Los Angeles Dodgers Top Prospects For 2024

Even after signing Shohei Ohtani to the largest deal in the history of sports, the Dodgers are much more than just big spenders.

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - MARCH 24, 2023: Dalton Rushing #38 of the Los Angeles Dodgers takes a lead at first base during a minor league spring training game against the Cleveland Guardians at Camelback Ranch on March 24, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by David Durochik/Diamond Images via Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Dodgers are quite possibly the gold standard in baseball when it comes to organizational excellence. Not only have they won the National League West in every season except one since 2013, they’ve brought in future Hall of Famers Shohei Ohtani, Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman in the past half-decade and established themselves as arguably the best evaluators and developers in all of professional baseball.

While many of their top prospects in recent years have contributed for them, or for others, at the MLB level, the Dodgers still boast one of the deepest systems in the game, headlined by five prospects in Just Baseball’s Top 100.

1. Josue De Paula – OF – (Low-A)

Height/Weight: 6’2″, 175 | Bat/Throw: L/R | IFA: $1.5M, 2021 (LAD) | ETA: 2026

HITRAW POWERGAME POWERRUNFIELDFV
55/7045/5535/5045/4535/4555

One of the most polished hitters at the rookie level in 2022, De Paula has an extremely advanced swing and approach that have helped him make a smooth transition into full season ball as a 17/18-year-old.

Ad – content continues below

https://giphy.com/gifs/MyoiIK6NyJhI1ERQ2Z

Offense

De Paula has a simple setup and a quiet, smooth load that helps him see the ball early and repeat his moves. The teenager’s swing is silky smooth, controlling his body extremely well with a great feel for the barrel. Already posting plus contact rates and low chase rates along with strong numbers against left-handed pitching, De Paula projects as a plus hitter or better.

He has already demonstrated the ability to hit the ball hard to all fields with plenty of room to add muscle to his somewhat long and slender frame. Though he’s extremely far away, there’s potential for a combination of plus hit and above average power as he matures.

Defense/Speed

An average runner, De Paula will likely move to a corner outfield spot once he exceeds the rookie levels. His above average arm and average speed should allow him to be a fine defender in right. As De Paula fills out, he is unlikely to be much of a factor on the bases, but shouldn’t be a clogger.

Outlook

The most advanced prospect the Dodgers had at the rookie levels in 2022, De Paula is easily one of the most polished teenage hitters in the minors. While the power has not totally translated into games yet, it seems like it is only a matter of time until his fantastic feel to hit and projectable frame result in above average pop. With his present offensive talent and even more to dream on, De Paula has monster upside at the plate.

2. Dalton Rushing – C – (High-A)

Height/Weight: 6’1″, 220 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 2nd Round (40), 2022 (LAD) | ETA: 2025

HITRAW POWERGAME POWERRUNFIELDFV
50/5555/5545/5045/4535/4555

Blocked by Henry Davis at Louisville his first two seasons, Rushing tore up the Cape Cod League before mashing to an OPS of 1.156 his junior season. It’s been more of the same for Rushing at the lower levels, putting up strong offensive numbers since being drafted.

Ad – content continues below

https://giphy.com/gifs/juxl5fRTnIniu50Yfd

Offense

Rushing starts with a slightly open stance and a smooth leg kick to get into his back side. He controls his body extremely well, allowing him to consistently be on time with his compact swing. Rushing has shorter levers, but generates plenty of bat speed and has already flashed exit velocities as high as 110 MPH with a 90th percentile exit velocity of 105 MPH in 2023.

A patient hitter with a phenomenal feel for the strike zone, Rushing walked as much as he struck out both at the collegiate and professional levels last year. His smooth and repeatable swing helped him post strong numbers left-on-left as well. Running a chase rate around 15%, Rushing should be a consistent on-base threat.

It’s pretty hard to poke a hole in Rushing’s offensive game, and based on the bat alone, he could climb through the minors quickly. 

Defense/Speed

Though he is a raw catcher, Rushing has already shown signs of being a decent receiver and blocker. This isn’t a total surprise, as he is a good athlete for a catcher with average wheels. His catch and throw skills are solid, but there’s times where things just seem a bit quick for him.

