There has been some discussion the last couple of days as to whether premium talent is required to win the WS. I inferred (correctly or incorrectly) that many were espousing that the Dodgers were a more talented team than say Arizona.
First we have to define premium talent. Jim Callis, MLB Pipeline, wrote a piece indicating the number and top ranking of all WS participants for both Texas and Arizona. Of the 52 players on the rosters, 21 (40.4%) were Top 100 prospects: 12 for Texas and 9 for Arizona. I think that is a good start.
As usuals, many of the best players upcoming World Series were highly regarded prospects en route to the big leagues. Twenty-one D-backs and Rangers made MLB.com’s Top 100 list as they climbed through the Minors, one more than the total of 20 Astros and Phillies a year ago.
Below are the 21 former Top 100 Prospects, lined up in order of their prospect hype at the time they arrived in the Majors. The Top 100 rankings noted come from the list closest to their initial callup:
- Corey Seager, SS, Rangers — No. 2 (mid-2015), 1st-round pick (No. 18 overall, HS/North Carolina), 2012, Dodgers – FA
- Evan Longoria, 3B, D-backs — No. 2 (pre-2008), 1st-round pick (No. 3 overall, Long Beach State), 2006, Devil Rays – FA
- Corbin Carroll, OF, D-backs — No. 3 (mid-2022), 1st-round pick (No. 16 overall, HS/Washington), 2019, D-backs
- Aroldis Chapman, LHP, Rangers — No. 6 (pre-2011), International free agent (Cuba), 2010, Reds – Trade with KC
- Gabriel Moreno, C, D-backs — No. 7 (mid-2022), International free agent (Venezuela), 2016, Blue Jays – Trade with Toronto
- Evan Carter, OF, Rangers — No. 8 (mid-2023), 2nd-round pick (HS/Tennessee), 2020, Rangers
- Jordan Lawlar, SS, D-backs — No. 10 (mid-2023), 1st-round pick (No. 6 overall, HS/Texas), 2021, D-backs
- Alek Thomas, OF, D-backs — No. 18 (pre-2022), 2nd-round pick (HS/Illinois), 2018, D-backs
- Andrew Heaney, LHP, Rangers — No. 22 (mid-2014), 1st-round pick (No. 9 overall, Oklahoma State), 2012, Marlins – FA
- Jon Gray, RHP, Rangers — No. 35 (mid-2015), 1st-round pick (No. 3 overall, Oklahoma), 2013, Rockies – FA
- Max Scherzer, RHP, Rangers — No. 35 (pre-2008), 1st-round pick (No. 11 overall, Missouri), 2006, D-backs – Trade with NYM
- Josh Jung, 3B, Rangers — No. 39 (mid-2022), 1st-round pick (No. 8 overall, Texas Tech), 2019, Rangers
- Martín Pérez, LHP, Rangers — No. 50 (mid-2012), International free agent (Venezuela), 2007, Rangers – FA
- Austin Hedges, C, Rangers — No. 51 (pre-2015), 2nd-round pick (HS/California), 2011, Padres – Trade with Pittsburgh
- Brandon Pfaadt, RHP, D-backs — No. 59 (pre-2023), 5th-round pick (Bellarmine), 2020, D-backs
- Nathan Eovaldi, RHP, Rangers — No. 70 (pre-2012), 11th-round pick (HS/Texas), 2008, Dodgers – FA
- Ketel Marte, 2B, D-backs — No. 71 (mid-2015), International free agent (Dominican Republic), 2011, Mariners – Trade with Seattle
- Geraldo Pedromo, SS, D-backs — No 79 (pre-2021), International free agent (Dominican Republic), 2016, D-backs
- Dane Dunning, RHP, Rangers — No. 98 (mid-2020), 1st-round pick (No. 29 overall, Florida), 2016, Nationals – Trade with CWS
- Leody Taveras, OF, Rangers — No. 43 (mid-2018), dropped off Top 100 before mid-2020 debut International free agent (Dominican Republic), 2015, Rangers
- Pavin Smith, OF, D-backs — No. 91 pre-2018, dropped off Top 100 before late 2020 debut, 1st-round pick (No. 7 overall, Virginia), 2017, D-backs
Interestingly (or not) none of Zac Gallen, Marcus Semien nor Adolis García made a Top 100 list.
The red year and team indicates that the player was drafted by the team they are currently playing for. I have also added how the team acquired the player if they were not drafted.
Now for the perceived more talented Dodgers team.
