The Dodgers’ depth in their highly-ranked farm system will be tested starting Sept.1, when major league rosters expand from 25 players to 40.
In a three-team race for the division, the Dodgers will look for in-house options to put themselves on top of the National League West.
In a rough stretch in the last two weeks where the Dodgers found themselves 4.5 games back of the Arizona Diamondbacks, a roster expansion of much needed talent is well-timed.
Heading into a four-game series with the Diamondbacks and sitting two games back, the following players will be important for a playoff run.
Alex Verdugo: Outfielder
Since Walker Buehler’s graduation to the majors, Verdugo is ranked as the Dodgers’ No. 1 prospect. After debuting last September, Verdugo has spent the better part of the season in Triple-A Oklahoma City. Selected to the All-Pacific Coast League Team and leading the OKC Dodgers with over 110 hits, Verdugo has nothing else to prove in the minors. As a player who hits for average rather than power, Verdugo’s bat is much needed in a lineup that struggles with small ball.
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Manny Banuelos: Relief Pitcher
One brief stint in the majors with the Atlanta Braves in 2015 doesn’t define Banuelos’ current season in the minors. Also selected to the APC League Team, Banuelos may balance out the Dodgers’ bullpen woes. Opponents are hitting .256 against the left-hander which will help limit damage in the late innings. Despite a high Earned Run Average, the former prospect has transitioned into a relief role for OKC Dodgers and has only given up three runs since July 22.
Joe Broussard: Relief Pitcher
Working out of the bullpen in the minors, Broussard has been dominant in 64 innings pitched. With an ERA below 2.15 since Aug. 2, Broussard can be a valuable piece in the Dodgers’ bullpen. Opponents are hitting .256 against the right-hander, who has given up 22 walks while striking out 71 hitters. Broussard is not currently on the 40 man roster but he could finally be added and get his MLB debut.
Julio Urias: Relief Pitcher
The last time Urias stepped off a big-league mound was May 2017. After three weeks in the minors, Urias sustained an injury to his throwing shoulder. Since the surgery, Urias has slowly progressed to a competing form. In six outings for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, Urias gave up five runs in 10.2 innings. After getting promoted to Triple-A OKC, Urias will definitely be joining the Dodgers in September, according to MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick.