Los Angeles Dodgers Top 20 2013 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review

Hyun-jin Ryu - Mike McGinnis

Here is a review of the Top 20 PRE-SEASON Prospect list for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Remember please, this was the PRE-SEASON list. It is not a new list. These are the pre-season grades.


This list was originally published January 3, 2013.

1) Yasiel Puig, OF, Grade B+: This is what I wrote in January: Considerable risk given small sample size, but I can understand what the Dodgers see in the Cuban slugger: enormous power, speed, and overall tools that looked very good in his brief North American debut. I'll buy into it. As you can see, I was one of the optimists, but under no circumstances did I expect .369/.409/.571 in his first 43 major league games. Now we'll see if his talent is good enough to cover for the flaws in his approach, but it may very well be.

2) Corey Seager, SS-3B, Grade B+:
Hitting .300/.382/.489 with eight homers, 31 walks, 50 strikeouts in 237 at-bats for Low-A Great Lakes. Very successful debut, stock was already high and now improving.

3) Joc Pederson, OF, Grade B:
Borderline B+. Hitting .283/.378/.492 with 14 homers, 46 walks, 82 strikeouts, 27 steals in 321 at-bats for Double-A Chattanooga. Currently in a deep slump and struggles against lefties, but still a fine campaign overall.

4) Zach Lee, RHP, Grade B:
I've felt he was a little overrated in the past, but he's made progress this year, his last poor start on July 21st not withstanding. Overall, 3.33 ERA with a 97/27 K/BB in 103 innings in Double-A. Solid starting pitching prospect.

5) Hyun-Jin Ryu, LHP, Grade B-:
Borderline B. This is honestly a wild guess, I really don't how to rank him. He pitched great in Korea, but what level of competition is that? Single-A? Double-A? Hard to say. He looks good on video. Scouting reports are ambiguously if vaguely positive. Some sources say he works in the upper-80s, some say he touches 95. Everyone says he has a good changeup and throws strikes, but reports on breaking stuff vary from average to above average. He could be Rookie of the Year, a mediocre number five starter, or an expensive failure. Follow spring training reports very closely. The results: 3.25 ERA, 96/41 K/BB in 122 innings, 116 hits. As you can see from the original comment, I didn't have a good feel for what to do with him given the limited information we had to work with before spring training.

6) Onelki Garcia, LHP, Grade B-: Borderline B. 2.51 ERA with 41/28 K/BB in 43 innings in Double-A, 31 hits, has been used as both a starter and reliever with better results (0.39 ERA in 23 innings) out of pen. Could see him in the second half, or perhaps on the trade market.

7) Matt Magill, RHP, Grade B-:
Borderline C+: Very good at Triple-A Albuquerque (2.90 ERA in 40 innings) but command failed him during major league trial (6.51 ERA, 26/28 K/BB in 28 innings). He should get more chances, here or elsewhere.

8) Chris Reed, LHP, Grade C+: Borderline B-. 3.38 ERA with 81/38 K/BB in 101 innings in Double-A, 88 hits, 2.49 GO/AO. Promising lefty from Stanford could be mid-rotation arm or a very good reliever. Another guy for the trade market?

9) Chris Withrow, RHP, Grade C+:
1.78 ERA with 32/12 K/BB in 25 innings for Albuquerque, 3.27 ERA with 14/5 K/BB in 11 innings in the majors. Successful relief conversion after struggling as a starter for a few years.

10) Ross Stripling, RHP, Grade C+:
3.05 ERA with 91/19 K/BB in 91 innings between High-A Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A. Very polished, throws strikes, excellent command, another name you could hear rumors about.

11) Tim Federowicz, C, Grade C+:
.418/.500/.848 in 21 games in Triple-A, .202/.242/.251 in 34 games in the majors. Glove will keep him in the majors for a decade. Bat will determine if he starts or not.

12) Jesmuel Valentin, SS-2B, Grade C+
: Overmatched in Low-A, hitting .212/.325/.293 in 33 games for Great Lakes. Sent down to Ogden in the Pioneer League in June, he's been mediocre with a .261/.361/.359 line in 24 games. Draws some walks at least, but not a great year so far.

