Jul 302013

Phillies 2B Chase UtleyWith new ownership, the Dodgers have been spending money left and right the last one and a half years.  From picking up the big contracts Boston unloaded last year to outbidding the league by dozens of millions of dollars for Yasiel Puig, they’ve used their new financial resources to become a contender.  They still have weaknesses though, and if the Phillies do decide to relent and do some selling, Chase Utley or Cliff Lee could be fits for LA.  Do they match up as trade partners?

Very Good Tier

IF Corey Seager (20): The Dodgers drafted Seager 18th overall last year, and he has generated nothing but positive scouting reports since then.  He plays shortstop now, but as he gets older and stronger, he’ll have to move to third base where he’ll still be a good defender with a strong arm.  He has a mature place approach beyond his years, he makes hard contact and has plus power potential.  He’s still two to three years away from the majors, but he could become a middle of the order hitter.

OF Joc Pederson (22): Pederson’s stock continues to rise, and people now believe he could be a solid everyday player.  There aren’t any standout tools in his profile, but he has no serious weaknesses either.  His swing will produce consistent hard contact with more power than previously expected.  He can steal some bases and play in the outfield too.  If he can’t stick in center field, his bat will still be good enough to play in either corner outfield spot.

RHP Zach Lee (22): Lee never became the frontline fireballer people expected when the Dodgers somehow signed him away from LSU in 2010, but he’s knocking on the door of the majors now with his best season as a professional in Double-A.  His strikeout rate is up, and his walk rate is down.  His mechanics are good as is his command, but his stuff never taking a big step forward is what limits his ceiling to a number three starter or so.  His fastball, changeup and pair of breaking balls are all average, but only his fastball and slider are expected to be above average.

Good Tier

LHP Julio Urias (17): Urias’ ceiling should have him in the above tier, but because he’s so young and has so few innings, I’m not sure if he fits there yet.  At just 16 years old, he has more than held his own in low-A ball, and his fastball has gotten better since he signed.  He has the feel for pitching of a much older prospect, but he still needs a lot of time to develop and get stronger before he even gets close to the majors.

Average Tier

RHP Zach Bird (19): Bird has an impressive ceiling, but since he’s so young and hasn’t pitched well as a professional, he’s probably more of a throw-in type player in a bigger deal.  He has nice fastball velocity, but he hasn’t thrown many strikes so far and has to improve his secondary pitches.

RHP Garrett Gould (22): For a year and a half, Gould has stunk in the California League.  Naturally, he was promoted to Double-A and has been good in limited innings.  His stuff is decent though, and maybe he’s turning it around.

LHP Chris Reed (24): Reed’s fastball and slider combo would make him a pretty good weapon out of the bullpen, but the Dodgers are still holding out that he can develop his changeup and start.  Time may be running out for that though.

LHP Onelki Garcia (24): Garcia is big with the fastball to match, and his curveball is even better.  The Dodgers seem content to develop him as a reliever though, so they must not have seen enough progress in his changeup.  He has to throw more strikes, but he could be a difference maker in relief.

RHP Yimi Garcia (23): This Garcia is also just a reliever, but his fastball and slider are two above average pitches.  Except for a concerning high home run rate, his stats have been ridiculous this year with a strikeout rate over 33%.

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Scott Grauer writes for PSC and Bus Leagues Baseball – check him out!