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Where Dodgers top prospects began the 2023 season

MLB: Spring Training-Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The minor league season is upon us. Triple-A Oklahoma City has already played five games, Double-A Tulsa and Low-A Rancho Cucamonga have their first game on Thursday night, and High-A Great Lakes opens up on Friday.

The roster for all four teams are out, so let’s look at where various top Dodgers prospects will begin their 2023 season.

Going by national preseason rankings by Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, ESPN, FanGraphs, The Athletic, and MLB Pipeline, the Dodgers had 11 players named to at least one top-100 list across the sport. Three more players were rated a top-10 prospect in the Dodgers system on at least one list.

Three players opened in the big leagues, albeit Ryan Pepiot is on the injured list. Miguel Vargas and James Outman both started on opening day.

Two more — Gavin Stone and Michael Busch — started in Triple-A, and Bobby Miller will join them in Oklahoma City once he’s done building up his pitch count in Arizona.

Nick Nastrini is also in Arizona building up his pitch count, and is expected to pitch for Double-A Tulsa soon. Nastrini went from pitching 55⅓ innings between UCLA and the minors in 2021 to 116⅔ last season. Similarly, Miller went from 66⅓ innings in 2021 to 112⅓ in 2022. Both were slow-played during spring training.

Of these 14 players, all but two are or will be in Double-A or higher. Catcher Dalton Rushing, last year’s top draft pick who tore up the California League in 28 games, opens this year with High-A Great Lakes.

Outfielder Josue De Paula, who doesn’t turn 18 until May, will start 2023 in extended spring training at Camelback Ranch. He was mentioned at Baseball America as one of several players who turned heads on the backfields in spring training.

“That performance sparked whispers that the Dodgers might have another stud on their hands. Scouts this spring saw a potential impact player who combines size and strength with a strong knowledge of the strike zone and uses both traits to make hard contact to all fields,” Kyle Glaser wrote. “De Paula plays center field for now but might eventually move to a corner if he gets bigger. His potentially plus hit and power tools would make that transition seamless.”

Where Dodgers top prospects start in 2023

Player Pos Age On 40-man? Start of 2023 Top-100 lists Dodgers top-10s
Player Pos Age On 40-man? Start of 2023 Top-100 lists Dodgers top-10s
Diego Cartaya C 21 Yes Double-A 6x (avg. 18th) 6x (all 1st)
Bobby Miller RHP 24 No Camelback Ranch 6x (avg. 26th) 6x (five 2nd)
Miguel Vargas 3B 23 Yes MLB 6x (avg. 43rd) 6x (one 2nd)
Gavin Stone RHP 24 No Triple-A 6x (avg. 53rd) 6x (one 3rd)
Michael Busch 2B 25 Yes Triple-A 5x (high 46th) 6x (one 3rd)
Andy Pages OF 22 Yes Double-A 4x (high 58th) 6x (one 5th)
Dalton Rushing C 22 No High-A 3x (high 56th) 5x (two 5th)
Ryan Pepiot RHP 25 Yes MLB 2x (high 55th) 3x (high 5th)
Nick Nastrini RHP 23 No Camelback Ranch BP (54th) 3x (high 6th)
Nick Frasso RHP 24 No Double-A BP (79th) 2x (high 7th)
James Outman OF 26 Yes MLB Athletic (89th) 4x (high 8th)
River Ryan RHP 24 No Double-A n/a 2x (high 9th)
Josue De Paula OF 18 No Ext. spring training n/a FanGraphs (7th)
Emmet Sheehan RHP 23 No Double-A n/a ESPN (10th)