One of the perceived holes for the 2023 Dodgers is CF and LF. The Dodgers have 6 OF on the 40 man roster:
- Mookie Betts
- Chris Taylor
- Trayce Thompson
- James Outman (LAD #13 prospect)
- Andy Pages (LAD #5 and MLB #66 prospect)
- Jonny DeLuca
Mookie is a bonafide perennial All Star. CT3 is at his best when he is a true utility player. Thompson and Outman are probably more accurately considered as #4 OF. Pages and DeLuca are probably not considered as possible OF in the 2023 season with the MLB team.
Of course the Dodgers can take a couple of infielders with questionable defensive skills and stick them in LF because of their potential bats – Miguel Vargas and Michael Busch.
How did the Dodgers get here? The Dodgers have had 8 drafts in the AF era. Here are the drafted OF in the first 10 rounds:
- 2015 – Mitchell Hansen (2), Logan Landon (10).
- 2016 – DJ Peters (4), Luke Raley (7).
- 2017 – Jeren Kendall (1), Zach Reks (10).
- 2018 – James Outman (7), Josh McLain (9).
- 2019 – Ryan Ward (8)
- 2020 – Jake Vogel (3)
- 2021 – Damon Keith (18) – Not a top 10, but only drafted OF
- 2022 – Nick Biddison (4)
- Mitchell Hansen and Logan Landon are out of baseball.
- DJ Peters is no longer affiliated with a MLB team. Technically he is a FA, and will probably sign a MiLB contract with some team.
- Luke Raley is a AAAA OF with the Nationals
- Jeren Kendall has seemingly stalled out at AA, while he has never truly been considered anything more than a defensive CF.
- Zach Reks is now in Korea.
- James Outman is in line to earn a spot on the opening day 26-man roster. Whether he does or not, or what role he’ll play, depends on how he plays in ST.
- Josh McLain retired after the 2019 season.
- Ryan Ward just completed his season in AA and is available in the Rule 5 draft. If he remains in the LAD system, he will be a 25 year old OF at OKC next season. He is #30 on the MLB Pipeline LAD Top Prospects list.
- Jake Vogel is a 21 year old CF with excellent defensive skills and questionable hit skills. Remind you of some other high LAD pick? He should move to AA next year. I think he could still be considered a defensive specialist at the MLB level. Will he hit????
- Damon Keith will be a 23 year old OF who should return to High A where he got a late season promotion.
- Nick Biddison is a 22 year old who put up okay numbers at low A.
That is 11 OF draft picks in the top 10 rounds over the last 8 years. The International Free Agent signings have been equally unproductive. Yusniel Diaz, Starling Heredia, Christopher Arias, Carlos Rincon, Luis Rodriguez…Only Andy Pages remains a true prospect. I have been critical of those who write about how good the Dodger prospects are without ever seeing them play.
I remember a couple years back when I was soundly criticized because I was critical of Luis Rodriguez. The person doing the criticizing had never seen him play and was so knowledgeable of his talents that he called him JRod. Rodriguez has fallen out of the LAD top 30 prospects quicker than Jeren Kendall. He is still in the LAD organization, and can still develop. While Luis is no longer considered a top prospect, he should move to High A as a 20 year old.
Pages is the only LAD OF listed in the top 100 prospects. He is the 16th rated OF. There are 23 other OF in MLB Pipeline’s Top 100. It appears somewhat evident that the Dodgers are bereft of quality OF prospects, and with only 1 star at the MLB level, they are going to need to sign one or rely on a bevy of 4th OFers to fill out the lineup.
I thought Outman would be the CF and Thompson as the LF. Bums thought that Thompson would be the CF and Outman would be the LF. Regardless, neither Outman nor Thompson are probably the answer for LAD CF. It may be an economical option, but is it a top MLB OF? Probably not. Then again, with the dearth of plus OFers in MLB, they very well could become one.
It is difficult to develop a top OF when the team has floundered when selecting OF in the draft or international market. That is why I have been outspoken in wanting AF/BG to package a few of the 82 RHP with 45+ FV to try and get a good OF. In the meantime, it is time to get comfortable with Mookie, Trayce Thompson, James Outman, and CT3 as the LAD OF on the 26 man roster for 2023.