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Los Angeles Dodgers Top 20 prospects for 2017: Mid-season review

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Checking in on the status of the Los Angeles Dodgers farm system. . .

Colorado Rockies v Los Angeles Dodgers
Cody Bellinger
Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

We continue our mid-season organization reviews with a look at the Los Angeles Dodgers Top 20 Prospects from the beginning of 2017. The index for other team reviews can be found here.

THIS IS A REVIEW OF THE OLD LIST.

THIS IS NOT A NEW LIST.

THESE ARE NOT NEW GRADES.

This list was originally published January 6th, 2017 and revised on February 6th, 2017.

1) Cody Bellinger, 1B-OF, Grade A-: Age 22, fourth round pick in 2013; hitting .265/.346/.602 with 28 homers, 39 walks, 96 strikeouts in 309 at-bats in the majors; obviously a huge success, exceeding already-lofty expectations.

2) Yadier Alvarez, RHP, Grade B+/A-: Age 21, signed out of Cuba in 2015 for $16,000,000 plus another $16,000,000 as penalties; erratic this year, combined 5.03 ERA in 68 innings between High-A and Double-A, 71/35 K/BB, 73 hits; not as refined as advertised, needs better consistency with command and secondaries; still a very high ceiling.

3) Alex Verdugo, OF, Grade B+/B: Age 21, second round pick in 2014; hitting .330/.402/.450 in Triple-A with 42 walks, 37 strikeouts in 349 at-bats; pure hitter looks ready for major league trial at any time.

4) Andrew Toles, OF, Grade B: Age 25, third round pick in 2012 by the Rays; career seemed over due to personal issues but signed with Dodgers as free agent in late ’15; hitting well enough at .271/.314/.458 in the majors until going down with torn ACL.

Minor League Baseball: Arizona Fall League-Fall Stars Game
Willie Calhoun
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

5) Willie Calhoun, 2B, Grade B: Age 22, fourth round pick in 2015 from Yavapai Junior College; hitting .296/.354/.574 23 homers, 34 walks, 49 strikeouts in 371 at-bats in Triple-A; like Verdugo, the bat looks ready for an MLB trial; lack of range remains biggest defensive question but error rate has improved.

6) Yusniel Diaz, OF, Grade B: Age 20; Cuban defector signed in 2015 for $15,500,000 plus another $15,500,000 in penalties; hitting .278/.341/.417 with 33 walks, 73 strikeouts in 324 at-bats in High-A; not a bad season but almost identical to the numbers he put up at the same level in 2016 (.272/.333/.418); certainly has the tools to be much better than just decent.

7) Jordan Sheffield, RHP, Grade B: Age 22; compensation round pick in 2016 out of Vanderbilt; 3.84 ERA in 82 innings in Low-A, 81/41 K/BB; best news is that he’s fully recovered from Tommy John surgery and has his fastball velocity back but his secondary pitches are still a work-in-progress.

8) Walker Buehler, RHP, Grade B/B-: Age 23, first round pick in 2015 from Vanderbilt; had Tommy John surgery after signing, fully recovered now, 3.33 ERA in 70 innings between High-A, Double-A, Triple-A, with 100/25 K/BB, just 51 hits; scouting reports have been glowing.

Los Angeles Dodgers v Miami Marlins
Brock Stewart
Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

9) Brock Stewart, RHP, Grade B-: Age 25; sixth round pick in 2014 from Illinois State University; missed much of season with shoulder issues but back in action now and pitching well, 16.2 innings with 0.00 ERA out of MLB pen with 12/4 K/BB.

10) Keibert Ruiz, C, Grade B-: Age 19, signed out of Venezuela in 2014 for just $140,000; hitting combined .329/.376/.479 between Low-A and High-A, 20 walks, 35 strikeouts in 280 at-bats; good receiver, too; stock moving up rapidly.

11) Gavin Lux, SS, Grade B-: Age 19, first round pick in 2016 from high school in Wisconsin, hitting .205/.308/.305 in Low-A; 45 walks, 62 strikeouts in 302 at-bats; defense has sharpened quickly but lack of strength holds bat back; young enough to improve of course.

