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2019 top Dodgers prospects: No. 11-15

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Our review of the Dodgers’ farm system continues with No. 11-15

MLB: Spring Training-Cleveland Indians at Los Angeles Dodgers
Edwin Rios looks primed to make his major league debut at some point in 2019
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

15. Josiah Gray (RHP)

Though many felt the off-season trade of Yasiel Puig, Matt, Kemp and Alex Wood to Cincinnati was a salary dump, the Dodgers did acquire two useful prospects that rank in the top 15 of my list, beginning with Gray. An infield convert to the mound back in college, Gray has proven fairly advanced for someone so new to pitching. While the Dodgers certainly hope he can grow into a mid-rotation role, there’s a chance he may eventually fit best in the bullpen.

A good athlete with natural arm strength, Josiah can easily pump fastballs into the zone in the low 90’s and there’s hope with more refinement and comfort on the mound he can push that velocity even higher. His rock and fire delivery is effortless and repeatable and he controls his running fastball well. He does tend to pitch up in the zone with the pitch, generating more flies than grounders.

Gray’s slider has the chance to be a plus pitch, and with Cincinnati he showed a pretty tight break that he controlled well in the zone. Spring training video shoes a more sweeping like action that he struggled to keep in the strike zone, so it’s safe to suggest the breaking ball is still inconsistent. His lower slot puts him at risk for flattening the pitch out when he loses his release point.

Though drafted out of college last year, Gray was relatively young for his class having just turned 21, and the Dodgers have wisely sent him to Low-A to start the season. Gray needs to further refine his repertoire to stay in a starting role, where his athleticism and advanced control would suit him, but his arm slot and primary two pitch mix could see him convert to relief at some point. He’s still new enough to pitching that a big breakthrough in velocity or stuff is certainly possible, and the Dodgers will give him every opportunity to develop as a starter.

14. Michael Grove (RHP)

A surprise second round pick in 2018, Michael Grove did not throw a pitch in a competitive game after undergoing Tommy John surgery the previous year. Before injury, Grove was one of the more dominant arms in the Big XII, and the West Virginia Mountaineer appears healthy and ready to start his professional career in 2019.

Grove checks a lot of boxes for high end starter, with the physical tools, stuff and performance you look for in an early draft pick. Grove can run his fastball up into the mid 90’s with rising life, and he has adequate command up in the zone.

His slider has a chance to be a pure plus pitch and major strikeout weapon. He throws the pitch very hard, in the upper 80’s, but gets near curveball depth. This was a problem at times with West Virginia because he couldn’t always keep the pitch in the zone, often spiking it before the catcher’s mitt.

Despite some command issues, Grove’s stuff was dynamic enough to dominate college hitters. Grove lost a year of development and production to pad his resume, making him a bit riskier than the typical second round collegiate arm. Additionally, a return to full health from Tommy John surgery isn’t always a certainty.

Grove was announced as a member of the Rancho Cucamonga rotation to start the 2019, which should suggest that his recovery has been as good as could be hoped for, and his spring performance warranted skipping Low A. Grove’s power repertoire and big, athletic frame could push him much higher up this list if he continues on his trajectory of number two starter that he was on prior to injury. Should command issues continue to plague him, Grove has late inning relief potential with two plus pitches. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Dodgers limit his innings in 2019, with his real prospect breakout coming in 2020.

13. Diego Cartaya (C)

The headlining talent from the Dodgers’ 2018 International free agent haul, Cartaya is the youngest player in the Top 30 by almost a year and a half. Cartaya has yet to see his first “professional pitch” stateside, but he did participate in the fall instructional camp, and could be closer to reaching rookie ball than other players in his class. With a pro ready frame and a reputation for contact, Cartaya could be a quick mover both through the minors and on this list.

While the Dodgers have an embarrassment of riches at the catcher position, they were not deterred in signing arguably the best backstop on the international market. Cartaya looks comfortable behind the plate and shows good agility for his size. He has a strong arm now and should quicken his release as he works with the development staff.

Cartaya makes good contact with a smooth stroke from the right side. His bat to ball skills look more advanced than most players his age. Despite an already strong frame, Cartaya’s swing isn’t geared toward power like it could be. He doesn’t get as much from his lower half as he should and his swing path is inconsistent.

Cartaya’s 6’2 200 lbs. frame is already pretty well developed for a 17 year old, so he’s not as projectable physically as some of the prospects in his signing class. Of course given his young age, he may not be done growing, which could put his positional future in question. That, however, is much too speculative, and Cartaya will likely be developed behind the plate as long as he proves capable of playing there.

