Los Angeles Dodgers 2018 Top 50 Prospects

Los Angeles Dodgers Top 50 Prospects for 2018

The 2017 season was filled with highs, but ultimately ended on a sour note as the Los Angeles Dodgers lost Game 7 of the World Series to the Houston Astros.  The season, however, should be considered an overall success as the team was carried by a number of young players they have developed through their system.  Two straight unanimous rookies of the year in Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger is an impressive feat.  Below, you will see a few players who could be in the running for a ROY award in 2018.

Graduates from my initial 2017 Dodgers Top 50 Prospects list includes Cody Bellinger, Brock Stewart, Andrew Toles and Austin Barnes.  Traded/Released players include Jose De Leon, Willie Calhoun, Trevor Oaks, Josh Ravin, Chase De Jong, Grant Dayton, Jacob Rhame, Brendon Davis and Scott Barlow.  Due to the turnover, there are many new faces on the Top 50 List.  Although recent MLB graduations have weakened the very top of the Dodgers system, overall it is still very strong and full of depth.  Here we go!

Prospects1500 Tiers:
Tier 1: Players with high expectations of both making the majors and playing at an All-Star level for a number of years
Tier 2: Players with an above average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 3: Players with an average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 4: Players who have the potential of making the majors, or have high likelihood of making the majors but providing minimal impact (e.g. middle reliever, low-ceiling UT guys)
Tier 5: Players who are worth keeping an eye on, but likely to never make a team’s 40-man roster






Tier 1:

1. Walker Buehler, RHP
Opening Day Age: 23 (DOB 7/28/1994), Previously #1
2017 Highest Level: MLB
Buehler’s rapid rise through the Dodgers system continued in September of last season.  Buehler struck out 125 batters in 88.2 IP, to go along with a .208 BAA and 1.11 WHIP in the minor leagues.   As previously discussed, he was called up late in the season to showcase for a potential bullpen role in the playoffs.  Buehler had flashes of brilliance but also showed inconsistency in the role.  While he was unable to crack the roster for a postseason role in 2017, I expect him to do great things in 2018.  He is one of the best, if not the best right handed pitching prospect in baseball.  Don’t be surprised if he spends the majority of 2018 in the Dodgers rotation.  He should contribute immediately and will have a shot to make it three ROY’s in a row for the Dodgers.

2. Alex Verdugo, OF
Opening Day Age: 21 (DOB 05/15/1996), Previously #2
2017 Highest Level: MLB
Verdugo had a strong enough season in 2017 to get a brief dip with the big club in September.  A .314 AVG to go with a .389 OBP was very impressive, however, slightly negated by the .436 SLG.  While he walked (52 BB’s) more times than he struck out (50 K’s), the power has yet to come.  If Verdugo ever taps into his full power potential, we could be looking at a Christian Yelich type player with a high AVG and OBP and 18-25 HR’s.

Tier 2:

3. Keibert Ruiz, C
Opening Day Age: 19 (DOB 07/20/1998), Previously #8
2017 Highest Level: A+
The secret is out on Ruiz, he is one of the top catching prospects in baseball.  Part of his value lies in the fact that he will stay at catcher, as he is a sound defender.  He can potentially be a guy that hovers around .290 AVG with 15-20 HR’s, good enough to be a top 5 fantasy catcher if he reaches his potential.  He is still a ways away, but add him now, trust me.

4. Yadier Alvarez, RHP
Opening Day Age: 22 (DOB 03/07/1996), Previously #3
2017 Highest Level: AA
There are definitely more questions on Alvarez than there were a year ago.  While he’s still young and has yet to show elite control, he regressed in 2017 as he walked almost a batter every other inning.  One thing remains, he has an absolute cannon and can reach the upper 90’s consistently and 100 MPH in short spurts.  The Dodgers will exhaust all options to keep him a starter.  If he proves he can’t, he’ll be an elite back end reliever.

