3 young Dodgers players teams could buy low on in trade talks
By Adam Weinrib
2. Luke Raley
While Luke Raley has never been a Dodgers “top prospect” and has theoretically aged out of projections, every Quad-A slugger who wears the uniform is a candidate for a Max Muncy-like breakout.
Unfortunately, his first extended MLB look didn’t go according to plan in 2021 — but that doesn’t mean the Dodgers should hack him off the roster and allow some other MLB team to cultivate his breakout.
Raley, now 27, floated back from the Twins to the Dodgers’ system between the 2019 season and minor-league baseball’s 2021 reopening, traded in the “three-way” Mookie Betts deal. That reunited him with his initial organization; he was a Dodgers draftee to begin with, but was traded to Minnesota in 2018 for Brian Dozier.
Raley’s best minor-league campaign came in 2021, when he triple-slashed a remarkable .294/.393/.570 (yes, in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League) and bashed 19 homers in just 72 games, knocking in 69 runs. Unfortunately, his cameo with the big-league club belied his ability; he bashed a pair of bombs in 66 at-bats, but hit just .182 and subtracted 0.5 WAR from the Dodgers’ overall ledger (again, a stunning amount to lose in just 66 ABs).
Should LA enter 2022 considering Raley as a key part of their bench? No. He’s not going to be the first line of defense.
But he won’t be nearly as valuable to any other club, who will be looking at a 27-year-old outfielder without a big-league imprint to his name as an ancillary piece in any deal.
The Dodgers might have a special slugger in the upper levels of their system. They shouldn’t let anyone poach him after he put his worst foot forward in 2021.