Until recently, the last week of August was a time when we’d anticipate a handful of prospects joining the major league team to get their feet wet and see how they react to playing at the highest possible level.
However, with the most recent roster rule changes, teams only expand to 28 players on September 1 through the end of the regular season, limiting teams significantly on their additions over previous seasons.
For as much as we discuss prospects on this site, one player we’ve yet to feature is righty pitcher Gavin Stone.
Several of our commenters have been talking about the Arkansas native for a while, even though he hasn’t really burst onto the scouting radar until this year. Stone has been making a name for himself by his ability to miss bats, as his 11.80 K/9 this season is one of the best in the organization.
One common conversation lately among fans of the Dodgers has revolved around which players in the minor leagues are closest to being ready for the majors. So far, we’ve been able to see a lot of this speculation tested out, as the Los Angeles roster has been changing almost weekly with new faces.
While the next few weeks will see a handful of young, worthy prospects added to the Dodgers‘ big league expanded roster, there is still a slew of emerging superstars that remains on the fringe, out of the eye of the mainstream public.
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.
Considering the recent struggles of the Dodgers bullpen, there’s bound to be a number of moves on the horizon, even before rosters expand at the beginning of September. Besides the collapse of every available arm in the current crew, there’s been plenty of other news, most specifically the back injury to righty Ross Stripling and yet another setback for hard-throwing right-hander Josh Fields.
If you’re a regular reader of this site, you’ll know that occasionally we like to pick a position on the Dodgers‘ farm and discuss exactly how much minor league depth there is at that particular position. About twice per year, we take a look at catcher and analyze the top handful of prospects in the system. Up until recently, Keibert Ruiz normally headlined the list; however, at the midway point of 2018, the versatile Will Smith has seemingly overtaken Ruiz and could be on a super-fast track to the big leagues.
If you’ve been a long time reader of this column or a follower of mine on Twitter, you know that I always do my best not to overreact to the ups and downs of a long baseball season. Admittedly, sometimes this is much harder than other times. The beginning of this season has definitely been a challenge. Still, I am not overly worried overall about the state of the Dodgers.