Lately, there’s been a lot of talk in baseball circles about ‘untouchables’. Recently, we explored which prospects should be untouchable. Then, Cody Bellinger was also named the most untouchable player in the Dodgers’ organization by an MLB.com writer.
While it’s easy to say that no player should be untouchable when you are chasing your first title since 1988, that’s not exactly true.
For instance, remember when the Miami Marlins wanted Bellinger in a swap for catcher J.T. Realmuto? Now what did that accomplish? Realistically, if an organization labels a player untouchable; it draws a line in the sand. Besides saving everyone involved time, it also shows clear direction. It’s a way of a team planting their flag in the sand and saying this guy; this is the guy or group of guys we are moving forward with and building around.
And it’s not a bad thing.
Who are your Top 5 untouchable Dodgers, prospects included? pic.twitter.com/gk6DaOWijE
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) November 20, 2019
Therefore, we asked you to give us your top five Dodgers’ untouchable players in the organization. And I was nice enough to compile and tally up your responses. Now, let’s look at the Dodgers’ untouchables according to the survey.
Los Angeles Dodgers ‘Untouchable’ Tally (As voted on twitter)
#Dodgers 'Untouchables' according to @DodgersNation pic.twitter.com/oHCie56zd6
— Clint (@DiamondHoggers) November 21, 2019
First off, this is an excellent way to gauge someone’s stock at least amongst the vast and educated Los Angeles fan base. Moreover, it’s a great way for me to get a pulse of who is looked at as a valuable piece. For example, Dodgers minor league Pitcher of the Year Josiah Gray received some steam with five votes. While I have heard great things about Gray – I need to dig deeper into him and really put him on my radar.
By the same token, this exhibits the vast core the Dodgers truly have at their expense. There are a lot of really good players on this list; and some with just a few votes because people were limited to a maximum of five.
Now, let’s do some lightning round on the untouchables by tiers.
Cody Bellinger – The unsung MVP, this one is obvious. Simply; Bellinger is just 24 and has a chance to follow a Mike Trout type path in the game of baseball. One of the game’s elite.
Walker Buehler – The next most obvious choice. His record in elimination games, his confidence on the mound… he’s one of the few guys in the game who strikes fear in the heart of any lineup. Seriously, you can count those guys on one hand. He has shown off the charts, record-setting stuff a number of times already. Soon to be the game’s best if health remains in-tact.
Gavin Lux – The ‘next one’, presumably. Already labeled off-limits in Francisco Lindor trade talks, his arrow is pointing up in a big way.
Dustin May – Big time respect in this poll. Comps include the likes of Noah Syndergaard amongst scouts. Future ace upside with a high floor.
Tier Two Untouchables
Max Muncy – The sentimental hero with a mural to support that claim. How could we ever trade Max Muncy? We found him and made him famous.
Alex Verdugo – Arrow pointing up, excellent two-way player. The only concern is lack of track record and slight health concerns. However, one year from now…
Justin Turner – Obvious heart and soul of the franchise, leader in the clubhouse. Highly unlikely trade candidate for that reason amongst many others.
Will Smith – Strikes me as a future captain type without the ‘C’ on the uniform. Poised, intelligent, great feel for the game beyond his years. Has a knack for the big moment.
Tier Three Untouchables
Corey Seager – Very tough fringe here between tier two, and tier three. Suddenly whispered as a trade candidate, though we all think back to 2016 and 2017 and flashes of excellence after that. Still, 2020 is a huge year for him for this reason. He could raise to tier-one or be traded. Without injuries, he’s probably the Dodgers’ version of Derek Jeter.
Josiah Gray – See above within this post. Also, you can check out this post on Gray by my colleague Tim Rogers.
Keibert Ruiz – Organization’s reluctance to move him in 2019 to get a relief-ace should tell you a lot. Even with all the catching depth, still highly-valued. A light bulb goes on that says big things must be coming.
Clayton Kershaw – Contract makes him a non-candidate aside from the whole being an icon in the city of Los Angeles.
Julio Urias – Think back to where he once was, and where he stands now. A perfect example of how stocks move up and down with a young player.
Joc Pederson – Postseason hero, has shown adaptability and overcome several spells in which he looked like a finished product. Solid big leaguer who has a lot of sentimental value for his legendary postseason play.
Finally, several players received at least one vote of importance for one reason or another. You can see those players on my list above, but they’re probably not ‘untouchable’.
While I would love to make my own list of five, I think the ‘Nation did the job and nailed this. In summary, to look at the top four names on this list and add a fifth (flip a coin) between Muncy and Verdugo; you have your core of untouchable players. Few organizations would have more than two or three at best.
Equally important, several players in tier-two and three could easily be in that untouchable tier-one group by this time next year. The Los Angeles Dodgers are in a great spot with lots of elite depth.