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Coming out of high school, Pederson had the option of playing baseball at Southern California and joining the football team as a walk-on wide receiver. Instead, he signed with the Dodgers for $600,000 at the 2010 signing deadline as an 11th-round pick. Pederson performed well in the Rookie-level Pioneer League the following year and has consistently combined strong offensive production with a well-rounded skill set at every level. After a stellar season in the Double-A Southern League where managers voted him the league's best defensive outfielder and most exciting player, Pederson became an on-base machine playing winter ball in the Venezuelan League. He should easily eclipse the career of his father Stu Pederson, who played in eight major league games with the Dodgers as an outfielder in 1985. The Dodgers drafted Joc's older brother Tyger out of Pacific in the 33rd round in 2013. Pederson spent 2013 at Double-A Chattanooga, where he was teammates with Yasiel Puig for the first half of the season. Dodgers officials believe the competition brought out the best in both of them. Pederson is a multi-dimensional player whose tools are average to plus across the board, with comparisons ranging from Curtis Granderson and Jim Edmonds. He has a balanced hitting approach and keeps his hands back against righthanders. He's a patient hitter who ranked fifth in the Southern League in walks (70) and third in on-base percentage (.381). He also led the league in slugging (.497) and ranked second in home runs (22) thanks to his plus raw power, though sometimes that juice is more evident in batting practice than in games because he's still learning how to backspin balls. Pederson's most glaring offensive hole is against lefthanders, who turn him into a completely different player. He hit .316/.420/.609 against Double-A righthanders but lefties held him to a .200/.299/.269 line, and 20 of his 22 homers came against righties. He tends to fly off and get pull-conscious against southpaws, so he needs to do a better job staying through the baseball and using the left-center field gap. Pederson runs a tick above-average and makes good use of his wheels on the bases, with the potential for 20-30 stolen bases per year. He's not a burner, but he did a better job improving his routes and jumps in center field this season with a solid-average arm. He's solid defensively in center field but could slide over to a corner depending on which outfielders the Dodgers hold on to from their current surplus. The Dodgers have a crowded outfield picture before even considering Pederson with Puig, Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier in Los Angeles. Despite that, he he could force his way to Los Angeles at some point in 2014, possibly by Opening Day depending on what moves the Dodgers make. With his patience, power, speed and athleticism, Pederson has the skills to contribute in all phases of the game as an above-average everyday player, with even greater potential if he can improve against lefthanders.
While Kyle Seager has become an above-average third baseman for the Mariners, younger brother Corey may have a higher ceiling. The No. 18 overall pick in the 2012 draft, Seager dominated the low Class A Midwest League last year before slowing down when the Dodgers challenged him with a promotion to high Class A in August, and he appeared tired as one of the youngest players in the Arizona Fall League. Seager has a mature approach on both sides of the ball. His hand-eye coordination and smooth lefty stroke give him excellent plate coverage with good leverage, and his bat head stays in the hitting zone a long time. While he sometimes expands his strike zone and starts to dive out front, he walked in 11 percent of his plate appearances and should be an on-base threat. Seager has a line-drive approach and works gap to gap, but he can impart backspin on the ball, with the size and strength projection to have plus power in the future. While he's a shortstop now, he is headed to third base long-term and has the ingredients to be an above-average defender there. A below-average runner, he has soft hands, a good internal clock and an above-average arm. Seager will likely return to Rancho Cucamonga, but he could get to Double-A by the end of the year, with a chance to crack the majors in 2015. Seager doesn't have Joc Pederson's track record yet, but both could be future all-stars.
Teams considered Urias one of the better arms on the international market in 2012 but were wary of a medical condition in his left eye. He had a tumor removed from his eye when he was younger, which left a noticeable mark over his eye, but the Dodgers say it doesn't affect his vision. The Dodgers signed him in a package deal from Mexico City of the Mexican League, which owned his rights. He proved so advanced that the Dodgers sent him at age 16 to the low Class A Midwest League, where he dominated. When Urias signed, he threw 88-92 mph with a smooth delivery and advanced feel for pitching. Now his fastball ranges from 91-96 mph and the Dodgers say he touched 98, mixing a two- and four-seamer. He throws his fastball for strikes to all areas of the zone while imparting cutting, tailing and/or sinking action. He adds, subtracts and manipulates the shape of his 77-82 mph curveball, which projects as at least a plus pitch. His changeup should give him a third above-average offering but is still inconsistent. Urias is physically mature, so he has to stay on top of his conditioning. Urias has the stuff and polish to be a frontline starter and move quickly. Opposing scouts thought he could have handled an even more aggressive assignment last year. Given his age, the Dodgers are trying to carefully monitor his workload, but he could reach the big leagues when he's still a teenager.
