With the news that the Red Sox and Dodgers are nearing a blockbuster deal that would send Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to Los Angeles for a package of prospects that could feature pitchers Zach Lee, Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa, and first baseman Jerry Sands, the landscape of the Dodgers’ farm system might dramatically change soon.
Earlier this afternoon, Baseball News Source cited media reports indicating that the Dodgers were awarded claims on Gonzalez and Beckett, who were placed on revocable waivers this week. The teams have two days to work out a trade, if the Red Sox choose to do so.
The Dodgers have managed to hang on to Lee and Webster, who are the organization’s top two overall prospects. Their names surfaced in trade talks before last month’s non-waiver trade deadline, yet the club somehow kept the high-ceiling starting pitchers and instead parted with starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi in the Hanley Ramirez trade and pitchers Ethan Martin and Josh Lindblom for Shane Victorino.
Though this is a list that could change at any second over the next two days, here are the top five prospects in the Dodgers’ system:
Zach Lee, right-handed starting pitcher – Selected in the first round (28th overall) out of high school in the 2010 draft, the 6-foot-4 Texan is the top overall prospect in the Dodgers’ organization and No. 34 in baseball according to MLB.com. The 20-year-old Lee chose baseball over quarterbacking at LSU, so he is athletic. He boasts a high 90s fast ball, a curve ball, a slider and a change-up. These are all plus offerings he can throw for strikes. Lee’s numbers are not impressive in 2012 – he was promoted during the season to Double-A Chattanooga and has a 5.03 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP in 11 starts – but he has a high ceiling because of his mix of plus pitches, and he offers top of the rotation potential.
Allen Webster, right-handed starting pitcher – Featuring a mid-90s sinker, the 23-year-old Webster induces a lot of ground balls, and he also has a curve ball and change-up, both of which are plus offerings. MLB.com ranks him at No. 65 on its Top 100 prospects list. Webster is 6-8 with a 3.55 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP in 22 starts at Double-A Chattanooga. An 18th round draft pick out of high school in 2008, Webster entered the season at No. 95 on Baseball America’s 2012 Pre-Season Top 100 List.
Chris Reed, left-handed starting pitcher – A first round pick (16th overall) out of Stanford University in 2011, the 22-year-old Reed has a plus fast ball, slider and change-up. In his first full season of professional baseball, Reed was promoted from advanced Single-A Rancho Cucamonga (where he posted a 3.09 ERA in six starts) and has a 4.70 ERA in nine starts at Double-A Chattanooga.
Joc Pederson, outfielder – An 11th round pick out of high school in 2007, the 20-year-old Pederson is a left-handed hitter who can hit for power and average, as his 2012 numbers suggest. He has a .318 average with 17 home runs and 65 RBI at advanced Single-A Rancho Cucamonga.
Chris Withrow, right-handed pitcher – It is uncertain whether the 23-year-old Withrow’s future is as a reliever or a starter. A first round pick (20th overall) out of high school in 2007, Withrow has struggled to consistently throw strikes. The Dodgers believe he can emerge as a starter or a late-inning reliever with his power arm. This season, Withrow has a 4.65 ERA in 22 games (including seven starts) and has 64 strikeouts in 60 innings but has issued 36 walks. He opened the season as a starter but after a lower back strain landed him on the DL in June he has pitched out of the bullpen since his return.