Our list of top Dodgers prospects heading into 2018 continues. After last week’s introduction to the list (79 players deep), we delve into the top 30 here.
31. Yaisel Sierra, RHRP
After a rough 2016 that saw him removed from the 40-man roster, Sierra had something of a bounceback year in 2017. Exhibiting better control and stronger peripheral in Double-A Tulsa, Sierra found mixed results in Triple-A. However, with his arm speed and propensity for ground balls, Sierra could enter the big league equation at some point in 2018.
Sierra has one of the quicker arms in the system, with a fastball that can reach the upper 90s, but he finds more success dialing it back a bit to generate more sink, leading to softer contact and more swings and misses. Sierra has a sharp slider that can be a true strikeout pitch, but he struggles to command it consistently.
Sierra will battle with his arm slot and release point on occasion, and probably lacks the overall command to pitch late in games effectively. At 27 on opening day, Sierra is one of the older prospects on this list, and at this point in his career he is strictly a relief prospect. 2018 will be just his third year stateside, and increased comfort and familiarity with the organization could lead to further improvement in Oklahoma City this year, with a possible call up at some point in the season.
Sierra’s 2017 preseason rank: 29
30. Jake Peter, IF
Peter was acquired from the White Sox in the three-team Scott Alexander trade on Jan. 4, 2018 that also sent Trevor Oaks (originally the No. 19 prospect) to the Royals.
Peter’s profile can be seen here.
29. J.T. Chargois, RHP
Chargois was claimed off waivers from Minnesota on Feb. 23, 2018.
28. Tim Locastro, SS/CF
A surprise September call up in the final weekend 2017, Tim Locastro has made the most of his time with the Dodger organization after a 2015 trade from Toronto. The Dodgers have developed Locastro at a number of positions, and his feel for hitting and stolen base acumen has made him a candidate for the Dodger bench in 2018.
Perhaps the most noticeable change in Locastro’s game since coming to the Dodgers has been an increased emphasis on hitting the ball in the air, dropping his ground ball rate from 49% in 2015 to just 40% last season. Given the amount of contact Locastro makes (just a 10.4% strikeout percentage in Oklahoma City), Locastro’s change in approach has made him a weapon offensively.
Additionally, Locastro added more pop last season, almost doubling his isolated slugging with Tulsa from the previous season. Locastro’s power is almost all to his pull side, but he has the quick trigger to attack balls on the inner half. Locastro’s swing has almost no load and he’s very difficult to fool with off-speed.
Athletically, Locastro is more quick than fast, stealing bases with good recognition and jumps more than with pure speed. Center field is a better position for him than shortstop, where his are and range are stretched to their limit. Locastro’s offensive improvements have made him a real sleeper in the system, where he’s turned himself from a non-prospect for me in 2015 to a poor man’s Chris Taylor on the 2018 list.
Locastro’s 2017 preseason rank: 47
27. Ariel Sandoval, RF/CF
Sandoval’s lofty status on the 2017 prospect list (he was 11th) looked quite foolish after his first half, but he teased enough of his loud tools in the second half to hang on to top 30 status. Sandoval was overmatched offensively for much of 2017, striking out 36% of the time in High A. With some mechanical adjustments to a still too noisy swing, Sandoval did recover with a .250/.324/.522 slash line in the second half.
Sandoval ranks ahead of similar high swing-and-miss sluggers Johan Mieses and Carlos Rincon because he flashes some of the better athleticism in the system. A twitchy athlete capable of handling center or right defensively, Sandoval also has the looseness in his body to continue making proper swing adjustments.
Sandoval ditched the high-elbow, uncomfortable set up he used previously to a more conventional balanced approach. He still has a propensity to move his hands too much in his load, but his new load and leg kick give him better timing than the previous swing. Sandoval still struggles mightily with pitch recognition and has the tendency to offer at too many pitches outside the zone, but he did show some improvement in the second half here as well.
I still think the Dodgers would like to see Sandoval cut back on the strikeouts and improve his discipline before moving up to face the better pitching in the Texas League, so Sandoval is likely heading for another year in the California League. His second half offered hope for a breakout, but the gap Sandoval needs to bridge in contact rate still looms large over his big league prospects.
