This is the 2016 edition of my All-Prospect team. There were a lot of strong performances by Dodgers’ prospects’ this season, and some guys really established themselves as legitimate prospects.
This is the fifth year I’ve done this exercise. Last year’s team might have been the strongest, but this year’s is right up there. Here are the past teams:
This team is based on 2016 minor-league performance and not necessarily a reflection of where they rank within the system, but age and competition level is also taken into account. Don’t expect to see a lot of mid-20s players here.
2016 Los Angeles Dodgers All-Prospect Team
Catcher: Austin Barnes, 26, Triple-A Oklahoma City/Los Angeles
.295/.380/.443, 6 HR, 39 RBI, 22 2B, 11.2 BB%
For the second year in a row, Barnes was the best catching prospect in the system. If he were in a lot of other organizations, he would have long since lost his rookie eligibility. He has nothing left to prove at Triple-A, but his big break might come with another org.
Second Team: Keibert Ruiz, 17, AZL Dodgers/Rookie Ogden
First Base: Cody Bellinger, 20, Double-A Tulsa/Triple-A Oklahoma City
.271/.365/.507, 26 HR, 71 RBI, 17 2B, 12.6% BB rate
My Dodger Minor League Player of the Year, Bellinger didn’t hit for as much power as he did for Rancho Cucamonga in 2015, but he showed the power is legitimate and improved in other facets of his game. He increased his walk rate substantially, reduced his strikeout rate and made more contact. Those are great signs going forward for the young slugger. He might go for 35 home runs in the Pacific Coast League next season, because I don’t see him debuting until 2018.
Second Team: Ibandel Isabel, 21, Rookie Ogden/Low-A Great Lakes
Second Base: Willie Calhoun, 21, Double-A Tulsa
.254/.318/.469, 27 HR, 88 RBI, 25 2B, 8.0% BB rate
Calhoun trailed off a bit at the end of the season, but he showed why he’s a bat-first prospect. He led the Drillers in home runs, didn’t strikeout a lot and walked a fair amount. There’s not much question about his hitting ability overall (there are definitely some things to work on), so his future will be determined by his defense. If he can handle second base, his bat would be well above-average for a middle infielder. If he has to move to third base, he probably has enough bat there, but the defense would always be questionable. His outfield (left field, specifically) profile doesn’t project well. He should be able to play a passable second base for at least a few years.
Second Team: Omar Estevez, Low-A Great Lakes
Third Base: Edwin Rios, 22, Low-A Great Lakes/High-A Rancho Cucamonga/Double-A Tulsa
.301/.341/.567, 27 HR, 76 RBI, 26 2B, 5.3 BB%
A popup prospect this season, Rios displayed quite a bit of raw and game power that had folks buzzing. He was the Dodgers’ MiLB Player of the Year, but he struggled a bit outside the hitter-friendly California League. His power comes with a lot of swing and miss and not a lot of on-base ability, so he might get exposed at the upper levels. But if he can make the necessary adjustments, his power is awfully intriguing.
Second Team: Michael Ahmed, 24, High-A Rancho Cucamonga
Shortstop: Erick Mejia, 21, High-A Rancho Cucamonga
.287/.343/.393, 4 HR, 47 RBI, 12 3B, 7.7 BB%
Mejia was acquired for Joe Wieland before the season, and his performance raised some eyebrows in the org. He’s not the next Corey Seager by any means, but Mejia has the skill-set of a future utility player in the majors. He has a strong, if sometimes inaccurate, arm at shortstop and legitimate 70-grade speed. He doesn’t have a ton of pop, but he barrels up enough pitches to at least be viable. The big test at Double-A awaits. If he passes it, he’ll shoot up the prospect charts.
Second Team: Brendon Davis, 18, Low-A Great Lakes
Left Field: Mitch Hansen, 20, Rookie Ogden
.311/.356/.491, 11 HR, 50 RBI, 6 3B, 6.7 BB%
The 2015 2nd-round pick had a rough debut season, but he was still elevated to Ogden. There, he showed what he could do. The power should come, but he showed good bat-to-ball skills and played some solid outfield defense. He was one of the best hitters for the Raptors and should face an ample test with Great Lakes next season.
