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'Special time' for Dodgers' catching depth

Oklahoma City manager discusses four of L.A.'s backstop prospects
MLB.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With the departure of Yasmani Grandal, the re-acquisition of Russell Martin to pair with Austin Barnes and the rumored pursuit of J.T. Realmuto, there's been plenty of concern about the Dodgers' catching situation in 2019.

As for prospects, though, the Dodgers are deeper behind the plate than they've been in decades.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With the departure of Yasmani Grandal, the re-acquisition of Russell Martin to pair with Austin Barnes and the rumored pursuit of J.T. Realmuto, there's been plenty of concern about the Dodgers' catching situation in 2019.

As for prospects, though, the Dodgers are deeper behind the plate than they've been in decades.

Four of their top 18 prospects as ranked by MLB Pipeline are catchers -- No. 2 Keibert Ruiz, No. 5 Will Smith, No. 12 Diego Cartaya and No. 18 Connor Wong.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Travis Barbary, who has been in the trenches of the Dodgers' farm system for a quarter-century, was recently promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City manager from organizational catching coordinator, a role where he was responsible for the development of the quartet.

"From a catching standpoint, it's a special time for this organization," said Barbary. "To have this amount, and there are others with a chance to do well. Look at the depth. Our scouts did a great job and it's going to be really fun to watch them progress."

Ruiz, only 20, signed for $140,000 out of Venezuela, spent all last season at Double-A Tulsa and has spent parts of the past three offseasons living with Barbary and his family in South Carolina.

"Very quiet, confident," Barbary said of Ruiz. "Carries himself like a big leaguer since the day he signed. Got that 'it' factor. I feel like the moment's never too big for him. Things never speed up. You watch him around the guys last year at big league camp, he just fit right in. It's really hard to believe he just turned 20 in July. From a physical standpoint, plus receiver. Doing a better job with the information we give him, the scouting reports.

"He's a very instinctual player who relies on what he sees, but he's doing a good job taking information he'll have at the big league level and blending that with what he sees. Offensively, he's legit. We're really fortunate to have a guy like that in the system. The future's really bright for him."

Video: Ruiz discusses his 2018 season in the Minors

Smith, a first-round Draft pick in 2016, is 23 and closest to the Major Leagues, with president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman saying he has Gold Glove defensive skills.

"Defensively, [Smith's] probably as good as anybody we've had come through here since Russell [Martin] from a defensive standpoint," said Barbary. "Very athletic, just the progression as far as his receiving. [Catching coordinator] Ryan Sienko has done a lot to help him. A dynamic thrower, controls the running game behind the plate. Can make athletic plays in front of the plate, on a bunt, ball in the dirt, ability to back pick. He's an elite thrower. He's gotten more comfortable leading the pitching staff.

"Sky's the limit for this dude defensively. The numbers he put up last year offensively, he'll have a good year. He's really special."

Video: LAD@MIL: Smith catches Hiura stealing third

The 17-year-old Cartaya signed last July out of Venezuela for $2.5 million, and this will be his first professional season.

"I saw [Cartaya] in [the Dominican Republic] this summer and he came to instructional league," said Barbary. "Really physical for a young kid. You see the tools and skills. I don't have as good a feel because I haven't seen him in that much game action, but he came and spent two weeks with me a couple weeks ago. ... Very big personality, outgoing kid, loves to work.

"Once he gets to the States, starts playing, the physical skills will develop. To be as young as he is, as physical as he is and project three or four years from now, he's a guy you get really excited about."

Video: Dodgers sign top international prospect Cartaya

Wong is 22 and is still a work in progress behind the plate, having caught only one season in college before the Dodgers drafted him in 2017. He hit 19 homers at Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga last year.

"[Wong's] another guy, our scouts did a great job," said Barbary. "He hadn't caught a lot when we drafted him. Really athletic defender. Got a chance to be an everyday guy behind the plate when he gets to the big leagues. Ryan's helped him develop the receiving skill. A really good thrower in our system. Athletic, good range behind the plate. I've seen him hit well. Another one of those guys you see and say, 'Man, we've got another really player back there.' A lot of credit to the scouts for seeing the upside."

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Keibert Ruiz, Will Smith

Inbox: When will LA call on catching prospects?

Beat reporter Ken Gurnick answers questions from fans
MLB.com

Now that we know J.T. Realmuto isn't coming to L.A., the Dodgers will start the season with Austin Barnes and Russell Martin behind the plate. How soon can we realistically expect to see Keibert Ruiz or Will Smith in the big leagues?
-- @CheckBlueLA

At 23, Smith is three years older and presumably more polished as a college player, while Ruiz might have a higher ceiling but hasn't played above Double-A yet. So realistically, Smith will arrive first, but seeing them both in Major League exhibition games will help answer your question. MLB Pipeline ranks Ruiz as the Dodgers' No. 2 prospect and Smith as No. 5.

Now that we know J.T. Realmuto isn't coming to L.A., the Dodgers will start the season with Austin Barnes and Russell Martin behind the plate. How soon can we realistically expect to see Keibert Ruiz or Will Smith in the big leagues?
-- @CheckBlueLA

At 23, Smith is three years older and presumably more polished as a college player, while Ruiz might have a higher ceiling but hasn't played above Double-A yet. So realistically, Smith will arrive first, but seeing them both in Major League exhibition games will help answer your question. MLB Pipeline ranks Ruiz as the Dodgers' No. 2 prospect and Smith as No. 5.

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Since Bryce Harper is a no, are they finally going to let Alex Verdugo play every day?
-- @janeen_griffith

Unless I'm missing something, I would expect Verdugo will need to win a job during Spring Training. If you look back to last September and October, Verdugo was a non-factor. He didn't make the postseason roster. If he couldn't make the bench for the World Series, I don't see how he is handed an everyday job at the start of Spring Training over proven Major Leaguers like Joc Pederson, Chris Taylor or Enrique Hernandez.

Assuming no injuries or mishaps during Spring Training, who do you see starting on Opening Day vs. AZ?
-- @daleeatherly

Assuming you mean starting pitcher, how about Clayton Kershaw?

Video: Kershaw is the No. 7 starting pitcher right now

How have the Dodgers projected Ross Stripling this year: relief, starter or flexible wingman?
-- @itsaburnerrrrr

Wingman, swingman, whatever you want to call it. Stripling was an All-Star in the first half but he faded down the stretch and had to watch the postseason. I think he falls into the same category as Kenta Maeda and Julio Urias as capable of starting or relieving, depending on the health, performance and need of the pitching staff.

Other than Walker Buehler, who do you expect to give you a full season with 30 starts? The Dodgers need a six-man rotation.
-- @valdez310

Once again, Kershaw. He's due for a healthy season.

What would a Dodgers lineup with the universal DH look like?
-- @BannedRodriguez

Should the rule change, which is only a reported proposal at this point, and were it to apply this season, the Dodgers would probably add a bat. With the current alignment, Pederson, David Freese and Andrew Toles come to mind as DH candidates. The Dodgers played 10 regular-season games with the DH last year and used three players in the role. Matt Kemp had the most starts with five, plus two in the World Series, and he's gone.

What are the Dodgers chances at landing Nolan Arenado?
-- @C_loz10

This front office hasn't signed a massive free-agent contract, and Arenado figures to be in line for one next offseason. If it ever made sense for the Dodgers to splurge on one player, Arenado would seem to be the one, a local product who excels offensively and defensively. It just doesn't seem that this regime believes in committing that much money to one player.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers' spring invites led by prospect trio

May, Lux, Smith among 21 non-roster players headed to camp
MLB.com

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers announced the 21 non-roster players receiving invitations to Major League Spring Training camp on Friday, a list that includes pitching prospect Dustin May, shortstop prospect Gavin Lux and catching prospect Will Smith.

At Nos. 3, 4 and 5 in the Dodgers' system (according to MLB Pipeline), May, Lux and Smith are the highest-ranking invitees who are not already on the 40-man roster (like No. 1 prospect Alex Verdugo). Other ranked invitees are right-hander Mitchell White (No. 8), outfielder DJ Peters (No. 9), right-hander Tony Gonsolin (No. 15) and infielder Omar Estevez (No. 30).

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers announced the 21 non-roster players receiving invitations to Major League Spring Training camp on Friday, a list that includes pitching prospect Dustin May, shortstop prospect Gavin Lux and catching prospect Will Smith.

At Nos. 3, 4 and 5 in the Dodgers' system (according to MLB Pipeline), May, Lux and Smith are the highest-ranking invitees who are not already on the 40-man roster (like No. 1 prospect Alex Verdugo). Other ranked invitees are right-hander Mitchell White (No. 8), outfielder DJ Peters (No. 9), right-hander Tony Gonsolin (No. 15) and infielder Omar Estevez (No. 30).

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Major League veterans receiving invitations included right-handed reliever Kevin Quackenbush and catcher Josh Thole.

The complete list:
Pitchers
RH Stetson Allie
RH Joe Broussard
RH Daniel Corcino
RH Tony Gonsolin
RH Dustin May
RH Kevin Quackenbush
LH Josh Smoker
RH Jesen Therrien
RH Mitchell White

Catchers
Will Smith
Josh Thole

Infielders
Daniel Castro
Omar Estevez
Gavin Lux
Jake Peter

Outfielders
Ezequiel Carrera
Kyle Garlick
Paulo Orlando
Cameron Perkins
DJ Peters
Shane Peterson

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers

LA gains flexibility by trading Kemp, Puig, Wood

7-player deal with Reds lands Bailey, who is released
MLB.com

LOS ANGELES -- The popular assumption after Friday's salary-swap blockbuster is that it clears the way for the Dodgers to sign free agent Bryce Harper. As usual, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman wasn't making any public leaps. Read into it as you wish after the Dodgers sent outfielders Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig, pitcher Alex Wood, utility man Kyle Farmer plus $7 million to the Reds for right-hander Homer Bailey -- who was released -- and prospects Josiah Gray and Jeter Downs.

Friedman said the trade clears a crowded outfield and starting rotation. The deal also saves the Dodgers roughly $7 million in actual salary and $16 million in luxury-tax calculations, although a record-breaking Harper signing would send the Dodgers over the $206 million tax threshold regardless. Their 2019 payroll is projected at about $186 million.

LOS ANGELES -- The popular assumption after Friday's salary-swap blockbuster is that it clears the way for the Dodgers to sign free agent Bryce Harper. As usual, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman wasn't making any public leaps. Read into it as you wish after the Dodgers sent outfielders Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig, pitcher Alex Wood, utility man Kyle Farmer plus $7 million to the Reds for right-hander Homer Bailey -- who was released -- and prospects Josiah Gray and Jeter Downs.

Friedman said the trade clears a crowded outfield and starting rotation. The deal also saves the Dodgers roughly $7 million in actual salary and $16 million in luxury-tax calculations, although a record-breaking Harper signing would send the Dodgers over the $206 million tax threshold regardless. Their 2019 payroll is projected at about $186 million.

Video: Dodgers trade for prospects Downs, Gray from Reds

As for Kemp, Puig and Wood, they will be free agents after 2019, are well paid and were less than thrilled by their role reductions in 2018. Even if Harper weren't on the market, management wanted to move the trio in a single money swap similar to last winter's trade of Adrian Gonzalez, Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir and Charlie Culberson for Kemp.

