A few weeks ago we put out a tweet/ post on social media to see what questions you wanted our staff to address about the Dodgers.
First of all, thank you to those of you who submitted questions for our new roundtable series! The first question we wanted to each answer is below:
Alex- Alex Verdugo
Isn’t it great that we can remove five of the Dodgers’ best prospects and still have a lot to be excited about? Grant Holmes and Walker Buehler could each be rotation fixtures, and there’s probably many other Cuban players on their way to LA. However, the prospect I’m most excited for is Alex Verdugo.
Verdugo was seen as many as a pitcher, but the Dodgers drafted him as an outfielder. His arm made the transition well, but he looks like he’s going to be a great hitter as well. In 842 plate appearances in his two+ seasons in the minors, he’s s still only struck out 96 times. In 2014, Verdugo struck out 18 times in 190 at bats and drew 20 walks. For an 18-year-old to do that, albeit at the lowest levels of the minors, was still impressive. He seems to have a great grasp of the strike zone and seems to be one of the most disciplined hitters in the minors. The Arizona-born outfielder is still a way’s away, but he strikes me as a better-defensive Andre Ethier, without the terrible platoon splits.
Amanda- Frankie Montas
I picked Frankie Montas mainly because of the Dodgers rotation the past few seasons. He is currently on the 60-day DL, but was recently cleared to start pitching some bullpen sessions. Montas is only 23 years old and could provide some depth to a rotation that has been plagued with injuries the past few seasons. I think if given the right amount of time to full heal that Montas could be a great addition to the rotation. Plus, as the Dodgers have seen in the past few seasons, it never hurts to have a few extra pitchers.
Daniel- Walker Buehler
Perhaps the most exciting thing about this farm system is just how deep it is. Even after eliminating a few of the top names in the system there are still some prospects that feature on top 100 lists (Grant Holmes, Yusniel Diaz), not to mention a few who will likely find themselves on one in the next few years (Alex Verdugo, Starling Heredia, Brendon Davis).
However, I think one of the top arms in the minors that is yet to receive much hype is RHP Walker Buehler. The latest top pitching prospect to come out of the factory that is Vanderbilt, the Dodgers were ecstatic when he fell to them at pick 24. Tommy John surgery has slowed his path to the big leagues but he is expected to resume pitching in the instructional league later in the year. Buehler is credited with 4 above average pitches, emphasized by a fastball that consistently reaches 96. His pitchability earned him some comparisons to former Dodger, Zack Greinke, and it is believed Greinke even gave the Dodgers his tick of approval in the War Room last June. Once Buehler returns to health he shoud be on the fast track to the big leagues.
Chris- Alex Verdugo
If I had to pick a Dodgers prospect outside of the very best in the system, it would be 19 year-old Alex Verdugo. Most teams saw him as a pitcher, but the Dodgers scooped him up in the 2nd round of the 2014 draft as an outfielder. He’s currently hanging out at number 6 on the Dodgers’ top prospect list, and 99th in all of baseball according to MLB.com. Scouts think that he’ll hit for a high average with around 20 homers. Best case is that he makes it to the majors in 2018, where he’d fit in with Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig to make a great offensive and defensive outfield.
Aamer- Yadier Alvarez
I would have to go with the young Cuban phenom Yadier Alvarez. There’s a reason the Dodgers spent 16 million dollars on the young pitcher; they believe he has the stuff to make it as a big league starter. Armed with a good slider and high-90’s fastball it’s not hard to see the potential here, but there are still a lot of questions. Because he just came over from Cuba, the scouting reports available on the kid are questionable at best, but that’s part of what makes him such an exciting prospect. The sky seems to be the limit for Yadier Alvarez, but like with most Cuban prospects (cough, Arruebarrena, cough) he could very well end up flaming out.
Andrew- Yusniel Diaz
The prospect I’d have to be most excited for would be outfielder Yusniel Diaz. Diaz was signed this past offseason out of Cuba & was then assigned to High A. Diaz has started off well in his first professional season, already hitting 3 HR in his first 60 plate appearances. Diaz has a strong arm & should man the corner spots in the future. I expect him to reach Double-A this year if he keeps this all up.
Terry- Frankie Montas
I’m still pissed that the Dodgers couldn’t sign Kyle Funkhouser last summer. Dodgers fans would have been exposed to a whole new genre of incredible music. This is what we missed:
“If Anybody Gets Funked Up (It’s Gonna Be You) by George Clinton every time Funkhouser walked to the mound.
“Overpowered by Funk” by The Clash every time Funkhouser struck someone out.
“Five Minutes of Funk” by Whodini in the event Funkhouser became a Closer.
“Dr Funkenstein” by Parliament would be his walk-up music each at-bat.
Frankie Montas is a 100 mph heat seeking stud. He was recently cleared to throw bullpen sessions and could be ready by June. I can’t wait to see Montas pitch to Bryce Harper when the Dodgers play the Nats at the end of June.
Emily- Frankie Montas
Frankie Montas because you can never have too much pitching. Never. Montas has the nasty stuff to be either a starter or a closer, so he could slot into the rotation or replace Jansen if the Dodgers can’t resign him.