After all, it is worth noting that dating back to his freshman year of college, Rushing had only caught around 70 total games going into 2023. With his athleticism and skill set, Rushing has a chance to develop into an average catcher. 

Outlook

The bat will lead the way for Rushing, as he is athletic enough to potentially move to first base or corner outfield if he does not develop behind the dish. That said, Rushing still has a chance of sticking at catcher. Offensively, Rushing is a high-floor hitter who can develop into a high OBP guy capable of launching around 20-25 homers. 

Ad – content continues below

3. Andy Pages – OF – (Triple-A)

Height/Weight: 6’1″, 210 | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: $300K, 2017 (LAD) | ETA: 2024

HITRAW POWERGAME POWERRUNFIELDFV
40/4560/6050/6050/5045/5555

A torn labrum in his left shoulder put a halt to what was a an excellent start to the 2023 season for Pages. He has put up big power numbers at every stop, with an impressive ability to consistently drive the ball in the air.

Offense

Pages starts upright and deploys a slow and controlled load that allows him to get into his back hip. A strong lower half and sneaky athleticism help Pages use the ground well to tap into plus power while repeating his moves well.

Pages has a swing geared for lifting the ball in the air to the pull-side. His homers are majestic, often as high as they are far and he is a patient hitter who has consistently posted strong walk rates at each level.

He utilizes the leverage in his swing consistently, rarely missing a hanging breaking ball or a fastball out over the plate. At worst, he will be able to annihilate mistake pitches in the big leagues once he gets there. 

One area where he could improve a bit is with hard stuff inside. Pages is a hitter who likes to get his hands extended and pitchers who can consistently locate their heater inside have given him some trouble. The challenge for pitchers is that if that fastball runs back over the middle, Pages will rarely miss it. Even with the bit of length to his swing, Pages makes plenty of contact and has a chance to be an average hitter with his plus game power as the calling card.

Ad – content continues below

Defense/Speed

It takes Pages a while to get to his top speed but once he does, he’s an above-average runner. He posts average home-to-first times due to the time it takes him to get to top speed, but the speed plays a bit better in the outfield. As he has become more comfortable with his reads and routes, getting better jumps and covering more ground.

His profile is that of a right fielder, but in a pinch, he could likely play a passable center field thanks to his reads and 70 grade arm strength. He has above average defensive potential in right.

Outlook

After a massive year in High-A in 2021, Pages struggled to match the same level of consistency in Double-A, though he still turned in a solid campaign as a younger bat in the upper minors. He jumped out of the gate in his second Double-A stint to start the 2023 season, earning a promotion to Triple-A as a 22-year-old. Unfortunately, his injury came in his first Triple-A game, but he will almost surely start the season there next year.

Pages’ ability to consistently tap into game power as well as walk takes some pressure off of his fringy hit tool. There’s 30 home run upside if Pages can hit enough.

4. Gavin Stone – RHP – (MLB)

Height/Weight: 6’2″, 205 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 5th Round (149), 2019 (LAD) | ETA: 2023

FASTBALLCUTTErCHANGEUPCURVEBALLCOMMANDFV
50/5550/5570/7030/3550/5555

The earliest draft pick in Central Arkansas history, Stone rapidly ascended up the Minor League ranks seeing his stuff jump several ticks since joining the Dodgers organization while boasting one of the best changeups in the Minor Leagues. Stone’s stuff surprisingly backed up on him in 2023, resulting in inconsistent PCL stats and a rough MLB debut.

Ad – content continues below

Arsenal

Stone really adjusted his pitch mix in the second half of the 2023 season as he searched for the right offerings to pair with his plus-plus change. He works extremely fast and is a fiery competitor on the mound. He is a great athlete and mobile on the mound, making it repeating his mechanics well and filling up the zone.

After leaning on his fastball heavily in 2022, the pitch took a step backwards in 2023, losing nearly a tick in velocity to 94 MPH and more than an inch of induced vertical break. Stone previously circumvented the average shape of the pitch with a bit more velocity and fantastic command, but the combination of a slightly diminished fastball and pitching in the hitter-friendly PCL appeared to sap his confidence in his heater.

