Dodgers Prospects: Ranking the Top 4 Hitters on the Farm

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Continuing along the same lines of our recent prospect posts, we thought it would be fun to put together another subjective-type of story during a time when the news surrounding the Dodgers is very quiet.

The strength of the Los Angeles farm system has almost always been pitching, but today we decided to look at the four best minor league bats in the organization. And, to establish some sort of basis for criteria, we figured that weighing power, the ability to hit for average, and being the most MLB-ready would be as good a start as any.

By no means do I consider myself any type of prospect guru, as it’s virtually impossible for me to travel around the country and see many of the farmhands compete up close and personal. About as far as I’ll go is putting together a top prospects by position post every year. I am, however, familiar enough with the affiliates to fashion a rough list of a handful of the best bats in the system.

Keeping in mind that most of these players competed at different levels over the past few seasons, the ground is a bit uneven in terms of making direct comparisons. Furthermore, when seeking out that one hitter who can frequently go deep, own the gaps, as well as handle the bat well enough to shoot a grounder through the infield holes, the choices are extremely slim. Nevertheless, here’s my best shot at a Top 4:

No. 4—Keibert Ruiz Keibert Ruiz, who turned just 20 years of age last July, was signed out of Venezuela in 2014, even though it feels he’s been around forever. After a stellar 2016 campaign for rookie-level Ogden, combined to hit .329 with 56 runs, 22 doubles, two triples, eight home runs, and 49 RBI in 92 games for High-A Great Lakes and Single-A Rancho Cucamonga in 2017.

For Double-A Tulsa in the pitcher-friendly Texas League last season, he was named an All-Star, slashing .268/.328/.401 with 12 long balls, the first time in his career he registered double-digit home runs. In 302 career minor-league games, the switch-hitting catcher has slashed .309 /.357/.441 with 23 homers, 67 doubles and 165 RBI. Having been recently named to the club’s 40-man roster, he’ll be on the big league side of spring camp again this year after garnering an NRI in 2018.

No. 3—Matt Beaty Just days after being named the Texas League’s Most Valuable Player in 2017, corner infielder Matt Beaty went one step higher when he won the league’s batting title. He became the first-ever Drillers player to snag the honor, and was the first Tulsa player to win a batting title since Mike Easler did in for the Triple-A Oilers in 1976.

The left-handed hitting Beaty finished the 2017 season with a very impressive .326/.378/.505 slash line, along with 31 doubles, 15 long balls and 69 RBI over 438 AB. Riddled by injuries last year, the 24-year-old Beaty fought back to appear in 34 games, hitting .284/.378/.404. Like Ruiz, Beaty is a new member of the 40-man roster and will be participating in his second big league camp in the spring.

No. 2—Alex Verdugo Of the entire quartet, outfielder Alex Verdugo is by far the most major league ready and the most well-rounded player. He’s ranked as the organization’s top prospect by many of the major outlets and is coming off a year that saw him tally 86 PA in the majors, slashing .260/.329/.377 in the process.

For Triple-A Oklahoma City last year, the 22-year-old Tuscon native hit .329/.391/.472 with 10 long balls and 19 doubles in just 91 games, earning him All-Star status in the PCL for the second consecutive season. A lefty hitter who can handle all three outfield spots, some feel that he’ll play a critical role in a very crowded big league Dodgers outfield in 2019.

No. 1—Edwin Rios Another left-handed hitting corner infielder, Edwin Rios has begun to set a new standard for offensive power in the upper levels of the Dodgers organization. After his promotion to Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2017, the left-handed hitting native of Puerto Rico slashed .296/.368/.533 with nine home runs, 13 doubles and 29 RBI over just 51 games. Like Beaty, Rios was hampered by an injury early in 2018, but still managed to hit .304/.355/.482 with 10 HR in just 88 games.

Seeing most of his action at third base again, the 24-year-old even played a little left field last year after primarily being a first baseman in college. He spent three years at Florida International University, leading the Panthers to a Conference USA title during his 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 2015 MLB draft. Along with the aforementioned trio, Rios is on the 40-man and will also be reporting to the big league side of camp for spring training.

 

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28 thoughts on “Dodgers Prospects: Ranking the Top 4 Hitters on the Farm

  1. I think Beaty could definitely turn out as another Taylor-Muncy story, a guy nobody really talked about until he got his chance. I hope he has a good spring and manages to put himself on the radar. I saw Rios in ST last year. That guy can really rake. I’m kind of surprised he’s still with us. I assumed he would be included in a trade this winter, but of course there haven’t been any.

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  2. I love Rios’s bat and I predict he’s our breakout player this year. If anybody gets hurt or doesn’t produce he gets called up. He’s a stud!

