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Dodgers Dugout: A look at the team’s top 10 prospects

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Gavin Stone (71) works against the Atlanta Braves.
Dodgers right-hander Gavin Stone recently rebounded nicely from a poor first inning against the Atlanta Braves.
(John Bazemore / Associated Press)
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Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell. This team has a certain grittiness to it that the last few Dodgers teams were missing.

—OK, who got nervous when the Dodgers fell behind 4-0 in the first inning of the first game of the Atlanta series? Who thought “Uh, oh, this could be a long series.” Yeah, me neither.

—This team reminds me of the 2017 team in that they refuse to give up. They keep chipping away and chipping away until suddenly they are back in the game.

—I don’t know much about this Freddie Freeman guy, but he appears to be a pretty good hitter.

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—As usual, after the Dodgers lost three of four to the Cardinals, I got the assortment of emails from the usual suspects telling me how terrible this team is, and how they will never amount to anything. And as usual, after they win two of three from a great team, I hear nothing from them. Gee, I hope my parents are OK.

—There’s one flaw I have to point out though, if you will forgive me. I generally agree with the analytics position that a strikeout is generally no worse than a normal out. But when there is a man on third with less thantwo outs, it is worse. The Dodgers have a lot of players who strike out a lot. In the National League this season (minimum 115 at-bats), the Dodgers have three players in the top 10 of fewest at-bats per strikeout. The top 10:

1. Patrick Wisdom, Cubs, 2.24 at-bats per strikeout

2. Chris Taylor, Dodgers, 2.50

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3. James Outman, Dodgers, 2.59

4. Jack Suwinski, Pirates, 2.61

5. Matt Olson, Braves, 2.63

6. Wil Myers, Reds, 2.65

7. Max Muncy, Dodgers, 2.71

8. Ryan McMahon, Rockies, 2.75

9. Jazz Chisholm Jr., Marlins, 2.77

10. Trent Grisham, Padres, 2.81

When you get to the playoffs, scoring a man from third with less than two outs is crucial. And you can’t do that when you strikeout. You can if you put the ball in play, even if it’s an out. We’ve seen it in playoffs past, and we have seen it this season.

On the flip side, the five toughest batters to strike out in the NL:

1. Luis Arraez, Marlins, 18.89 at-bats

2. Keibert Ruiz, Nationals, 11.21

3. Will Smith, Dodgers, 10

4. Jeff McNeil, Mets, 8.90

5. Nico Hoerner, Cubs, 8.65

—The Dodgers, oft-maligned for poor clutch hitting, lead the league in hitting with two outs and runners in scoring position.

1. Dodgers, .267
2. St. Louis, .266
3. Arizona, .261
4. Washington, .256
5. Colorado, .249
6. Cincinnati, .248
7. Miami, .234
8. Pittsburgh, .232
9. Milwaukee, .228
10. Philadelphia, .223
11. New York, .223
12. San Francisco, .217
13. Chicago, .208
14. San Diego, .180
15. Atlanta, .178

Individual Dodgers

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Mookie Betts, .435 (10 for 23)
J.D. Martinez, .429 (six for 14)
Freddie Freeman, .316 (six for 19)
James Outman, .313 (five for 16)
Will Smith, .308 (four for 13)
David Peralta, .286 (four for 14)
Miguel Vargas, .280 (seven for 25)
Trayce Thompson, .273 (three for 11)
Miguel Rojas, .214 (three for 14)
Chris Taylor, .177 (three for 17)
Austin Barnes, .143 (one for seven)
Max Muncy, .091 (two for 22)
Jason Heyward, .000 (0 for 10)

Top prospects

A look at the Dodgers’ top 10 prospects, as ranked by mlb.com:

1. Diego Cartaya, catcher
Age: 21

You may be wondering why the Dodgers turned to Austin Wynns instead of Cartaya when they needed a backup to Austin Barnes after Will Smith was injured. Short answer: He’s not ready yet. He is spending his first season at double A this year, and is hitting .177, and he remains a work in progress on defense. However, if you saw him play at Rancho Cucamonga last season, you could see he is the real deal. He is almost four years younger than the average player at double A, so don’t let his slow start fool you. He has all the tools, he just needs a bit more experience. In a couple of years, you could see Cartaya and Smith switching between catcher and DH.

