One thing you notice following the Dodgers’ prospects over the years is that they’re always on time. Some teams are slow to promote their players. Some teams are quick. Los Angeles is typically right on time.

 

1. 3B Miguel Vargas | 23 | MLB | 2022

Over the years, I’ve read a lot of reports that downplay the physicality Vargas brings to the game as a 6’3” 205 lb right handed hitter with baseball bloodlines. He’s not some contact-only, right-center slap-hitter and he’s not a mess on defense. He’s been underrated for a long time in prospect places, and although he slashed just .170/.200/.255 in parts of 18 major league games, his time is coming. The plate skills have always been elite. He’s struck out somewhere between 8.1 percent and 26 percent in all his extended stays: seven levels across four seasons. He’s settled in around 15 percent the past two seasons in Double-A and Triple-A. In 113 AAA games, he walked 71 times and struck out 75, slashing .304/.404/.511 with 17 home runs and 16 stolen bases. The team could bring Justin Turner back for another year or so, but that’s probably not the right play for where they’re at as an organization. They don’t need Turner to make the playoffs or probably even to win the division. Vargas turned 23 last week. There’s no reason for him to play any more minor league games.

 

2. C Diego Cartaya | 21 | A+ | 2024

It’s always possible to put Diego before the horse when evaluating a catching prospect for fantasy baseball. Don’t have a cow man but I’ll always think of Joey Bart in this way. As good as Cartaya can be, the Dodgers have a catcher who is very good at defense. Teams don’t just move away from those guys. The universal designated hitters changes the math quite a bit for a guy like Cartaya, which is nice because Freddie Freeman certainly isn’t looking to platoon at first base. At 6’3” 219 lbs, Cartaya is already bringing double-plus power and solid plate skills. In 63 games as a 20-year-old at High-A, he produced a 138 wRC+ thanks to 13 home runs and a 14.2 percent walk rate. If you map forward another year like last, he’ll be 21 in Triple-A this fall and could be part of the postseason roster.

 

3. RHP Gavin Stone | 24 | AAA | 2023

The departure of Tyler Anderson could leave Ryan Pepiot, Gavin Stone, Bobby Miller, Michael Grove and Andre Jackson to battle through spring for the fifth starter spot. Or the Dodgers could just grab a new Tyler Anderson. Or they could bring back Andrew Heaney, who was unsurprisingly dominant as a Dodger but might have fewer suitors than Anderson given the inconsistent health piece. As you can see by the rankings, I favor Stone, Gavin Stone. He’s coming off a preposterous season covering three levels with a 1.48 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. Change-up dominant arms with plus command can cruise through the minors and get corrected at the highest level, but Stone has enough fastball and enough slider to tunnel with that killer cambio. Most importantly, he’s a good pitcher. Knows what he’s doing out there. He struck out a lot of guys but realizes you don’t have to strike everyone out. His best skill as a pro has probably been home run suppression, which I tend to think is generally underrated. He’s allowed ten of them in 212.2 professional innings with just three of those coming in the 121.2 innings he threw this year.

 

4. OF James Outman | 25 | MLB | 2022

Don’t be surprised if Outman is part of the everyday lineup early next season. He hit 32 home runs and stole 13 bases in 129 games across three levels. Going back to 2018, Outman has been significantly better than league average at every level. The Dodgers have brought him up themselves after selecting him in the 7th round of the 2018 draft. You will not see him ranked this high on their prospect list anywhere else. He’s one of the reasons I exist in this form on the internet. Maybe this will be wrong. Too high for a player everyone scouts as a tweener in the public facing arena. He’s a 40 FV on Fangraphs. But the Dodgers like him. Have liked him for half a decade and he’s never disappointed them. And the Dodgers are good at this. Plus, Outman just looks good on the field. Kind of a Seth Brown-ish feel to me in the sense that I wrote very similar things about him. Much better athlete than the public-facing scouting reports indicate. I think Outman is quite a bit better than Brown, who has been four percent and 14 percent better than a league average hitter in his two full seasons playing in an empty lineup in a pitching-heavy division.

 

5. C Dalton Rushing | 22 | A | 2025

Nobody hit better than Dalton Rushing last year. The club’s first pick in 2022 at 40th overall, Rushing had been blocked by Henry Davis at Louisville and didn’t play full time until his Junior season, when he popped 23 home runs and slugged .686 in 64 games. His professional debut was even better. In 30 games at Low-A, Rushing slashed .424/.539/.778 with 21 strikeouts and 21 walks. Scary stuff. A thick 6’1” 220 lbs, Rushing bats left-handed and feels like a safe bet to smash his way quickly through the minors. Might have to switch positions to move up the levels as his bat demands it.

 

6. RHP Bobby Miller | 23 | AAA | 2023

Where I prefer Gavin Stone, most who care enough to rank ‘em seem to prefer Miller, a 6’5” 220 lb prototype power pitcher. While the 6’1” 175 lb Stone doesn’t win any off-the-bus intimidation contests, he repeats his delivery with ease, which is necessary to maintaining plus command. Miller has mostly looked like a reliever to the eye test, but he looks different now than he did on draft night. He bounced back and forth a bit between relieving and starting at Louisville and retained remnants of a max-effort, off-balance delivery throughout much of his minor league career. It’s pretty smooth and steady now, so I can’t really quibble with anyone who’d prefer the fastball-slider dynamite Miller brings to the mound.

 

7. OF Andy Pages | 22 | AA | 2024

An impact power bat with good athleticism at 6’0” 212 lbs, Pages (pa hays) figures to face the typical Dodger-block encountered by every young player trying to break into the Los Angeles lineup. He’ll need another developmental leap to make that happen. He slashed .236/.336/.468 with 26 home runs in 132 Double-A games, good for a 102 wRC+. Not ideal but not bad by any means. Would’ve been nice to see him get better throughout the year, but no matter how you cut the season up, he slashed about that. Could probably write a book about all the Dodgers’ prospects over the years who fell  into this bucket where I’d try to sell on the big early bounce in their prospect stock if I could.

 

8. 2B Michael Busch | 25 | AAA | 2023 

Everything zen? I don’t think so. I mean he’s a good player, but he’s been rostered in every dynasty league for a long time, and he’s commanded some big returns in trades I’ve seen. I’m worried he’ll struggle to get onto the field. He’s not much of a defender wherever you put him. He’s not particularly fleet afoot. He’s got a good approach and he can mash, and that would be enough in most organizations.

 

9. RHP Ryan Pepiot | 25 | MLB | 2022

Lotta people are pretty excited about this guy. Tend to get peppy about it if you pass them the mic. And that’s fair. Like Gavin Stone, the 6’3” 215 lb Pepiot features a plus changeup and solid fastball. Unlike Stone, Pepiot is still working toward control, never mind command. He walked 27 batters in 36.1 MLB innings. He’s got an inside lane because he’s already on the roster, but I think he’ll wind up in the bullpen or filling a swing-man role.

 

10. 2B Jorbit Vivas | 22 | A+ | 2024

In 128 games at High-A, Jorbit Vivas struck out 58 times. In 106 games across two levels last year, he struck out 55 times. He doesn’t have much thump just yet, but he can send a pitch if he catches it out front, and he’s been skinny his whole career. Wouldn’t take much core strength or just man-muscle to make him a problem in a major league lineup. He slashed .269/.374/.401 in 128 High-A games this year, and I’ll take the over on that slash-total for his 2023 line.

Thanks for reading! 

 

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Milarky
Milarky
2 months ago

lright Itch, I’ve got what I think will be a pretty tough one for you to answer. Every year we have a 3-round prospect draft at the all star break. We also allow each owner to protect 3 “prospect” players entering every spring draft, where only players who were drafted in that prospect draft can be kept as a prospect. We also can only keep any of those guys as prospect keepers for two years beyond the year they were drafted (unless we keep them as a “regular” keeper).

I think I have some doozy choices to make. Here are my options:

Hunter Greene (last year eligible as prospect keeper)
Corbin Carroll (last year eligible as prospect keeper)
Eury Perez (one more year after this eligible as prospect keeper)
Jordan Lawlar (one more year after this eligible as prospect keeper)
Marco Luciano (one more year after this eligible as prospect keeper)

I think Luciano can safely be eliminated. Carroll is the #1 prospect this year, which makes him a lock. You’ve flagged Lawlar as potentially the #1 prospect next year. Eury could be the #1 pitching prospect after Grayson. Greene could be a young Max Scherzer if his development continues, albeit in a bandbox in Cincinnati.

Help me Itch!

Milarky
Milarky
Reply to  Milarky
2 months ago

Sorry, forgot the other important piece of context. We have to start a rookie hitter and pitcher – they get their own starting lineup spots beyond the others. Not a massive consideration, but it means if I keep Hunter Greene as a prospect, I can’t use him in my rookie spot and I have to draft a rookie pitcher. But I know Eury is may not even get the call at all in 2023, so it’s probably a moot point. But thought the context may help, because high performing rookies makes a big difference.

Noseykyle
Noseykyle
2 months ago

After the season he had, no Emmet Sheehan on the list?

thehombre
thehombre
2 months ago

What about Carlos Duran? I thought he might have snuck into this top 10.

Harley Earl
Harley Earl
2 months ago

Hey Itch,

You said it, so I gotta ask about it. Why do you tend to avoid International signings? I mean, Juan Soto and Ronald Acuna were international signings! Not questioning your approach, just picking your brain for info. Thanks.

Harley Earl
Harley Earl
2 months ago

Any thoughts on Jose Ramos? I see he didn’t make your top 10, so I assume it’s because of those 133 strikeouts last year. Yikes. Is he worth keeping an eye on? I like his power but man he Ks a lot.

Philip
Philip
2 months ago

This is a fine looking system, Itch. The Dodgers are so good at everything it’s hard to hate them.

I’m at the point in the off-season where I’m analyzing everyone’s roster and planning my trade offers. I’m in win now, so I’m looking at my prospects as trade chips (which is debatably a bad idea).

Im holding V. Grissom, E. De La Cruz, E. Ruiz, B. Thompson, E. Carter, and Endy R. (who I plan to keep).

My hole is left field and the best target is Arozarena. What combo of those prospects would you be willing to send? Do you think Arozarena is a good dynasty asset?

And for giggles, would you send all of them for Witt Jr.?

Thanks, Itch! Appreciate your work!

Harley Earl
Harley Earl
Reply to  Philip
2 months ago

I’m holding EDLC, Ruiz and Endy R. too. Great minds think alike ;o)

junior56
junior56
2 months ago

Morning Itch!

Thanks for the Dodger write up! Have my eye on Rushing for sure!

I have a 16-team dynasty draft on 1-1-23. Looking over my options for the draft. How would you rate the talent in this year’s draft overall? It includes international signings from 2022 as well as June 2022 signings. Dealt my 1st round pick from this year so I don’t pick until #20 & 26 in the second round. Any “diamonds in the rough” I should keep an eye out for?

Thanx in advance

kcc26
kcc26
2 months ago

Just traded my $46 Jo-Ram for $15 Edwin Diaz and $4 Vargas in Ottoneu (needed to cut salary). Hoping Vargas gets his shot too!

PDXpress
PDXpress
2 months ago

Hi Itch – thanks for the great insight, hard work, and fun writing style!

A two-timescale question for you about 4 third basemen – who do you like for next year vs long term?

G Henderson
Vargas
Baty
Jung

I’m curious who you like most and least, next season and dynasty. Thanks so much!

Harley Earl
Harley Earl
Reply to  PDXpress
2 months ago

Gunnar most. Gunnar next season. Gunnar dynasty.

PDXpress
PDXpress
Reply to  The Itch
2 months ago

Thanks Harley and Itch – Gunnar then everyone else! It’s a good crew – I hope they do well for years! Happy late Thanksgiving!

galica1234
galica1234
2 months ago

The Itch!!!

Awesome!!!

a. Awesome read, love everything above Michael Busch.

b. George Carlin quote of the day for November 27, 2022

‘Dear Political Activists,

All your chanting, marching, voting, picketing, boycotting and letter-writing will not change a thing; you will never right the wrongs of this world. The only thing your activity will accomplish is to make some of you feel better. Such activity makes powerless people feel useful, and provides them the illusion that they’re making a difference. But it doesn’t work. Nothing changes. The powerful keep the power. That’s why they’re called the powerful. This is similar to people’s belief that love can overcome everything, that it has some special power. It doesn’t. Except one on one. One on one, love is incredibly powerful. It is a beautiful thing. But if love had any power to change the world, it would have prevailed by now. Love can’t change the world. It’s nice. It’s pleasant. It’s better than hate. But it has no special power over things. It just feels good. Love yourself, find another person to love and feel good.

Love, George’

Cheers,
Ante

toolshed
toolshed
2 months ago

I hope you are right and Vargas finally gets his chance. I / we have been patiently waiting.

I know it is early but where would you put Dylan Crews in the prospect ranks today if he qualified? Thanks