Depth was always the supposed strength of the Dodgers and the Andrew Friedman era. The club has had plenty of useful players on hand in the minor leagues that they could call up in case of injuries. This year is a whole different story. One of the big reasons the Dodgers are mired in second place and continue to lose extra inning games (they are now an unfathomable 1-10) is partially due to the lack of talent in the minors.
Just about every single minor leaguer the Dodgers have called up in 2021 has been horrible. Every player from Oklahoma City or Tulsa has sucked. The Dodgers have been ravaged by injuries this year, so they’ve had to rely heavily on their farm system just to fill out the daily lineups and pitching staff. Check out the numbers here if you don’t believe me, or perhaps if you don’t watch or pay attention to the games.
Sheldon Neuse is hitting .180 with a 45 OPS+. Neuse isn’t fit to be on a little league roster. Luke Raley, almost equally as bad is also hitting .180 and has gone 9 for 50 this season. The list goes on. Zach Reks, a 27-year old rookie is 0 for 10. DJ Peters hit .192 before being demoted. The pitchers are just as incompetent. Edwin Uceta has recorded an 8.10 ERA. Darien Nunez has allowed six runs over 7.1 innings. Dennis Santana allowed 11 runs and 11 walks across 15 frames before being dumped. The list of bums goes on and on and on and on.
There are very few if any impact players in the minor leagues right now. One that comes to mind is catching prospect Keibert Ruiz whom the Dodgers refuse to call-up. On the pitching side Josiah Gray has already made his Dodgers debut, not many else after those two. Sure the Dodgers do have a couple of decent looking prospects in the low minors like Michael Busch and Diego Cartaya, but almost nobody else in the upper minors.
It’s astonishing the amount of sub Mendoza line hitting minor leaguers and journeymen relievers the Dodgers have in the organization, and most of them are now on the Dodger’s roster, playing or starting in games. Tonight’s lineup against the Rockies included Neuse, Raley, and Billy Mckinney (the Dodger’s newest retread utility guy) all batting consecutively.
The Dodgers have suffered a myriad of injuries to Mookie Betts, Clayton Kershaw, Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager, Scott Alexander, Jimmy Nelson, and Gavin Lux. What surprises me most is how the front office can honestly think that those Minor league utility bums are even replacement level. Is Andrew Friedman and the player development team this bad at judging talent?
With nearly the entire farm system completely useless this year, the Dodgers are going to have to seek out help from outside the organization at the trade deadline. Regardless of where they finish in 2021, the Dodgers are going to have to completely wipe out the Oklahoma City and Tulsa rosters (with a couple of exceptions) and start from scratch. Otherwise, don’t count on any help to come from the upper minor leagues.