Dodgers Prospect Notes: Yeiner Fernandez shines in the AFL, Hyun-Seok Jang wins gold in Asian Games, more

Yeiner Fernandez (Photo: Cody Bashore)

The Arizona Fall League is 16 games in, and although there hasn’t been a lot of action from Dodgers prospects, there have been a couple of standouts.


Infielder and catcher Yeiner Fernandez has been impressive so far in the desert. Ranked No. 21 in the system in our midseason prospects list update, Fernandez played his first High-A season this year. In 99 games, he slugged just .375, and only 39 of his starts came behind the dish.

Fernandez was splitting playing time with fellow backstops Dalton Rushing and Griffin Lockwood-Powell, but it was clear that there was a bigger emphasis on accumulating infield experience for Fernandez than there had been in his previous seasons. His numbers at the plate taking a step back as well spelled out a less than perfect campaign for the Venezuelan.

Being sent to Arizona gave Fernandez a chance to end the year on a high note. Across eight games for the Desert Dogs, he has slashed .276/.400/.517 with four extra-base hits. He has yet to appear behind the plate for Glendale, starting all eight games in middle infield spots. His four starts at shortstop this fall are the first time he’s played the position as a pro.

Having only just turned 21 in September, Fernandez has plenty of time to find more production in his bat. Although it may not be his main position moving forward, Fernandez’s ability to play a solid catcher gives him an attractive utility profile. His bat-to-ball skills are good, and paired with above-average plate discipline, Fernandez still has a decently high floor to bank on.


Ronan Kopp was the highest rated prospect that the Dodgers sent to Arizona this year, coming in at No. 14 on our midseason list. He has appeared in four games so far, accumulating an even five frames. The left-hander has allowed only one earned run and struck out 10. However, his flaws have still been present, as Kopp has five walks.

Big strikeout numbers but concerning walk rates fit Kopp’s profile perfectly. He still has always managed to prevent runs, posting a 2.99 ERA in his first High-A action this year. With the Loons, Kopp’s strikeout rate reflected his high ceiling with a 35.8% clip, but he also walked batters nearly 17% of the time.

The 6-foot-7 former 12th round pick will have a big 2024 to try and prove he can remain a starter. If he cannot improve his command, Kopp will eventually wind up in the bullpen, where he could still be an absolute weapon. His fastball tops out at 99 mph, and he pairs it with a filthy wipeout slider. That’s enough to dream on an impact late-inning relief future.

Other Dodgers prospects in the Fall League, aside from Fernandez and Kopp, have mostly struggled. Relief prospect Ryan Sublette has posted a 2.08 ERA in four games, but the has walked more than a batter per inning pitched. Outfielder Damon Keith has been solid, posting a .787 OPS with a 19% walk rate. Aside from that, pitching prospects Jake Pilarski, Ben Casparius and Kendall Williams have each allowed at least five runs to cross. Former third round outfielder Jake Vogel is on the Desert Dogs roster but has yet to appear in a game.


Earlier in the month, top international signee Hyun-Seok Jang and team South Korea wrapped up their winning of the Gold Medal at the 2023 Asian Games. With the win, Jang and his teammates were granted an exemption from 18 months of mandatory military service. This will allow Jang to come to the United States and get his professional baseball career underway in 2024 without any possible holdups now or down the line.

Jang was ranked No. 16 in the system on our midseason prospects list. The right-hander was signed for $900,000 in August and already reaches the high 90s on his fastball at just 19 years old. He’ll report to Dodgers camp next year with the potential to be a fast riser through the system, relative to his status as a prep arm.

About Bruce Kuntz

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I'm a Long Beach State journalism student and I've been writing about the Dodgers and their farm system since I was in high school.