Dodgers Prospect Watch: A Closer Look at Edwin Uceta

Uceta
(Photo Credit: Steve Saenz)

Along with the 21-player NRI list the Dodgers released on Thursday came a lot of confusion among fans about where many of these players stand in the organization. Indeed, there were a few headliners like Josiah Gray, Jeter Downs and Jordan Sheffield, but the list contained plenty of names that some fans have never even heard mentioned in the past.

On the slow news days between now and the beginning of spring training, I thought it would be a good idea to take a peek at some of these players and where they might fit into the system in the grand scheme of things.

The first player among this group is 22-year-old pitcher Edwin Uceta, a player who I’ve been wanting to write about for quite some time.

The Dodgers signed Uceta as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic when he was just 16 years old in 2016, at which point he was quickly assigned to the Dominican Summer League. He finally arrived stateside for the first time in 2017, starting 14 games for Low-A Ogden in the Pioneer League while posting a 6.59 ERA with 62 strikeouts and 14 walks over an even 56 innings.

2018 saw much better results for the lanky, six-foot righty. Over 25 combined starts between Low-A Great Lakes and High-A Rancho, he tallied a 5-6 record with a 3.89 ERA and 131 punchouts over 120-1/3 innings. Despite the mediocre numbers, scouts liked what they saw in the youngster so much that he made the Dodgers’ Top 30 prospect list at MLB Pipeline.

He posted superb numbers last season, going 11-2 with a 2.77 ERA and 141 strikeouts over 26 appearances—24 which were starts—and 123-1/3 innings of work, opening the eyes of farm directors and garnering an invite to the big league side of 2020 spring training.

According to Evan Petzold of milb.com, Uceta worked at a gas station in Villa Los Almacigos during his early teen years. The young Uceta made a deal with the owner of the gas station—in exchange for his work, the owner paid for Uceta to go to school.

As a boy who often did not have food on this kitchen table, Uceta accepted the seven-hour-per-day job. He went to school like a normal child, until his uncle Mario Alberto made him pick up a ball and pitch during his mid-teen years.

Now, he’s set to begin his 2020 campaign as a member of Double-A Tulsa’s starting rotation.

“I just feel so proud,” Uceta told Petzold during his time at Great Lakes. “I’ve been working really hard and making adjustments. It’s a new opportunity and I have to keep getting better every day. Everybody can’t always stay on the prospect list, I have to keep doing it.”

He possesses a traditional repertoire, utilizing a fastball, a curve, a changeup and a slider. His fastball sits in the low nineties, sometimes topping out as high as 95 MPH. His curve and slider are average offerings, but most scouts feel his change is definitely his out pitch.

According to MLB Pipeline, “Uceta began to take off once the Dodgers got him to stop throwing across his body and take a more direct path to the plate. His improved delivery has allowed him to command his pitches better, a necessity because he’s not overpowering. With a slender 6-foot frame, he’ll have to prove he’s capable of handling a starter’s workload over a full season.”

Uceta will certainly get his fair share of looks this spring. Obviously, his size is a huge concern moving forward, but his performance during 2020 Cactus League play should be a big indicator of what the Dodgers have in him moving forward.

 

28 thoughts on “Dodgers Prospect Watch: A Closer Look at Edwin Uceta

  1. Uceta is down the list of pitching prospects. 3.2 ERA, 1.3 WHIP at AA is good, but not all that noteworthy. He can move up by lowering both those figures this year. We all hope he does.

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    1. That makes more sense to me. Colorado would want more. As in somebody that hits home runs now. That’s why I think Pederson might be of interest to them. I believe his bat would love Colorado. Thanks Jesus.

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  2. I don’t think the Rockies would like this app very much Jesus, I personally think that would be a great deal for the dodgers. That app must be putting a huge discount, due to his opt out, and no trade provisions.

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    1. They would want more than just 2 prospects. And right now all is quiet on the trade front. Arenado has been pretty quiet since his I’ve been disrespected speech. Colorado signing Story to an extension might be part of the reason. They are giving him a 2 year deal which coincides with Arenado’s opt out year. Padres talking to Boston about Betts. And they have the prospects to pull that off.

