While all the headlines at the 2019 Winter Meetings focused on some of the top players in the MLB free agent and trade markets, the Rule 5 draft also took place on Thursday, which featured a number of baseball’s most intriguing prospects.
The Dodgers declined to participate in the big league portion of the draft, conceivably indicating that boss Andrew Friedman and his crew are relatively happy with the dynamic with the team’s active roster. When a team selects a player in the draft, that player must be kept on the team’s 26-man roster for the duration of the subsequent season.
Nevertheless, the Dodgers did snag one player in the Triple-A portion of the draft—23-year-old infielder Carlos Sepulveda.
As far as talent in the middle infield goes on the farm, the Dodgers have a bunch. Seemingly, Gavin Lux is in the majors to stay, but the minor league crew is anchored by names like Jeter Downs, Zach McKinstry and Omar Estevez, among others.
However, it’s possible that Sepulveda may give these guys a run for their money, at least when it comes to glove work on the defensive side of the game.
Upon searching the web for information about Sepulveda, the first thing one stumbles upon on any site is his ability to field and his contact skills at the plate. He’s primarily a second baseman, but he also has some limited experience at shortstop. Because he has a very capable arm, some scouts see him eventually floating over to the hot corner, which fits in with the Los Angeles style of play when it comes to versatility.
Here’s a snippet from what MLB Pipeline had to say about Sepulveda heading into his 2017 campaign:
“Sepulveda’s hands work at the plate and in the field as well as those of any Cubs prospect. With his hand-eye coordination and easy left-handed swing, he repeatedly strokes line drives from gap to gap. He’s not physical and won’t hit for a lot of power, though he does have some sneaky pop to his pull side. Sepulveda profiles best at second base, where he has exceptional polish for a teenager.”
And a quick glance at the left-handed hitting Sepulveda’s approach at the plate as featured on Cubs Central:
After he was signed by the Cubs out of Mexico back in 2015, the 5-foot-10, 170-pounder hit .281/.351/.308 in 47 games for the AZL League Cubs in Rookie League. In 2016, Sepulveda played 80 games at South Bend, slashing .310/.366/.373 with a home run and 24 RBI. His strikeout rate also saw a dip from 14.1% to 11.2%.
After hitting .324/.390/.378 through nine games at the beginning of 2017, he was promoted to Single-A; however, a shoulder injury eventually forced him out of action for the remainder of the year. He missed his entire 2018 campaign after having surgery.
Across two levels of the Chicago farm last year, he hit .243/.342/.285 over 112 games.
The Dodgers immediately placed Sepulveda on the active roster at Triple-A Oklahoma City on Thursday.