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Prospect Projections: NL West rookies
Dodgers' Seager, Rockies' Gray, D-backs' Bradley to make impacts
02/15/2016 10:00 AM ET
Corey Seager has posted a .891 OPS over four seasons in the Minor Leagues. (Ben Sandstrom)

There isn't a lot of consensus in the prospect-ranking industry -- or any other industry, really. But there is consensus in this: Corey Seager is the game's top prospect, and he's about to be unleashed full-time at the game's top level.

MLB.com, Baseball Prospectus, ESPN's Keith Law and Baseball America have named the Dodgers shortstop their No. 1 overall prospect, beating out Twins center fielder Byron Buxton, who'd held the top spot in most rankings the last two seasons. While there's no doubting Buxton's skill set, there's also no denying Seager's production since he entered pro ball as the 18th overall pick out of a North Carolina High School in 2012. 

The left-handed-hitting slugger's breakout season came in 2014 when he batted .349/.402/.602 with 20 homers, five triples and 50 doubles in 118 games at Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Chattanooga. Last season saw the 21-year-old put up less stratospheric numbers (.293/.344/.487, 18 homers, three triples, 37 doubles in 125 games) at Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City, but the performance was still impressive given his age and the levels at which he played. 

"We never have a doubt in our mind about challenging Corey because he has such an exceptionally calm motor," Dodgers director of player development Gabe Kapler told MiLB.com when Seager was named an Organization All-Star in November. "We know there's not any situation we're going to throw him into where he's not going to thrive."

The Dodgers deemed Seager worthy of a Major League look when rosters expanded in September, and he thrived in his month with the big club, slashing .337/.425/.561 with four homers in 27 games. He started four of the five games in the National League Division Series against the Mets and made it easy to let Jimmy Rollins become a free agent.

As for what to expect from Seager this season, Steamer600 projections, which forecast how a player would do if given 600 plate appearances (or 200 innings for starting pitchers or 65 innings for relievers), think he'll be a solid Major League shortstop on Opening Day. (In case his September numbers didn't prove that.) The system projects Seager to have a .265/.315/.423 line with 17 homers. Taking everything into account, he'd be worth 2.9 WAR, right around 2015 American League Rookie of the Year Francisco Lindor (3.3) and National League Gold Glove/Silver Slugger shortstop Brandon Crawford (2.9). 

Perhaps the only question mark as to Seager's readiness is on the defensive side. He was just about average with one defensive run saved (1 DRS) over 192 innings as a Major League shortstop in 2015, and many believe he''ll eventually move to third base as he fills out his 6-foot-4 frame. The Dodgers, however, had few concerns about his near-term prospects at short in November. with Kapler telling MiLB.com's Josh Jackson, "We're really happy with the way he's handled shortstop and we have no doubt about his ability to dominate the position."

If Seager can stick at short, he'd be right in the mix with Lindor, Carlos Correa (4.2 projected WAR), Xander Bogaerts (3.5) and Addison Russell (2.8) as pillars of the youth movement at the position at the big league level.


Jump to a team:

 Los Angeles Dodgers

HITTERS
Dodgers POS PA HR SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld WAR
Corey Seager (1) SS 600 17 5 .265 .315 .423 .319 105 -2.2 2.9
Austin Barnes (13) C 450 9 8 .256 .323 .380 .309 98 -0.6 1.7
Micah Johnson (8) 2B 600 8 29 .262 .310 .361 .295 88 -2.2 1.2
Trayce Thompson (16) OF 600 20 11 .234 .289 .402 .300 92 -1.1 1.0
Kyle Farmer (28) C/3B 450 4 4 .241 .278 .331 .266 69 0 0.5
PITCHERS
Dodgers W L ERA GS G IP HR WHIP K/9 BB/9 FIP WAR
Jose De Leon (3) 13 11 3.41 32 32 200 20 1.20 9.5 3.1 3.45 3.6
Julio Urias (2) 12 12 3.73 32 32 200 21 1.28 8.3 3.4 3.87 2.5
Zach Lee (19) 12 13 4.01 32 32 200 24 1.30 6.6 2.5 4.16 2.3
Jharel Cotton (17) 3 3 3.02 0 65 65 6 1.16 9.7 2.9 3.18 0.7
Jacob Rhame (23) 3 3 3.34 0 65 65 6 1.23 9.3 3.4 3.49 0.5
Frankie Montas (4) 3 3 3.32 0 65 65 6 1.22 9.5 3.4 3.47 0.4
Ross Stripling (25) 3 3 3.52 0 65 65 7 1.24 7.7 2.6 3.74 0.3
Grant Holmes (5) 10 15 5.09 32 32 200 25 1.60 6.6 5.4 5.15 -0.3
Chris Anderson (9) 3 5 4.72 0 65 65 8 1.49 6.7 4.3 4.82 -0.6

Most ready: Seager, see above. But based on Steamer, Jose De Leon might be the most ready to dominate statistically at the highest level. MLB.com's No. 24 overall prospect posted a 2.99 ERA and 163 strikeouts against 37 walks over 114 1/3 innings at Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Tulsa in 2015, numbers that Steamer adores. His 9.5 projected K/9 over 200 innings is second-highest among Dodgers starters and his 3.6 projected WAR third. (One doesn't have to guess who leads both categories.) De Leon will have to prove himself at Triple-A Oklahoma City over a long stretch before he can think about cracking the Los Angeles rotation, but this projection should get Dodgers fans' mouths watering.

Give it time: Julio Urias' Major League projections are similarly exciting, and as MLB.com's No. 4 overall prospect, his ceiling is considerably higher than De Leon's. That's not to say the Steamer projections shouldn't come with a heaping dose of caution. Urias, who doesn't turn 20 until August, hasn't thrown more than 87 2/3 innings in any of his three pro seasons, and only two of his 61 appearances have come at Triple-A. While it's always fun to see a talented teen in the Majors, the Dodgers aren't going to rush their prized pitching prospect for a spectacle. If you want to see Urias for most of 2016, it'll be with OKC.

Wild card: The Dodgers entered the offseason with an intriguing second base prospect in Jose Peraza and instead essentially swapped him for another in the three-way trade with the White Sox and Reds, namely Micah Johnson. Like Peraza, Johnson is a speedster capable of hitting for a high average who wasn't able to put it together in a short stint in the Majors last season. That's an oversimplification -- Peraza is widely seen as the better prospect and is much better defensively at the keystone -- but Steamer actually prefers Johnson for the 2016 season, considering his advantage in power and on-base skills. That said, Johnson enters Spring Training third on the Dodgers depth chart behind the recently signed Howie Kendrick and veteran Chase Utley.

Top-100 talent: Frankie Montas, along with Johnson and Trayce Thompson, was one of the prospects picked up from the White Sox, and the 22-year-old right-hander gives Los Angeles yet another K-heavy power arm. The jury remains out on as to whether his future is in the rotation or bullpen, but for 2016, Steamer believes he could have been a positive contributor in the latter role right away if not for rib surgery that will sideline him at least two months. Grant Holmes is entering his second full season after being drafted 22nd overall in 2014 and likely will need two more before he becomes a rotation candidate.

Arizona Diamondbacks

HITTERS
D-backs POS PA HR SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld WAR
Peter O'Brien (7) OF/C 600 28 4 .238 .281 .453 .314 93 -0.2 0.4
Mitch Haniger (28) OF 600 14 10 .250 .298 .392 .300 83 0 0.4
Brandon Drury (5) 3B/2B 600 11 5 .252 .289 .375 .289 76 -0.6 0.2
Jack Reinheimer (11) SS/2B 600 5 17 .240 .287 .321 .269 62 0 -0.2
Socrates Brito (14) OF 600 9 19 .262 .293 .384 .293 79 1.4 -0.2
Gabriel Guerrero (13) OF 600 11 10 .231 .262 .341 .263 58 0 -2.1
PITCHERS
D-backs W L ERA GS G IP HR WHIP K/9 BB/9 FIP WAR
Archie Bradley (1) 11 14 4.34 32 32 200 21 1.42 7.6 4.2 4.32 1.4
Tyler Wagner (10) 10 14 4.54 32 32 200 26 1.42 6.0 3.3 4.64 0.7
Jake Barrett (17) 3 3 3.83 0 65 65 7 1.34 8.2 3.7 4.00 0.1
Jimmy Sherfy (20) 3 3 3.83 0 65 65 6 1.35 8.8 4.2 3.96 0.1
Adam Miller (25) 3 3 3.91 0 65 65 7 1.34 8.0 3.7 4.08 0.0
Matthew Koch (30) 3 3 3.89 0 65 65 8 1.27 6.4 2.2 4.13 0.0
Braden Shipley (2) 3 4 4.41 0 65 65 8 1.40 6.6 3.4 4.54 -0.3
Yoan Lopez (3) 3 5 4.53 0 65 65 8 1.44 6.6 3.7 4.66 -0.4

Most ready: The D-backs made two of the most interesting moves of the offseason when they signed Zack Greinke to a six-year, $206.5 million contract and acquired Shelby Miller for Ender Inciarte and two of their top prospects in Aaron Blair and Dansby Swanson. The moves shored up Arizona's rotation, which has a clearly defined top five, with Patrick Corbin, Rubby De La Rosa and Robbie Ray filling the other three spots. That'll allow No. 72 overall prospect Archie Bradley to find his health -- shoulder problems and a line drive to the head limited him to 65 innings -- and his control at Triple-A Reno. While Steamer pegs him as the only D-backs farmhand with a projected WAR of 1.0, it's not an entirely deep field. The former top-10 prospect should welcome the chance to get as many innings as he can.