It’s not out of the question that Cartaya could see some action in the Arizona Rookie League before season’s end, but a more conservative estimate is that he makes his full stateside debut in 2020. Though the system is full of quality catchers, few can match Cartaya’s potential, and he’s not likely to have any obstacles to overcome on the organizational ladder in the early minors.

12. Cristian Santana (3B)

Managing to stay under the radar despite hitting 24 home runs at Rancho Cucamonga, Santana showed enough promise to earn a promotion to Double-A to start 2019. This season could be Santana’s toughest test, as raw hitters with suspect pitch recognition often struggle once they reach the upper levels of the minors. Should Santana make enough contact to let his power play, his plus physical tools would make him an attractive prospect at the hot corner.

Santana has some of the best raw pop and bat speed in the system, but it still comes from a free swinging approach. He will punish fastballs middle in, and has plenty of strength to impact the ball to the right field gap as well. Santana can’t always keep his swing length under control and tends to chase breaking pitches too frequently.

Santana has good athleticism and fluidity for his size, and should capably handle third base at the next level. He has a strong arm and could be tried in an outfield corner if need be. He split his time between third and first last year, but may not hit enough to hold down first as a major league regular.

Santana finished 2018 strong as the California League Playoffs MVP, and is capable of going on runs of big offensive performance as an ambush hitter. At 23 years old, his game is still too unrefined, and his flaws at the plate risk being exposed in the Texas League, where many free swinging players hit a wall. Santana may never hit for significant average, but matching his California League line (.274/.306/.447) as he climbs the upper levels would still make him a useful big leaguer.

The Dodgers are in no rush to find a replacement for Justin Turner at third base, but they are approaching decision time in terms of protecting Santana on the 40 man roster. His raw tools will make him an attractive trade piece if he continues to tap into his plus power in games, and there’s still time for him to refine his approach at the plate to cover up his deficiencies.

11. Edwin Rios (1B/3B/LF)

MLB: Spring Training-Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago White Sox Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Rios missed the first part of the 2018 season with injury, and needed time to catch his footing in Triple-A. While his counting numbers may not reflect it, Rios’ season was largely in line with his previous performances, and he was added to the 40-man roster this offseason. He’s the most ready power bat in the system and he should be prepared to fill in for injuries at the big league level.

Rios is a powerfully built player that overcomes bat speed issues with impressive strength. He’s primarily a pull power hitter, but because he consistently impacts the ball on contact, he’s hit for solid averages despite climbing strikeout rates. Rios is an aggressive hitter that understands his limitations and likes to attack fastballs early in the count, and his approach has been tuned at the upper levels of the minors.

The Dodgers have worked to broaden Rios’ horizon beyond first base, and to his credit, he’s proven willing to handle third base and more recently left field. He’s an average athlete in a big frame, but he’s kept his size and mobility in check to handle tougher positions. While first is his best position, Rios has a strong arm at third base that should translate okay to the outfield.

Rios remains blocked from a full time role with Los Angeles by quality players at third, first, and left field. Rios has long looked like a better fit for the American League where he can also take at bats at DH. Rios is more or less big league ready and could be capable of a 30+ home run season if he found regular at bats with someone. That could make Rios an appealing trade candidate to a rebuilding club in need of corner pop from the left side. Until then, Rios will likely have to wait for an injury with the big league club to make his major league debut in 2019.

