2016 Dodgers Top 100 Prospects: No. 75-51

There should be some more recognizable names in this batch of prospects — including some 2015 draftees. Any one of these guys could bust out and be in the Top 30 come next season. Equally as likely, they all flame out and miss the Top 100 all together next year.

Previous entries in the series:

Editor’s note: I am not a scout (#notascout). I am an amateur when it comes to evaluating players. I don’t claim to be a pro, I just want to pass along the information to the masses. Notes and comments are based on personal observation, talking to sources, reading scouting reports and watching video. For future entries in this series: 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 Giancarlo Stanton‘s power), and 20 is unacceptably poor. Enjoy.

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75. OF Yadir Drake (6’0, 200 pounds, 26 years old)
Signed out of Cuba in September 2014, Drake was (and still is) mostly unknown in prospect circles. He got off to a fast start in 2015, but fizzled out and posted pedestrian numbers. There was talk the Dodgers were going to move him to catcher, but that never came to fruition. He is said to have hit 97 MPH from the mound in the past, so perhaps a transition to the bump is in his future. For now, he’ll be upper-minor corner outfield depth.
Best tool: Arm
2015 location: Double-A Tulsa/Triple-A Oklahoma City
ETA: 2018

74. RHP Hector Rodriguez (6’3, 190 pounds, 21 years old)
Rodriguez jumped 24 spots from last year because he had a solid showing in 2015. He only threw 32 1/3 innings between the AZL and Pioneer League (and tripped up a bit in Ogden), but he has a strong relief profile. He doesn’t give up home runs (three in 127 1/3 innings in his career) and has decent command/control. He has shown, briefly, an ability to miss bats. If he does it more consistently going forward, he could jump on this list.
Best tool: Fastball
2015 location: Rookie Ogden/Low-A Great Lakes
ETA: 2021

73. SS Erisbel Arruebarrena (6’0, 200 pounds, 26 years old)
Ahh, EA. An enigma wrapped in a riddle. He’s all-world with the glove and great with his arm, yet he’s lacking in every other facet of the game — especially off-the-field stuff. He ranked 24th last year because he has an elite glove at a premium position. He really should be Andrelton Simmons, but he cannot hit enough and hasn’t shown a willingness to dedicate himself to getting better. It’s a shame to waste such talent. If Gabe Kapler and Co., can’t get to him then perhaps no one can.
Best tool: Defense
2015 location: Double-A Tulsa/Triple-A Oklahoma City
ETA: Debuted 2014

72. RHP Andrew Sopko (6’2, 180 pounds, 21 years old)
The Dodgers’ 7th-rounder in 2015, Sopko made a strong debut by posted a 2.68 ERA, 3.4 BB% and 24.4 K% between Ogden and Great Lakes (37 innings total). A starter at Gonzaga, Sopko might ultimately be ticketed for the bullpen, but he’ll stay in the rotation as long as he can. If he develops better off-speed pitches (slider and changeup) to accompany his low-90s fastball, he might have a future in the rotation.
Best tool: Fastball
2015 location: Low-A Great Lakes
ETA: 2020

71. C Keibert Ruiz (6’0, 165 pounds, 17 years old)
Signed in 2014 out of Venezuela, Ruiz had an impressive professional debut as a 16-year-old in the Dominican Summer League. He hit .300/.340/.387 in 159 plate appearances, more than holding his own. It isn’t wise to get too high on 17-year-old who has only played 44 games, but Ruiz is a definite sleeper for me.
Best tool: Hit
2015 location: DSL Dodgers/AZL Dodgers
ETA: 2023

70. RHP Kyle Hooper (6’4, 195 pounds, 25 years old)
Hooper, No. 67 last year, split time between Great Lakes and Rancho and posted solid overall numbers — 2.43 ERA, 29.3 K%, 0.3 HR/9. His stuff isn’t overpowering, but he has made it work thus far. He has a middle reliever ceiling.
Best tool: Fastball
2015 location: High-A Rancho Cucamonga/Double-A Tulsa
ETA: 2018

69. RHP Logan Crouse (6’6, 225 pounds, 19 years old)
A 30th-rounder last year, Crouse was a deadline-day signing and got a $500,000 bonus after the Dodgers failed to sign Kyle Funkhouser. A large kid, Crouse has an 88-92 MPH fastball that could tick up in the pros. He also has a slider and changeup. He might ultimately be a reliever, but he’ll be tried as a starter for now.
Best tool: Fastball
2015 location: AZL Dodgers
ETA: 2023

68. RHP Miguel Urena (6’8, 210 pounds, 21 years old)
Another big kid, Urena checked in at No. 54 last season. Despite the large frame, he doesn’t have overpowering stuff. His fastball is fringy, but he he knows how to use it. His delivery is clean and repeatable. He had success in the AZL as a 20-year-old and he should inch closer to full-season ball by heading to Ogden this year.
Best tool: Delivery
2015 location: Rookie Ogden
ETA: 2022

