(Photo Credit: Rich Crimi/Tulsa Drillers)
After having begun his 2016 campaign at High-A Rancho Cucamonga, right-handed pitching prospect Trevor Oaks has settled nicely into the Double-A Tulsa starting rotation, and after Monday’s victory over Springfield, leads all Texas League pitchers with eight wins.
Just before the game began against the Cardinals on Monday, Oaks learned that he was named Texas League Pitcher of the Week after having pitched seven scoreless innings while allowing only one hit in a 1-0 win over Northwest Arkansas last Wednesday.
Consequently, on Tuesday, Oaks was informed that he was invited to the Texas League All-Star Game on June 28 at Springfield, alongside rotation mates Chase De Jong, Scott Barlow and Brock Stewart, who was promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City last weekend.
The win against the Naturals last week was Oaks’ sixth straight. Coupled with his most recent victory that extended his current run to seven consecutive wins, he improved his Double-A record to 8-1 on the year.
Since joining the Drillers’ starting rotation in late April, Oaks has recorded a 2.25 ERA and a whopping 2.27 ground ball rate over nine starts, with 35 strikeouts and eight walks in 56 innings of work.
In his latest outing against Springfield, the 23-year-old righty threw six innings and allowed only one earned run on six hits while striking out three batters. The Tulsa bullpen allowed Springfield to score three runs over the seventh and eighth frames, but Oaks’ close friend and collegiate teammate, Caleb Dirks, retired the Springfield side in order in the ninth inning to seal the victory, striking out two and improving his ERA to 1.75.
The win moved Tulsa back into first place in the North Division standings of the Texas League, ½ game in front of Springfield, with only seven games remaining in the first-half of the season. The Drillers and Cardinals will play the final game of their four-game series Tuesday night in Springfield with the winner occupying first place entering the final six games of the half.
As far as his pitching repertoire, Oaks, who was selected by the Dodgers in the seventh round of the 2014 MLB Draft, features a sinker, an occasional four-seamer, a cutter, a slider, a changeup and periodically a curve ball.
“My four seam and sinker usually come out the same speed,” Oaks said in an interview with TBPC in late April. “I try to live around the 91 to 93 range. If I’m feeling fresh might get it up to a 5. I added the cutter this offseason for a different look off of my sinker — I primarily use it against lefties. I worked on my slider a lot with pitching coach Dom Johnson. It’s been much sharper this season and I’m hoping it continues to be a pitch I can rely on down the road.”
In Triple-A news, Brock Stewart made his Pacific Coast League debut for Oklahoma City on Monday night against Omaha, allowing three runs and five hits over 5-2/3 innings while walking one and striking out seven.
The 24-year-old right-hander retired the first eight batters he faced before Parker Morin singled for the Storm Chasers with two outs in the top of the third inning. OKC would eventually cruise to a 9-3 victory.
With the win, Stewart has recorded a victory across three levels of the Dodgers’ farm in 2016, registering wins with Rancho, Tulsa and Oklahoma City.