As a result, Stone saw his strike rate drop by 5% with the four seamer before phasing it out in favor of his sinker and new cutter. The sinker was far more effective for Stone over his final 15 appearances of the 2023 season (5 MLB, 10 AAA), picking up a ground ball rate of 64% with nearly identical whiff numbers to his four seamer.

Stone’s low 90s cutter was added to replace his slider which he had struggled to locate and miss bats with. He will throw it more to righties, giving him a much needed glove side breaking pitch. As he finds a feel for the pitch, it could play as an average or better offering.

The best pitch in Stone’s repertoire is his double-plus mid 80’s changeup that features screwball type action with late drop and arm side run. The pitch produces ugly swings against both lefties and righties and regularly missed bats even when located within the zone. He commands it as well as any pitch in his arsenal, landing it for a strike around 66% of the time and wearing out the bottom of the zone at will.

Opponents posted just a .330 OPS against the pitch in 2022 with a 52% strikeout rate and 61% ground ball rate; he enjoyed similar success with the pitch in the minors in 2023.

Ad – content continues below

Stone sprinkles in a low 80’s curveball to round out his arsenal. He only throws it a few times each outing and it tends to back up a bit on him at times leading to some consistency issues regarding location. It flashed solid depth and shape at the bottom of the zone, making it a nice change-of-pace pitch to be used sparingly.

Outlook

Like many young pitchers, Stone struggled in his first MLB stint and went back down to Triple-A to make some tweaks to his arsenal. It is worth noting that his velocity started to inch towards his 2022 levels over the final couple months of the season. Stone lacked confidence in a pitch outside of his changeup during his few MLB starts, finding himself nibbling at times.

His new cutter and sinker should help him pound the zone with more confidence, as should his uptick back into the mid 90s. Between his above average command and elite changeup, Stone has a solid chance of sticking as a back end rotation arm, but if his cutter can develop into an above average pitch along with continued success with his sinker, Stone could become a middle-rotation starter.

5. Thayron Liranzo – C – (High-A)

Height/Weight: 6’1″, 190 | Bat/Throw: S/R | IFA: $30K , 2021 (LAD) | ETA: 2026

HITPlate DiscGAME POWERRUNFIELDFV
30/4050/5550/6030/3040/5055

A switch-hitter with plus raw power Liranzo already looks like one of the biggest steals in the 2021 IFA class for just $30k.

Offense

On the left side, Liranzo starts open with his hands high, featuring a big leg kick that he controls well. From the right side, his feet are even to start and he sinks into his backside before a much smaller stride. Inconsistencies from the right side have resulted in Liranzo tinkering with different pre-swing mechanisms, something he has not needed to do from the left side. The right-handed swing has come a long way and looks much more natural after his latest adjustments.

Ad – content continues below

Liranzo has boasted plus exit velocities since he was a teenager, launching tape-measure shots upwards of 450 feet and 114 mph. His path can flatten out some, but he compensates for that with his high-end exit velocities and ability to drive the ball to all fields with authority.

Approach wise, Liranzo seems to get better each time you check in, especially from the left-side of the plate. Improved pitch recoginition and plate discipline has helped hedge his struggles with secondary stuff, but he will need to improve his ability to hit sliders in particular as he climbs levels.

The hit tool may ultimately be fringy, but there’s plus game power to dream on as he learns to elevate with a bit more consistency with an above average ability to draw free passes.

Defense/Speed

A solid receiver and blocker, Liranzo is athletic behind the dish and moves well. While his arm is above average, his catch and throw skills need some work, struggling to get the ball out of his glove smoothly at times and throwing flat footed. His mobility and receiving skills give him a good chance to stick at the position.

Outlook

Liranzo provides a tantalizing profile as a switch-hitting catcher with plus power and good shot at sticking behind the dish. Projecting as a fringy hitter at best, his swing decisions and ability to tap into his impact in games will be important. Considering the positive trend and helpful adjustments we have seen from the right-handed swing alone, there’s good reason to believe that he can continue to mitigate the whiff enough.

6. Joendry Vargas – SS – (DSL)

Height/Weight: 6’4″, 180 | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: $2.08M , 2023 (LAD) | ETA: 2027

Ad – content continues below

HITRAW POWERGAME POWERRUNFIELDFV
35/5050/6045/5555/5040/5055

Powerful and projectable, the Dodgers committed more than half of their bonus pool to sign Vargas and he did not disappoint in his pro debut in the Dominican Summer League.

