There’s a stellar snub in the recent Dodgers prospect rankings from Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America. Multiple outfielders have ranked ahead of the young Dominican slugger Starling Heredia.
A couple of notable publications have ranked the Los Angels Dodgers‘ prospects recently. Released last week, both the Baseball Prospectus and the Baseball America Top Ten look slightly similar, listing seven of ten players ranked in common. They are particularly in agreement on who they feel are the two best bets to succeed at the highest level. Right-handed pitcher Walker Buehler is at the top of each list with outfielder Alex Verdugo as the runner-up in each.
While the players included on each publication list are all quality prospects, I believe there is one Dodger prospect being overlooked. An underrated young outfielder from the Dominican Republic, Starling Heredia.
Heredia ranks at 11 on MLBPipeline.com, but 11 is too low. He signed in July 2015 for $2.6 million; the most LA’s ever guaranteed to an international player not from Cuba according to MLB. And at only 18 years old, Heredia already projects to be as good or a better hitter than other ranked outfielders.
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Verdugo and Yusniel Diaz are each 21 years old and made the top ten of both lists. However, Heredia’s accumulative slash line of .290/.366/.477 is the best between those three. I don’t buy the excuse that there’s a small sample size either. If that’s the issue why is Diaz ranked sixth on both BP and BA’s lists with only 769 at-bats in his career?
Heredia may only have 449 at-bats so far, but even Jeren Kendall is on both lists’ top eight players with just 162 career professional at bats.
In total between the two articles, there were thirteen prospects named with no mention of Heredia. Dodgers minor league outfielder DJ Peters also made Baseball America’s ten best ahead of Starling. That’s great for DJ, but it makes me think that there is a need for Heredia to be introduced to these list-makers.
It is stated in the Baseball Prospectus article that the Dodgers farm system is receding because some prospects were called up to the pros and others, like Bellinger and Farmer. Others like Willie Calhoun, for instance, were traded.
It’s apparent that LA has a nice deep pool of talent at their disposal in the minor leagues. Maybe a few of these young up-and-comers are going to be everyday players in the near future. Perhaps even become an All-Star. It’s time for Heredia to make the jump next season inside the Dodgers top ten. I’m calling it now, don’t sleep on Heredia.