Reed, Schebler and Lee, Pederson head Lookouts, Isotopes roster

Casio Grider_qs

The Dodgers even have these guys bunt on the back fields. Exhibit A: Casio Grider. (By: Dustin Nosler)

The Dodgers’ Double- and Triple-A affiliates announced their opening day rosters on Monday and Tuesday (respectively). Like the A-ball affiliates, there weren’t many surprises.

I did my best to project these rosters last week, and didn’t fare as well as I did last year. My Top 50 rankings are in parenthesis.

Chattanooga Lookouts

Duke von Schamann_qs

Duke von Schamann (By: Dustin Nosler)

Pitchers
Pedro Baez (47)
Tyson Brummett
Eric Eadington
Carlos Frias (28)
Juan Gonzalez
Garrett Gould (41)
Jarret Martin (46)
Hector Nelo
Juan Noriega
Chris Reed (8)
Andres Santiago (40)
Craig Stem
Michael Thomas
Duke von Schamann (18)

Catchers
J.C. Boscan
Chris O’Brien
Alberto Rosario

Infielders
Erisbel Arruebarrena (will join the team in 3-4 weeks)
Aaron Bates
O’Koyea Dickson (31)
Osvaldo Martinez
Daniel Mayora
Angelo Songco
Darnell Sweeney (25)

Outfielders
Noel Cuevas (24)
Jon Garcia (37)
Casio Grider
Jeremy Hazelbaker
Scott Schebler (13)

Prediction: 12 of 25 (13, if you count Arruebarrena)

Biggest surprise: Hazelbaker not going to Triple-A

Best prospect: Reed (but not really)

Projected lineup
Sweeney 2B
Cuevas CF
Schebler LF
Dickson 1B
Songco DH
Garcia RF
O’Brien C
Mayora 3B
Martinez SS

Projected rotation
Reed
von Schamann
Santiago
Frias
Gould

Albuquerque Isotopes

pederson_joc ST 3.13.14

Joc Pederson (By: Dustin Nosler)

Pitchers
Sam Demel
Jose Dominguez (12)
Steve Edlefsen
Stephen Fife
Yimi Garcia (16)
Josh Judy
Zach Lee (3)
Matt Magill (10)
Daniel Moskos
Red Patterson
Steve Smith
Henry Sosa
Justin Souza

Catchers
Griff Erickson (DL)
Tim Federowicz
Miguel Olivo

Infielders
Ryan Adams
Brendan Harris
Walter Ibarra
Clint Robinson
Miguel Rojas
Jamie Romak

Outfielders
Nick Buss
Brian Cavazos-Galvez
Joc Pederson (2)
Trayvon Robinson

Prediction: 17 of 25

Biggest surprise: No Alex Guerrero, but only because he’s hurt

Best prospect: Pederson

Projected lineup
Buss RF
Pederson CF
Cavazos-Galvez DH
C. Robinson 1B
Federowicz C
T. Robinson LF
Romak 3B
Harris 2B
Rojas SS

Projected rotation
Fife
Magill
Lee
Patterson
Sosa

=====

There isn’t a ton of talent at the Double-A level — the most telling level for any prospect. The guy to watch there is Arruebarrena, but he’s going to spend a few weeks back in extended spring training at the Dodgers’ complex in Glendale.

The Isotopes might have their most talented team in years, with Pederson and Lee (called it) leading the way. Both of these rosters should be pretty fluid with guys coming up and and going down, as well as some getting to the majors.

Your First Chance To See Zach Lee At Dodger Stadium

80 stirrups!

80 stirrups!

I like Stephen Fife just fine. I do. Really! He’s turned himself into quite a useful depth starter to have around, the kind of guy you feel fine with throwing six or eight times a year, the kind of guy you never want to rely on, but know you’ll need. But… we know what he can do. We know what he is. And so when I heard that he’d be unable to start tonight due to illness, and that Zach Lee would go instead, I can’t say I was alllll that disappointed.

Angels
Dodgers 
7:10pm PT
Los Angeles, CA
RF
Calhoun
LF
Crawford
2B
Kendrick
RF
Puig
1B
Pujols
SS
Ramirez
CF
Hamilton
1B
Gonzalez
3B
Freese
CF
Ethier
DH
Ibanez
3B
Uribe
SS
Aybar
C
Ellis
C
Conger
SS
Gordon
LF
Schuck
P
Lee

Lee is still one of the team’s top prospects, and he hasn’t yet made his MLB debut yet. He hasn’t even pitched in a game at Dodger Stadium tonight, making tonight interesting. Or at least it would be, if anyone cared about the Freeway Series, and wasn’t dying for the season to get started already. (Lee, at least, gets to avoid Mike Trout. Can’t complain about that.)

Lee is backed by what is very clearly the Opening Day lineup, and the fact Dee Gordon is hitting eighth is a very good sign. It’s almost as good a sign as Adrian Gonzalez being back in there, showing that last night’s hit by pitch is nothing to worry about, and to continue the flow of good news, Clayton Kershaw played a game of catch that was termed as “a step forward,” leading to speculation that he’ll start Friday’s home opener, though Don Mattingly wouldn’t comment on that.

Again, the game is on both SNLA and FSW, and again, it’s meaningless spring training baseball. Tomorrow night, this series adjourns south to Anaheim for even more meaningless baseball, before the season finally gets rolling on Sunday night, when the Dodgers and Padres will have the baseball schedule to themselves.

Roster predictions for Dodgers’ minor-league affiliates

Zach Lee ST 2014

Zach Lee, future Isotope. (By: Dustin Nosler)

Predicting minor-league rosters is a crap shoot — especially at the lower levels. I’ve done my best to see which players could at least begin the 2014 at which level.