Offense

Starting with his bat rested on his shoulder, Vargas uses a rhythmic hand load in tandem with a gathering leg kick to get to his launch position, but starts the move early and controls his lower half well.

What really stands out with Vargas is how quick and snappy his hands and wrists are. He generates impressive bat speed with a direct path and short finish. This helps him get to pitches in different locations and showing comfort with turning around velocity.

When he is at his best, Vargas lets the ball travel and uses the whole field, but he can tend to get a bit spinny, pulling off of breaking balls and seeing his barrel leave the zone too quickly. This should improve as he compiles more reps and improves his pitch recognition as well as his overall feel for his swing.

There’s potential for above average hit and power for Vargas, who already flashed exit velocities as high as 108 MPH in his age-17 season. He will need to improve against breaking balls to reach his potential in the hit-tool department and he has the ingredients to do so. At 6-foot-4 with plenty of room for strength on his frame, plus power would not be out of the question.

Defense/Speed

A slightly above average runner with a well-above average throwing arm, Vargas has a strong case for being able to stick on the left side of the infield. His actions and footwork are a little shaky, at times being gobbled up by an extra hop, likely accustomed to sitting back and relying on his arm strength as an amateur.

Ad – content continues below

If his hands soften a bit and he improves his ability to read hops, Vargas could stick at short. A slide over to third base is possible, especially if he continues to fill out. He was 19-for-24 on stolen bases at the DSL in 2023 and should be capable of mixing in a handful of bags per year at least.

Outlook

Vargas is far away, but already providing exciting flashes with projection for more, it’s easy to see why the Dodgers prioritized him in the 2023 IFA cycle. He should see the Complex League in 2024 with a chance to get a taste of Low-A if he continues his success in Arizona.

There’s a chance that Vargas can stick at shortstop, further bolstering his prospect intrigue, however his offensive profile fits just fine at the hot corner where he could be a strong defender. Still extremely young, Vargas will be 18 years old for the entirety of the 2024 season and is one of the most exciting names to watch in the Dodgers system heading into next season.

7. Kyle Hurt – RHP – (MLB)

Height/Weight: 6’3″, 240 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 5th Round (134), 2019 (MIA) | ETA: 2024

FASTBALLCHANGEUPSliderCURVEBALLCOMMANDFV
60/6070/7040/5030/4040/4550+

A data darling who has always missed bats, Hurt put things together in 2023, tossing a career-high 92 innings while maintaining his lowest ERA as a pro (3.91). The fact that he did this while pitching in two of the most hitter-friendly leagues in the minors makes it all the more impressive.

Arsenal

Hurt will deploy four pitches, but it’s the fastball and changeup that lead the way. His fastball is a plus pitch, averaging 96 MPH and touching 99 MPH. In addition to the high velocity, Hurt’s low four seam release height of 5.6 feet paired with decent shape helps it play up as well. Between Double-A and Triple-A, he picked up a swinging strike rate of 15% and is effective both at the top and bottom of the zone.

Ad – content continues below

The best pitch for Hurt is his plus plus changeup that plays off of his fastball extremely well at 87-89 MPH with late drop. He has an excellent feel for the pitch, landing it for a strike nearly 70% of the time while garnering a ridiculous 44% chase rate and 31% swinging strike rate.

Hurt maintains his arm speed and release point well, making it difficult for hitters to differentiate the changeup from his fastball until it is too late. It helps when hitters are a little extra geared up for an upper 90s fastball with life as well. He will go to the pitch around 30% of the time against lefties and righties, holding both to a batting average below .150.

He will mix in a pair of breaking balls with the slider flashing average or a bit better. Operating at 87-89 MPH with short, gyro break, it is most effective when Hurt is locating it to his glove side, but his command of it is inconsistent.

With the tendency to lose balls arm side or leave it up, Hurt’s slider was hit hard against tougher competition. He threw it less as 2023 progressed, with just 10% usage over his final 10 starts. It could be worth wondering if a more horizontal breaking slider could be more effective for Hurt.

