Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Three Dodgers' prospects make BA's Top 20 Pioneer League list

Baseball America is in full postseason Top 20 lists, with the publication releasing its Pioneer League Top 20 prospects on Wednesday. To my surprise, the Dodgers landed three players on the list, including two in the Top 10.

Zachary Bird, Jacob Scavuzzo and Scott Barlow all made the list. Bird checked in at No. 7, Scavuzzo at No. 9 and Barlow at No. 20.

Bird
I’m surprised Bird ranked so highly after he had a rough go at it in the Midwest League to begin the season. Bird didn’t fare much better with the demotion, but he did reduce his walk rate and increased his strikeout rate. It’ll be interesting to see if he can do it in full-season ball next year. Luckily, he’s only entering his age-19 season, so there’s still hope for the young hurler.

Scavuzzo might just be the Dodgers’ breakout prospect at the plate. The 19-year-old clubbed 14 home runs and 18 doubles in 266 plate appearances with the Ogden Raptors. Yes, it was in the friendly confines of the Pioneer League, but he showed marked improvement from his debut season in the Arizona League. In fact, his slugging percentage this season (.578) was nearly better than his OPS in the AZL last year (.598). Also, his walk rate improved this season. He didn’t walk in his first 80 plate appearances. He hit .325 and OPS’d 1.013 in that time. Over his final 43 games, he walked 17 times in 186 plate appearances. He stopped hitting as well (.299), but his on-base percentage was a respectable .360. He should be the Loons’ starting center fielder in 2014.

Barlow, who missed the entire 2012 season after recovering from Tommy John surgery, surprisingly cracked the Top 20. I know it isn’t about results in rookie ball, but that 6.20 ERA is quite ugly. Still, the 20-year-old has a bright future. The scouting reports must be favorable for him to be on this list with those numbers. The true test will come next season when he, likely, will head the Loons’ rotation -- unless Julio Urias returns to Great Lakes to begin the season.

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The Midwest League Top 20 list drops on Tuesday. The Dodgers have at least two shoo-ins, but could have as many as four prospects in the league’s top 20.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Perfect Game

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