The Dodgers are setting the standard for winning in the Majors while developing impact talent in the Minors. They're still looking to end a World Series championship drought that extends to 1988, but they've captured seven consecutive National League West titles and placed in the top 10 in each of MLB Pipeline's biannual farm system rankings ever since they began five years ago.
Los Angeles set a franchise record with 106 victories in 2019 and included three 2016 draftees on their postseason roster in Gavin Lux, Dustin May and Will Smith. They're the latest in what seems like an endless supply of Top 100 Prospects who play key roles on a perennial contender, following reigning NL Most Valuable Player Award winner Cody Bellinger, Walker Buehler, Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, Julio Urías and Alex Verdugo.
The system's depth allowed the Dodgers to swing a blockbuster trade in February, acquiring Mookie Betts and David Price from the Red Sox in exchange for Verdugo and a pair of prospects, middle infielder Jeter Downs and catcher Connor Wong. Downs ranks No. 44 on MLB Pipeline's Top 100, but he was blocked by Seager, Lux and others in Los Angeles. Wong slammed 24 homers, yet he ranked no higher than fourth on the franchise's long-term catching depth chart.
Lux enters this season as the leading contender for the NL Rookie of the Year Award, and May won't be far behind if he gets regular innings, while several other prospects are poised to contribute. Tony Gonsolin and Edwin Ríos impressed in brief playing time as rookies in 2019, and right-hander Josiah Gray and catcher Keibert Ruiz could be ready by midseason.
The Dodgers' system shows no signs of slowing down. Since the end of the 2018 season, they have acquired three Top 100 Prospects (Downs, Gray and right-hander Brusdar Graterol) in exchange for redundant big leaguers, spent a pair of first-round Draft picks on college sluggers Kody Hoese and Michael Busch and landed one of the top international amateurs in Venezuelan outfielder Luis Rodriguez. The player development staff continues to excel at getting the most out of players, with infielder Zach McKinstry and right-hander Brett de Geus two recent examples who made breakthroughs last year.
Here's a look at the Dodgers' top prospects:
- Gavin Lux, SS/2B (MLB No. 2)
- Dustin May, RHP (MLB No. 23)
- Josiah Gray, RHP (MLB No. 67)
- Keibert Ruiz, C (MLB No. 73)
- Brusdar Graterol, RHP (MLB No. 83)
Complete Top 30 list »
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2019 preseason list to the 2020 preseason list.
Jump: Josiah Gray, RHP (2019: 18 | 2020: 3) -- As the former college shortstop gains more experience on the mound, his stuff and pitchability continue to improve.
Fall: Jeren Kendall, OF (2019: 16 | 2020: NR) -- He's still the system's best athlete, but he's a career .223 hitter with a 32-percent strikeout rate through three professional seasons.
Players are graded on a 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 -- Gavin Lux
Power: 60 -- D.J. Peters (Lux)
Run: 60 -- Lux
Arm: 65 -- Andy Pages
Defense: 55 -- Jacob Amaya (Diego Cartaya, Zach McKinstry, Keibert Ruiz)
Fastball: 80 -- Brusdar Graterol
Curveball: 60 -- Brett de Geus
Slider: 60 -- Dennis Santana (Graterol)
Changeup: 60 -- Ryan Pepiot (Edwin Uceta)
Control: 60 -- Dustin May
How they were built
Draft: 16 | International: 12 | Trade: 2
Breakdown by ETA
2020: 12 | 2021: 5 | 2022: 7 | 2023: 5 | 2024: 1
Breakdown by position
C: 2 | 2B: 4 | 3B: 3 | SS: 3 | OF: 3 | RHP: 14 | LHP: 1