67. 1B Justin Chigbogu (6’1, 240 pounds, 21 years old)
Quite a fall for perhaps the best power prospect in the system. Chigbogu was No. 32 last year, but another season struggling in Great Lakes has taken any shine left off his prospect status. He doesn’t make enough contact. The easy comp is Ryan Howard. He’d be lucky to be 10 percent of what Howard has been in the majors. This is a season could determine is future in pro ball.
Best tool: Power
2015 location: High-A Rancho Cucamonga
ETA: 2020

66. RHP Dennis Santana (6’2, 160 pounds, 20 years old)
Santana was originally signed as a shortstop, but after struggling to hit above the Mendoza line in 2013, he was converted to a pitcher. He was No. 87 on this list last year. He struggled in 21 2/3 innings in Ogden and went back to the AZL and got on track. His command needs a ton of work (16.4 BB%), but there’s potential in his right arm.
Best tool: Fastball
2015 location: Rookie Ogden
ETA: 2020

65. OF Felix Osorio (6’4, 195 pounds, 19 years old)
Osorio checked in at No. 73 last season and stood out most to me after he was signed because he began playing immediately. Most times, July 2 prospects don’t play until the following year. By getting some experience in his signing year, Osorio is a little bit ahead of the rest of his class. He signed for $205,000 out of the Dominican Republic and hit six home runs in 179 plate appearances for the DSL Dodgers. He has a projectable frame that could lead to more power down the road.
Best tool: Power
2015 location: AZL Dodgers
ETA: 2022

64. OF Joey Curletta (6’4, 245 pounds, 22 years old)
Much like Chigbogu, Curletta has yet to put it all together in the pros. He’a a really big guy, but he hasn’t tapped into the power potential in his career (.126 ISO). In the hitter-friendly California League, Curletta posted just a .233/.302/.395 triple slash. He has a great arm, which makes him an easy right fielder. But he has a long way to go with the bat.
Best tool: Arm
2015 location: Double-A Tulsa
ETA: 2019

63. RHP Joe Broussard (6’1, 220 pounds, 25 years old)
Broussard was No. 57 last year and got knocked around a bit in the Cal League. That isn’t unexpected. His peripherals were still solid and he still has an above-average fastball. He also has really good control, which plays in his favor.
Best tool: Fastball
2015 location: High-A Rancho Cucamonga/Double-A Tulsa
ETA: 2019

62. 1B/3B Edwin Rios (6’3, 235 pounds, 22 years old)
Rios, the Dodgers’ 2015 6th-rounder, has all the looks of a classic power-hitting first baseman. So naturally, the Dodgers played him mostly at third base in his pro debut. He’s going to end up at first base, but having at least the ability to play third base in a pinch isn’t the worst thing. He showed some pop in his debut and could be establish himself as a legitimate prospect if he has a strong 2016 campaign with the bat.
Best tool: Hit
2015 location: Rookie Ogden/Low-A Great Lakes
ETA: 2020

61. RHP Brock Stewart (6’3, 210 pounds, 24 years old)
Drafted as a reliever, Stewart has taken to the rotation pretty well. No. 88 last year, Stewart was impressive for Great Lakes in 38 innings (38 strikeouts, 6 walks) before getting promoted to Rancho Cucamonga. He struggled a bit (as many pitchers do), but he still missed bats (23.0 K%) and limited his walks (6.4 BB%). He’ll likely end up in the bullpen, where his fastball could take a step forward. He’s one to keep an eye on.
Best tool: Fastball
2015 location: Double-A Tulsa
ETA: 2019

60. RHP MJ Villegas (6’2, 190 pounds, 21 years old)
The 2013 24th-rounder hasn’t made a ton of progress so far in his career. He checked in at No. 58 last year and has just 52 1/3 innings in his first two seasons. They’ve been quality innings (3.27 ERA, 24.2 K%, 0 home runs allowed), but they haven’t been plentiful. He has the size and repertoire to start, but he has thrown exclusively out of the bullpen. That might be where he ends up. His low-90s fastball and slider should play up out of the bullpen.
Best tool: Fastball
2015 location: Rookie Ogden/Low-A Great Lakes
ETA: 2021

59. RHP A.J. Vanegas (6’3, 215 pounds, 23 years old)
Another prospect who fell hard (28th last year), Vanegas was an above-slot signing in the 2014 draft out of Stanford. While most of his numbers at Rancho Cucamonga weren’t bad, he wasn’t impressive when I saw him in person. His fastball was in the 90-93 MPH range with not a ton of movement or command of the pitch. His slider was in the low-80s and not sharp. His curveball was better than I expected, but still not great. He might fare better outside of a hitter’s league, but for a guy who should have been on the fast track to the majors, Vanegas has a lot of work to do before he sniffs a MLB clubhouse.
Best tool: Fastball
2015 location: Double-A Tulsa
ETA: 2019

