Rushing to the top of prospects list

August 11th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Juan Toribio’s Dodgers Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

LOS ANGELES -- While the Dodgers continue to rack up wins at the big league level, the organization has also done a stellar job at developing players down on the farm.

This season alone, the Dodgers have benefited from some of their young players taking the next step in their development in order to help in the Majors. James Outman has been one of the team’s best hitters since the All-Star break and right-hander Bobby Miller has really taken a step forward over the last month.

As good as some of the rookies who have made their debuts this season have looked, the Dodgers believe they have another wave of players coming through the ranks in the next couple of seasons. On Thursday, MLB Pipeline re-ranked each team’s Top 30 list and updated its Top 100 rankings.

The Dodgers, of course, were well-represented in the rankings, having five players in the Top 100. Let’s take a look at how everything else shook out following the midseason rankings.

Here’s a look at the Dodgers top prospects:

1. Dalton Rushing, C (No. 46)
2. Michael Busch, 3B/2B (No. 47)
3. Diego Cartaya, C (No. 61)
4. Nick Frasso, RHP (No. 70)
5. Gavin Stone, RHP (No. 85)

Biggest jump/fall

Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the preseason list:

Jump: Payton Martin, RHP (Preseason: NR | Midseason: 12)

After working with a low-90s fastball last spring, Martin has operated at 94-96 mph and touched 98 during his first full pro season, and his heater features carry and armside run. He always has shown aptitude for spinning the ball and has the makings of a second plus pitch in a mid-80s slider with good depth. He uses his changeup infrequently, mostly against left-handers, and it can get a bit firm in the upper 80s.

A quality athlete, Martin entered pro ball with a clean delivery, and Los Angeles hasn't had to make any mechanical adjustments. He throws all three of his pitches for strikes, and the quality of his offerings as well as his control and command should continue to improve as he gets stronger. He'll need time to develop but could wind up in the front half of a big league rotation.

Fall (tie): Rayne Doncon, INF (Preseason: 13 | Midseason: 23) and Yeiner Fernandez, C (Preseason: 16 | Midseason: 26)

New to the list:

Here are the players added to the Top 30 from outside the organization:

No. 15, Kendall George, OF, Pick No. 36 in 2023 Draft
No. 16, Jake Gelof, 3B, Pick No. 60 in 2023 Draft
No. 28, Brady Smith, RHP, Pick No. 95 in 2023 Draft
No. 30, Austin Gauthier, INF, signed as Minor League free agent in 2021

Impact callup

Gavin Stone, RHP (No. 5)

Stone got tattooed for 18 runs in his first 12 big league innings, but the Dodgers need more pitching reinforcements and he has the talent to help. At his best, the 2020 fifth-rounder from Central Arkansas has a double-plus changeup and a solid fastball and slider. He has had an inconsistent season in Triple-A but sports a 3.43 ERA, .215 opponent average and 21/5 K/BB ratio in his last 21 innings over four starts.

Best tools

Players are graded on a traditional 20-80 scouting scale for future tools -- 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average. Players in parentheses have the same grade.

Hit: 60 -- Josue De Paula (Jorbit Vivas)
Power: 60 -- Diego Cartaya (Jake Gelof)
Run: 80 -- Kendall George
Arm: 70 -- Andy Pages (Jose Ramos)
Defense: 60 -- Kendall George
Fastball: 75 -- Nick Frasso
Curveball: 60 -- Maddux Bruns (Peter Heubeck, Brady Smith)
Slider: 60 -- Ronan Kopp (Maddux Bruns, Payton Martin)
Changeup: 70 -- Gavin Stone
Control: 60 -- Landon Knack