I really enjoy looking through top prospect lists – Dodger lists, that is. A quick survey on various sites today, without digging, revealed at least fifteen such lists. The top ten prospects on most of those lists were basically carbon copies. That is not at all surprising as those are the players either deemed to be most MLB-ready, or as they say in scouting reports, have the greatest upside. The top four prospects were identical although not always ranked in quite the same order – Joc Pederson. Corey Seager, Julio Urias, Zach Lee. Joc Pederson was #1 most often.
It didn’t seem very productive to try to construct another top ten roster which would basically mimic those already published. One minor variation would have been that I would have included Yimi Garcia – missing on most slates in the top ten lineup. I also would have excluded Chris Withrow and Jose Dominguez but they are no longer considered prospects, having both pitched in the MLB.
I decided to have a look back further, but also including an obvious couple of selections who are near the front of the pack already, and determine who would be on the scorecard today if a twenty and under prospect team was to take the field. All of the players listed below are twenty or under with the exception of Spencer Navin who turned 21 last August. The players are not ranked numerically but selected by position.
Spencer Navin (21) – Catcher: Drafted in the eleventh round of the 2013 draft, Navin really is untried in professional ball having only 25 at bats with the Ogden Raptors in 2013 following the completion of his college season. Two items in his scouting report caught my attention – “This kid is a baseball rat. Dudes arm is amazing. He has the arm to get drafted on his arm alone.“
Cody Bellinger (18) – First Base: This too may seem a bit premature. The 6’4” Bellinger, son of former major leaguer Clay Bellinger, did not excel with the Arizona league Dodgers in 2013 but played the entire season as a 17 year old. Another sweet swinging lefty, he has been compared to Adam Laroche with projectable power and is an advanced defender. He was selected by the Dodgers in the fourth round in the 2013 June Draft.
Jesmuel Valentin (19) – Second Base: He was selected with the 51st overall pick in the 2012 draft. “Valentin is worth the 51st pick”, [Logan] White said, “because he’s a switch-hitter, a polished Major League defender with a chance to be an offensive player in the middle of the diamond.” He can play either shortstop or second base but projects more as a second baseman and has found the switch to second base to be challenging. He is the son of Jose Valentin.
Corey Seager (19) – Shortstop: What can be said about Seager that has not already been said?
Alex Santana (19) – Third base: Santana was selected by the Dodgers in the second round of the 2011 draft. He has progressed slowly but well and in 2013 hit .327 with the Ogden Raptors along with an OBP of .391. His strikeout to walks improved significantly in 2013 – 39/20. He is son of Rafael Santana.
Jacob Scavuzzo (20) – Outfield: In 2013 Scavuzzo lead the Pioneer League in home runs with 14. He hit .307 with an OBP of .350 and a slugging percentage of .578. Selected in the 21st round in the 2012 draft, he played the entire 2013 season as a nineteen year old.
Joey Curletta (20) – Outfield: Curletta also played the entire 2013 season as a nineteen year old. He hit .326, fourth highest in the league, and had an OBP of .402 which was seventh highest in the league. At 6’4” and 225 pounds his power numbers are expected to grow as his swing develops. He was selected in the sixth round of the 2012 draft.
Ibandel Isabel (18) – Outfield: From Yaguate, Dominican Republic Isabel had a successful debut with the Dominican Summer League Dodgers. In 57 games he hit .327 and had an OBP of .398. He finished the season on a high note hitting .371 in August.
Justin Chigbogu (19) – Designated hitter: Chigbogu, a 6’1” 240 pound left-handed, played first base with the Ogden Raptors in 2013. After eleven games with the Arizona League Dodgers, in which he tore up the league, he was promoted to Ogden. With the Raptors he had a .254 batting average along with nine home runs. It is expected that he will continue to develop his power stroke as his plate discipline improves. He was selected by the Dodgers in the fourth round of the 2012 First year player Draft.
Julio Urias (17) – Starting Pitcher: Again, what can be said that already hasn’t been said?
Zachary Bird (19) – Starting Pitcher: Bird is a John Sickels sleeper pick selected in the ninth round of the 2012 draft. While spending some time on the DL in 2013, Bird came back even stronger with 1.93 ERA in August while holding opposing hitters to a .189 batting average. His main problem has been a control issue which hopefully will improve in 2014.
Victor Gonzalez (19) – Starting Pitcher: From Tuxpan, Mexico Gonzalez had a 3.79 ERA in 2013 with the Arizona League Dodgers. He struck out 45, walked 12 in 38 innings and gave up only one home run. His first half was exceptional but he appeared to tire in August and have a difficult month.
Victor Arano (19) – Starting Pitcher: Also from Mexico (Cosamalopan), Arano was the work horse on the Arizona League Dodgers staff with 49 innings pitched in which he struck out 49 hitters. He walked 13 and had an ERA of 4.20 as a result of experiencing some difficulties in July. Arano is starting to show up on some of the top 20 lists of Dodger prospects.
Jairo Pacheo (17) – Starting Pitcher: It might be a bit early to tell if Pacheo, from Cabimas, Zulia, Venezuela, will be a starter or a reliever. He pitched in both roles with the DSL Dodgers in 2013 with a 1.27 ERA while striking out 45 and walking 13 in 43 innings. His WHIP was an exceptional 0.893 as he gave up only 26 hits. He is a left-hander a few months older than Julio Urias.
Wascar Teodo (19) – Relief Pitcher: Teodo pitched strictly in relief in 2013 after having been a starter in 2012. With the Arizona League Dodgers he had an ERA of 2.55 in 35 innings while giving up only 21 hits. He struck out 35 and walked 24 resulting in a WHIP of just below 1.00.
Lenix Osuna (18) – Relief Pitcher: He is the son of former Dodger relief pitcher Antonio Osuna. Signed in 2012 Osuna had a very successful inaugural season with the Arizona League Dodgers. As a seventeen year old he had a 2-1 won loss record along with a 1.82 ERA in 24 innings. He gave up 18 hits and struck out 23.
Bryan Munoz (18) – Relief Pitcher: Pitching strictly in relief in 2013 with the Arizona League Dodgers, Munoz had a 3.24 ERA in 24 innings. From Pimentel, Dominican Republic he struck out 16 and walked 6. As a sixteen year old his fastball touched 90. The signing bonus in 2012 was believed to be the largest the Dodgers have given a Dominican player since signing Joel Guzman for $2.25 million in 2001.