Dodgers Weekly Minor league Report: Two Teams Left Standing

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Photo Credit: Rich Crimi/Tulsa Drillers

OKLAHOMA CITY DODGERS (Pacific Coast League-AAA): Although it was an exciting down-to-the-wire regular season finish for manager Bill Haselman‘s OKC club to kick-off the previous week, their luck eventually ran out at the hands of the Memphis Redbirds (St. Louis Cardinals affiliate) as they were dusted off in four games of the PCL American Conference Championship series. Still, it was a a largely successful 2018 campaign for the team as they posted a very good 75-65 regular season record which culminated in them clinching the PCL American Northern Division title. Key players of note who were getting it done this past week are 26-year old OF/former 2010 5th round pick of the Boston Red Sox Henry Ramos (.765/.778/1.118 in the month of September, also batted a white-hot .500 avg with 3 HR and 7 RBI in the OKC/Memphis division series), 26-year old INF/OF Connor Joe (.545/.737/.909 with a HR and 5 RBI during the same stretch; .299/.408/.527 with a career-high 17 HR and 55 RBI combined between AA Tulsa and AAA OKC this season), and 24-year old corner player Edwin Rios (.467/.529/.800 this month with a HR and 5 RBI; .304/.355/.482 with 35 XBH and 55 RBI in 88 games for OKC this season).

Not much to say on the pitching front other than 27-year old Mexican southpaw Manny Banuelos notching his 9th win of the season back on Monday, pitching two no-hit innings of scoreless relief. The 2018 PCL Post-Season All-Star finishes up with a 9-7 record, 3.73 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, and a decent 42/127 BB/K ratio in 108.2 IP (18 starts/13 relief appearances). On a sidenote, rehabbing 22-year old Dodger LHP Julio Urias was just recalled to the parent club on Monday after finishing up his minor-league stint. He only pitched 2/3 of an inning in relief last Monday, allowing only two hits and a walk.

TULSA DRILLERS (Texas League-AA): Manager Scott Hennessey’s Drillers have been faring well after clinching a playoff spot as well as locking up the second-half Texas League North Division Title with a rather commanding 40-29 mark down the stretch. They recently eliminated their division rivals in the Arkansas Travelers (Seattle Mariners affiliate) by going the distance in a best-of-five Texas League North Division series and are now set to take on San Antonio Missions (San Diego Padres affiliate) for the Texas League Championship title. 20-year old middle infielder/6th-ranked system prospect Gavin Lux (.324/.408/.495 with 4 HR and 9 RBI in 28 regular season games for Tulsa), 20-year old C/2nd-ranked system prospect Keibert Ruiz (.268/.328/.401 with 12 HR and 47 RBI overall this season), and 22-year old OF/recently named TL Player Of The Week DJ Peters (career-high 29 HR in 132 games for the Drillers this season) were the main bats in that series. Lux batted a sizzling .428 with 4 runs scored, a HR, and 3 RBI against the Travelers, while Ruiz more than held his own hitting .409 with 2 runs scored, a HR, and 5 RBI. Peters ended up batting a solid .263 with 4 runs scored, a HR and 2 RBI for good measure.

Couple of notable pitching performances also came about in that playoff series. 23-year old RHP/7th-ranked system prospect Mitchell White, who finished up his regular season with a six-inning/four-hit scoreless gem last Monday, pitched an excellent game in the division series clincher on Sunday (7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K, 94 pitches-56 strikes). 26-year old LHP Ben Holmes threw a gem of his own in last Thursday’s outing (6.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 8 K, 97 pitches-63 strikes) and 24-year old RHP/29th-ranked system prospect Andrew Sopko was right there with him as well (6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K, 80 pitches-48 strikes in Saturday’s game).

