The Dodgers have been one of the more successful teams over the past decade. After bringing home the title in 2020, the Dodgers couldn’t hold their own in the 2021 playoffs, being roughed up and eliminated in the NLCS by the Atlanta Braves. However, Los Angeles has a bright future ahead of them, as several young prospects bring a ton to the table. While their talent outside of the top 10 isn’t the greatest, the Dodgers have plenty of time to develop their sprouting prospects.
The top five crew looks sturdy, though there might be some complications when they reach the major leagues. Most of the positions that they occupy are currently used up by one of the Dodger superstars that will not be traded anytime soon, from Will Smith at backstop to the Dodgers’ stacked rotation. However, anything can come true and a hole might pop up in the roster for these youngsters to fill.
1. Diego Cartaya, Catcher
Cartaya had much to prove coming out of Venezuela after Los Angeles grabbed him during the 2018 international signing period. Nevertheless, the young catcher has performed to his highest potential and still is seeking improvement. Starting out in 2019 with the Arizona Complex League Dodgers, Cartaya made a quick impression. He slashed .296/.353/.437 to go with 13 runs batted in through just 36 games. In 2021 with the Single-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, the star catcher held his own. He posted a fabulous .298 average with 10 home runs paired with 31 RBI. The 20-year-old has great hands behind the plate along with raw power at the dish. Cartaya has struggled to put the ball over the fence, however, accumulating a total of 14 home runs in his minor league career. It’s early, and the Dodgers hope he progresses as his game matures.
Cartaya has been impressive since the beginning of his career. However, he is only 20 years old and needs time before his debut. Will Smith is the current Dodger backstop which creates is an issue for Cartaya. Hopefully, LA can compromise and make room for the up-and-comer. The young backstop should see a split between Single-A and High-A in 2022.
2. Ryan Pepiot, Right-Handed Pitcher
Drafted out of Butler University by the Dodgers in 2019, Pepiot was ready to roll. In four appearances with the Dodgers’ Arizona League Team, Pepiot whiffed ten batters to go along with a 0.00 ERA. LA was quickly impressed, and promoted the right-hander to the Single-A Loons, where he flourished with a 2.45 ERA and 21 strikeouts. After the scrapped 2020 season, the 24-year-old split his 2021 season in Double- and Triple-A. After his dominance at the lower level, Pepiot was roughed up in Triple-A and posted a poor 7.13 ERA. With his 6’3″ frame, he easily rolls in at 93-96 mph on his fastball. His most menacing weapon is his changeup. Sailing in at the low 80s, while seeming a fastball, it spins away at the last moment to fool his opponents. To complete his repertoire, Pepiot brings in a changeup and curveball which still need improvement.
Pepiot is looking scary on the mound and hopes to see the bright lights of Dodger Stadium soon. From his jaw-dropping changeup to his frightening fastball, the youngster has a lot going for him. However, the Dodgers rotation is already quite full, and Pepiot could see the back of the bullpen to begin his big league career. If not the majors, Pepiot should receive a heavy workload with the Oklahoma City Dodgers in Triple-A.
Michael Busch, Second Base
Busch was selected 31st overall by the Dodgers in the 2019 MLB Draft. The second baseman doesn’t have a lot of experience on his plate after breaking his hand in 2019 to end his season. However, in those 10 games, Busch struggled tremendously. Splitting time in the Dodgers Rookie League and Single-A, Busch had a .125 average with just three hits. Thankfully, the 24-year-old turned the tables in 2021 and impressed the Dodgers’ organization. With the Tulsa Drillers, Busch held a .267 average along with 20 dingers. Aside from the lack of experience, Busch has a ton of skill on his plate. From his raw power to his developing field skills, the young second baseman is turning into a star. However, Busch could use some tweaks in the field, mainly in his throwing arm. Standing at 6’1″ and 210 pounds, he is not the quickest around the bases and needs improvement there, as well.
While he improved in 2021, Busch still needs time to develop to his highest potential. The second baseman is currently hovering in Double-A but could see the big leagues in 2022. With Gavin Lux currently occupying second base, Busch might have to adjust to seeing limited time in the majors.
4. Bobby Miller, Right-Handed Pitcher
The 22-year-old Miller was selected by Los Angeles in the 2020 MLB Draft. Shortly after in 2021, Miller skipped the Dodgers Rookie League and went directly to High-A. With the Loons, the flamethrower proved his young arm is worth the wait. He held a low 1.91 ERA along with 56 strikeouts. After just 14 appearances with the Loons, Miller was promoted to Double-A to join the thriving Tulsa Drillers. Miller struggled in Tulsa and hopes to come back in 2022 with a fresh start. He has several attributes in his game which can mold him into a dominant starter. He has a high-class fastball which tops out at 99 MPH, along with a two-seamer and slider which boost his game to a new level. To complete his rotation, Miller mixes in a curveball that adds some depth to his repertoire.
The young and talented Miller has a lot in his game bag which the Dodgers hope can be a great addition to their rotation. He has spent most of his pitching career in the bullpen, but many are now seeing some potential as a starter. Fans will wait and see how things pan out, but Miller should see the majors sometime soon. As of now, the right-hander will most likely stay put in Double-A but could see a small workload in Triple-A.
5. Andy Pages, Outfielder
The Cuban native Pages was signed by the Dodgers in 2017. He spent the 2019 season splitting time with two of the Dodgers’ rookie-affiliate teams. He struggled immensely that season, slashing .229 with just 10 home runs. Pages returned as a new player. He cranked 19 home runs with a staggering .298 batting average. In 2021 with the Great Lakes Loons, he kept his status from 2019 and reeled in a .265 average. The young outfielder cranked a jaw-dropping 31 homers and blew away the brass in the Los Angeles organization. Pages is a home run machine at the plate and a menace in the field. He has a cannon in the outfield and can gun down nearly anyone on the basepaths. Pages does struggle with his whiff rate which could affect his batting average later on.
The newly 21-year-old seems to have a ton to bring to the table and hopes to see the majors in the near future. Regardless of his heavy bat at the dish or his cannon in the outfield, being the only outfielder in the Dodgers top-10 prospect list puts a ton of pressure on Pages. The Dodgers already have a dangerous outfield that stars Mookie Betts and Chris Taylor. Hopefully, LA can make room for the upcoming Pages and give him a chance to shine.
What Does the Future Hold?
While the Dodgers top five prospects seem unstoppable, there are other young talents including third baseman Miguel Vargas and right-hander Andre Jackson who deserve some of the spotlight. Jackson and Vargas both were exciting in 2021 and could be big contributors soon. While the Dodgers do have a scary lineup of late, they could also use some help in the coming years. With prospects scattered all over the diamond, Los Angeles should take the time to develop their younger talent.
Follow Rephael Negnewitzky on Twitter @RephaelN613
Main Image Credit: