Normally, the All-Star break — which is where baseball would be if there wasn’t that highly-contagious pandemic in our lives — is when I would do a Midseason Top 30 Prospects update.
I’d have a half-season’s worth of performances to use to rank the players, as well as some in-person looks. I’d also have new draftees to consider and account for some graduating prospects.
Alas, this won’t be that kind of update. Instead, I’m going to look at the players who would have graduated already and where some of the new draftees would fit into a Top 30 update.
The Dodgers would have seen three of my Top 4 prospects heading into the season graduate if we were in normal times. Gavin Lux (1), Dustin May (2) and Tony Gonsolin (4) would all have likely accrued enough service time or playing time to exhaust their prospect status. There’s a chance Brusdar Graterol (7) and Edwin Rios (11) would have also exhausted their status, but it’s less likely than the three players before them. The only other preseason Top 30 prospects who may have reached that threshold would have been Dennis Santana (18) and Zach McKinstry (28).
Keibert Ruiz (6), DJ Peters (13) and Mitchell White (26) are all on the 40-man roster, but I really don’t see a realistic scenario in which they would get enough service and/or playing time. I guess if there was a significant injury at catcher, Ruiz may have gotten a chance, but the Dodgers probably would have had a more veteran backup plan in that scenario.
The reason I’m not doing an entire list is because it seems unfair to punish prospects who barely had any time at Spring Training before many shutdowns went into order, but I also want to acknowledge the talent the Dodgers came away with in the 2020 draft just about a month ago.
Clayton Beeter would be my highest-ranked prospect of the new draftees. Despite being the Dodgers’ third selection, I had him at No. 2 on my Big Board for the first round, so to not put him higher than Bobby Miller wouldn’t make a lot of sense. If I’m shoehorning him into my Top 30 list without moving any other players around in the rankings, I’d rank Beeter at No. 13 in this midseason list, just after Omar Estevez and ahead of Peters.
Speaking of Miller, he wouldn’t be that far behind Beeter. He was No. 9 on my Big Board and the Dodgers obviously loved what they saw in him. His big-time velo and wipeout slider play perfectly with the Dodgers’ developmental system. He would have landed at No. 15, just after Luis Rodriguez (who likely would have gotten a bump if he had been able to play) and ahead of Jacob Amaya.
Landon Knack would have found his way toward the back-end of the Top 30. His track record isn’t long, but he was off to a fantastic start to his 2020 campaign, thanks to vastly improved stuff. He would have slotted in at No. 29, just after McKinstry and just ahead of Jerming Rosario.
Finally, Jake Vogel — receiver of the 2nd-highest bonus in the Dodgers’ draft class — is a bit tougher to slot. He doesn’t fit the MO of the scouting department, but they thought enough of him to give him more than a $1.6 million signing bonus. He’s fast, a legitimate center fielder, has a feel for hit and player dev must think it can coax some pop out of him. He would have landed at No. 30, just after Rosario and just ahead of Melvin Jimenez.
This also doesn’t take into account any July 2 signings. If you hadn’t noticed, that didn’t happen this year. Instead, that will happen on Jan. 15, 2021.
This summary is from Baseball America:
“MLB’s reasons for delaying the start of the signing period are largely financial. The MLBPA agreed to allow teams to defer all but $100,000 of draft signing bonuses into 2021 and 2022, but international amateurs signing bonuses were not automatically deferred in that March agreement. With MLB teams across baseball trying to save on cash flow, pushing the signing period to next January will keep teams issuing from multi-million dollar checks this summer, pushing those expenses into 2021 instead. The players who are eligible to sign (anyone who turns 16 by Aug. 31 this year) will not change, even though the signing period will now extend to Dec. 15, 2021 at 5 pm ET. Technically no official decision has been made on future signing periods, but MLB expects to delay the start of the 2021-22 signing period until Jan. 15, 2022. Logically, extending the 2020-21 signing period through almost the entirety of the 2021 year will necessitate pushing back the start of the 2021-2022 signing period, which is set to begin on July 2, 2021. The current 2019-20 international signing period, which was set to expire today, has been extended through Oct. 15, 2020 at 5 pm ET. However, teams are still not allowed to sign international players due to the current league-wide transactions freeze. After Oct. 15, there will be a closed period with no signings allowed until new signing period opens on Jan. 15, 2021.”
If the season actually gets underway and completed (which I’m highly skeptical will actually happen), maybe I’ll do a postseason Top 30 update to factor in the graduating prospects. Until then, this will have to suffice.