Tagged: 100, america, angeles, austin, barnes, baseball, betts, buehler, busch, clayton, dodgers, dustin, gray, josiah, julio, keibert, kershaw, los, max, may, michael, mookie, muncy, prospects, ruiz, smith, top, urias, walker, will
MemberJanuary 27, 2021 at 10:17 am
Last week Baseball America published their 100 top prospects for the 2021 season. The Dodgers have 3 players on that list: Keibert Ruiz, #53; Josiah Gray, #68; and Michael Busch, #87. Let’s take a closer look at each of these players and when/how we will see them help out at the Major League level.
Catcher Keibert Ruiz made his MLB debut last year when Will Smith went on the Injured List in mid-August and promptly hit a homerun in his first at-bat against Julio Teheran and the Angels! Signed as a Venezuelan prospect in 2014 particularly for his defensive ability, Ruiz has surprised with his growing offensive prowess and has moved up the farm system quickly because of it. Still only 22 years old, Ruiz is a switch-hitter who excels at hitting for contact with some power from the left side. With better pitch selection, more power will come. His potential as a solid defender relies on his ability to stay focused as he has mental lapses on the field and isn’t the best at throwing runners out. I expect to see Ruiz in the Majors in 2021, as an injury replacement to Smith or Austin Barnes. Beyond 2021 I anticipate the Dodgers to either trade Barnes or let him walk and go forward with Smith and Ruiz sharing time at catcher.
Next, let’s discuss Josiah Gray, a starting pitcher who’s MLB debut is seemingly gaining more attention by the day. Acquired in the 2018 trade along with Jeter Downs (later traded for Mookie Betts) from the Cincinnati Reds for Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, and Kyle Farmer, Gray has since expanded his potential. The former shortstop won the Los Angeles Dodgers Minor League Pitcher of The Year Award in 2019 with a high grade fastball, a solid slider and a slow curveball. We should see Gray in the Majors this year, probably in a similar fashion in which we saw Dustin May in 2019. He could be called up sooner, though, depending on potential needs. In the long-term we hope Gray can be a dependable starter in the Dodgers’ youthful rotation, highlighted by Walker Buehler, Julio Urías, May, and presumably an aging Clayton Kershaw.
The 31st pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, Michael Busch, is the third Dodger in Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects list. I personally see his MLB comparison as Max Muncy, current first baseman of the World Champions. Like Muncy, Busch controls the strike zone and has a high walk rate. His discipline allows him to wait for his pitch and do damage when he gets it. Busch’s ability to hit for both average and power will put him in the lineup and the Dodgers are hoping at second base. He played at first base and left field in college but has pretty good athleticism for his stocky build. We’ll probably be able to see him and Muncy in the lineup together in 2022, should his current trajectory hold still.
Is there anything we missed? Any other prospect we should keep an eye on? Let us know in the comments!
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