5. Mitchell White, RHP
Opening Day Age: 23 (DOB 12/28/1994), Previously #5
2017 Highest Level: AA
White has done nothing but impress after getting drafted in the 2nd Round of the 2016 draft out of Santa Clara University.  He shot all the way up to AA Tulsa last season and was able to log 73.2 IP on the season.  He walks an acceptable amount of guys, K’s more than a batter per inning and held hitters to a .172 BAA last season.  White has all the makings of a solid #2 starter down the road.

6. Jeren Kendall, OF
Opening Day Age: 22 (DOB 02/04/1996), Previously #6
2017 Highest Level: A
Kendall slipped to the Dodgers at #23 in the draft in 2017 and they could not be happier.  He does have some swing and miss in his game, but his tools are off the charts.  He got off to a decent start in pro-ball, knocking 6 doubles, 8 triples and 3 home runs in 162 at-bats.  The average left something to be desired and that may always be the case.  In Kendall’s case, I think that’s ok.  He will steal enough bases and have enough XBH’s that he will be a solid fantasy contributor.  I’ve seen a lot of Jacoby Ellsbury comps and I tend to agree.

Tier 3:

7. Yusniel Diaz, OF
Age: 21 (DOB 10/07/1996), Previously #7
2017 Highest Level: AA
Diaz had a very strong 2017 campaign.  None of the numbers he put out were really eye popping, but overall solid.  He showed increased power in the second half of 2017, which is an encouraging sign.  If his power continues to progress, he can be an above average everyday outfielder.  The 37 XBH’s are nice, but the stolen base success rate (9 for 23, yikes), needs to improve.

8. Dustin May, RHP
Opening Day Age: 20 (DOB 09/06/1997), Previously #16
2017 Highest Level: A+
May’s early success earned him a start in the Midwest League All-Star game this past season.  May finished the year strong and began to get some more attention around the game.  He has even earned the nickname “Gingergaard”, referring to his red hair and comparison to Noah Syndergaard.  Lofty expectations, some of which I think he can meet.  He K’s about a batter per IP and only had 27 BB’s in 134 IP, very encouraging for his age.

9. DJ Peters, OF
Opening Day Age: 22 (DOB 12/12/1995), Previously #11
2017 Highest Level: A+
DJ is a strikeout machine but his propensity to completely mash the ball if he makes contact far outweighs the swing and miss hole.  Peters will continue to improve and be a solid source of XBH and may even add a few stolen bases along the way.  He’s primed for a breakout year.  Personally, I can look passed the 189 K’s when I see the 62 XBH’s and .372 OBP.

10. Dennis Santana, RHP
Opening Day Age: 21 (DOB 04/12/1996), Previously #9
2017 Highest Level: AA
After breezing through A Ball this past season, Santana hit a road bump and struggled at AA Tulsa.  I see it as a normal set back and no cause for concern.  He should start the year in AA and stay on track to reach the majors some time in 2019.  129 K’s in 118 IP to go along with decent BB/9, moved him in the right direction for 2018.

11. Starling Heredia, OF
Opening Day Age: 19 (DOB 02/06/1999), Previously #10
2017 Highest Level: A
Heredia held his own as an 18 year old in Low A, an impressive feat.  This year could be huge for him.  If he can have a successful season, he has the potential to be in the discussion for a Top 100 overall spot.  Known as “Baby Puig”, he physical traits and power are impressive.  30 XBH’s and 10 SB’s in 52 games is a good start.

12. Jordan Sheffield, RHP
Opening Day Age: 22 (DOB 06/01/1995), Previously #12
2017 Highest Level: A+
Sheffield is another young power arm in the Dodger system who has the ability to be a quality MLB starting pitcher.  He still has great stuff, but is still walking way too many.  He is striking out a batter an inning, while also walking a batter every other inning.  The control issues, coupled with the small stature still has me thinking high leverage reliever.  I think he has potential to be dominant in this role.

13. Will Smith, C
Opening Day Age: 22 (DOB 03/28/1995), Previously #18
2017 Highest Level: AA
Smith’s 2017 season made me a believer he can be an everyday catcher in the MLB.  His power numbers improved with 29 XBH in 251 AB’s.  The bat to ball skills are decent and he walks at a decent rate.  While he doesn’t look like an All-Star to this point, he can be a top 20 MLB catcher.

