Despite the Dodgers being one of the better drafting teams in baseball, as highlighted in my draft steals article, there are always going to be some busts. These serve as cautionary tales for fans that no matter where a player is selected, there’s still the possibility that they won’t pan out as a prospect. Down below we are going to review three of the Dodgers biggest busts over the past decade.
CF - Jeren Kendall - 2017 - round 1, pick 23 (retired)
Current age: 27
Highest level in the minors: Double-A (latest 2022)
Despite being a first-round pick, Kendall was never a truly hyped prospect. The highest he sat in the team’s top 30 prospects on MLB Pipeline was seventh in 2018 and he was off the list entirely by 2020. He had an okay debut season hitting .253 with 45 strikeouts in 162 at-bats, but that the best it was going to get for his career. He struggled badly with strikeouts up until his retirement and his lifetime OPS in the minors was a paltry .693 with it dipping to .643 in his two years in Double-A. The appeal in Kendall did mainly come from his glove and speed with the hopes he’d become a Gold Glove center fielder, but he never hit well enough to see out his potential in those areas. He retired in December.
3B - Kody Hoese - 2019 - round 1, pick 25
Current age: 25
Highest level in the minors: Double-A (latest 2023)
Not too long-ago Hoese was viewed as the potential long term third baseman for the Dodgers. In his pro debut season, he posted a combined triple slash line .299/.380/.483 with five homers across 199 at-bats. After that 2019 season, he just never found his form again though. He lost his 2020 season of development due to the lost minor league season, and it showed. In 2021 he hit just .196/.247/.250, and last year he hit just .234/.282/.345. His strikeout rate (24.8 percent) wasn’t bad last season with 80 punchouts across 323 plate appearances, but it’s a far cry from the 25 he had across 171 PA (14.6 percent) in 2019.
This year, Hoese cut down on his strikeout rate (18.7 percent), but is hitting .252/.282/.371 in his third season with Double-A Tulsa
RHP - Grant Holmes - 2014 - round 1, pick 22
Current age: 27
Highest level in the minors: Triple-A (latest 2023)
Drafted out of high school, was in High-A two years later when he was traded to the Athletics in 2016 as part of the Rich Hill deal. One could argue that Holmes therefore doesn’t qualify as a bust, but I think he is one because the Dodgers were his drafting team and he never panned out as a prospect. After originally being selected as a starter, he’s transitioned to the bullpen over the past few years, but he’s still been plagued by walks. Since 2015 he’s posted one season with a walk rate below three per nine innings. He has some swing-and-miss stuff as highlighted by his 31.9-percent strikeout rate this year for Triple-A Gwinnett in Atlanta’s system, but he hasn’t been able to reach the majors yet.