Dodgers prospects 26 through 30 feature two debuts, a fast climber, and two players that largely held their ground last year.
30. Jacob Scavuzzo, LF
Scavuzzo climbs one spot from 2016, up from 31 to 30, though more was probably expected of him after his finish to the 2015 season. Scavuzzo has held out his broad frame through the years and has some of the better raw power potential in the organization. That power, however, has been on display too intermittently, and Scavuzzo has the biggest gap between game and raw power in the upper levels of the system.
For a big guy, Scavuzzo makes pretty easy contact. He compromises his barrel control at times by chasing pitches out of the zone, and overall struggles in plate approach. A smooth athlete, Scavuzzo has likely outgrown center field, but should be a capable left fielder range-wise, though he lacks the arm strength for right.
Scavuzzo has been slow to develop throughout his pro career, and for this reason, he still has starter upside. However, because his talent is taking time to realize, Scavuzzo was left unprotected in the upcoming Rule 5 draft. There’s a decent chance he could get selected given his upper level experience and raw physical tools. Should he remain in the organization, Scavuzzo will likely give Double-A another go, with more emphasis placed on refining his plate approach and attempting to tap into his power.
29. Jacob Rhame, relief pitcher
Sliding from 25 to 29, Rhame ends 2016 much the same prospect he was in 2015. Rhame’s peripherals in a jump from Double-A to Triple-A were almost identical, and though said numbers are merely good not great, they were worthy enough to earn a spot on the 40-man roster this off-season.
While I didn’t get the chance to head over to Oklahoma City to see Rhame pitch this year, reports suggest he’s by and large the same arm. Rhame’s fastball velocity will flash plus, and at times he will spin a quality breaking ball, but stringing everything together consistently as proven to be a challenge. At the top of Rhame’s velocity range (96-97 mph) he can get away with lacking plus command or movement, especially when he has the slider breaking late and down in the zone.
Rhame employs a big leg kick and high three-quarters arm slot in his delivery, and his arm speed is very good. Mechanically, he should be able to drive the ball down in the zone, and give the slider sufficient shape to complement a straighter fastball. He’s built solidly with little room for additional development, but pitching consistently at the higher end of his velocity range could give him more leeway in producing consistent results.
Rhame is likely to return to Oklahoma City with what will likely be a crowded bullpen picture ahead of him, but with his name now on the 40-man roster, he stands to make his major league debut at some point in 2017. His upside is more seventh inning than ninth, but consistency could make him a solid late-inning option in the next few years.
28. DJ Peters, OF
Drafted in the fourth round of the 2016 Draft, Peters traded the friendly offensive environment of Southern Nevada for the friendly offensive environment of Ogden. That’s not to suggest that he isn’t sufficient in offensive tools, but we haven’t had the chance to see just how polished his tools are in a more neutral environment.
Regardless, Peters should hit for plenty of power. Athletically built at 6’6 and 225 lbs., Peters takes full advantage of the leverage created by his frame. DJ has a quicker bat than you would expect for his size, and he made more contact than you might expect for a tall slugger. Peters already has good game pop, but could stand to even improve by incorporating his lower half even more in his swing.
Peters played center and right fielder primarily with Ogden, but will likely settle into right field in the future. He is a good mover despite his size and had a plus arm as a Perfect Game All-American in high school. Peters will likely never be much of a base stealer, but again, is a better athlete than most players his size and won’t be a base clogger.
Peters will face his first real challenge with a promotion to Class-A Great Lakes in 2017. Should he put his power on display in that tough offensive environment, he will move quickly up this list. Peters has the upside of a middle order right fielder, but 2017 will give us a better idea of how close he is to realizing his potential.
27. Caleb Ferguson, Starting pitcher
Ferguson was hardly on the radar for last years list, and lacks the pedigree you would expect from a top thirty prospect, but Ferguson possesses some of the best command in the system. A 38th-round pick in 2014 out of an Ohio high school, Ferguson went from walking 21 batters in 14⅔ innings in 2015, to just five in 66⅓ innings in 2016.
For a late-round prep prospect, Ferguson already possesses an adult frame and stuff. Listed at 6’3 and 215 lbs., Ferguson is already large framed and capable of carrying some bulk. His mechanics are efficient and repeatable, with little wasted motion in his leg left and hip turn. His arm is quick, but his pitches look effortless and likely surprise hitters.
Ferguson already reaches the low 90s with his riding fastball, but I don’t expect his velocity to increase much more as he climbs the ladder. He complements the fastball with a solid curveball in the upper 70s that he can control for strikes. Ferguson’s change up is used sparingly now but has shown decent fade with solid arm speed. Ferguson pounds the zone with his pitches and was successful in getting Low A hitters to pound the ball into the ground with 60% groundball percentage.
With his advanced feel for pitching and physical maturity, Ferguson could climb the ladder quickly. Ferguson lacks a plus put away pitch and his ceiling is likely that of an innings eating middle rotation starter, but reaching the major leagues would be a major success for a 38th-round draft pick.
26. Ibandel Isabel, 1B
Isabel makes the biggest climb in this grouping of players ranked both last season and this season, from 50 to 26. Though 26 might be lofty given his deficiencies, Isabel’s 80-grade raw power and loud offensive full season debut warrants this ranking with immense boom-bust potential.
Like Peters, Isabel is a hulky slugger with a still growing frame and room to add bulk. He’s played outfield and first base, but won’t likely move well enough to handle the outfield at peak physical maturity. That will raise the bar for his offense, requiring him to better tap into his top of the scale raw power.
Isabel did just that in a late season promotion to the Loons, though it didn’t come without tradeoffs. Though he’s toned down his setup some, Ibandel is still fidgety in the box pre-swing, but will put his weight behind the ball at full swing. Isabel’s bat speed is better than most first base only types, but most of his power is generated by his strength. Ibandel’s power plays to all fields, with half of his 2016 home runs going dead center to right field.
Isabel is still developing a plate approach, and though he’s less of a free swinger than his K rate would indicate, he struck out a whopping 39% of the time with Great Lakes. That he was able to still hit .284/.356/.617 with the Loons speaks to the quality of his contact on balls put in play.
Ibandel should return to Great Lakes in 2017 with his primary charge to continue refining his plate approach and cutting down his strikeouts. His floor is as low as his ceiling is high, with potential future outcomes spread along the spectrum. Splitting the difference makes him Chris Carter at the big league level, but it’s important to keep in mind that his path the majors is still quite long.