The Dodgers front office did a great job building up the depth of this organization. It has been one of the primary focuses since Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi were hired. But the contributions the Dodgers have received from their rookies this season has been paramount to the team’s success so far.
We’ve talked a lot about Corey Seager and some about Kenta Maeda. I’m going to exclude them from this because they were expected to produce (in Seager’s case, not at this level) and Maeda was a seasoned veteran coming from Nippon Professional Baseball. But it has been the other rookies who have contributed a lot and helped to pick up when the injuries were monumental.
|Jose De Leon||-0.1|
If you throw in Seager (7.5) and Maeda (3.3), that’s 15.4 wins from rookie players. For a team with the largest payroll in the sport, that is amazing. But even without the big guys, that’s still 4.6 wins from players who are making the absolute league minimum and guys who many didn’t expect to see in 2016. But their contributions go beyond their wins above replacement.
Urias started slowly before really turning it on, and he showed just how special a pitching prospect he is and why his future is so bright. He was thrust into duty earlier than I expected, but he wasn’t rushed. He was ready to take on the challenge of being in the majors at age 19. Toles has been a revelation. He has played in just 41 games, but he’s just half a win from being a league-average player. That’s remarkable. Stripling made the rotation by default to start the season and has been plenty viable as a starter and has helped out of the bullpen. He ate innings when the Dodgers needed it.
Thompson has a couple fractures in his back, but his early season power surge was impressive, and he helped contribute to a few wins (even if his defense, at times, was frustrating). Dayton has established himself as the best left-handed reliever on the team after being relatively unknown since he was acquired last year. Ravin has been impressive in a limited sample size, but because of his PED suspension in Spring Training, he isn’t eligible for the postseason roster. Segedin had that stretch of 15 games when he had an .811 OPS. He has cooled off, but his short-term contribution was not overlooked.
Barnes and Johnson haven’t gotten a shot to produce, so it isn’t surprising to see them near the bottom of this. De Leon’s -0.1 WAR is deceiving, as he was solid in his first two starts when the Dodgers needed innings. The same can be said for Stewart, as he was rushed into duty because Frankie Montas (since traded) could not get beyond his rib injury and surgery. Stewart stepped in and had a few rough starts, but he also has a few really good starts — most notably against the Cubs and twice against the Diamondbacks.
There’s every possibility the Dodgers could have suffered through this additional production from Quad-A players, journeymen, seasoned vets, but somehow, getting production from (most of) these rookies makes it more exciting. The future is bright with these rookies, the young vets and the players still to come.
This has been part of the plan from Day 1, and so far, it’s working well. Also, having a 7-plus-win shortstop in his first full season does not suck.