There’s a lot more talent on some of these teams than there has been in years past (thank you Logan White, Bob Engle and Co.). Each level has players to watch on the mound and in the batter’s box. These rosters likely won’t resemble my predictions (or the actual roster) come the end of the season, but if you’re within viewing range of any of these teams, expect to see at least some of the players listed below at these respective levels.

Low-A Great Lakes Loons

scavuzzo_jacob_st2014

Jacob Scavuzzo (By: Dustin Nosler)

Pitchers
Victor Arano
Victor Araujo
Scott Barlow
James Baune
Jordan Hershiser
Kyle Hooper
Michael Johnson
Jonathan Martinez
Jacob Rhame
Rob Rogers
Thomas Taylor
Francisco Villa

Player Position
Brandon Trinkwon 2B
Jesmuel Valentin SS
Joey Curletta RF
Justin Chigbogu 1B
Alex Santana 3B
Kyle Farmer C
Jacob Scavuzzo CF
Jesus Valdez DH
Pat Stover LF

Catchers
Austin Cowen
Kyle Farmer
Eric Smith

Infielders
Zach Babitt
Justin Chigbogu
Alex Santana
Brandon Trinkwon
Jesus Valdez
Jesmuel Valentin

Outfielders
Joey Curletta
Jacob Scavuzzo
Pat Stover
Henry Yates


High-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes

law_adam_st2014

Adam Law (By: Dustin Nosler)

Pitchers
Chris Anderson
Crayton Bare
Geoff Brown
Zachary Bird
Ralston Cash
Lindsey Caughel
Jharel Cotton
Scott Griggs
Luis Meza
Blake Smith
Julio Urias
Tom Windle

Player Position
James Baldwin CF
Adam Law 3B
Corey Seager SS
Tyler Ogle 1B
Aaron Miller DH
Jeremy Rathjen RF
Jan Vazquez C
Scott Wingo 2B
Malcolm Holland LF

Catchers
Jose Capellan
Tyler Ogle
Jan Vazquez

Infielders
Paul Hoenecke
Adam Law
James McDonald
Corey Seager
Kevin Taylor
Scott Wingo

Outfielders
James Baldwin
Malcolm Holland
Aaron Miller
Jeremy Rathjen


Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts

arruebarrena_erisbel_st2014

Erisbel Arruebarrena (By: Dustin Nosler)

Pitchers
Daniel Coulombe
Eric Eadington
Carlos Frias
Garrett Gould
Joel Lima
Jarret Martin
Jon Michael Redding
Chris Reed
Raydel Sanchez
Andres Santiago
Craig Stem
Duke von Schamann

Player Position
Darnell Sweeney 2B
Noel Cuevas CF
Scott Schebler LF
O’Koyea Dickson 1B
Bobby Coyle DH
Jon Garcia RF
Pratt Maynard C
Erisbel Arruebarrena SS
Brandon Dixon 3B

Catchers
Pratt Maynard
Griff Erickson

Infielders
Erisbel Arruebarrena
O’Koyea Dickson
Brandon Dixon
Chris Jacobs
Angelo Songco
Darnell Sweeney

Outfielders
Bobby Coyle
Noel Cuevas
Jon Garcia
Casio Grider
Scott Schebler


Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes

dominguez_jose_st2014

Jose Dominguez (By: Dustin Nosler)

Pitchers
Pedro Baez
Sam Demel
Jose Dominguez
Stephen Fife
Yimi Garcia
Zach Lee
Matt Magill
Daniel Moskos
Hector Nelo
Red Patterson
Michael Thomas
Chris Withrow

Player Position
Chili Buss RF
Joc Pederson CF
Tim Federowicz C
Clint Robinson 1B
Brian Cavazos-Galvez DH
Alex Guerrero 2B
Trayvon Robinson LF
Osvaldo Martinez 3B
Miguel Rojas SS

Catchers
J.C. Boscan
Tim Federowicz

Infielders
Alex Guerrero
Brendan Harris
Osvaldo Martinez
Clint Robinson
Miguel Rojas
J.T. Wise

Outfielders
Mike Baxter
Chili Buss
Brian Cavazos-Galvez
Joc Pederson
Trayvon Robinson

=====

The Loons have a lot of low-level talent, even if some of the pitchers don’t end up there quite yet. Scavuzzo and Arano (if he makes it) are the ones to really watch.

The Quakes are infinitely more talented than last season, as they’ll boast four of my Top 11 prospects to begin the season (Seager, Urias, Anderson, Windle).

The Lookouts should have the Dodgers’ most recent international signee and some interesting pitchers. I assume Arruebarrena will get promoted to Triple-A shortly after Guerrero is recalled to the Dodgers.

The Isotopes stand to have more talent than in most years. I know Chris Jackson doesn’t think Lee will go to Albuquerque, I don’t see a point to bringing him back to Chattanooga. Plus, pitching in the pitcher’s hell that is the Pacific Coast League could help Lee refine his approach and try to get more grounders — something that could help him going forward.

Dodgers rally late behind Yasiel Puig to beat Team Australia, 4-2

AustralianBaseballHistory

The Dodgers beat to Team Australia today, 4-2, in a game that the Dodgers didn’t seem to care much about until Yasiel Puig decided he would like to have fun.

It was also a bit of an odd start when they seemingly ran out of baseballs to start the baseball game. So there’s that.

As you know, prospect Zach Lee was out on the mound and he looked generally sharp. As usual, Lee showcased all his pitches and thrived on his command. His curve was hung one too many times, but he only gave up one run in four innings on three hits to go along with six strikeouts and no walks.

Here are examples of his sharpness:
Continue reading

Dodgers line up prospect Zach Lee against Team Australia

lee_zach_vert_ST 3.12.14

The Dodgers play an exhibition game against Team Australia like … right now, and since I’m the only one awake, here’s the game thread!