Sandoval’s 2017 preseason rank: 11
26. Andrew Sopko, RHSP
Sopko’s prospect status treaded water in 2017, having spent much of the first half pitching with less than stellar command that he needs to survive with his stuff. His command improved in the second half and his performance should be enough to see a promotion to Oklahoma City in 2018.
Sopko relies heavily on a fastball that hovers in the upper 80s to low 90s, but can be a difficult pitch for hitters to pick up in the upper half of the zone. He struggled with location in the first half and the pitch can be battered when down in the zone. Sopko has a solid curveball that works down in the zone and a change up with solid fade.
Sopko’s delivery is compact and he hides to ball well in back. He relies on that deception because of his fringe velocity. Sopko can work deeper into games when needed, but has the repertoire that likely works best just two times through the order. Sopko did come on in relief in the playoffs and could have a future role as a long man. When he pitches with plus command, Sopko has a shot as a swing man starter capable of filling out the back of a big league rotation.
Sopko’s 2017 preseason rank: 23
25. Matt Beatty, 1B/LF
Though he’s shown a propensity for hitting at each level, Beaty’s prospect status broke out in 2017 with a league MVP performance with Tulsa. Beaty tapped into his average game power more frequently while becoming even more difficult to strikeout. The Dodgers used the Arizona Fall League to try Beaty in the outfield, where a conversion could make a big difference for his big league outlook.
Beaty’s barrel control is near the top of the organization (perhaps only Alex Verdugo and Yusniel Diaz topping him). His contact-centric approach uses all fields, with a shortened up stroke to shoot the gaps against the shift. Beaty keeps his hands low in his set up and employs just a slight leg kick, giving him far less moving parts in his swing. He doesn’t always incorporate his lower half in his swing, and will trade power for contact quite frequently.
Though he hits for average power, Beaty’s power profile comes up short for the typical big league first base prospect. He can handle position just fine defensively, but for a larger major league role, he will need to prove he can handle the outfield with Oklahoma City in 2018. With his consistently high contact rate, Beaty should at least get a major league opportunity as a pinch hitting bench bat. More defensive versatility could lead to a more significant role in 2019.
Beaty’s 2017 preseason rank: n/a
2018 top Dodgers prospects list
|19||Kyle Farmer||C/3B||27.07||MLB||50||50||45||good feel for hit, offensive profile at C, utility||more productive bench bat then starter, age|
|20||Caleb Ferguson||LHSP||21.09||HiA||50||45||50||K production, 3 pitch mix, command, feel for spin||upside more mid rotation, maxed out frame|
|21||Connor Wong||C/2B||21.10||LoA||50||45||50||versatile talent, good athlete for a C, solid power prod||some swing and miss, build not projectable|
|22||Josh Sborz||RHSP/RP||24.03||AA||50||45||50||high floor, command of three pitches, competitive||stuff has backed up this season, likely reliever|
|23||James Marinan||RHSP||19.06||ROK||50||40||55||projectable frame, flashes + SNK, chance for +CH||slurvy BB, more middle than upper rotation upside|
|24||Devin Smeltzer||LHSP||22.08||HiA||50||45||50||high pitchability, 3 pitch mix, throws nothing straight||fringe avg velo, 4th or 5th starter ceiling|
|25||Matt Beaty||1B/LF||24.11||AA||50||45||50||excellent feel for hit, career production, game pop||limited ceiling, future defensive home|
