Ten Minor Leaguers The Dodgers Picked For The Pool Can Make An Immediate Impact

Yesterday the Dodgers announced the 51 players picked toward the allowed 60 player pool, which they have the option of continuing to fill out. None of the 2020 draft picks or the sole undrafted free agent signee made the cut, at least not officially. According to Emily Waldon of The Athletic, first round pick Bobby Miller and second rounder Landon Knack, both pitchers from this year’s draft, will be added. Players initially on the 40 man roster remained while the additional eleven in the pool would have to be added to the 40 man if they were to see any action in 2020. Here’s what the squad looks like at the moment:

 

Ten of those additional eleven minor leaguers have no MLB experience but still, have the ability to make immediate positive contributions given the opportunity. Here’s a brief look at them:

C Diego Cartaya

Cartaya tied Connor Wong with the highest batting average (.281) among catchers with at least 200 plate appearances last year in the Dodgers farm in his first year of professional baseball in the U.S. He’s ranked 9th in MLB Pipeline’s organizational top 30 at the age of 18. Some argue Cartaya is the best catching prospect in the Dodgers system but that it’s still too early in his career for that claim to be widely acknowledged. There’s still plenty for him to learn but to be chosen for the pool at his age and little experience in the minors, says a lot of what the organization thinks of him.

RHP Josiah Gray

Among Dodger minor leaguers with at least 100 innings pitched in 2019, Gray led in strikeouts (147), ERA (2.28), FIP (2.48), strikeout to walk percentage (22.5), batting average against (.205), and swinging strike percentage (16.0). He allowed only three homeruns in 130 innings pitched. MLB Pipeline ranks him 3rd in the Dodgers farm system. Gray is likely to see plenty of reps in the majors in 2021, but he’s easily one of the best pitching prospects the team has.

IF Omar Estevez

From 2018 to 2019, Estevez had the 4th most hits (236) and led in doubles (69) among Dodger minor leaguers. The team signed him as an international free agent in 2015 for his advanced hitting tools and it has shown in the last couple of years. His 119 wRC+ last season in AA Tulsa was the highest at any level he’s played in. His next step would’ve likely been AAA OKC but now it can potentially be MLB LAD.

RHP Marshall Kasowski

Kasowski is a relief pitcher and a strikeout machine. In 107.2 career minor league innings pitched, he’s racked up 177 K’s. That’s 14.8 strikeouts per nine innings or 1.6 per inning. He throws a mid to upper 90’s fastball with high spin and movement. He also offers an average grade curveball. All these factors have helped him hold a 2.26 ERA in the minors. Like Gray, Kasowski was close to seeing time in the majors but more so in 2021.

OF Zach Reks

Reks has had an expediated ascension through the minors since being drafted in 2017. And rightfully so, all the kid does is hit and, as of recently, hit for power as well. For 2019, he was in the org’s top 5 in hits, homeruns, and runs batted in while mostly in the upper levels of the Dodgers farm system. He was also 4th in walks and runs. He walks and he slugs—deadly combination.

RHP Edwin Uceta

In 26 games (24 as a starter), Uceta was tied for 2nd in strikeouts (141) among Dodger minor leaguers for 2019. He throws a low to mid 90’s riding fastball accompanied by a changeup and curveball. All three grade 50+ on a 20-80 scale with above average control. These offerings, which have him close to knocking on the MLB door, plus his ability to throw strikes and it’s understandable why he’s in the player pool.

RHP Michael Grove

Picked in the 2nd round in 2018, Grove didn’t pitch until 2019 after he recovered from Tommy John surgery. The overall numbers (6.10 ERA in 21 starts) in his first year of pro ball doesn’t negate his ability to rack up strikeouts and minimize walks because of the nastiness of his arsenal. He throws a mid-90’s fastball and complements it with a slider and curveball, which all flash as plus offerings and show high spin rates with high-quality movement.

RHP Gerardo Carrillo

Carrillo signed as an international free agent in 2016 at the age of 18. His fastball was plus then, and it hasn’t changed. It ranges in the mid-90’s and has touched 100. The problem is his control. But he does induce a lot of ground balls and rarely gets barreled up. He’s gone as far as advanced A ball in the Dodgers system where his overall numbers inflated. But, he has quality stuff and competitive nature. Both of which can stand out in the majors if given the chance.

RHP Andre Jackson

Drafted in the 12th round of 2017, Jackson was another pitcher that missed his first year of pro ball due to Tommy John surgery and didn’t compete until May of 2018. In his first two years in the minors, Jackson held a 3.45 ERA in 43 games and 182.2 innings pitched. In 2019, he was tied with Uceta for the 2nd most strikeouts among Dodgers minor leaguers. He has a high strikeout rate and limits homeruns—two particularly good qualities to have and hold onto when moving up the ranks in the minors and into the majors.

OF Cody Thomas

If you were paying attention to spring training this year, you should’ve noticed Cody Thomas. He was the prospect bashing homeruns in the 12 games he appeared in, which led to a mighty 1.091 slugging percentage. But that was just a sample size. In his four years in the minors, he’s held a .803 OPS in 437 games. That’s good but not necessarily impressive. What he does do well is see a lot of pitches (3rd most in the Dodgers minors last year) which denotes his patience at the plate. Combine that with his ability to barrel up balls and you have another Max Muncy in the making.

Most, if not all, of these players won’t get a chance to play during the season. And although this group was picked as a contingency, they’re also viewed as coveted prospects that’ll get persistent reps and development throughout the season, vital to their growth towards an MLB career.

Oskar is a writer for Dodgers-Lowdown. Follow him on Twitter @2Rawsko94. Photo credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea (USA Today Sports)