The Los Angeles Dodgers once again have one of the best farm systems in baseball even after trading their top two prospects last season.
Baseball America previously ranked five of the Dodgers’ prospects among their top-100, led by Diego Cartaya, while Baseball prospectus ranked four of their prospects within their top 101, headlined by Miguel Vargas.
While the Dodgers do have high-end talent with impact potential, what makes their system truly special is the number of quality players they have, and that’s what Keith Law pointed out in his Dodgers’ top-20 prospects for 2022 list.
His ranking starts with Cartaya, who is widely considered the team’s best prospect, aside from Baseball Prospectus’ evaluation. Cartaya has a small sample size, but most agree he has enough talent to become an All-Star caliber catcher. Law indicated Cartaya has a chance to be the top prospect in baseball eventually and ranked him No. 13 on the top-100 list.
Following Cartaya is Bobby Miller, who Law called a potential front-line starting pitcher. The 22-year-old right-hander has an electric fastball that can reach triple-digits, a wipeout slider, developing curveball, and decent changeup. There is a strong chance Miller makes his MLB debut at some point in 2022. He was ranked No. 50 on Law’s top 100.
Coming in at third on Law’s list is Michael Busch, who additionally was ranked No. 53 in the top 100. Busch is called a potential All-Star if he can improve against left-handed pitching with an already strong offensive profile. The 24-year-old second baseman should make his debut at some point this season.
Vargas is ranked fourth on his list but still 62nd in the top 100. The biggest question is he seems to be a player without a defensive position, but with the addition of the designated hitter to the National League, that should help settle any concerns about Vargas’ future with the team.
Law believes Vargas has the ability to hit .300 with 25 to 30 home runs and a high on-base percentage. After a breakout 2021 season in Double-A Tulsa, he was named the Dodgers’ Branch Rickey Minor League Player Of The Year.
Next on the list is Andy Pages, who also comes in as No. 76 in the top 100. Pages has elite power and a strong arm but perhaps most importantly he has continued to improve every season in the Minor Leagues. He projects as an above-average everyday player according to Law after cutting his strikeout rate last season but he still has the potential for more.
The most surprising name on the list is Eddys Leonard, who is ranked as the No. 6 Dodgers prospect and No. 98 in the top 100. Leonard had a breakout season in 2021 that made him from a relatively unknown player to someone the Dodgers added to their 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft this offseason.
He is mostly a middle-infielder but he also has experience in the outfield, however his bat should play at any position. Law says Leonard could jump into the top 25 prospects next season if he shows he can hit offspeed pitches well.
Seventh on the list is Ryan Pepiot, who just missed the top 100 ranking. Pepiot’s calling card is his changeup that is already one of the best in all of baseball. Law noted Pepiot is ready for a relief role and should become at least a backend starter, however, he is being held back by his command.
Rounding out the top 10 are Landon Knack, Jorbit Vivas and Jose Ramos. Knack is an almost Major League ready back-of-the-rotation starter, Vivas could end up being an everyday starter or super utility player and Ramos is a high upside but raw right fielder.
The next two, James Outman and Andre Jackson, are both on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster and should make somewhat of an impact this season. Outman has 25 home run and 25 steal upside, and Jackson, while already 26, is still developing after only becoming a full-time starting pitcher in 2018.
From Nos. 13-16 on Law’s list are four of the Dodgers’ recently-drafted pitching prospects. Nick Nastrini starts the run of pitchers at No. 13, who Law said has an above-average starting pitcher ceiling.
Nastrini is followed by Maddux Bruns, the team’s first-round pick in 2021, has top-of-the-rotation upside with very high risk. Following Bruns is Gavin Stone and Emmet Sheehan, who both could end up becoming Major League starting pitchers.
At No. 17 is Carlos Duran, a 20-year old pitcher who is 6’7 and 230 pounds. Duran has an elite slider and a decent fastball but he will need to add a third pitch to stick as a starter.
Rounding out the top 20 are three more pitchers: Clayton Beeter, Peter Heubeck and Michael Grove. Beeter has great stuff but has yet to put it all together, which gives him the look of a future reliever with upside. Heubeck looks like another back-end starter with an advanced feel for pitching and Grove is another future reliever as a two-pitch guy.
Keith Law’s notes on other Dodgers prospects
Law said the Dodgers’ farm system is filled with multiple players who could make an impact in 2022. Pepiot and Knack could both end up pitching important innings while Outman, Busch and Vargas could all help out their offense.
The most notable player missing from the list is Kody Hoese, who was the team’s first-round pick in 2019. He has yet to hit at any level of the Minors and has played below-average defense.
Last season, Pages was named as Law’s sleeper prospect but this season it goes to Ramos, who Law says is following a similar track as Pages.
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