|26||Andrew Sopko||RHSP||23.08||AA||50||50||45||3 pitch mix, pitchability, command, deceptive||velo can be fringy, bottom rotation upside|
|27||Ariel Sandoval||CF/RF||22.05||HiA||50||35||60||livey athlete, raw power, arm, 2nd half production||too raw at plate, noisey set-up, high swing and miss|
|28||Tim Locastro||SS/2B/CF||25.09||AAA||50||45||45||good bat to ball skills, high steal rate, versatile||fringe pop, stretched at SS and CF, upside|
|29||Jake Peter||2B/SS||24.11||AAA||50||45||45||fluid LH swing, arm strength, versatile||utility/bench upside, ? on overall pop|
|30||Yaisel Sierra||RHRP||27.01||AAA||50||40||50||good velo, SL will flash +, quick arm||command, incon. release, FB can be straight|
|31||Wilmer Font||RHSP/RP||27.10||MLB||50||40||50||excellent K production, rise on FB, + SL||age, previous command issues, upside|
|32||Ibandel Isabel||1B||22.09||HiA||50||30||60||++ raw power, physical build, strength||huge swing and miss, poor defender, raw|
|33||Mitchell Hansen||CF/RF||21.11||SS||45||40||55||chance for 5 tools, upside, projectable frame||struggling to break full season, swing and miss|
|34||Errol Robinson||SS||23.06||AA||45||45||50||smooth infield actions, throwing arm, solid athlete||better long speed than SB threat, off. ceiling|
|35||Johan Mieses||RF/CF||22.09||AA||45||40||55||impressive arm, defensive ceiling, raw power||serious swing and miss concerns|
|36||Omar Estevez||2B/SS||20.01||HiA||45||40||55||added defensive versatility, some feel for hit||production stagnated at Hi A, power potential|
|37||Donovan Casey||CF/RF||22.01||SS||45||45||50||twitchy athlete, production, solid bat to ball skills||ceiling more 4th OF than starter, power ceiling|
|38||Edward Paredes||LHRP||31.06||MLB||45||45||45||K production, tough on LHH, + SL||age, one pitch reliever, LOOGY upside|
|39||Rob Segedin||3B/LF||29.05||MLB||45||45||45||hit vs lefties, gets most of tools, avg pop||bench bat upside, limited defender, upside|
|40||Drew Jackson||SS/2B||24.09||AA||45||40||50||elite athlete, + to ++ speed and arm strength||offense improving but limited ceiling, utility upside|
|41||Wills Montgomerie||RHSP/RP||22.10||LoA||45||40||50||spin rate, durable build, flashes + velo and CV||uneven production, command wavers|
|42||Cody Thomas||RF||23.06||LoA||45||35||55||great build, good athlete, chance for above avg pop||still raw, swing and miss concerns|
|43||Jesen Therrien||RHRP||25.00||AAA||45||45||45||SL flashes +, good command and K production||TJ wipes out '18. middle relief/ROOGY upside|
|44||Carlos Rincon||RF||20.06||SS||45||35||55||big raw power, physical upside, bat speed||pretty raw offensively, serious swing and miss|
|45||Kyle Garlick||CF/RF/LF||26.02||AA||45||45||45||productive, feel for hitting, avg pop||4th outfielder profile, age, fringe speed|
|46||Luke Raley||LF/RF||23.06||HiA||45||40||50||muscular build, chance for above avg pop||just avg bat speed, possible swing and miss|
|47||Luis Paz||1B/C||21.09||SS||45||40||50||power production, bat speed, strong build||? on ultimate defensive home, avg athlete|
|48||Riley Ottesen||RHRP||23.05||LoA||45||40||50||good velo, will flash + SL, arm speed||poor college production, likely reliever only|
|49||Rylan Bannon||3B||21.11||SS||45||45||45||college/pro production, good feel for hit, game pop||skills over tools, ceiling, possible utility upside|
|50||Leo Crawford||LHSP||21.01||LoA||45||40||50||solid production, command of 3 pitch mix||fringe velo, not as projectable, likely back end|
|51||Zach Reks||LF/RF||24.05||HiA||45||45||45||feel for hit, on base skills, productive||- power, age, 4th OF profile|
|52||Romer Cuadrado||LF/RF||20.08||SS||45||35||55||excellent frame, chance for + raw power||development lagging behind age, swing and miss|
