Better late than never?
Due to all the shuffling that went into making Dodgers Digest happen before the 2014 season began, starting up my prospects content was actually a rather last-minute decision. I used to do extensive prospect coverage as far back as 2008, but simply began to run out of time to do everything I wanted consistently. True, I probably could have just thrown together whatever and called it a day, but whether I end up right or wrong, I do actually put quite a bit of effort into my work. Fortunately, due to this site having multiple authors, I was able to find the time to work on the prospect side of things again, and while it’s a bit late, I’m just happy to be back at it.
So below is a list of my top 25 prospects in the Dodgers system for 2014, along with my overall system grades, just as Dustin did earlier (and using the same eligibility requirements). I’ll also be releasing my Prospect Profiles following this, which will take a deeper look at (hopefully) all of the prospects listed here. They should all be done by the end of April, which I realize is late, but I promise to get started earlier next year.
2014 Dodgers Top 25 Prospects
Impact Potential: B+
The Dodgers have a top-heavy system with three true potential impact players in Julio Urias, Corey Seager, and Joc Pederson. Chris Anderson slots in a smidge behind the trio because of a lack of experience, but he could be ranked in the same caliber with a solid 2014.
Behind them in the MLB impact category are Zach Lee and Alexander Guerrero, who both project as solid regulars. Tom Windle could get to that level of expectation with a solid 2014, as it’s mainly inexperience holding him back. Ross Stripling would also be close to a sure thing as a regular, but now he needs to bounce-back from season-ending surgery. Finally, lurking in the background are a quintet of potential major-league quality relievers (Onelki Garcia, Jose Dominguez, Chris Reed, Yimi Garcia, Pedro Baez) who figure to be in contention for bullpen roles at some point.
Overall, it’s a top 10 system with the potential to be even better a year from now.
The system has a ton of pitching depth, whether it’s starters or relievers. But the Dodgers lack quality position players almost across the board. While a top-heavy system isn’t a bad thing, it does usually imply a lack of depth, and the Dodgers don’t buck the trend. Aside from the half dozen or so top prospects, the farm is packed with projected relievers, utility infielders, and backup outfielders, along with either extremely inexperienced or raw prospects.
There’s not many advanced prospects in the system, so there’s really only eight or nine players I can realistically project as MLB contributors at the moment, and about half of those are relievers.
I wish I could say differently, but the system depth for the Dodgers is in the 15-20 range, and they’re probably closer to the bottom of it than the top. Whether this grade improves or not in 2014 depends on how the many raw but talented prospects in the lower levels progress.
There’s a lot of reason for optimism here, as the Dodgers have a system on the rise. There’s a bunch of young talent, both at the top and at the bottom of the top 25, and with the re-emphasis on scouting, draft spending, and international signings, the amount of quality prospects in the system keeps increasing when compared to previous years.
Only a few graduations are expected in 2014, so the system grade could potentially shoot up with solid years from the top prospects and a handful of young guys stepping up. Of course, the system lacks depth for now, and does come with a lot of risk due to the amount of youth and inexperience, so the Dodgers end up falling somewhere in the 10-15 range.