2013 Los Angeles Dodgers Top Prospects

 

System Overview: A moderately strong system with room to groom depending upon several of the unknown players. Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig looks like he could be an impact bat, though it’s still incredibly soon to definitively say so. Right-hander Zach Lee, while not an elite pitching prospect, has a high floor. And center fielder Joc Pederson was 20/20 big league potential.

Beyond the top three prospects, shortstop and 2012 first rounder Corey Seager adjusted well during his pro debut and could easily vault to the number one prospect in the system following 2013. Right-handers Matt Magill and Garrett Gould are underrated. And lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu should be a serviceable #4.

Among the wild cards with plenty of room for growth are Chris Reed, a collegiate reliever being transitioned into a starter, and Cuban-import Onelki Garcia.

 

#1. Yasiel Puig, Age: 22, Position: RF

The former Cuban-defector made waves this spring, hitting .517/.500/.828 with five doubles, two triples, a trio of homeruns, and four stolen bases in 58 at bats. The Dodgers, who signed Puig to a seven-year, $42 million contract last summer, optioned the right-fielder to Double-A.

Projection: There’s virtually no data to go as far as long term projections go — just a little over 100+ plate appearances combined. Per the usual, any long term projections will be withheld until the following year. He showed four-tool offensive potential during the 2010-2011 season in the Cuban Serie Nacional, hitting .330/.430/.581. And the early returns couldn’t be better. He looks like a legitimate impact bat, though the sample size is incredibly — and dangerously — small.

Ceiling: Too soon to tell

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Too soon to tell

 

#2. Zach Lee, Age: 21, Position: RHP

Signed to a huge $5.25 million bonus following his selection as the 28th overall pick in 2010, Lee began the year by making 12 starts in Rancho Cucamonga, averaging 8.5 K/9 and just 1.6 BB/9. He was then bumped up to Double-A for his final 13 starts, where he showed a modest decline — 7.0 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 — in production, though he was one of the youngest hurlers at the level.

Projection: Not quite on the same level as some of the game’s top pitching prospects, Lee profiles as a good #2/3, showing poise and pitchability beyond his years. And despite his youth — he doesn’t turn 22 until September — he could be big league ready as early as September of this year.

Ceiling: 4.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Above-Average

 

#3. Joc Pederson, Age: 21, Position: LF/CF

A nice find in the eleventh round two years ago, Pederson spent the entirety of 2012 with Rancho Cucamonga, hitting .313/.396/.516 with 26 doubles, four triples, 18 homeruns, and 26 stolen bases (in 40 attempts). His total offensive production was 37% better than the league average.

Projection: Very intriguing prospect. Pederson fared well against older competition last season; however, the California League tends to be a more hitter-friendly environment. With that being said, he showed a strong eye at the plate (10.2% BB-rate), good contact skills, above-average pop and speed, though his stolen base technique needs work. His bat looks to be above-average if he stays in center and could be a solid 20/20 big league option in a couple years.

Ceiling: 4.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

#4. Matt Magill, Age: 23, Position: RHP

Magill, a 31st round pick all the way back in 2008, set a career high in strikeout rate, 10.3 K/9, which also happened to pace the Southern League as well. In 146.1 innings (26 starts) with Chattanooga, the 6-foot-3 right-hander punched out 168 and walked 61 (3.8 BB/9). And according to MinorLeagueCentral.com, his Skill Independent ERA, or SIERA, was a solid 3.29.

Projection: Exceptionally underrated as a prospect, Magill profiles as solid #3-type starting pitcher. He misses a lot of bats and generates a lot of groundballs. The lone red flag, however, is his control, which has historically been slightly below-average. On any other club, he’d likely be opening the year in the big league rotation. With the Dodgers’ glut of starters, however, he could be a useful trade chip come mid-season.

Ceiling: 3.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate to Above-Average

 Update: During his big league debut, Magill was sporting a low 90s fastball, mid 80s changeup and slider. 

