Dodgers Roster: Let’s Talk Prospects

One of the most impressive things about the Dodgers is how management finds a way to give at least a handful of prospects a decent amount of playing time each season, despite the team’s depth.

Sometimes there are no other options than to use prospects, but the Dodgers typically have a lot of choices on the minor league fringes, from veterans trying to restructure their careers to journeyman who have been on the farm for years to 19-year-old youngsters looking to get their first sip of coffee.

One of the biggest differences between current front-office boss Andrew Friedman and his predecessor Ned Colletti is that when Colletti brought a prospect up from the minors, you knew they had excellent tools and were ready to play — at least most of the time. This led to some middle-of-the-road minor leaguers lingering in the system well past their mid-20s, but it also assured the parent club would be getting the best players when they needed a replacement.

Friedman has a little bit more leeway because the talent on his teams over the past several years has been so incredible that it balances out any poor performances by a farmhand who has been recalled too soon, at least to a degree.

The 2022 season has saw a handful of decent youngsters making contributions to the club, from Ryan Pepiot and Michael Grove picking up their first big league wins to James Outman and Miguel Vargas hitting their first career long balls to Andre Jackson notching his first save. One of the most interesting things to note is that this current crop of top minor leaguers might be more talented in the position-players spots, a huge change from seasons past when blue-chip pitchers represented the highest rated prospects in the system.

If you’re a fan of the Dodgers who doesn’t see too much minor league action, you still haven’t had a chance to see 24-year-old Michael Busch swing his bat. The lefty-hitting second baseman leads the entire farm with 31 long balls, 106 RBI and 117 runs scored. Even though he plays a position that’s a bit logjammed at the moment, there’s probably a really good chance he’ll see some big-league action in 2023.

A few weeks back, the Dodgers named catcher Diego Cartaya and righty pitcher Gavin Stone as their 2022 Branch Rickey Players of the Year. While Cartaya is still only 20 years old and has a few years of development remaining, chances are pretty good that Stone might take to the major league bump in 2023.

Of course, if we’re being picky, most of us would say that we’d like to see a little bit more higher quality pitching on the top tier of the minors right now. However, with Julio Urias, Walker Buehler, Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin under control for the next several years, there’s still time for some new faces to emerge.

Right now, the Dodgers are in really, really good shape in all aspects of player talent and development.

29 thoughts on “Dodgers Roster: Let’s Talk Prospects

  1. “However, with Julio Urias, Walker Buehler, Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin under control for the next several years, there’s still time for some new faces to emerge.”

    Maybe I missed your meaning here, but we only have control over Urias for one more season (2023) and the same for Buehler (2024, but he won’t be pitching in 2023).

    Michael Grove is slowly forcing his way into consideration for next year’s rotation and I’m really looking forward to seeing Gavin Stone’s arrival. Lots of our other young pitching prospects (Miller, Pepiot, Nastrini, Knack) have been very inconsistent, pitching a couple of really nice games and then totally losing command in the next one. Stone has been extremely consistent and, to me, that makes him closer to major league ready than the others.

    1. I think I was looking at it like they have those guys as a foundation unlike Kersh and Anderson, who are free agents at the end of the year. I have absolutely no idea what lies ahead for CK.

      1. I expect CK back on another one-year contract but I don’t know any more than anyone else does.

        I also expect AF to try to re-sign Anderson to a 2-3 year deal.

        That would give them the following potential starters next year:

        With the following youngsters in reserve:

      2. Good group of arms. I see none with 30 starts and 180 inning potential, but maybe that’s asking too much in today’s game.

      3. Since fewer and fewer starters are going 7-8 innings these days, I wonder if teams will try to develop one or two pitchers on the roster who can go 2-3 innings every 3rd or 4th day.

        Once upon a time, many starters went 7 innings and that only left 2 for the bullpen. These days the bp is forced to fill 4 innings more often than not. Why not develop a couple of guys who can fill innings 6-7 or 6-8?

