Baseball America finished its postseason league Top 20 lists, and the Dodgers had ample and significant representation on every list. I’ll start from the bottom (Arizona Rookie League) and work my way up to Triple-A.
Arizona Rookie League
2. RHP Grant Holmes
Holmes checked in at No. 2 on the list, right behind Alex Jackson of the Mariners. For context, Jackson was the No. 6 overall pick in the draft, was a 1.1 candidate and widely considered to be the best hitter — prep or otherwise — available in the draft. Holmes impressed in his debut season as he posted a 3.00 ERA and struck out 33 batters in 30 innings. He walked just seven. The Dodgers appear to have gotten a steal with Holmes at No. 22. He was promoted to Ogden for a handful of outings and should be in Great Lakes next year.
6. OF Alex Verdugo
Verdugo was looked at as a pitcher, but he wanted to hit, and the Dodgers gave him the opportunity. He slashed .347/.423/.518 in 196 plate appearances and played a solid center field. The Dodgers may have hit big on their second-round draft pick and like Holmes, he earned a late-season promotion to Ogden. He could go back there or to Great Lakes next season.
3. RHP Jose De Leon
Of all the prospects to make a BA Top 20, De Leon may have been the most impressive and the one who truly came out of nowhere. He ripped right through the Pioneer League, as he won the pitcher of the year award. He went to Great Lakes and was even more dominant. Expect to see him placed highly in 2015 prospect lists.
6. C Julian Leon
Leon is looking like he might be one of the better international signings the Dodgers have made in recent years. The catcher hit really well in the Pioneer League and was good enough behind the plate. He’ll have a tough test in Great Lakes next year.
10. 1B Cody Bellinger
Bellinger’s season started by separating his shoulder. After a few weeks off, he came back and hit well. The power has yet to come (it was just his second season) and he needs to walk a little more, but everything else is kosher. If he hits for power, he could be a more athletic Adam LaRoche. If not, he could be another Eric Hosmer, which would be a good MLB player.
13. RHP Jeff Brigham
Brigham was the team’s fourth-rounder in June and the early returns on him have been positive. Despite not missing many bats in college, he did so in the Pioneer League, and he did it with increased velocity. He was up to 98 MPH with movement. That’s pretty impressive. We’ll see how he does in Midland next year.
15. RHP Zachary Bird
Bird completed his second full season of professional ball. This was his second go-round with Great Lakes, and he fared better this year than last. He improved overall as a pitcher, but his numbers still left something to be desired. The biggest news about Bird is his velocity spike. It jumped to the high-90s late in the season. Sure, a velo spike early in the season is expected by some pitchers, but not usually after logging 100-plus innings as Bird did this season. He could, once again, regain his “sleeper” status within the organization and rank higher than most might expect heading into next year.
17. C Kyle Farmer
Farmer is becoming my new Chris Reed, but Farmer doesn’t have the first-round pedigree. A college shortstop, he was immediately converted to catcher upon signing and has taken to the position well. But, he doesn’t hit enough for my liking, and he definitely doesn’t walk a lot. The fact he made the MWL Top 20 shows the lack of prospect depth in the league in 2014.
2. SS Corey Seager
Seager was topped only by Carlos Correa, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft (oh, and he’s really good). But Seager is also really good, and the California League MVP had a banner season. His defense lacked at times, but his bat was never in question. He earned a midseason promotion to Double-A because of his performance.
3. LHP Julio Urias
Not many 17- or 18-year-olds make a High-A Top 20 list, but Urias is a unique case. Despite his early season being marred by veterans making rehab starts and a lack of command, Urias recovered to be the talk of the league on the mound.
11. RHP Chris Anderson
Anderson had a rough first season in the Cal League, but it got better as the season went on. He finished strong and maintained his velocity (I saw him hit 99 MPH early in the season, and touched 97 MPH late). He could be primed for a breakout year in 2015.
3. SS Corey Seager
So good, he made two lists. Actually, he made the Southern League list because he logged enough playing time. Seager should begin in Double-A next season.
14. LHP Chris Reed
Nope. You cannot convince me he was the 14th-best prospect in this league. I just do not see it.
17. OF Scott Schebler
Schebler is gaining a little notoriety in the prospect community with his prowess for extra base hits. While he’s limited to left field, ultimately, he might be a second-division starter or a really good fourth outfielder.
Pacific Coast League
2. OF Joc Pederson
Joc is good. He’s real good. He led the PCL in home runs (33), stole 30 bases, won the league’s MVP award and walked 100 times. The kid should be in the majors to begin the 2015 season — one way or another.