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Hitting: 60. Power: 45. Running: 30. Fielding: 55. Arm: 50. TRACK RECORD: Ruiz trained at the academy run by former all-star shortstop Carlos Guillen in Venezuela as an amateur and signed with the Dodgers for $140,000 when he turned 16. He was known for his defense when he signed, but his offense quickly became his calling card. Ruiz hit .300 or better at each of his first four stops and zoomed up the minors to play a full season at Double-A at age 19 in 2018, when he ranked as the Texas League’s No. 3 prospect. He hit his first speed bump in 2019 when an organizational catching logjam forced him back to Double-A, and he struggled to stay motivated. He looked re-energized after a promotion to Triple-A, but suffered a season-ending injury when a foul tip fractured his right pinkie finger. Ruiz rode out the early days of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 at the Dodgers’ complex in Arizona, where he improved his physique and worked extensively with Dodgers hitting coach Brant Brown. Ruiz contracted Covid-19 and arrived late to summer camp, but he recovered to make his major league debut on Aug. 16 and homered in his first at-bat.
SCOUTING REPORT: The switch-hitting Ruiz has a preternatural ability to put the bat on the ball. He has elite hand-eye coordination, can manipulate the barrel to cover all parts of the strike zone and rarely swings and misses. Those traits have long given Ruiz the potential to be a plus hitter, but his quality of contact was often lacking. The Dodgers made adjustments in 2020 to get him more upright in his stance and keep his hands closer to his body, and the result was a more direct path that helped him stay inside the ball and produce consistently harder contact. Ruiz is much stronger batting lefthanded and shows average power from that side. His righthanded swing is visually similar but lacks strength and largely produces weak contact. Ruiz is an aggressive hitter who is still learning to pick out pitches he can drive rather than swinging at the first pitch near the strike zone. Once he improves his pitch selection, he has a chance to hit .280 or higher with double-digit home runs. Ruiz is a potentially above-average receiver who blocks well and received positive reviews from the big leaguers who threw to him at the alternate training site. His game-planning and game-calling still have room to grow. Ruiz’s arm strength is fringy to average, which was an issue in the majors when opponents went 3-for-3 on stolen bases against him in just 17 innings.
THE FUTURE: With Will Smith entrenched at catcher, the best Ruiz can hope for is a timeshare with the Dodgers. His offensive abilities and improving defensive skills would make him the catcher of the future for many other teams.
Fastball: 60. Slider: 55. Changeup: 45. Curveball: . Control: 55. TRACK RECORD: Gray began his career at Division II Le Moyne as a shortstop but converted to the mound and became one of the top pitchers in the 2018 draft. The Reds selected him 72nd overall and traded him to the Dodgers in the deal for Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp. Gray jumped three levels to Double-A in 2019, his first season with the Dodgers, and was named the organization’s minor league pitcher of the year. He spent 2020 at the alternate training site.
SCOUTING REPORT: Gray is a power pitcher with a strong, athletic physique. He overpowers hitters with a plus fastball that sits 93-96 mph with running life and touches 97-98 in short bursts. Other pitchers throw harder, but Gray’s fastball gets more swings and misses with his life and ability to hold his velocity and command deep into games. Gray focused on his secondary pitches at the alternate site and increased the depth and horizontal movement of his mid-80s slider to cement it as an above-average, swing-and-miss pitch. His changeup added tail and drop but remains a fringe-average pitch that’s often too firm in the upper-80s. Gray pounds the strike zone with above-average control. He is highly intelligent and an elite competitor who thrives when the lights are brightest.
THE FUTURE: Gray has the stuff and intangibles of a mid-rotation starter. If his changeup improves, he could be more.
Hitting: 60. Power: 60. Running: 45. Fielding: 40. Arm: 45. TRACK RECORD: Busch was regarded as one of college baseball’s top hitters at North Carolina and was drafted 31st overall by the Dodgers in 2019. He was limited to 10 games in his pro debut after he was hit by a pitch that broke his right hand, but he showed what he could do in 2020. Busch spent the summer at the alternate training site and drew raves as the best hitter in instructional league in Arizona
SCOUTING REPORT: Busch is all about his bat. He is an exceptionally patient hitter who doesn’t chase, fights off close pitches and waits for something he can drive. When he gets it, he unloads on balls with a compact, lefthanded swing with plus bat speed and extension. Busch’s swing and approach make him a plus hitter, and he’s begun to show plus power with the ability to drive the ball over the fence to both gaps. Busch played first base and left field in college, but the Dodgers are trying to make him a second baseman. He’s gotten leaner and more athletic to improve his range, and he dropped his arm slot to give him more zip on his throws, but he’s still a likely below-average defender.
