Quickly approaching is the time of the year when the baseball blogosphere is flooded with many versions of minor league prospect rankings. Despite several significant departures at last year’s trade deadlines, the Dodgers are still regarded as having one of the better farm systems in the majors, and it should be interesting to see where the Los Angeles prospects fall in line this year in terms of a league-wide comparison.
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.
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.
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.
With the arrival of spring camp just a mere two weeks away, the Dodgers on Tuesday afternoon announced the list of 22 players who will be non-roster invites.
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.
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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.