14. Edwin Rios, 1B
Opening Day Age: 23 (DOB 04/21/1994), Previously #14
2017 Highest Level: AAA
Still waiting for Rios to come back to earth…still waiting.  At this point, I don’t think he does, this is truly who Edwin Rios is.  He is a legitimate prospect that is probably blocked in LA.  He is a first baseman and nothing else defensively.  34 2B’s, 24 HR’s, .362 OBP, K rate slightly over 20%….not bad at all.  He could reach the major leagues in 2017.  Add him now in deeper leagues, keep an eye on him everywhere else.

15. Gavin Lux, SS
Opening Day Age: 20 (DOB 11/23/1997), Previously #15
2017 Highest Level: A
One thing I can say about Lux, the Dodgers 1st pick in the 2016 draft, is he will stay at shortstop.  While his numbers aren’t overly impressive, there are positive signs if you look closely.  56:88/K:BB rate is encouraging, 27 SB’s is solid, 29 XBH is a massive improvement and encouraging.  I’m looking to buy low on Lux at this point, with the hope his current owners don’t see his obvious potential.

16. Morgan Cooper, RHP
Opening Day Age:23 (DOB 09/12/1994), Previously #13
2017 Highest Level: Did Not Pitch
The Dodgers selected Cooper in the 2nd round of the 2017 draft, as a tall and projectable starting pitcher.  He has been through TJ surgery already (a Dodger trend), so hopefully he continues to come back strong from that.  I’m looking forward to his pro-debut in 2018, could have sleeper potential.

17. Caleb Ferguson, LHP
Opening Day Age:21 (DOB 07/2/1996), Previously #19
2017 Highest Level: A+
Ferguson is definitely a man on the rise in the Dodgers system.  They were able to steal him late in the draft in 2014 as he was recovery from TJ surgery.  2017 was a breakout year as he had 140 K’s in 122 IP, to go along with a 3.53 ERA.  He keeps the ball in the park and I project him to be a potential #3 starter.

18. James Marinan, RHP
Age:19 (DOB 10/10/1998), Previously #32
2017 Highest Level: Rookie
2017 4th round draftee, pitched briefly in rookie league.  He has a nice repertoire that includes a power sinker and plus change up.  Still young, but very projectable.  Has a great chance to stay a starter.  He is one to watch.

19.  Omar Estevez, 2B
Opening Day Age: 20 (DOB 02/25/1998), Previously #20
2017 Highest Level: A+
Estevez had an interesting power drop from 2016 to 2017.  His K and BB numbers improved and his OBP went up, seemingly directly correlated to his power drop.  Likely a better baseball player than fantasy player, but still valuable as he will have a good shot to get time in the major leagues.

20. Connor Wong, C
Age:21 (DOB 05/19/1996), Previously #40
2017 Highest Level: A
Wong can be Austin Barnes-lite as he is primarily a catcher but can hang at almost every defensive position.  He won’t hit for a ton of power, but shows good on base skills with above average speed for a catcher.  Best case scenario, he turns into a Austin Barnes 2017 type player.





Tier 4:

21. Cristian Santana, 3B
Age 21 (DOB 02/24/1997), Previously #26
2017 Highest Level: A
Santana burst onto the prospect scene in 2017 as he hit for power, got on base at an elite level and showed average bat to ball skills.  His arrow is pointing up at this point and is a potentially fast riser in the system.  If he continues to improve, he’ll be an everyday regular in the bigs.

22. Luke Raley, OF
Age:23 (DOB 09/19/1994), Previously #30
2017 Highest Level: A+
Raley, drafted in the 7th round of 2016, is one of the more underrated prospects in the Dodgers farm system.  In 2017, Raley smacked 46 XBH’s to go along with a .375 OBP.  I think his potential is somewhere along the lines of another Dodger, Andre Ethier.