Rounding out the arsenal is a below average curveball that Hurt will mix in a handful of times per game in an attempt to steal strikes, but only recorded a 50% strike rate with the pitch. At 78-80 MPH while lacking some desired bite, it will likely never be much more than a taste-breaker.

Outlook

The nasty combination of Hurt’s fastball and changeup is enough to make Hurt a high leverage relief arm or swingman, but there’s fringe No. 3 upside to dream on. To reach his ceiling, Hurt will likely need to make some tweaks to his slider as well as some gains in the command department.

Ad – content continues below

If he can improve in at least one of those two departments, there’s a good chance the Dodgers have a five and dive starter or quality swingman capable of throwing in high leverage.

8. River Ryan – RHP – (Triple-A)

Height/Weight: 6’2″, 205 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 11th Round (340), 2021 (SD) | ETA: 2024

FASTBALLSliderCURVEBALLCutterCHANGEUPCOMMANDFV
60/6055/6050/5545/4530/4040/4550+

A former two-way player at Division II UNC-Pembroke, Ryan stood out as an infielder, hitting .308 while serving as the team’s closer. It was Ryan’s electric stuff that really turned the heads of Padres officials (and Dodgers) on the backfields, shifting his focus to the mound.

Arsenal

You can tell Ryan was a collegiate infielder with the way he operates on the mound. His delivery is loose, athletic and repeatable with plus arm arm speed. The right-hander will mix in five offerings with his fastball leading the way at 45% usage.

The pitch averaged 96.5 MPH in 2023, touching triple digits from a slightly below average release point making effective at the top of the zone. It doesn’t quite feature the desired shape to be a whiff machine within the zone like some other fastballs at his velocity and release, but it is not a dead zone shape either.

Ryan’s slider is his best pitch, sitting in the upper 80s with late gyro break. The pitch dives beneath barrels making it effective to both righties and lefties while picking up plenty of ground balls. He racked up a 19% swinging strike rate on the pitch along with a 55% ground ball rate. Even with 23% usage, Ryan did not surrender a home run with his slider all season, an impressive feat in the Texas League and PCL.

Ad – content continues below

The second breaking ball for Ryan is a curveball in the low 80s that he effectively separates from his slider with around 13 inches of vertical break and 11 inches of horizontal break. He will mix it in around 15% of the time, predominantly to lefties, with his lowest strike rate among any of his offerings (54%).

Rounding out the arsenal for Ryan is an average cutter at 89-91 and a below-average upper 80s changeup. The cutter gives Ryan another look and was effective for him as a weak-contact inducer despite throwing it far less as the season progressed. Though he did not command his iffy changeup well in 2023, Ryan sprinkled a few in for a strike each start.

Outlook

2024 will be Ryan’s third year as a starting pitcher and he will likely make his MLB debut at some point in the season. Given the success he already has under his belt despite his lack of relative experience, there could be more to dream on with the 25-year-old righty.

His fastball and breaking balls would play excellently as a high-octane, late-inning reliever though his athleticism and pitch mix could also make him a quality No. 4 starter if he continues to progress. Ryan is yet another high-probability MLB arm in this Dodgers system where it is just a matter of figuring out what exactly the capacity is.

9. Nick Frasso – RHP – (Triple-A)

Height/Weight: 6’5″, 205 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 4th Round (106), 2019 (TOR) | ETA: 2023

FASTBALLSLIDERCHANGEUPCOMMANDFV
55/6050/5555/5545/5550+

An athletic right-hander who has showed flashes of brilliance, Frasso compiled a career-best 93 innings pitched in 2023. Even with the step forward last season, nagging arm issues and velocity fluctuations have clouded his likelihood of sticking as a starter. Regardless, the Dodgers have a big league arm in some capacity in Frasso.

Ad – content continues below

Arsenal

Frasso was a standout basketball player in high school, standing tall at 6-foot-5 with long, lanky limbs. His athleticism is evident in his mechanics, featuring a bit of an inward twist before driving with his lower half to create good extension while firing from a unique cross-body delivery. His solid three pitch mix from his delivery is particularly uncomfortable for right-handed hitters.

The fastball has looked plus or better at points while closer to above average in others. In shorter spurts during the 2022 season after returning from elbow surgery, Frasso averaged 96 MPH and was clocked as high as 100 MPH with his fastball, though he did not exceed four innings pitched once.

