Yusniel Diaz, DJ Peters, among Dodgers’ prospects heading to Arizona Fall League

Yusniel Diaz (Photo: Dustin Nosler)

Arizona Fall League rosters were announced on Tuesday, and the Dodgers have some big-name players going there to participate. No, we aren’t seeing Yadier Alvarez, Walker Buehler or Alex Verdugo heading to Arizona, but there are some quality prospects going.

Position Players

Matt Beaty
Yusniel Diaz
DJ Peters
Will Smith

Beaty was the Dodgers’ 12th-round selection in the 2015 MLB Draft. He’s a bit old for a prospect (24), but he broke out in a big way with Double-A Tulsa this season. He won the Texas League MVP and is hitting .324/.379/.504 with 14 home runs, 30 doubles, a 7.7 BB% and a 11.2 K%. He’s mainly a corner infielder who has corner outfield experience. He’s basically a potentially better version of O’Koyea Dickson. He’ll be ranked in next year’s Top 100 for sure.

Diaz was No. 8 on my midseason Top 30 and finally got out of the California League. Between High-A Rancho Cucamonga and Tulsa, he’s hitting .283/.349/.415 with nine home runs, 21 doubles, a 9.5 BB% and a 21.4 K%. He can play all three outfield positions and, at just age-20, I think we’ve yet to see the best of him. It’ll be nice to see him face some premium competition.

Peters was No. 18 on my midseason Top 30, and he probably should have been ranked higher. He won the California League MVP last week and is hitting .275/.375/.504 with 24 home runs, 28 doubles, a 11.2 BB% and a (scary) 32.5 K%. Double-A will be a big test for him in 2018, but a trip through the AFL could be an interesting preview in terms of what to expect in the Texas League.

Smith was No. 9 on my midseason Top 30. He was promoted to Double-A, but hasn’t played since early July due to a broken hand. With Rancho Cucamonga, Smith hit .232/.355/.448 with 11 home runs, 15 doubles, a 12.1 BB% and a 23.3 K%. He started the season off a bit rough, but picked it up as it progressed. Because of the broken hand, the 22-year-old had a lot of his season taken away, so sending him to the AFL makes a ton of sense.

Pitchers

Isaac Anderson
Michael Boyle
Andrew Sopko
Shea Spitzbarth

Anderson was my No. 50 prospect in my Top 100 after putting together a strong 2016. He started with Double-A Tulsa and, well, just look: 8.85 ERA in 59 innings. To say the 23-year-old struggled would be a massive understatement. But after logging 118 2/3 innings last season, he has just 81 this season (across three levels), so sending him out to get more work is only logical.

Boyle is one of the few left-handed pitching prospects who has any realistic shot at the majors someday. The 23-year-old was No. 67 on my preseason Top 100 list and has spent all of 2017 with Rancho. He has a 5.06 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, a 16.9 K% and a 7.2 BB%. Not great numbers, but he got hit around a bit as a starter. Once he moved to the bullpen, the numbers improved a bit. That’s where his future lies.

Sopko was No. 42 on my preseason Top 100. The 22-year-old spent all season with Tulsa, but didn’t debut until late April and had two other 7-day DL stints. Because of that, his 2017 workload of 94 2/3 innings falls well short of his 135 innings in 2016. His productions slipped across the board, potentially due to injury and potentially due to facing advanced competition at Double-A. Still, the AFL will be a nice test for Sopko.

Spitzbarth ranked in the Top 35 of my midseason Top 30 after an incredible Spring Training and, at times, dominant 2017 season. He began with Rancho Cucamonga and struck out 27 of the 60 hitters he faced. That earned him a quick promotion to Double-A, where he held his own: 3.18 ERA, 20.8 K% and a 7.7 BB%. He has allowed just three home runs in 66 2/3 innings of work and the 22-year-old could be a sleeper for some bullpen work in Los Angeles as early as next season. The AFL will be a good measuring stick for Spitzbarth.

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No real surprises here. Teams typically send eight players. Sometimes those players get switched in and out before and during the season. We’ll definitely keep you updated on the goings on in regards to the Arizona Fall League.

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 does contracts and depth charts for FanGraphs and 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 one-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, California, and has yet to be shot.