LOS ANGELES -- The quality and depth of the Dodgers' farm system is made clear in MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects for 2016, with shortstop Corey Seager named the best overall prospect in the game and left-handed pitcher Julio Urias fourth overall.
In addition, the Dodgers landed three right-handed pitchers in the Top 100 -- Jose De Leon at 24, Grant Holmes at 62 and Frankie Montas at 95. Seager and Urias ranked seventh and eighth, respectively, a year ago and Montas was 92.
Only four clubs had more than five representatives on the list -- Philadelphia with seven and Colorado, Minnesota and the Cubs with six apiece. Based on a system that attaches points to the ranked players, the Dodgers ranked third in baseball, behind Texas and Colorado.
The annual ranking of baseball's Top 100 Prospects is assembled by MLBPipeline.com Draft and prospect experts Jonathan Mayo, Jim Callis and Mike Rosenbaum, who compile input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. The rankings are based on analysis of players' skill sets, upsides, proximity to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams. Only players with rookie status entering the 2016 season are eligible for the list. The rankings follow the guidelines laid out by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, in terms of who falls under the international pool money rules: Players who were at least 23 years old when they signed and played in leagues deemed to be professional (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Cuba) are not eligible.
Seager is already included in talk for the National League Rookie of the Year Award. In addition to the tools of a former first-round Draft pick and the bloodlines of a Major Leaguer (he is the brother of Seattle All-Star Kyle Seager), the 21-year-old took the Dodgers' starting shortstop job from Jimmy Rollins as a September callup and has no obvious competition for the Opening Day job.
Although he was overmatched by Mets pitching in the playoffs, Callis said:
"His brother Kyle is an All-Star, and Corey should be even better. He led the Minors in hitting (.349) and doubles (50) in 2014, then batted .337/.425/.561 during a September callup last year -- at age 21. Seager may eventually move to third base, but his combination of a sweet left-handed stroke, bat speed, strength, uncanny feel for hitting and mature approach give him a higher offensive ceiling than any Major League shortstop except for Carlos Correa."
Urias is only 19, and there's the dilemma in how fast he impacts the Major League club. He seems to already have the poise and repertoire, but has never thrown more than 87 2/3 innings in a season, while 180 is expected from a Major League starter. Management has handled him with kid gloves since he signed at age 16 and will continue the balancing act of giving him enough innings to continue his advancement without a dramatic innings jump that risks arm injury.
According to Mayo: "He doesn't turn 20 until August, and he's already knocking on the door. Urias has an outstanding combination of stuff and pitchability well beyond his years. He has three plus pitches with outstanding command. The only thing he doesn't have is innings. Urias has yet to top even 90 innings in a season, but that shouldn't hold him back for too long."
De Leon, a 24th-round Draft pick out of Southern University in 2013, is a late bloomer after signing for only $35,000.
According to Callis: "De Leon has skyrocketed from his lowly Draft status and a 6.96 ERA in his pro debut to leading the Minors with 12.8 strikeouts per nine innings and reaching Double-A in 2015, just two years later. De Leon's stuff and command have gotten a lot better since he improved his conditioning and mechanics, giving him a riding 92-96 mph fastball, a plus changeup and an effective if inconsistent slider."
Holmes, the club's first-round pick in 2014, had a solid season in the Midwest League in 2015, although his walks total rose. He turns 20 in March.
Montas turns 23 in March, and the Dodgers are his third organization, having come over from the White Sox in the Jose Peraza deal. He's a hard-thrower who's also had control issues.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.