Dodgers Top Prospect Update: How are LA's biggest names performing in April?

Washington Nationals v Los Angeles Dodgers
Washington Nationals v Los Angeles Dodgers / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages

Unfortunately, the Dodgers have already seen the injuries pile up on the major league roster, forcing many unexpected names into a lot of playing time early on in 2024. In the team's recent series against the Nationals alone, Dodgers fans saw pitcher Kyle Hurt make his first career MLB start as an opener, while outfielder Andy Pages made his MLB debut as the starting center fielder. Just one game later, starting pitcher Landon Knack tossed five innings in his MLB debut.

The Dodgers will definitely rely on more top prospects as the year carries on, but each player is at various levels within the organization, and it is important to know where these players are. With each prospect listed in this update, their MLB ETA (according to MLB Pipeline), as well as position and current level of the minor leagues will be shown, followed by some analysis of their performance in the minors so far, if applicable.

Dodgers Top Prospects Update: April 2024

No. 1 (No. 68 MLB): Dalton Rushing, C/1B, ETA 2025 - Double-A

Rushing is the highest-rated prospect in the Dodgers’ minor league system. He is off to a great start in Double-A Tulsa, as he currently has a .994 OPS with 7 of his 12 hits going for extra-bases so far, including three home runs. All of that production has taken place in the team’s first 10 games of the season. For Rancho Cucamonga in 2023, Rushing posted an .856 OPS with 15 homers, as well as a whopping 72 BB in 89 games. Rushing has never played above the Single-A level until this season, so Dodgers fans should be excited that he has adjusted so well early in his transition. Although Hunter Feduccia seems like the obvious choice, Rushing has a small chance to get the call-up if either Austin Barnes or Will Smith have to miss some time.

No. 2 (No. 72 MLB): Nick Frasso, RHP, ETA 2025 - Triple-A

When the Dodgers announced Bobby Miller would be going on the IL with an injury, uninformed fans might have wondered if Frasso's name might have been tossed around as a potential temporary replacement. According to MLB Pipeline, Frasso's ETA is 2025, but unfortunately, Frasso is expected to miss all of the 2024 season after undergoing shoulder surgery last November. He posted a 3.77 ERA across 93.0 innings pitched in Double-A and Triple-A last season, with an impressive 10.4 K/9 as well. Fans are likely going to have to wait for the highest-rated pitching prospect in the organization to make his debut until late 2025.

No. 3 (No. 93 MLB): Andy Pages, OF, ETA 2024 - MLB

With the injury to Jason Heyward, and the subsequent underwhelming performance of Taylor Trammell (who was promoted to replace Heyward when he went on the IL), the Dodgers’ hand was forced, and they turned to Pages to provide a spark to the bottom of the lineup. The choice was a no-brainer, as Pages had a .371 AVG with five homers, three doubles, 15 RBI, and a 1.146 OPS in his first 15 games of the season for Triple-A Oklahoma City. Pages got his first major-league hit in his first MLB at-bat with an opposite field single, and if he can perform well over this limited run early in the season, the Dodgers may think twice about demoting him back to Triple-A. At the very least, over the next week or so, Pages will get his feet wet in MLB, and can learn some valuable lessons so that he is ready to fill in if he gets promoted again later in 2024.

No. 4 (No. 94 MLB): Josue De Paula, OF, ETA 2026 - Single-A

De Paula has been playing in the Dodgers' minor league system since 2022, and the 18-year-old lefty has demonstrated great base-running skills and has gotten on base frequently in his time in the minors. According to MLB Pipeline, he spent the 2023 offseason in great company, training with star Juan Soto and former No. 1 overall prospect Elly De La Cruz. The speed is there already (he has swiped 32 bags in just 135 games), and if De Paula can add more game power to his arsenal over the next few years, he will continue to rise in prospect rankings and will eventually become a fixture of the Dodgers' lineup.

No. 5: River Ryan, RHP, ETA 2024 - Triple-A

Unfortunately, River Ryan, just like Frasso, is currently nursing an injury. The silver lining with Ryan's injury status is that he could return in late May or early June, according to Jim Callis of Ryan pitched 97.1 innings in Double-A in 2023, posting a 3.33 ERA and 9.5 K/9. Ryan only made two starts in Triple-A in 2023, so even if he comes back from his injury and pitches well, he might not make it to MLB this season, despite having a theoretical MLB ETA of 2024. Expect the Dodgers to be careful with such a young arm, and ease him back into the Triple-A rotation gradually when he does return, before giving him a chance in 2025 to make his big league debut.

No. 6: Kyle Hurt, RHP, ETA 2024 - MLB

Kyle Hurt is probably the name Dodgers fans are most familiar with on this list. He made the major league roster all the way back in September 2023, when he pitched two innings of scoreless relief work (three strikeouts) against the Padres. So far in 2024, he pitched in the Seoul Series for the Dodgers, giving up one earned run in two innings of relief work against the same Pads, before following that up with 2.2 scoreless innings (three strikeouts) against the Cardinals. Hurt was optioned down to Triple-A, but recalled on April 16, when he tossed two scoreless innings as the opener against the Nationals. Hurt remains in the Dodgers bullpen and will likely stay there until at least one or two arms come back from the injured list, but if he can keep putting up zeros, he might hang around longer than fans initially expect.

Other notable prospects: 

No. 7: Jackson Ferris, LHP, ETA 2026 - A+

Ferris is the highest-rated lefty pitching prospect in the Dodgers’ organization. He has pitched just two games for the A+ Great Lakes Loons after arriving from the Chicago Cubs in the Michael Busch trade.

No. 8: Diego Cartaya, C, ETA 2025 - Double-A

Cartaya was the Dodgers top prospect in 2023 before the season started, and he was ranked ahead of notable big-league names like Bobby Miller, Ryan Pepiot, and James Outman. He has struggled in Double-A, and has fallen down prospect lists as a result, but Cartaya still has a lot of potential.

No. 11: Kendall George, OF, ETA 2027 - A

George was the Dodgers’ first pick in the 2023 draft straight out of high school, and is heralded for his speed. He stole 17 bases in 28 games in the minors in 2023, and is currently playing in A-ball.

No. 13: Landon Knack, RHP, ETA 2024 - MLB

The injuries to the Dodgers’ pitching staff forced Knack into action earlier this week. In his MLB debut, he tossed five innings, giving up two runs while striking out four batters. He will likely stay in the rotation until at least one of the Dodgers’ usual starters is healthy.

No. 18: Emil Morales, SS, ETA 2029 - ROK

The Dodgers signed the 17-year-old Morales for $1.9 million, and he is the highest-rated international free agent signing of the Dodgers’ 2024 international class.

No. 20: Zyhir Hope, OF, ETA 2027 - Single-A

Hope, like Ferris, arrived from the Cubs in the Michael Busch trade. In just 20 games in the minors across both organizations, Hope has displayed both power and speed, with a 1.046 OPS in 71 ABs with six homers and five stolen bags.

No. 21: Trey Sweeney, SS, ETA 2025 - Triple-A

Sweeney came to the Dodgers in the Victor Gonzalez trade, which cleared a spot on the 40-man roster. Sweeney has a .772 OPS for Triple-A Oklahoma City, but likely won’t play in the majors anytime soon.

No. 25: Austin Gauthier, INF/OF, ETA 2024 - Double-A

Gauthier had a .910 OPS in 2023 across two levels of the minors, but is off to a slow start (.707 OPS) in Double-A this season after posting an .829 OPS in spring training. If Gauthier turns around his slow start, he will be on the shortlist for a call-up if any major league infielders get injured, although Miguel Vargas would likely get the first nod.