The Los Angeles Dodgers farm system has received plenty of attention and praise from various publications this offseason, as despite graduating the likes of Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager in recent years, Los Angeles still boasts one of the top farm systems in all of baseball.
In terms of individual prospects, the Dodgers had seven named to the Baseball Prospectus top 101 prospects list for the 2018 season. The headliner, as has often been the case in other rankings, was Walker Buehler at No. 21 overall.
He was followed by Alex Verdugo at No. 25, Yadier Alvarez (No. 41), Keibert Ruiz (54), Dustin May (69), Yusniel Diaz (73) and Mitchell White (86).
Buehler was ranked the No. 12 prospect by ESPN’s Keith Law and No. 13 by both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline.
In his first full season coming off Tommy John surgery, Buehler posted a 3.35 ERA and 1.11 WHIP over 88.2 innings with 125 strikeouts to 31 walks in 28 Minor League games (19 starts). He had less success after being called up as a reliever in September, yielding a 7.71 ERA over a much smaller sample size of 9.1 innings.
Baseball Prospectus is more bullish on Verdugo than some of the other publications, as he was ranked 33rd by MLB Pipeline, 36th by ESPN and 37th by Baseball America.
The outfielder had a similar season to Buehler’s in that he enjoyed success in the Minors, batting .314/.389/.436 with six home runs and 62 RBIs in 117 games with Triple-A Oklahoma City. But Verdugo also struggled during his cup of coffee with the Dodgers.
Both Buehler and Verdugo are expected to make more of an impact at the big league level this season.
Alvarez coming in at No. 41 was a bit of a surprise as he did not make either Baseball America’s or MLB Pipeline’s rankings. The flame-throwing right-hander struggled a bit in 2017, pitching to 4.68 ERA in 92.1 innings between High-A Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Tulsa.
Control was an issue as he walked 50 hitters compared to 97 strikeouts, but Alvarez still has front-of-the-rotation stuff if he can solve command troubles.
Ruiz has made his debut on a lot of prospect rankings this year, as he was also ranked 40th by Baseball America, 52nd by MLB Pipeline and 97th by ESPN. The 19-year-old catcher hit .316/.361/.452 with eight home runs and 51 RBIs in 101 Minor League games in 2017.
May and Diaz are both showing up on their first top prospects list of the offseason. May was a third-round pick of the Dodgers in 2016. The right-hander went 9-6 with a 3.63 ERA in 134 innings between Low-A Great Lakes and Rancho Cucamonga this past season.
The 21-year-old Diaz was an international signee out of Cuba and slashed .292/.354/.433 with 11 home runs and 52 RBIs between Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Tulsa in 2017. Diaz possesses all the tools to be a Major League outfielder in the future, although he still has plenty of development to make before that happens.
The final Dodgers prospect named to the Baseball Prospectus list, White, was also ranked 69th overall by Baseball America. The 2016 second-round pick tossed 73.2 innings across three levels in 2017, pitching to a 2.93 ERA and 1.03 WHIP.
Buehler and Verdugo are both on the Dodgers 40-man roster, and will be with the big league club this spring. Ruiz and Diaz will also be in Major League camp, as they were recently named among the 22 non-roster invitees.