2. Bobby Miller, RHP
Age: 24

You saw Miller for yourself on Tuesday against the Braves. A 100-mph fastball that is relatively straight, but is made more effective by an assortment of offspeed pitches. If he continues to pitch well while Julio Urías is out, do the Dodgers send him back down?

3. Michael Busch, INF/OF
Age: 25

He showed a good eye in his brief time with the Dodgers this season (four walks in 23 plate appearances, but also nine strikeouts), and is hitting .304 at triple-A Oklahoma City. He had 32 homers in the minors in 2022.

4. Gavin Stone, RHP
Age: 24

Stone has 348 strikeouts and a 2.68 ERA in 247 minor league innings. He has been shaky in two starts with the Dodgers but rebounded nicely after a poor first inning against Atlanta.

5. Ryan Pepiot, RHP
Age: 25

He’d be in the rotation now if he wasn’t injured the last week of spring training. He’s almost more of a major leaguer than a prospect right now.

6. Andy Pages, OF
Age: 22

Pages has 89 homers in 401 minor league games, including 26 for double-A Tulsa last season. He is hitting .284/.430/.495 for Tulsa this season and has the arm strength that will remind you of Raul Mondesi.

7. Dalton Rushing, C
Age: 22

Some scouts will tell you he is a better prospect than Cartaya. Rushing hit .424 in 99 at-bats with Rancho Cucamonga last season, and is hitting .254/.441/.517 in Class A Great Lakes this season.

8. Nick Nastrini, RHP
Age: 23

Nastrini lost his rotation spot at UCLA because of control issues (walking 38 in 31 innings), but the Dodgers thought they could fix him, so they drafted him in the fourth round. It appears they have fixed him because last season in double A he struck out 127 and walked 39 in 86 innings. He has a 2.55 ERA at Tulsa this season.

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9. Nick Frasso, RHP
Age: 24

The Dodgers got Frasso in the Mitch White trade last season, and it appears they won that trade. Frasso, who went to Loyola Marymount, has a 1.01 ERA for Tulsa this season. In 26 2/3 innings, he has given up 19 hits and five walks while striking out 36. Last season, he had a 1.83 ERA in 54 minor league innings spread over four teams.

10. Josue De Paula, OF
Age: 18

De Paula is a cousin of former NBA player Stephon Marbury. He hit .350/.448/.522 in the Dominican Summer League last season and could be the best hitting prospect the Dodgers have. As far as his defense goes, well, so far he’d make a heck of a DH.

Injury report

15-day IL

RHP Tyler Cyr (shoulder). He’ll be out for a few weeks after making two appearances for the Dodgers.

RHP Michael Grove (groin). He is throwing to hitters at the Arizona training facility. Next stop would be a rehab assignment.

LHP Julio Urías (left hamstring strain): Urías was injured in his start against the Cardinals on May 18. He will pitch a bullpen session this weekend, and if all goes well could return to pitch against the Yankees on June 2.

60-day IL

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RHP Walker Buehler (Tommy John surgery). It’s possible he returns at the end of this season but 2024 is more likely.

RHP Daniel Hudson (right knee). Hudson has soreness in his right knee but could be back in June.

RHP Dustin May (right elbow). He was transferred to the 60-day IL to make room on the roster for Bobby Miller. The soonest May can return in July 17, but August seems more likely.

RHP Ryan Pepiot (left oblique strain). Pepiot has finally started to throw, but is not ready for a rehab assignment yet.

RHP Blake Treinen (right shoulder). Treinen had surgery in the offseason and if he returns this year, it probably won’t be until September.