WHO’S WITH ME?!

Prospect Zach Lee is getting the ball today, and Don Mattingly said he hopes to get eight innings out of him and Red Patterson.

Australia
Dodgers 
1:00am PT
Sydney, Australia
CF
Dening
2B
Gordon
SS
Harman
RF
Puig
3B
Welch
SS
Ramirez
LF
Hughes
1B
Gonzalez
1B
Walker
CF
Ethier
RF
Kennelly
3B
Uribe
C
Battaglia
LF
Van Slyke
2B
Wade
C
Ellis
P
Searle
P
Lee

Oh yeah, Carl Crawford has the flu back in Arizona.

Crawford was removed in the second inning of a Triple-A game against the Mariners on Tuesday on the back fields of Camelback.

Crawford was at the facility in the weight room, working on upper body conditioning, on Wednesday morning and received antibiotics.

“Since he was feeling a little ill, there’s no reason to rush him back in right now,” the training staff member said.

Crawford started a game on Monday in left field, struck out looking in his only at-bat in the first inning and came out when he told trainers he wasn’t feeling well. He was taken back to the clubhouse on a cart. Crawford did not make the trip to Australia for the Opening Series against the D-backs because he is expected to go on paternity leave.

Four outfielders is always too much!

Also, if you care (I don’t, at all), the Dodgers are apparently being painted as the villains in this series against the D-Backs.

Obviously the Dodgers are evil, cause look how hyped Australia is for this!

All Zack, or Zach, day at Camelback as Greinke and Lee pitch

greinke_zack_ST 3.12.14

Zack Greinke didn’t have the best return to spring action on Wednesday. (By: Dustin Nosler)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Wednesday was a big day at Camelback Ranch. Zack Greinke made his first appearance since injuring his calf on his fourth pitch of the spring on Feb. 28. Most importantly, it marked my return to one of the best spring training parks in the league. OK, I’m not that full of myself.

Greinke ran into a spot of bother in the first inning, allowing two hits, but he kept the Diamonbacks off the scoreboard. He hit 90 MPH on the radar gun on the only pitch I was able to get velocity on. The second inning was a different story, as he got knocked around for four hits and three runs, including a solo home run allowed to former uber prospect Andy Marte.

Greinke’s final line
2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 HR ,0 BB, 2 K

Craig Minami of True Blue LA said Greinke spoke for roughly eight minutes after his 2-inning outing and 1-inning bullpen stint. He said Greinke said he only really pushed off with his drive leg a couple times at the end of his outing. Presumably, he wasn’t feeling confident enough in his calf to go all-out with it — which is understandable. This is his first extended work of the spring, and it’s unfortunate it’s coming on March 12.

He’s already been ruled out for Australia (good), and he was quoted as saying he wants to be ready for the opening series in San Diego, but still has some work to do on that front. But the most important thing, Greinke completed his scheduled work with no setbacks. That’s a positive for him going forward.

Zach Lee, on the other hand, was looking really good for two innings. Then he went out for an unexpected third inning and got hit around a little. Lee was doing a good job mixing in his pitches and changing speeds — even if he topped out around 90 MPH (hat tip to Molly Knight).

Lee’s final line
2 2/3 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K

lee_zach_vert_ST 3.12.14

Zach Lee started off strong, but it didn’t last. (By: Dustin Nosler)

Not the greatest outing, but he’s only allowed three earned runs in 4 2/3 spring innings, and has struck out five batters. Keep in mind, this was only Lee’s second outing of the spring, as he missed time early on with a strained lat. His interim manager Tim Wallach was pleased with Lee’s performance on Wednesday.

“I thought he threw the ball well,” Wallach told reporters after the game. “I haven’t seen that play at second. I thought we had a chance to get that overturned, didn’t happen.

“He battled through the inning and was one pitch away from getting out of it.”

Wallach didn’t earn any points today by making Lee issue an intentional walk to the always dangerous Mike Jacobs in his third inning of work. While it may have been the right decision — strategically (even if IBBs are massively overrated) — it’s a spring training game. Let the kid pitch himself out of a jam. Or at least, give him a chance to do so.

And for those who care, the Dodgers lost the game 9-2. Paul Maholm takes the mound on Thursday for the Dodgers against the Reds at Camelback Ranch.

I’ll be out on the back fields early tomorrow morning and should have a prospecty post going up sometime. Oh, and Mike will get his first experience of Camelback Ranch, and yours truly.

Zach Lee set to make 2014 Cactus League debut

lee_zach_quakes2012

Zach Lee will pitch in LA in 2014. (By: Dustin Nosler)

Much has been made about Zach Lee since the Dodgers selected him 28th overall in the 2010 MLB Draft — a pick most thought was a punt because of Lee’s signability concerns.

Lee ended up signing a $5.25 million bonus — the largest for any Dodger draftee ever. Now here here we are, 3 1/2 years later and he’s ready to make some noise in Dodgers’ spring training. The only problem is, his debut has been delayed by a lat injury he suffered after at the Dodgers’ Winter Development Program in January.

He survived the first round of cuts, despite not being on the 40-man roster. He makes his first spring training start today against his hometown Texas Rangers (Lee is from McKinney, Texas, roughly 50 miles from where the Rangers play).

SportsNet LA’s John Hartung sat down with Lee to chat — something that Lee hasn’t done a whole lot of since turning pro. It’s a really good interview and gives an insight to a player not many fans know a ton about. I ran into him last season at Camelback Ranch and in the few minutes I talked to him, he seemed like a focused kid who works hard, and this interview does nothing to make think otherwise.

