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Dodgers Prospects: Midseason rankings update

Alex Verdugo graduates and Gavin Lux tops the list

MLB: Spring Training-Los Angeles Dodgers at Cleveland Indians
Gavin Lux has hit his way to the top of the mid-season prospect rankings.
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into the 2019 trade deadline, the Dodgers’ farm system is as deep and healthy as any time in the Andrew Friedman era. A lack of trades and maneuvers at the end of Spring Training this season left the upper levels a little full, and the Dodgers need to make a few decisions on players to prevent overcrowding at key positions. While the top tiers (grade 60 and above) aren’t quite back to the levels of 2017, there are plenty of young players working their way up the lower rungs that show potential for breakout in the next year.

The Dodgers should have enough talent in their system to make any trade they deem fit at the deadline, including blockbusters for a major arm. Because of their success in filling their depth from within, the needs of the parent club are largely covered, outside of high end bullpen support.

This year’s midseason update has 34 names, thanks largely to four draft picks and one international signee entering the organization over the last few weeks. Michael Busch and Jimmy Lewis just signed in time to make the list, leaving no expected draft signees off the rankings. Two names currently stand out as absent, though Miguel Vargas would likely have made the 50 grade tier to hit this list. Vargas and Ogden outfielder Andy Pages are having big years but evaluating info is still sparse on the pair, leaving them unranked.

So as you look through the list, you will notice the disappearance of the pros and cons section, in favor of a one sentence “status” blurb. I believe this will make the rankings easier to read and hopefully will provide a “fresher” take on each prospect.

2019 Mid-Season Prospect Rankings

1 Gavin Lux SS 21.07 AAA 70 60 65 The "safe" HS shortstop has developed himself into a true five tool talent with table setting qualities.
2 Will Smith C/3B 24.03 AAA 65 55 60 Having exercised his AAA demons, Smith is ready to bring his plus pop and defensive skills to LA
3 Dustin May RHSP 21.10 AAA 65 50 60 Improved cutter gives him a better foil for his hard sinker, May's upside looking like strike throwing #2/3.
4 Keibert Ruiz C 20.11 AA 65 50 60 He's improved his splits and remains tough to whiff, but Ruiz's offensive approach remains a work in progress.
5 Tony Gonsolin RHSP 24.10 AA 60 55 55 Gonsolin has a kitchen sink arsenal with plus velo, but he's struggled to stay off injured list this season.
6 Dennis Santana RHSP/RP 23.02 AAA 60 50 60 Stuff wasn't all the way back to start the year, and AAA offense has been unkind, but he's still missing bats.
7 DJ Peters CF/RF 23.07 AAA 60 40 70 More tooled up than the typical three true outcome player, Peters has raw size/athleticism combo.
8 Kody Hoese 3B 21.11 ROK 55 50 55 Hoese had a breakout junior year at Tulane, displaying plus to double plus pull power and a solid hit tool.
9 Jeter Downs SS/2B 20.11 HiA 55 45 60 Downs has enjoyed the offensive bump of the Cal League, showing promise as a middle infielder with pop.
10 Mitchell White RHSP/RP 24.06 AAA 55 50 55 Though his fastball, cutter, curve combo might play up in relief, White has reached AAA as a starter.
11 Diego Cartaya C 17.10 ROK 55 35 70 Polished for his age, Cartaya has reached stateside ball before turning 18, and has held his own.
12 Josiah Gray RHSP/RP 21.06 HiA 55 45 55 Gray is breezing through both A levels, where his stuff is up a tick and his control has been impressive.
13 Cristian Santana 3B/1B 22.04 AA 55 45 55 Santana's adjusted his approach for more contact at AA level, losing some pop, but avoiding jump in whiffs.
14 Edwin Rios 3B/LF 25.02 AAA 55 45 55 Rios has whiffed far too much to take advantage of the AAA offensive surge, but did make his MLB debut.
15 Michael Busch 2B/1B 21.08 NA 50 50 55 Busch fits the Dodgers' offensive approach, and is a sneaky enough athlete to avoid sticking to first base.
16 Michael Grove RHSP 22.06 HiA 50 40 60 The Dodgers have eased Grove back into pitching after surgery, but the strikeout numbers are impressive.
17 Niko Hulsizer LF/RF 22.05 HiA 50 40 60 Hulsizer's college power prowess has translated smoothly to the pro game, with loud production in Low A.
18 Jimmy Lewis RHSP 18.08 NA 50 40 60 Highly projectable with pitchability, Lewis hopes to follow Dustin May as a slender Texan with arm strength.
19 Devin Mann 2B/3B/SS 22.05 HiA 50 45 55 Mann looks like the latest success story of the Dodger hitting approach, flashing more power in high A.
20 Omar Estevez SS/2B 21.04 AA 50 45 50 A promotion to AA has produced Estevez's best season to date, flashing a solid hit tool and infield defense.
21 Connor Wong C/2B 23.01 HiA 50 45 50 Wong has basically mirrored his '18 season at the same level, and he'll need to cut the K's before reaching AA.
22 Josh Sborz RHRP 25.06 AAA 50 45 50 Sborz made his big league debut in first half, and his command has helped him navigate tough AAA.
23 Luis Rodriguez CF/RF 16.10 NA 50 35 60 Dodgers top '19 international signee, Rodriguez looks to have a well rounded tool kit, smooth swing, and pop.
24 Robinson Ortiz LHSP 19.06 LoA 50 35 60 Ortiz has held his own as a teenager in Low A, and he's even had a bump in velo from last season.
25 Cody Thomas RF/LF 24.09 AA 50 40 55 He's needed time to develop as a former two sport star, but Thomas is polishing his raw tools in AA.
26 Jordan Sheffield RHRP 24.01 AA 50 40 55 A move to the pen has revived Sheffield's prospect status, posting gaudy strikeout numbers with plus stuff.
27 Zach Reks LF/RF 25.08 AAA 50 45 50 Total buy in to the Dodgers hitting plan has led to Reks power breakout while hit tool remains solid.
28 Jack Little RHSP/RP 21.06 LoA 50 45 50 The first '19 draftee in Low A, Little stood out as Stanford's closer but could reach #3 ceiling in rotation.
29 Jaime Schultz RHRP 28.00 AAA 50 40 55 He's been solid despite the AAA offensive surge and should warrant a big league look in second half.
30 Gerardo Carrillo RHRP 20.09 HiA 50 40 55 Surprisingly bumped to High A to start the year, Carrillo has flashed potential but has struggled to throw strikes.
31 Donovan Casey LF/RF/CF 23.04 HiA 50 45 50 Dodgers have helped Casey tap into his pop, giving him now true five tool potential with plus speed.
32 Edwin Uceta RHSP 21.06 AA 50 45 50 Uceta is a good athlete with riding life on his low slot fastball, but he needs a velo uptick to avoid swing role.
33 Jeren Kendall CF 23.05 HiA 50 35 60 Kendall's swing actually looks better this year, but you wonder if his pitch recognition will ever come around.
34 Stetson Allie RHRP 28.03 AAA 50 40 50 Allie was not able to ride his Spring Training moment into AAA, where he's back to fighting his command.