13) Paco Rodriguez, LHP, Grade C+:
First 2012 draftee to make the majors and could stay there for the next decade or longer as a terrific LOOGY/short man. Extremely deceptive and has the potential to close games if his command against right-handed hitters stays sharp enough. That one panned out: 2.34 ERA with 39/11 K/BB in 35 innings in major league pen.

14) Alex Castellanos, OF-INF, Grade C+:
.276/.376/.533 with 16 homers, 13 steals in Triple-A. Broad range of skills, though overall line isn't great for Albuquerque and he's 27 years old.

15) Stephen Ames, RHP, Grade C+:
Traded to Marlins, has a 3.20 ERA with a 32/14 K/BB in 39 innings in Triple-A this year combined between the two systems. Middle relief future.

16) Rob Rasmussen, LHP, Grade C+: 2.42 ERA with 60/20 K/BB in 63 innings in Double-A; 5.74 ERA with 30/21 K/BB in 42 innings in Triple-A. Albuquerque punishes anyone with command problems; ERA at home is 6.00.

17) Garrett Gould, RHP, Grade C+:
Got killed in the California League, 7.04 ERA with 59/31 K/BB in 76 innings, 89 hits. Moved up to Double-A anyway and has an 11/3 K/BB in 13 innings with a 4.97 ERA. Not really thriving in the system at this point.

18) Darnell Sweeney, SS, Grade C+:
Borderline C. Sleeper prospect, hitting .275/.327/.445 with 22 doubles, 10 triples, nine homers, 37 steals in High-A, but with 30/106 BB/K in 407 at-bats. Switch-hitter with some tools, 13th round pick in 2012 from Central Florida. I'd look at him if I were trading with the Dodgers.

19) Jeremy Rathjen, OF, Grade C+:
Borderline C. Hitting .233/.353/.329 with 45 walks, 71 whiffs, 24 steals in 313 at-bats in Low-A. Old for the level at 23, 11th round pick in '12 out of Rice, I felt he had sleeper potential but bat hasn't lived up to that yet.

20) Zach Bird, RHP, Grade C: Borderline C+. Another sleeper from '12 draft, ninth round from Mississippi high school, horrible in Low-A (5.71 ERA, 36/35 K/BB in 41 innings) due to control problems, sent back to Pioneer League but it hasn't helped (8.72 ERA, 22/13 K/BB in 22 innings).

OTHERS:
James Baldwin, OF; Zach Bird, RHP; Jharel Cotton, RHP; Bobby Coyle, OF; O'Koyea Dickson, 1B; Jose Dominguez, RHP; Eric Eadington, LHP; Stephen Fife, RHP; Yimi Garcia, RHP; Scott Griggs, RHP; Aaron Miller, LHP; Angel Sanchez ,RHP; Alex Santana, 3B; Andres Santiago, RHP; Javier Solano, RHP; Blake Smith, OF; Miguel Sulbaran, LHP; Julio Urias, LHP; Jesus Valdez, 1B-OF; Scott Van Slyke, OF; Duke von Schamann, RHP.

This system was thin a couple of years ago, but the problem wasn't the scouts: it was lack of ownership investment.

With an open checkbook, Logan White and his staff have infused talent into the system quickly, identifying worthy international investments like Puig and Ryu but also drafting well. Paco Rodriguez helped out less than a year after being drafted, and several other promising arms (Withrow, Lee, Onelki Garcia, Reed, Stripling, also Jose Dominguez and Yimi Garcia) are ready for the majors or very close.

Don't forget that Ricky Nolasco was acquired from the Marlins without the Dodgers giving up any of their top prospects.

I think the hitting side is thinner: there are some interesting bats who have done well in High-A, but we'll have to see if Sweeney, O'Koyea Dickson, and outfielders Scott Schebler, Noel Cuevas, and Jon Garcia can hit outside of the Cal League. Seager has been excellent. Lefty Miguel Sulbaran has pitched well in Low-A, while Julio Urias has performed remarkably well for a 16-year-old in full season ball.

Overall, the combination of massive piles of cash with intelligent scouting and player development should keep this organization in the hunt for a long time. Attempting to buy a pennant by focusing all resources on the major league roster often backfires, but they aren't just doing that: they are putting money into finding and developing prospects as well, which makes it easier to fill holes as needed, either with trades or filling a gap from within.

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