2020 Dodgers Top 100 Prospects: 30-21

Cristian Santana (Photo: Stacie Wheeler)

We have reached the Top 30, where things start to turn up a bit. All of these guys’ names will be recognizable, and the Dodgers’ scouting and drafting efforts will be represented well from here on out. This set of 10 features a few of my favorite prospects.

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Previous Entries

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I’ve included Future Value (FV) grades and risks for the Top 50 prospects. For example, if a guy gets a “50 low,” he has a really good chance to be an average player at his position. If a guy gets a “55/High,” there’s a good chance he won’t reach that ceiling, but the potential is there. The grades are 20-80 (50 is average), and the risks are as follows:

  • Low: Players who are usually older, have debuted, are relievers and/or have higher floors than ceilings
  • Medium: Players who are a mix of younger and older, usually have higher floors
  • High: Players who are usually younger with potential, but also question marks
  • Extreme: Players who are generally younger with star potential, but a ton of question marks

This is to show what value a player might provide at the MLB level. The higher the risk, the less likely a player will reach that ceiling.

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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 I observe/obtain to the people. 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 and 20 is unacceptably poor. Enjoy.

Other Notes: “Role” is a realistic future role (slightly optimistic in some cases). Age is the 2020 season age for the player (June 30 is the cutoff date).

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30. RHP Melvin Jimenez

HeightWeightAgeBest ToolAcquiredRole2020 LocationETA
5’1018720FastballIFA: Dominican, Dec. ’15Late-inning RPHigh-A RC/Double-A Tulsa2021

Strengths

  • Mid-90s fastball with movement
  • Plus-curveball
  • Still young

Weaknesses

  • Gets a bit wild at time
  • Other secondaries lacking
  • Small frame raise durability questions

Summary

When the Dodgers signed Jimenez as a teenager near the end of calendar year 2015, they may have been expecting more physical growth, especially after more than holding his own as a starting pitcher in the Dominican Summer League at age 16, but after four full minor-league seasons, Jimenez has been shifted to the bullpen permanently, where he has a chance to be an impact right-handed pitcher.

Jimenez has a mid-90s fastball that touches the high-90s. He has added some movement to a previously straight offering, making it more effective. His best offspeed offering is a power low-80s curveball that is a true swing-and-miss pitch. It has 12-6 shape and powerful downward action in the strike zone. He should rack up a fair number of strikeouts by using it. His slider is fringy, as is his changeup. He’ll likely drop one of those as he progresses due to ineffectiveness. With his fastball-curveball combination, he already has two potentially plus-pitches that should help him be a nasty reliever.

Because of his slight frame, there’s workload concerns, which is also why he profiles better out of the bullpen than in the rotation. Jimenez gets a bit wild at times, and that seems to be what’s holding him back most. His arm is so quick that it gets ahead of the rest of his delivery at times, leading to some wild offerings. His 14 percent walk rate in High-A last season is a bit alarming, even with a sky-high strikeout rate. He should get to Double-A at some point this season, with a chance to debut with the Dodgers at some point in 2021.

ToolPresentFuture
Fastball4560
Curveball4560
Slider3545
Changeup3040
Command/Control4045
Delivery4550
FV/Risk50High

29. RHP Jerming Rosario

HeightWeightAgeBest ToolAcquiredRole2020 LocationETA
6’117518FastballIFA: Dominican, ’18No. 3/4 SPAZL Dodgers2025

Strengths

  • Advanced feel for such a young pitcher
  • Good fastball velo; quick arm
  • Promising offspeed stuff

Weaknesses

  • Size a concern
  • No experience outside DSL
  • Swing-and-miss stuff not present

Summary

Rosario was one of the Dodgers’ biggest international signings ($600,000) at the same time they signed Diego Cartaya. As a 17-year-old in the DSL, he more than held his own. He gave up just four earned runs in 45 1/3 innings. He got a fair amount of ground balls, which should help going forward if he doesn’t miss more bats.

He operates with a low-90s fastball that the Dodgers are hoping takes a step forward as he physically matures. His mid-70s curveball has flashed average, but it has a long way to go to get there. His high-70s/low-80s changeup is well ahead of his hook and projects to be above-average. All his pitches have the ability to get ground balls.

Because he lacks ideal size, there’s always a chance he ends up in the bullpen. But the Dodgers are still projecting him to be a starting pitcher because of his compact delivery and quick arm. He should get to the states this season and spend a good amount of time at Camelback Ranch with the AZL Dodgers.