Rangers
Dodgers
12:05pm PT
Glendale, Ariz.
LF
Choo
RF
Figgins
SS
Andrus
LF
Crawford
1B
Moreland
SS
Ramirez
3B
Beltre
1B
Van Slyke
RF
Choice
CF
Ethier
2B
Parrino
3B
Uribe
DH
Profar
C
Federowicz
C
Chirinos
DH
Ellis
CF
Martin
2B
Gordon
P
Perez
 
P
Lee

Lee clearly wants to win a spot in the Dodgers’ crowded rotation. With Ross Stripling set to miss the 2014 season with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow, Lee is the best and closest Dodger pitching prospect to the majors. But his aspirations of cracking the starting five in Los Angeles — at least to start the season — doesn’t look great. The Dodgers having six legitimate starting pitchers and two more pitchers in Triple-A who have MLB experience already (Stephen Fife ad Matt Magill), but Lee could still be the first young pitcher recalled if the Dodgers happen to need a starter for an extended period of time. It doesn’t make sense for him to come up in any other situation.

Here’s what I wrote about Lee in my Top 50 prospects series:

“Lee has a fastball that sits in the 89-92 MPH range and touches 95 MPH at times. He can cut and sink it to get outs as well. His best secondary pitch is a low-80s slider, which features inconsistent two-plane break. It flashes plus at times, but he can get under it at times. He also has a changeup that has above-average potential. It’s also a low-80s pitch and he gets good downward movement against left-handers. Lee also has a curveball he uses less than the other two secondary offerings that is an average pitch. His delivery is smooth and repeatable. Combine his repertoire, poise, athleticism and pitchability, and there’s a No. 3 or 4 starter there.”

As long as folks don’t think Lee is an ace, ala Clayton Kershaw, the numbers he puts up in his career will probably make him $10-12 million per season — a long way of saying he should be a middle-of-the-rotation starter.

Lee isn’t expected to throw a lot in his spring debut, so get a look at him while you can. He’s likely destined for Albuquerque, even if Chris Jackson disagrees. Lee will make his debut this season, but let’s hope it comes late in the season, rather than early.

Projected 2017 Dodgers’ pitching staff

If you thought projecting the 2017 lineup was tough, you haven’t seen anything yet. While you’ll recognize a lot of the names listed here, the pitching projections are a lot more unstable than the position player projections.

Without further adieu, here is who you should expect to see Opening Day 2017.

Starting Pitcher 1
If Clayton Kershaw isn’t the Dodgers’ No. 1 starter in three years, it’s highly likely he’s been abducted by aliens.

Options
Clayton Kershaw: Will be in his age-29 season and rolling around in his millions of dollars he’ll have already earned.

2017 SP 1: Kershaw

Even with the opt-out clause in his 7-year deal (after the fifth year), Kershaw will still be owed $33 million for the 2018 season, with a $65 million due the next two seasons — which will be his age-31 and 32 seasons. Odds are he’ll opt out, and the Dodgers will sign him to a new mega deal.

Starting Pitcher 2
This is a situation similar to Kershaw’s, as Greinke is clearly the second-best starting pitcher the Dodgers have now (and probably will have) in 2017.

Options
Zack Greinke: Will be 33 and will likely have been re-signed to a new contract (opt-out after 2015).
Hyun-Jin Ryu: Will be in the fifth year of a 6-year deal and entering his age-30 season.
Julio Urias: Almost preposterous to include him, seeing as he’ll be 20 years old and could conceivably be in his second full season.

Dodgers
Reds
6:05 p.m. PT
Goodyear, Ariz.
CF
Gordon
CF
Hamilton
DH
Crawford
2B
Phillips
RF
Puig
1B
Votto
1B 
Gonzalez
LF
Ludwick
3B
Uribe
RF
Bruce
LF
Pederson
3B
Frazier
2B
Guerrero
SS
Cozart
C
Federowicz
C
Pena
SS
Rojas
DH
Duran
P
Ryu
P
Bailey

2017 SP 2: Greinke

Greinke is probably going to opt out of his deal in 2015. He’s such a good pitcher, has such good mechanics and is one of the smartest pitchers in the last 15 years that the Dodgers couldn’t possibly pass on bringing him back. He figures to age well as he doesn’t rely on elite velocity to be successful.

Starting Pitcher 3
Here’s where things get a little murky — in a good way. There are two or three guys who could realistically lay claim to this spot in the rotation.

Options
Chad Billingsley: Will be entering age-32 season and could be on a different team by this point.
Zach Lee: If he reaches his potential, this could be his spot — even in his age-25 season.
Hyun-jin Ryu: Only figures to get better; certainly doesn’t figure to get any worse.
Julio Urias: The most potential of anyone on this list.

2017 SP 3: Ryu

Ryu figures to have some really solid campaigns behind him by this point. He’s the best pitcher of the four listed above and could be one of the game’s best left-handers by 2017.

Starting Pitcher 4
This spot almost seems reserved for a certain 20-year-old, as he has some of the most pure talent in the Dodgers’ farm system.

Options
Chris Anderson: The 2013 first-rounder will be 24 and probably one of the best prospects in the system, if he’s still eligible.
Chad Billingsley: Probably on a different team by now.
Zach Lee: More likely the No. 5 starter — or a No. 3 or 4 on another team.
Ross Stripling: Will be 27, unlikely after Tommy John surgery, but still has a starter’s repertoire/build.
Julio Urias: This is his spot.

2017 SP 4: Urias

This will be just the beginning for Urias. He’ll be 20 years old and on his way up. He’ll eventually be the Dodgers’ No. 2 starter — at least, as long as Kershaw is still around.

Starting Pitcher 5
This spot will likely be filled from within the system — and could even be a player who isn’t yet a member of a Dodger (i.e. a draftee).

