2020 Prospect Opportunities — Dodgers

Today, we continue through our last division, as we finish our series in the National League West to discuss potential opportunities for prospects to earn starting jobs at positions currently manned by a player at risk of losing his job if his poor play continues. We’ll move on to the Dodgers. LOL at the notion they have any players that might be at risk of losing their starting job due to poor performance. They have literally no players, whether a hitter or a pitcher, that would fit the criteria I have been using for this series. So, I will just discuss a handful of prospects who should be kept on fantasy radars.

American League Prospect Opportunities

National League Prospect Opportunities
NL East NL Central NL West
Braves Brewers Diamondbacks
Marlins Cardinals Dodgers
Mets Cubs Giants
Nationals Pirates Padres
Phillies Reds Rockies

Keibert Ruiz | C

With a catching tandem of Will Smith and Austin Barnes are in darn good shape. In fact, the duo ranks fifth in baseball in projected WAR from behind the plate. So it’s unlikely that Ruiz gets any chances this season. However, if he does, this is a very interesting skill set. Since 2018, he has struck out at a single digit rate, while his SwStk% hasn’t been above 8.95 since a Rookie ball stint in 2016. Those are some contact skills! He hasn’t shown a whole lot of power and hasn’t swiped a base since 2015, so he’s not exactly future fantasy gold. But those contact skills are a fantastic foundation to start with and if he could manage to find his power while not giving up contact, he’ll easily rocket into the top tier of catchers when he earns a starting job.

Edwin RĂ­os | 1B/3B

This is the type of hitter you take a shot on over a short season. Rios has spent three seasons at Triple-A and finally got his cup of coffee last year. He strikes out a ton, over 30% of the time the last two minor league seasons. But, he broke out the power last year, posting a 28.7% HR/FB rate and .305 ISO. He also hit over 40% fly balls, taking full advantage of his power. Since he strikes out so often, there’s risk of a putrid batting average. Luckily, he has generally posted outsized BABIP marks in the minors, thanks to the combination of a solid to strong line drive rate and a low IFFB%. It’s not going to be enough for him to add positive batting average value, but perhaps he won’t absolutely kill your team.

DJ Peters | OF

Peters is another in the Edwin Rios mold, having struck out a lot, but showing strong power in the minors. There are some differences offensively, however. Peters has a better track record of taking a walk, but has never matched the breakout power Rios showed last year. Peters also struck out less frequently (just below 30% rate) at Triple-A than Rios has over his last stints there. Interestingly, Peters grades out as having 60 current speed and 50 future speed, but he has only stolen 11 bases throughout his entire professional career. At the very least, the speed should help his BABIP and maybe there’s upside in his stolen bases if he ever decides to utilize that speed and swipe some bags.

Zach Reks | OF

The implementation of the DH in the NL could give Reks an opportunity, given that he is apparently weak defensively. His offensive skill set looks pretty darn good. He has walked at double digit rates since Double-A in 2018, and despite a jump in strikeout rate during his first taste at Triple-A last year, his SwStk% was barely into double digits. In fact, his SwStk% at Triple-A was lower than his mark at Double-A, but his strikeout rate was nearly seven points higher. He dramatically raised his fly ball rate last year, which coincided with huge spikes in his HR/FB rate and resulted in a surge in ISO. He has also always posted strong batted ball distributions, which have led to excellent BABIP marks. I like this offensive profile, so it’s just a matter of finding him DH at-bats or improving his defense enough to hide somewhere on the field.

Dustin May | P

May is the team’s second best prospect and got his feet wet with the Dodgers last year, throwing 34.2 innings and starting four games. He might be a better real life pitchers than fantasy because of his underwhelming strikeout and SwStk% rates in the minors. However, with excellent control and an extreme ground ball tilt, he possesses the overall skill set to be a very successful pitcher. He looks more like a Marcus Stroman right now though, so the future of his strikeout rate will be key to how valuable he becomes in fantasy leagues.

Tony Gonsolin | P

With David Price opting out of the season, the Dodgers starting rotation depth got a bit thinner. Gonsolin now has a better shot at starts after making his debut in 2019. He has posted consistently solid to strong strikeout rates in the minors, with SwStk% marks of at least 13.4% every stint since 2017. During his debut with the Dodgers, Gonsolin’s splitter and slider were both whifftastic, generating SwStk% marks of 19.9% and 22.2%, respectively.

Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

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