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Bellinger's father Clay played three seasons with the Yankees from 1999-2001 and two games with the Angels in 2002, batting .193 over 311 career at-bats. While Clay's major league career was brief, his son Cody has a chance to develop into one of the game's stars. Bellinger was 17 when the Dodgers drafted him in the fourth round of the 2013 draft and signed him for $700,000. His first two years in the system, Bellinger showed impressive pure hitting ability but mostly gap power as a first baseman. In 2015, Bellinger transformed himself into slugger who hit 30 home runs at high Class A Rancho Cucamonga despite skipping a level. In 2016, after missing most of April with a strained left hip, he put himself among baseball's elite prospects with a terrific season in the Double-A Texas League. In September, he joined Triple-A Oklahoma City, hit three home runs in three games, then went to the Arizona Fall League and batted .314/.424/.557 in 85 plate appearances. Cody's younger brother, Cole Bellinger, played in the 2016 Area Code Games and is committed to play baseball at Grand Canyon. While most first base prospects tend to be one-dimensional sluggers, Cody is a dynamic all-around player in both the batter's box and with his glove. He made an adjustment in 2015 to load his hands to create better torque instead of relying more on his body in his swing. That change increased his power production, but also created a more uphill swing plane, leaving him with a bigger strikeout rate. Toward the end of 2015, Bellinger condensed his hand trigger slightly and became more studious of opposing pitchers and his own strengths and weaknesses, which allowed him to cut his strikeout rate. Those changes carried over into 2016, as he lowered his strikeout rate from 27 percent at high Class A in 2015 to 20 percent at Double-A in 2016 without sacrificing his power. Bellinger has a balanced lefthanded swing with plus bat speed, good leverage and use of his lower half, generating the potential to hit 30 home runs at the next level. He has good hand-eye coordination and a disciplined feel for the strike zone and he hangs in well against lefties. Bellinger is a supreme athlete for a first baseman and a gifted fielder who earns 70 grades on the 20-80 scouting scale for his defense. He's a potential Gold Glove winner with excellent range, smooth actions, clean footwork and soft hands to go along with a plus lefthanded arm. Bellinger is even an average runner, so the Dodgers have had him play the outfield as well. He's stretched thin in center field but is playable at both corners. Bellinger has a chance to be a foundational hitter in the middle of a lineup who can also save runs with his fielding at first base. The Dodgers have first baseman Adrian Gonzalez signed through the 2018 season, but Bellinger will be ready before then, so Bellinger's versatility and athleticism in the outfield could come in handy soon. Bellinger should start 2017 in Oklahoma City, but he could make his major league debut in the second half of the year.
In 2014, Alvarez couldn't make Cuba's 18U junior national team in 2014, as he walked 35 in 31 innings in the country's 18U youth league. Yet when Alvarez popped up in the Dominican Republic, his fastball skyrocketed and the Dodgers signed him for $16 million. Alvarez is a good athlete who fires explosive stuff with remarkably little effort. With a free-and-easy delivery, Alvarez's electric fastball explodes on hitters, sitting at 94-97 mph and reaching 101. He has shortened his loose arm action as a pro to add deception and create a more repeatable arc, which helped his control. Fastball command, however, is still a focal point. Beyond a lively, overpowering fastball, Alvarez has a plus curveball that, when it's on, is a true putaway pitch. He hasn't thrown his changeup much, so it's inconsistent, but it flashes plus with late tail and could become a plus pitch once he uses it more. Alvarez only threw 59 innings and his longest outing was five innings--something he did in just five of his 14 starts--so his durability is still unknown. Alvarez is a tantalizing mix of immense potential with high risk and minimal track record. If he can maintain his stuff over a full season's workload, he can develop into a frontline starter.