As the Dodgers focused on stretching Frasso out more in 2023, he averaged 95 MPH on his heater in the first half of the season before slipping below 94 MPH in the second half. The shape and life on the pitch is good enough for the pitch to play well at 93-95 MPH, but between his velocity slipping as he went deeper into starts as well as the season, it’s hard to give Frasso’s fastball the double-plus grade that some in the industry have as long as he is starting.

Both the slider and changeup are above average for Frasso with the changeup even flashing plus. He went to his upper 80s slider slightly more (25% usage) in 2023, holding opponents to a .180 batting average. With a 26% chase rate and 14% swinging strike rate, the gyro break makes it a decent ground ball pitch and weak contact inducer rather than pure whiff machine.

The mid 80s changeup is difficult for left-handed hitters to pick up from his cross-body delivery, starting on a similar plane to his fastball before diving to his arm side. He went to the pitch 20% of the time overall and 30% against lefties, racking up a 17% swinging strike rate and 35% chase rate.

Outlook

Frasso’s flashes of middle-rotation stuff and above average command likely inspire patience from the Dodgers when it comes to trying the 25-year-old as a starter. He filled up the zone at a 66% clip in 2023 with comfort throwing all three pitches for a strike and walking just 7.5% of opposing batters.

The fact that Frasso’s velocity dipped at the end of the season could merely be due to the fact that he hadn’t thrown at least 60 innings since his freshman year of college, but considering his age and injury history, it is worth wondering if expecting more than 100 innings from the right-hander is reasonable.

How the Dodgers utilize Frasso in 2024 will be telling. He could be a valuable Swiss-army knife for the Dodgers, offering the pitch mix and pitchability to turn a lineup over when needed while also possessing the pure stuff to get whiffs in high leverage.

10. Maddux Bruns – LHP – (High-A)

Height/Weight: 6’2″, 205 | Bat/Throw: R/L | 1st Round (29), 2021 (LAD) | ETA: 2026

FASTBALLSliderCHANGEUPCURVEBALLCOMMANDFV
55/5550/6050/5530/4030/3550

Wipeout stuff and below average command have made Bruns a tantalizing, but frustrating, prospect.

Arsenal

Bruns has a three pitch mix that stacks up with any arm in the Dodgers system. His fastball sits 94-96 MPH with good arm side life. The pitch bores in on lefties, holding them to a .160 batting average while picking up plenty of weak contact. Like much of his arsenal, the fact that Bruns sprays rather than locates holds the fastball back.

Both the slider and changeup flash above average or better with Bruns using the slider far more frequently. His slider–which flashes plus–picked up the highest strike rate of any of his offerings (63%), along with a swinging strike rate of 21% and chase rate of 35%. It sits in the mid 80s with short, late sweep making it effective against both lefties and righties.

The changeup sits 85-86 MPH, looking similar to his fastball out of the hand before the 10 mph of separation kicks in along with just enough arm side fade. He rarely throws the pitch, only mixing it in around 8% of the time, but with plenty of success. With a swinging strike rate of 28% and opponent batting average of .160, Bruns could benefit from throwing it more.

Outlook

Between command challenges and the tendency to unravel a bit on the mound in challenging innings or stretches, it seems decreasingly likely that Bruns will stick a starter. Still just 21 years old, the southpaw will likely get another year to try to fight off a move to the bullpen, but with only one start last season of at least five innings, Bruns will need to make some major strides next season.

Stuff wise, it’s likely Bruns can find his way into a big league role potentially even as a high leverage reliever who could see his fastball tick closer to the upper 90s and slider in upper 80s in short spurts.

11. Diego Cartaya – C – (Double-A)

Height/Weight: 6’3″, 220 | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: $2.5M, 2018 (LAD) | ETA: 2025

HITRAW POWERGAME POWERRUNFIELDFV
30/3550/5550/5540/4045/5050

Once considered one of the best catching prospects in baseball, Cartaya has lost some mobility without adding impact. The stiffness both at the plate and behind it is concerning with less impact in 2023 to fall back on.