Lee turned down the opportunity to play quarterback and pitch at Louisiana State when he signed a heavily backloaded, two-sport deal with the Dodgers for $5.25 million as the 25th overall pick in the 2010 draft. He has proven to be a steady prospect who has moved relatively quickly through the system. Lee's stuff is solid across the board and plays up because of the improvements he's made over the last year with his command and approach. His fastball sits at 88-92 mph with good life and tops out at 95. He has the ability to sink the ball and get grounders at an above-average clip. Lee's fastball command improved, as he works down in the zone and pitches to both sides of the plate. His four-pitch mix includes an 81-85 mph slider and a low-80s changeup--both are average pitches--and a 72-75 mph curveball he'll use early in the count. He doesn't have a knockout secondary weapon, but he learned how to read swings better and attack hitters based on their strengths and weaknesses. He'll likely always rely more on his feel and command rather than being a prolific strikeout pitcher. When the Dodgers drafted Lee he appeared to have frontline starter potential, but his realistic upside now looks like more of a solid No. 3. He could open 2014 in Triple-A, but he should make his major league debut during the season.
An unsigned 35th-round pick of the Cubs out of a Wisconsin high school in 2010, Anderson closed as a Jacksonville freshman and both hit and pitched as a sophomore. The staff workhorse as a junior became Jacksonville's highest-ever draft pick when the Dodgers took him 18th overall in the 2013 draft. He signed for $1,109,900 and performed well in the low Class A Midwest League. Anderson has a big, durable frame and attacks hitters with downhill plane on a fastball that sits at 90-95 mph and peaks at 98 with the ability to hold his velocity deep into his starts. He walked too many hitters in his pro debut, but he's usually around the strike zone. His best secondary pitch is a hard, mid-80s slider that flashes above-average with late bite. His 85-87 mph changeup at times is an average offering with good arm speed and fade, but it's inconsistent. Everything Anderson throws is firm, so to give hitters another look he mixes in a high-70s curveball, which comes and goes on him. He doesn't throw with a lot of effort, but his delivery has some deception. Some Dodgers officials believe Anderson can move quickly and take off once he fine-tunes his command, with a likely assignment to high Class A Rancho Cucamonga to begin 2014. He has the potential to become a mid-rotation innings-eater.
Withrow signed for $1.35 million as the 20th overall pick in the 2007 draft and reached Double-A two years later. His career entering the year had otherwise been a disappointment, after mediocre performance for three straight years in Double-A and a career 4.87 ERA entering the season. At the end of May 2012, the Dodgers shifted Withrow to the bullpen, where he has found a role that best suits him, and he made his major league debut in June and stayed in Los Angeles the second half of the season. Withrow's power arm plays well in relief, sitting in the mid-90s and reaching 99 mph. One of the keys for Withrow was improved fastball command, which helped him trim his walk rate and work ahead in counts more frequently to be able to get to his sharp, high-80s slider, an above-average pitch with good tilt. While some relievers tend to shelve the rest of their repertoire and stick to a two-pitch mix, Withrow started throwing his curveball more often once he got to Los Angeles than he did when he was at Triple-A Albuquerque. He also throws a firm changeup in the high 80s, but it's below-average and he rarely throws it. Withrow's time as a starter is finished, but he can be an effective reliever. He should return to the Dodgers bullpen next season to pitch in high-leverage situations.
