2014 Top 50 Dodgers’ Prospects: No. 31-40

O'Koyea Dickson at spring training 2012, by Dustin Nosler

O’Koyea Dickson at spring training 2012, by Dustin Nosler

This is the second part of a 5-part series detailing my Top 50 Dodgers’ prospects. These are scouting reports for Nos. 31-40.

Previous entries
Prospect landing page

No. 41-50

Editor’s note: I am not a scout (#notascout). This is an amateur scouting report based on what I know about baseball and from following the sport all my life. I don’t claim to be a pro, I just want to pass along the information to the masses. All ratings in the charts below are on the standard 20-80 scouting scale, where 50 is roughly average, 80 is elite and nearly unattainable (think an Aroldis Chapman fastball), and 20 is unacceptably poor. Enjoy.

31. O’Koyea Dickson, 1B (5’11, 225, 24 years old)
After a promising first half of 2012 — one that had him on the fast track to top prospect stardom — he’s come back to earth a bit. Dickson’s bat is his carrying tool, and he displays solid-average bat speed. He generates it from a quiet stance and gets some good torque in his swings. He has average, at best, power and a good eye at the plate. He’s a pull hitter and gets into trouble at times by not going the other way. He was a 10-percent walk rate guy at Great Lakes in 2012, but that number fell to 5.5 percent in 2013 at Rancho Cucamonga. That’s disturbing for a first baseman who doesn’t have plus-power potential.

Tools Now Future
Hitting 40 45
Power 40 45
Speed 40 45
Fielding 45 50
Arm 45 50

Defensively, he’s decent at first base. He dabbled at third base (five games, five errors) and left field (one game) in 2013, but his future lies at first. He has better than expected speed for a big guy, but he’ll be no base-stealing threat. Dickson is slated to begin 2014 as Chattanooga’s starting first baseman, as the first base depth in the Dodgers’ system is thin.

2013 ranking: NR
2014 location: Double-A Chattanooga
ETA: late-2015

32. Scott Barlow, RHP (6’3, 180, 21 years old)
Barlow was the Dodgers’ sixth-round pick in the 2011 draft, but has yet to stay healthy enough to make a true impact on the mound. He had Tommy John surgery after his debut season and missed all of 2012. He pitched at Ogden in 2013 with mixed results. He was too hittable, didn’t throw enough quality strikes and didn’t miss many bats.

Tools Now Future
Fastball 40 55
Curveball 40 50
Slider 35 45
Changeup 25 40
Cmd/Ctrl 35 45
Delivery 40 45

But, it was just encouraging to see him actually pitching. Barlow has one of the better fastballs in the system, as it’s a low-90s pitch that touches the mid-90s on occasion. He has a mid-70s power curveball that’s his go-to off-speed pitch. His slider is a mid-80s bender that flashes average potential. He also has a fringy, at best, changeup that’s not even a “show me” pitch. He’ll need to improve his slider or changeup if he wishes to get left-handed hitters out. He should get his first test of full-season ball in Great Lakes.

2013 ranking: NR
2014 location: Low-A Great Lakes
ETA: late-2017

Tools Now Future
Fastball 40 55
Curveball 40 50
Changeup 40 50
Cmd/Ctrl 40 45
Delivery 45 50

33. Victor Arano, RHP (6’2, 200, 19 years old)
Arano burst onto the scene after the Dodgers signed him as an international free agent out of Mexico in April. He was assigned to the Arizona League and was dominant at times. He showed an ability to throw strikes and miss bats. But he got hit a little too much in his debut, so he’ll have to work on that going forward. Thanks to Jason Parks at Baseball Prospectus, there’s scouting information about Arano. Arano has a low-90s fastball that he sinks to get a fair amount of grounders. It can also touch the mid-90s, on occasion.

He has a curveball that flashes plus potential and a potentially solid-average changeup. Parks notes his body isn’t the greatest, which would be cause for concern going forward. I’d love to see him get an aggressive assignment to Great Lakes, but he’ll probably go to Ogden to begin the season, with a promotion likely.

2013 ranking: NR
2014 location: Pioneer League/Low-A Great Lakes
ETA: 2017

Tools Now Future
Hitting 40 45
Power 40 45
Speed 55 55
Fielding 50 55
Arm 55 55

34. Jeremy Rathjen, OF (6’5, 195, 24 years old)
Rathjen was looking like he might be a steal from the 2012 draft, but a really rough 2013 at a level I thought he’d skip put a big dent in his prospect status. He was a 10th-rounder in 2012 out of Rice University, and slipped that far because of injury. His debut season was good in the hitter-friendly Pioneer League, but he couldn’t quite figure out the Midwest League. Despite a paltry .232 batting average, his eye at the plate remained good by walking 10.6 percent of the time. As a tall hitter, his inability to catch up with plus-velocity could be a problem. Vin Scully would call him, “all elbows an knee caps,” which is usually reserved for lanky pitchers.

