Hi. It’s been a while. An owner-imposed lockout will do that to a baseball fan, I suppose.
Anyway, we’re here with our Top 30 Dodger prospects for the 2022 season — should it ever be played.
I say “we’re” because this is going to be a bit different. Since bringing Josh Thomas on last year, he has produced some awesome prospect-centric content. As such, I asked if he wanted to contribute to this years top prospect list, and he said yes. So, this is going to be the only prospect-ranking post for us this offseason. It’ll work as follows:
- We’ll both rank 30 prospects, plus 5-10 honorable mentions
- It’ll be in the style of a Jim Callis/Jonathan Mayo mock draft
- There will be some video
Before we get to the rankings, here is the disclaimer I put at the front of every prospect post of every year.
All players who have not reached 50 innings pitched or 130 at-bats in the MLB, and have fewer than 45 days of pre-Sept. 1 service time in the MLB are eligible for this list. Ages are the league-age season for the player, i.e. “his age-23 season.”
For the Top 10, we’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 will have present/future grades (e.g., 50/55), 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.
Without further ado, here’s our list.
2022 Dodgers Top 30 Prospects
Dustin Nosler: RHP Bobby Miller (6-foot-3, 209 pounds, 21 years old)
– Up from No. 5 last year, my midseason top prospect did nothing to relinquish that title. His power arsenal is unmatched in the system and he has all the makings of a high-end No. 2 starter, bordering on ace potential. His fastball (both 4- and 2-seamer) are his bread and butter, as well as a slider that he can throw with different shapes — both of which miss bats. His changeup has made encouraging progress since turning pro, turning into a legitimate third offering. He could see time in Los Angeles at some point this season.
Josh Thomas: C Diego Cartaya (6-foot-2, 200 pounds, 20 years old)
– Despite his full season debut being cut short by a visa issue, Cartaya’s fantastic skillset transitioned to games seamlessly – light tower power, on base skills, field generalship, and a 1.6-second pop time, all in his age-19 season. With a strong showing at High-A Great Lakes in 2022, he could end up being a Top 5 overall prospect.
DN: 3B/1B Miguel Vargas (6-foot-3, 205 pounds, 22 years old)
– I’ve been on Vargas since the Dodgers signed him, and he’s rounding into form quite nicely. He has the best hit tool in the system and, as such, the best feel for hitting. His barrel control is well above-average and he’s adept at going the other way. The biggest question mark on offense has been his power, which he finally grew into in 2021. While he has some shortcomings on defense, he should be able to stick at third base and be at least fringe-average there defensively. If he can, the bat will be even more impressive. If he has to move to first base, he has enough stick to make that work, too. He’s also dabbled a bit at second base in hopes of finding a spot for his premium bat. He should debut no later than the 2023 season.
JT: RHP Bobby Miller
– Miller cleaned up his lengthy arm action, which answered one of the biggest questions asked about him during draft time from the get-go. Focusing on his high-90s 4-seam fastball in lieu of the 2-seamer he emphasized in college, a slider with significant tilt up to 90 MPH, along with progress with a changeup that shows split-like action, Miller looks like a No. 3 with No. 2 upside. More consistency with his command and improvement with his curve, and the sky’s the limit.
DN: C Diego Cartaya
– Cartaya has been atop this list for some (including Josh!), and he very well could be for me as early as the midseason. His impressive full-season debut was, ironically, cut short due to injury. However, he showed the full arsenal of tools at and behind the plate. He has plus-power potential and makes a lot of loud contact. His pitch recognition is advanced for a kid his age and he has good strike zone judgment. He has the makings of a top offensive catcher. Defensively, Cartaya needs to work on the nuances of the position, but that’ll come with age and experience. His framing needs improvement, but the Dodgers are really good at teaching that to their backstops. Where he puts on a show is with his double-plus arm. He should be able to control the running game as best as a catcher can these days. He’s a franchise cornerstone who should be a global Top 25 by this time next year — if not better.
JT: 3B/1B Miguel Vargas
– Long known to have the plus-hit tool, in 2021 Vargas pulled and elevated the ball and showed big league pop, with one homer traveling 468 feet. Defense is still a bit of a question – while he showed the arm strength to stick at third base, and improved footwork, it’s still a bit of an uphill battle to stick there.
