Three teams have recently emerged to be top bidders for Padres now closer Brad Hand, the Nationals, the Astros, and the Dodgers. The Dodgers being the only team of the three to have a top-10 farm system.
A year ago, the Dodgers ranked number one overall, but the graduating of some top prospects and the growth of other systems has seen them fall down the list a few numbers. What’s more important, the Dodgers are seeking to make a strong push for a World Series run and they need some key bullpen arms to get them there.
With the dominant Kenley Jansen closing out games at a career high pace for the Dodgers, all they need is a reliable set up man to get them through the seventh and eighth innings with no problem. Brad Hand is the guy the Trolly Dodgers are looking to bring in for that role.
Looking at their top prospects, some shiny names jump out at you. They have six players on MLB Pipeline’s top 100 prospects list: RHP Yadier Alvarez, OF Alex Verdugo, 2B Willie Calhoun, RHP Walker Buehler, OF Jeren Kendall and OF Yusniel Diaz.
If the Dodgers are really serious about making that strong World Series run, they need to be ready to part with some of these guys. One thing to keep an eye out for is L.A. is looking to make a play for either Justin Verlander, Yu Darvish, or Sonny Gray. All three of those guys would easily require at least one or two of their top six prospects. So if A.J. Preller wants any of those guys, he needs to act fast.
But, let’s slow down for a second and look at exactly who Preller should be looking for in return for the reliable Hand.
Alex Verdugo is a 21-year-old outfielder currently playing in Triple-A for the OKC Dodgers. He has seen time at all three outfield positions, but has spent most games in either center or right field.
Now, Manny Margot and Hunter Renfroe both look like they’re going to lock down those positions for many years to come in San Diego. So if the Padres are looking to bring him in, they need to be able to get him to adjust into left field. The good news is, in his five games played in left field for OKC this season, Verdugo holds a 1.000 fielding percentage.
At the plate, Verdugo is slashing an incredible .328/.401/.446 with 20 doubles, four triples, four homers, and 51 RBI. He also shows outstanding patience at the plate striking out just 35 times and walking 41 times.
However, Verdugo is only one year away from the show and might not fit into the Padres plans, especially with the crowded outfield the Padres host already. He is also highly touted by the Dodgers and they could balk at even the thought of asking for the young man.