With a renewed focus under the Guggenheim ownership group, the Los Angeles Dodgers have made significant progress in replenishing their farm system in recent years. Thus far, Joc Pederson and Corey Seager are the headliners making an impact in the Majors, with a slew of others around the corner.
The Dodgers have been particularly focused on adding pitching depth to their organization and have talent that extends beyond Pederson, Seager, Julio Urias and others who tend to garner national attention.
In the DodgerBlue.com unveiling of the Dodgers’ top 35 prospects entering the 2016 season, pitchers dominate Nos. 26-35, including several who were taken in the 2015 draft.
35. Logan Crouse, RHP
Crouse, a right-hander from Bloomingdale High School in Florida, was a 30th-round pick by the Dodgers in 2015. Generally, high schoolers picked that late don’t turn pros, but when the Dodgers had some cash left over from the Walker Buehler bonus, they threw it at Crouse and he signed.
Listed at 6’6 and 225 pounds, the right-hander has a projectable frame and he should add velocity as he continues to mature. Crouse’s fastball has touched 92 mph in the past and he’s also shown a breaking ball and a changeup.
Crouse pitched just 1.2 innings in his debut and figures to be developed carefully. He could begin the season in Low-A Great Lakes, but extended Spring Training followed by another tour in rookie ball may be a safer bet.
34. Imani Abdullah, RHP
Like Crouse, Abdullah was another projectable high schooler signed in the 2015 draft. Taken in the 11th round out of Madison High School near San Diego, the teen-righty oozes projection from a frame that’s listed at 6’4 and a very generous 205 pounds.
Abdullah’s fastball has been in the upper 80s, but should add velocity as he adds weight to his rail-thin frame. He’s already shown feel for both a big breaking ball as well as a sinking, fading changeup. Abdullah is also likely on a long, slow development path but could take a big step forward in the next few seasons.
33. Nolan Long, RHP
Long was one of the Dodgers’ more intriguing picks in last year’s draft. The Wagner College alum pitched for the baseball team and was also a member of the school’s basketball team. That doesn’t seem too special until you consider that Long is 6’10.
One of the tallest players in professional baseball, Long doesn’t feature overpowering stuff but pitches in the low 90s with his fastball. His breaking ball seemingly drops out of the clouds and his changeup is another potentially useful pitch. He reached Low-A in his debut and should start 2016 in full-season ball.
32. Philip Pfeifer, LHP
After seeing two of his teammates selected in the first round, including the Dodgers’ top pick in Buehler at No. 24, Pfeifer didn’t have to wait long to join his fellow Vanderbilt Commodores in turning pro. The Dodgers used their third-round selectoin on the senior southpaw, though he didn’t have the smoothest debut.
After being assigned to Rookie Level Ogden, Pfeifer pitched in just one game before being shut down with elbow soreness. He eventually had an arthroscopy but is expected to be healthy this season. Pfeifer offers a four-pitch mix, with a low 90s fastball, a two-plane curve, a short slider and fading change. Health permitting, he could move quickly through the system.
31. Jordan Paroubeck, OF
When the Dodgers decided to abandon their international bonus limits in the current signing period, they unloaded their slot money in exchange for prospects. The Braves were one of the teams willing to part with current players for future money.
One such player the Dodgers acquired was Paroubeck, who was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the second round in 2013, then traded to Atlanta last spring in the Craig Kimbrel deal.
A switch-hitter, Paroubeck has a quick stroke that produces plus raw power with the potential for legit game power down the road. After opening the season in the Arizona League, he earned a promotion to Ogden where hit hit .379 with a 1.075 OPS in 22 games.
His swing is a little stiff, which leads to a decent number of swings-and-misses. While Paroubeck played some center field, he fits best in a corner spot with average speed and arm strength.
After spending his first two full seasons in rookie ball, Paroubeck is ready for his first full-season assignment in 2016. He should begin the year with the Loons.
CONTINUE READING: More pitchers found in Nos. 26-30