DN: 2B Michael Busch (6-foot-1, 215 pounds, 24 years old)
– The most well-rounded hitter in the system, Busch has separated himself from his fellow 1st-rounder in Hoese and looks like the real deal. The Max Muncy comps will always be there, but I’m not sure he ever gets to that kind of power. However, he has a chance to be a better bat-to-ball guy than Muncy has been in the pros while maintaining a high walk rate and above-average pop. His defensive home is still unknown. Busch has made progress at the keystone and could stick there. If he has to slide to first base, he’ll be just fine there, too. The implementation of the designated hitter should help to get his bat into the lineup at some point in 2023 or, at the very latest, 2024.
JT: 2B Michael Busch
– An unfortunate hit-by-pitch to the wrist really tanked the middle of Busch’s 2021 campaign, though he finished with a flourish. He hit .413/.491/.791 in September for Double-A Tulsa. He will need to show improvement vs. lefties to be more than a very strong half of a platoon. Defensively, he improved at second base throughout the season, though he still looked more natural at first base (albeit in limited action).
DN: RHP Ryan Pepiot (6-foot-3, 215 pounds, 24 years old)
– Pepiot looks like another draft steal for the Dodgers. His changeup has legitimate 80-grade potential and he will use it against any hitter at any time. He has seen his velocity tick up since turning pro out of Bulter University and he’s working on two breaking pitches — a curveball and slider. His slider is ahead of his curve, and he’ll need one of those to become at least an average offering if he’s to reach his No. 2/3 SP ceiling. Oh, and while his control is good, his command is a bit inconsistent which leads to him getting knocked around a bit. But as far as starting pitchers in this system, he’s one of the best and could see LA at some point in 2022.
JT: RHP Ryan Pepiot
– Pepiot’s fastball was consistently in the 95-96 MPH range and topped out at 98. His his 80-grade changeup is the best secondary pitch in the system. The biggest determining factor regarding Pepiot’s future role is development of a reliable third pitch, his slider. What’s separating Pepiot from being a future No. 4/5 SP vs. No. 2/3 is command. In Double-A, he was able to overwhelm hitters with his fastball/changeup combo, but in Triple-A, his misses over the plate were hit hard — specifically, flat fastballs that leaked back over the heart of the plate. Improvement with fastball location and consistency with shape will be key going forward.
DN: RF Andy Pages (6-foot-1, 220 pounds, 21 years old)
– A bit of an unheralded international signing out of Cuba, Pages really took off in 2021 by leading the Midwest League in home runs — no easy feat. He has plus-plus power and, despite that, has shown an average hit tool. He’s able to draw walks but, like with most power hitters, there’s swing-and-miss in his game. Double-A will be a big test to see if he can keep his K-rate in check while also maintaining his power. He has a chance to be a profile right fielder in the mold of Yasiel Puig, but with more power and less hit.
JT: RF Andy Pages
– The launch angle unicorn showed an advanced approach and big time pop for a 20-year-old in High-A, posting the highest wRC+ for anyone that age, at that level, since Christian Yelich in 2012. Though he spent some time in center field, his future is in right field, where he can showcase his 70-grade arm.
DN: RHP Landon Knack (6-foot-2, 220 pounds, 24 years old)
– If Knack were a year or two younger, the Dodgers wouldn’t have been able to snag him with the 60th pick of the 2020 MLB Draft. Instead, the Dodgers got him and have turned him into a legitimate starting pitching prospect after being tabbed as a fast-moving reliever by most. His fastball velocity has increased since his collegiate days and is now a plus-offering in the 93-96 MPH range. It even plays up a bit because of his plus-command/control. His low-80s slider was his best offspeed pitch coming out of school, but his changeup has leapfrogged it. Both have above-average and plus-potential, respectively, with his changeup a good weapon to keep lefties at bay. He’s also working on a curveball that’s more of a show-me pitch at this point. He has the look of a solid mid-rotation starter with a chance to be a low-end No. 2 if everything goes his way.
JT: RHP Andre Jackson (6-foot-3, 210 pounds, 26 years old)
– Jackson’s fastball command took a big step forward from when we last saw him in 2019, buoying his rise all the way to the big league level. Whether he slots into the back of a rotation or in a bulk inning role, his fastball-changeup-slider mix allows him to get both lefties and righties. He’ll be a big league contributor in some manner.
DN: RHP Clayton Beeter (6-foot-2, 220 pounds, 23 years old)
– My favorite pitching prospect of the 2020 draft (or, at least one the Dodgers could realistically select), Beeter was brought along slowly in his first professional season due to injury concerns, including TJ. But when he’s right, the stuff is plus or better. His fastball has topped out at 98 MPH and sits in the 93-96 MPH range. It’s a bit straight, but he works well with it up in the zone. His power 12-6 curveball might be the second-best pitch in the Dodgers’ system. It’s a high-spinner that sits in the high-70s/low-80s. His mid-80s slider is also a plus-pitch that is effective against both lefties and righties. His changeup is mostly for show, but it could be a fringe-average pitch if all goes well. Questions about his durability are legitimate. He didn’t get a ton of work in college and he threw just 52 1/3 innings in 28 games (27 starts) in his first pro season. I’m a believer in thinking he’ll be a starter long term, because the stuff is so electric. But Keith Law said it best, “It’s starter stuff in a reliever’s delivery and track record.” If he’s a reliever, he could be a premier guy in that role. If he sticks as a starter, he could be a high-end No. 2.
JT: RHP Landon Knack
– Knack was talked up as a senior sign who could move quickly as a reliever due to his dominant fastball/slider combo. Naturally, the Dodgers ran him out there as a starter and had him throw a ton of changeups (with great success). Knack should begin 2022 where he left off in 2021, with Double-A Tulsa. He’s nearly big-league ready.
DN: RHP Andre Jackson
– Jackson had a slow start to his pro career as he was recovering from TJ in college. But once he got on the mound, the Dodgers’ developmental staff worked its magic. He debuted in 2021 and was solid in 11 2/3 innings. He works with a fastball anywhere in the 92-96 MPH range. His changeup is his best offspeed offering, grading out with plus-potential and a legit bat-misser to both lefties and righties. Jackson’s slider is a bit inconsistent but has flashed average potential. What keeps him from being more in line with a guy like Knack is his command/control profile. He has a hard time throwing strikes consistently, giving him fringy command. That could lead him to the bullpen, but he has all the making of a solid No. 4/5 starter. If not, he could be an interesting multi-inning reliever.
JT: RHP Clayton Beeter
– Despite having three pitches that FanGraphs graded at 60 or better at the time of the 2020 draft, there was still uncertainty about Beeter’s future role due to Tommy John surgery in college. He spent just one abbreviated season as a starter in 2020. In his first minor league season, his average pitch count rose from 16.2 per outing in May to 54 in September, indicating they’ll let him start until he shows he can’t. If he sticks as a starter, look out.
DN: SS/2B/CF Eddys Leonard (6-foot, 190 pounds, 21 years old)
– One of the bigger surprises of the 2021 season, Leonard established himself as a legitimate prospect with a fantastic season at the plate and in the field. He hit .297/.390/.539 between both levels of A-ball and earned a spot on the 40-man roster, showing the Dodgers believe in his potential despite not playing at Double-A yet. He hits velocity well, especially up in the strike zone. He’s not a pure power hitter, but he makes a lot of loud contact and the Dodgers have done well to help him get some elevation in his swing. His plus-bat speed does the rest of the work, as he’s adept at spraying line drives all over the field. He’s not the fastest player, but he’s a good enough athlete to project up the middle — either at shortstop, second base or center field. Really, it’s the Chris Taylor profile, except he’s about 10 years younger than CT3 (and, obviously, not as proven). He’s one to keep an eye on in 2022. If he shows well at Double-A, he’ll fly up prospect lists.
JT: OF Jose Ramos (6-foot-1, 200 pounds, 21 years old)
– Ramos had one of the most electric full season debuts in the organization, posting a wRC+ for Rancho Cucamonga of 138. That would have ranked third in the Low-A West if he had enough plate appearances to qualify. There are some swing and miss concerns, and the High-A Central may be a somewhat telling challenge, but he has some big time pop. Defensively, he has outgrown center field, but he profiles as a plus-defender in right field with a 70 arm.
DN: OF Jose Ramos
– Overshadowed by another international signee in 2018 (for the sake of privacy, let’s call him Luis R. No, that’s too obvious. Let’s say L. Rodriguez) — Ramos had a breakout campaign in 2021 and turned himself into a legit prospect. The compact right-handed hitter has plus-power potential thanks to quick hands and good bat speed. He’s still learning how to sync everything up, so there’s room for growth as a hitter. He’ll have to keep his strikeout rate (24.5%) in check, but he has a chance to be an above-average hitter. In the field, Ramos has the best outfield arm in the system, which is borderline elite. He’s an average runner and should settle into a corner outfield spot.
JT: CF James Outman (6-foot-3, 220 pounds, 25 years old)
– Outman impressed after moving up to Double-A Tulsa, posting a wRC+ of 136 while playing a fantastic center field. After a strong stint in the Arizona Fall League (.284/.422/.552), Outman could be in the mix to contribute with the big club in 2022.
DN: SS Wilman Diaz (6-foot-2, 182 pounds, 18 years old)
– Of all the big-money international signings the Dodgers have made over the last half-decade, Diaz might have the highest ceiling. In turn, he’s also the most volatile because of his age and variance. The teenager has a chance to be a plus-hitter with at least average power while sticking at shortstop. He, reportedly, missed time in 2021 due to COVID-19 and actually lost 20 pounds. A full — and most importantly, healthy — 2022 season could help his stock immensely. He’s an above-average-to-plus runner and has all the tools to stick at shortstop.
JT: SS Wilman Diaz
– MLB Pipeline’s top-ranked teenager in the 2020-21 international free agent class class, he should make his state-side debut in 2022. He projects as a 5-tool talent who will stick at short.
DN: 2B Jorbit Vivas (5-foot-10, 171 pounds, 21 years old)
– Vivas invokes memories of Willie Calhoun, except he’s not as stocky and has a much better chance to stick on the dirt. Vivas has a compact, line drive swing that produces a lot of loud contact. He has sneaky pop and will ambush pitchers with his quick left-handed swing. He’s probably a second baseman-only, but he dabbled a bit at third base in ’21 in hopes of increasing his utility. But make no mistake, if he gets to the majors, it’ll be on the strength of his hit tool.
JT: LHP Maddux Bruns (6-foot-2, 205 pounds, 20 years old)
– A high school lefty with a fastball up to 98 MPH and three average or better secondaries — the sky’s the limit. However, there’s some effort in his delivery. Cleaning this up could clarify his future role and ceiling.
DN: LHP Maddux Bruns
– If ever there was a time the Dodgers are betting on stuff over polish, it’s with Bruns. In terms of pure stuff, Bruns might have the best in the system. However, being able to consistently throw strikes is just as important as velo and spin. Bruns has a mid-90s fastball up to 98 MPH, a high-spin curveball, a potential wipeout slider and an inconsistent changeup that has a chance to be better than fringy. But his command and control need a ton of work. If any player dev unit can get him to iron that out, it’s the Dodgers. Still, it’s going to be a tall task.
JT: RHP Gavin Stone (6-foot-1, 175 pounds, 23 years old)
– The Dodgers saw Stone’s velocity ramp up as the season progressed, as he hit 98 MPH for High-A Great Lakes in September. With plus athleticism and two plus-secondaries, this 2020 5th-round pick is looking like a steal.
DN: OF James Outman
– The pride of Sacramento State, Outman has developed into a solid, athletic outfield prospect. He’s a true center fielder — the best in the system — with an above-average arm. He’s not a pure speed demon, but he’s plenty athletic for the position and has 20-stolen base potential. He also has average power, but his hit tool is what’s holding him back from projecting as an everyday outfielder. He could carve out a nice role as the left side of an outfield platoon.