De Leon quickly turned into a late-round gem for the Dodgers by improving his conditioning after signing and seeing his stuff spike in turn. He missed time with shoulder inflammation in 2016 but dominated when healthy with Triple-A Oklahoma City. He made his major league debut in September. De Leon pitches off a fastball that sits 90-94 mph and touches 96. It's not overpowering velocity, but it has late life and he hides the ball well behind his body in his delivery, so the ball jumps on hitters faster than they expect, leading to empty swings in the strike zone. His go-to weapon is an 80-84 mph changeup. It's a plus pitch with good speed differential off his fastball and is effective against both lefties and righties. De Leon's third pitch is an average slider, a pitch some evaluators would like to see him use more frequently. They'd also like to see more of him; he's yet to top 115 innings in a season. With a delivery that will require some maintenance, durability is still a question mark. If De Leon can maintain the stuff he showed at the end of 2016 over a full season's workload, he can be a No. 2 starter. He has a chance to realize that potential immediately in 2017.
Other teams preferred Verdugo as a pitcher when he was a two-way player in high school, but the Dodgers' belief in his hitting ability has proven justified. Verdugo was pushed aggressively to Double-A in 2016, and he responded with a solid season as one of the youngest players in the Texas League. Verdugo has good rhythm and body control in the box, with some unorthodox elements to his swing but good plate coverage thanks to superb hand-eye coordination. He sets up with his hands close to his body and stays inside the ball well, shooting line drives to all fields. Verdugo recognizes offspeed pitches well and doesn't chase much. He has a strong build and good bat speed, though his swing lacks leverage for big power, and he projects to hit 15-20 home runs. Verdugo's fringe-average speed isn't ideal for center field, which is part of why his defense draws mixed reviews. There's universal praise for Verudgo's arm, which earns plus-plus grades for its strength and accuracy. Some scouts are concerned with his inconsistent motor, a complaint dating back to his prep days. With similarities to Melky Cabrera, Verdugo could develop into a solid-average regular. His next stop is Triple-A Oklahoma City with a chance to get to the big leagues after the all-star break.
After a season at Arizona, Calhoun transferred to Yavapai (Ariz.) JC in 2015 and led the nation's jucos with 31 home runs in 61 games. The Dodgers pushed him to Double-A Tulsa for his first full season and he ranked second in the league in homers (27) with the second-lowest strikeout rate among qualified hitters. Small and stocky, Calhoun is built like a fire hydrant. He has a sweet, balanced lefty stroke that's quick, compact and stays through the hitting zone for a long time. He has excellent barrel control and good plate coverage, leading to a high contact rate, with a sharp eye at the plate. Calhoun is no small slap hitter. He has above-average power and gets to it frequently because of his contact frequency, making him a threat to hit 25-30 home runs. As gifted as Calhoun is at the plate, he's a long way from being an adequate defender at second base. He's a well below-average runner with limited range and first-step quickness and a below-average arm. He also boots too many routine plays with hard hands and awkward defensive actions. Calhoun could be the Dodgers' second baseman of the future, but his fielding has to take a big step forward to avoid a move to left field.
Toles was the Rays' No. 6 prospect after the 2013 season, but he dealt with anxiety and related behavioral effects, and the Rays released him just before the 2015 season. Out of baseball and working in the frozen foods section at a Kroger grocery store, the Dodgers gave Toles a chance and signed him to a minor league deal in time for instructional league in 2015. He embarked on a four-level rise in 2016 to make his major league debut, including starting for the Dodgers in the postseason. Toles, whose father Alvin was a first-round NFL draft pick, has long stood out for his quick-twitch athleticism. He starts his lefthanded swing with a leg kick, then unleashes quick hands to stay short and direct to the ball. He is an aggressive hitter but doesn't strike out much. He has a line-drive approach with enough power to hit 10-15 home runs. Toles is a double-plus runner who plays all three outfield spots, fitting in center and playing above-average defense for a corner outfielder. His plus arm is another asset. Toles could be an everyday center fielder but not with Joc Pederson in Los Angeles. He is likely to see playing time in left field in 2017 and rotate around the outfield as needed.
