Ah, a chance to strike back at the San Diego Padres and boast about the Dodgers' farm system's stunningly consistent supremacy, all in one article? Hell yeah. About time. Too muchManny Machado extension talk lately, not enough chatter about how the Dodgers fleeced the Pads in the Matt Beaty trade.
Beaty, one of many surprisingly consistent Dodgers fifth outfielders in recent years, finally found himself squeezed off the roster this past spring, sent to San Diego on a whim for a lottery ticket pitching prospect named River Ryan. But just ... how whimmy was that whim? What ... did the Dodgers know? Gotta ask Brian Windhorst -- but, more pertinently, gotta ask prospect expert Keith Law of The Athletic.
Law, still the most enthusiastic supporter of the Dodgers' farm system of any prospect writer this offseason, ranked eight Dodgers in his top 100 list entering 2023, and just drilled down on the system with his LA-specific top 20 list this week.
According to Law, there are two clear "next men up" in the Dodgers' seemingly endless pipeline of pitching prospects. His top 10 consisted of the eight men in his top 100 list, ending with James Outman (at eight/89). Eight men, Outman.
Nos. 9 and 10 gave away the game, though, as it's clear Law believes both Ryan and Nick Nastrini will be the next two Dodgers pitching prospects to emerge in the wake of Bobby Miller/Gavin Stone's rise. He ranked both men above Landon Knack (No. 12) and the big-league ready Ryan Pepiot (No. 13). Not bad for a Beaty.
The Dodgers pulled a fast one on Padres again with River Ryan
Ryan, an 11th-rounder from 2021, made only three starts (five outings) at High-A in the Dodgers' system last year, striking out 22 in 14 innings while posting a 1.93 ERA. Sounds like something the Padres could use. Or, you know, San Diego could just pay Yu Darvish through his age-42 season. That could work, too.
Law lauded the 24-year-old for his fastball, complete with overpowering vertical run, that hit 100 MPH at times last season, but mostly sits 94-97. Per Law, a few executives pitched him as a top-100 candidate, where he'll probably rank next season.
As for Nastrini? The 23-year-old 2021 fourth-rounder out of UCLA saw his arsenal shaved a bit once he joined the Dodgers. They deemphasized his curveball and replaced it with a sharp, breaking slider while also honing his changeup. According to Law, he might be one of the game's most dominant relievers someday soon, if the whole "starting" thing doesn't work out.
Not a bad spot to be in for the Dodgers entering a pivotal year of development. As for who'll replace Nastrini and Ryan when they inevitably make the leap? Check back next spring.