Quantity is the theme of this year’s Dodgers top prospect list, as the 2018 version is the longest to date, coming in at 79 names before the winter meetings. Though the system is deeper today than at any other point I’ve been covering the organization, the quality has also thinned out at the top, as only seven players graded out at 60 or better. Still, the Dodgers’ system seemingly has an answer for almost any need that could arise in 2018, and should give the front office plenty of ammunition to improve the major league roster during the winter meetings through the next trade deadline.
If you are new to reading my prospect lists, the number ranking is less important than the tier grade that a player finds himself in (grades are based on the 20-80 scouting scale, with 45 my baseline for MLB acceptability). That may be more true this year than in previous years, as players ranked 46-62 are tightly bound and could almost be randomly shuffled and the ranking would look reasonable. Players are graded in terms of their potential ceiling at the major league level, and the amount of risk (or degree) of likelihood that player reaches the major leagues in a relevant role. Naturally, younger and players further from the big leagues will likely carry more risk (lower score) which creates a gap between their present and future value, which tends to keep them lower in the rankings.
With each player I provide a quick pro and con blurb in relation to their tools, skills, or other relevant information. You will also find their projected defensive home or pitching role, opening day age, and previous minor league level. Lastly, each player’s name on the list will ink out to a YouTube video that you can view to analyze the player yourself. Until the prospect countdown reaches one, this is a living list, so any players moved or acquired during the off-season will be accounted for in the rankings.
Like previous years, I only rank players that I have been able to watch in person or have a comfortable enough impression of the player’s tools from watching film. The often leaves players off my list that would otherwise make other media lists built from speaking with scouts. This year, the most notable omission is Melvin Jimenez, whose age and performance in Low-A could almost put him in the top 30 on their own, but a lack of exposure leaves me guessing at his true value.
So, feel free to scroll down to the list if you just want to see the rankings of players outside the top 30, otherwise, here are a few observations on noteworthy players in this release:
This portion of the list feels deep in outfielders struggling to make consistent contact and power armed relievers, and the latter should come as no surprise given the emphasis placed on pen arms in the 2017 draft. Riley Ottesen of Utah is the highest ranked from this group on the strength of his strong K peripherals and power arm. Ottesen will likely continue to start in the minors to get consistent work, but his hard fastball and wipeout slider combo could make him a potential late reliever.
Mitchell Hansen and Johan Mieses have both slipped on the list since last year’s rankings, with both seemingly hitting a wall at their respective levels. Hansen has shown slow but steady improvement and will get another go at Low-A Great Lakes in 2018. He has five at least average tools and could still develop into a solid starting corner outfielder. Mieses is a terrific defender with range and a plus arm, but he failed to make contact often enough in Double-A Tulsa to tap into his plus raw power consistently. Both face longer odds of reaching the majors, but have valuable secondary tools if they can improve at the plate.
Tulsa’s trio of shortstops just missed the top 30, but all three bare watching as potential big leaguers. Errol Robinson ranks the highest thanks to being the most natural fit at short. Robinson has soft hands, smooth footwork, and quick first step which allow him to extend his range deep behind second base. His offense might be no better than fringe average, but he put the ball in play consistently enough to factor for the Drillers. Drew Jackson is the twitchiest athlete and might also have the strongest arm. His actions aren’t the most natural and he often differed to Robinson at short, with Jackson playing second base for Tulsa. A plus runner, Jackson must rely on his speed to produce at all offensively. Erick Mejia played third almost exclusively down the stretch, but his best path to the majors could be in a utility role. He isn’t the defender that Robinson is, or the athlete that Jackson is, but Mejia might have the most value at the plate, with a solid feel for hit and sneaky pull power to right.
The friendly offensive environs in the Pioneer League often make hitters for Ogden look better than they otherwise would appear, but the jump to Great Lakes is frequently a humbling experience. Two players that could see significant jumps a year from now are likely to face this test in 2018. Romer Cuadrado has a fairly common outfield profile for the Dodgers in the low minors. Cuadrado has a projectable frame and raw power, but will need to curb his strikeouts to have success in a league that will punish hitters with suppressed power. Infielder Jeffrey Souffront might be better equipped to handle the jump, with a mature plate approach and better feel for hit. Souffront will need to still answer questions about his upside, as he lacks the projectability of Cuadrado, and might peak in a utility role.
Though he won’t pitch next season, the Dodgers did well in signing Jesen Therrien in minor league free agency. Therrien looks like the right handed version of Edward Paredes and could eventually carve out a right handed/ground ball specialist role in middle relief. Though he lacks major league arm strength, Brian Moran had enough funk in his delivery and command to keep left handers off balance all year in Tulsa, and could fill a specialist role for someone at the major league level in 2018.
2018 top Dodgers prospects list (No. 31-78)
|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|