 

#5. Corey Seager, Age: 19, Position: SS

Last year’s first rounder, 18th overall, Seager adjusted to the professional ranks with aplomb. In 46 games in the Pioneer League, the lefty swinging shortstop hit .309/.383/.520 with nine doubles, a pair of triples, eight homeruns, and eight stolen bases (in 10 attempts). According to Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+), his total offensive production was 27% better than the league average.

Projection: Again, any long term projections for recent draft picks and international free agents will be withheld until the following year. However, he showed a strong eye at the plate (10.4% BB-rate), good contact skills, and above-average power.

Ceiling: Too soon to tell

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: N/A

  

#6. Hyun-Jin Ryu, Age: 26, Position: LHP

Signed to a six-year, $36 million deal (with an out clause after the fifth if he throws 750 innings) in the middle of December, Ryu, by definition, is considered a prospect — despite being 26-years-old and spending zero time in the minor leagues.

Projection: Ryu features the standard four-pitch mix: low 90s fastball, mid-80s slider, a changeup, and a curveball that barely cracks 70. He’s a bad bodied hurler, much like David Wells, but he profiles as a backend option, maybe peaking as a good #4 capable of chewing up innings while posting a low 4.2s ERA.

Ceiling: 2.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Above-Average to Inevitable

Update: 90 mph fastball, 81-83 mph slider, low 70s curveball, 80-ish mph changeup. 

 

#7. Garrett Gould, Age: 21, Position: RHP

Masked by an unsightly ERA, Gould’s underlying numbers paint a far better picture. As a 20-year-old in the California League, the young right-hander punched out 123 hitters (8.5 K/9) and walked 54 (3.7 BB/9) across 130 innings. His SIERA, 3.99, was nearly two full runs lower than his actual ERA (5.75).

Projection: Despite the strong peripheral numbers, the Dodgers have opted to keep Gould in High-A to start the year. He’s well built (6-foot-4 and 190), projectable, and profiles as a solid #3- or #4-type guy. A more numbers savvy organization might be able to pry Gould away near the deadline for pennies on the dollar.

Ceiling: 2.5- to 3.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

#8. Paco Rodriguez, Age: 22, Position: LHP

The organization’s most recent second rounder out of the University of Florida, Rodriguez was the Gators’ most dominant reliever in 2012, throwing 62 innings with 81 punch outs (11.8 K/9) and just 13 walks (1.9 BB/9). The young left-hander threw an additional 19.2 innings in pro ball, striking out 32 and walking just six.

The Dodgers then promoted him to the big leagues for another 6-plus innings, making Rodriguez the first player in the 2012 draft class to make it.

Projection: Despite an average-ish fastball, Rodriguez piles up huge strikeout totals and limits free passes fairly well. He’s likely to carve out a 10-year-plus career, becoming one of the most useful left-handers in the game.

Ceiling: 1.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Above-Average to Inevitable

 

#9. Chris Reed, Age: 23, Position: LHP

The sixteenth overall pick in 2011, Reed began the year by throwing 35 innings in High-A, striking out 38 (9.8 K/9) and walking 14 (3.6 BB/9). The organization promoted the former Stanford Cardinal to Chattanooga where his results took a noticeable dive. In 35.1 innings with the Lookouts, he struck out 29 (7.4 K/9) and walked 20 (5.1 BB/9).

Projection: The Dodgers are slowly bringing along Reed, who made just one collegiate start. And despite being extended deeper into games, the 6-foot-4 left-hander’s K-rate has transitioned well into the professional game. As a starter he’s a wild card and at the very least he could always slide back into the pen. His control/command is likely going to be the determining factors.

Ceiling: Too soon to tell

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: N/A

 

#10. Andres Santiago, Age: 23, Position: RHP

Santiago posted some impressive peripherals between High-A and Double-A last season, averaging 9.8 K/9 and just 3.2 BB/9. His SIERA, 3.22, was also fairly impressive too.