2019 Top Prospects 11-104

RK NAME POS OD AGE LEVEL OVERALL RISK CEILING PROS CONS
RK NAME POS OD AGE LEVEL OVERALL RISK CEILING PROS CONS
11 Edwin Rios 3B/1B 24.11 AAA 55 45 55 hand strength, raw power, solid production ? on defensive home, growing K concern
12 Cristian Santana 3B/1B 23.01 HiA 55 40 55 big raw power, good athlete/size combo, bat speed big swing and miss concerns, still raw for age
13 Diego Cartaya C 17.07 NA 50 30 70 good agility/athleticism for C, feel for hit, upside has yet to play statside, body not as projectable
14 Michael Grove RHSP 22.03 ROK 50 40 60 excellent early college production, K potential, + SL returning from TJ, limited exposure, avg command
15 Josiah Gray RHSP/RP 21.03 ROK 50 45 50 quick, easy arm. flashes tight SL and +FB, still upside poss. relief profile, body not projectable
16 Connor Wong C/2B 22.10 HiA 50 45 50 good athlete for C,solid pop and bip profile, utility swing and miss concern, upside might be reserve
17 Josh Sborz RHRP 25.03 AAA 50 45 50 high floor, command of three pitches, competitive moved to full time relief, likely more middle upside
18 Matt Beaty 1B/3B 25.11 AAA 50 45 50 excellent feel for hit, career production, game pop limited ceiling, future defensive home
19 Robinson Ortiz LHSP 19.03 ROK 50 35 60 lively FB, good athlete, feel for pitching, + CH upside more mid rotation than upper, projection
20 Jeren Kendall CF 23.02 HiA 50 35 60 elite athlete, will flash + to ++ speed and defense needs a complete swing rework, low floor
21 Jaime Schultz RHRP 27.09 MLB 50 40 55 good K potential, + CV and SL, flashes + FB poor command, relief only prospect, HR prone
22 Ben Holmes LHSP 27.07 AA 50 45 50 4 pitch mix, pitchability, sneaky FB, durable build upside of bottom rotation or middle relief, age
23 Morgan Cooper RHSP 24.07 ROK 50 40 55 good frame, + BB with BB manipulation, production has yet to throw professional pitch, shoulder ?
24 Cody Thomas RF/LF 24.06 HiA 50 40 55 good athlete, improving fluidity, still upside swing and miss concerns, may not have enough hit
25 Gerardo Carrillo RHRP 20.07 LoA 50 40 55 electric arm, smooth athlete, chance for + SNK undersized, possibly reliever, command
26 Stetson Allie RHRP 28.01 AAA 50 40 50 power arm, chance for ++ FB, tight SL age, still raw on mound, inconsistent command
27 Yadier Alvarez RHRP 23.01 AA 50 35 55 swing and miss SL, consistently + velo, loose arm poor command, FB doesn't miss bats, maturity
28 Brayan Morales CF 23.04 LoA 50 40 50 good athlete, + to ++ speed, chance for + D inconsistent hit tool, thin build, swing and miss
29 Donovan Casey LF/RF/CF 23.01 HiA 50 40 50 twitchy athlete, bat speed, still upside batted ball profile, still raw at plate, power pot
30 Omar Estevez SS/2B 21.01 HiA 50 40 50 improved bip profile, good pop for 2B, swing plane some swing and miss concern, low dev. path
31 Marshall Kasowski RHRP 24.01 AA 45 45 50 big K production, chance for + FB and CV relief prospect, atypical delivery, age for level
32 Jared Walker 3B/1B 23.02 HiA 45 40 55 + game power, good athlete for size, '18 production still swing and miss ?, defensive home
33 Carlos Rincon RF 21.06 HiA 45 35 60 big raw power, physical upside, bat speed pretty raw offensively, serious swing and miss
34 Jacob Amaya SS/2B 20.07 SS 45 40 55 excellent plate approach, developing feel for hit ? on overall power potential, distance from majors
35 Kyle Garlick LF/RF 27.02 AAA 45 45 50 productive, developing above avg game pop 4th outfielder profile, age, fringe speed
36 Adam McCreery LHRP 26.03 MLB 45 45 50 heavy SNK from high slot, tough 1-7 CV, K potential age, command issues, likely middle relief
37 Jordan Sheffield RHRP 23.10 HiA 45 40 55 flashes + FB and sharp downer BB in short stints pro production, likely relief only at this point
38 Deacon Liput SS/2B 22.09 LoA 45 45 50 good defensive actions, athleticism, some pop, hit likely utility ceiling, uneven college production
39 Darien Nunez LHRP 26.00 LoA 45 45 50 good K production, lively FB and downer BB older signee, likely middle relief prospect
40 Guillermo Zuniga RHSP/RP 20.05 ROK 45 40 55 quick arm, good present velo, chance for + CH, SNK SL flashes fringe, profile poss. relief