23. Ibandel Isabel, 1B
Age: 22 (DOB 06/20/1995), Previously #23
2017 Highest Level: A+
Isabel continues to show he has one elite tool and that’s his power.  From 12 bombs in 2016, to 28 it 2017, this is an exciting player.  The Dodgers traded a similarly profiled 1B to Houston (see their rankings) likely with the idea that Isabel will hit for more power.  SLEEPER potential but needs to make more contact.

24. Kyle Farmer, C/3B
Age: 27 (DOB 08/17/1990), Previously #24
2017 Highest Level: MLB
Farmer finally reached the dream and made the major leagues in 2017.  His at-bats were impressive as he worked the counts and made solid contact.  I suspect the Dodgers trade Grandal and give Farmer the back-up job in 2018, but that’s just a hunch.  If so, he could see between 50-60 starts as the Dodgers like to move around Barnes.  A good pick up in two catcher leagues.

25. Carlos Rincon, OF
Age: 20 (DOB 10/04/1997), Previously #35
2017 Highest Level: A
Still very similar profile to Johan Mieses.  He is a home run machine with light tower power, but just doesn’t make consistent contact.  A good way to mitigate the risk is to just own them both, maybe one pans out.

26. Matt Beaty, 3B
Age: 24 (DOB 04/28/1993), Previously unranked
2017 Highest Level: AA
Beaty, solid yet unspectacular, has proven all he can at the AA level.  He is an all around ball player that is likely a better real life player than fantasy player.  Also, his path as a regular is probably blocked in LA.  He probably ends up a solid platoon player if he reaches the majors.

27. Cody Thomas, OF
Age: 23 (DOB 10/08/1994), Previously #22
2017 Highest Level: A
I’m likely still the high guy on Thomas.  He is still striking out about 30% of the times (YIKES), but the power is just so awesome that it’s hard to look passed.  While his HR numbers stayed the same from 2016 to 2017 in about 200 less at bats, I think that says more about his hot start as a pro than the drop-off this year.  I still think he can be a solid low average-high power regular OF in the pros.

28. Johan Mieses, OF
Age: 22 (DOB 07/13/1995), Previously #34
2017 Highest Level: AA
Mieses stock appears to be down at the moment, maybe deservedly so.  In 2017, his AVG and OBP dropped dramatically.  However, the strikeouts and walks stayed in a similar range.  This has me wondering if 2017 was more about bad luck, than poor performance.  Plus, he still mashed 24 2B’s and 24 HR’s.

29. Drew Jackson, SS
Age:24 (DOB 07/28/1993), Previously #44
2017 Highest Level: AA
Jackson was acquired from the Mariners as an under performing SS, sound familiar?  Cough, cough…Chris Taylor?  Jackson went through the same transition in attempt to hit for more power.  If successful, he steals enough bases to be a potential HR/SB threat in the bigs.  Potentially very valuable here.

30. Imani Abdullah, RHP
Age: 20 (DOB 04/20/1997), Previously #36
2017 Highest Level: A
Abdullah….so much talent, yet so much risk.  Only threw 12 innings due to a mystery injury in 2017.  He has a history of success and has shown flashes of brilliance, yet he is still only 20 years old.  He is very raw as he hasn’t pitched for very long but certainly has potential for success.  My expectations will remain tame until he shows sustained levels of performance.

31.  Tim Locastro, SS
Age: 25 (DOB 07/14/1992) Previously #49
Locastro had a very strong 2017 season in the system, as he split the season between AA and AAA, eventually making his MLB debut and appearing in 3 games. (1 AB, 1 SB)  He had 45 XBH (10 HR’s) to go along with a .383 OBP and 34 SB’s in 41 attempts.  Very impressive numbers for a guy that could see a legitimate shot at playing time in 2018.

32. Jake Peter, 2B
Age: 24 (DOB 04/05/1993), Previously #23 in White Sox organization
2017 Highest Level: AAA
Peter was recently acquired in the 3-way trade between the Dodgers, White Sox and Royals.  Ultimately, it appears as though he is a fallback option should Utley not return, to couple with Forsythe as the left handed half of a 2B platoon.  I could see him putting up a solid .270/12/45 line in major league platoon role.

