They may soon star alongside Kershaw and Bellinger. These are the top five Dodgers prospects
1. Walker Buehler, 23, right-handed pitcher
The first player drafted under Andrew Friedman’s regime, Buehler is a power pitcher in a wiry frame, armed with a fastball which registered in the upper 90s, a dynamic curveball and a useful slider. Buehler continues to refine his changeup, which he used sparingly last season as he returned from elbow ligament reconstruction. He is unlikely to throw more than 150 innings in 2018, as the team monitors his usage, but a good portion of those should come at the major-league level.
2. Alex Verdugo, 21, outfielder
Verdugo is the Dodgers’ best position player prospect, and one of the best hitting prospects in the minors. He controls the strike zone and as a left-handed batter can handle left-handed pitchers. He posted a .389 on-base percentage for triple-A Oklahoma City last season. Verdugo stumbled during a big-league call-up in September and got disciplined for showing up late to the clubhouse before a game in Washington.
3. Keibert Ruiz, 19, catcher
No team in baseball boasts better catching depth than the Dodgers. Ruiz has the highest ceiling of a group that includes Kyle Farmer and Will Smith. Scouts consider Ruiz a sure-handed receiver, which the Dodgers value, with a strong enough arm to dissuade runners. Ruiz shined during a season-ending stint with class-A Rancho Cucamonga, hitting .316 with an .813 on-base plus slugging percentage. He is a switch hitter, but is much more dangerous from the left side.
White saw his fastball velocity jump as he made 19 starts last season. White struck out 10 batters per nine innings with a 2.57 earned-run average for double-A Tulsa. He can miss bats with both his slider and his curveball, in addition to the fastball when it hums in the mid-90s. White blew away manager Dave Roberts with a cameo in spring training last season.
5. D.J. Peters, 22, outfielder
Peters cuts an imposing figure in the batter’s box: He stands 6-feet-6 and supplies power to match his stature. He hit 27 homers for class-A Rancho Cucamonga in 2017. Invited to major-league camp this spring, Peters hit .412 and slugged .765 before being reassigned to the minors. His power is raw, but so is his approach, as his frame can create holes in his swing, scouts said.
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