The Los Angeles Dodgers are in the position contending teams dream of: their seemingly endless minor-league pipeline has produced a succession of MLB stars who’ve been able to fill in admirably and take the reins when necessary.
The problem? Even with a reportedly perfect roster, things can go off the rails quickly. And in the heat of a pennant race, established major leaguers are usually preferable to prospects.
The Dodgers thought they had their rotation all figured out … until three-fifths of their intended starters disappeared midseason.
They thought they had the outfield and lefty bench pieces set … only to find themselves scrambling to add Albert Pujols and Yoshi Tsutsugo while trying out Zach McKinstry, Zach Reks, Matt Beaty and DJ Peters at varying degrees of panic over the season’s first few months.
And, of course, at no point did they think they were truly set in the bullpen, and they were correct about that.
Heading into the deadline, Andrew Friedman will be dipping his toes into the relief market, starting pitching conversation, and bench talks, if possibilities arise. Unfortunately, these three options — all ranking towards the top of the Dodgers’ vaunted farm when the season opened — have all taken significant steps back.
Long-term worry? Maybe not, maybe so.
Short-term worry, at the exact moment Friedman is looking to sell the whole world on their services? Certainly.
These 3 Dodgers trade deadline assets have taken major steps back.
3. DJ Peters
DJ Peters, the 25-year-old Glendora, CA native and 2016 fourth-round pick, got a chance to shine at the MLB level this year when the Dodgers’ outfield and bench depth got depleted. Good for him! Unfortunately, he didn’t exactly hold onto the position or live up to his pedigree.
We’ve also seen more of the same middling contact at the Triple-A level, both before and after that moment arrived.
At the big-league level, Peters made an 18-game cameo, hitting .192 (though with a .382 OBP) in 26 scattered at-bats. He was optioned back to the minors on May 28 when a roster crunch ensued, and hasn’t been back, mostly treading water in Oklahoma City following the demotion. On the year, his minor-league numbers are more underwhelming that even that high-OBP MLB cameo.
Thus far, Peters is triple-slashing .242/.326/.389 on the year at Triple-A, walking just 19 times against 54 strikeouts while hitting the ball on the ground at an elevated clip. He sports a groundout/air out ratio of 0.74 in the minors and rocked a 0.75 mark with the big-league Dodgers; compare that to his 0.33 mark in 2019 (when he sported a superior .811 OPS), and it’s clear some regression has occurred.
In what could be a make-or-break year (after all, the Dodgers have quite a few utility bats en route), Peters’ contact in the air has decreased and his power has slunk backwards. With trade season upon us, that profile isn’t going to help either party.