Give it time: Steamer remains a big fan of Peter O'Brien's power, projecting him to hit 28 homers if given 600 plate appearances. That's equal for the team lead with franchise cornerstone Paul Goldschmidt. But unlike the first baseman, O'Brien isn't projected to add anything else and would actually be below-average offensively on the whole, per the park-adjusted wRC+. O'Brien's value would increase in a big way if he was still a catcher rather than a corner outfielder, and such a move could be back on the table. Even if he's back behind the plate, expect a return to Triple-A Reno for defensive work.

Wild card: Jean Segura got all of the headlines from a Major League perspective in the D-backs-Brewers swap at the end of January, but don't sleep on Tyler Wagner, either. The 25-year-old right-hander comes off a season in which he posted a 2.25 ERA and 1.15 WHIP over 152 1/3 innings at Double-A Biloxi. He struggled in three spot starts for Milwaukee, giving up 11 earned runs over 13 2/3 innings, but that's an incredibly small sample. Wagner should join Bradley in the Reno rotation and provide competition to see who's first up when an extra arm is needed.

Top-100 talent: Unlike Bradley and Wagner, Braden Shipley hasn't cracked the Majors, but he might have the highest ceiling among those expected in the Reno rotation. He'll have more to prove than the other two as the one without a spot on the 40-man roster. Still, Steamer doesn't think the right-hander would even be replacement-level if he hit the Majors now, so plenty of time with the Aces should be just what the doctor -- and projection system -- ordered.

 Colorado Rockies

HITTERS
Rockies POS PA HR SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld WAR
Trevor Story (11) SS/2B 600 16 15 .239 .307 .416 .313 79 0 1.3
Tom Murphy (12) C 450 18 4 .245 .296 .432 .313 79 -0.5 1.3
Cristhian Adames (20) SS 600 7 12 .278 .323 .375 .305 74 1.4 0.1
Jordan Patterson (22) OF/1B 600 16 15 .253 .304 .407 .309 77 0 -0.1
David Dahl (3) OF 600 14 22 .262 .291 .406 .301 71 0 -0.5
Ryan McMahon (5) 3B 600 15 9 .232 .283 .364 .283 59 0 -0.9
Forrest Wall (6) 2B 600 7 17 .217 .262 .297 .248 35 0 -2.7
PITCHERS
Rockies W L ERA GS G IP HR WHIP K/9 BB/9 FIP WAR
Jon Gray (2) 12 12 4.20 32 32 200 25 1.34 8.3 3.2 4.09 2.8
Jeff Hoffman (4) 12 12 4.55 32 32 200 29 1.39 6.2 3.0 4.74 1.1
Carlos Estevez (30) 3 3 3.95 0 65 65 7 1.34 8.5 3.4 3.95 0.4
Sam Moll (23) 3 3 3.92 0 65 65 7 1.35 8.4 3.5 3.99 0.3
Miguel Castro (10) 3 3 4.14 0 65 65 8 1.39 9.1 4.1 4.10 0.2
Jairo Diaz (26) 3 3 4.11 0 65 65 7 1.41 8.8 4.2 4.04 0.2

Most ready: Jon Gray's stuff has looked better than his results at almost every stop since he was drafted third overall in 2013, but because his peripherals also have looked better, Steamer likes his chances to perform at or near the top of the Rockies rotation this season. The 24-year-old right-hander posted an unfortunate 5.53 ERA in nine starts (40 2/3 innings) with Colorado in 2015 but also had an 8.9 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and 3.84 FIP, all of which are solid to very good. The Rockies would love him to carry that second set of numbers over to 2016, even if Steamer thinks they'll be a few ticks worse.

Give it time: Trevor Story didn't play much like a middle infielder last year as he hit 20 homers, stole 22 bases, totaled 70 extra-base hits and produced a .279/.350/.514 line at Double-A New Britain and Triple-A Albuquerque. That looks more the part of a toolsy corner outfielder, even if part of the success came from playing in the offense-rich Pacific Coast League. Perhaps as a result, Steamer isn't entirely sold that he'd hit the ground running in the Majors and provide much more production than your average big league bench option. He'll likely get a chance to prove his ceiling is higher than that of utility infielder back in the PCL. 