Diaz was a standout player in Cuba's junior national leagues and excelled during his rookie year in Serie Nacional before leaving the country in 2015. He went to the Dominican Republic and signed with the Dodgers after the 2015 season for $15.5 million. In an aggressive assignment to the high Class A California League, Diaz held his own as one of the league's youngest players but missed time due to shoulder fatigue. Diaz has an exciting combination of athleticism, tools and performance record, though he's still learning to sync everything at the plate. He has plus bat speed and good hand-eye coordination to put the bat to the ball consistently, but he is considered to have average raw power at best. He doesn't show power in games--five of his eight Cal League home runs came in extreme hitters' parks in Lancaster and High Desert--as he doesn't use his lower half well. Diaz gears his swing more for low line drives, often shooting the ball the opposite way. He's a plus runner but doesn't get good jumps stealing bases. He played all three outfield spots with the speed and above-average arm to fit in center. Diaz has the upside to develop into an everyday center fielder but has to make adjustments to handle better pitching. He'll head to Double-A in 2017.
Stewart was a third baseman at Illinois State, where his father Jeff--who now scouts for the Rays--was a longtime coach. He pitched a little out of the bullpen, signed with the Dodgers as a reliever, then converted to starting in 2015. He took off in 2016, flying through four levels to make his major league debut on June 29. He spent most of August and September with the big league club. Stewart's best pitch is his high-spin fastball, which sits 91-95 mph and can scrape 96. He has tremendous confidence in his fastball and pounds the zone with plus control. Moving to the first-base side of the rubber helped him locate the pitch down and away against righthanded hitters. Stewart's low-80s changeup improved to become an average offering, though when he got to the majors it flattened out and he had trouble landing it in the zone. He throws a hard 85-88 mph slider that's fringy but flashes average with short, late break. His slider gets swings and misses as a chase pitch despite its lack of depth, though it's sometimes easy to detect out of his hand. Stewart projects as a back-end starter. He might open 2017 in Triple-A but should be a factor in the Dodgers' rotation.
Lux is a nephew of Augie Schmidt, who won the Golden Spikes Award as the nation's top college player in 1982 for New Orleans and was the No. 2 overall pick in the draft that year. Lux emerged from cold-weather Wisconsin and went 20th overall in the 2016 draft, signing with the Dodgers for $2,314,500 to forgo an Arizona State commitment. Lux is a steady player whose best asset is he should be able stick at shortstop, though he also has a chance to be a solid hitter. He has a smooth, low-maintenance swing from the left side with good bat speed, a line-drive approach and the ability to use the whole field. He is a patient hitter who works deep counts. Improved strength helped him his senior year, but he doesn't have much power yet and projects as more of a doubles hitter than a home run threat. Lux is a good athlete with above-average speed despite an awkward gait, quick feet, smooth actions and a solid-average arm with a quick exchange at shortstop. Coming out of a Wisconsin high school, Lux hasn't faced much quality competition yet, though he had a sound debut in the Rookie-level Arizona League. He should be comfortable going to the cold weather of low Class A Great Lakes to begin his first full season.
Barnes is the rare 27-year-old who is a legitimate prospect. The Marlins moved Barnes slowly through their system, then traded him to the Dodgers after the 2014 season in the six-player deal that brought Dee Gordon to Miami. He continued to be an on-base machine in Triple-A Oklahoma City but was blocked on the depth chart from getting much playing time in Los Angeles. Barnes does a stellar job of controlling the strike zone. He detects spin early and doesn't chase bad pitches. He's a calm, balanced hitter with a simple, direct stroke to make contact at a high clip and stays through the middle of the field with mostly doubles power. Barnes has just fringe-average raw speed but runs the bases well, stealing 18 bags in 21 attempts. Above-average behind the plate, Barnes excels at blocking and receiving with soft hands and highly-regarded pitch framing skills. His arm strength is average, and he threw out 25 percent of basestealers last year. He also has the versatility and athleticism to play second and third base when necessary. With the Dodgers trading Carlos Ruiz to the Mariners, Barnes should be Yasmani Grandal's full-time backup in 2017 while also seeing time at second and third base. In another organization, he would be a starter.
