The Kids Are Great, But Let’s Temper Our Expectations

DJ Peters

One of the great things about spring training is getting a look at a lot of the young prospects. Many of them are slated to begin the season in the minor leagues. We’ve gotten an extended look at quite a few of the burgeoning young prospects. These young kids are a delight to watch and it’s easy to see their talent ready to explode. The rookies are the future of the Dodgers.

Guys like Keibert Ruiz, Will Smith, Yaisel Sierra, Edwin Rios, Dennis Santana, DJ Peters, Jake Peter and other prospects have been given a chance to showcase their abilities. They’re definitely knocking on the door. I love evaluating and watching prospects as much as the next guy. However it’s important to remember that if any of those guys are playing for the big club this year outside of a September call-up then something has gone horribly wrong.

Most of those kids are the depth that everyone loves to talk about. Some of them are still developing and a couple of them might be ready to see MLB action sooner than we think. But let’s not get too excited yet. Let’s pump the brakes, because as I mentioned above if any of these guys (outside of Walker Buehler, or Alex Verdugo) are on the major league roster this year than that probably means somebody has gotten hurt, or landed on the disabled list. That’s never a good thing.

DJ Peters and Jake Peter both look like intriguing and athletic players. Neither of them are making the club right now. Peters is an outfielder and the Dodgers have a slew of outfielders ahead of him on the depth chart. He’ll probably start the season in single-A or double-A ball. Peter is an infielder, primarily a second baseman. Obviously there’s nowhere for him to play right now since Logan Forsythe is not going anywhere. Maybe a spot opens up next year if Forsythe leaves.

Edwin Rios is a power hitting third baseman. But Justin Turner is going to be there for a long time. He’s so young too, only 23-years old. Perhaps he’ll see some at-bats in September when rosters expand as well. Keibert Ruiz is one of the top rated catching prospects in baseball, but perhaps he’s not ready for big league action just yet. After all he’s only 19-years old and has yet to play above Rancho. There’s also Austin Barnes, Yasmani Grandal, and Kyle Farmer already well ahead of him.

It’s the same with a lot of the young hurlers too. You get the message here. The minor leagues are your depth and it’s great to know that these kids are there in case of an emergency. One day these kids will be the guys playing at Chavez Ravine. Or maybe some of them will get traded. Either way we’re all glad they are here and look forward to seeing more. But not this year, and not right now. That’s why we should probably temper our expectations just a little until the time is right for the kids to blossom. Just a reminder.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic Cheap MLB Tickets

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62 thoughts on “The Kids Are Great, But Let’s Temper Our Expectations

  1. I would very much hope to see Yaisel Sierra this year at some point. He’s not a kid anymore and we spent a ton on him. The bullpen is a AAA – MLB shuttle anyways.

    The rest? Yeah. No matter how highly we think of them, most of them are 1-2 years away, some likely 3. My personal favorites Ruiz and Peters are 2 years away at least. That’s why I think our farm club will be top 5 next year, because the next wave will remain prospects for a while yet.

  2. Just when I thought I could get away, they pull me back in. FAZ has gotten very few if any excellent players by trading but the farm seems real stable. I pull for them as that is all we will get. Go Farm.

    1. So, you’re saying FAZ are not good traders but are excellent farmers.

      It’s good to have a skill.

      It’s also good to have a blend of veterans and youth We appear to have that, though 2 years ago I had De Leon and Urias in the rotation and this year I had Beuhler. We need the young pitching to step up. 2018 would be a good year to see all of them dip their toes into Major League water.

  3. Peters was in high A last year at Rancho. He steps up this year and will probably be at Tulsa. Rios is a terrible fielder at 3rd, which is why he is playing 1st exclusively this spring. He will be at AAA as trade fodder while Beatty mans 1st at Tulsa. Peter is injury insurance and probably the first minor league call up.

  4. The Rockies are heartless……..how in the world can they send Shawn O’Malley to the minors the day before St Patty’s day? That’s just wrong….

    1. *********************** ************
      Mary Clancy goes up to Father O’Grady after
      his Sunday morning service, and she’s in tears.
      He says, “So what’s bothering you, Mary my
      dear?”
      She says, “Oh, Father, I’ve got terrible news.
      My husband passed away last night.”
      The priest says, “Oh, Mary, that’s terrible.
      Tell me, Mary, did he have any last requests?”
      She says, “That he did, Father.”

