On Tuesday afternoon, Andy put together a rather intriguing story surrounding the question of whether or not the Dodgers should consider a roster move or two based on the early performances of some players, most specifically those in utility or bench roles. Ironically, as the club embraces the middle game of the three-game set against the Cubs at Wrigley, we may see the bullpen revamped with the addition of righty Pedro Baez, while the offense could be infused with the presence of Trayce Thompson, if lefty-killer Franklin Gutierrez does indeed find himself on the 10-day disabled list with a hamstring problem.
Yet beyond the up-and-comers on the fringes of the bigs, or even those already on the 40-man roster, sit what seem to be dozens of other prized prospects who continue to make headlines on the farm almost daily.
Perhaps motivated by his exclusion from the Triple-A Oklahoma City roster to begin his 2017 campaign, righty reliever Joe Broussard is absolutely throwing out of his mind to start the season with Double-A Tulsa. Broussard threw two innings of outstanding relief on Tuesday night against the Frisco RoughRiders, allowing no hits or walks while striking out one and picking up the win. According to Eric Stephen of True Blue LA, the 26-year-old New Orleans native has already appeared in three contests and hasn’t yet allowed a single baserunner. He’s perfect over 4-1/3 innings of work and has four strikeouts to his credit, and to boot, he picked a runner off first base in his first appearance of the year.
Broussard was nothing short of stellar in the Arizona Fall League last year, recording a 1.59 ERA in 11-1/3 relief innings, including nine punch outs, no walks and five saves. He pitched across three levels of the farm during the 2016 regular season, and his mid-90s heater could conceivably play large for the big league club at some point in 2017, even considering his start at Tulsa this year. People familiar with Broussard’s skills are already questioning the addition of righty Joe Gunkel on the OKC roster above him.
Speaking of Oklahoma City, outfielder/first baseman O’Koyea Dickson is picking up where he left off last season, just before he injured his quad in the Pacific Coast League playoffs. Before Wednesday’s game against Nashville, the right-handed hitting Dickson has already gone 10-for-16 in four games played this year, including three long balls, five RBI, a double and six runs scored.
Last season, the native of San Francisco slashed .328/.398/.556 with 18 home runs, 28 doubles and 64 RBI in 101 games played. The .328 batting average was his highest season average since batting .333 in 48 games in 2011.
In September of 2016, Dickson was named Pacific Coast League Player of the Week for the final week of the 2016 regular season, going 13-for-26 with three home runs, three doubles, a triple and 10 RBI in six games over that span.
Skipper Dave Roberts has appeared to become enamored with Dickson, possibly resulting from the 27-year-old’s walk-off double against Team Japan in an exhibition during the spring.
“I’ve just grown to really love this guy,” Roberts told Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times in March. “He’s going to play in the big leagues. I expect to see him at some point in time this year. We don’t know how it’s going to play out, but he’s got a big-league bat.”
While players like Cody Bellinger, Alex Verdugo and Willie Calhoun currently look to be the crown jewels of the farm and dominate the Top 5 prospect rankings, don’t be surprised if both Broussard and Dickson leapfrog the entire lot and make their respective major league debuts sooner than many think.
(Photo Credit: Jeremy Davis)