Buehler never felt quite right during his junior season at Vanderbilt in 2015. The Dodgers drafted him with the 24th overall pick that year, with an MRI revealing he would need Tommy John surgery. After signing for $1,77,500, Buehler had the operation that August and was back on the mound 11 months later. Despite missing most of 2016 to rehab, Buehler still won a ring as he pitched five scoreless innings over two playoff starts for low Class A Great Lakes, which won the Midwest League championship. Buehler's progress has been encouraging so far, especially since he was throwing 91-96 mph before surgery but upon his return was touching 98. It's difficult to judge Buehler's other pitches since his return, but before the operation he threw a curveball and slider with tight spin, though they had a tendency to run together. He also throws a changeup with late fade that flashes as an above-average offering. It's not the cleanest arm action, but Buehler is a solid strike-thrower who has the athleticism to repeat his high-intensity mechanics. Durability is a question mark for the thin-framed Buehler, but he has the stuff to pitch in the middle of a rotation.
The Dodgers have been raiding the Vanderbilt pitching staff in recent years. They drafted Walker Buehler and Phil Pfeifer in 2015, then used their 2016 supplemental first-round pick (No. 36 overall) on Sheffield, who signed for $1,847,500. His younger brother, Justus, is a pitching prospect in the Yankees organization. Sheffield, who had Tommy John surgery in 2013, has outstanding arm speed on a fastball that sits at 93-96 mph and can reach 98, with the ability to carry that velocity deep into his starts. Sheffield's hard curveball and changeup are both 55-grade pitches that flash plus. He has more confidence in his curveball, which has sharp bite but is inconsistent, while his mid-80s changeup gets excellent armside run. With a high-effort delivery, Sheffield struggles to repeat his release point. While he improved his control in 2016, it's still scattered. Sheffield has the repertoire to start, but his command, mechanics and medical track record create reliever risk.
It's hard to miss May, between his gangly 6-foot-6 frame and bushy red hair. After the Dodgers signed him for $997,500 as a third-round pick in 2016, his numbers stood out as well, with a 34-4 strikeout-to-walk mark in 30.1 innings in the Rookie-level Arizona League. May has strong hands with a skinny, underdeveloped frame that's oozing with physical projection. Once he gains weight and strength, that should allow him to add to a high-spin fastball that ranges from 88-94 mph with late movement. May's slider is his out pitch, flashing plus to get swings-and-misses, while his changeup is firm and still raw. For such a thin pitcher with long arms and legs, May does a solid job of keeping his delivery in sync. He's a good athlete who pounded the strike zone in the AZL and should only continue to make improvements to being able to repeat his mechanics once he gets stronger. May's future still involves a high dose of physical projection coming to fruition, but if that comes, he has a chance to develop into a mid-rotation starter at the next level.
Oaks had Tommy John surgery in high school, played his freshman year at NAIA Biola (Calif.), then transferred to Division II Cal Baptist, where he became the team's ace as a draft-eligible sophomore. The Dodgers drafted Oaks in the seventh round and signed him for $161,600. He was steady in his first full season in 2015, then zipped through three levels in 2016 as he added velocity and continued to display excellent control, though a strained groin ended his season in August. With strong, broad shoulders, Oaks' best pitch is his heavy sinker, which gained steam in 2016 to sit at 90-94 mph and touch 96. He generates downhill plane and the sinker dives as it gets near home plate, making Oaks one of the most prolific groundball pitchers in the minors. Oaks showed plus control by walking just 1.3 batters per nine innings between three levels in 2016. Oaks doesn't have the secondary pitches to miss many bats, so he relies on throwing strikes and avoiding barrels to generate weak contact with his sinker and cutter. He added the cutter in 2016, and it flashes as an average pitch in the upper-80s. His changeup is fringe-average and his short slider is below-average, with an occasional show-me curveball mixed in, too. Oaks pitched eight innings or more in four starts, a testament to his efficiency. Oaks should start 2017 back in Triple-A, but he should make his major league debut at some point during the season with the upside of a back-end starter.