Second Team: Kyle Garlick, 24, High-A Rancho Cucamonga/Double-A Tulsa
Center Field: Andrew Toles, 24, High-A Rancho Cucamonga/Double-A Tulsa/Triple-A Oklahoma City
.331/.374/.511, 7 HR, 38 RBI, 27 2B, 5.7 BB%
A year ago, the Dodgers had just signed Toles as a minor-league free agent. Now, he’s a significant bench player for a first-place team. And the reason he’s with the MLB club right now is because of his fantastic production across three MiLB levels. He used his plus-plus speed effectively in the minors (more stolen bases would have been nice), showed a bit of pop and has a rocket arm. Most of that has translated to the majors. He’s an intriguing prospect going forward.
Second Team: Johan Mieses, 20, High-A Rancho Cucamonga
Right Field: Alex Verdugo, 20, Double-A Tulsa
.273/.336/.407, 13 HR, 63 RBI, 23 2B, 8.3 BB%
Like Calhoun, Verdugo cooled off a bit toward the end of the season, but he established himself as one of the best prospects in the system and his production doesn’t tell the whole story. Verdugo might be the best pure hitter in the system and he did show a little bit of power in Double-A. Defensively, he has played mostly center field, but his future likely lies in right field — and he has plenty of arm for the position.
Second Team: Ariel Sandoval, 20, Low-A Great Lakes/High-A Rancho Cucamonga
Starting Pitcher 1: Brock Stewart, 24, High-A Rancho Cucamonga/Double-A Tulsa/Triple-A Oklahoma City
9-4, 1.79 ERA, 2.44 (A+)/1.65 (AA)/2.97 (AAA) FIP, 0.88 WHIP, 4.1 BB%, 27.9 K%
Stewart was my MiLB Pitcher of the Year, and he was downright dominant. That dominance hasn’t translated to the majors (and it might not ever do so), but he showed some glimpses of being a solid starter at the next level. In the minors, Stewart was an ace at every level in which he pitched, showed dynamite command/control and missed a lot of bats. He established himself as a bonafide pitching prospect.
Starting Pitcher 6: Andrew Sopko, 21, Low-A Great Lakes/High-A Rancho Cucamonga/Double-A Tulsa
Starting Pitcher 2: Chase De Jong, 22, High-A Rancho Cucamonga/Double-A Tulsa
15-5, 2.82 ERA, 3.68 (AA)/1.29 (AAA) FIP, 1.03 WHIP, 6.8 BB%, 22.7 K%
De Jong was quite the find by the front office when they traded international slot money for him last year. His stuff isn’t the best and he doesn’t blow hitters away, but he might have the most pitchability of any Dodger pitching prospect. His command is strong and he has a diverse repertoire that should allow him to have at least some success at the next level.
Starting Pitcher 7: Dennis Santana, 20, Low-A Great Lakes
Starting Pitcher 3: Trevor Oaks, 23, High-A Rancho Cucamonga/Double-A Tulsa/Triple-A Oklahoma City
14-3, 2.74 ERA, 2.83 (A+)/2.75 (AA)/4.17 (AAA) FIP, 1.11 WHIP, 3.5 BB%, 17.9 K%
A late-season groin injury put a slight damper on his season, but Oaks showed that the work he put in during the offseason paid off. His fastball/sinker velocity jumped from the high-80s to low-90s to sitting in the low-90s and touching the mid-90s. His breaking stuff took a small step forward, but he’s never going to be a big strikeout guy. He’ll live and die by the sinker.
Starting Pitcher 8: Yadier Alvarez, 20, AZL Dodgers/Low-A Great Lakes
Starting Pitcher 4: Jose De Leon, 24, Triple-A Oklahoma City
7-1, 2.61 ERA, 3.24 FIP, 0.94 WHIP, 5.9 BB%, 32.5 K%
De Leon had a weird season that began with a Spring Training invite, then a month on the disabled list, a 5-inning start, another month on the DL, before finally hitting his stride. He lost a little velocity during the season, but he seemed to regain it later on. He still had a ridiculous strikeout and walk rate while also posting solid results in the PCL.
Starting Pitcher 9: Scott Barlow, 23, Double-A Tulsa
Starting Pitcher 5: Josh Sborz, 22, High-A Rancho Cucamonga
8-4, 2.66 ERA, 3.59 FIP, 1.03 WHIP, 6.9 BB%, 25.0 K%
Sborz was the California League Pitcher of the Year and established himself as a legitimate starting pitcher prospect. He might still end up in the bullpen (and he pitched out of there exclusively with Tulsa to limit innings), but the fact he might be a quality starter makes him a really strong prospect. And if he has to move back to the bullpen, he has a strong arsenal of pitches to use.