- Jason Heyward, OF — No. 1 (2010 – Baseball America), 1st-round pick (No. 14 overall, HS/Georgia), 2007, Atlanta – FA
- Shelby Miller, RHRP — No. 5 (2012), 1st-round pick (No. 19 overall, HS/Texas), 2009, St. Louis – FA
- Clayton Kershaw, LHSP — No. 7 (2008), 1st-round pick (No. 7 overall, HS/Texas), 2006, Los Angeles Dodgers
- Freddie Freeman, 1B — No. 17 (2011), 2nd-round pick (No. 78 overall, HS/California), 2007, Atlanta – FA
- Bobby Miller, RHSP — No. 24 (2023), 1st-round pick (No. 29 overall, Louisville) 2020, Los Angeles Dodgers
- Mookie Betts, OF — No. 62 (2014), 5th-round pick (No. 172 overall, HS/Tennessee), 2nd-round pick (HS/Tennessee), 2011, Boston – Trade with Boston
- Brusdar Graterol, RHRP — No. 68 (2019), International free agent (Venezuela), 2014, Minnesota – Trade with Minnesota
- Emmet Sheehan, RHSP — No. 78 (2023),6th-round pick (No. 192 overall, Boston College), 2021, Los Angeles Dodgers
- Kolten Wong, 2B — No. 79 (2013),1st-round pick (No. 22 overall, Hawaii), 2011, St. Louis – Waiver FA
- Ryan Pepiot, RHSP — No. 79 (2023), 3rd-round pick (No. 102 overall, Butler), 2019, Los Angeles Dodgers
A closer look at the rankings:
- Arizona – 4 top 10 overall, and 5 top 50
- Texas – 3 top 10 overall, and 8 top 50
- LAD – 3 top 10 overall, and 5 top 50
Six of ten Dodgers were top prospects from 2014 and earlier, compared to five of twelve Rangers, and one of nine D-backs. Thus the Dodgers premium talent is a little older. In addition, four of the ten Dodgers are free agents this winter (including all three top 10) , while three Rangers and one D-back are free agents.
For Arizona in Game 2, Ketel Marte, Corbin Carroll, Gabriel Moreno, Alek Thomas, Evan Longoria, and Geraldo Perdomo had 8 of the 16 hits and knocked in 6 of the 9 runs. Arizona also got help from non-heralded Tommy Pham who had 4 hits.
29 year old 2B, Ketel Marte, stretched his consecutive playoff game hit streak to start his postseason career to 18 games, an MLB record, and the 18 games is also an MLB record regardless of when the streak started. Marte passed Derek Jeter, Manny Ramirez, and Hank Bauer.
Arizona has one rookie and three 2nd year players in their everyday lineup. 22 year old rookie, Corbin Carroll, has 16 hits, and is slashing .296/.381/.463/.844. 2 HRs and 10 RBI. 4 SB.
23 year old Arizona catcher, Gabriel Moreno, hit his 4th HR of his first playoff experience. He has 52 playoff ABs. In comparison, LAD C Will Smith has 5 post season HRs in 154 ABs. Moreno has 13 hits, and is slashing .250/.316/.500/.816. 4 HRs and 10 RBI.
23 year old CF, Alek Thomas, has 4 HRs in 43 AB and 6 RBI. He has 11 hits and is slashing .256/.313/.558/.871. 2 SB.
24 year old SS, Geraldo Perdomo, has 12 hits, including 2 HRs and 3 RBI. He is slashing .293/.383/.439/.822. He also has 5 sacrifice bunts. 3 SB.
7 of the 9 runs Arizona scored in Game 2 came with 2 outs. Dodgers can brag about scoring runs with 2 outs in the regular season…Arizona can say they did it in the World Series. Very much looking forward the rest of the series.
I did not have any desire to determine where the other playoff teams figured in this. But it is clear, at least to me, that the Dodgers were not necessarily the most talented team overall. Both Arizona and Texas are proving that they not only have talent, but that their talent is producing whereas the Dodgers did not. Unless of course you believe that Arizona is over performing.
The Dodgers will get two top prospects back next season: Walker Buehler (#13 – 2018) and Gavin Lux (#2 – 2019). If Dustin May (#23 – 2020) comes back before year end, that will give the Dodgers three more top 100. The Dodgers also have five previous (and/or current) top 100 prospects that figure to be a part of the LAD roster at some point next year.
- Michael Busch (#38 – 2023)
- Miguel Vargas (#41 – 2023)
- Gavin Stone (#53 – 2023)
- Andy Pages (#58 – 2023)
- Nick Frasso (#95 – 2023)
While that looks to be a lot of talent for next year, none of the five above figure to be elite. And a couple could figure in a trade.
For more deep diving into Top 100 lists going back to 1990, see: