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!