Now is a great time to be a Dodgers’ fan. Sure they didn't beat the Cubs in the NLCS last year, but between current on-field talent and minor league hopefuls, few teams are in a better position than Los Angeles.
They’ve got one of the best shortstops in the game in Corey Seager and the best pitcher of our time in Clayton Kershaw already in the big leagues while potent weapons Cody Bellinger and Yadier Alvarez await for their time to shine.This is going to be a fun team to watch for a long time and the annual battle for the NL between Los Angeles and Chicago should be exciting.
By the way, if you are interested in more MLB prospects columns, head on over to our 2017 fantasy baseball rankings dashboard. Throughout the offseason, you will find the rest of our team prospect breakdowns, fantasy baseball prospect rankings, tiered positional rankings, keeper values articles, and more - all in one easy place.
Los Angeles Dodgers Top Prospects for Dynasty Leagues
Today I am beginning my list of prospect systems in the NL West. I have already covered the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies. Later, I will delve into the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants. To read more about my prospect coverage, click here.
Top Overall Talent: Cody Bellinger
Top Prospect to Debut in 2017: Cody Bellinger
Bellinger went from an obscure name struggling in the minors to easily the Dodgers’ top prospect. Between 2013 and 2014, he combined for four home runs. Now he is a perennial threat to blast 30 homers in the minors with improved plate-discipline skills. Many scouts are now placing him among the top-25 prospects in baseball, a long way for a guy who was drafted just 124th overall back in 2013. He has a polished approach to the plate and just an absolute ton of power. All he needs now is playing time and he should be ready to put together near-elite results for dynasty owners.
Top Prospect who won’t debut in 2017: Yadier Alvarez
Alvarez touched a professional mound for the first time in his career this past season when he began at the Rookie-level and ascended to the Class-A Great Lakes Loons. He had a lot of hype surrounding him entering the season and he capitalized on it, delivering outstanding results at both levels. He is a potential ace in the making and could be the latest of L.A.’s homegrown aces. But as someone who has only 59.1 professional innings, Alvarez still has several years left of development before he will be ready to join the big-league rotation. Fantasy owners, however, should understand how special of a pitcher he is and consider owning him regardless of his ETA.
Biggest Boom or Bust: Walker Buehler
Since being selected with the 24th overall pick back in 2015, Buehler has accumulated a total of five innings as a result of undergoing Tommy John surgery in August 2015. But he was always held in high regard by the scouts who watched him pitch in college. They saw a pitcher with a repertoire of four above-average pitches and the command to accompany them perfectly. Of course, he has thrown only five professional innings since college. There is really no telling how he will recover from Tommy John surgery, but he is expected to begin the season back in the minors and will likely throw as much as L.A. feels comfortable using him. He still has some serious upside if he can get back to form, but it is always risky betting on young pitchers who have gone under the knife.
Biggest Sleeper: Mitchell Hansen
Hansen hasn’t made much progress through the minors to this point, but the progress he has made has been exciting to follow. The big left-handed bat played in 70 games at the Rookie-level Pioneer League in 2016 and while there, he slashed .311/.356/.491 with 11 homers and 11 stolen bases. The strikeout rate of 21.5 percent is a bit high for someone only at the Rookie-level, but owners should still be excited about his combination of size (6-foot-4, 195 lbs) and raw talents. Scouts who believe in him see a guy capable of posting 15/20 seasons at the big leagues with a .260+ average. In a strong system, Hansen flies under the radar as someone who could potentially make an impact if he starts improving his game.
Top Prospect Hitters
Best Power Hitter: Cody Bellinger
Most Likely to Hit over .300: Cody Bellinger
Bellinger is not just the best hitter in the Dodgers’ system, he would likely be the best hitter in nearly any system. He combines one of the most patient approaches in the minors with the most raw power of anyone in the minors. Fantasy owners expect a lot out of someone whose primary position will either be first base or the outfield and Bellinger absolutely looks poised to produce as much as anyone. By the time he reaches his prime, he will likely be a .300 hitter who approaches (and possibly surpasses) 35 home runs every season.
