2020 Dodgers Top 100 Prospects: Best Tools

Gavin Lux (Photo: Cody Bashore)

No, you forgot about this final entry of the Top 100 prospects series. Anyhoot, here are the prospects with the best tools in the system. There will be a lot of repeat names because the Dodgers have a lot of really good prospects.

——

Previous Installments Of “Best Tools”

——

To be eligible, the player must be prospect eligible for 2020 and have been in the system when the Top 100 series began (Jan. 21). Present/future tool grades will be in parenthesis, when applicable.

Best Hitter For Average

Michael Busch (40/60)
Kody Hoese (40/55)
Gavin Lux (60/65)
Miguel Vargas (45/60)

This one is pretty easy. Lux has separated himself from the rest of the Dodgers’ position player prospects, and he has the highest ceiling of any of them in the system. That’s, in part, thanks to his ability to hit the ball. Busch has an outside chance of getting to Lux’s level, but he’s also more on-base focused than Lux is. Hoese could take a step forward, but he seems like a power-first prospect. Vargas is my guy and has the potential to be the best hitter in the system, but he still hasn’t tapped into his full ability quite yet.

Best Hitter: Lux

Best Hitter For Power

Kody Hoese (40/60)
Gavin Lux (55/60)
DJ Peters (60/65)
Luke Raley (50/55)
Edwin Rios (65/65)
Cristian Santana (45/55)
Cody Thomas (50/55)

Hoese and Lux could have plus-power one day, but there’s a chance they settle in at average or above-average. Raley, Santana and Thomas are in similar boats, but Thomas made a name for himself in Spring Training (remember that? It was less than two months ago, even if it feels like two decades ago). This comes down to Peters and Rios. The edge goes to Rios since he has done it at the MLB level in an admittedly small sample size.

Best Hitter For Power: Rios

Best Strike Zone Discipline

Jacob Amaya
Michael Busch
Gavin Lux
Keibert Ruiz
Miguel Vargas

Amaya’s calling card on offense might be his on-base ability. Busch will definitely take a walk when the pitcher doesn’t give him anything good to hit. Lux can walk, but he also has some swing-and-miss in his game. Ruiz might be the best when it comes to purely evaluating the strike zone, but it’s also a bit hollow because he doesn’t do much else offensively. Vargas has shown advanced discipline for his age. This comes down to Busch and Ruiz, and Ruiz gets the nod because of experience.

Best Strike Zone Discipline: Ruiz

Best Speed

Jeren Kendall (65/65)
Brayan Morales (70/70)

These are the only two who have better than plus-speed in the org (among players who aren’t unknown international signees, that is). Kendall might be the best (spoiler alert) athlete in the system and got more efficient at swiping bases, but Morales has three 30-plus stolen base seasons under his belt and is a double-plus runner. Easy call here.

Best Speed: Morales

Best Athlete

Donovan Casey
Jeren Kendall
Gavin Lux
Bryan Morales
James Outman
DJ Peters

The Dodgers have a lot of good athletes in the system. Casey has shown it since being a 20th-round steal. Kendall’s calling card, as of now, is his athleticism. Lux is plenty athletic, while Morales is super fast. Outman is an under-the-radar athletic guy while Peters is sneaky athletic for his size. But, for the third year in a row, this one goes to Kendall.

Best Athlete: Kendall

Best SP Fastball

Tony Gonsolin (60/60)
Josiah Gray (60/60)
Dustin May (65/70)

There are really only three contenders for this. Gonsolin’s fastball velo is consistently in the mid-90s, as is Gray’s (after a nice velo bump in 2019). But May’s fastball is on a different level. He regularly touches the high-90s and has insane movement on it. That puts him over the top.

Best SP Fastball: May

Best RP Fastball

Brusdar Graterol (75/80)
Melvin Jimenez (45/60)
Marshall Kasowski (55/60)
Jordan Sheffield (50/60)

Honestly, the other non-Graterol guys are on here for show. Jimenez touches the high-90s. Sheffield also does, but he doesn’t command it very well. Kasowski is more of a mid-90s guy, but he has a high spin rate on his heater. But when a guy sits in the high-90s with movement (ala May), it’s hard to overlook that.

Best RP Fastball: Graterol

Best Curveball

Jimmy Lewis (40/60)
Dustin May (55/60)
Mitchell White (50/60)

Lewis’ curveball could end up being the best, but he 2019 draftee has yet to throw a professional pitch. May and White have very different curveball’s. Both have a chance to miss bats, but I’m gonna die on the Mitch White hill.