Guerrero had been one of the top performers in Cuba before he left the country, hitting .290/.402/.576 with 21 homers, 39 walks and 30 strikeouts in 328 plate appearances for Las Tunas. He played sparingly on Cuba's national team, and scouts said the tools didn't match the performance. Nevertheless, Guerrero landed a four-year, $28 million deal that includes a $10 million signing bonus. While Guerrero claimed legal residency in Haiti, teams were able to evaluate him before he signed in the Dominican Republic, where he transformed his body and improved his power and speed. Above-average raw power is Guerrero's best tool, but the Dodgers were drawn to his hitting potential and ability to hit to all fields. Other scouts were skeptical, believing Guerrero has a pull-oriented approach that he will have to adjust to hit quality pitching. Some scouts called Guerrero's stroke rigid with holes that will leave him susceptible to good velocity, and he can lose his balance against breaking pitches. Guerrero was no basestealer in Cuba, but he ran above-average 60-yard times in the Dominican Republic. A shortstop in Cuba, Guerrero has solid hands but his lack of range and first-step quickness make him a better fit at second base, though he could see some time at shortstop. His arm is average. Those highest on Guerrero believe he can be an offensive-oriented second baseman, but he's far from the scouting favorite that Yoenis Cespedes was when he left Cuba. Several teams consider Guerrero to be a fringe big leaguer. The Dodgers are paying him to be their immediate second baseman in 2014.
Reed made one start at Stanford but shined as the Cardinal closer in 2011, motivating the Dodgers to draft him with the No. 16 pick in the 2011 draft. After signing for $1.589 million, Reed made the conversion to starter. Blister problems slowed him in 2012, but he reached Double-A Chattanooga that season and returned there for 2013. Reed is one of the most prolific groundball pitchers in the minors, with a 2.2 groundout/airout ratio in 2013 that ranked 12th among ERA qualifiers. He throws 89-95 mph with heavy sink and run on his two-seamer. He doesn't miss many bats because he lacks a putaway pitch. Coming into the year, Reed's slider was his most advanced secondary pitch, but now scouts are mixed. It has hard downward break when it's on and can be an average pitch. His changeup improved, and its late sink contributes to his groundball tendencies. It flashes average when he maintains his arm speed. His control still needs to improve, especially since he's going to rely more on hitting his spots and working down in the zone rather than blowing hitters away. Through the first two innings of his outings, Reed had a 2.52 ERA, but his performance deteriorated once he got deeper into games. The Dodgers will likely continue to develop Reed as a starter, but his future may be as a groundball-oriented reliever, with a chance to make his big league debut in 2014 after a stop at Triple-A.
Garcia was one of the better young pitchers in Cuba when he left the island in January 2011. Less than 48 hours before the 2011 draft, MLB informed clubs that Garcia was draft eligible. Minutes before the draft, MLB changed its mind and eventually put him in the 2012 draft. Garcia stayed in shape by pitching in a Los Angeles-area adult league before the Dodgers popped him in the third round. He spent most of 2013 at Double-A Chattanooga after being slowed in the spring by knee issues, but after an August promotion to Triple-A, he made his major league debut in September. Garcia's best role is in the bullpen, where he spent the majority of 2013. His fastball sits at 92-94 mph with armside sink and touches 97, with deception that makes the pitch get on hitters quickly. He throws an above-average curveball with tight spin and good depth. He has a slider and a rudimentary changeup, but he's mostly a two-pitch guy out of the bullpen. Garcia's control is below-average, so he has to learn to command his fastball down in the zone and early in the count in order to get to his curveball to put hitters away. Garcia had arthroscopic surgery to clean out his left elbow and remove a bone spur in November. He could be ready to pitch by Opening Day, but the procedure clouds his status to start the year. He should be a solid reliever and the No. 2 lefty in the bullpen behind Paco Rodriguez.
Cardinals righthander Michael Wacha was a first-round pick in 2012, then played a key role for the Cardinals in their 2013 postseason run. Stripling, Wacha's college roommate, went four rounds later and progressed quickly in his first full season. The Dodgers liked Stripling's combination of solid stuff and polish coming out of the draft, both of which were on display in 2013. He throws strikes and delivers his stuff with downhill angle, starting with an 88-94 mph fastball with sink and run that he keeps down in the zone to generate groundballs. His four-pitch mix is steady across the board, with no one standout offering but a host of average pitches. Some scouts think his best secondary pitch is his curveball, while others think it's more of a show pitch and believe his mid-80s slider is more effective with short, quick action. He throws his changeup with good arm speed and it flashes average, though it's a fairly straight pitch and still inconsistent. Stripling doesn't have Wacha's upside, but with his polish and solid arsenal of stuff, he has the talent of a back-of-the-rotation starter. He probably heads to Triple-A to open 2014, but if the Dodgers need a starter in the middle of the year, Stripling likely gets the call.
