Cody Bellinger, Yaisel Sierra Make 2016 Debuts; Plus More On Dodgers Prospects
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The 2016 season opened with some of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ top prospects debuting for new teams while others remained in Arizona, working their way back to full health, or shaking off rust.

A few prospects, notably Corey Seager and Ross Stripling, broke camp with the Major League club. Some of the younger hitters and pitchers remained in extended Spring Training, waiting for rookie ball. Now one month into the season, it’s time to review who stormed out of the gate and what can be expected over the next few months.

Crème of the Crop

Top hurler Julio Urias began the season where he ended last year, Triple-A Oklahoma City. And the Midwest has been much kinder to him a second time around. Through his first four appearances (three starts), the 19-year-old southpaw has struck out 23 batters and walked just three.

Urias has posted a 2.50 ERA, which is good for 10th in the league. He pitched just 18 innings during the opening month but figures to exceed 100 innings for the first time in his career.

Another teenager, Alex Verdugo, was surprisingly assigned to Double-A Tulsa in just his second full season. The outfielder batted .311 last year between Low-A Great Lakes and High-A Rancho Cucamonga.

Through his first 22 games with the Drillers, Verdugo is batting .263 with a pair of doubles and a pair of home runs. He won’t turn 20 years old until May 15, so expect some time for him to adjust to playing against opponents who are four-to-five years older than him.

Righty Grant Holmes got off to a hot start with the Quakes, opening his 2016 campaign with a pair of shutout starts. However, in his last three games, he’s allowed 11 runs and issued eight walks, simply proving how difficult it is to pitch in the California League.

Holmes’ peripherals are solid, though, and his ERA is 3.67. The versatile Austin Barnes also broke camp with the Dodgers while Yasmani Grandal was injured, but struggled in his brief time in the Majors.

Barnes was optioned to Oklahoma City on April 15, and has fared far better in the Pacific Coast League, hitting .297/.469/.405 with more walks than strikeouts. He can be an asset on the Major League roster, but only if he gets significant playing time.

Jharel Cotton, another on the OKC Dodgers roster, has gotten off to an up-and-down start this season. He’s had a five-inning rain-shortened complete game, a four-inning seven-run blowout, and a few starts in between that has led to a 5.40 ERA in five appearances.

Cotton has struck out 25 batters in 21.2 innings pitched, but also allowed four home runs, so some consistency in his performance is needed before he eventually makes his Major League debut.

CONTINUE RADING: Yaisel Sierra makes professional debut, and more