But Harper's availability, and the apparent lack of teams with the financial firepower to pay him, only strengthens the Dodgers' position to pounce. Club officials reportedly met with Harper in Las Vegas during last week's Winter Meetings and came away cautiously optimistic that a signing was possible, even though Harper seeks a record-breaking contract and has other pursuers.

Video: After blockbuster deal, will Dodgers now sign Harper?

With or without Harper, the pair of prospects coming from Cincinnati provides added depth that could be used in a trade for Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto or Cleveland starter Corey Kluber, two other rumored targets.

As for the three veterans leaving, Kemp, an All-Star in 2018, will earn $21.5 million in 2019. Puig and Wood are in line for an estimated $20.3 million combined through arbitration (per MLB Trade Rumors). The Dodgers will pay Bailey $28 million, $23 million in 2019 and a $5 million buyout in 2020. Bailey was released in return for waiving his no-trade rights.

Video: Friedman fondly discusses Puig's career with Dodgers

The Dodgers traded Kemp four offseasons ago and have been trying to trade him again ever since reacquiring him in a salary swap last offseason. Wood was not expected to crack the starting five, with rumors that Kluber could be added in a trade.

Hot Stove Tracker

Despite losing 44 homers and 148 RBIs from Puig and Kemp, the Dodgers still have outfielders Cody Bellinger, Joc Pederson, Enrique Hernandez, Chris Taylor, Andrew Toles and Alex Verdugo on the roster. But with Puig and Kemp gone, the path is clearer financially and positionally for a game-changer like Harper, who lives in Las Vegas.

Wood went 9-7 with a team-high 27 starts this year. He was a reliever in the postseason, and he didn't figure to make a rotation with Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Rich Hill and Kenta Maeda.

Free-agent rumors

Earlier Friday, the Dodgers announced the signing of right-handed reliever Joe Kelly to a three-year, $25 million deal. Friedman said the club likes Kelly's ability to pitch multiple innings. Friedman said he continues to be focused on finding a veteran catcher to pair with Austin Barnes after Yasmani Grandal became a free agent. Realmuto is the best one available on the trade market, if Miami will trade him.

The polarizing Puig, who couldn't sustain his meteoric arrival from Cuba, will be reunited with hitting coach Turner Ward, who left the Dodgers last month for a three-year contract to be Cincinnati's hitting coach.

The 21-year-old Gray, a right-hander, was 2-2 with a 2.58 ERA at Rookie-level Greeneville in 2018 after being a second-round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft. The 20-year-old Downs, a supplemental first-round pick in 2017, played at Class A Dayton in 2018, batting .257 with 37 stolen bases.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Prospect Ruiz among 5 added to 40-man roster

MLB.com

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers lined up their 40-man roster for next month's Rule 5 Draft on Tuesday by protecting catcher Keibert Ruiz, right-handed pitchers Yadier Alvarez and Josh Sborz, and infielders Edwin Rios and Matt Beaty.

To make room, the club released right-handed pitcher Tom Koehler and designated for assignment right-handed pitcher Erik Goeddel, left-handed pitcher Zac Rosscup and infielder/outfielder Tim Locastro. Koehler, Goeddel and Rosscup are arbitration eligible and out of options. The Dodgers' Major League roster stands at a full 40.

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers lined up their 40-man roster for next month's Rule 5 Draft on Tuesday by protecting catcher Keibert Ruiz, right-handed pitchers Yadier Alvarez and Josh Sborz, and infielders Edwin Rios and Matt Beaty.

To make room, the club released right-handed pitcher Tom Koehler and designated for assignment right-handed pitcher Erik Goeddel, left-handed pitcher Zac Rosscup and infielder/outfielder Tim Locastro. Koehler, Goeddel and Rosscup are arbitration eligible and out of options. The Dodgers' Major League roster stands at a full 40.

MLB Pipeline ranks Ruiz the No. 2 prospect in the system, Alvarez No. 10, Rios No. 13 and Beaty No. 21. Ranked players not protected were No. 19 Drew Jackson, No. 24 Cristian Santana and No. 29 Andrew Sopko.

Ruiz, 20, is the jewel of a deep corps of the Dodgers' catching prospects. At Double-A Tulsa this year, the switch-hitter batted .268 with 14 doubles, 12 home runs and 47 RBIs in 101 games and threw out 26 percent of would-be basestealers.

Alvarez, 22, is an immensely talented but mercurial righty who went 1-2 with a 4.66 ERA at Tulsa. He pitched only 55 1/3 innings this year with 44 walks.

The 24-year-old Rios posted a .304/.355/.482 slash line with 25 doubles, 10 homers and 55 RBIs at Triple-A Oklahoma City, playing the corner infield positions.

Beaty, 25, had a .277/.378/.406 slash line with 10 doubles, one home run and 12 RBIs in 31 games with Oklahoma City in 2018, also playing the corner infield spots. He missed the first month with an oblique injury and six weeks with a torn thumb ligament.

The 24-year-old Sborz split last season with Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City, combining to go 4-2 with six saves and posting a 3.88 ERA (23 ER/53.1 IP) in 46 relief appearances transitioning from the rotation.

Koehler missed the entire season after blowing out his throwing shoulder capsule in his second Spring Training outing and eventually underwent surgery. He was signed as a free agent last winter to replace set-up reliever Brandon Morrow.

Goeddel, who was claimed off waivers from Seattle on May 18, had a 3.38 ERA in 26 games, but missed the last six weeks of the season with an elbow injury.

Rosscup spent two stints on the disabled list after being claimed off waivers from Colorado on July 11. He had a 4.76 ERA in 17 games, but also struck out 20 in 11 1/3 innings.

Locastro appeared in 18 games for the Dodgers and hit .182 after spending most of the year at OKC.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Pipeline names Dodgers' Prospects of the Year

MLB.com

LOS ANGELES -- Gavin Lux and Tony Gonsolin have been chosen as the Dodgers' Branch Rickey Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively, by MLBPipeline.com.

