With the big-league Dodgers doing their best to climb back into the NL West division race, it’s time once again to check out what happened with their minor-league affiliates within the past week.
OKLAHOMA CITY DODGERS (Pacific Coast League-AAA): The OKC crew struggled to keep division rival Colorado Springs (Milwaukee Brewers affiliate) off their heels last week, but were still able to hold them off by going 4-2 during that stretch and maintaining their slight 1 1/2-game lead in their division with six regular season games remaining. 22-year old OF and top Dodger prospect Alex Verdugo has cooled off in the month of August (.286/.375/.357), but is still putting a very good .335/.391/.474 slash line for the season and is still in contention for the league batting title. 24-year old corner player Edwin Rios, on the other hand, has heated up during that time (.321/.364/.494) and is now batting .303/.351/.484 for the season. Other standouts include 26-year old utility man Tim Locastro (.289/.443/.410 during that same stretch, batting .292/.404/.431 through 78 games) and 28-year old C/3B Kyle Farmer (.292/.337/.462 through 74 games, including an excellent .354/.407/.556 slash line with 2-out).
On the pitching front, there were a couple good outings from 28-year old Dominican RHP Daniel Corcino (6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 7 K, 96 pitches-62 strikes in Saturday’s start) and 26-year old RHP Brock Stewart (5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 1K, 69 pitches-48 strikes in Wednesday’s start) as well as a fairly notable performance from 27-year old reliever/Dodger 2014 15th round pick Joe Broussard (3 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K in his last 3 appearances; 5-4 with a good 3.29 ERA and 22/67 BB/K ratio in 63 IP this season).
On a sidenote, congrats to both Verdugo and 27-year old Mexican LHP Manny Banuelos for being named to the 2018 All-PCL Team. Banuelos received the honor after ranking among the PCL starters with a 3.59 ERA (3rd), 126 strikeouts (5th), and 10.74 K/9 IP (1st before moving to the pen earlier this month). He’s also set single-season career highs in wins (9) and innings pitched (129.2) this season for OKC. As for Verdugo, he currently leads the club with 111 hits through 86 games so far while racking up 31 multi-hit games (first on the team) during that span.
TULSA DRILLERS (Texas League-AA): Manager Scott Hennessey’s Drillers have yet to get beyond playing 500-ball (3-3 record this past week), but are still holding on their 3-1/2 game division lead with nine regular season games remaining. 20-year old middle-infielder/6th-ranked system prospect Gavin Lux and 20-year old C Keibert Ruiz (ranked 2nd) still remain the top performers for the second straight week, with Lux batting .333 with a HR and two RBI (.338/.411/.513 with 4 HR and 6 RBI in 21 games since being promoted to AA Tulsa) and Ruiz batting .315 with three RBI (.263/.326/.399 with 12 HR and 42 RBI overall this season).
There were also quite a few notable pitching performances from the starting staff during that time period as well, beginning with 23-year old RHP/7th-ranked system prospect Mitchell White (7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K, 91 pitches-60 strikes in Friday’s outing). For the month, he’s now 2-1 with an outstanding 2.08 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in 26 IP (four starts). 24-year old staff ace Tony Gonsolin (5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K, 59 pitches-35 strikes in Saturday’s start) and 20-year old RHP/4th-ranked system prospect Dustin May (6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K, 92 pitches-58 strikes in Wednesday’s game) delivered very strong outings as well. Honorable nod to 23-year old RHP Marshall Kasowski (3.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K in his last two appearances), who’s posted a very nice 1.50 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 12 IP since being promoted from High-A Rancho Cucamonga late last month.
RANCHO CUCAMONGA QUAKES (California League-High A Advanced): There seems to be no stopping manager Drew Saylor’s juggernaut of a Quakes ballclub as they’ve finally secured the second-half division title back on Thursday after sweeping division rival Lancaster (Colorado Rockies affiliate) in a three-game series. In addition to that, the Quakes also reached a historic milestone by winning their single-season franchise record 81st game on Sunday. Several players led the pack offensively during that stretch, but the one who continues to stand out is 21-year old Dominican 3B Cristian Santana (batting .357 with a HR and six RBI). The recently-named Cal League Player of the Week is currently posting a sizzling .347/.364/.642 slash line for the month of August along with eight HR and 28 RBI within that same period. Following closely on his heels have been resurgent 20-year old Cuban middle-infielder Omar Estevez (.311/.386/.544 for the month with four HR and 18 RBI) and 20-year old Dominican OF Carlos Rincon (.293/.391/.787 with 10 HR and 21 RBI during the same stretch).