RANCHO CUCAMONGA QUAKES (California League-High A Advanced): There’s just no stopping manager Drew Saylor’s Quakes squad as they thoroughly mopped the floor with division rival Lancaster (Colorado Rockies affiliate) in a best-of-five playoff division series winning 4-1 and moving on to the California League Championship series where they will face the Visalia Rawhide (Arizona Diamondbacks affiliate). Top offensive performers in that playoff series last week were 20-year old Cuban middle infielder/30th-ranked system prospect Omar Estevez (.266 avg with 3 runs scored, 2 HR, and 3 RBI), 20-year old Dominican OF Carlos Rincon (.312 avg with 3 runs scored, 2 HR, and 6 RBI), and 23-year old OF Cody Thomas (.444 avg with 5 runs scored, a HR, and 3 RBI). As far as the pitching in that series went, there was a particularly strong outing from 20-year old Dominican RHP/15th-ranked system prospect Edwin Uceta back on Friday (5.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 67 pitches-41 strikes) as well as a couple decent relief appearances from 23-year old RHP/26th-ranked system prospect Jordan Sheffield (2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K in Wednesday and Saturday’s games).

On a sidenote, there were also a pair of “surprise” rehab outings from 22-year old Dominican RHP/5th-ranked system prospect Dennis Santana (1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K) and 28-year old Dodger reliever Yimi Garcia (1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K) in Saturday’s Game 3 Quakes victory. Good news on that front, particularly for Santana as he continues to recover from his rotator cuff injury sustained earlier this season while with the parent club.

GREAT LAKES LOONS (Midwest League-Low A): Unfortunately for the Loons, their wholly inspiring second-half of the season abruptly came to an end as they were eliminated from postseason play by the West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit Tigers affiliate) back on Thursday in a two-game sweep. Not much to say on the offensive end as it was a relatively low-scoring affair in that series, with 20-year old Venezuelan OF Romer Cuadrado (.500 avg in both games) and 22-year old middle infielder Deacon Liput (.300 avg) being the only standouts.

The only pitching highlights came in Game 2 in which 21-year old southpaw/18th-ranked system prospect John Rooney (2.2 IP, 0 H, 0, R, 0, BB, 3 K), 21-year old RHP Stephen Kolek (2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K), and 21-year old LHP Bryan Warzek (3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K) all delivered strong performances it what would eventually become a losing effort for the Loons. Still, it doesn’t take away from what the team was able to accomplish during the secnd half of their season when it appeared as though that dreadful 1st half they suffered through would sink their 2018 campaign entirely. Congrats are most definitely in order on that account.

OGDEN RAPTORS (Pioneer League-Rookie Level): Looks like last week just wasn’t in the cards for the Raptors as they not only lost the regular season series finale to division rival Idaho Falls (Kansas City Royals affiliate) three-games-to-one that pretty much nixed their second half division title hopes, they were also knocked out of the playoffs by Grand Junction (Colorado Rockies affiliate) last Sunday in a best-of-three Pioneer League South Division series. The only notable offensive performances in that series which wound up going the distance came from rehabbing 21-year old utility man Marcus Chiu (.428 avg with a SB and a run scored), 19-year old infielder/22nd-ranked system prospect Ronny Brito (.300 avg with 2 runs scored, a HR, and 2 RBI), and 21-year old OF James Outman (.273 avg with 3 runs scored, 2 HR, and 4 RBI). That said, kudos to Ogden for posting that franchise-record 26-win first half this year. Rookie level or not, that’s still quite an accomplishment when all’s said and done.

 

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15 thoughts on “Dodgers Weekly Minor league Report: Two Teams Left Standing

  1. When your MLB team is playing blah baseball, it’s nice to have the prospects to think about. There are some nice future stories on those minor league affiliates. Who knows, maybe Henry Ramos or Connor Joe will become the next Max Muncy. Maybe Mitchell White will become the next Walker Buehler. One can always dream.

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    1. I’m just glad there are two teams left in the Dodger system that stand a fairly good chance of wrapping up their respective seasons with a championship under their belts. Bulk of their top prospects happen to be on those rosters right now, which makes it all the more worthwhile to tune in to those games right now. Really pleased with how quickly Mitchell White turned his season around in the 2nd half. Guess he’s finally 100% healthy for once…

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      1. It certainly seems like there’s a direct correlation between Mitch’s health and his results, unlike Alvarez where the problem seems to be more attitude-related. Maybe some day Yadi will decide to be a grown up. He’s still pretty young.

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      2. Alvarez, psshh!!! 100% trade bait, that one. Has too much Arruebarrena in him (remember that joker???). I don’t care how gifted his arm is, start biting the hand that has generously fed you upon arriving stateside and that very hand becomes the one the holds the noose around your neck (lol).

