Los Angeles Dodgers: Youth to be Served in 2016?


Last season the Los Angeles Dodgers started showing off some of their top prospects at the Major League level, but in 2016 the kids could rule Hollywood. 

The first half that Joc Pederson had in 2015 was impressive, and the centerfielder seemed destined to be neck-and-neck with Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant in NL Rookie of the Year voting after belting 20 homers and driving in 40 runs. After the second half that Pederson endured–a .178 average, six homers and 14 RBIs–the 23-year-old gathered just one third place vote which was good for sixth in the voting.

While Pederson’s is the name that more people are familiar with, he will be joined by a group of younger players in Los Angeles in 2016 that should help lighten the load on Pederson. Along with Corey Seager, the Dodgers top prospect and the team’s shortstop heading into 2016, the Dodgers will likely give Jose Peraza (#4) every chance to become Seager’s double play partner up the middle. Enrique Hernandez may not have a full-time position just yet, but he is a solid option to have coming off the bench after batting .307 in 76 games in his second big-league season.

The Dodgers are looking to shed payroll and they certainly have the prospects to do just that. While Zack Greinke is a free agent, they will likely shell out the money to fill that void with one of a number of top free agent pitching options. They can do that since the quartet above has still not reached arbitration, making them inexpensive options, especially for the production that they are capable of producing.

Peraza is the wild card here, as he worked his way into just seven games with the team last season, but with midseason acquisition Chase Utley now on the free agent market, it appears as though it is Peraza’s time. He was acquired in the 3-team deal that landed Hector Olivera in the Braves’ system, and hit a combined .293 in 118 Triple-A games last season before getting the call to The Show, where he went 4-for-22 (.182).

Peraza won’t hit for much power, but he does add a speed element to the club, swiping 210 bags in five pro seasons, including 33 in Triple-A in 2015. If he is able to get on base more often (he held a .316 mark in the minors last year) then he could be a prime candidate to fill the hole at the leadoff spot in the Dodger order, moving Pederson down where his power swing would do more damage. Seager could potentially be a good fit in the two-hole with a decent power bat that can also hit for average.

Next: Examining the Lowrie Deal

The Dodgers will be active this offseason, but certainly have some voids to fill in the bottom of their rotation as well as their bullpen, but for now it looks as though they will have a decent crop of cost-effective players entering the 2016 season, and more could be joining them later on with southpaw and the team’s #2 prospect Julio Urias being a potential fit in either role after the All-Star break. There will be plenty of question marks surrounding the Dodgers entering 2016, but they will still be considered the favorites in the NL West until someone can take the divisional crown from them.