The Dodgers left Dominguez unprotected in the 2012 Rule 5 draft, but despite a fastball that clocks in north of 100 mph, every team in baseball passed. Some may have been wary of his history of drug-related suspensions. Dominguez was banged for 50 games after testing positive for the anabolic steroid Stanozolol (commonly sold as Winstrol) while in the Dominican Summer League in 2009, then in November 2012, Major League Baseball suspended him 25 games for an unspecified violation of the minor league drug program. The Dodgers were able to retain the righthander for 2013 and got him to the majors at the end of June, but a strained left quad ended his season. Dominguez is a pure power arm who sits at 97-100 mph and can reach 102. He has some natural life on his fastball and gets around on it sometimes, which gives it occasional cutting action. He complements his heater with a hard slider with short, quick break that comes and goes. He's learning to keep it in the bottom of the zone, and to keep it from popping out of his hand, which lets hitters see it early. He rarely throws his below-average changeup. Dominguez's fastball allows him to get away with mistakes, and he did improve his control in 2013, but it's still below-average. Even if his control remains erratic, his power arm will likely give him plenty of opportunities. He should start 2014 in the major league bullpen, where he fits as a middle reliever.
Windle spent most of his first two years at Minnesota in the bullpen, but he excelled as a starter in the Cape Cod League the summer after his sophomore year and during the 2013 college season as a junior. He threw the first nine-inning no-hitter in school history against Western Michigan in March, then in June went to the Dodgers in the second round. He signed quickly for $986,500 as the No. 56 overall pick, then pitched well in the low Class A Midwest League. Windle has a loose, lanky build and a quick arm, delivering 89-94 mph fastballs that he can cut and tail with downhill angle. His out-pitch is a hard-breaking slider in the mid-80s, a plus pitch that he will throw to lefties and righties. He'll mix an occasional curveball as well, but the slider is his primary breaking pitch. Since moving from the bullpen to the rotation, Windle has improved his changeup, but it's below-average and isn't a pitch he uses much. He throws slightly across his body, which gives him some deception, but his delivery isn't smooth and he has trouble keeping all of his long levers in sync. Stiffness and recoil in his mechanics give scouts pause about his durability and potential to develop his changeup, and he sometimes lands on his heel and spins off. He'll move through the system as a starter, but his fastball/slider mix could play well in a high-leverage relief role.
Aside from a handful of starts in Rookie ball, Garcia has spent nearly his entire career as a reliever since signing with the Dodgers out of the Dominican Republic before the 2009 season. Despite generating little prospect buzz early in his career, he has maintained strong strikeout rates over the last three seasons, including a strong 2013 campaign as the closer at Double-A Chattanooga, followed by a trip to the Arizona Fall League. He can throw his 89-95 mph fastball with cutting action or late armside run. He has a full-circle arm action and gets good extension out front, which makes his fastball seem to have late hop, sneaking up on hitters faster than they expect. Garcia's tight-spinning, low-80s slider flashes average with late action but is usually a fringe-average offering, often coming in with cutter-like action on a flat plane. He added a fringy mid-80s changeup to his mix in 2013 that at times has splitter-like action, but he needs to tighten up both of his secondary weapons. Garcia lacks a true plus pitch, but he fills up the zone and finds a way to miss bats, which should allow him to be an effective set-up man. He likely opens 2014 at Triple-A Albuquerque.