JT: OF Luis Rodriguez (6-foot-2, 175 pounds, 19 years old)
– Still every bit toolsy as he was when the Dodgers signed him as the No. 1 prospect out of Venezuela back in 2019, Rodriguez has received praise for an advanced approach for a teenager and is, reportedly, growing into some power. He should make the move to full-season ball in 2022.
DN: SS/3B Alex De Jesus (6-foot-2, 185 pounds, 20 years old)
– I’ve always been a little higher on De Jesus than most since he signed. He got off to a bit of a rocky start in his first taste of full-season ball (.210/.315/.395 through June) before going on an absolute tear the last 2 1/2 months of the campaign (.314/.440/.490). He has big-time power potential from the right side of the plate and a strong arm that will play on the left side of the infield. His hit tool is the biggest question mark. His ability to draw walks helps that a bit, but he sometimes has a hard time with spin. That’s only going to get tougher as he progresses, so his ultimate future will be dependent on how he adjusts to that in the advanced levels. De Jesus has played almost exclusively shortstop in his pro career, but his lack of quickness will likely move him off short and over to the hot corner.
JT: SS Jacob Amaya (6-foot, 180 pounds, 22 years old)
– Amaya spent all of 2021 with Double-A Tulsa, and, while the hitting line isn’t exciting on the surface, he showed more pop and his results at the plate improved as the season went along. Defensively, he is currently the best shortstop in the system with a strong arm. He should return to Double-A to start 2022 to beat the level, and if he does, his versatile skillset will have him knocking on the door as a super utility guy.
DN: RHP Hyun-il Choi (6-foot-2, 200 pounds, 22 years old)
– The Dodgers’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year, Choi is pretty polished as a pitching prospect thus far, and he was able to post a 3.55 ERA in 106 1/3 innings despite not having elite stuff. He works with a low-90s fastball with movement that he commands relatively well. He pairs it with am average slider and a potentially plus-splitter/changeup concoction. He’ll go as far as his command/control will take him, and it’s advanced for his experience level. He should see Double-A at some point this season, which would be a nice test for him.
JT: RHP SS/2B/OF Eddys Leonard
– Leonard burst onto the scene in 2021, showing up bigger than his listed 160 pounds, and the muscle he added showed up in the stat line. With the help of his plus-bat speed, he posted a 145 wRC+ at both Low-A Rancho Cucamonga and High-A Great Lakes. He also showed a willingness to work counts and draw walks. He split time between second-, third base and shortstop last season, and he should stick on the dirt long-term.
DN: RHP Gavin Stone
– Stone was overshadowed by the likes of Miller, Knack and Beeter in the Dodgers 2020 draft, but he has done nothing but shove since being their 5th-rounder. He struck out 36.5% of the batters he faced between both levels of A-ball and walked just 6.6%. He has seen his velocity increase from the low-90s to the mid-90s, and he hasn’t lost command of it. He backs it up with a tight, low-80s slider that misses bats. He also has a potentially above-average changeup. He might have the best command/control profile in the system, and his athleticism should help maintain that going forward.
JT: RHP Michael Grove (6-foot-3, 200 pounds, 25 years old)
– Grove’s delivery cleaned up quite a bit as the 2021 season progressed, and along with that came improved velo (from 92-93 MPH to start the season to consistently 95-97 MPH towards the end), command and results. Grove went from an 8.2 BB/9 in May and June to 1.2 BB/9 in August and September — a drastic in-season improvement. If he kicks off 2022 with the same stuff and consistency with his delivery, he could rocket up this list.
DN: RHP Peter Heubeck (6-foot-3, 170 pounds, 19 years old)
– The Dodgers snagged Heubeck at the end of the third round of the 2021 draft, and it was widely acclaimed by those in the know. The projectable righty has drawn loose comparisons to Walker Buehler and Justin Verlander, but temper any kind of expectation that he’ll get to that level — at least for now. But he’s a talented thrower of the ball. He has a 90-95 MPH fastball with a chance to add more. His curveball is advanced for a teenager and he has the makings of a solid changeup.
JT: 2B Jorbit Vivas
– Vivas’ bat carried him to High-A Great Lakes as well, and he posted the lowest K% (11.5) in the entire system. He did this while putting on a laser show, spraying line drives all over the park. With a little added strength, he could mature into having 10-15 homer pop while playing a solid-average second base.