LOS ANGELES -- Gavin Lux and Tony Gonsolin have been chosen as the Dodgers' Branch Rickey Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively, by MLBPipeline.com.

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

Each team's top hitting and pitching prospects were chosen by the MLBPipeline.com staff. To receive consideration, players must have spent at least half the year in the Minors, appeared on the team's Top 30 Prospects list, and played the entire year in the organization.

Both players were drafted in 2016; Lux in the first round and Gonsolin in the ninth. Both were California League All-Stars, and both contributed this year to Double-A Tulsa's Texas League title after midseason promotions.

Lux, a 20-year-old middle infielder from Wisconsin, earned a promotion from Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga in August after improving his 2017 OPS of .693 to .916 this year.

In 28 games with Tulsa, the left-handed hitter kept up the pace with a .903 OPS. Lux is rated as the No. 4 prospect in the Dodgers' system by MLB Pipeline.

Video: Top Prospects: Gavin Lux, SS/2B, Dodgers

Gonsolin, a 24-year-old right-hander, went 6-0 with a 2.44 ERA at Tulsa after a July promotion from Rancho Cucamonga, where he had a 2.69 ERA and 106 strikeouts in 83 2/3 innings.

He was also an outfielder at St. Mary's College, but has been exclusively a pitcher with the Dodgers and is ranked 14th in the system by MLB Pipeline. He was a reliever in 2017, before becoming a starter this year.

Video: COL@LAD: Dodgers celebrate Lux, Gonsolin pregame

The pair was honored in a pre-game ceremony at Dodger Stadium on Sept. 18. At that time, Lux credited his offensive improvement to better use of his legs and an improved swing path to avoid hitting grounders. Gonsolin said that he learned to become more of a pitcher and less of a thrower, especially in games where he lacked his best stuff.

Winners of the honors in recent years include Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Joc Pederson, Corey Seager and Julio Urias.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Lux, Gonsolin honored as top Minors players

Special to MLB.com

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers named the Branch Rickey Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year on Monday, selecting shortstop Gavin Lux and right-hander Tony Gonsolin.

Lux, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Dodgers' No. 6 prospect, hit a combined .324/.399/.514 between Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Tulsa. That included a 2-for-4 performance with a leadoff homer and a walk to lead Tulsa to the Texas League championship on Friday.

View Full Game Coverage

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers named the Branch Rickey Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year on Monday, selecting shortstop Gavin Lux and right-hander Tony Gonsolin.

Lux, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Dodgers' No. 6 prospect, hit a combined .324/.399/.514 between Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Tulsa. That included a 2-for-4 performance with a leadoff homer and a walk to lead Tulsa to the Texas League championship on Friday.

View Full Game Coverage

Gonsolin, ranked 14th in the Dodgers' system, posted a 10-2 record with a 2.60 ERA in 26 starts between Rancho Cucamonga and Tulsa.

Worth noting
Tony Cingrani and John Axford were activated from the disabled list on Monday as expected, while Yimi Garcia also rejoined the Dodgers' active roster after a stint with Rancho Cucamonga.

Justin Turner is "as close to 100 percent as he could possibly be," according to manager Dave Roberts. Turner was struck by a pitch to his left wrist on Friday. He hit 5-for-7 over the weekend in St. Louis after the hit-by-pitch.

Video: LAD@STL: Turner gets hit by the pitch, stays in game

• Roberts said that Julio Urias is expected to pitch every third day, with the team hoping he gets to pitch an inning during its series against Colorado. Urias was activated last Monday and pitched one scoreless inning against the Cardinals on Saturday.

"Right now, it's hard to forecast what we're going to do with Julio the rest of the season," Roberts said.

Jack Baer is a contributor to MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers instructional league roster, schedule

MLB.com

At the end of each season, Major League clubs hold instructional league play, commonly known as instructs, an extended mini-camp that allows Minor Leaguers -- particularly those just starting their pro careers at the lower levels of their team's system -- to get some work in before calling it a year. Players work on specific parts of their game and get offseason workout plans while often playing a handful of games against nearby teams to provide low-key competition to put what they are working on into practice.

At the end of each season, Major League clubs hold instructional league play, commonly known as instructs, an extended mini-camp that allows Minor Leaguers -- particularly those just starting their pro careers at the lower levels of their team's system -- to get some work in before calling it a year. Players work on specific parts of their game and get offseason workout plans while often playing a handful of games against nearby teams to provide low-key competition to put what they are working on into practice.

Instructional league rosters

Here's a look at the Dodgers' roster, with the players' rank in the team's Top 30 Prospects in parentheses:

PITCHERS: Aldry Acosta; Reza Aleaziz; Jasiel Alvino; Israiky Berroa; Justin Bruihl; Jeronimo Castro; Jose Chacin; Nelfri Contreras; Leo Crawford; Franklin De La Paz; Reinaldo De Paula; Austin Drury; Carlos Duran; Max Gamboa; Jacob Gilliland; Michael Grove (No. 12); Joel Inoa; Andre Jackson; Marshall Kasowski (No. 23); Stephen Kolek; Justin Lewis; Jose Martinez; Connor Mitchell; Carlos Montilla; Wills Montgomerie; Ryan Moseley; Orlandy Navarro; Darien Nunez; Jose Rodulfo; John Rooney (No. 18); Evy Ruibal; Logan Salow; Caleb Sampen; Connor Strain; Joan Valdez; Bryan Warzek; Mark Washington; Zach Willeman; Nathan Witt; Guillermo Zuniga

CATCHERS: Jair Camargo; Diego Cartaya (No. 11); Hunter Feduccia; Marco Hernandez; Andres Noriega; Ramon Rodriguez; Tre Todd; Connor Wong (No. 16)

