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.
Not long after the 25-man big league roster is submitted the morning of April 3, the entire management crew of the Dodgers will find itself spinning its wheels drawing up a prospective draft for the Triple-A Oklahoma City squad. Opening Day for OKC falls on Thursday, April 6 at home, so there’s basically just a few days to decide which players remain on the upper fringes of the farm and which players head for the plains of Double-A Tulsa.
As spring training games for minor league affiliates of the Dodgers are slated to begin on Monday, we thought it would be an opportune time to scatter in a few more profiles of some of the best prospects on the organization’s farm. Today, we turn our attention to 21-year-old Will Smith, who many pundits believe to have the highest ceiling of all the catchers in the entire system.
Just about every single year during spring camp, there’s always one or two minor league additions who find their way onto the big league fields and catch the eyes of curious fans. For the Dodgers in 2017, outfielder Henry Ramos is one of those players, and based on his usage early on, may see significant time during Cactus League play over the coming weeks.
With all the endless discussions currently in the news surrounding the prospective layouts of the club’s Opening Day 25-man roster, many fans of the Dodgers can’t help but envision the overwhelming amount of depth and skill lurking on the fringe of the bigs at Triple-A Oklahoma City. If the major league squad stays relatively healthy and productive throughout the regular season, the crew at OKC will not only possess some of the best player talent in the Pacific Coast League, but will also be almost untouchable en route to yet another American Northern divisional crown.
Even though he had the opportunity to suit up in a pinch and sit in the bullpen at one Cactus League game last year, righty pitching prospect Trevor Oaks is still excited for his first official non-roster invite to the big league camp of the Dodgers, and hopes to take advantage of every single moment.
Even though the best available arms at Oklahoma City will undeniably be called upon more than once during the upcoming campaign, if the big league starting rotation of the Dodgers somehow stays relatively healthy for the majority of the season, the projected Triple-A rotation certainly has both the required talent and potential to be among the most elite in recent history.
Upon learning that the Dodgers selected reliever Kyle Grana in the latter portion of MLB’s Rule 5 Draft in December, many dedicated fans of the club immediately began searching the web near and far in attempts to gain knowledge about the hard-throwing righty from Missouri, only to come up short of any significant information in the end.
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.
Further strengthening his chances of garnering a non-roster invite to the Dodgers‘ big league spring training camp next month, 26-year-old farmhand O’Koyea Dickson made a fine impression in the Mexican Pacific League this winter, hammering four home runs in the final three games of Naranjeros de Hermosillo’s second-round playoff series.