Dodgers Prospect Update: Dalton Rushing, River Ryan, Kyle Hurt, Jackson Ferris

2024 Seoul Series - San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Dodgers
2024 Seoul Series - San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Dodgers / Masterpress/GettyImages

By the time the trade deadline rolls around in late July, it is always worth noting where any contending team's top prospects are and how they are playing. Before the 2024 season, the Dodgers made a blockbuster trade to acquire Tyler Glasnow from the Rays, but it came at the expense of two young players: Ryan Pepiot, a former top 100 prospect, and Jonny DeLuca.

With the Dodgers firmly in World Series contention again in 2024, it is safe to assume that a few prospects may be dealt at the deadline to further improve the Dodgers' roster; Glasnow hasn't brought much regret upon Andrew Friedman's house so far this year.

After many trades and promotions of Dodgers top prospects over the course of the past few years, LA's farm system boasts far fewer top 100 prospects than it has in the past. However, the Dodgers have a few prospects trending towards that consideration, and plenty who rank amongst the top prospects at their positions with enough time to grow even more. So, who are LA's most important prospects and how are they doing?

Dodgers Top Prospect Update: Where Does the Top 10 Stand?

No. 1: Dalton Rushing, C (No. 6 Catcher; No. 49 MLB)

Rushing is one of just two Dodgers prospects on MLB's top 100 prospect lists and the only one in the top 50, and he has put together a season worthy of those achievements so far. After posting a ridiculous 1.317 OPS at Single-A Rancho Cucamonga in 2022, Rushing moved up to High-A Great Lakes for the 2023 season. Despite only posting a .228 average for Great Lakes, Rushing had a .404 OBP due to 72 walks during the season, and his 34 XBH allowed him to post an .856 OPS.

In 2024, Rushing has been at the Double-A level the entire season, where he has done more of the same. In 58 games, he has a .263 average - a big improvement from his 2023 numbers - and while pairing his .380 OBP with 22 XBH so far, Rushing is currently sporting an .849 OPS. With his production to this point, it may only be a matter of time until Rushing finds his way into Triple-A and eventually to the MLB level. Regardless, he's made himself the system's clear No. 1 catcher.

No. 2: Josue De Paula, OF (No. 15 Outfielder; No. 64 MLB)

De Paula has found a way to steadily improve over his three years in the Dodgers system, and his most recent strides have resulted in a promotion. After spending all of 2023 at Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, De Paula started the 2024 season there as well. But after posting only a .372 SLG with 19 XBH in 74 games in 2023, De Paula took a huge step forward, clubbing six homers (a career-best at any level), and added on 11 doubles and three triples to eclipse his 2023 XBH total of 19 in just 55 games. His OPS climbed from .768 to .835 because of the extra power (his SLG went from .372 to .447) and that rise earned him a promotion to High-A Great Lakes, where he has drawn nine walks in only 19 plate appearances so far.

No. 3: Nick Frasso, RHP

Unfortunately for the Dodgers, Nick Frasso has not made an appearance at any level in 2024. Across 25 starts in Double-A and Triple-A in 2023, Frasso posted a 3.77 ERA with 10.4 SO/9. His impressive ability to strike batters out is the main reason for his success in the minor leagues, but it is unlikely Frasso will suit up in 2024 for Triple-A Oklahoma City due to his recovery from offseason surgery. When he returns from his injury, a good showing in 2025 spring training and in the early part of the 2025 Triple-A season could lead to occasional MLB spot starts if members of the regular rotation are injured. Eventually, he should be a part of the big-league rotation on a full-time basis.

No. 4: River Ryan, RHP

If there was ever a reason to thank utility player Matt Beaty for his contributions to the Dodgers, this might be it. Beaty was going to be released by the Dodgers, but the Padres traded Ryan to LA to ensure they would get Beaty on their roster. Beaty posted a .333 OPS for San Diego in 20 games in 2022, all while Ryan pitched better and better in the minor leagues.

