It is easy to dismiss a player’s performance in the Dominican Summer League. That should not be the case with Los Angeles Dodgers‘ outfielder Josue De Paula.
De Paula’s stat line was certainly impressive. He posted a .350/.448/.522 batting line in his 223 plate appearances, hitting five homers and 13 doubles while stealing 16 bases. His plate discipline may have been even more impressive as he drew 32 walks with just 31 strikeouts.
Josue De Paula ready to rocket up Los Angeles Dodgers prospect lists
That plate discipline is notable in another context. As Fantrax pointed out, only one prospect has drawn more walks than he struck out while slugging at at least .500 in any minor league season at age 17 since 2006 and earned at least a 50 grade on Fangraphs the following year. That prospect? Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco, the consensus top overall prospect in the game prior to the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
It is premature to say that De Paula will be another Franco and rise through the prospects rankings in such a manner. There have been plenty of prospects that dominated in the lower minors only to fall apart when they have faced better competition. De Paula has yet to advance beyond the Complex Leagues, making his path a lot more risky. However, he is already drawing comparisons to Yordan Alvarez, with Fangraphs pointing out that he is being compared to “star DH/LF types who are currently among the most dangerous hitters in baseball.”
The Dodgers are likely to take it slow with De Paula. He will not turn 18 years old until the end of May and there are questions about his future home defensively. But if he can replicate that impressive showing during the 2023 season, he will get plenty of attention. De Paula could be one of the top prospects in the game at this time next year.
Josue De Paula had an impressive professional debut in 2022. The Los Angeles Dodgers’ outfielder could be a top prospect entering the 2024 season.