Options
Chris Anderson: While it’d be nice to see him make it as a starter, he could be dominant reliever.
Chad Billingsley: Love ya, Chad, but I’m sure you’ll be in Cincinnati by this time.
Zach Lee: Hoping that $5.25 million bonus pays off by this time.
Ross Stripling: Might be a reliever or with another organization.

2017 SP 5: Lee

Lee could end up being a Kyle Lohse-type, which would be a fantastic No. 5 starter in this game (at a fraction of the cost). His stuff could be average at this point and he’d still be a great No. 5 starer.

Closer
At one time, everyone thought Eric Gagne would never break down and he’d go down as one of the greatest closers ever. He had the best 3-year stretch of any reliever, but he eventually broke down. Kenley Jansen is great, but there’s a chance he could — eventually — break down. Not because of anything he has or hasn’t done, but because of the position itself.

Options
Chris Anderson: Has the arsenal to do the job, but makeup/poise are unknown.
Onelki Garcia: Has a potentially devastating 2-pitch combo that gives him a closer’s ceiling.
Kenley Jansen: Will be 29 years old and be making crazy money.
Chris Withrow: Has the best stuff of this quartet, but control/command are question marks.

2017 Closer: Jansen

Provided Jansen’s cutter is still as filthy as it is now, I don’t see him breaking down physically (as long as his heart is OK) and I see his control/command holding up just fine. But it’s nice to see the Dodgers have some legitimate options if things change dramatically in three years.

Relief Pitchers
The most volatile of any player on the baseball field, don’t expect to see a lot of veteran presents here, as the Dodgers should fill voids in the bullpen from within.

Options
Chris Anderson: Heavy fastball and slider combination should play up out of the ‘pen.
Jose Dominguez: Elite fastball velocity should be sustainable as he enters his age-26 season.
Onelki Garcia: Will be in age-26 season and could find himself traded by this time.
Yimi Garcia: Will be entering age-26 season, and despite fastball spin, lack of plus-velocity could hold him back.
J.P. Howell: Will be 34 and a free agent, likely not brought back.
Matt Magill: Will be 27 and needs to keep command/control in check to have a long-term career.
Chris Reed: Only on here because of his prospect ranking, I have no faith in him — even out of the ‘pen.
Paco Rodriguez: Should have established himself as one of the best lefty relievers in the game at age-26.
Tom Windle: Will be 25 and a cheaper option than a guy like Rodriguez.
Chris Withrow: Should start getting expensive at age-28, could be a trade candidate.

2017 RPs (6): Anderson, Dominguez, O. Garcia, Rodriguez, Windle, Withrow

Aside from Howell and, to a lesser extent, Rodriguez, these are all power arms and all should do quite well setting up the Dodgers’ 2017 closer. The only problem is, guys like Rodriguez and Withrow figure to start getting expensive — perhaps too expensive for the Dodgers (as funny as that sounds). That’s where the next tier of reliever prospects comes in — Victor Arano, Ralston Cash, Jharel Cotton, Scott Griggs, etc.

Player Position
Clayton Kershaw SP 1
Zack Greinke SP 2
Hyun-Jin Ryu SP 3
Julio Urias SP 4
Zach Lee SP 5
Jose Dominguez RP
Onelki Garcia RP
Tom Windle RP
Chris Anderson RP
Paco Rodriguez RP
Chris Withrow SU
Kenley Jansen CL

Looking at Dodgers’ propects on Top 100 lists

Julio Urias might top this list next year. (Photo courtesy of the Great Lakes Loons)

Baseball America released its Top 100 prospects on MLB Network Wednesday night. This is the 25th year the publication has compiled such a list. With BA’s list, most of the big-time prospectors have checked in with some form of a Top 100. I’m going to look at the Dodger prospects who placed on each list and figure how they shape up.

Included in the data are Baseball America (John Manuel, J.J. Cooper, Ben Badler), Baseball Prospectus (Jason Parks), FanGraphs (Marc Hulet), ESPN (Keith Law), MLB.com (Jim Callis, Jonathan Mayo) MLB Draft Insider (Chris Crawford) and Scout.com (Kiley McDaniel).

There are five prospects who ranked on these lists — only one of them failed to rank on all the lists (Chris Anderson). Zach Lee, Joc Pederson, Corey Seager and Julio Urias ranked on all seven lists. They are the consensus four-best prospects in the system.

Player BA
Parks
Hulet KLaw
MLB.com
Crawford
McDaniel
Avg. Rank
Corey Seager 37 44 28 18 34 26 25 30.3
Julio Urias 51 35 73 14 63 24 41 43
Joc Pederson 34 50 58 41 36 75 35 47
Zach Lee 95 84 71 75 64 57 76 74.6
Chris Anderson NR NR NR 96 NR 97 94 95.7

While Urias got the highest placement of any prospect (14 on Law’s list), it’s Seager who is the consensus best prospect in the system. Self-promotion: I ranked Seager as my No. 1 prospect in the system, and my first four match the first four here.

The biggest outlier is Pederson’s 75 from Crawford. If you look at the rest of his rankings, the 75 sticks out like Brandon League‘s 3-year contract. The biggest disparity is Urias’ 14 from Law and 73 from Hulet. A 17-year-old prospect will cause those disparities. Admittedly, 14 is a bit high for Urias — this year.

There are only two guys in danger of losing their prospect status after the season — Pederson and Lee. But that would mean things aren’t going particularly well in Los Angeles (probably). Anderson, with a good season, is primed to shoot up the lists on which he placed, and actually place on the others, next season.

2014 Top 50 Dodgers’ prospects: No. 1-10

Corey Seager is going to be a stud, by Dustin Nosler

Corey Seager is going to be a stud. (By: Dustin Nosler)

This is the finale of a 5-part series detailing my Top 50 Dodgers’ prospects. These are scouting reports for Nos. 1-10.

