Five Dodgers were ranked in the top 100 prospects in MLB according to the list by ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel released on Wednesday.
The list is instructive for a few reasons, and serves as something of a Rorschach Test for the readers. On one hand, the Dodgers have only five players in the top 100, fewer than their totals on other national lists at Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, MLB Pipeline, and The Athletic. However, those five prospects have the Dodgers tied for fourth-most by any MLB team, behind only the Orioles (nine players), Guardians (seven), and Diamondbacks (six).
McDaniel also splits his list into tiers based on future value, as rated on the 20-to-80 scouting scale. The top two Dodgers prospects at ESPN are catcher Diego Cartaya at 22nd overall and pitcher Bobby Miller 25th. Both are in the 55-future-value tier. McDaniel’s top tier is 65 future value, a group populated only by Orioles third baseman Gunnar Henderson (No. 1 overall) and D-backs outfielder Corbin Carroll.
Miguel Vargas is rated 80th overall by McDaniel, which is 41 spots lower than Vargas’ next-lowest ranking so far this year. Vargas was not ranked by McDaniel in the top 100 last year either, so perhaps the relatively-low ranking isn’t all that surprising.
McDaniel rates Vargas’ defense as below average at third base and second base, but average at first base and in both outfield corners. But the bat plays, especially after Vargas hit .304/.404/.511 with 32 doubles, 17 home runs, and a 129 wRC+ in Triple-A Oklahoma City at age 22 last year.
“Vargas is big-league-ready with plus bat control, plus pitch selection and 41 homers over the past two seasons — even though his power will probably play closer to average at the big league level,” McDaniel wrote. “He’s probably not a star but he’s going to be a useful big leaguer for a while, and maybe a really good one.”
Gavin Stone was ranked by McDaniel as the No. 55 prospect is right in line with the pitcher’s other rankings, which average 51st at the five national top-100 prospect lists released so far.
Catcher Dalton Rushing, the Dodgers’ top 2022 draft pick at No. 40 overall in the second round, was rated 98th overall by McDaniel, who called the Louisville product “the biggest post-draft riser in baseball.” Rushing also made top-100 lists at both Baseball Prospectus (56th) and The Athletic (No. 62).
It’s worth nothing that Stone, Vargas, and Rushing all were in the 50-future-value tier, a group that comprised the final 59 players in the top 100. On the 20-to-80 scouting scale, a 50 rating is an average major league player, which is still incredibly valuable.
There were also 29 other players outside of the top-100 list that McDaniel also rated as a 50 future value, a group that included Dodgers second baseman Michael Busch.