We move forward with our farm system reviews, looking at the Los Angeles Dodgers. Remember, this is the PRE-SEASON list. This is not a new list. These are the pre-season rankings and grades. This is a review of 2014, not a preview of 2015.
1) Joc Pederson, OF, Grade B+: Ripped through Triple-A Pacific Coast League with .303/.435/.582 line, 33 homers, 30 steals, 100 walks, 149 strikeouts in 445 at-bats. Nothing left to prove at that level, age 22, but no obvious slot in Los Angeles yet.
2) Julio Urias, LHP, Grade B+: Posted 2.36 ERA with 109/37 K/BB in 88 innings in High-A California League, 60 hits, particularly amazing performance at age 18. Grade A prospect? I think so. A- at least but very much a unique player.
3) Corey Seager, SS, Grade B+: Another stock rising from an already-high level, hit .352/.411/.633 in the Cal League and .345/.381/.534 after moving up to Double-A. Combined line: .349/.402/.602, 50 doubles, 20 homers, age 20. Grade A prospect.
4) Zach Lee, RHP, Grade B: Posted 5.38 ERA with 97/54 K/BB in 151 innings, 177 hits for Albuquerque. Not a great year but that’s a horrible park/league context. Still projects as an inning-eater, age 23.
5) Alexander Guerrero, 2B, Grade B-: Borderline B. Cuban defector destroyed Triple-A at age 27, .329/.364/.613 with 15 homers in 243 at-bats. Nothing to prove in the minors, but how does he fit?
6) Chris Withrow, RHP, Grade B-: 21 major league innings, 2.95 ERA with 28/18 K/BB until going down with Tommy John surgery. Age 25.
7) Chris Anderson, RHP, Grade B-: Posted 4.62 ERA with 146/63 K/BB in 135 innings in Cal League, 147 hits. Workhorse profile, age 22.
8) Tom Windle, LHP, Grade B-: Posted 4.26 ERA with 111/44 K/BB in 139 innings in Cal League, 147 hits. Like Anderson, a workhorse profile, albeit with a bit less stuff and a bit more command. Age 22.
9) Chris Reed, LHP, Grade C+: Good year at Double-A Chattanooga (3.22 ERA, 116/55 K/BB in 137 innings, 114 hits) but got beat up at Albuquerque (10.97 ERA, 37 hits in 21 innings). Will try again there next year. Age 24.
10) Matt Magill, RHP, Grade C+: Command issues at Albuquerque despite good season there in ’13, posted 5.21 ERA with 70/59 K/BB in 85 innings. Age 24, seems like a guy who could benefit from a change of scenery.
11) Onelki Garcia, LHP, Grade C+: Missed season with elbow trouble, just back in action for minor league playoffs. Still has time to emerge at age 25.
12) Jose Dominguez, RHP, Grade C+: Power relief arm with 98-100 MPH heat, 3.24 ERA with 39/18 K/BB in 33 innings for Albuquerque. Command issues still there but the stuff is really impressive. Age 24.
13) Yimi Garcia, RHP, Grade C+: Age 24, another bullpen option with 3.10 ERA, 69/18 K/BB in 61 innings for Albuquerque. Doesn’t throw as hard as Dominguez but has superior command.
14) Ross Stripling, RHP, Grade C+: Tommy John surgery.
15) Jesmuel Valentin, 2B-SS, Grade C+: Age 20, hit .280/.349/.430 with seven homers, 24 steals, 38 walks, 72 strikeouts in 407 at-bats for Low-A Great Lakes before being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies.
16) Scott Schebler, OF, Grade C+: Impressive season in Double-A, .280/.365/.556 with 23 doubles, 14 triples, 28 homers, 10 steals, 45 walks, 110 strikeouts in 489 at-bats. Age 23, real power, will have to see how OBP holds at higher levels.
17) Victor Arano, RHP, Grade C+: Age 19, 4.08 ERA with 83/20 K/BB in 86 innings in Low-A, 88 hits. Interesting strike thrower from Mexico, traded to Phillies.
18) Erisbel Arruebarruena, SS, Grade C+: Age 24, Cuban defector, hit .259/.304/.417 split between four levels, 16 walks, 91 strikeouts in 247 at-bats. Bat looks questionable, best skills on defense.
19) Darnell Sweeney, SS-2B, Grade C+: Age 23, hit .288/.387/.463 with 34 doubles, 14 homers, 77 walks, 117 strikeouts in 490 at-bats in Double-A, helping prove that performance in lower minors was no fluke.
20) Jacob Scavuzzo, OF, Grade C+: Age 20, hit .209/.277/.311 with five homers, 17 steals, 32 walks, 126 strikeouts in 402 at-bats in Low-A. One of the few prospects who did not improve this year.
This is a first place team with a strong farm system, which should be the envy of any fan base or front office.
The Pederson, Seager, and Urias trio at the top is quite special, but there’s also depth behind them, particularly in potential relief arms. Dominguez, both Garcias, Carlos Frias, and hard-throwing ex-third baseman Pedro Baez are all capable of contributing quality bullpen innings in 2015.
Carlos Frias, photo by Lisa Blumenfeld, Getty Images
Zach Lee and Chris Reed could be in line for some starts, and all hope is not lost for Magill. The 2014 draft brought in right-hander Grand Holmes, their top pitching prospect behind Urias at this stage, a potential rotation anchor. Greg Harris and Zachary Bird are additional arms to watch closely.
Strong seasons from Sweeney and Schebler in Double-A help ease concerns that they were mere creations of the Cal League in ’13. The ’14 draft adds another promising bat in Alex Verdugo.
I ranked the Dodgers system 11th on my pre-season organization list. I won’t know exactly how far until I study every system, but they’ve certainly risen up the rankings with this combination of upside and depth.