By Kyle Johansen @kylejohansen on April 27, 2014
Of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ top pitching prospects heading into the season, only right-hander Chris Withrow has graduated to the Majors and is currently in a relief role. The Dodgers have both drafted and signed well with many former first round picks, as well as international free agents among their top pitching prospects. The Dodgers have impact talent on the way, as well as depth to round out their MLB rotation in case of injury.
Ross Stripling is a polished pitcher and advanced quickly in 2013, beginning the season at High-A with a 2.94 ERA in 34 innings pitched, before showing impressive results at Double-A with a 2.78 ERA in 94 innings pitched. Stripling has excellent command with a 4.28 K/BB ratio through 164 total minor league innings, and he should advance quickly to the Major Leagues where he can be an effective starter at the back of the Dodgers’ rotation.
Chris Reed was drafted in the first round of the 2011 draft and featured a stunning groundball-to-fly ball ratio of 2.2 in 2013. Reed generates groundballs with a heavy two-seemed fastball at 89-95, as well as a change-up with late sink. Reed’s best secondary pitch may be his slider, which has a hard downward break when he gets on top of the ball. Reed is repeating Double-A this year, and has dominated with a 1.71 ERA in 31.2 innings pitched.
Chris Anderson is a big right-handed pitcher and throws his fastball up to 98 on a nice downhill plane. Anderson can put hitters away with a hard slider that should be an above average pitch, and also mixes in an average change-up and a developing curveball. In 2013, Anderson dominated at A-ball with a 1.96 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 46 innings pitched. Anderson needs to fine tune his command (1.67 K/BB in 2014) in order to reach his potential.
Zach Lee was a first round pick out of high school in the 2010 draft, and has steadily improved his command and approach over the past three seasons. Lee’s fastball tops out at 95 and comfortably sits at 88-92 with strong movement. Lee’s arsenal also includes a slider, change-up and curveball, which are all average pitches. Lee had a solid season at Double-A in 2013 and owns a 1.99 ERA through 22.2 innings pitched at Triple-A this season.
Julio Urias was one of the top arms in the 2012 international prospect pool, but had a tumor removed above his eye which scared some potential suitors away. The Dodgers signed him out of Mexico City and sent him to A-ball at the age of just 16 years old, and Urias took the league by storm. In 2013, Urias had 67 strikeouts in 54 innings with a 2.48 ERA, using a fastball that can touch 98, a potentially plus curveball, as well as a change-up.
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