Dodgers Dugout: Looking at the team’s top prospects

Dodgers Dugout: Looking at the team’s top prospects

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and it looks like the Dodgers and Padres will battle it out to the end this season.

We’re going to switch gears a little bit in this edition of Dodgers Dugout and focus not so much on the Dodgers, but on the future Dodgers. Let’s take a look at the Dodgers’ top 10 prospects.

Unfortunately, I don’t get to travel the country watching the Dodgers in the minors, so to compile a top 10 list I heavily rely on the fine work of places such as MLB.com, Baseball Prospectus, Baseball America and FanGraphs.

So without further ado, the top 10.

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1. Diego Cartaya, C, 20, bats right, signed July 2, 2018
MLB.com rank among Dodgers prospects: 1
Baseball America: 1
Baseball Prospectus: 2
FanGraphs: 1
Currently at Class A Rancho Cucamonga
2022 numbers: .254/.383/.535

Cartaya is further along as a hitter than as a catcher as of now, and draws many comparisons to Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez. He has power to all fields but is a very slow runner. If he keeps progressing, the Dodgers will have an interesting decision to make between him and Will Smith in 2024.

2. Bobby Miller, RHP, 23, taken in first round of 2020 draft
MLB.com rank among Dodgers prospects: 2
Baseball America: 2
Baseball Prospectus: 3
FanGraphs: 2
Currently at double-A Tulsa
2022 numbers: 4.97 ERA, 25.1 IP, 21 hits, 9 walks, 31 Ks

Miller averages 98 mph on his four-seam fastball. He throws a four-seam and two-seam fastball, along with a slider, curveball and changeup. He would be in the mix of starters the Dodgers could turn to this season, but more realistically, sometime next season.

3. Michael Busch, 2B, 24, bats left, taken in the first round of the 2019 draft
MLB.com rank among Dodgers prospects: 3
Baseball America: 4
Baseball Prospectus: 6
FanGraphs: 3
Currently at triple-A Oklahoma City
2022 numbers: .296/.420/.636

Busch was promoted to Oklahoma City after getting off to a torrid start at double A and homered in his debut last week. He punishes the ball, has a great batting eye and basically will be the next Max Muncy (2021 Muncy, not 2022 Muncy). He will probably end up a first baseman because as a fielder, he’s a heck of a hitter.

4. Andy Pages, OF, 21, bats right, signed Oct. 18, 2017
MLB.com rank among Dodgers prospects: 4
Baseball America: 6
Baseball Prospectus: 4
FanGraphs: 4
Currently at double-A Tulsa
2022 numbers: .230/.346/.410

He would be with the Angels right now if Angels owner Arte Moreno hadn’t vetoed the trade for Joc Pederson a couple of years ago. Draws a lot of walks, has a lot of power, strikes out a lot. Don’t let the lower 2022 numbers fool you, he is about three years younger than the average double-A player.

5. Miguel Vargas, 3B, 22, bats right, signed Sept. 7, 2017
MLB.com rank among Dodgers prospects: 5
Baseball America: 3
Baseball Prospectus: 1
FanGraphs: 10
Currently at triple-A Oklahoma City
2022 numbers: .311/.412/.522

Vargas can hit, winning the batting title in double-A last season. But can he field? He has improved defensively at third base but would slot in nicely at DH. Most scouts, according to MLB.com, see him as a first baseman.

6. Ryan Pepiot, RHP, 24, taken in third round of 2019 draft
MLB.com rank among Dodgers prospects: 6
Baseball America: 5
Baseball Prospectus: 5
FanGraphs: 5
Currently at triple-A Oklahoma City
2022 numbers: 1.72 ERA, 31.1 IP, 19 hits, 13 walks, 42 Ks

Pepiot made his debut with the Dodgers this season because of the injuries to Clayton Kershaw and Andrew Heaney. He has a great changeup but struggles with his control (he walked eight in seven innings with the Dodgers).

7. Eddys Leonard, IF, 21, bats right, signed July 3, 2017
MLB.com rank among Dodgers prospects: 8
Baseball America: 8
Baseball Prospectus: 9
FanGraphs: Not in top 10
Currently at Class A Great Lakes
2022 numbers: .277/.396/.477

Hit .297 with 20 home runs in his first full season in 2021, impressive for a 20-year-old. Mainly plays short and second and is better defensively at second. Another Dodgers prospect who has a good eye for the strike zone.