Clay Bellinger spent parts of four seasons in the majors, playing every position but pitcher for the Yankees and briefly the Angels from 1999-2002. His son Cody played in the 2007 Little League World Series and developed into one of the top Arizona high school prospects for the 2013 draft, signing for $700,000 as a Dodgers fourth-round pick. One of the youngest players in the 2013 draft, Bellinger is the rare teenage first-base prospect who makes scouts want to talk about his defense before his bat. He has Gold Glove potential with terrific actions around the bag, soft hands, good footwork and a strong arm. He runs a tick-above-average and could easily play the outfield, but his defense at first is so good that the Dodgers hesitate to move him. Bellinger combines athleticism with advanced feel for the game. Scouts like his lefthanded swing, as he loads well and has natural timing. His advanced pitch recognition and patient approach help him draw walks at a high clip. He's so gangly right now that he lacks strength, so power is the biggest question mark. He's a line-drive hitter with gap power, though he has the ability to backspin the ball. He has room to add 30 pounds to his frame, but right now he tends to jump out on his front foot trying to cheat to catch up to good fastballs because of his lack of strength. Scouts highest on Bellinger think he could develop average or better power, while others see 10-15 homers per year, which would place greater demands on his on-base skills.
The Dodgers were drawn to Scavuzzo for his combination of size and athleticism coming out of high school, where he also played football and competed in the 100 meters, triple jump and long jump in track and field. He signed as a 21st-round pick out of the 2012 draft, then looked like a raw free-swinger when he showed up to the Rookie-level Arizona League that summer. The speed of the game was too quick for Scavuzzo in his debut, but he emerged as a pleasant surprise in 2013 by leading the Rookie-level Pioneer League with 14 home runs. He made an adjustment to more fully incorporate his lower half into his swing, which helped him tap into his raw power. He's still prone to chasing pitches, but he improved his pitch selection, and he has the bat speed, swing path and hand-eye coordination to square up balls with authority. Scavuzzo has lift in his swing, but it's not a total uppercut that leaves him with glaring holes for pitchers to exploit. He's an average runner who played center and left field in 2013, but with his size he'll slow down, and his fringy arm strength make him fit best in left field, where he could be an above-average defender. Scavuzzo isn't the type of pure hitter who could move through the system in a hurry, but his 2013 production combined with his bat speed and athleticism were encouraging signs as he heads to low Class A Great Lakes in 2014.
Magill had made steady progress through the Dodgers system in his first few years with the organization, with a spike in his strikeout rate in 2012 at Double-A Chattanooga that made it seem like the arrow was pointing in the right direction. He made his major league debut in 2013, but his six starts for the big league club were ugly, as his control deserted him and never returned when he went back down to Triple-A Albuquerque. Magill always had solid command throughout the minors, so his inability to throw strikes was a concern. He entered pro ball out of high school with mechanics that needed to be smoothed, and he was fairly sound with his delivery until the 2013 season, when he got out of whack with his lower half and worked to make some adjustments to separate his hands and repeat his release point. Magill needs to be around the strike zone to have success, as he lacks a put-away pitch. His fastball sits at 90-92 mph and can get up to 94. The secondary pitch he leans on the most is his solid-average slider with sharp, late break. His below-average changeup has always been a pitch he's needed to bring up to par. Magill likely returns to Triple-A in 2014, with a chance to fill in as a back-end starter or a long reliever. There's also a chance his stuff could tick up if he became a two-pitch reliever.
After batting .446 with 20 home runs for Des Moines Area CC in 2010, Schebler prepared to transfer to Wichita State for the following season, that is until the Dodgers signed him for $300,000 as a 26th-round pick at the signing deadline. After a mediocre 2012 season in the low Class A Midwest League, Schebler had a breakout season in 2013 in the high Class A California League, leading the league in extra-base hits (69) while ranking second in slugging (.581) and homers (27) to become the Dodgers' minor league player of the year. He's more production than tools, and some scouts believe the hitter-friendly Cal League may have masked some of his weaknesses. Schebler sacrificed contact for power in 2013, which led to a jump in his strikeout rate (26 percent of plate appearances) along with a career-high .941 OPS. He generates surprising power and has a chance to hit 20-25 home runs in the majors, but skeptics wonder whether more advanced pitchers will be able to exploit the holes he has on the inner third of the plate. Schebler runs a tick-above-average underway, though he doesn't post correspondingly strong home-to-first times. He should steal more bases than the typical left fielder, a position he'll have to play because of his below-average arm strength, though he did spend the second half of 2013 in right field. Schebler will head to Double-A Chattanooga in 2014, where he'll get his first test against upper-level pitching.