      4. If the algorithms point that way, that we will go.

        2-3 inning guys? Like Jackson, Pepiot, Miller?

      5. Jackson, yes. Pepiot and Miller are meant to be multi-inning starters. They just don’t seem to get that far in many of their starts.

      6. Meant to be. Who knows what that might mean, but most early reports show these guys looking like late inning relievers. A new algorithm to develop, 3 inning starters every 4th day. Or 3 inning then 2 innings following a 3 inning starter. 3-2-3-2, bullpen. Jackson, Pepiot, Miller, Grove, Stone. Somebody run the numbers for me. I’m an idea man, not IT.

  2. Really enjoy the prospect talk, thanks! Watching Stone’s quick progression the Dodgers believe he is a top prospect. Stone has been rock solid with a low WHIP throwing strikes and getting strikeouts. As the Dodgers put Grove on the 40-man with little experience it shows they believe he is another top prospect. Reasonably sure the Dodgers will do everything they can to sign Urias but he is a Boras client so?? Next year under contract and healthy are Urias, Gonsolin, and May lots of chatter on Kershaw retiring or possibly pitching for TX. Do they re-sign Anderson? Give Pepiot, Stone, Grove, Jackson, Miller, etc the opportunity to make the rotation or roster? It will be interesting to see how the entire roster changes in 23. Vargas and Rios barring a trade will compete for spots. Do they sign T Turner? I am sure they pick up J Turner’s option. I wonder if Busch is a trade chip as he is blocked at 2nd. I like Rios’s power if he can just stay healthy. I am a big Thompson fan. His numbers are incredible for a pickup. He had the top OBP and OPS numbers on the club last time I looked. I imagine they will sign him as he is also a very good defensive outfielder and can play center. The end of the shift will raise Bellinger and Muncy’s numbers more than the average as they are dead pull hitters. Does Bellinger all of a sudden have an epiphany? Probably not.

  3. Here I go again. Pepiot, Grove and Jackson are the same age as Urias and may. Not prospects any more. Career minor leaguers. Like most prospects Miller hit a wall at double A and next year we may have to scratch him also. Stone is really come on this year and looks good, with control. All in all the future of our staff doesn’t look good to me. I know I said that last yeatr as well, but I just look at prospects different than most. No problem we’ll just get the checkbook out. Lol.

    1. Thanks for not giving up on Stone yet, Gordon. It gives me something to dream about this off season.

      Miller makes me crazy. One game he looks like Sandy Koufax and the next he looks like he should be bagging groceries at the nearby supermarket.

      But I’m not inclined to give up on guys because of their age. High school draftees start their pro careers 4 years sooner than college seniors. Age isn’t everything.

      And then you have stories like Tyler Anderson. What team wouldn’t have wanted him in their rotation this year if they knew in advance what kind of year he’d have. That was after 6 MLB seasons where he was the definition of mediocrity. This year he’ll probably get a few Cy Young votes.

      1. Hope on Stone. He’s all we got. And actually age is everything in baseball. And college players rarely get to be seniors. And college is basically low A. I agree some players develope after 25 but 99 percent don’t. Always go with the numbers Jeff. Anderson has surely been a revelation this year. But you think he will win 15/16 next year?

      2. The question shouldn’t be will he win 15-16 because often times getting credit for a win is a matter of luck and how much run support you get from your team.

        The question we should be asking is will he get close to this year’s meaningful stats such as WHIP, K/BB, FIP, etc.

        And the answer to that is……………………………………I have no idea but the odds are against it. I’d still try to bring him back next year if it could be done at a decent price.