41 Logan Salow LHRP 24.06 HiA 45 45 50 good pitchability, K potential, tight SL FB velo can be fringe for relief, age for level
42 Braydon Fisher RHSP 18.08 ROK 45 35 55 athletic and projectable, good run and sink on FB, CH inconsistent mechanics, some effort, still raw
43 Starling Heredia LF/RF 20.02 LoA 45 35 55 strong build, big raw power, decent upside serious swing and miss, bat speed concerns
44 Melvin Jimenez RHRP 19.08 LoA 45 35 55 good arm strength, projectable, chance for + SNK long arm action, command ?, likely reliever
45 Errol Robinson SS 24.06 AA 45 45 45 smooth infield actions, throwing arm, solid athlete ? on overall offensive ceiling, limited power
46 Zach Willeman RHRP 23.00 LoA 45 40 50 good arm strength, repeatable delivery, K potential likely reliever only, longer injury history
47 Zach Reks LF/RF 25.05 AA 45 45 45 good feel for hit, production, high floor age for level, more 4th OF profile
48 Jake Peter 2B/SS 25.11 AAA 45 45 45 fluid LH swing, arm strength, versatile utility/bench upside, ? on overall pop
49 Edwin Uceta RHSP 21.03 HiA 45 40 50 loose and fluid athlete, good pitchability for age smallish build, avg career production, ceiling
50 Wills Montgomerie RHSP/RP 23.10 HiA 45 40 50 spin rate, durable build, flashes + velo and CV still struggling w/ command, likely reliever
51 Daniel Corcino RHRP 28.07 AAA 45 45 45 above avg FB and SL combo, solid command middle relief upside, age, no + offering
52 Yaisel Sierra RHRP 27.10 AAA 45 40 50 good velo, SL will flash +, quick arm command, incon. release, FB can be straight
53 Jesen Therrien RHRP 26.00 AAA 45 45 45 SL flashes +, good command and K production TJ wiped out '18. middle relief/ROOGY upside
54 Michael Boyle LHRP 24.11 AA 45 45 45 solid pitchability, velo ticking up, developing SL avg production, stuff profiles better in short relief
55 Bryan Warzek LHSP/RP 22.02 LoA 45 40 50 huge K production, good action on the FB, compete not projectable, might fit best in relief role
56 Leo Crawford LHSP 22.02 HiA 45 40 50 solid production, command of 3 pitch mix fringe velo, not as projectable, likely back end
57 Romer Cuadrado RF/CF 21.07 LoA 45 35 55 good athlete for his size, chance for plus power huge swing and miss concerns, too raw
58 Drew Finley RHSP/RP 22.09 SS 45 40 50 good spin rate, chance for + CU, still upside poor production as pro, fringe velo, command
59 John Rooney LHSP/RP 22.02 LoA 45 45 45 excellent college production, size, 3 pitch mix no outright + pitch, late rotation or mid relief upside
60 Justin Yurchak 1B 22.06 LoA 45 40 50 excellent plate approach, smooth LH swing defensive home, ? on power ceiling, upside
61 Ryan Moseley RHRP 24.06 HiA 45 40 50 chance for ++ snk, big groundball potential command and walk rate, middle relief ceiling
62 Jesus Vargas RHSP/RP 20.07 SS 45 40 50 chance for + FB, tight SL, solid command, upside 3rd pitch underdeveloped, still raw, injury in '18
63 Max Gamboa RHSP 23.04 HiA 45 40 50 excellent arm strength, + to ++ velo, good frame production does not match stuff, incon. SL
64 Shea Spitzbarth RHRP 24.06 AA 45 45 45 agressive mound demeanor, arm strength, CV middle relief upside, maxed out frame, size
65 Andre Scrubb RHRP 24.03 AA 45 40 50 deceptive, solid K production, CV flashes above avg likely middle relief upside, command wavers
66 Layne Somsen RHRP 29.10 AA 45 45 45 tough overhead BB, production, athletic limited mid relief ceiling, age, avg FB velo
67 James Outman CF/RF 21.11 SS 45 40 50 good size, athletic and defensive rep, chance for + pop raw for a collegian, swing and miss concerns
68 Nolan Long RHRP 25.02 AA 45 45 45 improving K production, flashes + SL, big frame middle relief upside, velocity generally avg
69 Alfredo Tavarez RHRP 21.04 LoA 45 35 50 king sized frame, arm strength, K potential still raw mechanically, repeating arm slot, command
70 Andre Jackson RHSP/RP 22.11 LoA 45 35 50 solid athlete, flashes + FB and CH, upside poor command, SL can flatten, poss. reliever
71 Marcus Chiu 2B/3B 22.03 SS 45 35 50 good athlete, still projectable, above avg pop power over hit profile, ultimate defensive home
72 Jefrey Souffront 2B/3B 21.10 SS 45 40 45 some feel for hit, quick bat, mature plate approach distance from the majors, build not projectable
