The Los Angeles Dodgers are a model organization. They do a phenomenal job signing top-flight players, make excellent trades and have elite scouting and player development. It is almost unfair what the Dodgers do as an organization. But it shows why the Dodgers have been a true dynasty and have had a .550 winning percentage every season since 2012. The farm system has a ton of talent that could be on its way to Los Angeles, so let’s dive into the Dodgers’ top prospects.
Los Angeles Dodgers Top Prospects for Fantasy Baseball
1. Miguel Vargas, 3B
Age: 23/2022 Stats: 438 AB/.304/.404/.511/17 HR/16 SB/100 R/82 RBI
MLB Stats: 47 AB/.170/.200/.255/1 HR/1 SB/4 R/8 RBI
Miguel Vargas made his much-anticipated debut in 2022 with the Dodgers after a strong season in Triple-A. He did not perform at a high level, but his playing time was inconsistent. Vargas is a complete, well-rounded hitter who knows the strike zone well. He naturally hits the ball where it is pitched and does not sell out for power, which leads to more hits and fewer strikeouts. Despite being a bigger frame at 6’3/205, Vargas runs well and clocks plus run times. His quality of contact is excellent, and Vargas should be a consistent 20 home run threat. He has little left to prove in the Minors and deserves an everyday spot with the Dodgers in 2023.
2. Gavin Stone, RHP
Age: 24/2022 Stats(A+/AA/AAA): 121.2 IP/1.48 ERA/1.12 WHIP/168 K
Gavin Stone is insane and probably still a bit underrated. Did you read his stat line correctly? He spent the majority of his season between Double and Triple-A and posted a 1.48 ERA across 121.2 innings. How is that not talked about more?
For reference, the league average ERA in the Texas League(AA) was 5.11, and in the Pacific Coast League(AAA), it was 5.40. Stone pumped his fastball in the mid-90s and is up to 98. His changeup is easily a seven as it sits in the mid-80s and up to 87 with elite fade and dive action. Check out the video on it below. The curveball and slider are closer to average pitches, but with the plus command, Stone’s arsenal plays up. There is a high chance we are looking at an SP2 who has the chance to debut by mid-2023.
3. Bobby Miller, RHP
Age: 23/2022 Stats(AA/AAA): 112.1 IP/4.25 ERA/1.18 WHIP/145 K
If you like an elite fastball and slider combo, Bobby Miller is your guy. Standing at 6’5/220, he has a ton of physicality and explosiveness on the mound bringing the heat with a four-seam fastball that consistently sits around 98 mph but can touch 101. He has shown improved command at the top of the zone with it and easily blows it by hitters. Miller mixes in a 97 mph sinker that keeps hitters honest. The slider ranges anywhere from the upper 80s to 90 mph with excellent sweeping actions, but he does have a variation that is more of a cutter. Miller also features a plus changeup. His stuff is that of a top-of-the-rotation arm when you also factor in his physicality.
Why does Miller rank behind Stone? It is due to Stone’s command, but Miller has the stuff to surpass him soon. Miller could be a key part of the Dodgers rotation with Stone by mid-season 2023.
4. Diego Cartaya, C
Age: 21/2022 Stats(A/A+): 362 AB/.254/.389/.503/22 HR/1 SB/74 R/72 RBI
You will likely find Diego Cartaya much higher on other Dodgers’ top prospects lists due to him being a catcher and the fact he has a plus arm. His bat also plays, but I tend to be more conservative on catching prospects for fantasy baseball. At the plate, Cartaya does plenty of things well, from hitting the ball to making above-average contact. He can get a bit long at times which has seen the strikeout rate trend upward, but he usually has good recognition of the strike zone. Considering he played all of last season at 20 years old and has an excellent frame and swing, you can likely expect more power to be added to his profile. If his development path continues, Cartaya could be one of the top-hitting catchers in the game from a fantasy standpoint.
