Although it still hasn’t officially been reported by the team, several stories broke at the beginning of the week stating that the Dodgers have signed righty pitcher Lin Huei-Sheng. Apparently, the contract involves a signing bonus in the vicinity of $300K. It has also been stated that the deal is pending a physical, which may be the reason for the holdup in the club making an official announcement.
For the past several years, the middle infield has been an area of the Dodgers‘ system where there is not an overwhelming number of elite prospects, especially at the lower levels of the farm.
While there are many fans of the Dodgers who thought the team’s haul from the seven-player trade with the Reds would quickly be flipped for a high-impact player, both Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray are still preparing themselves for a season on the Los Angeles farm.
As some fans of the Dodgers are still sorting out their thoughts over the exodus of Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp and Alex Wood, many are focusing on the salary dumps while overlooking the quality of prospects that Los Angeles received in return. Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray are not your typical blue-chip, superstar prospects, but at the same time, both have the tools to make a big league impacts sooner than many think.
While most of our regular readers already know that we’re huge on prospect insight here at TBPC, we’re not big on rankings, though, as we don’t get many opportunities to evaluate all the organizational prospects in person. However, once every winter I do my own version of positional player rankings, which oftentimes gives us a good idea of the general depth of the Dodgers across the minor league board.
One would need to go back nearly a decade to realize the last time the Dodgers had significant strength and depth at the catching position. Russell Martin was coming off back-to-back All-Star campaigns in 2007 and 2008, while A.J. Ellis was emerging as one of the most reliable backup catchers in the bigs. Plus, there was a Top 5 prospect named Carlos Santana who was revered by every rival GM across the league.
In order to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft at the upcoming Winter Meetings, the Dodgers on Tuesday selected the contracts of right-handed pitcher Yadier Alvarez, infielder Matt Beaty, infielder Edwin Rios, catcher Keibert Ruiz and right-handed pitcher Josh Sborz.
Tuesday is the deadline for MLB teams to decide which prospects to protect from the Rule 5 draft, and the Dodgers have some decisions to make, perhaps more than in recent years.
During the 2018 season, there were very few prospects whose stock rose as much as 20-year-old infielder Gavin Lux. Selected by the Dodgers with the 20th overall pick in the first round of the 2016 draft, many people believed that he didn’t live up to his expectations during his debut campaign in 2017, when he struggled with the glove and hit just .244/.331/.362 in 111 games. However, the Wisconsin native came back with a vengeance last season, capping off the year by being named the organization’s Branch Rickey Minor League Player of the Year.
I thought it was a bit ironic when the Dodgers released their 2018 NLDS roster back in October and the third-best outfielder in the organization was nowhere to be found. Obviously, we all knew it was going to happen, but it’s still a shame to see so much talent being wasted in the hopper at Triple-A Oklahoma City.