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.”
I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today
Thank you! That catcher may be a foot deeper than normal, but the point is the strike zone is not where the ball is caught. And watching catchers pull the mitt back into the strike zone and get the call is maddening. They are telling the ump they don’t think it’s a strike and the ump doesn’t believe them. ABS. NOW!
Who’s the better long term prospect, Rushing or Cartaya?
Adames was already traded and is arb eligible for a couple of years. I would love to have him, but I doubt Milwaukee moves him.
We can sign a free agent or two Which one(s) do we want?
Im sure I’ve missed a few, but the coffee hasn’t kicked in yet.
I know the team went flat late, but I’m ok with most of it remaining. We’ve got some young pitchers that deserve a shot. We outscored the opposition by 900 runs last year, we can survive some rough learning curves if we have to.
I’m with you on umpires being fooled by framing. Another thing that confuses me, and maybe I’m missing something, but for example when a rh pitcher is pitching to a rh batter and the ball just misses outside didn’t the ball have to cross though the strike zone to get there? Yet it’s called a ball!
Interesting question on Rushing or Cartaya. I have not seen enough of Rushing to know how legit he is. MLB Pipeline is convinced at the moment as they have put him at #9 LAD, and Baseball America has him #12. Rushing will start at High A (Great Lakes), but could move to AA quickly (where Cartaya will start 2023).
I do not think Adames gets moved either, but if Mookie and Soto can be traded so can Willy Adames (again). Milwaukee is going to have a tough time signing all of their arbitration cases…18 players, $79.9MM.
Hunter Renfroe – $11.2MM
Willy Adames – $9.2MM
Corbin Burnes – $11.4M
Brandon Woodruff – $11.0MM
That is 4 players at nearly $43MM. MLBTR is thinking Milwaukee will save the two top pitchers and the SS, and let the RF go.
MLBTR considers Hunter Renfroe as a non tender potential. If I am AF, and he is non-tendered, I would look for Renfroe to be a LF candidate. His great arm may be wasted in LF, but he is a good defensive player with a big RH Bat. He was already in my LF discussion.
Adames for 9.2 is pretty good deal. They really should find a way to make that happen. Actually the same is true for Renfroe. I’d take him.
I’m going to say “no thank you” to Renfroe. His lifetime OBP is .300 on the button. I want to bring in a couple of guys who get on base a lot so our big-time sluggers can knock them in.
That’s why I’m hoping Vargas gets some regular playing time next year and develops into the hitter most of us think he can be. Not every guy in the lineup needs to hit 20+ homers. I’m fine with Lux hitting 8-10 a year plus a bunch of doubles and being on base a lot.
Vargas is a third baseman. The last two years Renfroe has hit 60 home runs, 168 RBI’s and OPSd 114 and 126. I’ll take that. His defense was a bit blow average, but I could live with it.
Well, we can resume this conversation after next season. Yes, Miggy is a third baseman, but after a fair amount of time there he’s apparently a pretty poor third baseman.
He hasn’t spent much time in left field but I would think that would be an easier position to learn and become proficient at than third base (I’ll bow to your expertise on that one).
One point I’ll give you is that Renfroe’s last two years have been very nice, but in order to put him in left, you have to put Vargas at third and remove JT.
You point out Renfroe’s numbers for the last two seasons. JT’s RBI totals are exactly the same and his OPS+ numbers are almost identical. The only difference is homers. On the other hand JT’s OBP is much higher.
So if Andrew decides to jettison JT and add Renfroe, I won’t be furious, but I’d rather he just leave things as they are with regard to those two.
I have no idea what the plan is, I’m only talking about what I could live with here. Renfroe is 7 years younger than Turner and could be cheaper, depending on what Turner might accept. As for Vargas, I’m just thinking a position change at this point in his career might give him too much to think about. Help him become ML average at his position and let him hit. It’s possible Turner has another 2 WAR year in him. All that said I have no idea the team pinterest in Renfroe, or anybody else for that matter.
Sometimes I wish they didn’t even show that ‘strike zone box’ on TV so as not to see how amazingly terrible home plate umpires are. Not really thrilled with first base umpiring as well.
I think if they drop the box fans would be pissed. They have the technology to get it right. Use it. And if you’re going to continue to be butt headed about it, at least give teams the opportunity to challenge strike 3.