Fast forward to 2024, and Ryan is only an injury or two away from making his big league debut. MLB Pipeline gives Ryan an MLB ETA of 2024, and after recovering from an injury, Ryan has returned to Triple-A, where he has registered 7.1 innings pitched so far, rocking a 3.68 ERA and nine strikeouts. While it seems unlikely that his name will be called, until at least roster expansion in September, Ryan is on the shortlist of players that could be next in line for a promotion if the Dodgers have to compensate for another injury.

No. 5: Kyle Hurt, RHP

Kyle Hurt is likely one of the more familiar names on this list. Hurt started the season in the majors, and has a career ERA of 1.04 across 8.2 innings pitched in MLB. However, after his last MLB outing against the Nationals, Hurt landed on the IL, eventually moved to the 60-day version. Luckily, Hurt is now back in action in Triple-A, where he holds a 3.75 ERA in 11 games and 12 innings pitched. Hurt has looked solid in both his MLB outings and also in his recent outings in Triple-A. He is on track to return to the Dodgers bullpen as a potential long-relief option whenever LA decides to call on his name once again.

No. 6: Jackson Ferris, LHP (No. 8 Left-Handed Pitcher)

Jackson Ferris is not ranked on the MLB's Top 100 prospect list, but he, like many Dodgers on this list, isn't far off from being a part of that group, either. Ferris is ranked as MLB's No. 8 prospect among left-handed pitchers, and the top seven on that list are all ranked within MLB's Top 100. Ferris was acquired from the Cubs in the Michael Busch trade before the 2024 season, and so far in 2024 at High-A Great Lakes, he has shown flashes of why he was so highly regarded. Although Ferris has a 4.76 ERA, he is striking out batters at a rate of 11.5 SO/9. If he keeps up that rate of generating whiffs, it is safe to assume that his ERA will improve soon as well.

No. 7: Diego Cartaya, C

At the beginning of the 2023 season, Cartaya was ranked as the No. 1 Dodgers prospect, putting him ahead of the following prospects who are all on major league rosters: Current Dodgers Bobby Miller, Miguel Vargas, Gavin Stone, Andy Pages, Emmet Sheehan, Landon Knack, and Michael Grove, as well as current Rays players Ryan Pepiot and Jonny DeLuca, as well as current Cubs standout Michael Busch. Cartaya was ranked as the No. 14 overall prospect in MLB, ahead of other notable names such as Kyle Harrison, Jackson Merrill, Triston Casas, Josh Jung, Colton Cowser, and too many other names to keep listing them here.

Cartaya now has six other Dodgers prospects ranked above him on Pipeline's list after a poor 2023 season saw him post a .657 OPS in Double-A, following an .892 OPS across two levels of A-ball in 2022.

In 2024, he hasn't fared much better. Cartaya posted a .733 OPS in Double-A before receiving a recent promotion to Triple-A after a hot stretch in Tulsa. Unfortunately, Cartaya is just 3-for-17 in his first four games in Oklahoma City. Cartaya had performed nicely at every level of the minor leagues before his Double-A slump, however, and maybe the slight improvement from his 2023 numbers to his 2024 start proves he can turn things around in Triple-A.

No. 12: Landon Knack, RHP

Prospects Nos. 8-11 in the Dodgers' farm system all have MLB ETAs of 2026 or later, according to MLB pipeline, but Knack has already had his impact on the big-league club and is poised to continue to do just that.

Knack has a 3.54 ERA with 9.7 SO/9 in 10 appearances (48.1 innings pitched) for Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2024. When the Dodgers' rotation is short handed, Knack's name has been called upon often, and in his six MLB appearances (30.1 IP), which have all been starts so far, Knack owns a stellar 1.91 ERA with 7.4 SO/9. Even though he hasn't been able to punch out big-league hitters at the same rate he's taken care of minor-league hitters, MLB hitters are only batting .191 off Knack. That's the lowest batting average against that he has posted during any year of his career so far, regardless of level.