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Michael Busch, Bobby Miller among four Dodgers in FanGraphs top 100 prospects

Dodgers pitcher Bobby Miller pitches for the Glendale Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League in 2021.
Dodgers pitcher Bobby Miller pitches for the Glendale Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League in 2021.
Photo by Norm Hall/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Four Dodgers were listed among the top 100 prospects in MLB entering 2022 by the FanGraphs prospect team of Eric Longenhagen, Kevin Goldstein, and Tess Taruskin, released on Wednesday.

If you’re keeping score at home, the Dodgers got six prospects listed in the top 100 at The Athletic, five prospects at Baseball America and ESPN, and four prospects at both Baseball Prospectus and FanGraphs. MLB Pipeline hasn’t yet unveiled their top 100 list for 2022.

While it’s fun to focus on ordinal rankings, the devil is in the details. Why is someone ranked where they are? What are their strengths and weaknesses?

On the FanGraphs list, catcher Diego Cartaya was the top-ranked Dodgers prospect, ranked at No. 37. He’s been the top-ranked prospect on the team in four of the five national lists so far, so this isn’t a surprise.

But let’s focus on a pair of Dodgers in the final quarter of this FanGraphs list.

Michael Busch kept plugging along, hitting .267/.386/.484 with 20 home runs in Double-A Tulsa in 2021, which was the first full season of games for the 2019 first-round draft pick. He continues to show up on the back half of top-100 lists, just like last year. FanGraphs ranks Busch as No. 79 this year.

He played first base and left field in college at North Carolina, but in the minors he’s been at second base, with some first base mixed in. But it’s not his glove that will get Busch to the majors.

“Busch is not a good defensive player. Scouts who have had an extended look at him think he could eventually be passable at second base, but definitely not good, much like Tommy La Stella,” the FanGraphs prospect team said. “But most importantly, Busch really hits, and is probably an everyday player even if he ends up mostly playing left field. He’s a well-rounded offensive player and high-probability big league regular.”

It’s not out of the question that Busch, who isn’t on the 40-man roster, could reach the major leagues later this season. The same goes for Bobby Miller, the Dodgers’ first-round pick out of Louisville in 2020.

During the season-ending press conference at Dodger Stadium on October 27, team president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman mentioned Miller as part of the next group of Dodgers pitchers set to impact the majors.

“We’ve got a really good group of young starting pitchers coming, with Mitch White and Andre Jackson, who we say some of this year,” Friedman said. “Bobby Miller, Ryan Pepiot, Landon Knack, who will all be upper levels or major leagues when we start the year, gives us a really strong foundation of depth.”

Miller only pitched three games in Double-A last year after getting promoted from High-A Great Lakes. He missed time with an oblique injury, and later added some innings in the Arizona Fall League.

How quickly Miller reaches the majors will depend on the Dodgers’ needs, but also on his performance.

Says FanGraphs: “Miller clearly has the stuff and control to pitch in the big leagues, but there is too much reliever risk for him to rank with the arms on this list who have a much better chance to remain starters throughout their development.”

To date, seven Dodgers have been listed in various top 100 lists. Cartaya and Miller have been listed by all five major national outlets so far, while Busch and outfielder Andy Pages (No. 86 on FanGraphs’ list) have popped up on four lists.

Dodgers ranked in 2022 top-100 prospect lists

Prospect Pos Age Baseball America Baseball Prospectus The Athletic ESPN FanGraphs MLB Pipeline
Prospect Pos Age Baseball America Baseball Prospectus The Athletic ESPN FanGraphs MLB Pipeline
Diego Cartaya C 20 23 55 13 26 37 28
Bobby Miller RHP 23 38 63 50 61 94 57
Miguel Vargas 3B 22 40 36 62 94
Michael Busch 2B 24 76 53 87 79 67
Andy Pages OF 21 68 76 68 86 68
Ryan Pepiot RHP 24 99 59
Eddys Leonard 2B/SS/OF 21 98
Age as of June 30, 2022