Most of these players will fail to reach even the most modest of expectations placed on them. I don't say that to dampen enthusiasm, but to contextualize what this exercise displays: the nature of the game. In a sports where the best hitters don't get a hit 70% of the time, where good pitchers allow a baserunner every inning, it's sometimes a good idea to put in perspective not only what it means to be a good player but what it takes to be one.
I remember the glory days of the Dodgers' farm, specifically in 2005. The Jacksonville Suns were one of the best minor league teams in history, loaded with top prospects. The left side of the infield was set with Joel Guzman and Andy LaRoche, while Chin Lung Hu and Blake DeWitt provided depth. Greg Miller was the best lefty in the system; Yhency Brazoban the best reliever.
Sure, there were guys who did make it. Chad Billingsley turned into a solid starter, Russell Martin had some good years, and even Edwin Jackson turned into a dependable arm. The point I'm making, though, is that they're the exceptions. The law of averages dictates that, of the 4,500 minor leaguers that play every year, only a small percentage will reach the majors, and exponentially smaller is the amount that become stars.
However, I don't say that to assuage your interest in following prospects. On the contrary. The rate of attrition and sheer unpredictability of the minor leagues is what makes it engrossing. Finding the next Clayton Kershaw (who was once ranked behind superstars like Brandon Wood, Reid Brignac and Adam Miller) or Matt Kemp, a 6th rounder who was just a basketball player. Finding those hidden, or sometimes not so hidden, gems is why I invest so much time and interest down on the farm.
I see prospects as lottery tickets: the odds are terrible, you're probably not going to get much in return, but when one hits big, you're set. So, without further ado, I present my Top 20 Dodgers Prospects for the 2013 season:
1. Yasiel Puig
2. Corey Seager
3. Zach Lee, RHP
4. Joc Pederson, OF
5. Onekli Garcia, LHP
6. Hyun-jin Ryu, LHP
7. Chris Reed, LHP
8. Alex Castellanos, 3B
9. Matt Magill, RHP
10.Jeremy Rathjen, OF
11.Zach Bird, RHP
12.Andres Santiago, RHP
13.Shawn Tolleson, RHP
14.O'Koyea Dickson, 1B
15.Ross Stripling, RHP
16.Jesmuel Valentin, SS
17.Darnell Sweeney, SS
18.Blake Smith, OF
19.Garrett Gould, RHP
20.Julio Urias, LHP
There you have it. The first scouting report will come out this week, detailing Julio Urias and will be free for all. Also out soon will be a look at the 2012 draft class and predictions for 2013. Stay tuned!
Dodgers Top 20 Prospects for 2013
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