Chigbogu was a high school football standout, earning all-state honors as a defensive end in Missouri. His athleticism and raw power attracted the Dodgers, who signed him for $250,000 as a fourth-round pick in 2012. As one of the younger players in his draft, Chigbogu turned 19 early in a 2013 season split between the Rookie-level Arizona and Pioneer leagues, where he showed outstanding power and a long way to go to reach his ceiling. Chigbogu has excellent bat speed and 70 raw power on the 20-80 scale. He can drive the ball out of the park from foul pole to foul pole, with more home runs coming to the opposite field than his pull side. Despite his ability to use the whole field, his swing and approach remain raw. He struck out in 34 percent of plate appearances in the PL, a major red flag, as he especially struggles against breaking pitches. Chigbogu is athletic and runs well for his size, but scouts say he's still working to become an adequate defender at first base. If he can close some of the holes in his swing, his raw power can carry him, but he's the type of high-risk player who might fall short of his ceiling.
When it came to investing in Latin American amateurs, the Dodgers were the most frugal organizations in baseball for years. One exception came in 2007, when they signed Baez for $200,000 just before he turned 19. At the time, Baez was a third baseman who stood out for his plus raw power and plus arm, but he was never able to put things together at the plate, as he lacked natural hitting rhythm and succumbed to breaking pitches. After Baez stalled at Double-A Chattanooga as a hitter, the Dodgers moved him to the mound, where he made a surprisingly quick transition in 2013, his first season as a pitcher. Baez has a power arm and throws 91-96 mph with good sink. He started the year with little in the way of an offspeed pitch, but he developed a short, cutter-like slider in the mid-80s to give hitters another look, though he doesn't have a true out-pitch. Baez has a thick frame, short arm action and is understandably raw in terms of his command and keeping his delivery in sync. The Dodgers already have one hitter-turned-reliever success story in Kenley Jansen. Baez doesn't miss as many bats as Jansen did, but he could get to the big leagues as a middle reliever. The Dodgers added him to the 40-man roster in November to make sure nobody else could take him in the Rule 5 draft.
When the Dodgers worked out a package deal in 2012 with Mexico City, the prize of the deal was Julio Urias, who was sensational in 2013, his first season with the Dodgers. Gonzalez proved to be an intriguing sleeper in his own right. When he was working out for teams in Mexico, Gonzalez threw 85-87 mph with a stocky frame but a good arm action and delivery. His velocity ticked up in 2013 and sat around 87-92 mph, and he had immediate success in the Rookie-level Arizona League as a 17-year-old, with poise beyond his years. Gonzalez throws three pitches that he'll use in any count and commands his fastball to both sides of the plate. His changeup is his most advanced offspeed pitch, flashing above-average at times. He mixes a slurvy curveball in that he will have to either tighten or eventually go with a true slider. Gonzalez has a heavy, 6-foot build that he'll have to watch as he gets older. He doesn't have the high ceiling of Urias, but he's emerged as a solid prospect whose feel for pitching could have him in the low Class A Midwest League as an 18-year-old in 2014.
Bird's father Eugene played defensive back at Southern Mississippi from 1971-73 before the New York Jets drafted him in the 1974 draft, though he never played in the NFL. Zach also could have played at Southern Miss, but he opted instead to sign with the Dodgers for $140,000 as a ninth-round pick in the 2012 draft. One of the youngest players in his draft class, Bird opened the 2013 season as an 18-year-old in the low Class A Midwest League, but he struggled there and the Dodgers demoted him to the Rookie-level Pioneer League, where he threw more strikes but still got hit hard. Bird is a good athlete with a long, lean frame and downhill angle on a fastball that sits at 89-93 mph and maxes out at 95. He can cut and sink his fastball, helping him get plenty of groundballs. He doesn't yet have a true out-pitch among his secondary pitches, with a curveball he uses early in counts and a changeup that remains a work in progress. Bird still is learning to repeat his delivery, as he gets out of sync with his mechanics, causing his control to disappear. He made strides with his command in the second half of the 2013 season but still needs work in that regard. He should head back to the Midwest League in 2014.
