With both Triple-A Oklahoma City and the big league Dodgers finishing up their respective All-Star beaks this week, many fans have turned their eyes to Double-A Tulsa, seeing the Drillers put together a three-game winning streak while taking exclusive control of the Texas League North division.
Amid the highlights of Tulsa’s most recent string of success was the sensational pitching of 27-year-old righty Tim Shibuya. The Los Angeles native was selected as the Texas League Pitcher of the Week for July 3-9, after having come within one out of completing the Drillers’ first-ever 9-inning, complete-game no-hitter on Monday at Midland. Shibuya would later face the same Rockhounds squad again at home on Saturday, this time tossing six full innings of shutout ball. For the week, he worked 14-2/3 shutout innings while allowing only eight hits. So far for the entire season, Shibuya is 3-0 for the Drillers over 10 appearances — five of which are starts — posting a phenomenal 1.30 ERA and a 0.82 WHIP over 41-2/3 innings of work. The seven-year minor league veteran was originally drafted by the Twins in 2011, and signed as a free agent with the Dodgers in the spring of last season.
Speaking of Players of the Week, outfield prospect Henry Ramos came ever-so-close to earning the award for the same time frame, but was eventually edged out by Corpus Christi outfielder Ramon Laureano. Over his last 10 games, the switch-hitting Ramos has gone 19-for-32 to produce a .594 average, in addition to launching four long balls. After beginning the season on the disabled list with a severe groin issue, the former fifth round 2010 draft choice of the Red Sox has rebounded nicely, producing a .568/.591/.946 slash line over 44 PA for the Drillers.
TBPC put together a detailed profile of Ramos at the beginning of spring training last March.
Although currently sitting on the disabled list with a potential oblique strain, outfielder Jacob Scavuzzo has seen a resurgence of power this season, having already launched 12 long balls compared to his 10 total last season. The Orange County native was instrumental in Shibuya’s victory over Midland last Saturday, having pounded a double and a homer, driving in four of Tulsa’s six runs. On June 21 against Springfield, Scavuzzo slammed three home runs in the affair with four RBI. He has now driven in 44 on the year.
TBPC had the opportunity to sit down and talk some baseball with Scavuzzo last September.
All-Star corner infielder Matt Beaty is continuing his torrid pace at the dish, having hit to the tune of .447 with three home runs and 10 RBI over his last 10 contests. For the year, the Belmont University product is slashing a very impressive .316/.378/.512 with 28 extra-base hits and 36 RBI. Continuing his current pace, the 2015 12th round draft choice of the Dodgers has put himself in position to contend for the first batting title in the Tulsa Drillers’ 41-season history. Beaty currently stands third in hitting in the pitcher-friendly Texas League, behind Oscar Mercado of Springfield and Ian Miller of Arkansas.
“I’m seeing the ball really well,” Beaty told Barry Lewis of Tulsa World earlier in the week. “I’m trying to stick with it and keep doing what I’ve been doing and not change my routine. I’m going to take it day by day.”
TBPC had the chance to chat with Beaty late last month.
Tulsa continues its short four-game road trip on Thursday evening with the second contest of the series against NW Arkansas. Righty Andrew Sopko will take the bump for the Drillers while right-hander Josh Staumont gets the nod for the Naturals.
First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. CT.
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