The Dodgers acquired outfielder Ryan Noda from the Blue Jays to complete a 2020 deadline deal that sent Ross Stripling to the Blue Jays for two players to be named later. Kendall Williams is the other player who came over from the Blue Jays, and Dustin took a look at him in September.
Noda is a 2017 15th-round pick of the Blue Jays out of the University of Cincinnati. A corner outfielder with some experience at first base, Noda will be entering his age-25 season in 2021. In 2019, he reached high-A, where he hit .238/.372/.418/.790 with 74 walks but also had 138 strikeouts. For his career, he has a .272/.422/.478/.900 line in the minors over three seasons, obviously not being able to play in 2020.
A 25-year-old who has never played advanced ball who still has strikeout problems might seem like an odd choice, but a look at the FanGraphs report on him might explain what the Dodgers are looking at.
Noda has elite walk rates, his exit velos are very strong, and he’s hit for power at every level of the minors. He also strikes out a lot for someone older than is usual for his level, which I think is evidence he’ll fall on the wrong side of the Quad-A bubble.
There is also video of him from October of 2020 thanks to Steve Givarz.
Please note the section of the video where there are like three baserunning disasters in about a 10-second span.
Since Noda wasn’t ever a touted prospect, there aren’t many current profiles of him. However, here is a 2019 mid-season report from 2080 Baseball.
True outcomes hitter w/ power and patience profile. Knows how to get his pitch but will always come w/ strikeouts. Struggles w/ LHP, likely won’t face them much at ML level. Pull-heavy, doesn’t use whole field, hits into the shift. True 40 pure hit tool projects to 45 given walk totals and on-base ability.
And here’s Noda’s 2018 profile from MLB Pipeline.
A physically strong left-handed hitter, Noda generates above-average raw power with his combination of strength and bat speed, and impressed with his ability to drive the ball out of the park to the opposite field during his pro debut. His patient approach continues to result in elevated strikeout totals but also fuels his on-base skills, as Noda’s 59 walks were far and way the most among Appy League hitters. Whether Noda will hit for average remains a divisive topic among evaluators.
Essentially, Noda comes off like the Dodgers taking another flyer on a elite walk-rate guy that hits the ball hard who is available due to the profile appearing limited. It’s unfair to compare these types of acquisitions to Chris Taylor or Max Muncy (and Noda would fit the latter), but it’s hard not to see that as what the Dodgers are looking for here.
Given that the Dodgers already acquired a quality prospect in Williams for Chicken Strip, Noda sounds like a quality addition that has potential the Dodgers will try to maximize.