Despite his frame, he doesn’t project to be more than an average hitter and have below-average power. He’s quick for his size and is adept at stealing bases. He could be a 15-20 stolen base guy in the majors. His defense is solid. Rathjen could play center field in a pinch, but he’s better suited to play a corner spot. Left field might be the best place for him as he doesn’t have a fantastic arm. After struggling at Great Lakes, he should get a promotion to Rancho Cucamonga. If his numbers take an extreme jump, take it with a grain of salt due to the hitter-friendly environment.

2013 ranking: NR
2014 location: Pioneer League/Low-A Great Lakes
ETA: 2017

Tools Now Future
Fastball 40 45
Slider 45 55
Changeup 30 40
Cmd/Ctrl 45 55
Delivery 45 50

35. Jonathan Martinez, RHP (6’1, 170, 20 years old)
Martinez was one of the Dodgers’ better international signings in the final years of Frank McCourt’s ownership reign. Martinez was signed out of Venezuela and debuted in the Dominican Summer League at age 17. He began 2013 with Great Lakes before getting demoted to Ogden. He was promoted back to Great Lakes and actually pitched better at full-season ball than he did in rookie ball. Martinez has an 88-92 MPH fastball that could tick up as he matures on the mound. He also has a slider that flashes solid-average potential and a changeup that could be at least average once he figures out how to be consistent with it.

He exhibits better-than-average control and command with his pitches. He has a little funk in his delivery that helps him to be deceptive. However, a significant drop in his strikeout rate in 2013 is concerning, especially since his ground ball rate didn’t improve much. He’ll need to figure that out as he advances. He spent most of his time with Great Lakes in 2013 and could either return there to start, with a promotion to Rancho Cucamonga. If not, he could begin with Rancho outright. It’d be a somewhat aggressive assignment for the 20-year-old.

2013 ranking: 49
2014 location: Low-A Great Lakes/High-A Rancho Cucamonga
ETA: mid-2017

Tools Now Future
Hitting 35 50
Power 30 45
Speed 45 50
Fielding 50 60
Arm 50 55

36. Cristian Gomez, SS (5’11, 185, 18 years old)
Gomez was one of the Dodgers’ first, and best, signings of the 2012 international signing period. The Dominican Republic native signed at age 16, and made his professional debut at age 17 in 2013. He’s a switch-hitter who showed surprising pop in his first season. He hit four home runs in 167 plate appearances in the Arizona League. Unfortunately for him, he also struck out 48 times. As a 17-year-old, that isn’t unexpected. He could be an average hitter as a switch-hitter, but has a little more pop from the right side. Defensively, he’s already average and should continue to get better.

While his arm isn’t like Rafael Furcal‘s, it’s good enough for shortstop. If he has to move to second base, it would grade out as plus. After struggling to make consistent contact, he might be ticketed for a return trip to Arizona. If not, he could see time in Ogden. If the Dodgers want to get really aggressive, he could go to Great Lakes, but I don’t see that happening.

2013 ranking: NR
2014 location: Arizona League/Pioneer League
ETA: mid-2018

Tools Now Future
Hitting 35 40
Power 45 50
Speed 40 45
Fielding 50 50
Arm 60 65

37. Jon Garcia, RF (5’11, 190, 22 years old)
Garcia got off to a fast start with Rancho Cucamonga in 2013, as he posted a .911 OPS in 68 games. He earned a promotion to Chattanooga, where the wheels fell off as he hit just .168 in 56 games. Garcia has a quick bat that produces average power. He’s a free swinger, which leads to high strikeout numbers. He’s a pull hitter who doesn’t go the other way very often. He has below-average speed on the basepaths, but solid range in right field. His arm is his carrying tool, as it’s his only true plus-tool. He’s young, so there’s still a chance for him to improve his prospect status. He should return to Chattanooga for his second stint with the Lookouts.