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      3. Problem is it takes two teams to make a trade. His value has really gone south over the last couple of years. I’m sure we would have been glad to trade Arruebarrena too, but no takers. We could certainly trade Alvarez, but the return might not be worth the risk of his waking up some day and fulfilling his potential. That said, I certainly wouldn’t be broken hearted if we sent him somewhere this winter. I’m watching the game as a write this and I’m ready to tear everything down and start a complete rebuild. 🙂 I absolutely don’t understand this offense. Maybe we’ve all just drastically overestimated the skill level of most of these guys. Really frustrating to watch.

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    2. White struggled coming off injury but seems to have figured it out in last few starts. Hopefully that continues at AAA next year and he becomes a strong candidate for the Dodger rotation in 2020 .

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    3. I don’t think there is going to be opportunities for these guys in LA with Verdugo and Toles ahead of them. None of the current Dodger OFers are going anywhere next year pending unknown trades. 1B and 3B are also blocked.

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      1. Agreed that Ramos and Joe’s path to the majors is probably not going to take them through L.A. although management seems to be sending Toles (and the rest of us) a signal that they have very little confidence in him. He’s had exactly 2 at bats since they called him up. Considering the near total impotence of our offense, that doesn’t seem like very good use of an asset. If I’m another GM, I’m considering what I’m going to offer Friedman for Toles this winter.

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  2. Gavin Lux is coming on strong with his offense this year. With a year at AAA next year, he should be the Dodgers 2B in 2020 and many years after that. Next year LA can get by with some combination of Taylor, Hernandez and Muncy 7ntil Lux arrives. I also look forward to Catcher of the future Ruiz in 2020. The Dodgers should not sign any long term free agents at C or 2B that will delay the arrival of Lux and Ruiz.

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  3. Yeah, our prospect list is a good read but I’m obligated to point out the obvious lack of Dodgers at the top of MLB Top 100 lists. Verdugo is there, but not a Top 25 player, and Ruiz there, at or around 37. Smith and May show up down the list. Our best prospects, those that kept us in Top 5 or so on ranking lists are now on the team. Two of them aren’t playing because of injuries.

    I’m also thinking the FAZ model, 5 inning SP’s, bargain basement relievers and all or nothing swing for fences no matter the count or situation hitters is showing some serious “this don’t f’n work” signs. I’m not giving up until we are eliminated but at this point betting 50 cents on this team feels like a waste of money.

    I don’t blame Roberts for this, as many around the blogosphere are want to do. He’s just implementing the design given him by management with the players they chose. The same plan won 104 and got them to Game 7 last year. This year? Not so much.

    A sudden win streak would be a good thing. Do I expect it? I’m hanging on to my four bits.

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    1. I’ve carefully analyzed your entire post Scoop, so that I could do my duty and point out each and every fallacy. Only problem is that I agree with every statement you made.

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    1. I had to walk away from another blog because I wouldn’t get on board with blaming Roberts. I got weary of the whining. And obviously I’m not all in on the FAZ model, but they surprised me last year so until we are eliminated I’m prepared to be surprised again.

      Fields and Stripling are back and I saw Urias in the bullpen. If that pen holds up, we have a real chance. How can anyone believe in the Rockies? They are in minus numbers in run differential. Every Division leader is over 100 in that Pythagorean stat. Some are over 200. Figures it would only be happening in our Division.

      I still believe we are the best in the West, even when we don’t play like it.

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      1. We are most definitely the best in the West. It isn’t even close. Problem is we only play like we’re the best about one out of every four games. Luckily for us, the Dbacks and Rockies aren’t taking advantage of their opportunities either. I really hope we can take at least 2 of the 4 from the Cards this weekend so we remain within striking distance of the wild card if it comes to that. Their remaining schedule is a tough one. After the 4 with us they have games with the Braves, Giants, Brewers and Cubs.

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  4. I view the remaining schedule as being in our favor. We win each series after the Cards and it will come down to having to beat the giants to win it. How cool would that be?

    One way or another this will be a memorable year for Dodger fans. Enjoy it. I intend to. It could always be worse. We could be Oriole fans.

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