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  3. I think the Rox management will be very concerned with fan response if they trade Arenado so they’re going to ask for the moon. I think they could very well wait until July or after the 2020 season to see if they can straighten things out. They’ve made the playoffs 2 of the past 3 years so if they somehow manage to do that again, I think Arenado will feel better. If they’re off to a bad start or finish poorly this year, they’ll trade him. I guess what I’m saying is that if they have another bad year, I don’t think he’ll be a Rocky by this time next year.

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    1. All true. And what is also true is that with every game he plays and produces WAR for the Rockies his trade value goes down. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I don’t believe the Rockies make the playoffs this year. And yes, that is my opinion, and an opinion based on other opinion. Fangraphs, for example, has them at 50/1 to make the World Series. Teams in the NL with better odds? Dodgers (obviously), Braves, Nationals, Cardinals, Phillies, Mets, Cubs, Brewers, Reds, Diamondbacks and the Padres.

      The Rockies would be wise to explore a trade. Now.

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  4. The Rockies would want what he’s worth for the entire contract and the Dodgers would only pay for two years. And if Colorado sells short and the Dodgers win the WS with Arenado those players and that town would be pissed! He’s not coming to the Dodgers

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    1. I’ve got a truck I’m selling that’s worth $23,000. I want $40,000 for it. I’ll take the best offer. Unless I decide to keep it.

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      1. I’ll give you $15,000 plus Ruiz and Yadier Alvarez but you have to agree to take my truck that’s missing an engine and only has three wheels.

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      2. The truck, in that example, is passive. It cannot refuse to perform for it’s user. Nor does it force the new user to maintain it for eight years, give it away for free in two years.

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      3. Great analytics guys. I hadn’t looked at like that.

        Jefe’s trade makes sense.

        A passive truck. Who knew?

        By the way, it’s a Tacoma TRD. Hardly passive.

        Arenado is opting out of Colorado in 2 years. The next two years are contract years for him. He’s gonna kick ass and put up Greinke/Ryu/Rendon contract year numbers. I see 12 WAR in those years. I see production that probably won’t be reproduced after he leaves Colorado, but that never matters. The Rockies can ASK whatever they want. They might decide they are better off just hanging on to him, keeping the fan base happy and getting as far as they can with him, then trade him at the deadline for peanuts, like Baltimore did with Machado. Or…. they trade him now to somebody anxious. Somebody who can use that 12 WAR. 12 WAR is worth some decent prospects. Especially 12 WAR on a team that’s close.

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  5. If he gets traded,( we all know it won’t be to the dodgers) I’ll bet we’ll all be talking about how the dodgers could have easily put together a much better package, without hurting the farm system that much.

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    1. Is that conversation going to be before or after we’ve traded for Betts?
      AF assures me he’s working on something major. He’s just not sure yet if it will be Betts, Bryant or Arenado. He said to tell the rest of the Shlemmings to just give him a little while longer and we’ll be vindicated.

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      1. Nope. All Betts are off. I’m sorry I ever brought it up. I might trade my truck for my in-laws Lexus, but not for a player.

        At this point I’m tired of the rumors. It’s almost February. We’ve been speculating for months and the spittoon is full. I don’t want to hear anymore about Betts. They’re still talking? So what. Writers are running out of rumors so they are recycling old ones. Betts Schmetts. The Padres are in the talks. The dbacks are in it. Blah cubed. Do it or don’t but enough already. The players we do have are gearing for Glendale. I’ll focus on what is.

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      2. I hate to do this to you Scoop but here’s another rumor (made up by me). Castellanos is signing with the Reds (actually happening, not a rumor) and they are supposedly looking into trades for Senzel. So my rumor is that AF pulls a 3-way with the Reds getting Seager, we get Lindor and the Indians get Senzel and another prospect or two. I don’t really know how I feel about Lindor vs. Seager because I expect Seager to have a really good year, but these rumors just keep popping into my head and it wouldn’t be fair not to share them with my TBPC family.

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      3. We’re talking high end prospects a la Ruiz, etc. Hey look, I don’t finish the trades, I just start ’em. It’s up to the GM’s to work out the details. And AF has to do this while he’s working out the Betts trade so let’s just let him concentrate.

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