Wild card: Speaking of play up the middle, Cristhian Adames parlayed a .311 average and 11 percent strikeout rate at Albuquerque into a September callup last year and is expected to begin the season with the big club. He could be the Rockies' Opening Day shortstop, depending on whether Jose Reyes is suspended for a domestic abuse arrest, and would provide a decent batting average and defense, if little else.

Top-100 talent: The Rockies have built one of the game's more promising farm systems, with right-hander Jeff Hoffman, second baseman Forrest Wall, third baseman Ryan McMahon and outfielder David Dahl joining Gray in MLB.com's top 100 prospects. Of that group, Hoffman -- picked up from the Blue Jays in the Troy Tulowitzki trade -- has the best chance to contribute at the Majors, two years after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Don't rule out Dahl, with a move to Triple-A likely in his age-22 season.

 San Diego Padres

HITTERS
Padres POS PA HR SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld WAR
Carlos Asuaje (19) 2B/3B 600 9 10 .258 .317 .374 .302 84 0 1.1
Travis Jankowski (7) OF 600 5 28 .258 .310 .344 .288 84 -2.8 0.9
Manuel Margot (1) OF 600 9 32 .242 .287 .353 .280 79 0 0.6
Jabari Blash (22) OF 600 23 8 .214 .288 .390 .297 90 0 0.5
Hunter Renfroe (2) OF 600 17 5 .233 .278 .384 .287 84 0 0.4
Jose Rondon (5) SS 600 3 16 .242 .281 .318 .264 67 0 0.3
Alex Dickerson (16) 1B 600 14 5 .250 .301 .392 .300 93 -0.7 0.1
Javier Guerra (3) SS 600 8 19 .206 .238 .285 .230 35 0 -2.1
PITCHERS
Padres W L ERA GS G IP HR WHIP K/9 BB/9 FIP WAR
Colin Rea (4) 10 14 4.20 32 32 200 22 1.35 7.3 3.2 4.12 1.7
Luis Perdomo (9) 10 15 4.28 32 32 200 22 1.37 7.2 3.3 4.24 1.6
Cory Mazzoni (15) 3 3 3.08 0 65 65 5 1.18 9.6 2.9 3.10 0.7
Josh Martin (Rule 5) 3 3 3.43 0 65 65 6 1.25 8.9 3.2 3.49 0.5
Jon Edwards (30) 3 3 3.56 0 65 65 6 1.31 10.7 4.6 3.56 0.3
Blake Smith (Rule 5) 3 4 3.94 0 65 65 6 1.38 8.9 4.4 3.94 0.1
Tayron Guerrero (12) 3 4 4.04 0 65 65 6 1.41 8.9 4.7 4.02 0.0

Most ready: Colin Rea was perhaps the breakout pitcher in the Padres farm system last year, using a 1.08 ERA at Double-A San Antonio, a Futures Game selection and a six-game stint at Triple-A El Paso to vault himself to the Majors by mid-August. He posted a 4.26 ERA and 3.45 FIP over 31 2/3 innings with the Padres over those last two months -- numbers that were solid but don't have him breaking down the door back to San Diego. Steamer has his 1.7 projected WAR as fifth-highest among potential starters, and it'll be up to him this spring to beat out contenders Robbie Erlin, Luis Perdomo and Brandon Maurer for one of the final rotation spots.

Give it time: Manuel Margot was the most highly regarded prospect of the four the Padres picked up from the Red Sox in the Craig Kimbrel trade. And while he had a solid stint at Double-A last year (.271/.326/.419, 19 steals in 64 games), Steamer believes his non-speed offensive tools could use some work before he becomes a realitistic option to patrol center field at Petco Park. Margot was added to the 40-man roster right after the trade and could make for an intriguing September callup, getting a chance to show off his range and speed ahead of competing for a starting spot in 2017.

Wild card: The Padres made as many waves as you can in the Rule 5 Draft by taking four players, all of whom must stay on the Major League roster for the whole season if they're going to stay in San Diego beyond 2016. Luis Perdomo, formerly of the Cardinals, is perhaps the most intriguing Rule 5 option here. The 22-year-old right-hander hasn't pitched above the Class A Advanced level, but compiled a 3.98 ERA and 118 strikeouts over 126 2/3 innings between two stops last season. 