INFIELDERS: Ronny Brito (No. 22); Kenneth Betancourt; Marcus Chiu; Luke Heyer; Meaux Landry; Sauryn Lao; Eddys Leonard; Deacon Liput; Devin Mann; Sam McWilliams; Luis Rodriguez; Cristian Santana (No. 24)

OUTFIELDERS: Ismael Alcantara; Drew Avans; Donovan Casey; Matt Cogen; Aldrich De Jongh; Yunior Garcia; Starling Heredia (No. 25); Niko Hulsizer; Jeren Kendall (No. 9); James Outman; Andy Pages; Daniel Robinson; Andrew Shaps

SCHEDULE
Mon., Sept. 24 - at Brewers
Tue., Sept. 25 - at Padres
Wed.., Sept. 26 - Camp day
Thur., Sept. 27 - vs. A's
Fri., Sept. 28 - Camp day
Sat., Sept. 29 - vs. White Sox
Sun., Sept. 30 - Off day
Mon., Oct. 1 - at Brewers
Tue., Oct. 2 - vs. White Sox
Wed., Oct. 3 - Camp day
Thur., Oct. 4 - vs. A's
Fri., Oct. 5 - Camp day
Sat., Oct. 6 - at Rangers
Sun., Oct. 7 - Off day
Mon., Oct. 8 - vs. Team Italy
Tue., Oct. 9 - vs. Royals
Wed., Oct. 10 - Camp day
Thur., Oct. 11 - at Reds
Fri., Oct. 12 - Camp day
Sat., Oct. 13 - vs. White Sox

Los Angeles Dodgers

No. 1 prospect Verdugo joins expanded roster

Outfielder among 4 called up; Rosscup, Utley activated from DL
MLB.com

LOS ANGELES -- There were no surprises from the Dodgers when rosters expanded on Saturday. In addition to adding trade acquisitions David Freese and Ryan Madson, the Dodgers recalled outfielders Alex Verdugo, Andrew Toles and Tim Locastro and catcher Kyle Farmer from Triple-A Oklahoma City and activated infielder Chase Utley and reliever Zac Rosscup from the disabled list.

Manager Dave Roberts said third catcher Rocky Gale might be added on Sunday, but there will be fewer bodies in the clubhouse than last September's 40.

View Full Game Coverage

LOS ANGELES -- There were no surprises from the Dodgers when rosters expanded on Saturday. In addition to adding trade acquisitions David Freese and Ryan Madson, the Dodgers recalled outfielders Alex Verdugo, Andrew Toles and Tim Locastro and catcher Kyle Farmer from Triple-A Oklahoma City and activated infielder Chase Utley and reliever Zac Rosscup from the disabled list.

Manager Dave Roberts said third catcher Rocky Gale might be added on Sunday, but there will be fewer bodies in the clubhouse than last September's 40.

View Full Game Coverage

Roberts reiterated that the callups will "essentially help support the guys that are already here." In other words, neither Verdugo nor Toles will immediately supplant a current starting outfielder, although Roberts left open the possibility of earned additional opportunities.

"Alex is ready to be here, he's Major League-ready," said Roberts. "We're going to be watching closely. If more playing time is the result, great, but that remains to be seen."

Roberts provided no clarity on the immediate future of left-hander Julio Urias, who faced only three batters Friday night and walked two in a Triple-A rehab outing. Urias hasn't thrown a Major League pitch in more than a year because of shoulder surgery. The club hoped he could provide relief help down the stretch, but he hasn't pitched with less than four days between appearances and doesn't appear ready.

The 22-year-old Verdugo, MLB Pipeline's top Dodgers prospect, has had two stints with the big league team this season, slashing .280/.345/.440 with a homer, five doubles and three RBIs in 14 games. He hit .329/.391/.472 with 10 homers, 44 RBIs and eight steals in Triple-A en route to being named a Pacific Coast League Midseason All-Star and Postseason All-Star.

After appearing in a combined 79 games over the last two seasons with the Dodgers, the 26-year-old Toles has only seen action in seven Major League games this season and is 6-for-23 (.261) with a pair of doubles.

Locastro and Farmer will both make their second stints with the Dodgers this season. Locastro, 26, has four homers, 25 RBIs and 18 steals with Oklahoma City this year, while Farmer has played in 32 games with the Dodgers in 2018. Though he's only hitting .238, he was effective as a pinch-hitter for Los Angeles, going 6-for-16 with four RBIs in such situations.

Rosscup has been sidelined since his last outing on Aug. 19 with a left calf strain, and though he owns a 6.75 ERA this season, that last outing was an immaculate inning against the Mariners. Utley has been on the disabled list since Aug. 2 with left wrist inflammation, and the 16-year Major League veteran is hitting .240/.321/.342 this season and has particularly excelled off the bench, where he's 13-for-29 (.448), second in the Major Leagues.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Alex Verdugo

7 contenders with prospects to make a big deal

MLB.com

At this time of year, when buyers are competing to bolster their rosters for the stretch run and sellers are looking to next season and beyond, arguably nothing is more important than the prospects contenders have -- and are willing -- to trade.

While much attention is paid to the top name or two in each team's farm system, depth matters too.

At this time of year, when buyers are competing to bolster their rosters for the stretch run and sellers are looking to next season and beyond, arguably nothing is more important than the prospects contenders have -- and are willing -- to trade.

While much attention is paid to the top name or two in each team's farm system, depth matters too.

Catch up on the Latest Trade Talk

Just look at the Dodgers, who were able to acquire Manny Machado from the Orioles without giving up their top two prospects, outfielder Alex Verdugo (No. 29 overall, per MLB Pipeline) and catcher Keibert Ruiz (No. 38 overall). They also held onto right-hander Dustin May (No. 83 overall), whom Baltimore reportedly coveted.