ToolPresentFuture
Fastball3555
Curveball3050
Changeup3055
Command/Control3555
Delivery4055
FV/Risk55Extreme

28. UTIL Zach McKinstry

HeightWeightAgeBest ToolAcquiredRole2020 LocationETA
6’018025Hit33rd round, 2016Utility playerTriple-A OKC/Los Angeles2020

Strengths

  • Offensive improvement is real
  • Defensively capable at multiple positions
  • Neutral platoon splits

Weaknesses

  • Late bloomer
  • No standout tool
  • Lacking outfield experience

Summary

An unheralded 33rd-rounder, McKinstry broke out in a big way in 2019. He saw his MLB prospects go from borderline to a near-lock. The Dodgers added him to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft, so the Dodgers are intrigued enough to keep him in the org. And for good reason: McKinstry did something only one other Dodger prospect did in 2019:

https://twitter.com/eccentricladdie/status/1213988957660143617

He may no be the next Gavin Lux (he isn’t), but he could very well be in the mold of a Matt Beaty who actually profiles better defensively. He should be a solid hitter with a good eye and some sneaky pop from the left side. He’s also an average runner, which helps on the base paths and in the field.

He has plenty of experience at second & third base and shortstop in the minors. He’s not a standout at any one position, but he could be plenty serviceable at each spot. If he gets pigeonholed into one position, his best position is probably second base. He should get extended corner outfield experience in 2020, giving him even more defensive versatility.

ToolPresentFuture
Hit4550
Power4545
Speed5050
Defense5050
Arm5050
FV/Risk45Medium

27. LHP Robinson Ortiz

HeightWeightAgeBest ToolAcquiredRole2020 LocationETA
6’018620ChangeupIFA: Dominican, July ’17No. 4/5 SPHigh-A Rancho Cucamonga2022

Strengths

  • Premium velocity from left side
  • Changeup true out pitch
  • Difficult to hit

Weaknesses

  • Slider erratic
  • Not ideal size
  • Struggled in Low-A

Summary

A $60,000 signee in 2017, Ortiz could end up being a nice get for the Dodgers. His first taste of full-season ball didn’t go particularly well, but he did show flashes of what could be to come. His 4.59 ERA and 4.80 FIP in the pitcher-friendly Midwest League is a little concerning, but Ortiz has the stuff to succeed at the upper levels.

Ortiz’s fastball generally sits in the 90-93 MPH range and gets up to 95. It gets on hitters quickly and features decent arm-side run. His breaking ball is a big bowl of inconsistency. Sometimes it flashes 55, sometimes it’s a below-average offering. Sometimes it looks like a curveball, sometimes it’s more of a slurve. If he can ever become consistent with the mid-70s pitch, he has a chance to jump into the next tier of pitching prospect. His low-80s changeup is easily his best and favorite pitch.

At first glance, his delivery looks a lot like Julio Urias‘. Unfortunately, he’s not in that category of pitching prospect (and definitely not in that class of person). It’s a compact delivery that is repeatable. Despite that, he still has issues when it comes to command/control. He’s inconsistent with it, but has the athleticism to become more consistent with his delivery. Pitching in a hitter-friendly environment in Rancho Cucamonga could be a big test for him before getting to Tulsa next season.

ToolPresentFuture
Fastball4055
Curveball3045
Changeup4560
Command/Control4050
Delivery4050
FV/Risk50High

26. RHP Mitchell White

HeightWeightAgeBest ToolAcquiredRole2020 LocationETA
6’522925Curveball2nd round, 2016No.4/5 SP, multi-inning RPTriple-A OKC/Los Angeles2020

Strengths

  • Prototypical frame for SP
  • Premium stuff … at times
  • Offspeed stuff better than fastball

Weaknesses

  • Inconsistent velo/stuff
  • Lots of injury history
  • Might be a reliever

Summary

Ever since signing as a 2nd-rounder in 2016, the ceiling has been sky-high for White. Keith Law even wondered if he might end up being the best pitcher of the ’16 class. I even wrote a glowing report about him after seeing him in person. But we’re a long way from 2017. Since then, White has dealt with nothing but adversity — injuries, battling inconsistent stuff and results on the field. He posted an ugly 5.09 ERA between Double- and Triple-A (93 2/3 innings). His strikeout rate bumped up from the previous season, but he still gave up way too many base runners and runs. Despite that, the Dodgers added him to the 40-man roster in December because they still believe in his right arm.

When he’s right, White has a fastball that sits in the 92-95 MPH range and tops out at 97. The thing is, he’s inconsistent with that velo. Sometimes he’s more of an 89-93 guy with very little movement. His offspeed pitches are exciting, again, when he’s right. His power curveball is a 78-82 MPH pitch and a true 12-6 hammer. His slider/cutter variation sits in the mid-80s and gets up to the 88-90 MPH range at times. But, like his fastball, that consistency comes and goes. He also has a mid-80s changeup that’s more of a showme pitch at this point.

