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Legends On Deck

LOD’s 2018 Prospects: Los Angeles Dodgers – Outfield

During the 2017-2018 offseason, we here at LOD are putting together a different kind of prospect list than you’re used to seeing. As opposed to typical prospect rankings, we are going position by position to give you the names to look out for in each organization in the upcoming season. You can view previous articles in this series here: Pitcher, Catcher, First Base, Second Base, Third Base, Shortstop,

With the infield wrapped up, part seven of our Los Angeles Dodgers prospect series takes us to the outfield. Here are three names to keep on your radar in the 2018 season:

Outfield – Alex Verdugo – 2017 Teams: Oklahoma City (Triple-A), Los Angeles (MLB)

2017 Triple-A Statistics: .314/.389/.436, .825 OPS, 6 HR, 62 RBI, 9 SB

2017 MLB Statistics: .174/.240/.304, .554 OPS, 1 HR, 1 RBI

Our outfield list begins with a guy who actually made his big league debut in 2017, Alex Verdugo. Verdugo, a highly touted pitcher during his prep days, was taken by the Dodgers in the second round of the 2014 draft. Instead of placing him on the mound, the Dodgers decided to give the Tucson, AZ product a chance to prove himself as a position player.

He spent 54 games in Rookie ball in 2014 where he posted an OPS of .932 with just 18 strikeouts to 20 walks. From there, Verdugo flew through the system. He started 2015 in Single-A and was called up to Advanced-A during his first full season of pro ball. Then came a full year at Double-A in 2016 where he was named a Texas League All-Star, then 117 games at Triple-A in 2017 before receiving a September call up to the bigs at age 21.

During his time in Triple-A, Verdugo posted an .825 OPS, but his most impressive feat at the plate was his 52 walks to just 50 strikeouts. The defense wasn’t too shabby either. Although he did play all three outfield positions with OKC, the majority of Verdugo’s playing time came in center and right. He didn’t make a single error in 2017 while producing nine outfield assists.

Verdugo has a plus bat and the ability to make consistent contact with a knack for spraying the ball all over the field. His makeup at the plate and high contact rate do leave something to be desired in the power department, and that power may come down the road, but as of now his game is mainly contact.

Verdugo may be battling for a roster spot coming out of spring training and with three plus tools in his glove, arm, and ability to make contact, he may find himself winning that battle and breaking camp on the Dodgers 25 man.
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Outfield – Yusniel Diaz – 2017 Teams: Rancho Cucamonga (Advanced-A), Tulsa (Double-A)

2017 Statistics: .292/.354/.433, .787 OPS, 11 HR, 52 RBI, 9 SB

Yusniel Diaz came to the States from his native Cuba after getting a huge signing bonus from the Dodgers before the 2016 season. Just a handful of at bats in Rookie ball and then the Dodgers sent Diaz to Advanced-A for his first season in affiliated baseball. He performed well considering he was thrown into a rather difficult California League with no prior experience in the game stateside. He provided some hints of the power potential the Dodgers liked so much and showcased a couple of other strong tools in his glove and arm.

Just 20 years old during the 2017 season, Diaz had his second stint in Rancho Cucamonga before getting the call up to Double-A Tulsa. His numbers actually improved, drastically in some cases, after the promotion. It is important to remember that we are talking about 83 games at Advanced-A to 31 games at Double-A over the 2017 season, but the OPS rose by almost 130 points after the move to Tulsa.

The Dodgers have never shied away from moving their top outfielders through the system quickly and Diaz is no exception. He shows promising raw power and decent speed both on the base paths and in the field. He has a very strong arm so if he can’t stick in center field, where he has played the majority of his minor league career, he should have no issues moving elsewhere in the outfield.  

Outfield – DJ Peters – 2017 Team: Rancho Cucamonga (Advanced-A)

2017 Statistics: .276/.372/.514, .886 OPS, 27 HR, 82 RBI

DJ Peters can absolutely mash. That power and his athleticism is what enticed the Dodgers to select the California native in the fourth round of the 2016 draft out of his Nevada junior college.

After the draft, he spent 2016 in Rookie ball, then jumped Single-A altogether for a full campaign with Advanced-A Rancho Cucamonga in 2017. He was more than a year and a half younger than the average player in the California League, but that didn’t stop him from being named an All-Star and ultimately taking home league MVP honors.

Peters led the league in wRC+ at 137 and slugging percentage at .514. His 27 home runs ranked third among all California League players with a fellow Quake, Ibandel Isabel, edging him out by one for the team lead. He also had the third highest walk percentage out of guys with at least 500 plate appearances. With that said, Peters did post one other extreme number, but this is on the other end of the spectrum. His strikeout rate of 32.2% was the fourth highest in the league, coincidentally Isabel was at 35%

At 6’6, Peters is an intimidating presence in the box, especially with his fast and violent swing. He also moves surprisingly well for a guy of his stature. He won’t steal you 20 bases, but his foot speed translates well to the outfield. Some people may draw some concern from the high strikeout rate, but his numbers don’t lie, he is extremely productive in spite of it. I have no doubt Peters has enough tools, and power, to make a run to to the Majors.

That will wrap things up for our Dodgers prospect preview. Be sure and check out David Conde’s posts as he takes our positional prospect approach to preview the New York Mets. Click Here to check out the latest piece in his series.

Jake Berry
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Jake Berry

Contributing Writer at Legends On Deck®
Jake resides in Carrollton, GA and loves everything baseball. He is a lifelong Atlanta Braves fan and enjoys traveling to watch their Minor League teams. He graduated from the University of West Georgia with a Bachelor's Degree in Sport Management. Jake is also a certified personal trainer and has a passion for fitness and weight lifting. You can find his personal site at berrysbaseball.com

You can also reach out to Jake at jberry@legendsondeck.com
Jake Berry
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