Best Burner on the Bases: Andrew Toles
Toles burst onto the scene in 2016, beginning the season at High-A and finishing his season as a member of the Dodgers battling for the pennant. This all coming a season after he was completely out of baseball. It is probably easy to say that the reason the Dodgers added him was because they liked his all-around game, but he centers that game around his speed. Toles is incredibly fast, as demonstrated by the 23 stolen bases in only 82 games in the minors in 2016 and virtually every season before that. In fact, he swiped 62 in 121 games back in 2013. That is not an easy total to reach.
Toles is finally starting to hit enough where he looks like he might become a big-league regular and fantasy owners have to be ecstatic. With his solid bat, he should have no problem getting on base enough to put his speed to use.
Top Prospect Pitchers
Strikeout Machine: Yadier Alvarez
It should be easy to see why Alvarez is the strikeout king in this system. Not only does he have an upper-90s fastball, but he possesses one of the more elite right-handed sliders in the game and a well above-average curveball and changeup help to round out his insane repertoire. Out of pitching prospects in the minors, there are few who can match the stuff of the 20-year-old right-hander.
If his command can continue to hold up as it did in his brief tenure at Class-A, he has the potential to be a future No. 2 pitcher with the potential to compete annually for the NL strikeout lead with his soon-to-be teammate Clayton Kershaw.
Best Command: Brock Stewart
Prior to his promotion to the big leagues, Stewart had assembled quite the track record of stellar command. Between his 2015 and 2016 seasons, he played at a total of five minor-league levels and proved stingy with the walks, never walking batters at a rate higher than the 6.4 percent he allowed back in 2015 at High-A. Scouts who watch him pitch believe that will be his calling card through the majors as he does not possess overwhelming stuff, but owners will gladly take his excellent command for a No. 4 or 5 starter in the big leagues.
Top 10 Dynasty Prospects for the Los Angeles Dodgers
1. Cody Bellinger (1B/OF, AAA)
A well-rounded first baseman in all facets of the game, Bellinger looks poised to be a perennial All-Star producing elite numbers for dynasty owners.
2. Willie Calhoun (2B, AA)
A power-hitting second baseman with patience to boot, Calhoun could be an All-Star second baseman and join Bellinger and Seager to form the most lethal infield in baseball.
3. Yadier Alvarez (SP, A-)
Alvarez has the stuff to be a future ace and though he requires many years of development, owners should be patient with him as the payoff could be massive.
4. Alex Verdugo (OF, AA)
Verdugo has an intriguing power/speed combination with a patient approach to the plate that will take him to the big leagues. He could be a future 15/15 hitter with a .290+ average.
5. Andrew Toles (OF, MLB)
The speedster has finally started to hit enough to support his speed and may be able to carve a big-league role out for himself yet. His speed makes him a potentially valuable fantasy commodity.
6. Yusniel Diaz (OF, A+)
Diaz has a ton of raw talent and could be a future 20/20 hitter, but he will need to stay healthy first and improve his plate discipline.
7. Gavin Lux (SS, ROK)
Scouts see Lux as a future power/speed threat at shortstop with plenty of raw pop and speed, but he has at least three more years of development before he will be ready for the big leagues.
8. Brock Stewart (SP, MLB)
His command gives him a high floor, but his ceiling is limited as a result of his lack of dominant stuff. He should make it as a solid No. 4 starter in the majors.
9. Austin Barnes (C/2B, MLB)
Barnes could probably post a solid batting average in the big leagues and swipe some bags, but Yasmani Grandal will keep him from taking over a permanent role in the majors for the foreseeable future.
10. Walker Buehler (SP, A-)
If Buehler can bounce back from his injury as well as many think he can, he could be a special pitching talent.
The Dodgers have made it a habit to draft well and sign outstanding international talent. As a result, they are one of the few teams that has been able to maintain a dominant presence in both current big-league talent and rising talent. With guys like Bellinger, Alvarez and Calhoun leading their prospects, they figure to be able to constantly reload rather than rebuild.
Beyond just the 10 names presented on this list, the Dodgers have some solid depth pieces dynasty owners should look into. Guys like Jordan Sheffield, Will Smith and Starling Heredia could all prove to be high-upside players and worth the investment in dynasty leagues. This is easily one of the top 10 farm systems in baseball and is worth studying for dynasty owners in search of Minor League talent.