In terms of the pitching, the best performance once again came from current staff ace Leo Crawford (6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 5 K, 87 pitches-59 strikes in Friday’s start. the 21-year old Nicaraguan southpaw still remains undefeated at 7-0 with a decent 3.03 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in just over 62 IP (10 starts) since his promotion from Low-A Great Lakes. 21-year old rehabbing Dodger LHP Julio Urias also had his best outing so far down there (2.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K) as he continues to work his way back to the parent club as a potential bullpen option when rosters expand next month. Yet another honorable mention to 23-year old LHP Logan Salow (3.2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K in his last two appearances; 4-2 with a 3.18 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 31 games for the Quakes so far this season).
GREAT LAKES LOONS (Midwest League-Low A): The Loons are having quite a second half of their own. For the first time this season, they finally have a winning record to show for it as of Monday (33-30). Manager John Shoemaker’s gritty ballclub continues to remain hot in their hunt for a potential playoff spot, going 6-1 this past week and 19-6 overall in the month of August. Players that have stood out offensively during that stretch have been 21-year old OF Josh McClain (.361/.394/.443), 22-year old middle-infielder Deacon Liput (.270/.333/.382), 19-year old middle-infielder Jacob Amaya (.250 with an excellent .400 OBP), 21-year old C Hunter Feduccia (.319/.389/.383), and struggling 20-year old Venezuelan OF/2014 international free agent signing Romer Cuadrado (.298/.330/.405 with 2 HR and 12 RBI).
As usual, the pitching continues to fuel the Loons’ current playoff push. 19-year old “staff ace” Gerardo Carrillo posted another stellar outing (7 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K, 88 pitches-57 strikes in Wednesday’s start) and is now 2-1 with a sparkling 0.75 ERA and 1.08 WHIP for the month of August (four starts). 20-year old Dominican RHP/2015 international free agent signing Alfredo Tavarez may have put up his best performance of the season by far back on Friday (7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K, 85 pitches-54 strikes). He’s currently 3-5 with a 2.96 ERA and solid 1.27 WHIP in just over 91 IP (17 starts) for Great Lakes this season. Recently promoted 21-year old Venezuelan RHP Jose Chacin finally returned to the Loons with somewhat of a vengeance, going six strong innings allowing only three hits-zero runs-three walks-eight strikeouts for his efforts. Here’s hoping he continues to trend upward this time around. Honorable nods once again to 21-year old RHP Stephen Kolek (3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K in his last two appearances; 2-0 with a ridiculous 0.71 ERA and 0.83 WHIP in just over 25 IP since being promoted from Rookie-level Ogden) and 21-year old LHP Bryan Warzek (3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K in Sunday’s emergency spot start; 1-1 with a very good 2.41 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in just under 19 IP for the Loons overall).
OGDEN RAPTORS (Pioneer League-Rookie Level): The Raptors have pretty much been on cruise control since wrapping up their first-half division title, but have picked it up last week by going 4-2 and placing themselves only a game back of second-half division-leading Grand Junction (Colorado Rockies affiliate) as of Monday. 19-year old 2B Jeremy Arocho continues to swing a hot bat at the top of the order for them during that span (.375 with 3 SB and 6 runs scored) along with 21-year old rehabbing utility player/2017 15th rounder Marcus Chiu (.346/.393/.692 with 2 HR and 10 RBI since being reassigned to Ogden the week before last). 21-year old OF Daniel Robinson (.320/.402/.470 through 50 games), 19-year old infielder Ronny Brito (.295/.352/.518 with 11 HR and 49 RBI in 46 games for the Raptors), 21-year old 1B Dillon Paulson (.286/.399/.534 with 8 HR and 51 RBI in 49 games) and 21-year old OF Niko Hulsizer (.288/.435/.525 with 7 HR, 28 RBI, and 11 SB/2 CS in 41 games) have remained steady offensively while 21-year old OF/2018 7th round pick James Outman has finally begun to make some noise in the 2nd half (.344/.398/.559 with 4 HR, 13 RBI, and 11 SB/1 CS through 23 games) after a very slow 1st half in which he batted a paltry .184/.297/.379 despite the power numbers being roughly similar through the same amount of games by comparison.
AZL DODGERS (Arizona League-Instructional Level): Nothing really of note to report down here other than the recent performance of 19-year old Venezuelan SS/2015 international free agent signing Leonel Valera. During the past week, he ended up batting .500 with a HR, three RBI, five runs scored, and three SB. For the season, he’s posted a decent .293/.364/.367 slash line with 13 SB/1 CS and 23 runs scored in 42 games. He may be another candidate ticketed for Ogden at this rate. Still waiting for 21-year old RHP/2018 2nd rounder Michael Grove to make his pro-ball debut at this level, but management might end up delaying it until next year due to him coming off Tommy John rehab only recently.