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MLB Pipeline Publishes Their Top 30 Prospect List

MLB Pipeline was the last of the major  talent evaluator services to publish their LAD Top 30 prospects, and there are some surprises.  Before I delve into the MLB Pipeline prospects, let’s do a little summary on all 6 publications.  As a reminder, I use six publications:

  • Baseball America – Top 30
  • MLB Pipeline – Top 30
  • Fangraphs – Top 49
  • ESPN – Top 40
  • Athletic – Top 20
  • Baseball Prospectus – Top 21

I know there are others, but I choose to focus on these six.

Not all publications use a top 30 format.

Five Dodger prospects are consensus top 10:

  • Dalton Rushing
  • Josue De Paula
  • River Ryan
  • Andy Pages
  • Diego Cartaya

Nick Frasso was named on 5.  Keith Law (Athletic) left him off his list because of his season ending injury.  However, he did report that Frasso would have been at the back end of the top 10 if it were not for the surgery.  That would have been 6 consensus Top 10 prospects.

Kyle Hurt was named on 4.  Both Keith Law (Athletic) and  Kyle McDaniel (ESPN) had him just outside of the top 10 at number 11.  That would make 8 consensus top 11.

Gavin Stone, Jackson Ferris, and Justin Wrobleski were named on three top 10 lists.

In all, 17 separate LAD prospects were included as a top 10 prospect on at least one publication.  That really is a small number of prospects identified as Top 10 in 6 different publications.

A couple of days ago, Bluto reported on the ages of each of the MLB Pipeline Top 30.  It was encouraging to see that 17 of the 30 are 21 or younger.  It would have been more encouraging to see if any of those 21 or younger prospects were closer to MLB than they are.  None played higher than High A.  But it is evident that the Dodgers do have a next wave of good baseball talent coming up.

Of the 30 top prospects per MLB Pipeline, 12 were acquired via International Free Agency, 10 were drafted, and 7 were acquired via trade.  Of the top 10, 4 were IFA, 4 were trades, and 2 were drafted (Dalton Rushing and Gavin Stone).

Included in the top 30 were RHP (8), OF (7), SS (5), LHP (4), C (3), 3B (1), INF (1), and C/2B (1).  Pitching still dominates, especially RHP.  Do the Dodgers really need three top 10 catchers?

The biggest surprise for me was seeing Zyhir Hope at #21.  He was not included in any other publication as a top prospect, including Fangraphs’ top 49 or ESPN top 40

A twitchy athlete with a beautiful left-handed stroke, Hope already produces 110-mph exit velocities as a teenager. He hasn’t seen a lot of quality pitching and tends to chase pitches out of the zone, so he likely will need some time to hone his approach and develop at the plate. But his combination of easy bat speed, growing strength and some natural loft in his swing could translate into plus power in his prime.

They also included a comment that he is a potential 30-30 player and can easily stick in CF.  Some teams saw Zyhir as a pitcher, and if he does not progress as a position player, he can always try pitching.

In one of the better trades the Dodgers have made this past winter, the Dodgers have acquired a potential everyday SS in Trey Sweeney.  MLB Pipeline does see that potential.  He will certainly get that opportunity before any of the other 4 top 30 SS prospects.

Sweeney established himself as one of the better hitters in the 2021 college class, and Los Angeles plans on letting him revert to what worked for him in college. Though he employed a sizeable leg kick and pronounced bat tip at Eastern Illinois, his uncanny hand-eye coordination permitted him to barrel balls and make a lot of hard contact from the left side of the plate. He manages the strike zone well and still offers the upside of a solid hitter with average power if he can get back on track. 

Sweeney has stayed at shortstop longer than most scouts expected. He has increased his speed from below average in college to average in pro ball, and he’s even quicker once he gets going. He’s an opportunistic basestealer with decent range, reliable hands and solid arm strength at short.

Most who have followed me know that I am an unabashed fan of Brett Butler.  Maybe that is why I have an affinity for Kendall George. He is totally out of the LAD power hitter mold.

Some scouts have  semi-jokingly labeled George as a 90 runner on the 20-80 scale.  He is a sub 4.0 seconds from plate to 1B.  Dodgers believe they should be able to coax some power out of him, but his bat to ball skills, speed, and CF defense make him a MLB prospect.