Best Curveball: White

Best Slider

Josiah Gray (55/60)
Michael Grove (35/60)
Dennis Santana (55/60)

Gray’s slider took a step forward (as did the rest of his game) in 2019. Grove’s slider might end up being the best of the lot, but he was on a workload restriction that limited the amount he could throw it. Santana’s slider still seems like the best bet to miss bats consistently. Note: May’s cutter is probably better than all these, but it’s not a true slider.

Best Slider: Santana

Best Changeup

Tony Gonsolin (70/70)
Robinson Ortiz (45/60)
Ryan Pepiot (45/60)
Edwin Uceta (55/60)

Gonsolin’s changeup is really a splitter, but it works as a changeup for his repertoire. Ortiz has the best left-handed changeup in the system. Pepiot’s best pitch is his changeup and could end up being the best. Uceta’s changeup was on display in Spring Training and has a chance to be a good one, but none of them are as good as Gonsolin’s splitter.

Best Changeup: Gonsolin

Best Command/Control

Tony Gonsolin (50/55)
Josiah Gray (50/60)
Dustin May (60/65)

Lots of repeat names here, but that’s because they’re all, clearly, the best pitching prospects in the org. Gonsolin’s command is the “worst” of this trio, but it’s still above-average. Gray’s command could improve going forward, but May’s overall command profile wins out.

Best Command/Control: May

Best Defensive Catcher

Diego Cartaya (35/60)
Hunter Feduccia (40/50)
Keibert Ruiz (45/55)

Cartaya showed well in his pro debut. He’s a big kid, but he has all the tools to be a plus-defender. Ruiz’s framing improved, but some of the rest of his defensive game took a step back. Feduccia improved his receiving and framing in 2019, to go along with is average arm. But Cartay’s defensive potential is a step above both Feduccia and Ruiz.

Best Defensive Catcher: Cartaya

Best Defensive Infielder

Jacob Amaya (50/60)
Errol Robinson (50/55)
Cristian Santana (50/55)

Amaya is very likely to stick at shortstop, but if he had to move to second base, his defense could get a nice bump. Robinson is in the same boat, though, his upside is limited. Santana has a chance to be a plus-defender at third base, but that’s not enough to best Amaya.

Best Defensive Infielder: Amaya

Best Infield Arm

Edwin Rios (60/60)
Cristian Santana (65/65)
Leonel Valera (55/55)

Rios has a legitimate plus-arm that profiles well at third base. Unfortunately, the rest of his defensive profile doesn’t. That’s why the Dodgers have tried him in the corner outfield spots, so that his arm doesn’t go to waste. Santana has a great arm from the hot corner. Valera’s arm is improving and should allow him to stick on the left side of the infield.

Best Infield Arm: Santana

Best Defensive Outfielder

Donovan Casey
Jeren Kendall
Brayan Morales
DJ Peters

Almost the same as the best athletes portion. Casey, Morales and Peters are all capable of playing center field and running well, but no one has the unrivaled athleticism that Kendall possesses.

Best Defensive Outfielder: Kendall

Best Outfield Arm

Andy Pages
DJ Peters
Carlos Rincon


Pages could end up being a profile right fielder, if he washes out of center field. Peters is the same, but he’s handling center field well enough at the highest level of the minors. Rincon has a strong arm, but he probably won’t get a chance to show it off in the majors.

Best Outfield Arm: Pages

Best 5-Tool Prospect

Gavin Lux
Andy Pages


It’s really between these two. Lux’s increased power over the last two years has put him in this discussion. Pages had a great season in the Pioneer League in 2019, but we need to see him perform well against more advanced competition.

Best 5-Tool Prospect: Lux

ToolsPlayer
Best Hitter For AverageGavin Lux
Best Power HitterEdwin Rios
Best Strike Zone DisciplineKeibert Ruiz
Fastest BaserunnerBrayan Morales
Best AthleteJeren Kendall
Best SP FastballDustin May
Best RP FastballBrusdar Graterol
Best CurveballMitchell White
Best SliderDennis Santana
Best ChangeupTony Gonsolin
Best Command/ControlDustin May
Best Defensive CatcherDiego Cartaya
Best Defensive InfielderJacob Amaya
Best Infield ArmCristian Santana
Best Defensive OutfielderJeren Kendall
Best Outfield ArmAndy Pages
Best 5-Tool ProspectGavin Lux

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.