DN: C Carson Taylor (6-foot-2, 215 pounds, 21 years old)
– The Dodgers may be doing it again with yet another backstop. The 2020 4th-rounde rout of Virginia Tech had himself a solid professional debut that saw him hit .278/371/.433 in the Midwest League. He’s has good athleticism behind the plate and is improving his pitch framing and game-calling. He has a higher floor than other catching prospects in the system.
JT: RHP Carlos Duran (6-foot-7, 250 pounds, 21 years old)
– Duran is a monstrous presence on the mound, and he has the stuff to match. He has a turbo sinker up to 98 MPH and a sweeping slider that gets 12-plus inches of horizontal movement. High-A Great Lakes proved to be a challenge, with his strikeout rate cut in half from what he posted with Rancho Cucamonga. At 19 years old, however, he was 4.3 years younger than average for the level. Improvements with his command and his changeup could help him settle in as a starter long-term.
DN: RHP Michael Grove
– His 2021 numbers are a bit misleading because, while he was pretty bad at points, he also showed in-season improvement and made a believer out of Josh. Oh, and the Dodgers think enough of him to have added him to the 40-man roster after posting a 7.86 ERA with Double-A Tulsa. He has a mid-90s fastball, a high-80s slider, a curveball and a changeup, with the first two pitches being his best. He has a chance to start, but he might fit well as a power reliever.
JT: RHP Hyun-il Choi
– Choi, who was named the organization’s minor league pitcher of the year, very often operated without his 60-grade splitter by design. Development of a third pitch is the last hurdle for Choi to remain as a starting pitcher, and he utilized two different breakers throughout the season – a low-70s curveball and a low-80s slider. The slider was the sharper of the two, and showed some tilt as well.
DN: 3B/1B Brandon Lewis (6-foot-3, 220 pounds, 23 years old)
– When it comes to power-hitters in the Dodgers’ system, Lewis has some of the best potential. He has legitimate plus-or-better raw power and launched 30 round-trippers in 2021 between both levels of A-ball. While there’s some swing-and-miss in the profile, the power is undeniable. He gives me Mark Trumbo vibes. Defensively, he’s probably destined for first base, but has played third base almost double the time in his pro career thus far.
JT: RHP Peter Heubeck
– At 6-foot-3 and 170 pounds, the 19-year-old’s fastball is already up to 94 MPH, and he has plenty of projection left. The curve flashes plus but is inconsistent. The Dodgers offered Heubeck more than double the slot value ($1.27 million, slot was $577k) to pry him away from a Wake Forest commitment. Wake Forest is one of the most analytically inclined college baseball programs in the country, with multiple major league teams sending pitchers there to have their mechanics broken down in their pitching lab. If both Wake and the Dodgers were on him, he bears watching.
DN: OF Luis Rodriguez
– It’s been a bit of a slow start to the Venezuelan outfielder’s pro career. He signed for $2.75 million a few years ago and finally made his pro debut in 2021. He hit an uninspiring .216/.326/.367 in the Arizona Complex League. He still has the potential to be a 20/20 kind of player, but he doesn’t look as good as fellow big-money international signees like Cartaya and Diaz.
JT: RHP Jerming Rosario (6-foot-1, 175 pounds, 20 years old)
– Rosario had just a brief run at full season ball with Rancho Cucamonga, and while there, he showed an uptick in velo, hitting 95 MPH on several occasions. He also showed a sharp curve that he could both land for strikes and bury down, and a changeup that had a little fade to it. A return to Rancho is likely.
DN: RHP Carlos Duran
– A large adult son, Duran has a power sinker in the mid-to-high-90s with tons of movement and a potentially plus-slider that could miss bats. Despite his large frame, there’s a chance he ends up in the bullpen because he lacks a consistent third pitch and has significant command/control issues. His stuff is enough to dream on and if he can shore up some of his deficiencies, he could jump.
JT: SS/3B Alex De Jesus
– De Jesus advanced physically quite a bit, looking far more developed than his Quakes teammates as he grew into his big frame. There’s still quite a bit of swing and miss, but some of that size is translating into in-game power, and he led all of the stateside affiliates in walk rate. Though he spent last season at shortstop, his future is at third.
