The Los Angeles Dodgers farm system has been developed well under the direction of president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and an overhauled front office. Their efforts have proven key this season as several injuries forced the club to rely on their young talent.
Entering the 2016 season, Baseball America rated the Dodgers’ farm system No. 1 overall. While Corey Seager, Trayce Thompson, and Julio Urias have seamlessly stepped into the spotlight of the Major Leagues, several young prospects are on the verge of also making an impact.
Six of whom were named to Baseball America’s Midseason Top 100 Prospects list. First baseman/outfielder Cody Bellinger leads the group, checking in at No. 24.
He’s followed by right-hander Jose De Leon at No. 25, outfielder Alex Verdugo is ranked No. 44, righty Grant Holmes No. 60, right-hander Frankie Montas No. 82, and second baseman Willie Calhoun rounds out the Dodgers’ presence at No. 98.
Seager was ranked Baseball America’s top prospect for the 2016 season, but he was eliminated for consideration in the midseason list by virtue of not being in the Minors on June 21. As such, Urias and Thompson were also disqualified.
Bellinger was ranked a top-10 first baseman by MLB Pipeline prior to the season beginning. In 62 games with Double-A Tulsa, the 20-year-old is slashing .266/.349/.446 with nine home runs and 31 RBIs.
De Leon, a strikeout machine, had a rough start to the 2016 season, as he suffered from an ankle injury that kept him in extended Spring Training. He threw five scoreless innings in his first start for Triple-A Oklahoma City, but was temporarily shut down with shoulder soreness.
He’s since returned to the OKC rotation and is 1-0, with a 3.03 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and .194 opponents’ batting average in seven starts. De Leon was ranked a top 10 right-handed pitching prospect by MLB Pipeline in January.
Alex Verdugo, a 2014 second-round draft pick, has steadily grown accustomed to the increased competition. The 20-year-old has flourished this season with the Drillers, earning a selection to the 2016 Texas League All-Star Game.
In 16 appearances (14 starts) this season for High-A Rancho Cucamonga, Holmes is 7-3 with a 3.48 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and .261 opponents’ batting average. He was ranked No. 72 by Baseball America heading into the season.
Perhaps the most injury plagued Minor Leaguer this season has been Montas. Acquired in the White Sox trade that also brought Thompson and Micah Johnson to Los Angeles, Montas has been limited by rib injuries.
The 23-year-old underwent a rib resection surgery in February, caused by a stress reaction. Montas made seven total appearances in Double-A and Triple-A this season before falling victim to a broken rib that’s near his surgery-impacted area.
In 81 games with the Drillers, Calhoun has dazzled at the plate. The 21-year-old is batting .257/.324/.472 with 16 home runs and 56 RBIs. The 2015 fourth-round draft pick leads the Drillers in home runs, RBIs and runs scored.