Previous entries
Prospect landing page

No. 11-20
No. 21-30
No. 31-40
No. 41-50

Editor’s note: I am not a scout (#notascout). This is an amateur scouting report based on what I know about baseball and from following the sport all my life. I don’t claim to be a pro, I just want to pass along the information to the masses. All ratings in the charts below are on the standard 20-80 scouting scale, where 50 is roughly average, 80 is elite and nearly unattainable (think an Aroldis Chapman fastball), and 20 is unacceptably poor. Enjoy.

1. Corey Seager, SS/3B (6’4, 220, 20 years old)
It looks like the Dodgers hit big on their 2012 first-round pick in Seager. His debut season was solid, and his sophomore season was even better. Seager began with Great Lakes and ripped up the league, hitting .309/.389/.529. A .918 OPS in the Midwest League as a 19-year-old is fantastic. A late-season promotion to Rancho Cucamonga didn’t go well (.160/.246/.320) and he struggled in the Arizona Fall League. But that shouldn’t matter too much. Seager uses his pure and smooth left-handed stroke to generate the best bat speed in the system. He has average power now and projects to have above-average power at his peak. He also has good opposite-field power. Seager is a polished hitter for being as young as he is, as he’s willing to go the other way and he’s more than willing to take a walk. He has a hole in his swing (inside corner) that could get exposed by advanced pitching, but he’s a good enough hitter to adjust to it. There’s still a lot of projection left in his body, but he’s starting to fill out, hence the plus-power potential.

Tools Now Future
Hitting 50 60
Power 45 60
Speed 45 45
Fielding 50 55
Arm 60 60

There isn’t much question about his offensive ability. His defensive position should change. Some in the organization think he can stick at shortstop, although that opinion is changing a bit. At worst, Seager is an average third baseman. He’s adept at shortstop, but his size and range should prevent him from playing there in the majors. He has a quick first step, soft hands and plenty of arm for either position. If he were to play shortstop in the bigs, however, he’d be the biggest shortstop to ever play the position. His final destination on the diamond is likely at third base, but the Dodgers are going to keep him at shortstop for a lot of the 2014 season. He’ll begin in Rancho Cucamonga with a midseason promotion to Chattanooga more than likely.

2013 ranking: 3
2014 location: High-A Rancho Cucamonga/Double-A Chattanooga
ETA: late-2015

Tools Now Future
Hitting 50 55
Power 50 60
Speed 55 55
Fielding 50 55
Arm 55 55

2. Joc Pederson, CF (6’1, 210, 22 years old)
Pederson established himself as a legitimate Top 40 prospect in baseball with a really good season in Double-A. He was one of the league’s youngest players, and one of its top performers. Pederson uses his strong hands and wrists to generate plus-bat speed and has flashed plus-power potential in batting practice. That power potential is carrying over to game action. Once considered a fourth outfielder by some, Pederson profiles — at worst — as a second-division starter, possibly in center field. His hit tool trails only Seager’s in the system, but he might have a better eye than the teenager. He’s a pull hitter, but has shown a willingness to go the opposite way at times.

Pederson also improved his defense in 2013, making a future home in center field a real possibility. His arm is a tick above-average and while he probably profiles better in left field, he could handle center field long-term. He also improved his baserunning. After stealing just 26-of-40 bases in High-A in 2012, he stole 31-of-39 bases at the most telling level of the minor leagues. He should begin 2014 with the Albuquerque Isotopes and will almost certainly debut in the majors at some point.

2013 ranking: 5
2014 location: Triple-A Albuquerque/Majors
ETA: mid-2014

Tools Now Future
Fastball 50 50
Slider 50 55
Curveball 40 45
Changeup 50 55
Cmd/Ctrl 50 55
Delivery 60 60

3. Zach Lee, RHP (6’3, 190, 22 years old)
Lee is basically the pitching version of Pederson (kinda). He’s underrated by most and has a future as a regular in the majors. Lee was facing advanced competition at age-21 in the Southern League and more than held his own. He was my Dodgers’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year, and the Dodgers bestowed upon him the same honor. He posted career-bests in almost every major pitching category. What’s most impressive is he not only increased his strikeout rate, but also reduced his walk rate. Lee has a fastball that sits in the 89-92 MPH range and touches 95 MPH at times. He can cut and sink it to get outs as well. His best secondary pitch is a low-80s slider, which features inconsistent two-plane break. It flashes plus at times, but he can get under it at times. He also has a changeup that has above-average potential. It’s also a low-80s pitch and he gets good downward movement against left-handers. Lee also has a curveball he uses less than the other two secondary offerings that is an average pitch.

His delivery is smooth and repeatable. Combine his repertoire, poise, athleticism and pitchability, and there’s a No. 3 or 4 starter there. He’ll need to improve his stamina (5.4 innings pitched per start) and be more consistent with his off-speed pitches to reach that. The Dodgers could start Lee at Albuquerque, but it’s understandable if they send him back to Chattanooga. Either way — he’s nearly MLB-ready and should debut in 2014.

2013 ranking: 1
2014 location: Triple-A Albuquerque/Double-A Chattanooga/Majors
ETA: mid-2014

Tools Now Future
Fastball 45 60
Curveball 45 60
Changeup 45 60
Cmd/Ctrl 50 60
Delivery 45 55

4. Julio Urias, LHP (6’1, 180, 17 years old)
Urias was the talk of the Dodgers’ farm system after making his professional debut in May — and what a debut it was. Urias signed for roughly $1 million out of Mexico in 2012 and figured to pitch in short-season ball in 2013. His full-season assignment was a shock to most outside the organization. Urias didn’t do anything to fuel the naysayers. His 2.48 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 2.7 BB/9 and 11.1 K/9 are really, really good numbers for, say, a 19- or 20-year old in the Midwest League. Urias did it at 16. 16 years old. Amazing. His fastball is an 89-93 MPH offering that routinely touches 95 MPH and got as high as 97 MPH (as a 16-year-old!). It doesn’t do a whole lot, but it features a little arm-side run and projects as a plus-pitch. His best off-speed pitch can be debated. His changeup is nasty at times, but also a touch inconsistent. It features good diving action that can get a considerable number swing-throughs from righties. His curveball is a low-to-mid-70s pitch that is a little loopy at times. But when he gets on top of it, it almost acts more like a slider in its break.