33. Devin Smeltzer, LHP
Age: 22 (DOB 09/07/1995), Previously unranked
2017 Highest Level: A+
Smeltzer, a big lefty drafted in 2016, had a very impressive 2017 season.  159 K’s in 142 IP, to go with only 30 BB’s is an encouraging sign.  Solid #4 SP profile, he could be a fast riser.





Tier 5:

34. Rylan Bannon, 3B
Age: 21 (DOB 04/22/1996), Previously unranked
2017 Highest Level: Rookie
The Dodgers strong draft continued when they drafted Bannon in the 8th round of 2017 out of Xavier.  A bit undersized, I see Bannon potentially moving to 2B which will actually improve his value.  Solid college production, followed by a strong pro debut has me interested. (.336/.425/.591, impressive)

35. Donovan Casey, OF
Age: 22 (DOB 02/23/1996), Previously unranked
2017 Highest Level: Rookie
Casey was one of my favorite value picks for the Dodgers in 2017, as they selected him in the 20th round out of Boston College.  His solid college production continued into the minor leagues as he smacked 15 XBH’s in 154 AB’s to go along with a .453 OBP.  Casey will also contribute to the SB category.  Major sleeper here.

36. Luis Paz, C/1B
Age: 21 (DOB 07/05/1996), Previously unranked
2017 Highest Level: A
Paz absolutely rakes.  21 dingers in 381 AB’s in 2017 has really put Paz on the radar here.  He likely won’t stay at catcher and may not even stay at first base.  Defensive position is a real concern here, but the bat is worth the risk.

37. Ariel Sandoval, OF
Age: 22 (DOB 11/06/1995), Previously #37
2017 Highest Level: A+
Slow start in 2017, but Sandoval came into form in the latter half.  He absolutely has the talent, power and athletic ability to be a starting outfielder in the major leagues.  I’m looking for a breakout year in 2018, launching Sandoval into top 25 Dodgers prospects consideration.

38. Yaisel Sierra, RHP
Age: 26 (DOB 06/05/1991), Previously #28
2017 Highest Level: AAA
In two years since signing out of Cuba, Sierra has been moved from his original starting role into relief.  This decision has been for the better for Sierra.  He limits HR’s, K’s batters at a good rate but just walks a bit too many at this point.  If he can clear that hurdle, he will be worth an add.

39. Josh Sborz, RHP
Age: 24 (DOB 12/17/1993), Previously #46
2017 Highest Level: AA
Sborz will continue to hover around the bottom of my Top 50 until the Dodgers move him to the bullpen.  His “stuff” will play far better in the bullpen.  He can be an instant contributor in 2017 if finally moved to relief.

40. Mitchell Hansen, OF
Age: 21 (DOB 05/01/1996), Previously #45
2017 Highest Level: A
A poor season in 2017 saw a drop in numbers in almost every category for HansenCall me a fool, but I still believe in the bat.  While his numbers were down, he was still able to produce decent power numbers as he logged 39 XBH in 403 AB’s.

41. Romer Cuadrado, OF
Age: 20 (DOB 09/12/1997), Previously unranked
2017 Highest Level: Rookie
Cuadrado was signed in the same class as Souffront in 2014.  While he put up impressive numbers in 2017, (.335/.413/.523) he did it as a 20 year old in the Rookie league.  He will likely move up a level or two, lets see if he can meet the challenge.

42. Andre Scrubb, RHP
Age: 23 (DOB 01/13/1995), Previously #38
2017 Highest Level: A
I strongly believe Scrubb will make it to the show at some point, which lends to his value.  Whether or not he can add a dominant second pitch will determine whether he’s in middle relief or contribute back end value.

43. Riley Ottesen, RHP
Age: 23 (DOB 10/30/1994), Previously unranked
2017 Highest Level: A
Primarily a reliever in college, the Dodgers saw enough in Ottesen to take him in the 5th round of the 2017 draft.  His fastball/slider combination plays well at the back end of today’s trending bullpens.