Atlanta Braves v Los Angeles Dodgers
Austin Barnes
Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

12) Austin Barnes, C-INF, Grade B-: Age 27; older prospect but has a consistent track record of success; hitting .296/.413/.536 with 24 walks, 28 strikeouts in 125 major league at-bats; I told you they just needed to let him play.

13) Chase De Jong, RHP, Grade B-/C+: Age 23, traded to Seattle Mariners in spring training; not a good year with 6.34 ERA in 71 Triple-A innings, 6.35 ERA in 28 major league innings and weak 13/13 K/BB; deserves more chances given his otherwise strong track record.

14) Josh Sborz, RHP, Grade B-/C+: Age 23, compensation pick in 2015 from University of Virginia; 4.17 ERA in 82 Double-A innings, 54/44 K/BB, 78 hits; not a great year, low K rate worrisome, may be better in bullpen.

15) Mitchell White, RHP, Grade B-/C+: Age 22, second round pick in 2016 from Santa Clara; combined 3.25 ERA in 53 innings between High-A, Double-A, and rookie ball injury rehab stint, 60/22 K/BB, just 33 hits; missed several weeks with a broken toe; was on everyone’s breakthrough list before the injury and deservedly so.

16) Imani Abdullah, RHP, Grade C+: Age 20, 11th round pick in 2015; just 12 innings this year in Low-A due to undisclosed injury; status unclear.

17) Mitchell Hansen, OF, Grade C+: Age 21, second round pick in 2015 from high school in Texas; hit just .198/.288/.312 in 263 at-bats in Low-A; sent down to the Pioneer League on July 25th but had already mastered that level in ‘16; pre-season concerns about swing look justified.

18) D.J. Peters, OF, Grade C+: Age 21, fourth round pick in 2016 from Western Nevada Community College; hitting .285/.388/.532 with 20 homers, 51 walks, 135 strikeouts in 372 at-bats in High-A; big power obviously, we’ll have to see if contact is an issue at higher levels but so far it isn’t in the Cal League.

19) Edwin Rios, 1B-3B, Grade C+: Age 23, sixth round pick from Florida International University; hitting .310/.355/.530 with 19 homers, 22 walks, 87 strikeouts in 368 at-bats between Double-A and Triple-A; more brute strength than pure bat speed but it works so far; defense adequate at first base, poor at third; has been seeing some outfield innings; bat intriguing but where does he fit?

20) Grant Dayton, LHP, Grade C+: Older prospect at age 29, 4.94 ERA in 24 major league innings, 20/12 K/BB; capable of much better, currently DL with neck injury.

OTHER GRADE C+:

Omar Estevez, INF: Cuban, .241/.304/.338 in 328 at-bats in High-A; steady glove.
Starling Heredia, OF: Mashing in rookie ball, .427/.489/.732 in Pioneer League.
Ibandel Isabel, 1B: Good power in High-A, 22 homers with .256/.323/.485 line.
Dustin May, RHP: 3.75 ERA in 98 innings in Low-A, 96/21 K/BB, stock up.
Brandon Montgomery, 2B: .248/.277/.323 in High-A, versatile but lacks power
Trevor Oaks, RHP: Good year in Triple-A, 3.64 ERA in 84 innings, 72/18 K/BB, but went on DL July 5th with undisclosed injury.
Jacob Rhame, RHP; Good year in Triple-A, 3.73 ERA in 41 innings, 49/8 K/BB, but went on DL July 16th with undisclosed injury.
Dennis Santana, RHP: Good year between High-A and Double-A, 3.57 ERA in 91 innings, 98/24 K/BB; needs more attention.
Will Smith, C: Hit .231/.358/.446 with 11 homers in 251 at-bats in High-A, promoted to Double-A and got hurt in first game, out with broken hand.
Andrew Sopko, RHP: 4.40 ERA in 72 innings in Double-A, 46/39 K/BB, 72 hits; a rather blah season.

I will answer any questions in the comments section, including about players not ranked pre-season and 2017 draftees.