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)
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
|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|