5 Biggest Dodgers Prospect Flameouts of All Time

Tis the season for Dodgers prospects! Just as the front office promised, the team has leaned on the young, up and coming core of players this season with guys like James Outman, Miguel Vargas, and Bobby Miller being called on to play big roles for the club. With so many big name prospects joining the active roster this season, it got us thinking about the biggest prospect flameouts of all time. The busts.

We asked the fine folks in the Dodgers Nation Official Facebook Group for their input and it was a throwback Thursday that’s sure to get you nostalgic.

5. Darren Dreifort

Darren Dreifort was surprisingly mentioned a lot in the Facebook group. Dreifort was taken just behind Alex Rodriguez with the second overall selection in the 1993 MLB draft. He was quickly brought up to the Dodgers’ major league roster in ’94 and struggled in a relief role.

Injury issues were the story of his career. He missed the 1995 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He stayed mostly healthy from 1996-2000, finally joining the starting rotation during the 1998 season. Dreifort turned his three seasons at a starter (33-34, 4.31 ERA over 87 starts) into a 5 year, $55 million contract and it was an immediate disaster from there.

He was awful to open the 2001 season and eventually had to undergo the second Tommy John operation of his career, wiping out the second half of 2001 and all of the 2002 season. He returned in 2003 to make 10 starts before another injury ended his season. In 2004, he made the roster in the bullpen and got into a career high 60 games before a knee injury ended his season and, ultimately, his career.

4. Greg Brock

Greg Brock was supposed to be the guy that would replace Steve Garvey and play first base for the Dodgers for the next decade. No one would replace the Garv in the eye of true blue fans in LA. Brock made his debut in 1982 and struggled over 18 games — all as a pinch hitter because, well, as you know, Steve Garvey didn’t take days off.

The Dodgers let Garvey leave for the Padres via free agency in the 1982-1983 offseason and the keys to first base were handed to Brock. It didn’t go well. In his first full season in 1983 he hit just .224 with 20 home runs. In 1984 he was starting to hit for a bit more power but a wrist injury ruined his season. By 1985 it was make or break time for Brock in Dodger blue.

After 1986, the Dodgers had enough. General manager Al Campanis shipped him off to Milwaukee for pitchers Tim Crews and Tim Leary, both of whom played key roles for the 1988 World Series team.

In 1987, the Dodgers handed the keys to first base to…

3. Franklin Stubbs

Franklin Stubbs had been around since the 1984 season, mixing in at first base when Brock was hurt and in the outfield. Stubbs wasn’t so much bad as he wasn’t good. As a former first round draft pick, a lot was expected out of the lefty swinger but he just never lived up to the hype.

He did have a nice postseason run in 1988 hitting .294 during the World Series win over the A’s. In 1989 he was relegated to a bench role after general manager Fred Claire signed Hall of Famer Eddie Murray to a three year deal. Stubbs was traded to Houston in 1990 and spent the next five seasons in and out of organized baseball before retiring after the 1995 season.

2. Zach Lee

Coming out of the ’80s and into the 2010s, the Dodgers shockingly signed Zach Lee to a massive $5 million bonus to lure him away from playing football at LSU. What made the signing so shocking was that it was during the Frank McCourt era of Dodger baseball. And by 2010, McCourt was knee deep in an ugly divorce and was soon about to start struggling to pay people on time.

All that drama aside, Lee was just never good. Say what you will about the guys mentioned on this list before Lee, at least they had major league careers. Zach Lee made just 4 career appearances at the big league level and just one of those was with the Dodgers. He was lit up for 7 runs over 4.1 innings in a spot start in 2015 and that was the end of the line in blue.

His greatest claim to fame is, of course, that he was traded to the Seattle Mariners for Chris Taylor who has had a nice career as a Dodger.

Honorable Mentions

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a few names that deserve some love from the last couple of decades.

Jerry Sands. Andy LaRoche. Joel Guzman. Todd Hollandsworth.

1. Billy Ashley

As you long time Dodger faithful might expect, Billy Ashley was far and away the name most frequently mentioned by fans. Ashley had all the smoke behind him as the next big thing in the outfield for the Dodgers. While guys like Eric Karros and Mike Piazza were gearing up for their MLB debuts and Rookie of the Year campaigns, Billy Ashley was the big name prospect.

He was drafted in the third round of 1988 draft but took a while to get his footing. By 1992, he began to display the power down at the minor leagues that would have fans salivating. He made his MLB debut in ’92 but struggled to stick. From ’92-’94 he got into just 45 big league games while continuing to crush minor league pitching. As a major leaguer, he couldn’t hit and could field and was out of baseball by the age of 28.

Twitter Sounds Off

Folks on Twitter shared their thoughts as well with more of the same when it comes to the names.

What are your thoughts? Sound off in the comments below!

Clint Pasillas

Clint Pasillas has been writing, blogging, and podcasting about the Los Angeles Dodgers since 2008. Under Clint's leadership as the Lead Editor, Dodgers Nation has grown into one of the most read baseball sites in the world with millions of unique visitors per month. Find him online on Twitter/X or his YouTube channel!


  1. Mike Marshall #5 (not the great bare-armed-in-35-degrees pitcher). Seems he did manage a HR in SF and pointed a finger at the pitcher that erupted into a brawl or something, but I don’t think he ever reached the level of his hype.

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