Even with his control issues, Maddux Bruns continues to stick in the middle of the MLB Pipeline top 30. That is a testament to his “stuff”.

Los Angeles has helped him clean up his strong 6-foot-2 frame and his mechanics, having him use a high three-quarters slot rather than the over-the-top delivery he employed in high school. He has the upside of a mid-rotation starter but a greater likelihood of becoming a power reliever.

This will be a big year for Bruns.  Does he take the next step to a rotation spot, or become that high leverage power reliever.  He will most certainly be given every opportunity to excel in a starting role.

I think one of the more pleasant surprises has been the ascension of LHP Justin Wrobleski.  He has even made three top 10 lists. The same as Gavin Stone and Jackson Ferris.

Though Wrobleski battled the strike zone and averaged 6.3 walks per nine innings during his college career, he has cut that rate to 2.9 in pro ball. His quick arm and explosive athleticism have translated into more consistent stuff and control now that he’s healthy and getting regular innings. He’s a potential No. 4 starter who may not need much more time in the Minors.

Another key trade this winter is Michael Busch and Yency Almonte to Chicago Cubs for LHP Jackson Ferris and Zyhir Hope.

Ferris has frontline-starter ceiling and resembles Blake Snell at the same stage of their careers, albeit with better stuff and a cleaner delivery.

Blake Snell may be an unfair comp, but if he even approaches the level of Blake Snell, Jackson Ferris will almost certainly be in the future rotation for LAD.

The third of the prospect catchers is 20 year old Thayron Liranzo.  Liranzo is somewhat in the Max Muncy mold as a hitter.  Big power, especially to the pull side, a lot of swing and miss, but a lot of BB.  He is a switch hitter.  I know Bear will not like it, but he looks to be a Yasmani Grandal type catcher.  But what about his defense and receiving skills?

He has the hands to become an average or better receiver and moves well behind the plate despite well below-average speed on the bases. He owns at least plus arm strength and will deter the running game even more as he improves his throwing accuracy.

One of the more in flux pitchers on the list is 26 year old RHP, Kyle Hurt.  He looks like he could be a potential closer.  But he also has a 4 pitch repertoire with two plus pitches, one above average, and one average.  Thus the Dodgers are going to lengthen him as potential starting pitcher.  Like most LAD prospect pitchers, he has below average control.  But there is no denying his strikeout capability.

Per MLB Pipeline, Kyle has a better chance than ever of reaching his ceiling as a mid-rotation starter and also could develop into a high-leverage reliever.  He will definitely be pitching for LAD this season.

With all of the talk about defense at the SS position, the Dodgers effectuated a trade for a defense 1st SS…Noah Miller.  Noah has a brother, Owen Miller, on the Brewers roster as a utility player.  It is hard to argue about Noah’s defense after winning a MiLB GG at SS.  Miller is a MLB SS, but can he hit?

Though Miller batted just .220/.326/.318 in his first three pro seasons, Los Angeles hopes to unlock more impact by helping him improve his swing and his approach. He’s a switch-hitter with bat speed from both sides of the plate and shows the patience to draw walks, but he makes a lot of soft contact and rarely drives the ball with authority. He’s an average runner with good instincts on the bases.

He sounds like a potential “Baseball Player”.

One of my favorite MiLB players that I will be following this season is 18 year old RHP, Jesus Tillero.  As a 17 year old last year:

Tillero displayed a 94-95 mph fastball that touched 97 with plenty of induced vertical break. His slider parks at 83-86 mph at its best and could become a solid or better offering once he improves its consistency. He also has the makings of a decent changeup but hasn’t used it much in game action. 

Tillero already repeats his sound delivery with ease and walked just six batters in 10 DSL starts. He’s not very big or physical, so he’ll have to prove that he and his stuff can hold up over a full-season workload. But he’s off to a promising start and could turn heads when he makes his U.S. debut in 2024.

Let’s see if any of the three IFA SS rises to the level of a top 100 player:

  • Joendry Vargas
  • Emil Morales
  • Alexander Albertus

Will Yeiner Fernandez move more permanently to an infield position or utility role?