What Vin Scully meant to me

Last season after Vin Scully died, I asked readers to send in what he meant to them. I ran them the rest of the season and wanted to circle back and run the rest, which will take a few weeks at least. If you wish to contribute (if you sent it to me last season, I still have it, so no need to send again), please email it to houston.mitchell@latimes.com and put Vin Scully in the subject line.

From Claudia Prevost of Santa Barbara: I went to Mass in the Pacific Palisades, and after church, I came out to a flat tire. This was before cellphones, so I walked over to Ralph’s grocery store to call my husband for help. The store manager was chatting with a gentleman, so I excused myself for interrupting, explained my situation, and asked to use the phone. I knew my husband was at softball practice, but wanted to leave a message, telling him what happened, and where I was so when he got home, he could come and get me.

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I hung up, disappointed and obviously upset with the situation, when the gentleman chatting with the store manager asked if he could give me a ride somewhere to help. I was surprised, and apprehensive, accepting a ride from a stranger, so I thanked him, but politely declined. That’s when the store manager laughed, patted him on the back, telling me he had been this store’s manager a long time, and he would surely vouch for this guy.

This polite, helpful stranger turned out to be Vin Scully. He introduced himself by his first name, escorted me to my car to make sure everything was locked and secure, and drove me down to the Palisades Park where my husband was playing ball.

This kind man went out of his way to help a stranded stranger. Vin will always be a hero to me.

From Josh Schroeder of Yorba Linda: On the day of Vin Scully’s final broadcast from San Francisco, I started the day at Dodger Stadium. I was there at 6 a.m., running in the Dodgers Foundation 10K.

When Vin called the game that afternoon, the race was long over and I was at my parents’ house in the San Fernando Valley. Unaware of the auspiciousness of the broadcast, my sons, ages 4 and 7, wanted to swim. So we put batteries in my dad’s old transistor radio, set it down next to the pool, and tuned in. As I heard Vin say “Hi everybody, and a very pleasant Sunday afternoon to you, wherever you may be,” I was watching my father help his grandson swim, under a brilliant blue sky, as a flight taking off from Burbank airport wooshed overhead. “Wherever I may be” was the perfect place.

Earlier that day, before the 10K, I had wandered into the stadium and to the right-field bleachers. All the stadium lights were on, but there was literally no one else there. Just me. Everything was bathed in the dusty-orange dawn light. The season was about to end, but I felt the promise of the place stronger than I ever have. For me, baseball has always been about those quiet moments of hope — whether it’s hope that the next pitch will be a perfect curveball strike three, or that the next season will bring a World Series victory. Vinny’s last words remind me of the hope I felt that morning in the empty stadium: “There will be a new day, and, eventually, a new year, and when the upcoming winter gives way to spring, ooh, rest assured, once again, it will be time for Dodger baseball.”

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Book

OK, this is the final time I’ll talk about my book, I promise. For those of you who asked, you can get a discounted copy of the book through the publisher’s website. Just use the code DODGERS20 at checkout for 20% off.

Up next

Friday: Dodgers (Noah Syndergaard, 1-3, 5.88 ERA) at Tampa Bay (*Jalen Beeks, 1-2, 4.68 ERA), 3:40 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570, KTNQ 1020

Saturday: Dodgers (*Clayton Kershaw, 6-4, 2.98 ERA) at Tampa Bay (Tyler Glasnow, first start), 1:10 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570, KTNQ 1020

Sunday: Dodgers (Gavin Stone, 0-0, 10.13 ERA) at Tampa Bay (TBD), 8:35 a.m., Peacock TV, AM 570, KTNQ 1020

*-left-handed

In case you missed it

For Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, being a drag nun transcends Dodgers drama. It’s a calling

Despite circumstances, Dodgers believe ‘this is the right time’ for Bobby Miller’s debut

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Granderson: The Dodgers faltered by disinviting the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence but came to their senses

Dodgers apologize and invite Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to Pride Night

With Trayce Thompson mired in historic slump, how much leash can Dodgers give him?

And finally

Tommy Lasorda celebrates Joe Ferguson‘s homer in the World Series. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

Have a comment or something you’d like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.

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