58. RHP Scott Griggs (6’4, 215 pounds, 25 years old)
Griggs missed the entire 2014 season and came back fairly strong in 2015. He ranked 71st last season and posted a 2.23 ERA and a whopping 33.1 strikeout percentage. The problem: walks. He walked 12.7 percent of the hitters he faced, and that will probably always be his issue. If he can cut that down to even 8-9 percent, he’ll have a much better shot of reaching his potential. He has a mid-90s fastball and a power curveball that play awfully well out of the bullpen. He has back-of-the-‘pen potential, if he figures out his command/control.
Best tool: Fastball
2015 location: Double-A Tulsa
ETA: 2018

57. LHP Victor Gonzalez (6’0, 200 pounds, 20 years old)
Signed out of Mexico at the same time as Julian Leon, Lenix Osuna and William Soto in 2012, Gonzalez has had mixed results in his pro career. He was No. 37 last season and isn’t overpowering with his stuff (fringy fastball and breaking ball, above-average changeup), but he does have solid command. He’s too hittable at times, and that showed at Great Lakes in 2015 (11.8 H/9). His stuff, seemingly, plays better in the rotation, but he might be a future reliever at this point.
Best tool: Changeup
2015 location: Low-A Great Lakes
ETA: 2021

56. RHP Kam Uter (6’3, 200 pounds, 20 years old)
Signed out of a football commitment to Wake Forest after being a 2014 12th-rounder, Uter has pitched sparingly in his first two seasons — 13 innings total. He’s one of the most athletic players in the system and is still raw. He has struck out 21 hitters in his 13 pro innings, but it’s far too small a sample size to get excited about. It’d be nice to see him get some more experience in 2016.
Best tool: Fastball
2015 location: AZL Dodgers/Rookie Ogden
ETA: 2021

55. RHP Josh Ravin (6’4, 230 pounds, 28 years old)
Ravin made his debut last year and opened a lot of eyes by averaging 97.1 MPH on his fastball. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have much of a secondary offering or command of his pitches. He could be a high-velocity reliever if he gains better control, even with a fringy second pitch. At 28, he’s running out of time to put it all together, though.
Best tool: Fastball
2015 location: Triple-A Oklahoma City/Los Angeles
ETA: Debuted 2015

54. 1B/OF Matt Jones (6’7, 250 pounds, 22 years old)
After a somewhat disappointing pro debut, he had a really nice sophomore season. Jones jumped 40 spots in the rankings thanks to a .300/.343/.513 triple slash as a 21-year-old in the Pioneer League. He showed some of the massive power potential he has while playing more first base than outfield. If he can sustain this kind of production at Great Lakes, we might have a real-life prospect on our hands.
Best tool: Power
2015 location: Low-A Great Lakes
ETA: 2019

53. SS Erick Mejia (5’11, 155 pounds, 21 years old)
Mejia was acquired this month from Seattle for Joe Wieland. He’s a slick-fielding, light-hitting shortstop with above-average speed. He has all of one home run in 528 minor-league plate appearances, so don’t expect much pop from him. His ceiling is that of a glove-first utility infielder in the mold of a Brendan Ryan. In fact, he’d be lucky to have Brendan Ryan’s career. Still, the Dodgers acquired a prospect with at least a little value for the 15th pitcher on the starting pitcher depth chart.
Best tool: Defense
2015 location: High-A Rancho Cucamonga
ETA: 2020

52. 3B Oneal Cruz (6’4, 170 pounds, 17 years old)
Cruz was signed on the first day of the 2015 international signing period. While he was listed as a shortstop, there’s no way he stays at the position. He has a projectable frame and should add some weight as he gets older. If he can handle third base, his value should hold. If he has to move to a corner outfield spot, his value might dip unless he hits enough. He has some athleticism for his size and could have some power from the left side of the plate.
Best tool: Power
2015 location: DSL Dodgers
ETA: 2024

51. RHP Karch Kowalczyk (6’1, 215 pounds, 25 years old)
An unheralded 37th-round draft pick in 2014 out of Valparasio, Kowalczyk opened my eyes when I saw him in August. He isn’t physically imposing by any means, but he is sturdily built. He sat in the 94-96 MPH range with his fastball and touched 97. He had trouble commanding the pitch a bit, but the velocity was there. He also showed a fringy slider. He pitched better overall at Great Lakes, but he struck out more hitters while with Rancho. If he irons out his command/control, he could move quickly through Double- and Triple-A.
Best tool: Fastball
2015 location: High-A Rancho Cucamonga/Double-A Tulsa
ETA: 2018

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Next up: Prospects 50-41

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin’ Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif., and has yet to be shot.