Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers have five prospects who received recognition on Baseball America’s Top 100 list for the 2022 season, headlined by Diego Cartaya at No. 23 and Bobby Miller ranked 38th.
Joining Cartaya and Miller on the list are Miguel Vargas (No. 40), Michael Busch (No. 76) and Ryan Pepiot (No. 99). The Dodgers are also one of only six teams with at least five prospects on the list.
Their five prospects ranking within the top 100 is an impressive accomplishment for the Dodgers and their scouting and player development system that is among the best in sports.
Last season, L.A. entered the year with just three prospects in the top 100 and then traded two, Keibert Ruiz and Josiah Gray, to the Washington Nationals. The only prospect on the list both years is Busch, who was previously ranked 87th.
Cartaya was signed as part of the Dodgers 2018-2019 international signing period class. He was a consensus top-three prospect among the international talent pool and has quickly risen through the ranks with a breakout 2021 season.
The 20-year-old catcher is still a few years from his MLB debut but has tremendous power and garnered praise for his defensive ability and game calling. Cartaya is often compared to Kansas City Royals All-Star Salvador Perez.
In 31 games last season, Cartaya hit .298/.409/.614 with 10 home runs and a 158 wRC+ for Low-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. He finished the season on the injured list with a hamstring strain.
Miller was the Dodgers first-round pick (No. 29 overall) in the 2020 MLB Draft out of Louisville.
The 22-year-old right-hander has an electric fastball that can reach triple-digits, a wipeout slider, a developing curveball, and decent changeup.
He pitched 56.1 innings last year between High-A Great Lakes and Double-A Tulsa, but 47 of those innings came with the Loons as he posted a 1.91 ERA. Miller has also shown a strong ability to post high strikeout numbers and limit walks so far, which is encouraging because he had a bit of a funky windup that was causing some control problems.
Miller could debut during the 2022 season and he has true top-of-the-rotation upside.
Vargas signed with the Dodgers as an international free agent in 2017 and mostly flew under the radar until he started to get some attention in 2021.
The 22-year-old third baseman has defensive concerns and there have also been questions about his lack of power despite a 6’3 frame. Vargas nevertheless has been a productive hitter at every level of the Minor Leagues.
He did finally see power output increase last year as he hit 23 home runs across 120 games, with 16 of those coming in 83 games after a promotion to join the Drillers. Vargas hit .319/.380/.526 with a 141 wRC+ and won the Dodgers’ 2021 Branch Rickey Minor League Player Of The Year Award.
Busch, like Vargas, is another plus hitter with defensive concerns.
Selected by the Dodgers in the first round (no. 31 overall) of the 2019 Draft, Busch has been a strong hitter and projects to have plus power along with a plus hit tool that he combines with a great approach that leads to a lot of walks.
The 24-year-old has primarily played second base but he has also seen time at first base. In 207 games for Tulsa, he hit .267/.386/.484 with 20 home runs and a 134 wRC+. Busch should make his MLB debut at some point during the 2022 season.
Rounding out the Dodgers’ presence on the Baseball America Top 100 Prospects list is Pepiot, who they drafted in the third round (No. 102 overall) in 2019.
The 24-year-old pitcher has one of the best changeups in the Minors, if not the best overall, and he pairs that with a strong fastball and decent curveball.
Pepiot’s biggest concern is his command as he was walking around four batters per nine in 59.2 innings at Double-A and nearly five hitters per nine in 41.2 innings while with Triple-A Oklahoma City.
If Pepiot can solve the command issues, he could be a middle-to-top of the rotation type starter. If not, he might be destined for a role in the bullpen, where success can still be had.
Pepiot pitched to a 2.87 ERA with 12.22 strikeouts per nine with Tulsa before being promoted to OKC, where he struggled to a 7.13 ERA. Despite that, he should still make his debut in 2022.
he rest of the Dodgers’ top 10 prospects
Following Pepiot on the Dodgers’ top 10 prospect rankings are Andy Pages, Landon Knack, Eddys Leonard, Andre Jackson and Wilman Diaz.
Pages, who is considered one of the Dodgers’ top power bats in the Minors, hit .265/.394/.539 with 25 doubles, 31 home runs and 88 RBI in 120 games with the Loons.
Knack compiled a 7-1 record, 3.18 ERA and 0.93 WHIP over 62.1 innings in 16 combined appearances (11 starts) between the Loons and Drillers.
Leonard batted a combined .296/.390/.539 with 29 doubles and 22 home runs for the Quakes and Loons. He’s played second base, third base, shortstop and center field thus far in the Minors.
Jackson began his 2021 campaign with the Drillers and excelled to the tune of a 3-2 record with a 3.27 ERA over 15 games en route to making an appearance in the annual Futures Game. He later earned a promotion to the Dodgers’ top affiliate and even saw time at the Major League level.
Diaz, who was part of the Dodgers’ 2020-2021 international signing period haul, hit .235/.309/.353 with seven extra-base hits and nine RBI in 24 games with the organization’s Dominican Republic Summer League affiliate.
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