His command and control are surprisingly advanced for a young teenager, but he’ll need to continue to work on it going forward. His delivery is polished and repeatable. But, Urias’ best attribute might be his poise on the mound. He pitches like a pitcher well beyond his years. He has more poise than some Major League pitchers. It’s hard to project a phenom at times, and Urias is no different. If everything comes together, he’s a future ace. As of now, he looks no worse than a No. 3, but more likely a No. 2 starter. An aggressive assignment to the California League could be in order, but it’s entirely possible the Dodgers could have Urias begin back in the Midwest League before a promotion. He’s only 17, after all.

2013 ranking: 26
2014 location: High-A Rancho Cucamonga/Low-A Great Lakes
ETA: late-2016

Tools Now Future
Hitting 45 50
Power 45 55
Speed 45 45
Fielding 40 45
Arm 50 55

5. Alex Guerrero, 2B (5’11, 205, 27 years old)
The Dodgers signed Guerrero two times before officially signing him to a 4-year, $28 million (with incentives up to $32 million) contract in October. Guerrero spent some time in the Dominican Winter League, but a hamstring injury hampered his ability to play and showcase his talents. The Cuban import isn’t the next Yasiel Puig, but he should be an above-average offensive second baseman. Guerrero’s best tool is his bat, and he shows surprising pop for a second baseman. His swing looks effortless at times and he has good bat speed. He’s not opposed to going the other way and shorten up his swing with two strikes. He won’t be a threat on the basepaths, but he also won’t be a base-clogger.

Guerrero was a shortstop in Cuba, but it’d be a surprise if he played there long-term in the majors. He’s a little stiff defensively and doesn’t have the greatest range. His arm is strong enough to play shortstop, but it profiles much better at second base, and he’s athletic enough to handle second. If he works at it, he could be a plus-defender, but the Dodgers would probably settle for average defensive ability at the position. Some penciled him in as the Dodgers’ opening day second baseman (present company included), but with an injury-riddled winter, it’s entirely possible he could begin the season in the minors with a quick call-up after some seasoning. As an older prospect, he might not need more than a month or so in the minors.

2013 ranking: NR
2014 location: Majors/Triple-A Albuquerque
ETA: early-2014

Tools Now Future
Fastball 55 60
Curveball 50 55
Slider 40 45
Changeup 45 50
Cmd/Ctrl 45 50
Delivery 50 55

6. Ross Stripling, RHP (6’3, 190, 24 years old)
Stripling was the Dodgers’ fifth-round pick in the 2012 draft, he signed for nearly $100,000 less than slot — and he looks like an absolute steal. He isn’t Michael Wacha (his teammate at Texas A&M), but he has some of the same attributes as the budding Cardinals’ star. Stripling uses a four-seam fastball that is an 89-92 MPH pitch that touches 94-95 MPH on occasion. His mid-70s curveball is his best off-speed pitch. He throws it at 12-6 and it gets good downward movement when he snaps it off right. He also throws a high-70s/low-80s changeup that is a weapon against left-handed hitters. He also added a slider for the 2013 season that is still a work in progress.

His delivery is smooth and repeatable, leading to some of the best command/control in the system. From the stretch, he clocks in around 1.4 seconds. His arm angle is over the top, which allows him to get some nice downward plane on his pitches. Stripling has at least average athleticism on the mound. For me, he projects as a No. 4 starter with a low-end No. 3 ceiling. His floor is a quality reliever who could see his velocity tick up a bit in that role, but he struggled in that role with the Lookouts this season. He threw nearly 100 innings at Double-A, so a promotion to Triple-A could be in order. After Lee, Stripling could be the Dodger starting pitching prospect next in line to make MLB debut.

2013 ranking: NR
2014 location: Triple-A Albuquerque/Double-A Chattanooga/Majors
ETA: mid-2014

Tools Now Future
Fastball 45 60
Slider 40 55
Changeup 40 50
Cmd/Ctrl 40 50
Delivery 45 50

7. Chris Anderson, RHP (6’4, 215, 21 years old)
Anderson was the 18th overall selection in the 2013 draft, and the Dodgers found another good one. Despite being a college junior, he was drafted as a 20-year-old. Anderson was overused a bit at Jacksonville University, causing him to drop from a preseason Top-10 pick to a mid-first-rounder. Despite that, he showed real promise in his professional debut. He has three pitches that should be at least average. He throws heavy fastball in the 92-94 MPH range and can run it up to 96-97 MPH at times. He gets good sink on the pitch. It’s by far his best pitch. Anderson also features a slider that flashes plus-potential at times. He gets solid tilt on the pitch that sits in the low-80s. He can get a little inconsistent with the pitch at times, causing it to go flat. His changeup might be his best secondary offering. It’s also a low-80s pitch that he throws more consistently well than his slider. It’s his primary weapon against lefties. Anderson also has a curveball that’s little more than a “show me” pitch. It doesn’t project to be much more than a below-average offering.

