While the big league Dodgers appear to have worked out a few of the kinks from their early-season mediocrity, the boys at Oklahoma City also seem to be turning a rough corner, having stolen three out of four from Round Rock this past week, and orchestrating a huge come-from-behind victory against Fresno on Friday evening.
After starting the year with a lengthy stay on the disabled list, infielder Drew Maggi has settled back in nicely for OKC since being reinstated in the beginning of May. In 21 ABs through his first seven games of the season, Maggi is slashing a very productive .429/.520/.667 with two doubles, one long ball and four runs scored. On Tuesday night against the Express, he hit a single in the seventh inning scoring O’Koyea Dickson, which ultimately proved to be the game winner in the 6-5 win.
Last season, in 110 games combined with Oklahoma City and Double-A Tulsa, the 27-year-old Phoenix native slashed an impressive .289/.366/.390 and represented the Drillers in the 2016 Texas League All-Star Game. With Rob Segedin still on the shelf with foot problems and Chris Taylor on fire in the bigs, the versatile Maggi promises to see plenty of playing time in the OKC infield during the weeks to come.
Justin Masterson isn’t considered a prospect by any means, but the veteran righty still continues to contribute to the Oklahoma City rotation in his quest to return to the bigs. On Friday night, he matched his longest outing of the season, throwing seven solid innings against the Grizzlies. The 32-year-old San Diego State alum allowed two runs and three hits, issued two walks and recorded six strikeouts in the victory. In six starts for OKC this season, Masterson has put together a 3-1 record with 40 strikeouts, 14 walks and a .179 BAA over 37-2/3 innings of work.
Jumping down a level to Double-A, there hasn’t been a more pleasant surprise this year than righty reliever Yaisel Sierra. When the Dodgers signed Sierra in February of 2017 to a monstrous 6-year, $30 million deal, expectations dropped immediately in a less-than-stellar campaign when Sierra was victimized primarily by very poor command. After being moved to the bullpen late last season, however, the 25-year-old began to figure out his control issues. Now one of the principal pieces of the Drillers’ bullpen, Sierra has made 11 appearances with an outstanding 1.38 ERA and .183 BAA, having struck out 21 batters and tallying two saves in 19-2/3 innings thrown.
With DJ Peters and Will Smith stealing most of the spotlight at High-A, left fielder Luke Raley is often overshadowed at Rancho Cucamonga, at least offensively. Nevertheless, the 2016 7th-round draft pick of the Dodgers is quietly putting together a fantastic season. Through his first 33 games, the 22-year-old is slashing .316/.391/.462 with 24 runs scored, three home runs, three triples and four stolen bases.
After beginning the year in extended spring training, many eyes have been on hard-throwing righty Yadier Alvarez since returning to competition. On Wednesday against San Jose, the 21-year-old threw four full innings out of the bullpen, allowing two earned runs on five hits and two walks while striking out three. For the season, Alvarez has a 6.00 ERA over an even 18 innings with 18 punchouts and nine walks.
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