Starting Pitcher 10: Grant Holmes, 20, High-A Rancho Cucamonga
Relief Pitcher 1: Grant Dayton, 28, Double-A Tulsa/Triple-A Oklahoma City
5 SV, 2.42 ERA, 0.37 (AA)/1.71 (AAA) FIP, 079 WHIP, 5.5 BB%, 45.9 K%
Dayton is showing what he can do in the majors, but just look at that strikeout percentage and tell me he doesn’t deserve the No. 1 reliever spot here. He looks like a bullpen fixture for a long time. Chris Reed actually did something good for the Dodgers.
Relief Pitcher 6: Adam Bray, 23, Low-A Great Lakes/High-A Rancho Cucamonga
Relief Pitcher 2: Jacob Rhame, 23, Triple-A Oklahoma City
7 SV, 3.29 ERA, 3.87 FIP, 1.29 WHIP, 10.6 BB%, 26.5 K%
Rhame is the best reliever-only prospect from the right side in the system. Maybe there’s some prospect fatigue with him, but to see his walk rate jump as much as it did is a bit concerning. Still, he’s a lock to make his MLB debut in 2017 with a strong fastball-slider combination.
Relief Pitcher 7: Kyle Hooper, 25, High-A Rancho Cucamonga/Double-A Tulsa
Relief Pitcher 3: Joe Broussard, 25, High-A Rancho Cucamonga/Double-A Tulsa/Triple-A Oklahoma City
9 SV, 1.90 ERA, 2.52 (AA)/0.72 (AAA) FIP, 1.03 WHIP, 5.8 BB%, 29.3 K%
Broussard is relatively unheralded in the system, but he has done nothing but produce since the Dodgers popped him 15th round of the 2014 MLB Draft. He has also allowed just nine home runs in 198 2/3 innings in the minors.
Relief Pitcher 8: Yaisel Sierra, 25, High-A Rancho Cucamonga/Double-A Tulsa
Relief Pitcher 4: Ralston Cash, 24, Double-A Tulsa/Triple-A Oklahoma City
2 SV, 2.87 ERA, 2.58 (AA)/3.56 (AAA) FIP, 1.22 WHIP, 11.5 BB%, 29.3 K%
Cash has seemingly been in the system for a decade. Instead, the 2010 2nd-rounder just completed his age-24 season with similar results as his first five seasons. He should be on the short list if the Dodgers need a reliever sometime next season. His fastball-curveball should play well out of a Major League bullpen.
Relief Pitcher 9: Alex Burgos, 25, Low-A Great Lakes/High-A Rancho Cucamonga/Double-A Tulsa
Relief Pitcher 5: Gavin Pittore, 22, Low-A Great Lakes/High-A Rancho Cucamonga
4 SV, 2.24 ERA, 2.90 (A)/3.32 (A+) FIP, 1.02 WHIP, 8.0 BB%, 24.5 K%
Pittore is a relative unknown in the system, but he had a strong 2016 to put his name on the prospect map. He was an undrafted free agent who signed with the Dodgers in 2015. After a, frankly, bad 8 2/3 innings last season, he threw 68 1/3 strong innings for the Loons and Quakes. His low-to-mid-90s fastball plays well out of the bullpen. Most impressive: He allowed just one home run in those innings.
Relief Pitcher 10: Caleb Dirks, 23, Double-A Tulsa
I feel there needs to be a special acknowledgement of Logan Bawcom. Bawcom was the Dodgers’ 17th-round draft pick in 2010, and he made his way as a reliever before being included in the deal for Brandon League. After 2 1/2 years in the Mariners’ organization, he signed a minor-league deal with the Dodgers. He threw nine innings with the Drillers, but most of his work was done with the OKC Dodgers.
He began the season as a reliever before making a 3-inning spot start on May 17, and he would pitch in relief until a 4-inning spot start on June 21. Ten of his next 15 appearances were starts. He ended up posting a 1.62 ERA as a starter (and a solid 2.43 as a reliever) and stepped in to help bolster the OKC rotation. I didn’t know where to put him above, so I made a special section just for him.