Top-100 talent: Hunter Renfroe's power and outfield arm are exciting tools, but after he hit .259 with a .738 OPS in 112 games at Double-A last season, Steamer believes he'll need plenty of seasoning at El Paso before he can be considered more than a small tick above replacement-level in the Majors. Shortstop Javier Guerra was the second gem in the Kimbrel deal and is a standout defensively, although he surprised many by hitting 15 homers at Class A Greenville. The 20-year-old remains two seasons away from big league consideration.

 San Francisco Giants

HITTERS
Giants POS PA HR SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld WAR
Hunter Cole (17) OF/2B 600 10 7 .247 .294 .370 .290 88 0 0.7
Mac Williamson (13) OF 600 14 5 .251 .313 .383 .304 98 -0.2 0.6
Austin Slater (18) 2B 600 3 8 .247 .286 .323 .269 73 0 0.2
Christian Arroyo (2) SS 600 6 6 .227 .259 .303 .247 59 0 -0.4
PITCHERS
Giants W L ERA GS G IP HR WHIP K/9 BB/9 FIP WAR
Clayton Blackburn (21) 12 12 3.66 32 32 200 20 1.24 7.3 2.6 3.81 2.1
Adaleberto Mejia (12) 12 13 3.87 32 32 200 20 1.33 6.9 3.3 4.07 1.5
Ty Blach (20) 11 13 3.97 32 32 200 22 1.30 5.4 2.3 4.19 1.2
Tyler Beede (1) 11 13 4.23 32 32 200 21 1.39 6.1 3.4 4.41 0.7
Chris Stratton (14) 11 14 4.26 32 32 200 21 1.41 6.5 3.8 4.42 0.6
Derek Law (25) 3 3 3.19 0 65 65 5 1.22 9.1 3.4 3.38 0.4
Steven Okert (9) 3 3 3.25 0 65 65 5 1.27 9.2 3.9 3.51 0.3
Josh Osich (10) 3 3 3.17 0 65 65 5 1.22 9.1 3.4 3.42 0.3
Joan Gregorio (24) 3 3 3.40 0 65 65 5 1.27 8.5 3.5 3.60 0.2
Kyle Crick (6) 3 4 4.15 0 65 65 5 1.47 9.3 5.8 4.17 -0.3
Chase Johnson (26) 4 4 4.07 0 65 65 6 1.37 7.1 3.7 4.22 -0.3

Most ready: Triple-A Sacramento should have a pretty deep rotation by PCL standards, with Clayton Blackburn, Ty Blach, Chris Stratton and Adalberto Mejia expected to occupy spots. Among that group, Steamer likes Blackburn's Major League chances the most right now after the 23-year-old right-hander posted a 2.85 ERA with 99 strikeouts and 32 walks over 123 innings at the Minors' highest level last season. The projections system places him fourth among potential Giants starters with a 2.1 WAR, beating out Jake Peavy (1.5) and Matt Cain (1.4) -- both of whom are expected to be in the Opening Day rotation. Blackburn was added to the 40-man roster in November and should be the leading candidate to receive a call this year if his numbers return and injuries require help in San Francisco.

Give it time: Tyler Beede was the Giants' first-round pick in 2014 and was expected to climb fast after a College World Series-winning career at Vanderbilt. However, his star lost its shine after he posted a 5.23 ERA and averaged 4.4 walks per nine innings in 13 starts (72 1/3 innings) at Double-A Richmond to end his first full season. As such, Steamer doesn't think he'd be much of a Major Leaguer right now, and the Giants will give him plenty of rope to rediscover his form with another trip to the Eastern League.

Wild card: Relievers Derek Law, Steven Okert and Josh Osich have incredibly similar projections. Realistically, Osich is the only one with Major League experience and success (2.20 ERA, 27 strikeouts over 28 2/3 innings) and is a fairly good lock to come out of spring as the big club's second lefty reliever. His fellow southpaw, Okert, is likely headed back to Sacramento, where he had a 3.82 ERA and 69 strikeouts over 61 1/3 innings last season, as is the right-handed Law, who tossed only 25 2/3 innings at Richmond in his first year back from Tommy John surgery. It's notable that Steamer thinks all three could be so similar at the highest level in 2016.

Top-100 talent: Christian Arroyo is the Giants' lone representative on MLB.com's top-100 list after he hit .304/.344/.459 with nine homers in 90 games at Class A Advanced San Jose. He's still at least 18 months away from being part of the Major League conversation -- and even then, who knows exactly where he'll play if Brandon Crawford is still playing an exquisite shortstop -- but with a .303 career average in the Minors, the 2013 first-rounder is showing why some like his offensive potential.

Sam Dykstra is a reporter for MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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