAA or AA.
Here is the list (or odd prospect list in honor of Bluto) 😀 😀:
- Bobby Miller – Grade 55 – AAA
- Ryan Pepiot – Grade 55 – AAA/MLB 40 man
- Gavin Stone – Grade 55 – AA
- Michael Grove – Grade 45 – AAA/MLB 40 man
- Landon Knack – Grade 50 – AA
- Nick Nastrini – Grade 50 – AA
- Nick Frasso – Grade 45 – AA
- Kyle Hurt – Grade 45 – AA
- Emmet Sheehan – Grade 45 – AA
- Carlos Duran – Grade 45 – A+
- Edgardo Henriquez – Grade 45 – A
- Peter Heubeck – Grade 40 – AA
Obviously not all of those pitchers are going to pitch at MLB with the LAD. Just how many will the team lose sufficient value before they will be DFA’d? How many will become Zach Lee or Yadier Álvarez or Dennis Santana? Not one of the top 3 are graded at more than a #3. That is not my grade. That is Baseball America, MLB Pipeline, and FanGraphs. Can they exceed that? Of course they can. Will they? That is what Andrew Friedman and Brandon Gomes are paid to determine. How about the next group of #5 graded SP or low setup?
So to be more direct with Badger’s question, sure, let’s give the rookies a try? But could the team have a better shot at getting a top MLB player/pitcher (hopefully with 2+ years of control) by moving multiple good players hoping for that proverbial lottery ticket? There is a difference between good and elite.
If we go youth, that would be
- Will Smith – C
- Freddie Freeman – 1B
- Gavin Lux – 2B
- Miguel Vargas – 3B
- Jake Amaya – SS
- Trayce Thompson – LF
- James Outman – CF
- Mookie Betts – RF
- Max Muncy – DH
- 2B – Michael Busch
- SS – Gavin Lux
- 3B/DH – JT/Max
- LF – Vargas
- Julio Urias
- Dustin May
- Tony Gonsolin
- Ryan Pepiot
- Bobby Miller
Looks very much like Milwaukee Brewers without Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, or Freddy Peralta.
Would they be better off with buying a SS (one of 4 FA) or trade (Adames, or…). Or trade for 3B (Devers) or CF (Trade – Bryan Reynolds)? And any number of available LF. Could they put a package together to get that #2 SP? Let me rephrase that …Will they? Because they certainly could.
For the record, I do think the Dodgers will have two and maybe three position rookies playing a major role, and two rookie pitchers having a significant impact in 2023. At least 4 players will exhaust their rookie limits in 2023. This also plays into my belief that the Dodgers are going to reset their CBT threshold. Their payroll will be below $233MM. It seems that this thought is catching on.
If you disagree, which of the Dodger prospects (other than Diego Cartaya) does anyone believe is elite…perennial All Star consideration elite? And, it is the elite that you want to build a team around.
Bottom line for me is that the LAD farm system is good. They have multiple players who will reach MLB. Sort of like Edwin Ríos, Matt Beaty, Willie Calhoun, Brandon Dixon, Zach Pop, Rylan Bannon, DJ Peters, Zach Reks, Mitch White, Jordan Sheffield, AJ Alexy, Devin Smelzer, Dean Kremer, Dennis Santana, Josh Sborz, Kyle Garlick, Connor Wong, Luke Raley…There will be the occasional starter: Will Smith, Gavin Lux, Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May. But All Stars? On occasion, yes.
We will get back to the team construction with LF in the next post.
Finally, Badger asked if I would include the below picture for discussion.
“For a few years now I have been debating the idea of “framing”. As a former umpire I am repulsed by the very idea. Any ump that is fooled by a catcher should be terminated. As you can see, the strike zone is nowhere near the catcher’s mitt. It’s over the plate, not 3’ behind it. Also, the mid point? I don’t think so. More like the navel.”