THE FUTURE: Busch is following the Max Muncy path as a masher who is playable at second base in short stints. He is poised to move quickly in 2021.
Hitting: 60. Power: 50. Running: 45. Fielding: 55. Arm: 45. TRACK RECORD: Hoese went from a 35th-round pick in 2018 to a first-round pick in 2019 after he finished fourth in the nation with 23 home runs at Tulane. He posted an .863 OPS in his pro debut and was the Dodgers’ top hitter at the alternate training site in 2020, but he was more pedestrian in instructional league as he battled fatigue and drew mixed reviews from opposing evaluators.
SCOUTING REPORT: Hoese is a well-rounded hitter with a balanced approach and compact swing. He is an adept fastball hitter who frequently finds the barrel and drives the ball to all fields, though he’s better against high fastballs than low ones because he gets out of his legs at times. He covers all pitch types and locations when he stays rooted in his lower half. His long levers, wiry strength and knack for the barrel give him 20-plus home run potential. Hoese has calm, reliable hands at third base and reads hops well, but he’s not a smooth mover and his arm strength fluctuates widely from below-average to above-average. He worked with Dodgers pitching coordinator Rob Hill at the alternate site to improve his velocity and be more consistent with his arm slot.
THE FUTURE: Hoese looks like a future standout at his best but needs to be more consistent with his swing and throwing stroke. He’ll see the upper minors in 2021.
Fastball: 70. Slider: 60. Changeup: 55. Curveball: 50. Control: 50. TRACK RECORD: Miller bounced between the bullpen and rotation his first two seasons at Louisville and became a full-time starter as a junior. His stuff and control both ticked up through four starts before the coronavirus pandemic shut down the season, and the Dodgers drafted him 29th overall and signed him for $2,197,500. Miller continued improving his stuff and control at the alternate training site and was a revelation in instructional league.
SCOUTING REPORT: Miller is an intimidating presence at 6-foot-5, 220 pounds and has the stuff to match. He has distinct four-seam and two-seam fastballs that both sit 95 mph and touch 98, and his mid-80s slider is another plus pitch with three-quarters tilt and late, darting action. Miller got more comfortable with his diving, mid-80s changeup throughout the summer and began throwing it with conviction to hitters on both sides of the plate. His downer curveball in the upper 70s is another pitch he can land for strikes. Miller’s stuff is sizzling, but he’s still learning how to sequence and get his pitches to play off each other. He throws plenty of strikes but will leave pitches over the plate.
THE FUTURE: Miller has the look and stuff of a powerful mid-to-front-of the-rotation starter. He’ll make his pro debut in 2021.
Hitting: 55. Power: 50. Running: 30. Fielding: 60. Arm: 60. TRACK RECORD: Cartaya was Venezuela’s top player in the 2018 international signing class and signed with the Dodgers for $2.5 million on July 2. He quickly jumped from the Dominican Summer League to the Rookie-level Arizona League in his pro debut and starred in the AZL as a 17-year-old. One of the youngest players added to a 60-man player pool in 2020, he spent the summer at the alternate training site.
SCOUTING REPORT: Cartaya is highly advanced for his age on both sides of the ball. He shows soft hands in receiving, sets a good target, expertly frames low pitches and has impressive flexibility for his size. Cartaya has plus raw arm strength and has improved at syncing his footwork to get his best throws off more consistently. He still needs refinement but has a chance to be a plus defender with a plus arm. Cartaya has an advanced approach at the plate and projects to hit for average with his short, quick swing and sound bat path. His natural strength and long levers give him power potential, but his swing is primarily geared to shoot the ball the other way.
THE FUTURE: Cartaya has the potential to be a standout, but he’s still a teenager who is many years away. He’ll make his full-season debut in 2021.
Hitting: 45. Power: 70. Running: 40. Fielding: 45. Arm: 55. TRACK RECORD: Rios finished second in the nation in home runs his junior year at Florida International and was drafted in the sixth round by the Dodgers. He continued to mash throughout the minors, made his major league debut in 2019 and established himself as a key part of the Dodgers in 2020. He hit eight home runs in just 76 at-bats, added two more homers in the National League Championship Series, and finished with a .946 OPS.