Mieses signed for $40,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2013 and has moved quickly through the farm system, though he's far from a polished product. With a strong, powerful frame, Mieses generates plus raw power and led the high Class A California League with 28 home runs in 2016, though his free-swinging approach remains a concern. Mieses has strong hands, quick bat speed and the power to hit the ball out to any part of the park when he connects, even driving the ball with authority when he mis-hits the ball. Mieses will have to overhaul his swing and approach to have success at higher levels. His swing has a lot of head movement, which hurts his ability to recognize pitches, with a frequent habit of chasing pitches outside the strike zone. He sells out for power on nearly every swing, getting underneath a lot of pitches with a max-effort, uphill stroke and pull-conscious approach. The barrel doesn't stay in the hitting zone very long, so he will have to flatten his swing and develop better strike-zone judgment to close his offensive holes. Mieses is a good athlete with average speed and a plus arm to collect 14 assists. He has spent most of his time in center field and might be able to stay there, though a lot of scouts prefer him in right field.
With the No. 35 overall pick in the 2015 draft, the Dodgers drafted but were unable to sign Louisville ace righthander Kyle Funkhouser. The next year, they drafted Funkhouser's catcher, Smith, with the No. 32 overall pick in the first round and signed him for $1,772,500. The Dodgers pushed Smith quickly after he signed, putting him in the high Class A California League the final month of the season. A high school shortstop who converted to catching in college, Smith is extremely athletic for a backstop and a legitimate above-average runner. He has experience handling power arms on the deep Louisville pitching staff and stands out for his receiving and blocking skills. He has an average arm that plays up due to his fast exchange, throwing out 42 percent of baserunners in his pro debut. Smith has solid bat-to-ball skills with a short, flat stroke, the ability to hit to all fields and sound command of the strike zone. Smith doesn't project to hit for power but has some pull pop, enough to get to 8-12 home runs.
At 29, Dayton is one of the oldest players in the Prospect Handbook, but he should play a key role in the Dodgers' 2017 bullpen. A starter at Auburn, Dayton immediately moved to the bullpen when the Marlins drafted him in 2010 and slowly climbed through their farm system before Miami traded him to the Dodgers in July 2015 for lefthander Chris Reed. He pounded the strike zone and struck out 15.8 batters per nine innings between Double-A and Triple-A in 2016, then continued to flourish the last two months of the season and in the playoffs. Dayton's fastball sits at 91-94 mph and can touch 95, with late riding life and deception that gets hitters to swing-and-miss through that pitch at a high clip. Dayton pitches aggressively off his fastball with sharp command of the pitch to both sides of the plate and the ability to work up in the zone to get empty swings. While Dayton's changeup was his go-to secondary pitch earlier in his career, he rarely threw it once he got to the major leagues, instead relying more on a curveball. It's a fringe-average pitch at best, an offering he adds and subtracts from depending on the situation anywhere from 71-79 mph. Dayton he should be a key set-up man for the Dodgers in 2017.
Sborz won the won the 2015 College World Series Most Outstanding Player award, then signed with the Dodgers for $772,500 as the No. 74 overall pick in the draft. Sborz, whose brother Jay pitched in one major league game for the Tigers in 2010, was mostly a reliever at Virginia, but the Dodgers developed him as a starter with high Class A Rancho Cucamonga in 2016. However, when the Dodgers promoted Sborz to Double-A Tulsa in August, they moved him back to the bullpen to curb his workload. A relief role may ultimately suit Sborz best. As a starter he sits at 91-94 mph with good armside run, though in short bursts out of the bullpen he can crank it up to 97 mph. His out pitch is an above-average slider with good depth and late break. Sborz has a four-pitch mix, but his fringe-average curveball and below-average changeup don't grade out as well as his fastball and slider. There's some violence to Sborz's arm action and effort in his delivery. He throws strikes but needs to tighten his fastball command. Sborz could fit well in a middle relief role, with a chance he could get to Los Angeles by the end of the 2017 season.
