Dodgers catcher Keibert Ruiz is a preseason top-100 prospect in baseball for a fourth straight year, checking in at No. 53 on Baseball America’s preseason rankings for 2021, which were released on Monday. Ruiz, pitcher Josiah Gray (ranked 68th), and second baseman Michael Busch (No. 87) give the Dodgers three players in the top 100.
Just four weeks after his 22nd birthday, the switch-hitting Ruiz made his major league debut with the Dodgers, hitting a home run in his first major league at-bat on August 16 in Anaheim. He started two games behind the plate for the Dodgers, but otherwise spent the bulk of his 2020 season at the team’s alternate training site at USC.
Says Baseball America: “The Dodgers already have one of the best young catchers in the game in Will Smith. Now they have the well-rounded Ruiz coming right behind him.”
Ruiz was ranked No. 81 by BA prior the 2020 season. This marks his fourth consecutive year in the top 100, after getting ranked 40th before the 2018 season and 20th in 2019.
Gray, who turned 23 in December, is up from No. 84 last year. The right-hander, acquired from the Reds in the Yasiel Puig/Matt Kemp/Alex Wood/Homer Bailey accounting maneuver in December 2018, had a stellar 2019 that saw him climb two levels. Gray posted a 2.28 ERA in 26 games, with an organization-best 147 strikeouts against only 31 walks in 130 innings, and was named the Dodgers’ minor league pitcher of the year.
Gray was ranked ahead of Ruiz as the Dodgers’ top prospect by both Baseball Prospectus and FanGraphs, so it will be interesting to see how he and Ruiz fare in those national lists once they are released.
Busch, a Dodgers’ first-round pick in 2019 who was ranked as the club’s third-best prospect this year in Baseball America’s team-specific lists, made his first BA top-100 list.
From Baseball America: “Busch earned raves in instructional league for his bat. If he can stick up the middle, he could rise further up this list.”
Red Sox shortstop Jeter Downs, who was traded by the Dodgers last February in the Mookie Betts deal, checks in as the No. 71 prospect per BA.
This is the first time the Dodgers haven’t had a preseason top-50 prospect at Baseball America since 2012. They have their fewest top-100 prospects since 2013, and this ends a six-year run of the Dodgers having at least one top-20 prospect. But that follows a year that saw five top-100 prospects play in the majors for the World Series winners. Dustin May (ranked 20th prior to 2020) and Tony Gonsolin (No. 82) accounted for 40 percent of the Dodgers starting rotation, and those two along with Brusdar Graterol (No. 60) pitched meaningful postseason innings.
Dodgers recent prospects in Baseball America top 100
|Year||Top 50||Top 100||Prospects|
|Year||Top 50||Top 100||Prospects|
|2021||0||3||Ruiz (53), Gray (68), Busch (87)|
|2020||2||7||Lux (4), May (20), Graterol (60), Ruiz (81), Gonsolin (82), Gray (84), Cartaya (97)|
|2019||3||5||Ruiz (20), Verdugo (35), Lux (40), May (82), Smith (95)|
|2018||3||4||Buehler (13), Verdugo (37), Ruiz (40), White (69)|
|2017||2||4||Bellinger (7), Alvarez (26), Verdugo (58), Calhoun (92)|
|2016||4||7||Seager (1), Urías (4), De Leon (23), Maeda (50), Bellinger (54), Holmes (72), Verdugo (100)|
|2015||3||4||Seager (5), Pederson (8), Urías (10), Holmes (74)|
|2014||2||4||Pederson (34), Seager (37), Urías (51), Lee (95)|
|2013||2||2||Ryu (42), Puig (47)|
|2012||0||3||Lee (62), Webster (95), Eovaldi (96)|
|2011||1||3||Gordon (26), Lee (89) De La Rosa (90)|
|2010||2||2||Gordon (46), Withrow (48)|