With prototypical size for a starter and athleticism, he is able to repeat his delivery well, but he still gets out of sync at times, leading to up-and-down command/control. Injuries will determine his ultimate future in this game, but for the Dodgers, White might be more of a multi-inning reliever or power short-reliever rather than a back-end starting pitcher. He could see LA this season.

ToolPresentFuture
Fastball5060
Curveball5060
Slider5060
Changeup4040
Command/Control4550
Delivery5050
FV/Risk50High

25. 3B/1B Cristian Santana

HeightWeightAgeBest ToolAcquiredRole2020 LocationETA
6’221123DefenseIFA: Dominican, ’142nd-division CIFDouble-A Tulsa/Triple-A OKC2021

Strengths

  • Above-average power potential
  • Strong defender at third base
  • Doesn’t get cheated at plate

Weaknesses

  • Super aggressive; minimal plate discipline
  • Too many grounders
  • Struggles against left-handed pitching

Summary

A $50,000 signee out of the Dominican Republic, Santana has the look of a big leaguer. He finished last season with a solid batting line (.301/.320/.436), but he missed time with an injury. He also saw his power dip a bit from the previous season, so that’s a little concerning.

At his best, Santana is a power-hitting, free-swinging third baseman who makes a lot of loud contact because of his premium bat speed. However, his bat path is inconsistent, though, as he still hits too many balls on the ground. For a guy without premium speed, that’s a problem. It also eats into his power potential. That and the fact he’s so aggressive, it limits his overall offensive profile.

On defense, though, he’s really good at the hot corner. His soft hands and above-average range help him field grounders that some third basemen can’t get to. He has, perhaps, the best infield arm in the entire system. His accuracy isn’t on par with his arm strength, so he uncorks some wild throws at times. He has also gotten ample experience at first base over the last two seasons, but his best position is easily third base. He’ll likely return to Tulsa before getting to OKC at some point in 2020. If he shows well in 2020, he could see the majors by 2021.

ToolPresentFuture
Hit4045
Power4555
Speed4540
Defense5055
Arm6565
FV/Risk45High

24. RHP Gerardo Carrillo

HeightWeightAgeBest ToolAcquiredRole2020 LocationETA
6’015421FastballIFA: Mexico, July ’16No. 4/5 SP, power RPHigh-A RC/Double-A Tulsa2023

Strengths

  • Heavy, boring fastball
  • Solid breaking balls
  • Effortless delivery

Weaknesses

  • Not ideal size for SP
  • Changeup almost non-existent
  • Missed time with shoulder injury

Summary

The Dodgers signed Carrillo out of Mexico for $75,000, and so far, that’s looking like a good investment. He just finished his age-20 season and allowed just three home runs in 86 innings in the California League. He also struck out 21.2 percent of the hitters he faced. The bad news? He had a 5.44 ERA and a 12.6 walk percentage. Still, he has premium stuff that can play in either the rotation or bullpen.

Carrillo’s fastball is a consistently mid-90s pitch that touches 98 MPH and even got to 100 MPH while he was in the Arizona Fall League. He gets a lot of run and movement on the pitch, which helps him limit hard-hit balls and home runs. It’s not a premium strikeout pitch, but it could be with more development (especially if he throws it up in the strike zone some more). His curveball is his best offspeed pitch. It’s has 12-6 shape and a big break. He’ll have to refine it a bit more as he progresses through the minors, but it has the makings of a swing-and-miss pitch. His mid-80s slider is more inconsistent than his curveball, but it has a chance to play well off his other pitches. His changeup is a long way from being usable, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he ended up ditching the pitch in favor of refining his other two breaking pitches.

The elephant in the room for him is his size. He’s, generously, listed at 6-feet tall and 154 pounds. While he should be able to add some more good weight, he’s probably maxed out on height. The slight frame isn’t terribly conducive to him remaining in the starting rotation (and he already dealt with a shoulder injury in his first year in full-season ball), but there have been some successful 6’0 (and under) starting pitchers in baseball. The positives are he has an effortless delivery, a high three-quarters release point and a feel for pitching. If he has to shift to the bullpen, he could easily become a late-inning reliever capable of missing bats. He should also get to Tulsa this season with an outside chance of reaching LA in 2021.

ToolPresentFuture
Fastball4565
Curveball4055
Slider3550
Changeup2540
Command/Control5050
Delivery4550
FV/Risk45High

23. SS/3B Alex De Jesus

HeightWeightAgeBest ToolAcquiredRole2020 LocationETA
6’218518PowerIFA: Dominican, July ’18Above-avg 3BAZL Dodgers/Rookie Ogden2024

Strengths

  • Plus-raw power potential
  • Mature swing/approach
  • Strong arm for left side of infield

Weaknesses

  • Might not stick at shortstop
  • Lack of experience at upper levels
  • Some swing-and-miss

Summary

While Cartaya is the clear prize of the Dodgers’ 2018 international signing class, De Jesus may end up not being that far behind. He signed for $500,000 and had a very impressive professional debut. The 17-year-old hit .281/.340/.392 between the DSL and AZL. While the swing-and-miss was a bit high (29.9 K%), it was to be expected from a teenager.