2013 ranking: 48
2014 location: Double-A Chattanooga
ETA: mid-2017

Tools Now Future
Fastball 40 45
Curveball 45 50
Slider 30 35
Changeup 35 40
Cmd/Ctrl 55 60
Delivery 45 50

38. Lindsey Caughel, RHP (6’3, 205, 23 years old)
Caughel was a later draft pick by the Dodgers in 2012, and is performing better than a lot of late-rounders. He began 2013 with Great Lakes and was dominant in five games. That earned him a promotion to Rancho Cucamonga, where he held his own — for the most part. In his fist full pro season, he threw 143 2/3 innings — the most of any Dodger minor-league pitcher. Caughel pitched beyond his skill level. His fastball is an 87-90 MPH offering that he controls well. However, he loses velocity on the pitch as he goes through his outing. Toward the end of the outing I saw, he was in the 86-88 MPH range with not a lot of movement. He also loses a tick or two from the stretch. His curveball is a mid-70s pitch with a true 12-6 break. His changeup is a solid offering, but it’s not as effective because he lacks average fastball velocity. It has a little fade against left-handed hitters to keep them honest. His slider is a low-80s “show me” pitch that he might have to scrap going forward to improve his other two off-speed pitches.

Caughel’s delivery is smooth, clean and repeatable. He has by far the best control and command of any Dodger pitching prospect. He throws from a high three-quarters arm slot that helps him to get some sink on his fastball. His arm tends to drag at times, but he also doesn’t have drop-and-drive mechanics. He finishes balanced and in good fielding position. Caughel threw almost 120 innings at High-A, and if the Dodgers promote some guys from Chattanooga to Albuquerque for the 2014, he could begin in Double-A. If not, he’ll begin at Rancho Cucamonga with a quick promotion to the Lookouts all but certain.
2013 ranking: NR
2014 location: High-A Rancho Cucamonga/Double-A Chattanooga
ETA: 2016

Tools Now Future
Fastball 40 55
Curveball 35 50
Changeup 30 45
Cmd/Ctrl 40 45
Delivery 40 45

39. Bryan Munoz, RHP (6’2, 180 18 years old)
Munoz was one of the most expensive international signings in the final years of the McCourt era, as he signed for $300,000 out of the Dominican Republic. At the time, it was the largest bonus given to an international prospect by the Dodgers since Joel Guzman got $2.25 million in 2001. Munoz has a low-90s fastball that has heavy sink and potentially plus-movement. He’s still not physically mature, so there’s a little projection left in him. His upper-70s curveball sometimes reaches the low-80s and exhibits slider features at times. It’s his best off-speed pitch. He also has a changeup that flashes average-potential, but is far from polished and refined.

Munoz’s delivery isn’t picturesque, but it works for him. He has a high leg kick after a quick start to his delivery from the wind-up. His front leg doesn’t come straight down and toward the plate. Instead, he angles his leg roughly 45 degrees, then brings it forward. It’s not like Clayton Kershaw‘s leg kick, but I think it’s supposed to serve the same purpose. He’s pretty polished for a teenager who hasn’t thrown much in professional ball, but he’ll definitely need to work on that going forward. He only threw 24 2/3 innings in the Arizona League last year, so he could return. I’d like to see him pushed to Ogden, as well as his workload increase.

2013 ranking: 47
2014 location: Arizona League/Pioneer League
ETA: 2018

Tools Now Future
Fastball 40 45
Slider 35 40
Changeup 45 50
Cmd/Ctrl 40 45
Delivery 40 45

40. Andres Santiago, RHP (6’2, 200, 24 years old)
Santiago had a breakout 2012 campaign to put him on the prospect map. He more than held his own in the California League and performed relatively well in the Southern League. He pitched for Puerto Rico in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. However, he struggled mightily in Chattanooga that dampened his status. Santiago has a low-90s fastball that tops out at 94 MPH. He can sink it slightly, but it’s more of a four-seamer. His changeup might be his best pitch, as it’s a low-80s offering that offers fade away from left-handed hitters. He also throws his slider in the low-80s that’s an average, at best, pitch.

In 2012, he posted positive reverse platoon splits, meaning he was better against lefties than he was righties. In 2013, he was much better against righties than lefties. His delivery is repeatable without funk, but he still struggles to throw strikes at times. His strikeout rate decreased while his walk rate increased in 2013. Because of his struggles, he could repeat Double-A. If not, the Dodgers could send him to Albuquerque (hey, someone has to pitch there). He could be a starter in the minors, but his ultimate future lies in the bullpen.

2013 ranking: 18
2014 location: Double-A Chattanooga/Triple-A Albuquerque
ETA: mid-2015