Projection: High-A was an age-appropriate level of competition, so that stifles his overall ceiling a bit. And his BB-rate ballooned to 4.5 in his brief time in Double-A. He looks more like a backend option in the rotation or decent middle reliever.

Ceiling: 1.0- to 1.5-win (starter); 0.5- to 1.0-win (reliever)

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low to Moderate (starter); Moderate (reliever)

 

#11. Tim Federowicz, Age: 25, Position: C

Acquired as part of the three-team deal involving Boston and Seattle, Federowicz spent the year with Albuquerque, hitting .294/.371/.461 with 34 doubles, a triple and 11 homeruns. But despite the rather impressive looking triple-slash line, the backstop’s offensive production was just 16% better than the league average.

Defensively, he nailed 39% of would-be base stealers.

Projection: Not exactly a big league regular, but there’s definitely MLB value in Federowicz. He’s willing to walk, has a bit of pop, and can control the running game well. He’d probably be one of the better backups in baseball given enough time and could serve as a starter in a pinch.

Ceiling: 1.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Above-Average

 

#12. Scott Van Slyke, Age: 26, Position: LF/RF

The son of former All-Star outfielder Andy Van Slyke, Scott, a fourteenth round pick way back in 2005, hammered Triple-A pitching last season. In 411 plate appearances with Albuquerque, he hit .327/.404/.578 with 34 doubles, a triple, 18 homeruns, and five stolen bases. His total production was 52% better than the league average.

Projection: Van Slyke’s really in an unfortunate situation. The Dodgers are loaded in the outfield, and he profiles as a solid fourth-outfielder-type. Unfortunately, he’s probably going to fall into Quad-A territory.

Ceiling: 1.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Above-Average

 

#13. Jesmuel Valentin, Age: 19, Position: SS

A supplemental first rounder last June, Valentin struggled mightily during his debut. In 43 games, the switch-hitting shortstop hit .211/.352/.316 with six doubles, two triples, two homeruns, and five stolen bases. His total production was 10% below the league average.

Defensively, he made 20 errors in just 43 games.

Projection: Valentin showed an elite eye at the plate, walking nearly 18% of the time. He really struggled against southpaws (.171/.275/.229).

Ceiling: Too soon to tell

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: N/A

 

#14. Yimi Garcia, Age: 22, Position: RHP

After a dominating stint as Great Lakes’ closer last season, Garcia, who averaged 13.0 punch outs and 3.7 walks per nine innings, got a cup o’ coffee in High-A to cap off the season. He began 2013 in Double-A.

Projection: Big time strike out ability with decent enough control. It’s very likely Garcia could get a big league look some point this summer. He does have one glaring red flag: he’s an extreme fly ball pitcher.

Ceiling: 1.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate to Above-Average

 

#15. Zachary Bird, Age: 18, Position: RHP

A ninth rounder out of Murrah High School (Jackson, MS) last June, Bird struck out 46 and walked 17 in 39.2 innings.

Projection: Very little to go on. But he could end up being one of the high-upside high school arms the Dodgers tend to gamble on.

Ceiling: Too soon to tell

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: N/A

 

#16. Onelki Garcia, Age: 23, Position: LHP

The Cuban-born Garcia was the Dodgers’ third round pick last June.

Projection: Absolutely nothing to go. Garcia is perhaps the biggest wild card in all of baseball. Reportedly armed with a mid-90s fastball. Nothing analytically useful at this point.

Ceiling: Too soon to tell

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: N/A

 

Photo of Yasiel Puig Courtesy of USA Today Sports via Yahoo!



About

After serving as a video scout/analyst for Baseball Info Solutions, Joe Werner began writing at his original site, ReleasePoints.com. He’s since transitioned into his current niche, prospect analysis, at ProspectDigest.com. He has been fortunate — and incredibly blessed — to have some of his work published and mentioned by several major media outlets, including: ESPN, Cleveland.com and the Baseball Research Journal. He can be reached at: JosephMWerner@yahoo.com.