  4. Kasten has stated they will use the Farm and so far in one season has kept to it except for the Freeman signing which was simply taking advantage of Atlanta’s screw up. Thank you Atlanta!
    I am hoping they sign T Turner but who knows if he wants to sign here?
    Covid changed the age dynamic and you have to figure with the Dodgers stacked roster and rotation Pepiot, Jackson etc would be starting with other clubs. Example see Gray etc.
    Lots of guys are older because of college. Mix that with Covid and we see older guys being held back. I have read several articles about Dodger prospects from other commentators that say Pepiot might be headed for the bullpen as his change misses bats and he has shown an inability to throw strikes for 5-7 innings. Jackson did look good and comfortable in his save appearance. I am guessing like others the Dodgers will offer Anderson a 2-3 year deal. So Urias, Gonsolin, May, Anderson and Kershaw is a very competitive rotation. I do think Stone is on the starting roster in 23 and Miller in 24. We are as usual guessing as we do not know how the Dodgers rate Jackson, Pepiot, Stone etc.

  5. I do not see all the love for Vargas. He has not impressed me all that much. Small sample yes. But he is still overmatched. Jackson has two career saves now. Congrats to Grove, he did not give up any homers and showed a lot of poise out there. Buehler will not be a factor next year. I can see CK back on another one year deal. He should get to 200 wins.

    1. As i am sure you have read. The Dodger organization believes Vargas is a can’t miss contact hitter that will grow into power. So far from his minor league stints he has made contact and controlled his at bats as well as anyone. He has had some issues with the transition as everyone does but I believe he is a can’t miss guy along with scouts throughout baseball. Hopefully he transitions faster than Lux and is given that opportunity. Although I do not know where he will play. With Vargas and Rios being limited to where they play and when they pick up J Turner’s option it’s going to be interesting what the Dodgers do. I am wondering if they trade Rios. As having Vargas up since September tells us he probably will be on the roster in 23.

      1. Vargas has four positions he could be used at so, assuming he starts hitting next year, he’ll get some playing time. He can play 1B, 3B, LF and DH. I see him getting most of his time in LF next year. JT and Max are going to be at 3B and DH most every day which takes up two possibilities. Freddie plays every day which removes another one. If Miggy has a good spring training, I expect him to be the opening day left fielder in 2023.

      2. And you and Jeff are very knowledgeable about baseball. Respect both your opinions. Looking at everything stats and what scouts and Gomes and AF have stated. I think Vargas is special. As Jeff says we will know better in a year. Hopefully you are well. I just went down and got my variant booster. My wife’s uncle just died from it. Daughter is down with it but improving. Take care.

    2. If you want to judge a prospect by his first 39 at bats, Bear, you have every right to do that.

      Would you be satisfied if his career turned out as productive as Justin Turner’s? JT’s first exposure to the majors came in 2009-2010 with the Orioles and then the Mets. In his first 35 at bats during those two cups of coffee, he batted .114.

      He may prove to be an over-hyped dismal failure as a ballplayer, but a few things you might want to keep in mind:

      1) He is 6.6 years younger than the average ballplayer at this level.
      2) He has taken a while to get going at every step of the way in his progression through the minors, being far younger than the average player each step of the way.
      3) From what we are told, AF has been asked repeatedly to include him in trades over the past year or two, yet he has held on to him.

      1. Yes, I expect Trayce to be back, but he can play all three outfield positions.

        If Vargas hits, Trayce may see a fair amount of time in centerfield. If MV doesn’t start well, he could definitely find himself back in OKC for a little more seasoning. Although Trayce has been a huge help since he arrived, he still strikes out way too much, so he wouldn’t necessarily be brought back to be an every day player. His results plus those of Vargas and Belli (I assume he’ll be back for one last go-around), will determine how much each of them plays.

      2. Yeah Jeff. I do, I have nothing else to base it on. I have seen way too many of these prospects become suspects. Maybe he will make it, and maybe he won’t. I have seen rookies come up and light the league on fire only to flame out. I understand all of the variables. But in my eyes, at this point in time, he is not all that different or special. He might prove to be otherwise. But that remains to be seen.

    1. I still do not understand why Y’all think I am grumpy! I am fine T. Out here in Cali helping my brother again. I had my booster when I got back to AZ. I was exposed to Covid, and did not get so much as a runny nose. I am heading back home the end of October. Going to stop and see my grandson who I bought a train ticket for so he could move back to Phoenix. Back to my mountains and my serene existence,

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