The Los Angeles Dodgers had an off day on Monday as they traveled to Tampa Bay for a two-game interleague series with the Rays.
With the Big League club traveling, we thought we'd take a look at some of the best prospects within the organization that are currently playing in the Dodgers Double-A Tulsa affiliate. We believe the following players present the perfect blend of raw talent combined with long-term potential.
Without further ado, here are the top 5 Dodgers' prospects in Double-A:
1. 1B Cody Bellinger (6th ranked prospect)
First baseman Cody Bellinger, 20, is the star of the team. The 20-year-old is the highest ranked Dodgers prospect (No. 6) in Tulsa.
Bellinger may be the reason alone for Tulsa’s power surge. Last year in Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, Bellinger hit 30 home runs and 103 RBI with a .264/.336/.538 slash line.
Bellinger is the son of Clay Bellinger, a longtime minor leaguer who broke into the big leagues with New York Yankees in 1999 at the age of 30 and was on their 2000 and 2001 World Series roster. Bellinger told the Tulsa World that his upbringing had a major impact on his makeup as a baseball player.
“It’s had a big impact on me,” Bellinger said, “offensively and defensively, being around the game my whole life, growing up and being in a major league clubhouse at a young age.”
Bellinger was on the disabled list for all of April with a strained hip, but returned this weekend to Tusla where he went 2-for-8 with a run scored.
2. OF Alex Verdugo (7th ranked prospect)
Alex Verdugo, 19, is to the outfield as Bellinger is to the infield. Despite not even being 20-years-old yet, he is pretty advanced at the plate, demonstrating an understanding for the strike zone and recognizing pitches when he hit .311 in 124 games in Single-A.
Verdugo was also a fantastic high school pitcher in Tucson but as he told the Tulsa World on Monday, he preferred to be on the lineup everyday.
“I wanted to play every day,” Verdugo said. “I wanted to be in the lineup every day, contributing. I think I can be a game changer. If hitting doesn’t work out, although I think it will, I can always have a followup plan and go back on the mound. It's harder to be on the mound and go back to hitting.”
Verdugo is batting .263 with two home runs and 10 RBI in 22 games with Tulsa.
3. RHP Chris Anderson (17th ranked prospect)
Anderson returns to Tulsa after going 9-7 with a 4.05 ERA, 1.44 WHIP and 98 strikeouts in 126.2 innings pitched in 23 starts.
Anderson is known as being the first baseball player ever to be drafted in the first round out of Jacksonville University. With his powerful fastball, Anderson struck out 143 batters in his first pro season back in 2014 in Single-A Rancho Cucamonga.
Anderson has clocked his fastball as high as 98 mph but can cruise to a 92-95 mph fastball with zip and a heavy bite into the late innings. His only issues are his lack of a strong secondary pitch and struggles with command going into late innings.
Anderson is off to a rough start to the season, and is 2-1 with a 5.50 ERA through 18 innings. He has a lopsided 20 walks to go with just 12 strikeouts thus far.
4. RHP Chase De Jong (20th ranked prospect)
De Jong come in after posting a 3.43 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 25 appearances (24 starts) in Single-A Lancaster and Rancho Cucamonga.
De Jong is more about poise and polish rather than power. De Jong has impressed scouts with his curveball and command and can also reach low 90s in fastball velocity. While it is not an issue now, De Jong is a fly ball pitcher and that is a problem in the NL West, if he were to ever make it that far up the ladder.
Similar to Anderson, De Jong is also off to a sloppy start in Tulsa as he has a record of 1-3 in five starts with a 4.68 ERA. He's struck out 23 batters and walked eight in 25 innings pitched.
5. RHP Trevor Oaks (21st ranked prospect)
Oaks started the season in Single-A Rancho Cucamonga where he went 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA to start the season. After an impressive 2015 stint that he saw him go a perfect 3-0 in five starts, it was only a matter of time before Oaks was called up to Double-A Tulsa.
Oaks was born in Riverside where he attended Woodcrest Christian High School. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2012, and recovered nicely as he was named the PacWest and NCBWA West Region Pitcher of the Year in 2014.
He was selected by the Dodgers in the seventh round of the MLB draft that same year, and is known as a strikeout pitcher with a full arsenal of pitches to choose from. His best pitch, is his sinker and four-seam fastball, but Oaks also sports a cutter, slider, changeup and curve ball.
"My four seam and sinker usually come out at the same speed," he told TBPC.com. "I try to live around the 91 to 93 range. If I'm feeling fresh I might get it up to 95. I added the cutter this offseason and primarily use it against lefties."
Oaks made his Tulsa Drillers debut last Wednesday and earned his first Double-A victory as the Drillers beat Arkansas 2-1. Oaks allowed just one run on six hits with four strikeouts in six innings.