Anderson’s delivery isn’t as picturesque as Lee or Stripling’s, but there’s potential for it to be cleaned up, thus improving his command/control. Right now, that’s his biggest weakness. Anderson’s ceiling is a No. 2 starter. More likely, he’s a No. 3 or 4 starter. If his off-speed pitches don’t improve enough, he could be a nasty back-end reliever, possibly a closer. He should go to the hitter-friendly California League to begin 2014, with a promotion to Chattanooga more than likely.

2013 ranking: 6 (midseason)
2014 location: High-A Rancho Cucamonga/Double-A Chattanooga
ETA: mid-2015

Tools Now Future
Fastball 45 50
Slider 50 55
Changeup 40 45
Cmd/Ctrl 40 45
Delivery 40 45

8. Chris Reed, LHP (6’4, 195, 23 years old)
A personal “favorite” of mine, Reed reinvented himself a bit in 2013. A college reliever who got plenty of swings-and-misses, Reed transformed into a groundball pitcher, with mixed results. The 2011 first-round pick spent all of 2013 in the Southern League and enjoyed moderate success. Reed’s fastball is an 89-92 MPH offering that rarely touches 94-95 MPH as a starter. He sinks at 88-91 MPH it to get a better groundball rate than the pitchers rated ahead of him on this list. His slider is his best secondary pitch, but it’s been quite inconsistent in his career. At times, it flashes plus-plus potential, but it has the potential to be just average because he can’t throw it from a consistent arm slot. Reed also has a changeup that is a below-average pitch and doesn’t project to be much more than that.

He throws his pitches from a three-quarters arm slot that has yet to be conducive to great command. The converted college reliever doesn’t have a great chance of sticking in the rotation. His mechanics aren’t smooth enough to have an easy, repeatable delivery. He’s likely a reliever at the next level, but there’s an extreme outside chance he remains as a starter if he can nail down a third pitch. If he goes to the bullpen, he could re-reinvent himself as a power lefty with a sinker that can’t be touched, but he’ll need to improve his command for that to happen. If he sticks in the rotation, he’s a No. 4 or 5 starter. After spending all of 2013 at Double-A, it isn’t unrealistic for the Dodgers to send him to Triple-A. If things fall his way (which means things aren’t going well in LA), he could make his big league debut in 2014.

2013 ranking: 8
2014 location: Triple-A Albuquerque/Double-A Chattanooga
ETA: late-2014

Tools Now Future
Fastball 45 55
Curveball 45 55
Changeup 35 40
Cmd/Ctrl 40 45
Delivery 40 45

9. Onelki Garcia, LHP (6’3, 220, 24 years old)
Garcia was the Dodgers’ third-round draft pick in 2012, and reports said he would have been the Dodgers’ selection over Reed in the 2011 draft, if he were eligible. A native of Cuba, Garcia has the most potential of any Dodger pitcher in the system, but there are a number of issues would need to overcome to realize that potential. Garcia throws a heavy fastball that sits in the 90-93 MPH range. He touches 95 MPH with the pitch at times with some heavy sink. He gets natural arm-side run with the pitch that he throws from a high three-quarters arm slot. His high-70s/low-80s curveball acts more like a slider than a curve because of its tight spin. It’s also the pitch on which he gets a lot of swing-throughs. Garcia has toyed with a changeup in the past, but it’s not even a “show me” pitch at this point. He’s really similar to Reed, but has better velocity.

His mechanics aren’t technically sound, as his delivery looks as if he’s “pushing” the ball toward the plate. The arm slot is fine, but his mechanics don’t lend themselves to being easily repeatable, and his command/control will suffer because of it. He profiles as a nasty late-inning reliever from the left side who should be able to get righties out with his plus-curveball. Garcia made his MLB debut in 2013, but there’s little chance he begins 2014 in Los Angeles without an injury ahead of him. Likely, he’ll go back to Triple-A, where he pitched in August for a few weeks before being promoted to the Dodgers in September.

2013 ranking: 7
2014 location: Triple-A Albuquerque/Majors
ETA: Now

Tools Now Future
Fastball 45 55
Curveball 40 45
Slider 50 55
Changeup 45 50
Cmd/Ctrl 40 45
Delivery 45 50

10. Matt Magill, RHP (6’3, 210, 24 years old)
Magill made his Major League debut in 2013 and was fantastic against the Brewers. He went 6 2/3 innings, gave up two runs and struck out seven. It looked like he might stick when the Dodgers needed pitching depth. However, he got roughed up in most of his remaining outings and ended up walking more batters (28) than he struck out (26). He was jerked around in the minors, having outings canceled, postponed or shortened on the off chance the Dodgers might need to recall him. In 2014, he should benefit from some consistently. Magill’s fastball is an 89-93 MPH pitch that touches 94 MPH at times. He’s able to get some movement on the pitch to throw a decent 2-seamer. His best off-speed pitch is his low-80s slider that flashes plus-potential at times. It’s still inconsistent and he has trouble locating it at times. He also has a changeup that has solid-average potential. His curveball is almost not worth mentioning. He’ll need to improve both pitches if he’s going to remain a starting pitcher.

He draws comparisons to former Dodger Tim Belcher, as his delivery is reminiscent. He throws from an over-the-top arm slot and his delivery appears to be repeatable. But Magill has trouble repeating it, which leads to his mechanics getting thrown off, which leads to below-average command. He seemed to have made strides in that department in 2012, and he showed an ability to throw his pitches for strikes in the minors. But the Major League stage proved to be quite the hurdle for him. If he can’t consistently repeat his mechanics and throw strikes, a bullpen role might be in his future. His fastball could play up out of the ‘pen, and he could ditch his changeup and curveball in favor of working on his slider. He’ll go back to Albuquerque in 2014 with a chance to contribute to the Dodgers in some capacity this season.

2013 ranking: 6
2014 location: Triple-A Albuquerque/Majors
ETA: Now