73 Jose Chacin RHSP 22.00 LoA 45 35 50 projectable frame, tight SL, mid rotation upside present FB avg to fringe, K potential
74 Riley Ottesen RHSP/RP 24.05 ROK 45 35 50 good velo, will flash + SL, arm speed poor production, serious command issues
75 Hunter Feduccia C 21.10 LoA 45 40 45 good feel for hit and plate approach, bat plane little on field action due to injury, upside
76 Zach McKinstry 3B/2B/SS 23.11 AA 45 40 45 pretty swing, good defensive versatility, some pop fringe/utility ceiling, age for level, not projectable
77 Jose Martinez RHSP 19.11 ROK 45 35 50 smooth delivery, advanced feel for age, command not as projectable as peers, distance from majors
78 Leonel Valera 3B/SS 19.09 SS 45 35 50 solid bat speed, decent loft in swing, loose athlete lithe build, distance from majors, power ceiling
79 Niko Hulsizer LF/RF 22.02 SS 45 35 50 big raw power, production, good size ? on overall hit tool, some swing and miss concern
80 Sauryn Lao 3B/1B 19.08 ROK 45 35 50 good bat speed, solid frame, power potential slower to develop, ? on defensive home
81 Devin Mann 2B/3B/SS 22.02 LoA 40 40 50 solid athlete, good plate approach, chance for avg pop defensive home, bat speed ?, poss. utility upside
82 Josh McLain CF 22.06 LoA 40 45 45 excelent bat to ball skills, solid defensive rep little power production, 4th OF upside
83 Gregorio Sequera RHRP 21.04 SS 40 40 50 arm strength, some feel for spin, 3 pitches age for level, likely reliever, command
84 Chris Mathewson RHSP/RP 23.10 HiA 40 40 45 SNK/SL mix, developing K production, command back of rotation, middle relief upside, fringe velo
85 Joe Broussard RHRP 29.05 AAA 40 40 45 solid production, flashes tight SL, durable frame limited upside, velo fringe to avg
86 Stephen Kolek RHRP 21.11 LoA 40 40 45 durable build, four pitch mix, some arm strength long relief or swingman profile, avg college prod.
87 Parker Curry RHSP 25.04 HiA 40 40 45 solid career production, good command, competitive no true plus offering, low rotation ceiling
88 Nathan Witt RHRP 22.11 ROK 40 35 50 good build, projectable, arm strength project arm, distance from majors, relief upside
89 Luke Heyer 2B/3B 22.06 LoA 40 40 45 college production, chance for above avg pop, strong avg athlete, ? on defensive home, bat speed
90 Mike Ahmed 3B/SS/1B 27.02 AA 40 40 45 productive in '16, swing plane, avg pop bat speed, age, limited upside
91 Rolando Lebron CF/RF 20.11 ROK 40 40 45 twitchy, good feel for hit, bat speed undersized, old for level, lower upside than peers
92 Brandon Montgomery SS/2B/CF 23.02 HiA 40 40 45 solid bat to ball skills, High A production, utility limited ceiling, poss. 4A player, age for level
93 Dillon Paulson 1B 21.10 SS 40 40 45 chance for above avg pop, strong build bat speed ?, overall hit tool and ceiling
94 Albert Suarez SS/2B 19.04 ROK 40 35 50 fluid athlete, some projectability, rep for D modest production, distance from bigs, ceiling ?
95 Jair Camargo C 19.09 ROK 40 40 45 some defensive potential, has flashing hitting acumen not as projectable, did not take step forward in '18
96 Jeremy Arocho 2B 20.06 SS 40 40 45 good feel for hit, barrel control, decent athlete limited ceiling, ? on power potential
97 Logan Landon CF/LF/RF 26.01 AA 40 40 45 good athlete, playing speed, some feel for hit not projectable, age, low ceiling, 4th OF type
98 Jacob Gilliland RHSP/RP 19.02 ROK 40 35 50 quick arm, chance for above avg FB and CH poor command, CV can be fringy, raw
99 Daniel Robinson LF 22.05 SS 40 40 45 solid feel for hit, all fields approach, productive limited ceiling, 4th OF profile, power ceiling ?
100 Moises Perez 2B 21.08 LoA 40 40 45 loose athlete, some feel for hit offensive ceiling, lower on defensive spectrum
101 Yeison Cespedes RHRP 21.01 SS 40 35 50 quick arm, good sink on FB, tight SL a little behind on age curve, likely relief only
102 Juan Morillo RHSP/RP 20.00 ROK 40 35 50 projectable build, loose arm, solid K production distance from majors, command, still raw
103 Jerming Rosario RHSP 16.11 NA 40 30 50 projectable, athletic, arm speed, dev. 3 pitch mix very raw, effort in delivery, inconsistent release
104 Ismael Alcantara RF 20.06 ROK 40 30 50 good build, athletic, leverage in swing, power potential old for level, ? on overall hit tool, distance from bigs