      The priest says, “What did he ask, Mary? ”
      She says, He said, ‘Please Mary, put down
      that damn gun…’

    2. Mr Norris
      Question: I know you said you were around Larry and Norm Sherry back in the day and I was just wondering, was Larry a nice person or just a little boy’s hero along with Sandy who was just a run of the mill Jock? I once traded a small bicycle for a Larry Sherry baseball card. Not much of a businessman even then.

      1. Package

        I Just looked at the box score of the game today, and Bellinger was the only one with two hits today, so he might be coming a round, with his timing, now.

        1. MJ
          Yes, I expect him to be in form by opening day. He still needs to work on his strikeouts. I think he had a HR today.

          1. Package

            Yes he did hit one out yesterday, I didn’t know that, until I read about the game, in the LA Times.

      2. Package: Both Larry and Norm were really nice people. The genuinely liked kids. When they were getting ready to go to Vero, they would go to a field called Arroyo Seco Park. There was a diamond there that did not have a fence and it was a regulation field. They would let us kids know they were going down there and we would go and shag balls for them. I even got to get in the batters box against Sherry when I was 11. He was nice and threw me a floater. I banged it into left field and was pretty proud I even hit it. They would always give us a ball when the day was over. In those days for a kid, having a major league ball was huge. Never thought to get it autographed. I was going to use it! Larry actually gave the boy who lived next door to him the glove he used in the 1959 series. Tommy Davis was great when I met him too. Really open about hitting. I got his autograph 25 years later on autograph day at Dodger Stadium. He autographed the first baseman’s mitt I had at the time. All of the players I ever met in person were really nice people. Even after I was all grown up. I met Duke Snider at a baseball card show in Anaheim. The picture he autographed that day, and I did not have to pay for it, is framed and on my wall. Duke was and is my all time favorite. I even patterned my stance after his. I saw and talked to Norm in 1974 when he was managing the El Paso Diablos of the Texas league. We talked for about 10 minutes and he remembered us kids shagging for him. Ron Fairly and Jim Lefebvre were there when we shagged. Lefebvre was a bat boy at the time. I got to know Wes Parker the best. Met him at a card show. Gave him tickets to a show I was doing at Georges Round Up in Long Beach and he helped me get to sing the National Anthem at Dodger Stadium in 81. Highlight of my life in a lot of ways. Being on that field and in the dugout was awesome. On that Diablos team was a young second baseman who never made it to the majors because he had a serious injury that year. But I think you may have heard of him……his name is Kurt Russell. Yep…the actor. He was a pretty good player. Was hitting over 360 when he got hurt.

          1. Yes I do. I loved playing the game and listening to Vin and Jerry on the radio. I had a transistor and listened to the games when I went to bed.

  5. This is a direct consequence of the team not having tanked or rebuilt. The current Front Office, as we have noted many times, inherited a very good team and good core. Why jettison those players just to give spots to prospects?

    Instead the team is allowing the prospects to slot in as needs open. Bellinger when A-Gone fell off a cliff (has anyone noted his dreadful splits in NY?), Seager, Kike, Barnes.

    It’s also a result of the team having resources. They were able to spin a prospect into Chris Taylor, turn a minor league free agent claim into Toles.

    Prospects can also be used, as Scott alludes, to procure talent. Perhaps for the Dodgers this will be their prime use given the above.

    Cingrani, Hill, Darvish, etc.

    1. Bluto

      Like I told Michael, why would anyone look at a veteran player’s numbers, in spring training.

      Because they don’t mean much.

        1. Bluto

          Kemp has a very long record of playing in Major League Baseball, and so does Agone.

          You are the one that said these two players have no value, not me!

          I am not only basing my opinion on just Kemp’s performance, in spring training!

          Agone is not having to prove himself, like Kemp is, on the Dodgers.

          And unlike you, I don’t base my opinions, on only numbers, that is what you do!

          1. Neither of them has value.

            Stop changing the subject. We are talking about you saying preseason means nothing and then citing Kemp’s good preseason .

            That is ALL I mentioned.

