As the 2017 regular season progresses, a few of the Dodgers‘ top-tier prospects are beginning to emerge on center stage, with infielder Willie Calhoun possibly the hottest of the group, especially over the past four weeks.
The last time we checked on the progress of Dodgers‘ pitching prospect Walker Buehler, the young righty was coming off a successful return to the bump, having contributed to the postseason success of Low-A Great Lakes after missing more than a year recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Looking across the entire length of the Dodgers‘ farm system, it’s often difficult to find a consistently effective reliever, especially one at the lower levels of the organization. In spite of that, one golden arm which is already beginning to pay dividends is that of Shea Spitzbarth. During 2017 spring training, the 22-year-old native of Staten Island raised many eyebrows with his fine performances over the course of Cactus League play. So far during the regular season, the young righty has already amassed five saves for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga while posting a 0.96 ERA with 14 strikeouts over 9-1/3 innings of work.
Now that the regular season is quickly approaching its third week, we’re finding out a bit more on a daily basis about why a handful of players in the Dodgers‘ system mysteriously disappeared from their normal roster statuses during the early phases of the 2017 campaign.
If there’s one area of player development that president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and the management team of the Dodgers have mastered during their tenures in Los Angeles, it’s giving an inflated number of organizational prospects the opportunity to perform on the highest stage of the game. In doing so, it appears as if the crew has created a “fast track” of sorts to the big leagues, especially for the younger players who stand out amongst their peers in terms of skills and baseball savvy.
Up until a few years ago, the catching talent over the entirety of the Dodgers‘ farm system may have been considered downright barren. However, after acquiring Austin Barnes via trade in December of 2014, and selecting the highly regarded Will Smith in the first round of the 2016 draft, the organization took a big step towards being adequately stocked. Yet the catcher who could have perhaps the highest ceiling in the whole system, Keibert Ruiz, is still flying under the radar in terms of his reputation among the fan base.
In between now and the last time we took a brief moment to see what was happening with pitching prospect Yadier Alvarez, not only did the 20-year-old Cuban righty breeze his way through rookie ball and impress at Low-A Great Lakes, but he also elevated himself into several of the Top 5 lists of Dodgers prospects published during this offseason.
“If I told you my story
You would hear Hope that wouldn’t let go
And if I told you my story
You would hear Love that never gave up
And if I told you my story
You would hear Life, but it wasn’t mine”
~Big Daddy Weave