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2021 Los Angeles Dodgers Top 5 Prospects

2021 Los Angeles Dodgers top 5 prospects: Josiah Gray
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It is no secret that the Los Angeles Dodgers are the team to beat in the National League. They are defending World Champs, have appeared in three of the last four Fall Classics, and have won the NL West eight years in a row. The San Diego Padres may have improved and will certainly have something to say, but the proof will be on the field. As for the Dodgers farm system, they have top talent that should keep them in the postseason for years to come. Let’s take a look at their top 5 on the farm.

Make sure to check out all of our other MLB Team Top Prospects.

#1 – Josiah Gray – RHP

Fastball: 60
Curveball: 50
Slider: 55
Changeup: 45
Control: 55
Overall: 55

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Gray was originally a shortstop for Le Moyne College in Syracuse. After a not-so-good year at the plate in 2017 slashing .226/.300/.371, the Dolphins decided to convert him full-time to pitching. Man, did it pay off. In 2018, Gray was 11-0 with a 1.25 ERA, 0.889 WHIP, and struck out 105 in 93.1 innings. That year he was selected in the second round by the Cincinnati Reds and then sent to the Dodgers that December in the trade involving Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, and five others. Gray continued to dominate at three stops in 2019 while making it to Double-A Tulsa. He went 11-2 with a 2.28 ERA and continued to show his command with a 147/31 K/BB rate in 130 IP.

Gray’s fastball sits between 92-95 so he isn’t going to blow you away with triple-digit power. The pitch has a great spin rate and natural rise to it especially with Gray’s ability to get into his extension low and release it on a seemingly level plane. It is his best pitch and he controls it well at the top of the zone. His slider at around 83-86 and his curveball at around 79-83 are both hard and have some decent tilt. Gray controls the slider better, but his curve could be more of a weapon going forward if he develops it and can take a little off. His changeup is something he can develop into a solid fourth offering. It has some natural sink to it but can get hammered if it comes out flat. Expect to see Gray in the rotation in 2022.

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#2 – Michael Busch – 2B

Hit: 60
Power: 55
Run: 45
Arm: 45
Field: 45
Overall: 50

Busch had one of the most discerning eyes in college when he was taken 31st overall by the Dodgers in 2019. In his final two years at the University of North Carolina, Busch had 622 PAs. In that time he hit 29 bombs and stole 12 bases. He also had an incredible BB/K rate of 116/69 and rocked a .450 OBP. Unfortunately, he broke his hand after just 10 games in 2019 and had last year wiped out by the pandemic. Busch has such a polished approach at the plate already that the missed time shouldn’t be a worry.

Where Busch seems to struggle a little is in the field. While he played first base and left field exclusively in his final year at UNC, he has been working at second base with the Dodgers. He has decent speed and an average arm which could play at the keystone. His range and ability to play around the bag will determine if he sticks there or is destined for first. No matter where he plays, Busch’s bat will play and he should see the majors by next year.

#3 – Kody Hoese – 3B

Hit: 50
Power: 55
Run: 40
Arm: 50
Field: 50
Overall: 50

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The Tulane product had a solid season as a sophomore in 2018 and was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 35th round. Hoese decided to stay in school for another year. To say it worked out would be an understatement. As a junior, the tall righty slashed .391/.486/.779 with 20 doubles and 23 jacks in just 286 PAs. He also showed superior plate discipline with a 39/34 BB/K rate. That season earned him a first-round selection by the Dodgers.

At 6-foot-4, Hoese does an excellent job of not getting too long with his swing. He is athletic and drives the ball gap to gap and doesn’t sell out to gain power. Hoese doesn’t run well but can cover ground with his long strides once he gets moving. The stolen bases won’t be there but going from first to third won’t be an issue. In the field, there are questions about whether he can stick at third base. If he does, he could be an average defender with a little more work on his arm strength and range. The bat is ultimately what will get Hoese to the majors and it will play anywhere.

#4 – Keibert Ruiz – C

Hit: 60
Power: 45
Run: 30
Arm: 50
Field: 50
Overall: 50

Ruiz signed with the Dodgers on his 16th birthday in 2014. The progress for the switch-hitter has been fairly linear throughout his minor league career. While his average has understandably dipped as he has moved up, his ability to make contact has remained his strongest attribute. In his stops at Double-A and Triple-A in 2019, Ruiz had a BB rate of 8.6 percent and only struck out 6.3 percent of the time. He hits well from both sides of the plate although his power is on the left side as he has hit 28 of his 30 HRs batting lefty. Working on driving the ball more with his elite contact skills, Ruiz’s pop could improve with more seasoning.

He is about as slow as you would expect from a catcher who is pretty filled out at 6-foot-0 and 225 pounds. The Venezuelan has made strides behind the plate. He has a solid arm and is fairly smooth at blocking and framing. Ruiz does have room for improvement in pop time and accuracy on his throws. While Ruiz is never going to be a Gold Glover, he can be an average to above-average backstop. If he develops his power and maintains his bat-to-ball skill, his offense will have him as a starting catcher in the majors for years.

#5 – Bobby Miller – RHP

Fastball: 70
Slider: 60
Changeup: 50
Control: 45
Overall: 50

The big righty out of Louisville was taken with the 29th pick last year. Miller filled out in his time in college and showed it by increasing his velocity as well as his strikeout rate over his three years (19.8%-25.3%-36.6%). Miller’s fastball sits 93-97 and tops out at 99. He maintains his velocity well deep into games and has the body to be a workhorse (6-foot-5, 220 pounds). He complements his heater with a nasty slider in the mid-80s and a slider-cutter hybrid he can pump in at 90. The command of those two pitches is solid but Miller can occasionally catch too much of the plate.

His changeup has some splitter action to it and he can also throw one with less movement along with less velocity. Miller will need to work on a third offering and refine his command to make it as a starter. If he does that, he can be an ace. If not, Miller could either be a solid fourth or fifth starter or a dominant closer. Whichever way the Dodgers choose to go, they have a really good arm who should be up in Chavez Ravine by next season.

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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

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