And yet, Los Angeles' five-player package, which was headlined by outfielder Yusniel Diaz, was enough to get a deal done. Diaz was the Dodgers' No. 4 prospect at the time of the trade, and he now tops the O's system while ranking 57th overall.

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

So which clubs are in the best position to make a trade like that between now and Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline? Here are seven teams with the prospects to swing a summer blockbuster, ordered based on the number of prospects they have on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 list.

Note: Prospect Points are determined by assigning a numerical value to each spot in the Top 100, giving 100 points to No. 1, 99 points to No. 2, and so on. A team's total is calculated by adding the values assigned to each of its Top 100 prospects.

1. Braves
Top 100 prospects (8): Right-hander Mike Soroka (No. 15 overall, per MLB Pipeline), right-hander Kyle Wright (No. 25), right-hander Ian Anderson (No. 40), third baseman Austin Riley (No. 44), catcher Cristian Pache (No. 58), left-hander Luiz Gohara (No. 63), right-hander Touki Toussaint (No. 78), left-hander Kolby Allard (No. 93)
Prospect Points ranking: 3rd
The Braves' system is stacked, as the club has four more prospects in the Top 100 than any other team on this list. With Atlanta in rebuilding mode over the past several years, the club hasn't made a major Trade Deadline acquisition since Michael Bourn in 2011, and that was under a different regime. Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos was at the helm in Toronto when the Blue Jays picked up David Price from the Tigers for Matthew Boyd, Daniel Norris and Jairo Labourt in July '15, but Anthopoulos has expressed his reluctance to trade young assets for a rental player this time around. If the Braves do deal from their wealth of Top 100 prospects, it will likely be for controllable talent. They are believed to be in the market for relief help and have also been linked to Toronto starter Marcus Stroman, who is under team control through '20.

2. Yankees
Top 100 prospects (4): Left-hander Justus Sheffield (No. 28 overall), outfielder Estevan Florial (No. 47), right-hander Jonathan Loaisiga (No. 77), right-hander Albert Abreu (No. 79)
Prospect Points ranking: 12th
The Yankees' farm system remains among the best in the game without even taking into account Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier, who have both lost their prospect status. The club's system has also been heralded for its depth, even beyond the players in the Top 100. Though the Yankees made a bid for Machado and have discussed Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard with the Mets, general manager Brian Cashman seemingly has been hesitant to raid the farm for a big-name player. New York has already acquired Zach Britton and J.A. Happ without moving any Top 100 prospects, and there's a chance it won't make any other major moves, even with Aaron Judge sustaining a chip fracture in his right wrist on Thursday and the Yankees sitting 4 1/2 games behind the Red Sox in the American League East entering Friday.

Video: Yankees acquire J.A. Happ

3. Dodgers
Top 100 prospects (4): Verdugo, Ruiz, catcher/third baseman Will Smith (No. 74 overall), May
Prospect Points ranking: 11th
Yep, even after acquiring Yu Darvish last July and Machado on July 18, the Dodgers still possess an impressive collection of youngsters in the Minors. But it remains to be seen if president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi are looking to make another big transaction. On one hand, the Dodgers' World Series window is open now, and adding a big-name pitcher such as deGrom or Chris Archer could be the move that brings home a title. Furthermore, it would give the club an insurance policy if Clayton Kershaw decides to opt out of his contract in the offseason. On the other hand, the Dodgers have an incredibly deep roster, six healthy starters and a bullpen that could get Josh Fields and Tony Cingrani back from the disabled list soon.

4. Phillies
Top 100 prospects (3): Right-hander Sixto Sanchez (No. 17 overall), third baseman Alec Bohm (No. 46), right-hander Adonis Medina (No. 73)
Prospect Points ranking: 14th
Another surprise contender in the National League East, the Phillies have been consistently featured in Trade Talk throughout July, and their reported willingness to part with right-hander Medina made them a finalist for Machado. But after falling short in their pursuit of Machado, Philadelphia has turned its attention to lower-cost players. Meanwhile, the club has remained steadfast in its refusal to deal the crown jewel of its farm system, Sanchez, who has recorded a 2.51 ERA in Class A Advanced this season. Still, even if Sanchez remains off the table, the Phils have the pieces to make a Trade Deadline splash should the club's front office decide it is one big acquisition away from emerging as the favorite in a wide-open NL.

5. Brewers
Top 100 prospects (3): Second baseman Keston Hiura (No. 27 overall), right-hander Corbin Burnes (No. 53), right-hander Freddy Peralta (No. 82)
Prospect Points ranking: 17th
Milwaukee was a Trade Deadline seller in general manager David Stearns' first season in charge, sending Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress to the Rangers and Will Smith to the Giants in 2016, and Stearns held off on making a notable deal last July despite being in contention for the postseason. It's been a different story this year, with the Brewers landing reliever Joakim Soria and third baseman Mike Moustakas, though the highest-ranked prospect they moved in those transactions was outfielder Brett Phillips, who was 10th on Milwaukee's list before being sent to Kansas City for Moose. That leaves Stearns with a strong system to trade from as he looks to address the rotation, which remains the club's biggest area of need. Peralta has already made a significant impact in the Majors, posting a 3.74 ERA with an 11.8 K/9 rate in eight starts, so it's unlikely the Brewers would move him for another starter. Meanwhile, the belief around baseball, according to The Athletic (subscription required), is that Milwaukee won't trade Hiura, who has recorded an .868 OPS in the Minors this season. But Burnes could be in play as the headliner in a blockbuster deal.

