For as much as the big league club has been struggling with its offense so far this season, the Oklahoma City Dodgers have been making up for it with their own bats. The Triple-A crew is off to fine 5-1 record as a team, as they’re hitting a combined .306/.377/.447 through the first six games of the young campaign. Although the 19-run output against Round Rock earlier this week represents a big chunk of their production, they still have put 40 runs on the board so far, which translates to 6.67 runs scored per game—a very impressive number any way you look at it.
Of course, skipper Bill Haselman is faced with the challenge of rotating the daily lineup, making sure every player gets his fair share of opportunities. In the same breath, he’s also taking orders from the big league management team, who gives directions regarding which spots many of the players should handle and when. Still, through the first six contests of the year, the OKC lineup has been a fairly consistent model.
The versatile Tim Locastro has settled into Oklahoma City’s leadoff spot nicely; however, contrary to his outstanding defensive skills in the middle infield, he’s been seeing most of his action in center field. Offensively, Locastro is one of a whopping six players who has started the year with an average over .300, as he has already gone 5-for-13 in his first 15 plate appearances. Additionally, he was able to get his first stolen base out of the way in the season opener at Iowa.
Undoubtedly, the talk of Oklahoma City lately has been outfielder Andrew Toles. The strange thing, though, is that he has started just one of the team’s last three games—a surprising note for as much as everyone was talking about his need to start on a daily basis. He’s still getting his fair share of hacks at the dish, as he has already gone 9-for-23 with four doubles, and he’s also tied for the team lead with nine RBI. Most of his action defensively has been in left field. When Tolesy has started, he normally hits out of the two-hole, a spot which he rotates with another versatile outfielder in Henry Ramos. The 25-year-old Ramos has gotten off to a relatively slow start, going four for his first 18.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the whole crew this year has been outfielder Travis Taijeron. The 29-year-old journeyman has gone 7-for-14 at the plate so far, and although he can handle center field in a pinch, sees most of his time at both corner spots and DH. Taijeron has been a mainstay as the team’s three-hole hitter durung the early goings of the season.
Alex Verdugo has appeared in multiple spots atop the OKC lineup and has been seeing most of his action in right field and DH through the first six games. He already has eight base hits, and is right on the edge of becoming the club’s seventh player to have an early season average of over .300.
The speedy middle-infield tandem of Donovan Solano and Breyvic Valera is also producing offensively, as both players have early-season hitting marks over .350. Valera is tied with Toles for the team lead in RBI. Super-utility man Max Muncy has also been a mainstay in the middle of the lineup seeing plenty of time at first base. Muncy leads the team in homers with his two long balls.
Sharing time with Muncy at first base has been Rob Segedin. The 29-year-old Segedin was the offensive hero in OKC’s home opener on Thursday night, as he put the team ahead for good in the fourth inning with a solo shot over the left field wall.
Another player who can pretty much handle any spot on the diamond—aside from pitcher and catcher—is Jake Peter. Despite his versatility, the 25-year-old Iowa native has settled in nicely as the team’s regular third baseman, and has gone five for his first 18, primarily hitting out of the six or seven holes.
Splitting time at catcher are Rocky Gale and Cael Brockmeyer. Neither are known especially for their offensive prowess; however, Gale came up big in the 19-1 victory over Round Rock on Wednesday with a home run and three RBI.
With all the talent on the squad right now, there’s no reason to think the Oklahoma City will not cruise to a playoff spot by the end of the regular season. And considering the way a handful of players have been producing so far, the organization’s management team may already have some ideas about a few potential big league roster promotions for the early portion of the campaign.