Will Josue De Paula become at least a serviceable OF this year?

Will Eduardo Quintero get a bit more love in the prospect ratings if he continues to hit?

The Dodgers have a promising MiLB affiliate program this year, especially at the A+, A, and Rookie level, although technically the Rookie level is not an affiliate.  I very much look forward to watching and writing about the development of many of these players.

 

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Bobby

Interesting stuff, thank you so much!

I question why trying to stretch Kyle Hurt out to be a middle rotation starter, when he looks like he’s got late inning reliever skills right now?

Seems we did the same thing with Josh Sborz, who was the closer of the year while at Virginia, and yet we decided to have him try out starting for years before getting rid of him. Of course, he’s a Ranger bullpen arm now.

Duke Not Snider

SPs are more valuable than RPs. A mid-rotation SP should pitch about 3X the innings of a late-inning reliever They are harder to find, harder to replace. That’s why starters get paid more than relievers.
If the Dodgers front office thinks Hurt has what it takes to start, it should be explored. He could also go back to the bullpen. In the meantime, the Dodgers might find another RP reclamation project like Phillips or Brasier.

Bobby

Also. Tonight lineup is out and Lux is at 2b with Mookie at SS

Singing the Blue

Glad to see that they’re at least considering this. Let’s see how it plays out. Lux has looked very good on offense this spring. It would be a shame if we couldn’t take advantage of that.

Eric

“Also. Tonight lineup is out and Lux is at 2b with Mookie at SS”

Finally!!! This was my suggestion all along.

Dionysus

I was wrong.

Duke Not Snider

Nailed it, Eric.
Certainly a few folks have been suggesting such a move for some time, but I certainly had my doubts that the Dodgers brain trust would be so bold–even though it makes a lot of sense.
Trea Turner had even said he thought Mookie might be his successor, because Mookie always did the infield drills as part of his routine.
Mookie will make some errors as he adjusts, of course, but with repetition he should at least get to league-average status.
Lux needs to suck it up. Or maybe man up. I don’t mean to be an insensitive jerk, but the reports about his anxiety and shaky confidence leaves me cold. He’s getting paid a lot to live his dream, and if he succeeds he’ll get paid a lot more.
Going with Mookie and Rojas at SS may not guarantee Lux’s job at 2B. Max has played 2B as well. As someone pointed out, AF could shop for a new third baseman. Any suggestions?
At any rate, Lux could be featured in one of Jeff’s future articles about how well ex-Dodgers play against their old team.

Badger

Just a little confused by the use of the term Top 10.

I hope Lux’ confidence isn’t severely diminished by what appears to be a possible demotion. And I’m not convinced Betts to shortstop at this point is a good idea.

Jeff

I think this will depend on how Lux fares at 2B. Max is also a defensive problem at 3B. I think we may have to swallow hard to see Max and Lux prove the critics wrong.

stevied317

This whole Lux issue is giving me a migraine! All the king’s horses and all the king’s men can’t get Lux to throw the ball straight to Freddie! It’s hard to believe that with all the Dodger braintrust that they haven’t either (A) seen this coming or (B) been able to fix it. This isn’t a new thing folks!
In the meantime, they are now continuing to try to jam square pegs into round holes. Mokie is going to need Google Maps to determine where he is playing each day!
And then there is the Willie Adames saga. Really? That’s the fix? Last time I saw poor Willie he looked like a deer in the headlights taking a called third strike from Urias to end the World Series. No thanks!
Send Lux to AAA or trade him. Put Rojas at SS. With this lineup I think we can afford to have one batter that doesn’t hit .330 with 40 HR’s and 120 RBI’s but can throw the ball straight.

Kpizzle

Dave just announced mookie is SS moving forward and Lux back to 2nd.

Eric

“Dave just announced mookie is SS moving forward and Lux back to 2nd.”

Awesome, because the Dodgers now have a superstar at SS and that is a leg up on the rest of the league who don’t have that. It’s harder to find or develop a good hitting SS (and catcher too) than other positions on the field. And there’s a good hitting catcher by the name of Will Smith that the Dodgers already have and they need to sign him long term.

