As part of the new rules for the 2020 Major League season, each of the 30 organizations will maintain a 60-man player pool for the duration of the campaign. Some members of the player pool will feature on the active Major League roster while others will work out at an
As part of the new rules for the 2020 Major League season, each of the 30 organizations will maintain a 60-man player pool for the duration of the campaign. Some members of the player pool will feature on the active Major League roster while others will work out at an alternate training site in the hopes of staying fresh for a potential call up or getting in much-needed development time.
The MiLB.com staff is rounding up the notable prospects in each organization’s 60-man player pool and analyzing what the new system will mean for their 2020 seasons.
With five Top-100 prospects in their player pool, the Dodgers once again are set around the board. Los Angeles boasts one of the best lineups in baseball and its third-ranked farm system is not far from joining the party. In fact, most of the top prospects included in the pool are Major League-ready and more likely than not will impact the big league club. Gavin Lux -- the second overall prospect in the game -- headlines the group, with guys like Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin and newly acquired Brusdar Graterol right behind him.
Gavin Lux, SS/2B -- Coming into 2020, there was little doubt that the club's No. 1 prospect Gavin Lux would land on the Dodgers' 25-man roster. A 60-game season has changed many things, but Lux's usage won't be one of them. The 22-year-old had a career year in 2019 and earned two promotions in the process -- one of them a September callup to the big leagues. Lux opened the year with Double-A Tulsa, but was at Triple-A level by the end of June. In 49 games with Oklahoma City, Lux ripped 13 homers and drove in 39 runs while posting a .392/.478/.719 slash line. After making his big league debut, he continued to flash his 60-grade hit and power tools and was able to play himself into a nearly everyday role for the club. Over 22 games in The Show, the lefty hit .240 with a .705 OPS and racked up four doubles and two big flies. The 2016 first-rounder proved he could handle the big stage -- he made the Dodgers' National League Division Series playoff roster and launched a pinch-hit solo shot in the eighth inning of Game 1. To cap off the year, he was named the Dodgers' Minor League Player of the Year after leading the system with 159 hits and 278 total bases. Lux long has been prized for his advanced skill and versatility. The lefty slugger has an advanced approach at the plate and also possesses a run tool of 60. He can man both middle infield positions, but he'll see most of his playing time at second base. Provided he stays healthy, Lux's inclusion on the Opening Day roster is all but inevitable -- and he'll make one of the best lineups in baseball even more lethal.
Dustin May, RHP -- May was another highly touted prospect who played his way onto a playoff roster last season and his path to the Majors mirrored Lux. The 22-year-old right-hander started the year in the Texas League but breezed his way to Los Angeles by the beginning of August. In 20 starts across two Minor League levels, May posted a 6-5 record with a 3.38 ERA and 110 strikeouts through 106 2/3 frames. With the Dodgers, the No. 23 overall prospect was primarily used as a relief option, but he did start four games. In 14 big league appearances, May put up a 2-3 record and a 3.63 ERA. The sixth-ranked right-hander's arsenal runs deep -- his primary pitch is a strong two-seam fastball he often pairs with a cutter or a sharp curveball. The Dodgers were cautious with May after he developed soreness in his side in early February. But the team is optimistic he'll be healthy and stretched out through the remainder of summer camp. Should that be the case, May will provide valuable depth in both the rotation and bullpen.
Josiah Gray, RHP -- The recipient of Los Angeles' Minor League Pitcher of the Year award last season has already made quite the impact in his limited professional career. Last season marked the 22-year-old's first full campaign and his first with the Dodgers after the offseason trade that sent Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp to the Reds. Gray opened the year with Class A Great Lakes, impressing quickly and moving up to the California League five weeks into the season. After notching a 7-0 record and a 2.14 ERA over 12 starts, the No. 67 overall prospect was promoted again. He finished the year with a 2.75 ERA for Double-A Tulsa. Across three levels, Gray put up an 11-2 record and a 2.28 ERA with a 0.99 WHIP. Through 130 innings, he punched out 147 and held batters to a .207 average. He's likely still a year or so away from big league consideration, but his early dominance along with exposure in the prospect pool will aid his development.
Keibert Ruiz, C -- 2020 was supposed to be a crucial year for Keibert Ruiz. The top Dodgers catching prospect struggled at times last season, putting up a .254/.329/.330 slash line in 76 games for Tulsa. He was promoted to the Pacific Coast League in late July, but landed on the Injured List two weeks later -- which ultimately marked the end of his season. There are still aspects of the game that Ruiz could improve on -- he threw out just 23 percent of baserunners last season -- but offensively, he shows excellent plate discipline. In 314 at-bats, the 21-year-old struck out just 22 times.