8. Jorbit Vivas, 2B, 21, bats left, signed July 14, 2017
MLB.com rank among Dodgers prospects: 9
Baseball America: 11
Baseball Prospectus: 8
FanGraphs: 9
Currently at Class A Great Lakes
2022 numbers: .273/.393/.396

Usually has more pop than he has shown this year, he hit 20 homers in 2019 and 144 last season. Doesn’t strike out often. His only real position is second, since he doesn’t have the arm to play short or third.

9. Maddux Bruns, LHP, 19, taken in first round of 2021 draft
MLB.com rank among Dodgers prospects: 12
Baseball America: 12
Baseball Prospectus: 7
FanGraphs: 6
Currently at Class A Rancho Cucamonga
2022 numbers: 4.82 ERA, 18.2 IP, 19 hits, 13 walks, 32 Ks

Throws a fastball, curve and slider. As with almost all top pitching prospects, needs to work on control and command. If he can do that, he’ll be a front-line starter.

10. Landon Knack, RHP, 24, taken in second round of 2020 draft
MLB.com rank among Dodgers prospects: 7
Baseball America: 7
Baseball Prospectus: not in top 10
FanGraphs: 12
Currently at double-A Tulsa
2022 numbers: 3.60 ERA, 10 IP, 10 hits, 3 walks, 18 K’s

Would be ranked higher if he was younger. Throws a fastball, slider and changeup. Has incredible control, walking only eight in 62 innings last season. Doesn’t throw as hard as most (fastball averages 94) but knows where every pitch is going.

Familiar face returns

Meant to mention this is in the last newsletter but forgot. The Dodgers signed old friend Pedro Baez to a minor-league deal last week. Baez had signed a two-year, $12.5-million deal with Houston before the 2021 season but spent most of that time injured and was released earlier this season. Baez pitched for the Dodgers from 2014 to 2020 and is best remembered for giving many Dodgers fans anxiety whenever he came into the game, but he was actually an effective reliever most of the time. Still though, this is sort of like a sequel to a scary movie. You’re not sure if you want to put yourself through that stress again.

Distressing

It was tough to write this edition. After the school shooting in Texas, this all seemed rather meaningless. I try to keep the real world out of this newsletter, but it’s events like this that make a three-game Dodgers losing streak, or a costly error, or a bad loss, rather meaningless. The next time the Dodgers hit a slump, remember that if that’s the big thing ruining your day, then your day has gone pretty well. And make sure you tell the people you love how you feel. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow.

Rest in peace, Joe Pignatano

Former Brooklyn and L.A. Dodgers catcher Joe Pignatano died Monday in Naples, Fla., at 92. In the second game of a best-of-three playoff series to determine the 1959 NL pennant winner, Pignatano was part of the two-out rally in the bottom of the 12th that won the game and sent the Dodgers to the World Series.

As a coach for the 1969 New York Mets, Pignatano grew a tomato patch in the Mets bullpen, and it became a good-luck charm for the team that went on to win a surprising World Series title.

Pignatano played in 141 games with the Dodgers from 1957 to 1960.

Up next

Tonight: Dodgers (Mitch White, 1-0, 6.17 ERA) at Arizona (Humberto Castellanos, 3-1, 4.29 ERA), 6:30 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570, KTNQ 1020

Friday: Dodgers (Tony Gonsolin, 4-0, 1.62 ERA) at Arizona (*Madison Bumgarner, 2-2, 2.76 ERA), 6:30 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570, KTNQ 1020

Saturday: Dodgers (TBD) at Arizona (Merrill Kelly, 3-2, 3.49 ERA), 4:15 p.m., Fox, AM 570, KTNQ 1020

Sunday: Dodgers (*Tyler Anderson, 5-0, 3.30 ERA) at Arizona (TBD), 1 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570, KTNQ 1020

*-left-handed

Stories you might have missed

‘Right is right’: Dodgers manager Dave Roberts calls for action after Texas shooting

Juan Soto trade rumors have begun. Where do the Dodgers fit?

Trea Turner embraces Dodgers culture — a year after a trade he didn’t expect

‘Poetry in motion’: How Dodgers shortstop Trea Turner made sliding cool

And finally

Vin Scully and John Wooden are interviewed. Watch and listen here.

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