MLB Farm System Rankings: #22 Los Angeles Dodgers

It’s that time of year again. Time to give this prospect junkie his fix. Last year, I did farm system rankings for all of baseball, and so I wanted to do so again. As I explain with any farm system rankings, this is a completely subjective business. I do watch minor league baseball, I do a lot of research on the players, and I do talk to people who do talent evaluation in baseball. I certainly don’t have the clout in the prospect world that the guys at Baseball America have, nor do I care to. This is meant to be fun for me, and hopefully fun and informative for the reader. At the very least it should allow for some debate from other teams’ fans, as well as allow Tigers fans a glimpse into other organizations farm systems, so when the Tigers make a trade, there may be some knowledge of who they are getting. Last year, the Texas Rangers took the top spot. Who will it be this year?

Top Ten:

1. Yasiel Puig (OF)- Puig is a guy that raised some eyebrows when he got a significant contract last season from the Dodgers. He look s like a big, strong, fast young man to me that has an idea of the strike zone. I think the Dodgers are going to be plenty happy with their investment.

2. Corey Seager (IF)- I’m not sure where Seager is going to end up in the infield, but his bat is what is really intriguing. He is pretty athletic as well with a big frame. I think he will grow into a prototypical 3B body, and could potentially be an above average defender and offensive force.

3. Hyun-Jin Ryu (SP)- Ryu looks to have a pretty impressive four pitch mix from what I have seen on video. His fastball works in the low 90′s mostly, and he combines that with an above average change, good curve, and a slider as well. His easy throwing motion may help his fastball out some, and he reportedly commands well.

4. Joc Pederson (OF)- Pederson put up impressive numbers in high A last season as a 20 year old, showing power, an ability to hit for average, and ability to run the bases. I like the willingness to work counts as well. He wasn’t in the Midwest League long enough for me to see him play defense, but with his solid athleticism, he should be at least average.

5. Chris Reed (SP)- There is a lot to like about Reed. Many wondered if he was just a bullpen guy, but I think he could be way more. A lefty that gets up to the mid 90′s with his fastball, Reed also possesses an above average slider, and an improving change up. His command waivers, but if it gets better, look out.

6. Zach Lee (SP)- I’m sure Dodgers fans will think I’m crazy for putting Lee at six, but hey, I think the other guys on this list carry more upside. Lee has solid stuff across the board, and shows a good feel for pitching, but I see him as more of a #3/4 type that can eat innings.

7. Onelki Garcia (SP)- Garcia reportedly has a big fastball and a sharp curve, giving him the makings of two above average to plus pitches. He also has a large frame as well and is already 23 years old. There are questions about his change up and command, but it’s tough to ignore the arm.

8. Zachary Bird (SP)- There is a ton to like about Bird, and I wanted to be aggressive in his ranking. Projectable frame, low 90′s fastball right now, chance for a plus curve, and also owns a change up. Generates ground balls as well. Will need to strengthen body, and work on repeating mechanics.

9. Jesmuel Valentin (SS)- Valentin has the major league bloodlines, and it looks like he has the approach and demeanor of someone that has been around the game a while. Needs to get stronger for sure, but could hit for average, and be a top of the order hitter while sticking at short.

10. Chris Withrow(P)- I’m a velocity whore, and Withrow has a power fastball that sits mid 90′s getting into the upper 90′s. He combines that with a sharp breaking curve that can generate swings and misses when it’s going good. Once a starter, looks like he is strictly a reliever at this point.

Mar 7, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Chris Withrow (68) pitches against the Oakland Athletics during the third inning at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Just Missed The List:

Paco Rodriguez (RP), Jeremy Rathjen (OF), Garret Gould (SP), Steve Tolleson (RP)

Rodriguez is a deceptive lefty who will work late in games. Rathjen is a physical specimen with good athleticism. Gould is an underachiever of sorts thus far, but still has potential because of a real good curve ball. Tolleson has the makings of a set up guy.

Sleepers:

Miguel Sulbaran (SP) and Jarret Martin (SP)

Sulbaran is a young lefty that has a knack for strikeouts. Martin surprised in 2012 with an increase in velocity. Needs better command.

Summary:

As I get deeper into this system, I realize I may have underrated it a few spots. I know the biggest beef from Dodgers fans would be the Lee ranking, and that’s okay. When I saw him, he had good stuff, I just don’t think it rises to the ace type level that many thought coming out of high school. I’m a bit disappointed in Gould. I thought his velocity would be bigger at this point. But these are minor things. Overall, there are quite a few strong arms, both in the rotation and the bullpen. Position prospects are a little more thin, but Puig, Pederson, and Seager all could be regulars at the big league level, and good ones at that.

Despite being ranked 22, this isn’t that bad of a system, and could work it’s way up quickly. The new ownership seems determined to build a strong system as well as a big club.

Topics: Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers

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  • http://twitter.com/LasordasLair LasordasLair

    Decent list John. There’s only a few points of contention here for me.

    1. Yes Lee should be ranked number one. He is definately the top prospect within the organization. I agree that he probably won’t be an ace. Projections show him becoming a 3 or 4 type starter like you said.
    2. Puig should be moved lower on the list. He’s definately in the top ten, but he’s not that high on the depth chart. The Dodgers have put him in the low minors, and he looks to be a work in progress. He probably won’t see big league action for another two years or so. Yes he isbig and strong, but has to learn plate discipline. He wasn;t able to play in the winter league because of some kind of elbow staff infection.
    3. Ryu isn’t a prospect, and shouldn’t be on this list at all. Ryu was a seven time all-star while pitching in the South Korean leagues. he was already pitching at a professional level and will be starting in the major league rotation right away. He’ll slot in right behind Birdman Greinke. Have you seen this guy’s stuff? Check out a video of him pitching, I mean have mercy. This guy has some amazing stuff.
    4. Speaking of Birds, Zachary Bird isn’t really that high on the depth chart. He was drafted and is 18 years old. Too early to say with him.
    Anyways, nice work John, I’ll link to you over at LL.

    • John Verburg

      A players ceiling is something that I put quite a bit of weight into. So, if someone has a big upside like Bird, and some good performance markers like his K rate, I will probably give them the nod over a Matt Magill type. Hence the reason I have Puig number one, his upside is pretty enormous. I always debate putting guys like Ryu on this list, but I believe I did with Yu Darvish last season, so I did Ryu this year. Technically, he is a prospect because he hasn’t pitched in MLB and doesn’t have over 40 innings. I have watched quite a bit of video of Ryu. I like his easy motion, ball seems to jump out of his hand. Looks like he isn’t afraid to paint the inside corner with his fastball. Good curve and change. Can work that slider to lefties.

      Lee, I don’t want the ranking to reflect that I don’t think he can be a good pitcher. He certainly can. I just see a guy that doesn’t have the ceiling that many thought when he was drafted. If I’m wrong…I’m alright with that.

      Anyway, thanks for the link…