            Gonzalez is doing poorly. He did poorly last year too. Kemp is doing well, he didn’t do too welll last year.

          2. Market value. Which I guess is both. If any team valued him, they would (in theory) want to trade for him?

            Maybe. Maybe not.

            Haven’t thought it through fullub

          3. I still believe if he can improve his defense to replacement level his offense will be good enough to have value to this team. I also submit that if he does win the starting left field job Dave Roberts disagrees with you.

          4. I think that final point is interesting.

            the team proved with Crawford that they are willing to pay a player to sit at home if they have no value to the team, but it took a good portion of the season.

            Not sure if that will happen again with Kemp. I do not forsee them pulling a Crawford with him before the season starts.

        2. The difference this spring between Kemp and A-Gone is that Kemp has something to prove. The Mets signed A-Gone for his experience and leadership. Just like the Dodgers signed Utley for the same reason. Utley is having a lousy spring but he is going to be on the roster come March 29th.

    1. Badger

      Sounds like a typical young pitcher’s numbers, at the major league level.

      He will need to learn the major league strike zone.

      Urías had problems with that, when he was pitching in the majors too.

      Did his fastball have movement?

      Because they were saying he might have been over throwing, at the major league level last year.

      And because of that, it caused his fastball, to look to straight.

      1. He threw a couple that were pretty nasty MJ. His fastball does move, but he was missing his spots and ran the count up a few times. He hit over 97 a bunch of times. The pitch that was missing was the down and in fastball to lefty’s. But he managed to get outs. Font on the other hand was putting his pitches right in the middle of the plate and paid for that. Worst part of the game was having to listen to Brenley and Brandon Webb, who are part of the D-Backs broadcast team.

    2. That was a hell of a busy year for the brain trust to juggle all of those transactions! I am of the opinion that they’ve done a lot of behind the scenes work to make this team functional, profitable, and un-sexy. But, we’ve won how many division titles? Had a remarkable year in 2017, and the prospects look better than ever. That isn’t chopped liver.

      Sexiness is the missing element in our boys. Bellinger, Kershaw, Turner, Taylor, and Wood, have gone a long way to restoring this slowly. Every team is a work in progress unless you’re the Yankees.

      1. Every year looks like that Jeff. They have been busy. It’s my observation that for every Chris Taylor there is a half dozen Kazmir’s and Olivera’s. That could be true with every organization, I don’t know. Yes, the Dodgers have been successful the 3 seasons Friedman has been here, but honestly most of the starting lineups that have done it were guys that were already here. I’m still waiting for their draft choices and IM signings to step in and be great. I see a few who look like they can do it. This is year 4, time for the FAZ influence to manifest.

        1. Free agent signings don’t seem to be their strong point, especially pitchers. But, you may be shortchanging the step by step effect they are having on the club. The addition of Taylor and the forcing out of Agone were big strategic moves that had impact on the team. So was the stockpiling of pitchers for the rotation and bullpen. You saw how they whittled down the rotation and got the lefties like Cingrani involved in the final stretch and playoffs. Unless you are the Yankees, and go out and buy your talent, it is a step by step process that looks agonizingly slow to fans. There is no question that they have had a positive influence on the ‘re-building’ of the club. Sure, they’ve made some mistakes. It comes with the territory. I also don’t like their style but I can’t disagree with the results, so far. Darvish was a gamble.

          The farm is the jewel in the crown. It should be yielding some good returns. In the next 2-3 years, when there are some more starters from the farm and lower payroll, we might see some major signings of top end pitchers. Urias doesn’t seem to have yielded what they hoped for.

          1. Well said.

            AGon became an injured player or he might still be here. The decision on him became easy. On Taylor I’ll agree.

            The system was stacked when they got here, but I’ll give you they aren’t draining it. We still look very good there.

            I’ve been clear from the beginning that I wasn’t crazy about much of what they were doing. Their early deadline moves I found weak, and the signing of McCarthy was a Garrison size red flag to me. I was familiar with him. Reading year by year their moves is an also eye opener. So many transactions and not much that stood out.

            I’m not anti FAZ. I’m still hopeful what they are doing will actually work. Just because I would have done many things differently doesn’t mean I think they are screwing it up.