SCOUTING REPORT: Rios is a big, physical lefthanded hitter capable of destroying baseballs. His fast hands, long levers and excellent natural timing generate plus-plus power to center and right field. Rios’ swing gets long and he is prone to striking out, but he’s competitive enough against both righthanded and lefthanded pitchers to project to hit .230 to .240 with slugging percentages in the .500s. Rios used his elite work ethic to transform from a well below-average third baseman into a playable one. He remains better defensively at first base but can bounce between the two infield corners.
THE FUTURE: Rios’ defensive improvements and the expected permanent addition of the designated hitter in the NL give him a path to everyday playing time. He’s ready to take on a larger role in 2021.
Fastball: 60. Slider: 50. Changeup: 70. Curveball: 45. Control: 45. TRACK RECORD: Pepiot led the Big East Conference in strikeouts in 2019 but also had the second-most hit batters and third-most walks. The Dodgers bet on his stuff and made him the highest-drafted player in Butler history when they selected him in the third round, No. 102 overall. Pepiot opened eyes in 2020 when he struck out Cody Bellinger, Matt Beaty and Gavin Lux in a dominant two-inning summer camp appearance at Dodger Stadium. He carried that success over to the alternate site and was the Dodgers’ best pitcher in camp.
SCOUTING REPORT: Pepiot is a big-bodied righthander with premium stuff. His fastball has ticked up to sit 93-95 mph with riding life, and his changeup is a devastating, plus-plus pitch in the mid 80s with hard movement down and in to righthanded batters. Pepiot focused on the consistency of his slider and began getting reliable tilt down and away to make it an average pitch, and his mid-70s curveball is another usable offering. Pepiot cleaned up his arm action and began locating his fastball to his glove side, giving him average control for the first time. He occasionally sprays his fastball up and in but generally self-corrects.
THE FUTURE: Pepiot has to show he can maintain his control gains over a full season. If he can, he has a chance to be a righthanded power starter.
Hitting: 60. Power: 50. Running: 45. Fielding: 40. Arm: 50. TRACK RECORD: Vargas is the son of international baseball legend Lazaro Vargas, who played 22 seasons in Cuba and led the country to Olympic gold medals in 1992 and ’96. He left the island with his father in 2015 and signed with the Dodgers for $300,000 in 2017. Vargas quickly emerged as one of the top hitters in the Dodgers’ system, batting .330 in his pro debut despite not playing for two years. He advanced to high Class A as a 19-year-old in 2019 and stood out in instructional league in 2020.
SCOUTING REPORT: Vargas is a uniquely advanced hitter for his age. He has quick hands, elite hand-eye coordination and drives the ball the other way with authority. Vargas wears out the right-center field gap and racks up doubles, but he’s still learning to pull the ball in the air and has yet to show he can turn on velocity inside. The Dodgers see the physical ability to make the adjustment and believe it’s a matter of intent. Vargas is a slow mover without a lot of twitch in the field. He’s a below-average third baseman and played some second base during instructs, but he is likely a first baseman long term. He has average arm strength.
THE FUTURE: Vargas’ hitting ability is that of an everyday player. He’ll try to find his best position in 2021.
Hitting: 45. Power: 60. Running: 55. Fielding: 50. Arm: 70. TRACK RECORD: Pages was one of the top hitters in Cuba’s junior leagues growing up and signed with the Dodgers for $300,000 when he was 17. He struggled in his first pro season but blossomed in year two when he finished second in the Rookie-level Pioneer League in home runs (19) and total bases (153). He was not brought to the alternate training site in 2020 but stood out for his tools in instructional league.
SCOUTING REPORT: Pages combines impressive physical ability with a high-level understanding of hitting. He recognizes pitches, has excellent hand-eye coordination and possesses plus power that produces some of the top exit velocities in the Dodgers’ system. He drives the ball hard to center and right field and makes loud contact that stays with observers for weeks after. Pages can be overly aggressive and will swing and miss against higher-quality pitches, but he makes adjustments and should improve with experience. He is an intuitive baserunner whose excellent reads and jumps make up for fringe-average speed. Pages has learned to tone down his flair in right field and become a reliable, above-average defender with a plus-plus, albeit sometimes inaccurate, arm.
THE FUTURE: Pages has the makings of an everyday right fielder if he can make enough contact. He is set to make his full-season debut in 2021.
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