A sickness has been sweeping the Dodgers clubhouse, causing as many as 25 players to be sent home from Camelback Ranch the last few days. Thursday’s scheduled starting pitcher Ross Stripling was scratched due to the as-of-now mysterious illness. Manny Banuelos instead gets the start, a pitcher this writer has never heard of.
While there aren’t an overwhelming number of trade rumors surrounding the Dodgers as this winter’s hot stove approaches, there has been a bit of conjecture regarding catcher Yasmani Grandal and whether or not he’ll last the entire season in Los Angeles.
While many fans of the Dodgers have recently been mulling over the numerous roster transactions and watching the Boys in Blue hover around the .500 mark, it’s been business as usual down on the farm, where a handful of blue chippers are on the rise across several different levels of the organization.
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.
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.
On Tuesday, while publishing the first edition containing our projections for the Dodgers‘ 25-man roster heading into 2017, there were a few areas of the squad that provoked some curious contemplation, with the depth chart at catcher being among the most interesting. After the departures of veterans A.J. Ellis and Carlos Ruiz, 28-year-old Yasmani Grandal will step up to be the new leader of the catching crew, headlining an area of the team that seemingly got loads of years younger with the blink of an eye.
While many fans of the Dodgers are feeling a touch of stress regarding several of management’s upcoming roster decisions during the winter months, a little bit of relief can be found in realizing the multitude of talent flourishing on almost every level of the farm, setting up a seemingly secure future for the entire organization in terms of player personnel.