            I’m doing my best to understand how this game is being run now. It’s difficult for the old coach to accept that his way of playing is now outdated. I still value fundamentals, but I believe I define them differently than today’s thinkers do. I value speed, line drives, hitting behind runners, hitting the cutoff and backing up baes. I’ve always valued OBP. I don’t recall OPS, but who didn’t like sluggers? However I encouraged the slugger to also strive to hit .300. Much of that is gone, replaced by the processes of young men who quantify everything and in doing so give my team guys like Kazmir, Kiké, Grandal, Beachy, Latos the afore mentioned McBrittle and list goes on.

            Close the deal. Bring us a championship and I’m on board.

      2. They have won 5 in a row. But 2 of those were on Colletti’s watch. The farm system has actually dropped in the ratings the last couple of years. They still do things on the cheap. Lots of guys with injury history’s. Same ol FAZ. They are under the Tax now, so expect more of the same.

    3. That was interesting. I had long forgotten some of those guys. Isn’t it interesting that Corcino is still in the organization? He pitched yesterday. I do remember a couple of those pitchers actually made a start for the Dodgers that year. Boy they signed a bunch of arms.

  6. I just read that Roberts said that Kemp wasn’t a platoon player, and of course, I am not surprised by that.

    He is just a better hitter, then the other left field candidates.

    1. MJ
      Right on MJ! Kemp is the man for sure. I just hope he gets plenty of time to show himself and I believe he will have the position all year and celebrating a WS win

      1. For all the obvious reasons I hope Kemp is in the 5 hole on Opening Day, but to be honest one reason I hope he is there is admittedly shallow – in your face FAZ. He’s a player that Friedman and Zaidi clearly never wanted. They unloaded him as quickly as possible when they got here (one month in) and only brought him back in a salary dump. I still believe they would dump again this morning if they could. Come on Matt, be great again. Comeback Player of the Year is yours for the taking.

        1. Badger
          That is the reason I wrote MJ that I hoped they would give Matty plenty of time to show himself. FAZ has no use for Matt but even the year they traded him he was poised to have a great year but they unloaded him anyway. I know Bluto also wants him gone but he does have value and I too hope he is Comeback Player of the Year.

          1. One other thing Badger, KiKi has been retained for years while showing he could not hit the ball out of his shadow. Why? Because he is one of FAZs boys. Kemp would never get that much rope.

          2. I believe he’s been given opportunity strictly for the purpose of moving him. We already have a crowded house in left field, with some very good players having to share time and others that will have to be shipped out. That is going on while we have Utley taking a roster spot. Left field and second base. Yin and yang? Seems the balance is missing.

            And Kemp “not a platoon player”. OK. PC thing to say, but one has to wonder how many at bats Toles will be given out there. ZiPS has him with over 300, Composite 129. I’m going in between those two.

            Kiké OPS’d .946 v LHP last year.

          3. OMG.

            I don’t care one way or the other about Kemp. I echo a lot of what Badger recompiles. The front office wanted to move him, I thought they would/could.

            Don’t attribute erroneous things please.

        2. I’m rooting for him, too. But, FAZ was correct in moving Kemp. He was a problem, declining every year in production. The fascination was always nostalgic with Kemp. His chance to resurrect and change perceptions of him is at hand. Let’s see what happens. Moving him later this season will depend on how well he plays and what kind of deal is offered. We have some talent waiting in the wings, though. Cheap, too!

      2. Package

        Roberts talked about more then 500 at bats, so I think we will see a lot of Kemp, if he continues to produce.

  7. Ran out of time with my edit pack.

    I agree that Kiké is a FAZ favorite. And I think he is because of his versatility and ability to hit left handers well. Under other circumstances he and Toles platooning in left field would likely produce positive results – and to be honest since both are FAZ guys it’s not a stretch to believe that would be preferable to the front office. We have 3 left handed and 2 right handed Major League left fielders. We have a standout middle infielder playing center and for no other reason than Forsythe can’t hit right handed pitching we have Utley. I say again – balance.

    1. Badger

      I don’t see Faz necessarily favoring their players, but they probably do to a point, because they have given Joc a lot of time to try to hit, and I am still not convinced, that Joc will be sent down to AAA.

