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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
|Best Hitter For Average||Gavin Lux|
|Best Power Hitter||Edwin Rios|
|Best Strike Zone Discipline||Keibert Ruiz|
|Fastest Baserunner||Brayan Morales|
|Best Athlete||Jeren Kendall|
|Best SP Fastball||Dustin May|
|Best RP Fastball||Brusdar Graterol|
|Best Curveball||Mitchell White|
|Best Slider||Dennis Santana|
|Best Changeup||Tony Gonsolin|
|Best Command/Control||Dustin May|
|Best Defensive Catcher||Diego Cartaya|
|Best Defensive Infielder||Jacob Amaya|
|Best Infield Arm||Cristian Santana|
|Best Defensive Outfielder||Jeren Kendall|
|Best Outfield Arm||Andy Pages|
|Best 5-Tool Prospect||Gavin Lux|