5. Michael Busch, 2B
Age: 25/2022 Stats(AA/AAA): 552 AB/.274/.365/.516/32 HR/4 SB/118 R/108 RBI
“Prospect fatigue” is a good word used to describe the general feeling of the prospect community with Michael Busch. Busch brings exceptional plate discipline to the table and does not chase breakers often out of the zone. He works deep into counts, which can be somewhat of a flaw because it has led to higher strikeout rates. Busch drives the ball to all fields with authority and still gets plenty of home run power. There is effortless plus power in the profile with average contact skills. He should debut in 2023 with a chance to make some noise for fantasy purposes. The profile has some resemblance to Max Muncy.
6. Dalton Rushing, C
Age: 22/2022 Stats(Rk/A): 104 AB/.404/.522/.740/8 HR/1 SB/27 R/30 RBI
No player in the 2022 MLB Draft class made more noise in their debut than Dalton Rushing. Rushing dominated, posting a batting average over .400 and a slugging percentage over .700. He had the highest xwOBA of any Minor Leaguer with over 100 PA. Even though it was a small sample, Rushing hit the ball hard with a 47 percent hard-hit rate and a 104.7 mph 90th percentile exit velocity. His zone contact rate was respectable, with a chase rate of 20 percent. He could be challenged with fastballs up in the zone as he moves up, but a few tweaks could help tremendously. Rushing is an excellent FYPD target in dynasty leagues.
7. Ryan Pepiot, RHP
Age: 24/2022 Stats(AAA): 91.1 IP/2.56 ERA/1.07 WHIP/114 K
MLB Stats: 36.1 IP/3.47 ERA/1.46 WHIP/42 K
The fact that Ryan Pepiot ranks seventh on the Dodgers’ top prospect list just shows you the insane depth of the system. Pepiot made his debut with the Dodgers last year and was solid for the team in seven starts.
We previously talked about the Pacific Coast League being a tough place to pitch as it averaged nearly six runs per game and pitchers had a 5.40 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP. Pepiot defied it all by posting a 2.56 ERA across 91 innings, good for the second-best ERA in the league behind Hunter Brown(2.55). Pepiot has a well-optimized fastball that sits around 94 mph with plenty of run to the arm side. Much like other Dodgers pitching prospects, he also has a plus changeup. There is a bit of bullpen relief due to his command, but if he does shift, he could be a solid closer.
8. Josue De Paula, OF
Age: 17/2022 Stats(DSL): 186 AB/.350/.448/.522/5 HR/16 SB/42 R/30 RBI
Josue De Paula is everyone’s favorite breakout prospect for 2023. As a 17-year-old who won’t turn 18 until late May, De Paula dominated the Dominican Summer League with elite contact and plate discipline. He posted a 91 percent zone-contact rate and a 19.8 percent chase rate. De Paula is a gifted hitter with a projectable frame at 6’3/185. Did I mention that he had just turned 17 years old when the DSL started? The hype is out of control, so it is probably not a good time to try and trade for De Paula unless you see him ascending toward being a top-25 prospect, which is possible.
9. Andy Pages, OF
Age: 22/2022 Stats(AA): 487 AB/.236/.336/.468/26 HR/6 SB/69 R/80 RBI
Andy Pages brings fast bat speed and big-time power to the table. You can argue that his power is a seven and the best in the Dodgers’ system. The flaws in his game include the uppercut swing, which can cause him to miss high fastballs and chase breaking balls out of the zone. His zone-contact rate was solid last year, but his chase rate was near 30 percent. But considering Pages spent the entire 2022 season as a 21-year-old in Double-A, you have to admire what he did. Pages profile does play better in an OBP dynasty league.