Few players in the 2016 draft had as much late helium as White. He didn't pitch much in high school--he had Tommy John surgery his senior year--and pitched just 32 innings out of Santa Clara's bullpen in 2015. Moved to the rotation in 2016, White's fastball velocity spiked and the Dodgers took notice, popping him in the second round and cutting an under-slot deal with him for $588,300. While the Dodgers kept him on a tight leash of no more than two innings per outing after he signed, White excelled in his pro debut by allowing only one run (unearned) in 22 innings. The Dodgers want to develop White as a starter, and he has a chance to stick in that role. White's fastball sat at 89-93 mph early in his final college season, but by the end he was cruising at 91-96 mph and tickling 97 with good fastball command. His curveball and cutter-esque slider are both solid-average offerings with the curveball flashing plus and the more effective pitch early in his pro career. He has a changeup, but it's still in its nascent stages since he just started throwing it in March. White is a late bloomer with a limited track record, but he has the stuff to be a solid starter or a high-leverage reliever with a chance to move quickly.
As an amateur in Venezuela, Ruiz trained in the program run by former major league shortstop Carlos Guillen. The Dodgers were drawn to his advanced defensive skills behind the plate for his age and signed him for $140,000 when he turned 16 on July 20, 2014. Ruiz was 17 most of the 2016 season, making him one of the youngest players in the Rookie-level Pioneer League, but he still thrived during his time there. Ruiz projects to stick at catcher because he is an excellent receiver with good hands and quick footwork, though he does need to get better at blocking balls in the dirt. He has an average arm with a quick release, though he threw out just 20 percent of runners last season. Ruiz is a switch-hitter with a contact-oriented approach. His hands work well at the plate, though some scouts had concerns that he was late on too many hittable pitches. Ruiz doesn't bring much power, mostly working gap to gap. The Pioneer League is extremely kind toward hitters, so Ruiz will face a big test in 2017 in low Class A Great Lakes.
Peters signed for $247,500 as the No. 131 overall pick in the 2016 draft, then proceeded to the Rookie-level Pioneer League, where he ranked third in OBP (.437) and second in slugging (.615). At 6-foot-6, Peters has a promising combination of size, athleticism and power. His raw power earns plus or better grades, with the ability to drive the ball out to any part of the park with his strength and leverage. He's an aggressive hitter who showed more patience in pro ball as he got pitched around. He kept his strikeout rate to a manageable 22 percent, though with a longer swing that is a concern going forward. Peters doesn't have a quick first step so it takes him a bit to get going, but he's an average runner underway. Peters split time between center and right field with Ogden. He has a plus arm and fits best in right field. If Peters can maintain control of the strike zone, he has a chance to become an everyday right fielder.
Sierra was one of the better pitching prospects in Cuba, though the results never matched his potential. During Sierra's final season in Serie Nacional in Cuba, he posted a 6.10 ERA with a 55-31 strikeout-to-walk mark in 70 innings and led the league with 11 wild pitches despite pitching as a reliever. The Dodgers' made a bet that Sierra's stuff would translate into better performance, signing him to a six-year, $30 million major league deal that included a $6 million signing bonus in February 2016. They sent Sierra to high Class A Rancho Cucamonga as a starter and he struggled, with the Dodgers removing him from the 40-man roster on July 3 and putting him in the bullpen two weeks later. Sierra is already 25, but the stuff is still there. He has an athletic frame to go with clean, easy arm action and quick arm speed, delivering lively fastballs that sit 93-95 mph in relief and can touch 97. His slider flashes above-average with tight spin and late tilt to miss bats. At one point, Sierra was using his slider so frequently that the Dodgers told him he couldn't throw his slider any more until he got into a two-strike count in an attempt to get him to work more off his fastball. Sierra threw a splitter in Cuba but scrapped that for a changeup, though it's below-average. Sierra's undoing is his command. Despite an easy delivery, he misses his location and tends to leave the ball up, allowing hitters to punish his mistakes. While starting no longer appears to be in Sierra's future, he can develop into a quality middle reliever if he can figure out his command.
