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Buehler leads trio of LA prospects on Top 100

Righty slots in at No. 13, followed by Verdugo (33) and Ruiz (52)
MLB.com @kengurnick

LOS ANGELES -- Right-handed pitcher Walker Buehler, outfielder Alex Verdugo and catcher Keibert Ruiz are Dodgers listed in MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects, which was announced on Saturday night.

The Dodgers are represented by Buehler at No. 13, Verdugo at No. 33 and Ruiz at No. 52.

LOS ANGELES -- Right-handed pitcher Walker Buehler, outfielder Alex Verdugo and catcher Keibert Ruiz are Dodgers listed in MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects, which was announced on Saturday night.

The Dodgers are represented by Buehler at No. 13, Verdugo at No. 33 and Ruiz at No. 52.

• MLB Pipeline's 2018 Top 100 Prospects list

:: Complete 2018 Top Prospects coverage ::

The annual ranking of MLB's Top 100 prospects is assembled by MLB Pipeline Draft and prospect experts Jonathan Mayo, Jim Callis and Mike Rosenbaum, who compile input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. It is based on analysis of players' skill sets, upsides, proximity to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams. Only players with rookie status entering the 2018 season are eligible for the list. Players who were at least 25 years old when they signed and played in leagues deemed to be professional (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Cuba) are not eligible.

The 23-year-old Buehler, who's also the top-ranked prospect in the Dodgers' farm system, opened the 2017 season at Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga, but by September he was a Major Leaguer. The club's first-round pick of 2015, who missed most of '16 after Tommy John surgery, had a 1.65 ERA in five starts at Class A last year, made 11 starts at Double-A, then three starts and nine relief appearances at Triple-A in preparation for a September callup to the big club, where he got his feet wet with eight bullpen appearances.

Video: Gurnick discusses Buehler's status with Dodgers

While with the Dodgers, Buehler showed glimpses of future greatness with his electric arm, but also the wildness that often plagues young hard throwers (eight walks in 9 1/3 innings). Still, he struck out 12, finishing the year with 137 strikeouts in 98 innings.

The 21-year-old Verdugo, the No. 2 prospect in the Dodgers' system, struggled to hit .174 in a 15-game cameo with Los Angeles in September after hitting .314 with an .825 OPS at Triple-A Oklahoma City last year.

Video: Top Prospects: Alex Verdugo, OF, Dodgers

He will compete with Joc Pederson, Enrique Hernandez, Andrew Toles and Trayce Thompson for left-field playing time in Spring Training, with Yasiel Puig and Chris Taylor expected to start in right and center, respectively.

The 19-year-old Ruiz might have the highest ceiling of the Dodgers' deep crop of catching prospects. The switch-hitter split time between two levels of Class A in 2017, batting a composite .316 with an .813 OPS while displaying catching skills beyond his years. He is the sixth-ranked prospect in the organization and the third-ranked catching prospect in the Majors.

Video: Top Prospects: Keibert Ruiz, C, Dodgers

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

Los Angeles Dodgers