The Los Angeles Dodgers had five Minor Leaguers named to Baseball Prospectus’ top 101 prospects for the 2017 season, led by right-handed pitcher Yadier Alvarez at No. 23 overall.
Others Dodgers prospects to make the list are first baseman Cody Bellinger (26th), outfielder Alex Verdugo (66), outfielder Yusniel Diaz (90) and right-hander Walker Buehler (94). The overall rankings fall in line with the publication’s previously published list of the Dodgers’ top-10 prospects, which had Alvarez No. 1 in the organization.
Alvarez, who was signed in July 2015 out of Cuba, made his professional debut last June with the Arizona League Dodgers. He went 1-1 in five starts, with a 1.80 ERA and 26 strikeouts over 20 innings.
Alvarez concluded the season with Low-A Great Lakes, where in nine starts he was 3-2 with a 2.29 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 39.1 innings pitched. He averaged an astounding 12.6 strikeouts per nine innings with the Loons.
Bellinger has been rated the Dodgers’ top prospect by all other publications, and was named baseball’s seventh-best prospect by Baseball America. He was also recently rated the No. 6 prospect by ESPN’s Keith Law and No. 13 by MLB Pipeline.
Bellinger batted .263/.359/.484 with 23 home runs, 17 doubles and 65 RBIs in 117 games with Double-A Tulsa last season. He was promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City with three regular-season games remaining on the schedule.
The 21-year-old went 6-for-11 with three home runs and five RBI during that span, and hit .250/.364/.361 with one double, one home run, six runs scored, five RBIs and seven walks in nine games during OKC’s nine-game playoff run.
In 126 games with the Drillers, Verdugo batted .273/.336/.407, while setting career highs with 13 home runs, 63 RBIs and 44 walks. He also joined Oklahoma City for the Pacific Coast League championship, and went 4-for-12 with three RBIs while appearing in four games.
For the 20-year-old Diaz, this was the first top list of top prospects he was named to this offseason. Over 82 games with High-A Rancho Cucamonga last season, he slashed .272/.333/.418 with eight home runs and 54 RBIs.
Buehler, who was the Dodgers’ first-round pick in 2015 out of Vanderbilt, returned from Tommy John surgery in 2016, although he threw just five innings on the season between the AZL Dodgers and Great Lakes, striking out six and walking three without giving up a hit.
The Dodgers refused to include Alvarez or Buehler in trade talks this winter, as the club reportedly viewed on both of them in higher regard than Jose De Leon, who wound up getting sent to the Tampa Bay Rays for Logan Forsythe.