Johnson used his quick-twitch athleticism and speed to great effect with the White Sox, performing well up to Triple-A in 2015. After the 2015 season, the White Sox sent Johnson, outfielder Trayce Thompson and righthander Frankie Montas to the Dodgers in the three-team deal in which the Dodgers sent infielders Jose Peraza and Brandon Dixon and outfielder Scott Schebler to the Reds, who sent Todd Frazier to the White Sox. Staying in Triple-A but switching to the Pacific Coast League in 2016, Johnson scuffled. Johnson is a plus-plus runner whose hitting style is to put the ball on the ground and try to beat out hits. It leaves him with minimal impact in his bat or power due to his frequent grounders and many balls not leaving the infield. His contact skills and plate discipline are solid but not above-average. Johnson doesn't have soft hands or clean actions at second base, though he gets to balls others can't because of his range. The Dodgers also had him spend time in center and left field to increase his versatility. Entering his age-26 season, Johnson will have to perform better offensively to break through in a reserve role.
Estevez was one of the better hitters in Cuba's junior national leagues. Estevez played for Cuba as a 16-year-old in the COPABE 18U Pan American Championship in Mexico in 2014, then made his Serie Nacional debut at 16 during the 2014-15 season in Cuba. While Estevez played against older competition from a young age, he was regarded as more of a steady prospect than a premium player. Yet when he became eligible to sign after the 2016 season, the Dodgers gave him a $6 million bonus, with the team's total tab coming to $12 million including the 100 percent overage tax for having already exceeded their international bonus pool. The Dodgers aggressively pushed Estevez as an 18-year-old to the low Class A Midwest League, where he hit just .212/.252/.311 in the first half. He turned things around in the second half by batting .293/.340/.458 with eight of his nine home runs. There's nothing plus on Estevez, who isn't athletic or flashy. His bat speed is just fair, but he does have a simple, balanced swing. He can pull an occasional home run, but his power is mostly to the gaps. Estevez is a well below-average runner without great range or agility at second base and a below-average arm.
When the Dodgers blasted through their 2015-16 international bonus pool, they decided it would be better to trade away their international slot values, even if it meant paying a higher overage tax as a result. When the Blue Jays were looking to sign Vladimir Guerrero Jr. but wanted to trade for enough pool space to only take one year of signing penalties instead of two, the Dodgers shipped three slots to Toronto in exchange for De Jong and second baseman Tim Locastro. After De Jong tamed the Double-A Texas League in 2016, the Dodgers put him on the 40-man roster. There's nothing better than average in De Jong's repertoire, but he's a smart pitcher who understands how to attack hitters. His fastball sits at 88-92 mph and touches 93 and his curveball is an average pitch. His changeup, slider and cutter are all below-average to fringy, but he's been able to have success by using an efficient delivery to throw strikes, change speeds and move the ball around to keep hitters off balance. De Jong's stuff leaves him with little margin for error, but he will go to Triple-A in 2017 with a chance to become a starter in the back of a rotation.
Sopko arrived at Gonzaga from a Montana high school and eventually developed into one of the better starters in the West Coast Conference. He signed with the Dodgers for $147,500 as a seventh-round pick in 2015, then caught the attention of scouts with his feel for pitching in his first full season of pro ball. Like fellow Dodgers righthander Chase De Jong, Sopko stands out more for his pitchability than his pure stuff. Sopko lacks a plus pitch, but he's able to command his arsenal, hit his spots, moves the ball around the zone and change speeds. He works off a fastball that sits at 89-92 mph and can hit 94. It's not overpowering, but he pounds the zone and attacks hitters on the inner third. Sopko is able to land his curveball, slider and changeup for strikes, though without a true out pitch, Double-A hitters made him pay for mistakes he was able to get away with at high Class A Rancho Cucamonga. They're all fringe-average pitches, with his slider his best weapon against righties, while he uses the changeup and curveball more to attack lefties. Sopko, who likely returns to Double-A Tulsa in 2017, has the upside of a back-end starter.