Last edited 1 month ago by Eric
Dave

It.is curious. For a guh who had played SS all his life to have throwing problems. Either he had throwing problems all the time or its a mental thing.

Oldbear48

Well that ends the Adames discussion. Mookie will do fine at SS. The more he plays there, the better he will get.

Bumsrap

It could be for a year more or less.

Oldbear48

You might be right.

Duke Not Snider

I read that against certain lefties Mookie would move back to 2B and Rojas would play SS.
This suggests to me that the Dodgers are really hedging against Mookie as a “permanent” fix at SS. And they don’t think Lux should be permanent at 2B either.
Or maybe permanent until they get Adames or some certain PTBNL.

Badger

Sure, Mookie can play anywhere. But this is the second position move for a Gold Glove right fielder. Doesn’t feel right to me. Every infielder we have but Freeman is playing out of position.

And Lux? All that talk about giving him time to get it back after surgery and a year off was bullsh*t. 10 plays and you’re out.

Terry

Agreed, the Dodgers braintrust looks discombobulated with their latest move on Lux. Hopefully it all works out for the best.

Jeff

They are very slow to acknowledge their weaknesses.

porpoiseboy

Also more physically demanding at SS.

SCDodgerFan

What position do you think Freeman should be playing?

Badger

Why do you ask SC?

SCDodgerFan

You said “but Freeman is playing out of position.” I reread your comment & understand what you were saying. My bad!

Jeff

It’s not Mookie I’m worried about……..

Make mine Blue

Seemed like a complete no brainer decision to me. You couldn’t watch Lux and not see that there was a big big issue for him at SS. I still think his knee is just not there yet to handle that position. It will be interesting to see if he is capable of making the turn on the double play, also hard on a weak knee.

Oldbear48

We got snow the other day and it is about 23 here this morning. Glad I am inside and all warm and cozy. No baseball the last two days, been maddening. Watched some games from last year.

Oldbear48

Rosario was offered more money by the Yankees than the Rays but opted for the chance of more playing time over the money. Yankees still looking for infield depth. It is going to be weird seeing Joey Votto in Blue Jays gear. But after all these years, he gets to play for his hometown team.

Dionysus

Some big names still unsigned.

Badger

This feels like a knee jerk move to me. Lux previous issues with throwing were resolved and he was pronounced the Dodgers SS in ‘22. Why would they do that if “he couldn’t make the long throw from short”? Then he gets injured and is rehabbing for a year. This winter he was once again pronounced the starting shortstop. Did he not prove to brass he could play that position before making that bold announcement?

Who is minding the store here? Was his hundreds of reps on the practice fields under the watchful eye of the organization’s infield coaches not enough to recognize they may have a problem here? Apparently not. So within days of the season starting, and 10 plays in game situation, they decide to make this move.

A few thoughts immediately come to mind. 1. You want to wear down your 31 year old All League leadoff man this will do it. 2. I don’t believe this is permanent. 3. I hope Lux can handle this demotion psychologically. With what he’s already been through the anxiety and potential depression this may cause could affect his hitting. I sure hope that is not the case.

But, time to move forward. This team won’t be good defensively. But they likely won’t need to be. The pitching should be good and the offense, provided Mookie can carry through, should be great.

RC Dodger

Good points Badger.
I am still hoping Lux can be a major contributor at 2B and can overcome his throwing issues. Of course he is also recovering from the brutal knee injury. And DH is not an option with the Dodgers. I am still a big fan of Lux.

OhioDodger

The Dodgers may get by with a poor defense in the regular season, but, come playoff time good defense can often make the difference between winning a championship or going home empty handed.

Jeff

Playoffs possibility……Mookie to 2B, Rojas to SS. That would take care of the defensive issues as long as the Dodgers offense and pitching doesn’t collapse.

Terry

Yup!

tedraymond

A lot of good points Badger. The way I understood the reason for the move was that Lux isn’t in baseball shape due to limited baseball activities while his knee surgery healed. That, along with his apparent anxiety, he hasn’t looked comfortable at SS this spring. So, instead of Lux playing SS and possibly having troubles there and ruining his confidence long term they decided to put him at 2B “permanently….for now”. Leave it to Dave Roberts to give a precise and clear explanation for the move. So, with that reasoning, I guess once Lux gets his act together baseball wise he’ll return to SS and Mookie will return to 2B. Interesting……for now.