Video: Joel Sherman on possible Trade Deadline stories

6. Astros
Top 100 prospects (3): Right-hander Forrest Whitley (No. 7 overall), outfielder Kyle Tucker (No. 8), outfielder Yordan Alvarez (No. 42)
Prospect Points ranking: 6th
After winning the 2017 World Series championship with former highly rated prospects such as Carlos Correa, George Springer, Alex Bregman and Lance McCullers Jr. playing key roles and trading for Gerrit Cole in the offseason, the Astros still have a good deal of promising youngsters on the farm. But Houston's MLB roster is so talented that the club likely won't need to move any of its top prospects for a substantial upgrade. Of course, if Astros president of baseball operations and general manager Jeff Luhnow does want to bring in, say, the Reds' Raisel Iglesias or the Marlins' J.T. Realmuto, he likely could make it happen by dangling Whitley, Tucker and/or Alvarez.

7. A's
Top 100 prospects (3): Left-hander Jesus Luzardo (No. 12 overall), left-hander A.J. Puk (No. 39), catcher Sean Murphy (No. 54)
Prospect Points ranking: 10th
Although the A's financial restrictions are well documented, executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane hasn't been averse to dipping into the farm system to make a trade when the club has been in contention in the past. In July 2014, Beane sent top prospect Addison Russell along with youngsters Billy McKinney and Dan Straily to the Cubs for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. The A's supplemented their system by trading Sonny Gray to the Yankees and Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to the Nationals last summer, adding Luzardo, Jorge Mateo (Oakland's No. 7 prospect), James Kaprielian (No. 9), Sheldon Neuse (No. 10) and Dustin Fowler in those deals. Luzardo may be off the table, but Beane still has plenty to work with here.

Thomas Harrigan is an editor for MLB.com.

Milwaukee Brewers, Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Oakland Athletics, Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros

Verdugo No. 29 on updated Top 100 Prospects

Dodgers land 4 players on MLB Pipeline's midseason list
MLB.com

ATLANTA -- There are four Dodgers among MLB Pipeline's midseason Top 100 Prospects list, which was released on Thursday. Outfielder Alex Verdugo, ranked No. 1 on the Dodgers' updated Top 30 Prospects, ranks No. 29 overall, followed by catcher Keibert Ruiz at No. 38, catcher/third baseman Will Smith at No. 74 and right-handed pitcher Dustin May at No. 83.

Following those four and rounding out the Dodgers' top 10 are right-handed pitcher Dennis Santana (currently injured), shortstop Gavin Lux, right-handed pitcher Mitchell White, outfielder DJ Peters, outfielder Jeren Kendall and right-handed pitcher Yadier Alvarez.

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ATLANTA -- There are four Dodgers among MLB Pipeline's midseason Top 100 Prospects list, which was released on Thursday. Outfielder Alex Verdugo, ranked No. 1 on the Dodgers' updated Top 30 Prospects, ranks No. 29 overall, followed by catcher Keibert Ruiz at No. 38, catcher/third baseman Will Smith at No. 74 and right-handed pitcher Dustin May at No. 83.

Following those four and rounding out the Dodgers' top 10 are right-handed pitcher Dennis Santana (currently injured), shortstop Gavin Lux, right-handed pitcher Mitchell White, outfielder DJ Peters, outfielder Jeren Kendall and right-handed pitcher Yadier Alvarez.

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Ruiz is listed as the No. 3 catching prospect in MLB, and Smith is fifth. Verdugo is considered the No. 7 outfield prospect in the game.

The Dodgers probably have the deepest corps of catching prospects in the game. In addition to Ruiz and Smith, they have 2018 second-round pick Connor Wong and recently signed top Venezuelan catcher Diego Cartaya.

Rotation set
Ross Stripling will start on Sunday and Kenta Maeda on Monday, manager Dave Roberts announced on Thursday, sticking with the six-man rotation for another cycle. At 100 innings, Stripling is on pace to throw more innings than any of his professional seasons, mostly because he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2014 and has been used judiciously ever since.

"Right now, just to give each guy an extra day, makes the most sense," said Roberts. "After Maeda, we will have to make a decision, because we have an off-day [Aug. 6] after they all make a turn."

And with six starters now, Roberts indicated a seventh is on the way, as Hyun-Jin Ryu threw a two-inning simulated game on Wednesday and has a three-inning simulated game scheduled for Saturday in Los Angeles.

"He's coming along well," said Roberts. "If Saturday goes well, probably a four-inning up and down makes sense."

Injury updates
Yasiel Puig went 1-for-4 with a single in his rehab game with Triple-A Oklahoma City on Thursday night. Roberts said Puig will travel to Atlanta on Friday and be in the Dodgers' starting lineup on Saturday. He has been out since July 9 with a right oblique strain.

Josh Fields (shoulder) apparently will be the next injured reliever to return, as he will face hitters in Arizona on Friday. Roberts said Tony Cingrani (shoulder) is three or four days behind Fields.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Alex Verdugo

Dodgers' Diaz homers twice in Futures Game

Outfielder is second player to do so in 20 years of showcase
MLB.com

WASHINGTON -- When Big Papi is impressed by a player's power, you know that player is doing it right.

David Ortiz glowed Sunday in the wake of a two-homer, three-RBI performance by Dodgers prospect Yusniel Diaz in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Nationals Park. Diaz smashed a pair of tying homers -- a two-run shot in the fifth inning and a solo smash in the seventh, though they came in a losing effort as the World Team fell to the U.S., 10-6.

WASHINGTON -- When Big Papi is impressed by a player's power, you know that player is doing it right.

David Ortiz glowed Sunday in the wake of a two-homer, three-RBI performance by Dodgers prospect Yusniel Diaz in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Nationals Park. Diaz smashed a pair of tying homers -- a two-run shot in the fifth inning and a solo smash in the seventh, though they came in a losing effort as the World Team fell to the U.S., 10-6.

Box score

"His approach is legit," said Ortiz, who managed the World Team. "This guy hits like he has two strikes -- with power. That's something that impressed me a lot. The two homers that he hit, they were, like, big guys' bombs. He looked great."