Offense

After balancing an intriguing blend of bat speed and loft in his first couple pro seasons, everything looked slower and less violent for Cartaya, almost looking as if he was swinging a heavier bat at times. While it’s impossible to know what exactly caused Cartaya’s bat speed and impact to taper off, it is worth noting that he has battled through a myriad of injuries already in his pro career.

Back and hamstring issues plagued him in 2021 to the point that the Dodgers managed his workload in 2022, allowing him to catch just four times per week. He mostly stayed healthy in 2022, but did miss some time with a hand/wrist issue. Cartaya’s 2023 campaign was cut short when he hit the IL for an undisclosed reason at the end of August.

Cartaya saw a 2.5 MPH drop in his average exit velocity from 2022 to 2023, along with more than a 200 point drop in his OPS. Of course, he was also making the jump from High-A to Double-A, which could also explain his massive struggles with breaking balls, though it was the physical swing itself that did not look as whippy or adjustable.

He still flashed above average pop to the pull side, launching 19 homers in 93 games. He showed some signs of life in his final 20 contests, with an OPS just under .800 and stronger exit velocities before being shelved for the season.

Still just 22 years old, with stretches of impressive offensive output in the past, Cartaya is too talented to give up on at this point. There’s still 20-25 home run potential with the ability to draw walks.

Defense/Speed

Long lauded for his makeup and the ability to call games, Cartaya provides plenty of intangibles behind the dish to go with a plus throwing arm. His receiving and blocking have tracked closer to average, but he does not move incredibly well behind the dish. He projects as an average defender with value beyond the tools.

Outlook

It’s hard to argue that there was a much more disappointing prospect in 2023 than Diego Cartaya considering how much momentum and excitement he had built with his 2022 campaign. Still just 22 years old, there’s time for Cartaya to iron things out and his plus makeup instills a bit more confidence that he can get himself there.

If he can tap back into his 2022 explosiveness and improve his feel to hit/pitch recognition skills, Cartaya can still blossom into a power-hitting everyday catcher who offsets the low batting average with high walk rates and provides valuable intangibles behind the dish.

12. Johnny Deluca – OF – (MLB)

Height/Weight: 6’0″, 215 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 25th Round (761), 2019 (LAD) | ETA: 2024

HITRAW POWERGAME POWERRUNFIELDFV
50/5545/4540/4060/6055/5545+

A speedster with a good feel to hit and the ability to play all three outfield spots at a high-level, Deluca is a high floor piece who showed well in his MLB cameo and does all of the little things to help a team win a ballgame.

Deluca’s bat-to-ball skills paired with just enough impact could make him productive enough offensively to be an average regular, but he is probably best in a platoon/fourth outfielder role. As a pro, Deluca has mashed left-handed pitching to a .943 OPS, about 70 points higher than his OPS against righties highlighting his ability to play every day while also shining the light on a potential platoon advantage if he struggles against big league righties.

Though not an insanely aggressive base steal compared to others with his speed, Deluca is extremely efficient, swiping 58 bags on 63 tries in roughly 300 Minor League games. He has a great chance to be a fourth outfielder with the tools and well-rounded game to potentially even become an average regular.

13. Justin Wrobleski – LHP – (High-A)

Height/Weight: 6’1″, 195 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 11th Round (342), 2021 (LAD) | ETA: 2025

FASTBALLSliderCURVEBALLCutterCHANGEUPCOMMANDFV
60/6050/5545/5045/5045/5545/5050

A unique pitch mix, Wrobleski will mix five different offerings from a delivery that features a rock backwards and tilt with his shoulders before working towards home. His delivery creates a slingshot effect as his arm whips around, but also minimizes his extension (just 5.0 feet).

The mid 90s fastball leads the way for Wrobleski, overpowering hitters from both sides of the plate with strong whiff and chase numbers. His changeup made a huge leap in the second half of the season flashing above average while the slider, cutter and curveball were all effective in spurts with the slider leading the way.

The 23-year-old slipped under the draft radar due to Tommy John surgery in his draft year, making 2023 his first full season back from the operation. He showcased the ability to get High-A hitters out from either side of the plate and turn over lineups multiple times. If Wrobleski can match his success in Double-A next year, he could be another Dodgers arm with helium.