Scouts are drawn to Valentin's instincts and high baseball IQ, particularly on defense, which is no surprise given his background. His father is Jose Valentin, a 16-year big leaguer from 1992-2007 who was well regarded for his glove during his career with the Brewers, White Sox, Dodgers and Mets and is now the first base coach for the Padres. Jesmuel was high school teammates with Carlos Correa, who went No. 1 overall to the Astros in 2012, while Valentin signed for $984,700 as a supplemental first-round pick. With Correa at shortstop, Valentin played mostly second base in high school, and he spent the majority of 2013 at second as well. He gets better reads and reactions at the keystone than he does at shortstop, with good range and smooth hands. Scouts project Valentin's ceiling as a utility player because his bat is light. His plate discipline is solid--he's drawn nearly as many walks as strikeouts in his career--but he has minimal power and had a hard time handling the low Class A Midwest League in 2013 before being demoted to the Rookie-level Pioneer League in June. He'll get another crack with Great Lakes in 2014.
The Dodgers signed Isabel out of the Dominican Republic one month before the 2013 Dominican Summer League season started. He quickly showed why Los Angeles was drawn to him after an outstanding pro debut in the DSL, where he ranked third in the league in slugging (.500). Isabel stands out physically for his large, projectable frame with plenty of room to add weight and strength, but he?s an advanced hitter for his age and his size. He has good hitting actions, uses his hands well and has a sound, righthanded swing with good path to the ball. Isabel didn?t show much over-the-fence power in 2013, but he racked up plenty of doubles (15 in 57 games) and could grow into plus power once he fills out. The power will have to come for Isabel because he doesn't offer much value beyond what he does at the plate. With speed and arm strength that both grade as below-average, Isabel is limited to left field and could end up at first base. While fellow first-year Dominican outfielder Michael Medina ranked second in the DSL in home runs, Isabel is the better prospect because he has more feel for hitting. He should make his U.S. debut in 2014, likely in the Rookie-level Arizona League.
Nelo's career has taken a winding road, but even at 27 he's still a prospect with an intriguing fastball. A Rangers 15th-round pick in 2007, Nelo earned his release from Texas following spring training in 2011, only to be quickly signed by the Nationals. He put together a solid year for Washington in the Double-A Harrisburg bullpen in 2012, prompting the Dodgers to pick him in the minor league phase of the 2012 Rule 5 draft. He repeated Double-A in 2013, where he showed a 94-98 mph fastball with Chattanooga that peaked at 100, with heavy sink that yields an abundance of groundballs. Despite his velocity, Nelo doesn't have a big strikeout rate in part because he doesn't have much else. He telegraphs his offspeed pitches, varying his release point and slowing his arm on his below-average, mid-80s changeup. His breaking ball lacks crispness, though he can retire hitters sometimes because they have to be geared up for his fastball. Nelo can have success when he stays on top of his fastball and commands it down in the zone, but he still needs to be able to throw more strikes. If he can improve his fastball command and develop a more reliable offspeed pitch, he could be a late bloomer who works his way into a middle relief role.
Sweeney has always had raw tools, but he's still trying to polish his skills in all areas of the game. Going into his junior year at Central Florida in 2012, scouts thought he had a chance to go in the top three rounds of the draft, but he didn't hit well enough to merit that type of pick and slid to the Dodgers in the 13th round, where he signed for $100,000. Sweeney is a good athlete whose best tool is his plus speed, which helped him lead the high Class A California League in triples (16) and rank third in stolen bases (48), though he needs to become more selective after getting caught a league-high 20 times. His speed gives him good range in at shortstop and he has an average arm, but he needs to improve his footwork and cut down on his mistakes after committing 36 errors. Moving to second base in August seemed to be a more natural fit. Scouts said he looked much more comfortable there and committed just two errors in 29 games. Sweeney can have success at the plate when he stays within his strike zone and works gap to gap, but he's prone to swinging and missing and struggles to catch up to good velocity. His future is at second base, with a likely assignment to Double-A Chattanooga in 2014.