A nice write up on the prospects Jeff. I’m more fascinated with the 20 yr year old and under group in low A and A+. It seems there are quite a few position prospects that could have a future with the Dodgers or with another team in MLB.

The pitching prospects appear to be strong up and down the system. But, with Bobby Miller the only Dodger pitching prospect to make the team in the past few years I’m curious to see if AF and the Dodgers can get more of them to be successful MLB pitchers. For the most part with the prospect pitching it has been mostly on paper and not on the field. Hence the need to spend several hundred million dollars for starting pitching this offseason.
Not complaining, just observing and enjoying.

Carry on

Phil Jones

“Mookie is the permanent shortstop…………….for now”. Permanent, for now isn’t permanent at all. I think this is all going to work itself out in time but for now it’s a distraction. There are other things that should be the focus at this time at spring training with their short schedule this year. You would think that a team as talented as the Dodgers would have an everyday infield up the middle pretty set at this point but a lot of accommodates are being extended for Lux’s bat. I am totally aware of the limited sample size for Lux so far. But I reported early on that he had a limp and he has yet to make one single play that was clean at short and now 2nd. Last night he tossed a submarine short hop to Freddie from 40 feet. I can smell his brain burning as he preps to throw the ball.
I don’t know how this will end but we may be compromised at 3 positions while it gets figured out. And Muncy isn’t exactly Nolan Arenado at 3rd. In the meantime, the entire team is playing shitty. Maybe it’s spring training fatigue as players want the season to get started and maybe it’s something else. But the pitching, all be it not our frontliners, has been marginal. Varland and Yarborough looked awful, and the play in general has been sub par. I am not overreacting but Lux needs to start clearing his attic and playing better.

Last edited 1 month ago by Phil Jones
Make mine Blue

“Mookie at SS is permanent for now” means SS is Mookie’s position to lose. If he performs adequately and keeps improving with more an more reps, he stays put. If not, explore other options.

Sometimes 10 chances are plenty of chances to tell if something is workable. If a guy screws up most of the time on his chances then you can actually tell a lot about what should be expected. In this case, the message to crowd-control was “Dodger Brass, we have a problem”. I think it is genius that the Dodgers pulled the trigger and decided to take the remainder of ST to give these guys the reps they need, BEFORE it had to be done when the games actually mean something. Bravo Dodgers for being bold and getting on with it.

Badger

I don’t agree that 10 chances is enough to evaluate. Even Mookie and Freddie can go into 10 at bat slumps from time to time.

That said, and to your point, what I want to know, and likely never will, is what he’s looked like from the day he took his first infield practice. How long ago was that? And after several hundred throws to first, from every angle imaginable, they wait til now to determine he can’t do it?

I’m with Jeff. Give him til the All Star break, or a couple months at least, to get it worked out. This team will likely win the West by 10 games again, so the Division won’t be lost by late June because the shortstop mailed a few. Have faith and show some balls brass!

Make mine Blue

I have seen a bunch of guys that I could tell right away if they had “it” or didn’t, results meant nothing, it has to do if you see what the guy is capable of, 10 chances is plenty to tell about if the guy possesses the ability. I wasn’t talking about batting, I was talking about in the field. Batting is a whole different bred of cat.

tedraymond

Phil, a good observation on the Dodgers play so far this spring. Looks like a lack of concentration. The pitching will sort itself out. The defensive play hasn’t helped the pitching either. This recent SS-2B switch will be interesting. The infield sans Freeman could be a high wire act this season.

I’ve been a Gavin Lux fan since he first came up. It’s a shame that he is having to deal with some apparent mental issues along with his physical rehab. Baseball is hard enough without that. His defensive problems hasn’t seemed to have affected his hitting. Usually it’s the other way around. Let’s see how the season plays out for Lux. If they aren’t completely happy with his play then it may be time to move on. If that becomes the case then I think AF needs to step and trade for a top SS prospect from a team and pay whatever price it takes to make it happen. Their MiLB system is so strong that they have more than enough (especially pitching) to get whoever they want. To have Ohtani, Yamamoto, Miller, Glasnow, and probably Sasaki next year there will be certainly a few prospects available to trade for a top SS. But, I hope all that isn’t necessary and Lux can find his way.

Last edited 1 month ago by tedraymond
Badger

Agree with all of that Ted.

Looks like Lux may have made his way to the back fields for infield practice. Hernandez at second today.

Last edited 1 month ago by Badger
OhioDodger

Good grief. Just start Rojas a SS and bat him 9th. His defense alone makes the team better. We have signed plenty of offensive players. If they get the job done, having Rojas at short will not be a problem. The impetus is on Mookie, Freddie, Ohtani, Muncy, Smith, THernandez, Heyward, and Outman to get it done offensively.

Last edited 1 month ago by OhioDodger
Zeke

Agree 100% with Rojas at SS.

Phil Jones

Perfect. Thank you Bear. Here’s what should be “permanent, for now”. Rojas is the SS and it’s up to Lux to fix his game and earn a position at 2nd or beat out Rojas at SS when he gets an opportunity. We do not need taking on payroll for a perceived upgrade – That ISN’T better. #1, who is that? It isn’t Adames. The truth is that what separates successful infielders isn’t always mechanics. It’s mental.
I personally never thought Lux a was more than adequate at 2nd. His bat would play there and Mookie at SS high effect his bat. It’s a demanding position. Ted I love your posts but I’m totally against “ AF needs to step up and trade for a top SS prospect from a team and pay whatever price it takes to make it happen”. This season. I think you are talking about acquiring a SS next winter.
Let’s just play and see what happens but if Lux doesn’t show something better it’s not til the All-Star Break.
I hope Lux makes it. I want the Dodgers win but i’m unwilling to piss away games waiting for him to be even marginal.

Bumsrap

Lux injured his right knee which is the knee he pushes off to make long throws. He could be favoring it physically or maybe just mentally. I think the Dodgers are saying the right thing regarding switching Betts and Lux. I am thinking they hope Lux will be their shortstop but for now are trying to let it happen at its own pace with fewer questions about when.

If the left side defense needs improvement there is a chance it could be made at third instead of short.

Anybody who predicted Lux would have troubles defensively at the start of the season was stating the obvious. Lux, like Badger has said, has demonstrated in various places and times that he can play short satisfactorily or he wouldn’t still be entertained as a shortstop.

Badger

Well said Fred.

Make mine Blue

LIke I have said repeatedly, his knee is not healthy nor strong yet. It may take this full season to get to where it needs to be. I speak from personal experience.

Last edited 1 month ago by Make mine Blue
Sam Oyed

I assume you mean wrt lateral movement. He seems to be running ok.

Oldbear48

That settles it, Okey should be Smith’s backup. Trade Barnes. Hope Treinen is ok.

Bumsrap

And therefore Owings should be the third baseman? 😀

Dionysus

Grove opening day starter

Oldbear48

Don’t be silly. Okey can hit, Barnes can’t. Muncy can hit with more pop than Owings.

Dionysus

I feel like Grove could be traded. He’s ready now, doesn’t have a huge with us one way or the other and we seem to have no room for him. I anticipate a trade to free up a roster spot and add a lower level prospect.

Oldbear48

Giants placed J D Davis on waivers. Yasmani Grandal suffering from plantar fasciitis.

Jeff

Jeff, what is it going to take, in your estimation, to get Pages and Gauthier on this team? Both seem like future pieces for the Dodgers but the FO moves like molasses.

Also the showing of Okey is impressive. Out of the blue, his name is now on my follow list.

Jeff

You’re probably right about Okey and the circumstances that will get Pages on the team. Teoscar looks like a keeper but I’m not sure about Heyward. He can’t hit LHP and hasn’t been good offensively in ST.

Dionysus

Neither Pages nor Gauthier is being blocked. Pages has barely played AAA and missed most of last year. He’s possibly next man up, catching up to Vargas. Gauthier has clear shot at utility role next couple years. It’s all looking up for those two.

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