When Baseball America releases their Top 100 Prospect List this Wednesday, the Dodgers will be well represented with five players making the cut. While we don’t have the names or the rankings of the players involved, it’s fair to speculate that Will Smith, Dustin May, Gavin Lux, Alex Verdugo, and Keibert Ruiz will be involved after headlining Baseball America’s top ten list for the Dodger organization.
The top question for most fans will be how high Ruiz reaches in the rankings. Baseball America is much higher on the young catcher than I am, but Ruiz did not set the Texas League on fire like you would expect from a blue chip prospect. He more than held his own, and teases with enough potential to likely rank in the 20-30 range.
The other likely top fifty player is major league ready Alex Verdugo. The outfielder saw time in the Los Angeles outfield in 2018 and with the trades of Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig (and the rumored trade talks for Joc Pederson), the deck is currently cleared for Verdugo to grab regular time in 2019. Verdugo makes easy contact but still needs more maturity to his game to reach his full potential. I would expect Verdugo to rank between 25 and 35.
After Verdugo and Ruiz, Gavin Lux has the next best shot at cracking the top 50. He’s a high ceiling prep prospect that had a big breakout offensively in 2018, but not everyone is convinced he will stay at shortstop. While I think he can handle the position just fine, I think questions on his defensive home will likely keep him just outside the top 50 prospects, landing somewhere between 50-60.
Dustin May had a similar breakout to Lux, cruising through both the California and Texas League. May’s results are a little ahead of his stuff right now, and he has a ways to go to fill out his long, slender 6’6 frame. If he can pitch more frequently at the upper reaches of his velocity band in 2019, he’ll move well up this list, but for now I expect him to fall somewhere in the 70’s.
Lastly, Will Smith will likely slide into one of the final spots of Baseball America’s top 100 list. Smith had a poor end of season showing in Oklahoma City and might be seen more for his defense behind the plate and his positional utility than for his offensive game. However, I’m a big fan of Smith and believe that Smith is likely rated more highly in this organization than he would be elsewhere. He’ll be somewhere in the 90’s for Baseball America, but I’d consider Smith a sleeper on the national stage, and barring any movement with JT Realmuto coming to Los Angeles, Smith could be a factor for the Dodgers in 2019.