09/06/12 10:00 AM ET
Trades by LA change look of Top 20 Prospects list
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
Like just about everything else with the Dodgers this year, there have been massive changes to their Top Prospects list.
And like just about everything else, the changes have been extraordinary.
Like the $42 million they spent to outbid the rest of baseball for Cuban exile outfielder Yasiel Puig.
Like the flurry of mega trades that dispatched three of their top eight prospects in deals that landed Hanley Ramirez, Randy Choate, Shane Victorino, Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto.
Like the two players still to be officially named in that Red Sox deal -- unofficially, their names are Rubby De La Rosa and Jerry Sands -- who weren't officially on the prospects lists but were considered such by the Dodgers and their trade partners.
The trades, designed to put the Dodgers in position to win now, took a big chunk out of a farm system that wasn't exactly loaded to begin with.
Dodgers management, meanwhile, held on tightly to No. 1 prospect Zach Lee, whom they spent $5.25 million on to sign in what remains one of the great head-scratching personnel moves of the otherwise frugal McCourt Era.
A telling sign of the Dodgers' thin farm system is that only one name -- Shawn Tolleson - graduated during the season to be on the club for the September stretch drive.
Tolleson, once the high school equal of teammate Clayton Kershaw, has battled back from Tommy John surgery to race through the farm system and emerge as the middle-relief replacement for Josh Lindblom, who went from prospect to big leaguer to Philadelphia Phillie in the Victorino trade.
Juan Rodriguez came to the Dodgers from the Red Sox last year with Tim Federowicz and Stephen Fife in the Trayvon Robinson trade. He's a reliever that throws hard and wild, with a lot of strikeouts and too many walks. Early in the season he was suspended for a month for violating team policy.
Gorman Erickson stepped up in 2011 but stepped back this year. All of his pertinent offensive numbers have plunged, throwing in doubt his prospect status.
dodgers' top prospects
The Dodgers have seven new faces on the Top Prospects list, again representing a variety of reasons.
Puig makes the list because of his raw ability, which was on display in his brief trial at Class A. He's immature, but has Matt Kemp five-tool skills.
First-round Draft pick Corey Seager proved to be as advertised, not just as a pure hitter, but handling shortstop well enough to stay there for now.
As a 31st-round pick, even the Dodgers didn't consider Matt Magill a prospect back in 2008, but they do now. He keeps winning as he climbs the levels of the system, this year at Double-A, where he pitched even better than he did at Class A the year before.
The son of former Major Leaguer Jose Valentine, Jesmuel Valentin makes the list on potential, because his initial season at rookie ball was nothing special with a .211 batting average. But he's a polished defender in the middle of the infield with the big league bloodlines.
Jose Dominguez could be the next De La Rosa. A 100 mph fastball is hard to ignore, and he earned a late-season promotion from Class A to Double-A as a middle reliever after opening the season as a starter. This is his fifth professional season, having signed as a 16-year-old.
Jarret Martin came to the Dodgers with Tyler Henson in the Dana Eveland trade with Baltimore. He showed better mechanics the first half of the season, but dealt with injuries in the second half.
Top 100 representation
The only Dodger listed in the Top 100 is Zach Lee, the $5.25 million signee who skipped out on Louisiana State football practice to be a Dodgers Minor Leaguer. So far, if he hasn't shown he's worth $5.25 million, he's been good enough for the Dodgers to resist including him in any of their Deadline deals.
Scouts say Lee lacks the dominant pitch that would make him a No. 1 starter, but he has enough of an arsenal and all the intangibles to qualify as a middle rotation starter. He slipped from No. 45 to No. 49 on this list.
Not included on this list, but likely to appear soon, is Puig, who cost the Dodgers eight times the bonus of Lee.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.