Behind lavish spending to jumpstart the process and a renewed focus on developing prospects, the Los Angeles Dodgers have built a championship-caliber team. The organization’s crop of young talent is led by Corey Seager but also features several others who have garnered notoriety recently.
In their just-released list of the Dodgers’ top-10 prospects entering the 2016 season, Baseball Prospectus ranked Seager No. 1. The honor is the latest in what became commonplace during the offseason as the rookie shortstop was ranked the overall top prospect by ZiPS, Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, MLB.com, and ESPN.
Seager is followed in the Baseball Prospectus top 10 by Julio Urias, Jose De Leon, Grant Holmes, Frankie Montas, Yadier Alvarez, Alex Verdugo, Yusniel Diaz, Cody Bellinger and Jharel Cotton.
Urias was previously named the top left-handed pitching prospect by MLB.com, and has joined Seager on several other prospect rankings.
De Leon, who was selected in the 24th round of the 2013 draft, was named the No. 5 right-handed prospect. Thus far, he’s easily outperformed the expectations that come with being taken that late in the draft.
Holmes, taken 22nd overall in the 2014 draft, went 6-4 with a 4.01 ERA and 1.36 WHIP in 24 starts with Low-A Great Lakes last season. He threw 103.1 innings after tossing a combined 48.1 innings with Rookie Level Ogden and the Arizona League Dodgers in 2014.
Montas has yet to appear in a game since being traded to the Dodgers last December as part of a three-team deal. He underwent rib surgery and will miss approximately one more month before returning to action.
Alvarez signed with the Dodgers last July for $16 million and features an electric fastball that sits in the high 90s. The Cuban native recently arrived at Camelback Ranch, along with Diaz and Omar Estevez.
Verdugo also appeared on prospects lists published by ESPN (No. 51) and Baseball America (No. 100). The 2014 second-round draft pick split time between Single-A Great Lakes and High-A Rancho Cucamonga last season.
Diaz hit .348/.447/.440 in 250 plate appearances during the 2014-15 season in Cuba, and defected shortly after the season came to an end. He signed last November for $15.5 million. Along with De Leon, Bellinger is part of the conversation for the Dodgers’ breakout star in the Minors last season.
The 20-year-old first baseman was dominant in the California League, slugging 30 home runs and collecting 103 RBIs in 128 games. He led the Cal League in RBIs, finished second in home runs and his .873 OPS ranked eighth. Bellinger was also named the sixth-best first baseman in the Minors by MLB.com.
Last season, Cotton appeared in 21 games across four Minor League affiliates. He was split just about evenly, making 11 starts and 10 relief appearances. Overall, the right-hander finished the season 6-2 with a 2.45 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. Cotton had a 2.20 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and averaged 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings as a starter.
Those numbers were 2.88, 1.08 and 11.0, respectively, over his relief appearances. He’s one of several pitchers the Dodgers evaluating to either start or pitch in relief. Cotton believes he can succeed in either role given time.
Baseball Prospectus also ranked the top talents under 25 years old in the Dodgers organization. Yet again, it was a list topped by Seager. He finished ahead of Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson, Urias, De Leon, Alex Wood, Holmes, Montas, Alvarez and Verdugo.