44.  Edward Paredes, LHP
Age: 31 (DOB 09/30/1986), Previously unranked
2017 Highest Level: MLB
31 year old prospect?  I know…..Paredes deserves to be on here.  He will have enough fantasy value this season to warrant his placement.  He is still eligible, so why not?

45. Zach Pop, RHP
Age: 21 (DOB 09/20/1996), Previously unranked
2017 Highest Level: Rookie
This 2017 7th round pick out of UK is one of my sleepers for the Dodgers.  While he is likely a reliever, I believe he can be an elite 7th/8th inning setup man.  His power fastball/changeup combinations is one of the best in the system.

46. Errol Robinson, SS
Age: 23 (DOB 10/01/1994), Previously #46
2017 Highest Level: AA
Robinson has honestly surprised me to this point.  When drafted, I thought he’d never hit.  He likely stays in the middle infield, which will add to his value.  I’m now confident enough to say he will be a backup utility man with enough hit/speed to contribute in deeper leagues

47. Kyle Garlick, OF
Age: 25 (DOB 01/26/1992), Previously #47
2017 Highest Level: AA
I last said I feel like he’s the next Kyle Farmer (as a AAAA type player).  Then Farmer got his shot and produced respectively in the show.  Garlick could be a solid 4th OF and likely gets a shot at some point in LA or elsewhere.

48. Wills Montgomerie, RHP
Age: 22 (DOB 06/02/1995), Previously unranked
2017 Highest Level: A
A 6th round pick out of UConn in 2017, Montgomerie is a true SP prospect.  He has the velocity on his fastball and movement on his off-speed pitches to last in a rotation. The question is, can he harness his control?  He had enough success in college to make him an intriguing arm.

49.  Jefrey Souffront, SS
Age: 20 (DOB 05/23/1997), Previously unranked
2017 Highest Level: Rookie
Souffront has come a long way since signing out of the Dominican Republic in 2014.  He has shown enough patience at a young age to compliment his raw tools.  If he continues to progress and he stays at SS, he could climb up the rankings.  Keep an eye on him.

50. Andrew Sopko, RHP
Age: 23 (DOB 08/07/1994), Previously unranked
2017 Highest Level: AA
Really down year in 2017, but he has a history of success that doesn’t cancel out with one bad season.  Got hit harder in AA and the K numbers went down.  I expect him to adjust and get back onto the prospect map.

3 Comments

  1. Man after reading this I realized I need to brush up on my LAD prospects!!

    Let me ask you this: in a deep dynasty league anyone in that second half of these rankings that I must buy now?

    • Thanks for reading up. There are few guys on this list I think are likely available in most deep leagues, that need to be added now. The main ones being:

      Caleb Ferguson
      James Marinan
      Carlos Rincon
      Luke Raley
      Rylan Bannon
      Donovan Casey
      Romer Cuadrado
      Zach Pop

      These are the guys I’ve seen as most available with the highest upside to contribute to fantasy baseball. Grab them while you can!

  2. Of those prospects listed, I feel the ones the Dodgers need to hold on to long-term are Walker Buehler (duh!), Mitchell White (Maeda’s eventual successor?), Will Smith (prefer him over Keibert Ruiz, to be honest), Dennis Santana (in case Kenley has indeed flamed out in his current closer role on the parent club), Caleb Ferguson (Rich Hill’s eventual successor?), D.J. Peters (Yasiel Puig’s future replacement), and Tim Locastro (every contending ML team has at least one player like him on their roster). Rest on that list I consider trade bait…unless Jeren Kendall and Cristian Santana (if he sticks at 3B) do turn out to be for real after they reach AA-ball.

3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Saturday January 13, 2018 - Fantasy Baseball Links - FantasyRundown.com
  2. 2018 MLB Draft Link Round-Up | Prospects1500
  3. Los Angeles Dodgers Midseason Top 50 Prospects | Prospects1500

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