Diaz, 21, is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Dodgers' No. 4 prospect and No. 85 in all of baseball. He hails from Cuba but lives in Florida now and had family in the stands for the annual prospect showcase. Over and over on Sunday, he came back to that cheering section when talking about his big night.

"I'm really inspired and really happy, for the fans and for my family who came to support me," he said. "Expect the best from me. I'm going to leave everything on the field."

He added: "Those two home runs came from the heart."

X-rays negative for Ruiz after Futures Game exit

Diaz is playing at Double-A Frisco, where he has six home runs in 220 at-bats. He hit his pair of home runs in five at-bats in the Futures Game, the first off Tigers prospect Matt Manning for a 5-5 tie in the fifth, and the second off Giants prospect Shaun Anderson for a 6-6 tie in the seventh.

They were two of eight homers between the two teams, doubling the previous Futures Game record.

Diaz became the second player in the 20-year history of the Futures Game to go deep twice. The other belonged to Alfonso Soriano, in the very first Futures Game in 1999.

"Put it this way. Those are Minor Leaguers hitting balls like big leaguers," said Ortiz. "That is impressive. I saw balls hit today that I swear, I was watching a Major League Baseball player. I can imagine you guys had the same impression. We're talking about kids hitting balls like big leaguers. That's a better way to say the game is in good hands."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Yusniel Diaz

X-rays negative for Ruiz after Futures Game exit

Dodgers' No. 2 prospect dealing with swollen right hand after foul tip
MLB.com

WASHINGTON -- Dodgers prospect Keibert Ruiz left Sunday afternoon's SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, which Team USA won, 10-6, at Nationals Park in the seventh inning with a swollen right hand. X-rays on Ruiz's hand came back negative.

Angels prospect Jo Adell's foul tip hit Ruiz's right hand near the beginning of the seventh frame. The Dodgers No. 2 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, remained on the field for a few moments while a trainer checked on him before he exited. Cubs prospect Miguel Amaya replaced the 19-year-old.

WASHINGTON -- Dodgers prospect Keibert Ruiz left Sunday afternoon's SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, which Team USA won, 10-6, at Nationals Park in the seventh inning with a swollen right hand. X-rays on Ruiz's hand came back negative.

Angels prospect Jo Adell's foul tip hit Ruiz's right hand near the beginning of the seventh frame. The Dodgers No. 2 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, remained on the field for a few moments while a trainer checked on him before he exited. Cubs prospect Miguel Amaya replaced the 19-year-old.

Ruiz, who's right-handed, caught just 1 1/3 innings after taking over for Amaya with two outs in the fifth inning. The Venezuelan struck out in his lone at-bat.

MLB Pipeline ranks Ruiz the 44th best prospect in baseball. The Dodgers' next best catching prospect after Ruiz, according to MLB Pipeline, is Will Smith, who's ranked the club's ninth-best prospect.

Ruiz is hitting .247 with nine home runs, 27 RBIs, 20 strikeouts and 16 walks over 66 games with Double-A Tulsa this season. Ruiz hit .300 or better in his previous three Minor League seasons.

Kyle Melnick is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Keibert Ruiz

Sources: Dodgers agree with top international prospect

MLB.com

The Dodgers have a long and storied history on the international market and are once again proving to be a formidable player.

The Dodgers have a long and storied history on the international market and are once again proving to be a formidable player.

:: 2018 International Signing Period ::

According to industry sources, the club agreed to a $2,500,000 bonus with catcher Diego Cartaya of Venezuela, the top ranked prospect on MLB.com's Top 30 International Prospects list. The Dodgers also agreed to deals with right-handed pitcher Jerming Rosario for $600,000 and infielder Alex De Jesus of the Dominican Republic for $500,000.

The club has not confirmed the deals.

An advanced hitter, Cartaya displays plus contact skills and has been praised for his pitch recognition and feel for the strike zone. He has shown some power to the gaps. On defense, Cartaya has a reputation as a great receiver with very good hands. He handles pitchers well and has a high baseball IQ.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he had a chance to briefly see Cartaya, but has yet to watch him play.

"Didn't see any video," Roberts said. "Didn't see him hit or anything, but from what I understand from our scouts, very excited about him. The body is a very mature body. Really talented kid from what I understand, and so I know we're excited."

Rosario is best known for his 90-mph fastball, but his changeup and curveball are not that far behind and both could eventually develop into his strikeout pitches. He has good makeup and strong presence on the mound.

Along with Cartaya, Rosario and De Jesus, the Dodgers announced seven additional international signings Monday -- infielders Ender Avenado, Miguel Droz, and Luis Izturis, right-handers Jerami Rodriguez and Rafael Tua, left-hander Christian Suarez, and outfielder Gregory Pereira.

"I'm looking forward to digging in on these guys," Roberts said.

According to the rules established by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, clubs that received a Competitive Balance Pick in Round B of the MLB Draft received a pool of $6,025,400, while clubs that received a Competitive Balance Pick in Round A of the Draft received $5,504,500. All other clubs, including the Dodgers, received $4,983,500.

Teams are allowed to trade as much of their international pool money as they would like, but can only acquire 75 percent of a team's initial pool amount. Additionally, signing bonuses of $10,000 or less do not count toward a club's bonus pool, and foreign professional players who are at least 25 and have played in a foreign league for at least six seasons are also exempt.

The Dodgers also signed Venezuelan position players Ender Avendano (INF), Miguel Droz (INF), Luis Izturis (INF) and Gregory Pereira (OF), while also signing pitchers Christian Suarez (LHP), Jerami Rodriguez (RHP) and Rafael Tua (RHP).

Kaelen Jones provided additional reporting.

Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.

Los Angeles Dodgers