Dodgers Prospect Watch: Edwin Rios, Yaisel Sierra Rising Quickly

(Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Davis)

The management crew of the Dodgers made a few more notable minor league promotions on Friday, moving both corner infielder Edwin Rios and reliever Yaisel Sierra from Double-A Tulsa to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

In 77 games for the Drillers this season, Rios was slashing a very impressive .317/.358/.533, and collected 21 doubles, 15 home runs and 62 RBI over 306 AB. At the time of his promotion, the 23-year-old left-handed hitting slugger was first in the Texas League in OPS, tied for second in long balls, third in batting average and second in RBI. He was appointed Texas League Player of the Week on April 30, and was named to the 2017 Texas League All-Star squad in June. Rios was also named the Dodgers’ minor league Player of the Year in 2016.

Now seeing most of his action at third base, Rios was primarily a first baseman in college, spending three years at Florida International University, leading the Panthers to a Conference USA title during his third and final season in 2015. During that campaign, he hit .314 while leading the team with 18 home runs and 69 RBI. He was later drafted by the Dodgers in the sixth round of the MLB draft that same year.

In his first game for Oklahoma City on Friday evening on the road at New Orleans, Rios started at first base and hit sixth, and ended his night going 1-for-4 with a single.

Sierra had compiled a 5-0 record with four saves over 26 appearances before being called up to OKC. In 49-2/3 innings pitched, the 26-year-old righty posted a 2.54 ERA with 64 strikeouts against only 16 walks.

After defecting from his native Cuba in 2015, Sierra signed a six-year, $30 million deal with the Dodgers in February of 2016 while being one of the top available international prospects on the market. His primary weapon is a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and tops out as high as 98. He also features a hard slider with cutting action that his coaches see developing into a plus pitch on his road to the majors.

Sierra started last season with High-A Rancho Cucamonga and was promoted to Tulsa in early August. His overall numbers for 2016 showed a 5-6 record over 30 appearances, which included 13 starts, posting a 5.89 ERA in 88-2/3 innings with 86 punch outs and 30 walks.

In his most recent outing, Sierra notched a save in Tulsa’s victory over Frisco on Wednesday evening, preserving the win for righty prospect Walker Buehler. He struck out four batters over a full three innings of work in the process.

OKC remains in Nashville with a double-header slated for Saturday, and will close the series against the Sounds on Sunday afternoon. Madison Younginer, Wilmer Font and Fabio Castillo are lining up to start for Oklahoma City through the weekend before the club heads in to the Triple-A All-Star break.



11 thoughts on “Dodgers Prospect Watch: Edwin Rios, Yaisel Sierra Rising Quickly

  1. Rios is making nice progress, to the point where he’ll start being mentioned by other teams in trade talks if that hasn’t already happened. Sierra has made real strides since his early performances last year. I remember thinking this was going to be another Hector Olivera fiasco when he first started pitching over here. Of course, you can’t really call the Olivera signing a fiasco since it ultimately brought us Wood.

    1. Moving Sierra to the bullpen apparently made all the difference in the world. I think Rios would probably rank among the Top 5 prospects if his defensive skills were a bit better. I wonder if a package featuring Verdugo, Calhoun and Rios (among a few others) would garner any decent returns.

  2. Whomever would take those three would probably insist we throw in a good pitcher as well. Everybody always wants pitching. With Dayton hot and cold this year, Liberatore weeks from returning and Avilan not entirely dependable I’m betting that a southpaw reliever is now at the top of the Friedman wish list. Can you think of any lefty relievers besides Hand that might be getable? With the exception of a Miller/Chapman type, it drives me crazy to think of sending a basket of good prospects out for a relief pitcher.

    1. Well, I think Friedman won’t sacrifice a ton for a reliever. At least he hasn’t shown those tendencies since his arrival. This GM crew prides themselves on digging deep into the darkest corners of the sabermetric figures in attempting to find a diamond-in-the-ruff type of bargain. Gonna be interesting to see what happens the next few weeks.

      1. For starters, the deal would probably need to include Puig and a top-notch starter. SPs seem to be in the highest demand these days. I think Oaks’ value went down a ton with his recent injury. This trade deadline is stacking up to be one of the most fascinating in years, from the Dodgers’ perspective. You know they’re gonna do at least something, however little it will be.

      2. What’s your July 10th definition of a top-notch starter. I agree that Oaks’ value is at a low point with the injury. That leaves Stewart, Alvarez, Buehler, none of whom I would give up in this trade. You know………….it wouldn’t absolutely shock me to see a Maeda trade if he comes back off the break with 2-3 consecutive good outings. His contract is very team-friendly. Which outfielder do you think has the most trade value between Puig, Joc, Verdugo?

      3. No way, no how I’d deal Stewart or Buehler. I like Broussard so much I’d keep him, too. I’d consider moving Alvarez in a package, but the return would need to be monstrous—somebody along the lines of Chris Archer or the sort. I’d probably also consider moving Rhame or Sborz as well. Interestingly, I think Joc, Verdugo and Puig all have similar values. Quite a few weaknesses among the trio, I think. Believe it or not, Verdugo may even have the best tools, less power.

  3. I agree. No Buehler, no Stewart. I would consider Alvarez in an Archer trade but Archer is the only name out there I would even want in a trade. Too many injury issues with all the others to take a big prospect gamble. Not sure we need much power out of Verdugo. When we have even Taylor on pace to hit 20 homers, we need someone with a high OBP, and of the three I think Verdugo probably is the strongest. Would really hate to give up Puig. I’m lucky enough to live here in L.A. and get the Dodger games every day. Just too much drama with every Puig at bat/fielding play. Makes for great baseball. One last thing, just because I enjoy going back and forth with you on these comments (and because I like him also), I’m going to let you keep Broussard (probably a kiss of death and they’ll trade him tomorrow).

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