          1. Badger
            Just a note on KiKi, Yes, he did OPS .946 last year against lefthanders but he OPSed .668 in 2016. I think FAZ likes to hang out the fact that KiKi hits lefthanders well to justify keeping him, but in reality I am not sure what his OPS career is? Let’s face it, they LOVE KiKi. Good point on Utley, not sure he should be kept just for clubhouse presence.

        1. Package

          That was my point!

          Joc wasn’t drafted by this front office, but they have gave him quite a bit time, to try to prove himself.

  8. They looked like genius’s their first year when Kike in a part time roll hit over .300, played almost everywhere and had some clutch home runs. Not so much the second year when he totally tanked. Oh he hit lefty’s and had some homers, but he stunk up the joint for the most part. Last year was not all that much better as all he did was hit lefty’s and nobody else. He did have a pretty good playoff run which along with his ability to play multiple positions is why he is still a Dodger. Joc was a Logan White pick. Had great success in the minors and has not been able to harness that and have consistency. He also had a pretty good playoff run. But it is telling that the only person right now who has put Joc in a positive light is Dave Roberts. He said yesterday that he is pleased with Joc’s approach. The results are not there. I have watched almost every televised game. Joc has struck out a bunch, nothing new there, but what has been disturbing is that even when he has gotten hits, he is not really driving the ball like before. I am convinced he will be at AAA when the season opens. Simple math…he has options left.

    1. Mr. Norris
      Even though Joc played well in the WS, he has not had a good spring and I believe his time is over. Be it in the minors or traded to someone else. Too bad, he has a decent eye.

  9. Roberts is publicly giving Joc props to keep the kid’s spirit up, as he’s going to get sent down to the AAA. Like Michael said, the results are not there.

    1. After todays game Joc is hitting .132 with an OPS of a little over .300….he is toast my friends. On his way to OKC for sure and maybe to another team by the deadline.

      1. If Lux isn’t one, trade Joc for a Gold Glove SS prospect that maybe hasn’t hit yet but has 20/10 vision. I’m a firm believer in “if you can see the ball you can hit the ball.”

  10. Lux is not the one, Badger. I am just not a believer. That was a good gamble but we need to trade Lux before he graduates from AAA.

    He needs to be traded for Logan White, seriously. Great farm systems do squat if they are blocked. One really has to look at the MLB and the farm system as an ecosystem, and we want to be in a virtuous cycle instead of a death spiral.

    We have a very good prospect-blocking-NL West winning-squad right now. It’s time to hire a head scout who specializes in the next generation of high schoolers like Kershaw, Seager, Bellinger, etc.

    If it were up to me, I would be drafting high schoolers with my first 1-5 round picks for 2019 and 2020.

    Because we don’t have any space for youngsters until after 2022.

    1. Gavin Lux is the guy you describe here Yueh. 6’2” first round high school pick. Looking at his stats it would appear he has potential to hit, and though his range factor looks decent, his fielding percentage doesn’t. 37 errors in 65 games last year, fldg % of .933. Maybe minor league fields have something to do with it. Doubt it though.

      Turner is signed through ‘20, age 35, and if he makes it there healthy I still see Seager moving to third in his age 26 year, opening SS for Lux at age 23. If he ain’t the guy we better have an alternative plan. Omar Estevez? He hits better, but what I read says he doesn’t really fit on the left side. Drew Jackson? He’s 24. Hit .234 at AA.

      It would appear our strength in the minors is P, OF, and C.

      1. As Michael Norris noted, the system has slipped a bit, but remains top ten despite losing Bellinger, Barnes, Seager, et. al.

        Sickels updated his top 20.

        https://www.minorleagueball.com/2017/11/16/16652008/los-angeles-dodgers-top-20-prospects-for-2018

        Summary: “A deep system with considerable mid-range depth. I will be around in the comments to answer questions, elaborate on the other C+ guys, etc.”

        Good 1B quality with Beatty, Rios and Isabel.

        Not bad middle infielders with Estevez, Jackson, Mejia, Santana and Lux, but YF’s point is great.

        If you have a World Series team, most of your prospects are going to be blocked.

        It’s a good problem to have, and one that used to be addressable with the International Market, where the players are generally just out of HS, if that.

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