While many fans of the Dodgers have recently been mulling over the numerous roster transactions and watching the Boys in Blue hover around the .500 mark, it’s been business as usual down on the farm, where a handful of blue chippers are on the rise across several different levels of the organization.
It seems as if we’ve mentioned the name of reliever Joe Broussard several times already this season. After beginning the year with Double-A Tulsa and earning a promotion to Triple-A Oklahoma City in mid-April, the hard-throwing New Orleans native has still yet to surrender a run. Between both Tulsa and OKC, Broussard has now made eight appearances with a .128 batting average against, a 0.76 WHIP and 22 strikeouts over an even 14 innings, which calculates to a silly 14.10 K/9. He last threw in the 14-inning marathon on Tuesday against Colorado Springs, when he pitched two full solid innings, surrendering only one hit while striking out five. The 26-year-old righty 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 though he doesn’t yet have a spot on the major league 40-man roster.
Complimenting Broussard in the OKC bullpen is 27-year-old Layne Somsen, who has also yet to give up a single earned run. Over nine appearances and 14-2/3 innings of work, the righty has posted a .176 BAA and a 1.02 WHIP with 13 punchouts. He isn’t a strikeout machine like Broussard, but his two-seam has nasty cutting movement, and his Tim Lincecum-esque delivery still catapults his heater up to around 93-94 MPH. Somsen made his major league debut for the Reds in May of 2016, and was claimed by the Dodgers later that summer after finding his way to the Yankees and being placed on waivers.
Drifting down to the Double-A level, superstar infielder Edwin Rios has absolutely been stealing the show at Tulsa. He was named Texas League Player of the Week for April 24-30, when he went 13-for-24 (.542) with four doubles and six RBI in six games. To add an exclamation point to his honors, the 23-year-old corner man blasted two home runs in Thursday’s doubleheader against Arkansas. For the year, he’s now hitting an insane .371/.404/.649 with six long balls, nine doubles and 25 RBI in 97 ABs over 25 games.
TBPC put together a concise profile on Rios last December.
Finally, drifting down even another level, High-A Rancho Cucamonga’s dynamic duo of Will Smith and DJ Peters has been carrying the main offensive load for the Quakes, despite being overshadowed by the cameos of big leaguers Joc Pederson, Logan Forsythe and Rich Hill last week. Smith won the California League Player of the Week for April 17-23, going 11-for-25 with three home runs, three doubles, six RBI, five walks, and four stolen bases during that period. One week later, Peters captured the exact same honor, having gone 10-for-25 with four home runs, two doubles, six walks, 11 RBI and 10 runs scored during April 24-30.
TBPC compiled a profile on Smith in March, while composing a brief story regarding Peters in early April.
Righty reliever Shea Spitzbarth, who was kind enough to sit down and chat with us last week, continues to shine in the Rancho bullpen. The 22-year-old Staten Island native has now made nine appearances in 2017, posting a 0.66 ERA with six saves and 22 strikeouts over 13-2/3 innings. Spitzbarth last appeared in the Quakes’ 7-4 victory against Inland Empire on Friday, throwing a hitless ninth frame while registering the save.
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