The Dodgers added four prospects from their minor league system to their 40-Man roster on Tuesday. These players are no longer eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this offseason.
The prospects who are now on the 40-Man roster in Los Angeles are catcher Diego Cartaya, infielder Michael Busch, and outfielders Andy Pages and Jonny DeLuca.
Cartaya, Busch, and Pages were locks to be added to the roster. All three will likely hit the majors in the next year or two and would’ve been taken if they weren’t protected. It is, however, a bit of a surprise to see DeLuca get a spot over No. 8 prospect Jose Ramos.
Ramos just finished out the Arizona Fall League on a hot streak that won him the final AFL Hitter of the Week award. Having not been protected, he will be eligible to be selected by any of the other 29 teams in the Rule 5 draft. If another team decides to take him, they will have to have the 21-year-old on their major league roster for the entirety of the 2023 season, or else be forced to offer Ramos back to the Dodgers for $50,000.
The Dodgers likely feel that Ramos, who has not played above the High-A level in his career, is still too raw of a prospect for any other team to move him straight to their MLB roster. They certainly value Ramos, and would likely have protected him if they felt he might be taken.
Although he is not on the Dodgers’ Top 30 prospects list, DeLuca is a valuable player in his own right. The 24-year-old had a breakout season in 2022, homering 25 times and stealing 17 bases in 98 games. Before his season ended prematurely because of an injury, DeLuca posted an impressive .965 OPS in his first 25 games in Double-A. His age and success with Tulsa made him a viable candidate to be taken by another team in the Rule 5 draft despite not being ranked as a top prospect.
It is possible for all four of Cartaya, Busch, Pages, and DeLuca to make it to the major leagues in 2023, but Busch is the only one who is almost certain to make his debut. Now 25 years old, only Busch has made it to Triple-A already. Cartaya, Pages, and DeLuca would all have to find massive success to get the call, but they have all proven capable of dominating in the past, so nothing is impossible.
Los Angeles now has 37 players on its 40-Man roster, and that will go up to 38 once Clayton Kershaw‘s return is made official. That will, for now, leave two spots to be filled through the rest of the offseason. That isn’t a lot of room for Andrew Friedman to work with, so depth trades to make more space could be coming soon.