By Jon Weisman
ESPN prospect analyst Keith Law ranked the Dodger farm system second in MLB, thanks in no small part to the appearance of seven prospects in his top 100 list that was released today.
As has been their custom, Corey Seager and Julio Urias landed in Law’s top five, with Seager claiming the top spot previously held by Minnesota’s Byron Buxton. They are the only Dodgers in Law’s top 50. However, there are five in the next half-hundred: Alex Verdugo (51), Jose De Leon (60), Grant Holmes (71), Yusniel Diaz (79), the Cuban emigré whose signing hasn’t been officially announced by the Dodgers, and Cody Bellinger (92).
An excerpt from Law’s writeups on Seager and Urias:
Seager, the younger brother of Mariners third baseman Kyle, has electric hands at the plate and does everything very easily — his swing, hip rotation and power look effortless — but it’s his approach that makes him the best prospect in baseball. Seager’s pitch recognition is advanced way beyond his years, and you’ll see him make adjustments within at-bats that even veterans don’t make. He’s better than most players his age at adjusting to a pitch he didn’t expect and does very well covering the outer half without creating a hole on the inner third. He’s tall and his swing plane can be high, so he’s a little vulnerable to the pitch down at the knees. But for someone his age, that’s a minor weakness to have as your primary issue at the plate.
Urias is no longer undersized or pudgy, coming in last spring at 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, and given his age, he’s possibly still growing. He’s comfortably 91-95 mph with his fastball, with minimal effort, and will show both a plus curveball and plus changeup, although neither secondary pitch is consistent yet. He stays online to the plate and in time, he should have better fastball command to go with his above-average control, thanks again to that easy, repeatable delivery.
Seager is also No. 1 with Baseball Prospectus and MLB Pipeline. Urias’ No. 5 ranking from Law slides in nicely between his No. 4 from MLB and No. 6 from Baseball Prospectus. Baseball America is scheduled to release its top 100 Friday.
De Leon suffers the most in comparison to the MLB.com list, where he ranked 24th. On the other hand, while leaving off No. 96 MLB prospect Frankie Montas, Law’s list includes two names not in MLB’s 100: Verdugo and Bellinger.
Law said that Verdugo has “special ability” at the plate and “looks like a 20-homer, high-batting-average hitter who can play plus defense in a corner with a 70 arm and add a little value on the bases.”