Brusdar Graterol, RHP -- Graterol's another intriguing right-hander in Los Angeles' system, and this is just his first year in the organization. Once one of the top Twins prospects, the Dodgers acquired the reliever in February in the Kenta Maeda deal. The 21-year-old dominated across three levels of the Minors last season, sporting a 1.92 ERA while stifling hitters to a .179 average-against. Graterol made his Major League debut for Minnesota in September, posting a 4.66 ERA over 10 games. The No. 83 overall prospect is equipped with a triple-digit fastball accompanied by a trusty slider and a changeup that needs a bit more polish. Given questions regarding his durability -- he has yet to top 102 innings in any of his five pro seasons -- Graterol is likely a bullpen option.
Tony Gonsolin, RHP -- The sixth-ranked Dodgers prospect doubles as a sturdy rotation piece or a long relief option out of the bullen, but his versatility shouldn't come as a surprise given that Gonsolin was a two-way player at St. Mary's in California. The 26-year-old opened 2019 in the notoriously hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League -- he was tagged for a 4.35 ERA, but held down a 10.9 K/9 ratio. The Vacaville, California, native made his big league debut at the end of June and established himself as a dependable arm down the stretch. He made 11 appearances -- six starts -- and went 4-2 with a 2.93 ERA. He'll likely see a good portion of Major League time this year, as he can slot into multiple roles for the ballclub.
Michael Busch, 2B -- A late addition to the player pool, Busch is coming off his first professional season after being taken with the 31st overall pick in the 2019 Draft. Los Angeles didn't get to see much of the 22-year-old however, as Busch played in just 10 games due to injury. Still, the eighth-ranked prospect made a name for himself at North Carolina State, establishing himself as one of the top collegiate hitters. Although he primarily played first base and occasionally left field in college, the Dodgers are trying Busch out at second base. His inclusion in the pool will help smoothen that transition.
Diego Cartaya, C -- At 18 years old, Cartaya is a ways away from Major League action, but the Dodgers are sold on his projection. In 49 games at the Rookie level last year, the backstop put up a combined .281/.343/.432 slash line and flashed some power with 12 doubles and four homers while legging out a pair of triples. Cartaya boasts a 60-grade arm and a high ceiling -- he'll get some valuable reps working with big leaguers both behind and at the plate.
Mitchell White, RHP -- The team's No. 11 prospect stood out at the beginning of the 2019 season, when he recorded a 2.10 ERA over seven starts for Double-A Tulsa. However, that success didn't quite carry over to Triple-A following an early-May promotion. The 25-year-old battled through multiple stints on the Injured List, ultimately posting a 6.50 ERA over 60 2/3 frames. White will have the opportunity to fine-tune his secondary pitches and work on increasing his fastball velocity in the player pool. Should he do so, he may be an option in the bullpen if needed.
DJ Peters, OF -- Throughout his career, Peters has showcased himself as a power hitter. He reinforced that impression last season when the 13th-ranked Dodgers barreled 23 homers across the Texas and Pacific Coast leagues. He has a plus arm and is projected to slot into right field. Los Angeles has plenty of outfielders, but with his pronounced power and improved approach at the plate, Peters is a solid option to have waiting in the wings.
Other notables: Right-hander Dennis Santana (No. 16) has split time between the Majors and the Minors since 2018. He fanned 105 batters over 93 1/3 Minor League innings last year. ... Gerardo Carrillo (No. 17) logged 86 innings in the California League and sports a fastball that has topped out at 100 mph. With more controlled command, he could emerge as a mid-rotation starter or a durable relief option. ... Eighteenth-ranked Edwin Rios possesses consistent defensive versatility and a solid power bat. His ability to play both corner infield positions and roam the infield, combined with the 1.010 OPS he put up in 28 Major League games last year could push him onto the Opening Day roster. ... Michael Grove's 2019 season was about rebuilding arm strength in his return from Tommy John surgery. The Dodgers were expected to turn the 23-year-old loose this season -- but he'll continue to build up his strength and stamina in the player pool. ... Zach McKinstry (No. 20) is yet another valuable, versatile piece in the Dodgers system. He had a breakout year in 2019, posting a .300/.366/.516 line across Double-A and Triple-A and is already on the 40-man roster. ... No. 21 Victor Gonzalez rose from the California League to the Pacific Coast League last year, amassing a combined 2.31 ERA over the three levels. Ideally, the Dodgers project the 24-year-old as a starter, although they could elect to use him in the bullpen if needed. ... Omar Estevez (No. 24) can play second base and shortstop, although he's better suited at the former, where he spent the majority of his time in 2019. In 83 games for Tulsa, the 22-year-old logged a .291/.352/.431 line with 129 total bases. ... Edwin Uceta (No. 25) racked up an 11-2 record and a 2.77 ERA through 26 appearances (24 starts) between the California and Texas leagues. ... No. 30 Andre Jackson rounds up the team's plethora of right-handers. In his first full year, he was promoted to Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga, where he went 7-2 with a 3.06 ERA and 141 strikeouts over 114 2/3 innings spanning 25 starts.
Katie Woo is an editorial producer for Minor League Baseball. Follow her on twitter at @katiejwoo.