Cruz is a great example of the challenges unique to international scouting. As a 15-year-old working out for clubs in the Dominican Republic, Cruz was a 6-foot-1 shortstop. By the time he signed with the Dodgers for $950,000 as a 16-year-old, Cruz had shot up to 6-foot-4. He grew taller after signing, and by the time the 2016 Dominican Summer League season began, he was pushing 6-foot-6. Cruz spent time at shortstop but was mostly a third baseman in the DSL. Cruz is a good athlete for his size and has natural feel for hitting with a loose, handsy swing and good barrel control for a lanky, long-armed hitter. In batting practice, Cruz shows plus raw power with loft and leverage. In games, he mostly hits groundballs because he's still learning to sync up his swing with his new long levers. That should come with experience, with the power potential to hit 20-plus home runs. He's an average runner who might slow down, though getting stronger should help his coordination. He's too big for short, and while he has a plus arm and plays under control at third, he might end up too big for the infield. If he moves to the outfield, his tools would fit in right. Cruz will make his U.S. debut at one of the Dodgers' Rookie-level affiliates in 2017.
In high school, Hansen was a standout baseball player and football player as a quarterback and wide receiver. After he signed with the Dodgers as a second-round pick in 2015, he looked raw in his pro debut in the Rookie-level Arizona League, so the Dodgers held him back from full-season ball in 2016 and assigned him instead to the Rookie-level Pioneer League, where he had a solid season. Hansen has a loose lefty swing with good leverage. There is length that leads to strikeouts, though he cut his strikeout rate from 31 percent in 2015 to 21 percent last season. Hansen has a tall frame, good bat speed and average raw power. He runs well for his size with above-average speed once he's underway, though he might slow down as he fills out. He has played all three outfield spots but mostly the corners, with his below-average arm fitting best in left field. Hansen will get his first full-season test in low Class A Great Lakes in 2017.
Thomas spent more time playing football than baseball at Oklahoma, where he was a backup quarterback who played just one season of baseball. The Dodgers took a chance on him in the 13th round of the 2016 draft, signing him for an above-slot $297,500. They sent him to the Rookie-level Pioneer League, where he immediately hit for power (his 16 home runs ranked second in the league) but showed the expected lack of polish for a player who hasn't focused much on baseball. While Thomas is raw for his age, the athleticism, physicality and tool set are all intriguing. He's strong with plus raw power that showed up in games with some help from the hitter-friendly Pioneer League. His pure hitting ability lags behind his power, with length and stiffness to his stroke and trouble recognizing spin, which led to a 33 percent strikeout rate. Thomas' speed and arm strength are both average. He rotated among all three outfield spots in 2016 and is best suited for one of the corners. Despite being a college draft pick, Thomas is unlikely to move quickly given his background. He should start 2017 in the low Class A Midwest League.
Scavuzzo's combination of athleticism and physicality drew the Dodgers to draft him out of high school in 2012, taking the chance that his raw hitting approach would come around. He appeared to progress in 2015 once he got promoted to high Class A Rancho Cucamonga and performed well after the season in the Arizona Fall League, but his offensive output leveled off in 2016 when he got to Double-A Tulsa. Scavuzzo has quick hands, strong wrists and generates above-average raw power, which is now his best tool. He has overhauled his hitting mechanics, loading his swing with a big leg lift and staying compact for a big man. He isn't a free-swinger, but he's also not a pure hitter, with his pitch recognition and plate discipline holding him back from fully tapping into his power. Scavuzzo's speed and arm strength are both fringe-average, so he's limited to left field. He should head to Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2017.
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