Who is thefuture of the Dodgers baseball? You may be able to rattle off the 2014 starting lineup, but what about 2016, 2017, and beyond?
The scouts at Baseball America released their annual list of the top prospects in baseball this week, along with rankings for each organization in baseball. While the Dodgers may not be stacked with depth at each position, these ranking prove that they still have a farm system worth paying attention to.
Baseball America ranks the Dodgers Top 10 prospects in the following oder: Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, Julio Urias, Zach Lee, Chris Anderson, Chris Withrow, Alexander Guerrero, Chris Reed, Onelki Garcia, and Ross Stripling. While Withrow and Garcia are the only ones in this group to have made a major league appearance, these are names you may have heard.
The Dodgers top four also made the list of the top 100 prospects in baseball. Pederson was ranked the highest at 34, with Seager and Urias close behind at 37 and 51. Lee also made the cut as the 95th best prospect in the league.
A glance at the list brings up several discussions. One of the most obvious being, will Joc Pederson ever be able to fit into the Dodgers crowded outfield?
With four star players vying for a spot in the outfield, Pederson is left spending his time in the minor leagues. In order to become a big-league regular before 2017 a superstar will have to be traded, or ride the bench.
At 21, Pederson still has plenty of time to make it to the bigs and have a successful career, but there is always fan intrigue when a lot of hype swirls around a player in the minor leagues. Assuming the Dodger outfield will succumb to a handful of injuries--hopefully not a plague like in 2013--Pederson may get a shot at some at-bats in Los Angeles this season.
A pressing point of interest comes from Alexander Guerrero, the Dodgers seventh ranked prospect and projected starting second base man. Scouts have had very little to work with in order to evaluate Guerrero's talent, yet here he is on the list. The Dodgers have to hope he works out early in 2014, or else they will find themselves in a pinch.
One player that will not be in the bigs for a few years is the 16-year old Julio Urias. He spent 2013 in A-ball where he struck out 67 batters in 54.1 innings pitched while allowing just 44 hits. He may be a few years away, but when a kid is tearing up competition beyond his years, you have to take note.
Seven of the Dodgers top ten prospects are pitchers, with Zach Lee likely to make the biggest impact in the next year or two. A late-season call-up is entirely possible for Lee in 2014, and many hope he can become a staple of the rotation in the next few years.
Despite not having a prospect in the top 30 players in the league, the Dodgers have shown that they still have a valuable farm system. Besides, with their stacked lineup set for the next few years any highly-touted prospect would probably not touch the field in Los Angeles anyways.