As quiet as the offseason has been so far, one of the main focuses of the Dodgers management crew is trying to snag an experienced catcher for the upcoming campaign. Many thought Wilson Ramos, who recently signed a two-year pact with the Mets, was a perfect fit, despite his intentions to remain on the East Coast. But even if Los Angeles is able to land a gem via trade or free agency, what would happen in the event of an injury?
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.
The Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday named right-handed pitcher Tony Gonsolin as the Branch Rickey Minor League Pitcher of the Year and infielder Gavin Lux as the Branch Rickey Minor League Player of the Year.
OKLAHOMA CITY DODGERS (Pacific Coast League-AAA): Although it was an exciting down-to-the-wire regular season finish for manager Bill Haselman‘s OKC club to kick-off the previous week, their luck eventually ran out at the hands of the Memphis Redbirds (St. Louis Cardinals affiliate) as they were dusted off in four games of the PCL American Conference Championship series. Still, it was a a largely successful 2018 campaign for the team as they posted a very good 75-65 regular season record which culminated in them clinching the PCL American Northern Division title. Key players of note who were getting it done this past week are 26-year old OF/former 2010 5th round pick of the Boston Red Sox Henry Ramos (.765/.778/1.118 in the month of September, also batted a white-hot .500 avg with 3 HR and 7 RBI in the OKC/Memphis division series), 26-year old INF/OF Connor Joe (.545/.737/.909 with a HR and 5 RBI during the same stretch; .299/.408/.527 with a career-high 17 HR and 55 RBI combined between AA Tulsa and AAA OKC this season), and 24-year old corner player Edwin Rios (.467/.529/.800 this month with a HR and 5 RBI; .304/.355/.482 with 35 XBH and 55 RBI in 88 games for OKC this season).
It was certainly an exciting sight to see the big-league Dodgers briefly retake first place in the NL West this past weekend; but now, it’s that time of the week to see how their minor-league affiliates fared as their respective seasons are quickly drawing to a close.
With the big-league Dodgers doing their best to climb back into the NL West division race, it’s time once again to check out what happened with their minor-league affiliates within the past week.
While many fans of the Dodgers probably think a conversation about next year’s catching picture is irrelevant, there are certainly a few relative factors that play into the remainder of the 2018 season’s landscape. The four biggest questions which pertain to many of the upcoming discussions over the winter are whether or not management will pursue a contact with Yasmani Grandal, if the coaching staff will ever trust Kyle Farmer defensively behind the plate, if Austin Barnes‘ 2018 season is simply an anomaly, and whether or not Will Smith can hit big league pitching.