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  3. Granderson signed with the Marlins. A minor league deal. Drew Butera signed with the Phillies. And believe it or not, James Loney signed a deal with an independent league team to play 1st base, pitch and coach. Yesterday the news came out the a woman who was struck by a foul ball at Dodger Stadium died 5 days later and the coroner did not announce until yesterday that the foul was the cause of death. That’s just wrong. Taking that long to figure out something like that. Anyway, the screens in front of the fans debate will be re-ignited by this. A lot of players still unsigned out there. Beatty is the real sleeper in my mind. I watched a game the other day where he just unloaded on a couple of balls. Rios has a quick bat too….maybe one of them supplants Muncy……

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    1. I think it would be cool to see him on the mound. The Dodgers have a former outfielder, Stetson Allie who is trying to make it as a pitcher. Guy hits 99 on the gun, and a little tidbit you may not have known. Muncy has a 0.00 ERA in 3 innings as a pitcher at OKC. John Heyman is reporting that the Phillies are now looking like the leader in the Realmuto sweepstakes.

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      1. I saw Allie play a few times here in State College when he was in the Pirates system back around 2010. At that time he was pitching. Later, he went back to the outfield, then when he latched on with the Dodgers, transitioned back to pitching again.

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      2. I would like to see what kind of advancement he makes this year in the minors. He is currently on the OKC roster. He is 28, so he still has a shot.

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  4. Boy you could spend hours on the MLB site reading all of the rumors. They pretty much change by the hour. Judge said he would move so the Yanks could get Harper. Phils now in on Realmuto. Although the Dodgers have not formally bowed out of talks for Realmuto, they have not had serious discussions lately. Marlins are pretty much saying they need a catcher back in return. 7 days until pitchers and catchers report to Glendale.

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  5. According to MLB.com the prospect to watch in spring training is no surprise…..Keibert Ruiz. But I am of the mind he is headed for the minors no matter what. Beatty on the other hand, he could slip in there if there are any injuries.

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  6. The way free agency is these days I don’t think there is any way the team would let a 20 year old come up to the majors, no matter how good he is. Ruiz would become a free agent at 26, no way a team is going to let that happen. But it sure would be special to see him taking charge of that position

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  7. You would think with the age of Beaty, and Rios the team has to start thinking about either playing those guys or moving them. I would think at 24/25 either you’re ready, or your probably not going to make it.

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    1. First, I think you are right on the money with that post. You can almost bet that neither will make the cut out of spring, barring an injury. Which leads me to believe that one or both of them might be trade fodder at the deadline.

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  8. I’m really hoping Jeremy Kendall can find his swing because that guy is a legit 5 tool player who was a one man wrecking crew at Vandy. Our catcher for LSU had a cannon for an arm but Kendall swiped almost every bag in the series when he got on base and made it look easy.

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    1. The other day I commented that I was really disappointed in Kendall because he just doesn’t seem to be able to make contact on a regular basis. I mentioned that I hoped Van Scoyoc would have a chance to work with him in ST. Low and behold, I read somewhere yesterday that Kendall actually came to L.A. this off season and worked with him so maybe there is still hope.

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      1. There’s actually a website where you can buy different packages of instruction guaranteed to improve your launch angle. Introductory packages start as low as $398.99, and include videos and Skype interaction. The deluxe packages allow you three face-to-face visits and range from $6889.00 – $9800.00. http://www.vonscoyoc.swing

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      2. Maybe Kasten was right not to pay. I have to admit I really don’t understand that inside baseball financial mumbo jumbo as well as he does. I just leave my team in his hands and know that he’ll do the right thing.

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  9. Some new rule changes being considered include a universal DH, meaning both leagues, a 3 hitter minimum for relief pitchers, 20 second pitch clock, expanding the rosters to 26 with a maximum of 12 pitchers on the team. The 20 second pitch clock can be implemented without the Union’s ok. Interesting, I like the DH thing because it takes Muncy off the field. But it also gives guys like Beatty and Rios a real shot. The players want that instituted this year. They would like the league to hold off on the 20 second clock until next year. We will see.

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    1. Of all the changes that MLB is considering, having the DH in the NL is the one that I can’t believe they would actually start using this year. Team’s have planned their rosters all winter without a DH in mind so the earliest I see that happening is 2020. The extra (26th) roster position during the regular season should certainly benefit a team like the Dodgers who have so much depth. Hadn’t heard about the 12 pitcher max. Not sure what the reasoning is behind that, especially if they institute the 3 batter minimum which should cut down on the amount of pitchers used in a game. I could understand why teams wouldn’t find the need for more than 12 pitchers but not sure why it should be a rule.

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      1. I did not get the 12 pitcher thing either, but it means 14 position players and I think the union likes that. But according to the story, the union really wants the DH sooner rather than later. But we will see.

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      2. 2 more proposed changes i forgot to mention , a single trade deadline prior to the All Star break, and a study to see about lowering the mound. A proposal to make it legal to sign 2 sport athletes to MLB contracts. This is because of the Murray situation with the A’s. He could only sign a minor league deal, and rewards in draft picks for winning teams. I would think this is an incentive type thing so teams consistently losing would try harder to win.

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  10. The earliest I see a DH in the NL would be 2020. NL teams have spent all winter planning their rosters around having the pitcher hit so I would expect a delay on that one. A 26 man roster would help teams like the Dodgers who have lots of depth, so I’m in favor. Hadn’t heard about the 12 pitcher max and can’t quite understand the logic behind making it mandatory. I think teams should be allowed to make up their roster whichever way they want to. For example, we would probably want to carry 26 catchers.

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