DN: RHP Kendall Williams (6-foot-6, 210 pounds, 21 years old)
– The main prize of the Ross Stripling trade, Williams is a lanky lad whose first MiLB action in the Dodgers’ org returned mixed results. He got hit around a bit at Low-A Rancho, but he also showed some advanced command/control and missed some bats (but not as many as the Dodgers would like). He has a operates with a low-90s fastball that touches the mid-90s. It has some movement and he delivers it from a high three-quarters arm slot. He backs it up with an inconsistent high-70s curveball, a slider/cutter combo and a show-me changeup. He has a chance to be a starter, but his star isn’t as bright as it was a year ago.
JT: RHP Kyle Hurt (6-foot-3, 215 pounds, 24 years old)
– Hurt might have the most electric stuff in a system that also boasts the likes of Beeter and Miller. Hurt’s fastball is up to 98 MPH with a seam-shifted wake changeup, a power curve and a gyro-spin slider. It’s a loud four-pitch mix that misses a lot of bats. Command of that electric stuff has been an obstacle, and this is a common refrain, but if that comes together, he’ll skyrocket.
DN: C Jesus Galiz (6-foot, 183 pounds, 18 years old)
– The Dodgers benefitted when the Yankees failed to sign Galiz in 2020. While his numbers in the Dominican Summer League weren’t overwhelming, he has been praised for his acumen on the field and is definitely advanced for his age. He has good bat control and a chance to be an above-average hitter. His power projection won’t be mistaken for Cartaya’s, but he could post 12-15 homers at his peak. He’s much more advanced behind the plate with plus-defensive potential and an arm to match. At worst, could carve out a nice backup catcher role if he doesn’t realize his full potential.
JT: C Carson Taylor
– Some late-season swing adjustments for Taylor led to a shorter path to the ball, allowing him to sit back and drive pitches. The switch-hitting catcher improved behind the plate as well, and he has a decent shot of remaining there. Further growth in hunting for pitches to drive in 2022 is on the docket.
DN: 3B Kody Hoese (6-foot-4, 200 pounds, 24 years old)
– When the Dodgers popped Hoese, it was a bit of a surprise. While he fit the “college bat” mold, he didn’t check a ton of the other boxes the Dodgers look for in a 1st-rounder. After a solid debut, the missed 2020 campaign hurt his development and his ’21 season was quite bad (.196/.247/.250). He has dealt with injuries, including a wrist one that has sapped some of his power potential. He looked overmatched at Double-A and hasn’t given the Dodgers much reason for optimism thus far. The 2022 season will go a long way in determining his pro future.
JT: 3B Kody Hoese
– The 2021 season was another lost one for Hoese. His campaign was interrupted by a pair of lengthy injured list stints. The Arizona Fall League wasn’t successful on the surface either, where he posted an OPS of just .577. Hoese will turn 25 during the 2022 season, the clock is ticking for the former 1st-round pick.
DN: RHP Jerming Rosario
– Rosario had a nightmare showing in 3 2/3 innings with Rancho, but his performance in the ACL was much more indicative of his true potential. He has a low-90s fastball that has hit 95 MPH already as a teenager. He pairs it with a high-spin curveball that should continue to miss bats and a changeup that has shown potential. He’s a long way off and a lot can change in the next few years, but Rosario is a bit of a sleeper at this point.
JT: CF Jake Vogel (5-foot-11, 165 pounds, 20 years old)
– Vogel is one of the best athletes in the system — a legit 70-grade runner and a plus-center fielder. But, there’s quite a bit of swing and miss at the moment.
DN: RHP Kyle Hurt
– An overlooked part of the Alex Vesia trade, Hurt opened some eyes in the first year in the Dodgers’ system with his pure stuff. His fastball velocity has jumped all the way into the mid-90s and he has a few interesting offspeed pitches to go with it — a curveball, a slider and a changeup. Josh wrote more about Hurt back in November.