Ogle was an offensive-oriented catcher coming out of Oklahoma in 2011, when he was a third-team All-American for the Sooners and signed for $100,000 as a Dodgers ninth-round pick. He's one of the most patient hitters in the minor leagues, ranking eighth in the minors in walks (96) and leading the low Class A Midwest League in that category in 2013 while ranking third in OBP (.401). Ogle controls the strike zone and has some strength in his swing to make hard contact, though he doesn't project to have more than average power. Even though he hit just .252, he makes frequent contact and should see his batting average rise going forward, especially if he jumps to the hitter-friendly high Class A California League in 2014. The problem for Ogle is finding a position. He caught just 14 games in 2013 and is a marginal defender behind the plate with a fringy arm, so he spent the majority of his time at first base. He took to the position quickly and played good defense, though at 5-foot-10 his height doesn't give his infielders much margin for errors on throws. Ogle's power doesn't profile well at first base, but if the Dodgers allow him to develop more behind the plate he would become a much more intriguing prospect.
When the Dodgers signed Garcia for $125,000 out of a Puerto Rico high school as their eighth-round pick in 2009, he was known for his impressive power displays in batting practice but still raw as a hitter. His ability to reach Double-A Chattanooga as a 21-year-old in 2013 is impressive in light of his crudeness at the plate in high school. Garcia, however, struggled with the jump in late June from the high Class A California League to more advanced pitching in Double-A, showing he still has a long way to go with his hitting approach. With a strong, stocky frame, he still generates attention for his above-average raw power, with the ability to hit the ball out of the park from his pull side to the middle of the field. Garcia can crush a fastball when he's on time, but anything offspeed throws him off balance, causing him to rack up an unhealthy number of strikeouts. He's a below-average runner with a plus arm that allows him to play right field. At 22, Garcia still is young for Double-A, where he likely will return in 2014, though because of his issues at the plate he doesn't project to move quickly to the big leagues.
After the 2012 season, the Dodgers overhauled their international scouting department. First they brought in Patrick Guerrero, who had just been fired by the Mariners, to be their Latin American coordinator. Soon after, they hired Bob Engle from the Mariners to be their vice president of international scouting, reuniting the two longtime coworkers in the same roles they had in Seattle. Their first six-figure signing was Sandoval, who landed a $150,000 bonus in December 2012. Sandoval still is raw, but his combination of size, athleticism and hand-eye coordination give him a promising starter kit. He's a plus runner who projects as a center fielder, though if he gets too big his above-average arm strength should allow him to play right field. He didn't post big numbers in the Dominican Summer League in his pro debut in 2013, but he has a knack for making contact and the size to grow into more power than the occasional gap pop he shows now. Sandoval's youth and crudeness are enough to possibly warrant another year in the DSL, but it's possible he could make his U.S. debut in the Rookie-level Arizona League in 2014.
After signing lefthanders Julio Urias and Victor Gonzalez out of the Mexican League in August 2012, the Dodgers went back to the same Mexico City club to purchase the rights to Arano in April 2013. Arano, who pitched for Mexico's 16U national team in 2011 at the World Championship, showed advanced feel for pitching in his 2013 debut in the Rookie-level Arizona League. He has good command for his age of an 89-94 mph fastball, with the ability to work down in the zone and keep the ball on the ground. He has good feel to spin a hard, high-70s curveball, an average pitch that he can use to finish hitters. He has a mid-80s changeup, but it's not a reliable pitch yet, and he has trouble keeping it around the strike zone. Arano has a thick, heavy build that he'll have to work to keep in check as he gets older. He could develop into a back-end starter, with a jump next year to the low Class A Midwest League possible, though the Dodgers could hold him back in extended spring training and send him to Rookie-level Ogden instead.
The Rangers drafted Dixon out of a California high school with their 48th-round pick in 2010, but he didn't sign and played at Arizona instead, getting the winning hit in the 2012 College World Series. Going into his junior year, Dixon had laser eye surgery and emerged as the team's best hitter in 2013 when the Dodgers drafted him in the third round and signed him for $566,500. Dixon looked overmatched in his pro debut in the low Class A Midwest League, where he struggled to make contact and catch up to the speed of the game. He's strong, has a quick swing and shows above-average raw power in batting practice, but he doesn't project to be a huge home run hitter because his game swing doesn't have the loft or leverage for big power numbers. He runs well for his size with solid-average speed, though his feet are prone to getting tangled and his arm is below-average, so he could be destined for left field. After a rough debut, Dixon should head back to the Midwest League to try to get back on track.