MLB prospect expert says Dodgers OF could become next Jackson Chourio in 2023

Los Angeles Dodgers v Los Angeles Angels
Los Angeles Dodgers v Los Angeles Angels / Kent Horner/GettyImages

To the disappointment of their rivals eyeing the throne, the Los Angeles Dodgers' farm system just keeps on churning out talent year after year.

Poor draft slot thanks to another sterling record? No problem. Capped-out budget for international signings? All good! Just graduated Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger and Gavin Lux? Traded Josiah Gray, Keibert Ruiz, and Jeter Downs? Not an issue -- reload coming!

The Dodgers are adept at not only identifying talent, but at nurturing and cultivating the right players. And, according to prospect expert Jim Callis, they might have another meteoric talent rise through their minor-league system soon, in the wake of Diego Cartaya's ascent.

Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Jackson Chourio captured prospect heads' attention last season by sprinting up the rankings just one year after he'd been in the Dominican Summer League. After 45 games of short-season ball in 2021, Chourio rose three levels in 2022, ending with a cameo at Double-A Biloxi. He hit the map by tearing the cover off the ball at Single-A Carolina, posting a .973 OPS in 62 games -- again, his first taste of full-season baseball. Now, he's MLB Pipeline's No. 8 prospect entering 2023, and one of Baseball America's stated favorites to be their No. 1 prospect in the game before next season begins.

So ... who's going to follow that path? If anyone can start a similar rapid rise this year, MLB prospect guru Jim Callis believes it's Dodgers outfielder Josue De Paula, still 17 years old and with only Dominican Summer League experience to his name.

Dodgers prospect Josue De Paula could be No. 1 prospect in MLB in 2025?

De Paula, not yet a household name (even in Dodgers territory), signed out of the Dominican Republic last winter and won't turn 18 until June of 2023.

Callis isn't the only prognosticator to show him love ahead of schedule this offseason, either. FanGraphs' Eric Longenhagen labeled him the team's seventh-best prospect -- and that's saying something, considering the caliber of established talent the Dodgers already have in place.

"The comps that scouts (not just Dodgers personnel, scouts from outside the org) are throwing around here are borderline irresponsible, star DH/LF types who are currently among the most dangerous hitters in baseball. De Paula’s size is likely to push him way, way down the defensive spectrum, maybe even off of it entirely, but the ceiling on his bat is so huge that it may not matter."

Eric Longenhagen, FanGraphs

In other words: Don't trade this guy for reliever Josh Fields.

Will there really be another Chourio, or was the Brewers' super-stud a true unicorn? De Paula's rise might not be quite so rapid, but it speaks volumes that Callis believes that he's the "first guy who comes to mind" when asked about a potential game-changing talent catching fire at the lower levels this season.