JT: 3B/1B Brandon Lewis
– Lewis’ major calling card is power, and that was on display in 2021, being one of two prospects in the system to reach 30 homers. Though he has spent nearly twice as much time at third base than at first base as a pro, however, first base appears to be his future landing spot on defense.
DN: SS/3B Leonel Valera (6-foot-2, 200 pounds, 22 years old)
– Valera has all the makings of an athletic, power-hitting left-side infielder. However, he has yet to fully put it together over the course of a season. In the first two months of the ’21 season, he had a .256/.342/.528 batting line as a 21-year-old in the Midwest League and looked like he was on his way to being a surefire Top 20 system prospect. However, a .192/.267/.346 close to the season put the brakes on that. He has good power potential, but also a lot of swing and miss. He can probably stick at shortstop, but the hot corner might be his ultimate destination. The 2022 season will be a big test for him.
JT: RHP Emmet Sheehan (6-foot-5, 220 pounds, 22 years old)
– At 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, the Dodgers’ 2021 6th-round pick has prototypical starter size and the stuff to match. His 4-seam fastball gets up to 98 MPH with excellent life to it out of a lower release point. He also got whiffs with a changeup that showed significant fade, as well as with a high-70s power curve. He got all the way up to High-A Great Lakes in the summer after being drafted and he should start 2022 with the Loons.
Honorable Mentions (Alphabetical Order)
LHP Octavio Becerra (6-foot-3, 209 pounds, 21 years old): International signee out of Mexico, he struck out 42 ACL hitters in 20 1/3 innings. Solid-average fastball with a potentially plus-changeup and a breaking ball.
OF Jonny DeLuca (5-foot-11, 196 pounds, 23 years old): Plus-athlete with solid tools. Can play all three outfield spots, has a little pop and a decent fourth outfielder upside.
OF Yunior Garcia (6-foot, 198 pounds, 20 years old): Fared much better in his second go-round stateside. Big tools, but also big risk. Could boom or bust in ’22.
RHP Osvanni Gutierrez (6-foot-1, 170 pounds, 21 years old): Made his stateside debut and struck out a batter an inning. He’s a fastball-curveball-changeup guy, with his changeup grading out as his best pitch.
1B Justin Yurchak (6-foot-1, 204 pounds, 25 years old): Came over in the Jake Peter trade, Yurchak had one of the best offensive seasons among Dodger minor-leaguers (.365/.443/.485 between High-A and Double-A). His ceiling is limited, but he’s a poor man’s version of Matt Beaty.
SS Rayne Doncon (6-foot-2, 176 pounds, 18 years old): IFA shortstop out of the Dominican Republic, Doncon reportedly made some swing adjustments to elevate the ball more after signing, and he posted a 133 wRC+ in the Dominican Summer League with a robust 13.4% walk rate.
C Yeiner Fernandez (5-foot-9, 170 pounds, 19 years old): Showed incredible bat-to-ball in a limited sample, though, size will limit future power projection.
C Jesus Galiz: FanGraphs’ No. 1 catcher and No. 9 overall IFA in 2020, Galiz fell into the Dodgers’ lap after his deal with the Yankees fell apart. Teenage catchers are quite volatile as a rule, but Galiz was an incredibly fortunate add to the system.
1B Samuel Munoz (6-foot-2, 180 pounds, 17 years old): It’s eye-catching that the Dodgers targeted a first baseman in an IFA class, indicating that they must absolutely love the bat, and by all accounts, he’s advanced as a hitter with big-time pop.
RHP Nick Nastrini (6-foot-3, 215 pounds, 22 years old): His command came and went for while with UCLA, but he’s still just 21, and any pitcher who posts a K/9 better than 20 in his pro debut warrants attention.
LHP Robinson Ortiz (6-foot, 190 pounds, 22 years old): His 2021 was cut short due to an unspecified forearm injury. Prior to the injury, his fastball was up to 97 MPH and showed a plus changeup and curve.
RHP Kendall Williams: Mechanically, he’s a dead ringer for Seattle’s Logan Gilbert. He was beat up by the longball a bit while with Rancho, though he missed a fair amount of bats as well.
That’ll do it for this year’s prospect list. At least you might be able to see some of these guys in action if (when) the season doesn’t begin on time.