|53||Ryan Moseley||RHRP||23.06||LoA||45||40||50||chance for ++ snk, big groundball potential||struggles with command, results don't match stuff|
|54||Jared Walker||3B/RF||22.02||LoA||45||40||50||+ size/athleticism combo, chance for hit/power, + arm||raw, buggy whip swing, error prone in IF|
|55||Zach Pop||RHRP||21.06||NA||45||40||50||good life/velo combo on FB, solid build, poss. CH||mid relief profile, SL loses shape in low slot|
|56||Corey Copping||RHRP||24.03||AA||45||45||45||good SL, bulldog mentality, decent production||FB velo avg to fringe, middle relief ceiling|
|57||Shea Spitzbarth||RHRP||23.06||AA||45||45||45||agressive mound demeanor, arm strength, CV||middle relief upside, maxed out frame, size|
|58||Layne Somsen||RHRP||28.10||AA||45||45||45||tough overhead BB, production, athletic||limited mid relief ceiling, age, avg FB velo|
|59||Tony Gonsolin||RHRP||23.11||HiA||45||40||50||arm speed, flashes + SL, solid K production||lithe build, not quite late relief upside|
|60||Alfredo Tavarez||RHSP/RP||20.04||LoA||45||35||50||king sized frame, arm strength, K production||still raw mechanically, repeating arm slot, command|
|61||Aneurys Zabala||RHRP||21.03||LoA||45||40||50||will flash ++ arm strength, some feel for spin||relief profile, command, limited physical upside|
|62||Michael Boyle||LHSP||23.11||HiA||45||40||45||pitch movement, pitchability, 3 pitches||no plus pitch, fringy velo, #5 starter/swingman|
|63||Jefrey Souffront||2B/3B||20.11||ROK||45||35||50||some feel for hit, quick bat, mature plate approach||distance from the majors, build not projectable|
|64||Jacob Amaya||SS/2B||19.02||ROK||45||35||50||chance to stick at SS, good athlete, some feel for hit||distance from majors, offensive ceiling|
|65||Ronny Brito||SS||19.00||SS||45||35||50||infield actions, long athlete, chance to hit||? on overall offensive potential, far from majors|
|66||Logan Crouse||RHRP||21.04||LoA||45||35||50||size, projectability, athleticism in delivery, arm action||Fringy present velo, lots of projection left|
|67||Chris Mathewson||RHSP/RP||21.10||HiA||45||40||45||SNK/SL mix, solid production, command||back of rotation, middle relief upside, fringe velo|
|68||Adam Bray||RHSP||24.11||HiA||45||40||45||durability, feel for spin, good command||fringe starter upside, upside, avg K potential|
|69||Brian Moran||LHRP||29.06||AA||40||40||45||funk in delivery, tough in LHH, K potential||limited ceiling, fringe velo, age|
|70||Nolan Long||RHRP||24.02||HiA||40||40||45||long frame, athletic for size, FB flashes +||long levers to control, command, likely reliever|
|71||Mike Ahmed||1B/3B||26.02||AA||40||40||45||productive in '16, swing plane, avg pop||bat speed, age, limited upside|
|72||Nathan Witt||RHRP||21.11||ROK||40||35||50||good build, projectable, arm strength||project arm, distance from majors, relief upside|
|73||Travis Taijeron||LF/RF||29.02||AAA||40||40||45||good career power production, physical build||age, defensive upside, swing and miss concern|
|74||Jacob Scavuzzo||LF||24.02||AAA||40||40||45||solid tool profile, still a chance for upside||game going backward, struggling hit tool|
|75||Max Gamboa||RHRP||22.04||ROK||40||35||50||excellent arm strength, + to ++ velo, good frame||production does not match stuff, incon. SL|
|76||Dean Kremer||RHRP||22.03||HiA||40||40||45||decent athleticism and frame, K production, sink on FB||was hit hard in HiA. Homer prone, no + pitch|
|77||Moises Perez||2B||20.08||LoA||40||40||45||loose athlete, some feel for hit||offensive ceiling, lower on defensive spectrum|
|78||Isaac Anderson||RHSP/RP||24.07||HiA||40||40||45||versatile arm, some SNK on FB, avg SL||no plus or above avg tool, low ceiling, taxi arm|