10. Nick Nastrini, RHP
Age: 22/2022 Stats(A+/AA): 116.2 IP/3.93 ERA/1.11 WHIP/169 K
If one player in the system can make a massive rise up the Dodgers’ top prospect list by midseason, it is Nick Niastrini. His 35 percent strikeout rate jumps off the page much more than a 3.92 ERA for 2022. His stuff is the reason the Dodgers drafted him in the fourth round in 2021. The fastball sits in the mid-90s with good life at the top of the zone thanks to excellent extension from the 6’3 righty. His secondaries are still a work in progress, but his slider has the potential to be a plus pitch. He also features a changeup and curve. If Nastrini can improve his command in 2023, he can make a leap-up rankings.
11. James Outman, OF
Age: 25/2022 Stats(AA/AAA): 473 AB/.294/.392/.586/31 HR/13 SB/101 R/106 RBI
MLB Stats: 13 AB/.462/.563/.846/1 HR/0 SB/6 R/3 RBI
People are quick to dismiss James Outman because he was 25 years old in the Minors last season, but I think dismissing him is a bad thing to do. Outman is an athlete who changed his swing before 2022 and saw massive results. Despite age, hitting 31 home runs while providing solid stolen base numbers is nothing to scoff at. He posted an elite 107.2 mph 90th percentile exit velocity with a 46.3 percent hard-hit rate. The contact skills are below average, so don’t be fooled by his batting average last season. Outman is a right-handed masher, so he may fit into a strong-side platoon role, which would suit him well.
12. Emmet Sheehan, RHP
Age: 23/2022 Stats(A+/AA): 68 IP/2.91 ERA/1.09 WHIP/106 K
Emmet Sheehan has a ton of talent but will need to show health to move up the Dodgers’ top prospect list. He struggled with injuries in college until 2021, which was his draft year. The Dodgers selected him in the sixth round and have worked their developmental wonders on him. Sheehan has seen his fastball velocity increase by over three mph since joining the Dodgers organization, and it now sits around 96 mph. His changeup is a plus pitch, much like other Dodgers’ arms. The slider development will hinge on his ability to grow as a starter. 2023 will be a big development year for Sheehan, who could use an entire year on the mound.
13. Landon Knack, RHP
Age: 25/2022 Stats(AA): 64.2 IP/5.01 ERA/1.41 WHIP/80 K
Landon Knack was one of my favorite arms I saw during the Arizona Fall League in 2021. He and Bobby Miller pitched back-to-back in a game, and I thought Knack looked as impressive as Miller. That was far from the case in 2022, though, as Knack took a step backward. Knack had high-end command with a four-pitch arsenal, but things just did not go as planned this year. I still think there is a solid pitcher in Knack, and a mid-rotation ceiling is still there, but 2023 will be a make-or-break year for the 25-year-old.
14. Jose Ramos, OF
Age: 22/2022 Stats(A/A+): 474 AB/.249/.339/.479/25 HR/4 SB/83 R/97 RBI
Jose Ramos seems to fly under the radar in a loaded Dodgers’ farm system. He mashed 25 home runs last year but with a poor strikeout rate. His 90th percentile exit velocity was higher than Andy Pages last season, but the issue is that Ramos chased 30 percent of pitches out of the zone with a 71 percent zone contact rate. Ramos will need to show improved contact as he moves up to Double-A in 2023.
15. Eddys Leonard, SS/2B
Age: 22/2022 Stats(A+): 496 AB/.264/.348/.436/15 HR/4 SB/80 R/61 RBI
Eddys Leonard looked poised for a breakout in 2022 after slashing .297/.390/.529 with 22 home runs in Low and High-A in 2021. You could say his 2022 was a bit disappointing, but there has been some growth. Leonard has added significant weight to his profile, so the step back in home runs in 2022 isn’t a telling number. If Leonard cuts the chase rate a bit and continues to make solid zone contact, he can take a step forward as a 20-home-run bat who can steal you some bases as well.
Dodgers Stadium: Unsplash | Alessandro Porri
Diego Cartaya: Flickr CC by Dinur
Adapted by Kurt Wasemiller (@kurt_player02 on Instagram / @KUwasemiller on Twitter)