De Jesus’ carrying tool could end up being his power. He’s already a pretty physical 18-year-old, but with broad shoulders and frame to add plenty of good weight in hopes of getting to the plus-raw power he already exhibits. He has a mature swing and high finish that could lead to being an offensive force at the plate. And despite the high strikeout rate, he showed the ability to adjust to offspeed stuff. He may not be as advanced as a hitter like Miguel Vargas, but there are some similarities between the two. He has a decent leg kick, bat speed and keeps the barrel in the strike zone a long time for a hitter his age.

Defensively, he’s a shortstop right now. He isn’t particularly rangy or quick, so a move to third base almost seems inevitable. If he does move, he has plenty of arm for the hot corner. He’s not much of a threat on the base paths, but as a bat-first third baseman, he doesn’t have to be Billy Hamilton on the bases. He’ll probably begin the season in the AZL before a potential promotion to Ogden. We’ve seen the Dodgers be aggressive with their young hitting prospects, so this could put him on the path to Great Lakes or maybe even Rancho Cucamonga in 2021.

ToolPresentFuture
Hit3055
Power3060
Speed3540
Defense3050
Arm4055
FV/Risk55Extreme

22. RHP Ryan Pepiot

HeightWeightAgeBest ToolAcquiredRole2020 LocationETA
6’321522Changeup3rd round, 2019No. 3/4 SPHigh-A RC/Double-A Tulsa2022

Strengths

  • Legitimate 4-pitch mix
  • Best changeup in the system
  • Could move quickly

Weaknesses

  • Breaking balls lagging slightly behind changeup
  • Command/control needs work
  • Limited ceiling

Summary

When the Dodgers got Pepiot in the third round of the 2019 draft, some thought it was a steal. His debut shows it might be just that. Because of a full college workload (78 innings), he only threw 23 1/3 innings in his debut season. He pitched to a 1.93 ERA and struck out 31.6 percent of the hitters he faced. He also didn’t allow a home run while pitching in the AZL and Midwest League.

On the bump, Pepiot has the classic starter’s repertoire. He has a solid 4-seam fastball that sits in the 91-94 MPH range. It tops out at 96 and plays up due to deception and arm-side action. His mid-70s curveball is slightly ahead of his low-80s slider. Both have a chance to be average pitches if he can become more consistent with them. All three of these pitches have the spin rates the Dodgers covet in their pitching prospects. His best pitch is his low-80s changeup that misses tons of bats.

ToolPresentFuture
Fastball4055
Curveball4050
Slider3545
Changeup4560
Command/Control4055
Delivery5055
FV/Risk50High

21. OF Andy Pages

HeightWeightAgeBest ToolAcquiredRole2020 LocationETA
6’118019PowerIFA: Dominican, July ’18Profile RFLow-A Great Lakes2023

Strengths

  • Plus raw power; strong hit tool
  • Runs better than expected
  • Potential double-plus throwing arm

Weaknesses

  • Might not stick in center field
  • Hasn’t played in full-season league yet
  • Plate discipline needs work

Summary

During the time the Dodgers couldn’t sign an international prospect for more than $300,000, Pages was one of seven guys they inked for the max. After Vargas, this is looking like the best signing of the class. Pages lit up the hitter-friendly Pioneer League by hitting .298/.398/.651 and 19 home runs — second-most in the league. Despite still being rookie ball, Pages’ performance put him on the prospect map for most.

Pages uses a powerful right-handed swing to generate plus-bat speed to make hard contact. He also elevates the ball as well as any prospect in the system, which should help him continue to be a legitimate power threat. He has a significant leg kick that doesn’t seem to hamper him, but it could lead to strikeout issues in the future, so that might have to be toned down a bit. Still, he has the chance to wield an impact bat at the MLB level, provided his production in the Pioneer League wasn’t a mirage.

On defense, he played mostly center field and should be able to handle that position for a few more years as he goes through the minors. He has a small chance to stick there because he takes good routes and makes good reads. However, he lacks the top-end range/speed to stick there in the majors on a full-time basis. He’s more likely to slide over to right field where his potentially double-plus arm is plenty for the position.

Pages will get his first taste of full-season ball in 2020. He should go to Great Lakes (where it’s difficult to hit), but it wouldn’t be at all surprising if he ended up with Rancho Cucamonga — either to start the season or by midseason.

I’m really glad he wasn’t traded to the Angels.

ToolPresentFuture
Hit4050
Power4060
Speed4550
Defense4050
Arm5065
FV/Risk55Extreme

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Next Up: Prospects 20-11

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.