I want to add Judge to my list. 30 year old 10 WAR player has to be mentioned, right?
AF has always maintained that you have to check in when a player like Aaron Judge becomes available. So LAD will explore the possibility of Aaron Judge. I think this is Freddie Freeman revisited. He wants to return to NYY but if they choose to move on, then he is going to go to his hometown team, SF Giants.
Just like Freddie who wanted to return to Atlanta, but when they chose a new direction, Freddie went to his hometown team.
I believe this will also be the case for Clayton Kershaw. He may want to return to LA but could end up with his hometown Texas Rangers.
I agree with all that. Frankly I think NY will pay him whatever it takes to keep him. I think he stays there with a front loaded contract and may finish in SF. That’s what my opaque ball is telling me anyway.
God stuff as always Jefe. What about that catcher they just drafted that tore up the Cal League. Rushing? Seems like a pretty good hitter to me. Pitching wins championships but the long ball excites.
Badger asked the same question above on Rushing. I have not seen enough of him to know if he is legit. He beat up on the Cal League, but was basically league age average (21). Why wasn’t Diego Cartaya pushed to AA and Rushing to A+?
Milwaukee? They have an 18 year old CF/2B, Jackson Chourio. He beat up on Low A, High A, and then got assigned to AA as an 18 year old. He finally struggled at AA. He went from not being ranked in top 100 (MLB Pipeline) to #10 overall. He went from pre-season #10 on Brewers Baseball America list to #1 by August.
I get it. The Dodgers just wanted Rushing to get comfortable in pro ball. Okay, now that is done. Let’s see what he can do with older pitchers in both receiving and hitting. Let’s push both Cartaya and Rushing.
Rushing needs to show he can be a ML catcher. He does have a ML arm behind the plate. He was always playing behind higher ranked catchers and played more 1B than C. Per BA…
There are a number of talent evaluators who believe he has better catching skills than does his predecessor at Louisville and overall #1 pick a year earlier, Henry Davis. But he has to stick at C for LAD, because his only other possibility is 1B, and I think that spot is filled for the next five years (at least).
As you say, first we need to see how good a hitter Rushing is at a higher level.
If he’s as good as we hope, AF should be able to find a position for him.
Catcher, DH, a little first base.
My hope is that one day we can start 8 catchers and bring back Kenley to pitch.
Smith – 3B
Rushing – 1B
Cartaya – C
Barnes – 2B
Kyle Farmer – SS
Varsho – CF
Kenley – P
Now we just need RF and LF and we’re good to go.
That team could compete. Not at the ML level though.
The reason I asked the question was in reference to trades. We don’t need 2 minor league catchers the same age competing for a starting catcher job. Which one do we keep, and which one do we trade to Miami for Pablo Lopez.
Not saying that Cartaya will necessarily have the better MLB career but he definitely has a lot more trade value at this point, I would guess.
Would you rather use one of them in a trade for Lopez or for Burnes.
Bieber is the “today” and Rushing and Pepiot are the “hamburger”
I am going with Burnes. They are both controlled thru 2024. Burnes is 18 months older, not enough to sway me from a former CY winner.
BTW, Rushing is only 7 months older. Cartaya does seem to get injured a bit. Extend Smith and one of them is expendable. But I think they need to get that one right.
Just checked on Trade Simulator (not sure why I bother because I disagree with a lot of their values, but……..)
Lopez – 38.7
Burnes – 78.3
Although I think Burnes is the more valuable pitcher, I don’t think he’s twice as valuable.
Cartaya – 50.6
Rushing – 6.5
Rushing really hasn’t had much chance to build value but I’m sure the Dodgers value him a lot closer to Cartaya than this spread indicates. And he has the Marty Lamb Seal of Approval.
I agree with you about the Trade Simulator. Burnes is not twice as valuable as Lopez, and Cartaya & Rushing are a lot closer, although I would still expect Cartaya to have more value because of the higher league and # of years in the organization. How is that for a run-on sentence.
Totally acceptable. You had a lot to say. 😄
I said Lopez for a reason. He’s a mid rotation innings eater. Burnes? He’s Milwaukee’s ace. They aren’t trading him. And I’m assuming Cartaya is the keeper. I think Rushing will move up quickly. He OPS’d 1.317 in A ball. Cartaya should be in AAA an Rushing should be in AA He mashed in 3 leagues this year.