Monday, November 30, 2015

Dodgers Top Prospect Lists Show Value in Keeping Youngsters

The trade deadline for baseball always brings talk of who has the "win now" mentality to go out and make a trade and land a big name pitcher/hitter.  This past deadline was no different and saw the Blue Jays, Royals, Mets, and many other teams trade minor league talent in order to acquire players they deemed necessary to help them make the Postseason.  Big names like Johnny Cueto, Yoenis Cespedes, David Price, and a large handful of other names swapped teams for hoards of minor leaguers.  As things played out and the final victor was crowned the World Series, the huge drawback rears its ugly head and shows the risk in trading for rental players with prospects.

The Blue Jays and Mets were two franchises that were hungry for the Postseason and the teams made big trades to secure those aspirations.  Both teams came close but both teams ended up a bit short in the end and now David Price is unlikely to sign back with the Jays and the Mets haven't made a big push to get Cespedes back with his high asking price. The Royals were able to have their risks pay off and they ended up winning it all which shows that the risks can sometimes pay off.  However, now the Royals will probably not be signing back any of their acquisitions and are now left with certain holes needing to be addressed which makes their future contention a mystery.  So why am I talking about all of this?  Mainly to show why the Dodgers played it smart this deadline by not getting the bigger names and unloading their farm system to get them.

Earlier today, Fangraphs released a top 100 prospect list based on a their KATOH system ranking prospects by how much WAR they figure to provide their ball clubs by their age 28 season.  The Dodgers' prospects landed 9 spots on the list with 3 of the names (Corey Seager, Julio Urias, and Alex Verdugo) cracking the top 10.  Baseball America's Ben Badler also released a write up on his ranking of the Dodgers top 10 prospects and praises the depth saying, "They built that pipeline without the luxury of picking high in the draft and instead have done it through astute scouting and coaching."  With such a large payroll and the stigma floating around about rich teams just "buying" talent, it's impressive to see the newly top payroll Dodgers have such a robust farm system.  In recent years it was very top heavy with a big drop off from the top few names but with a bigger focus on replenishing the farm, the Dodgers now have a very solid list of names. 

Alex Verdugo made waves in 2015 putting him on many scouts' radars
What this all leads back to is why criticizing the Dodgers for not going out and trading for a Price or a Cueto or a Cespedes is that in the end it most likely would've ended up just being a bust anyway.  The Blue Jays and Mets specifically needed to just make the playoffs with their trades and the fan bases of each would most likely settle for that while the Dodgers have been there and done that and need a World Series if their current roster is to be deemed a success by the general public.  Could David Price have maybe put the Dodgers in the World Series?  Perhaps, but the Dodgers didn't need him.  If they had survived Daniel Murphy's unbelievable Postseason tear, it would not have even mattered that they didn't get Price.  The Dodgers new ownership is past the growing pains and is now settling in to make a push to not only have the Dodgers compete year after year but do so with some of the best talent in the game without needing to "sell the farm."  Now the Dodgers are in a position where their financial muscles can give them the power to spend where they need to while ensuring their depth charts are set for security in the future.  Year by year the new ownership is finding ways to strengthen the roster and farm system so that the risk of bust is constantly decreasing.  The Dodgers aren't settling for win now, they're aiming for win every year. 

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