14. Trey Sweeney – SS – (Double-A)

Height/Weight: 6’4″, 215 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 1st Round (20), 2021 (NYY) | ETA: 2025

HITRAW POWERGAME POWERRUNFIELDFV
50/5050/5040/5050/5040/4545+

Sweeney was traded over to the Dodgers in exchange for infield prospect Jorbit Vivas and MLB reliever Victor Gonzàlez as the Dodgers looked to clear 40-man space for Shohei Ohtani and Joe Kelly.

Nothing jumps off of the page with Sweeney, but he is a well-rounded ballplayer. He is an average hitter with a great feel for the strike zone, walking at a 14% clip as a pro.

Sweeney does a good job of getting the most out of his relatively average tools, flashing slightly above average pop and speed. He will sneak homers out to his pull side and picks his spots to steal well. On the defensive side of things, he does not have the strongest arm or quickest feet, but he seems to make all of the necessary plays at short and uses his instincts to get himself in the right spots.

If the power can tick closer to above average, Sweeney could be a bulk platoon bat (struggles vs. LHP), but for now, he projects as a left-handed hitting utility infielder.

Other Names to Watch

Yeiner Fernandez – C – (High-A): The 21-year-old Fernandez practically split his time into thirds in 2023, logging 39 starts behind the plate, 31 starts at second base, and 26 starts as a designated hitter with High-A Great Lakes. While the power has yet to fully shine through, he fits the Gabriel Moreno mold of being a hit tool-oriented catcher with excellent athleticism behind the dish. If Fernandez can add a bit more power to his toolset, he should make his way into the top 10 in no time.

Austin Gauthier – UTIL – (Double-A): Gauthier put up one of the best seasons in Minor League Baseball in 2023, slashing .316/.435/.476 in 124 games while logging appearances at second base, third base, shortstop, and both corner outfield spots. The 24-year-old got a late start on his pro career as a four-year player at Hostra, but Gauthier has now walked 100 times or more in each of his first two full professional seasons and provides enough speed to be a factor on the basepaths, stealing 36 bases in 46 attempts in his burgeoning career.

Jake Gelof – 3B – (Low-A): One of the most accomplished players in University of Virginia program history, Gelof was Los Angeles’ second round pick in this past draft. The younger brother of current Oakland Athletic Zack Gelof, Jake broke the UVA single-season record for RBI with 81 as a Sophomore, and broke his own record with 90 in 65 games as a Junior in 2023. His pro debut went well enough, logging 17 XBH and 27 RBI in his first 34 games. Despite questions about his long-term defensive home and his lack of impact on the base paths, the bat alone could carry Gelof to the big leagues.

Hyun-Seok Jang – RHP – (CPX): Just 19 years old, Jang agreed to terms with the Dodgers this past August for $900,000, just one month before he was projected to be taken No. 1 overall in the KBO Draft. A long 6’4″ and 200 pounds, Jang sits in the mid-90s with his fastball and can run it up to 97 with a strong slider and curveball to complement it. He has yet to make his professional debut, but all eyes will be on Jang in 2024.

Landon Knack – RHP – (Triple-A): The 26-year-old Knack is coming off of the best season of his professional career, logging a 2.51 ERA in 100.1 innings between Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City. While nagging injury issues are now in the rearview mirror, no singular pitch in his arsenal seems to wow data-wise, pigeon-holing him into the “pitchability” tag.

Ronan Kopp – LHP – (High-A): Standing at a mammoth 6’7″ and 250 pounds, Kopp has blown pitch after pitch by lower level hitters, logging 220 strikeouts and a .178 batting average against in his first 136.2 IP in professional baseball. The 21-year-old boasts a mid-to-high 90s fastball and a wipeout sweeping slider, but has struggled mightily with command at each stop, posting a career 6.2 BB/9. With command questions and a primarily two-pitch arsenal, there is plenty of reliever risk with Kopp.

Jose Ramos – OF – (Double-A): Ramos burst onto the scene in 2021 with a .972 OPS in 62 games between the Complex and Low-A, but he has seen his offensive production slowly dip as he climbs levels in the Dodgers system. Still just 22 years old, Ramos has added weight and power to complement his elite arm in a corner outfield spot, but his fringy hit tool will ultimately determine his big league prospects.