There’s no question that Ryan Noda is one of the primary reasons Triple-A Oklahoma City currently sits atop the Pacific Coast League East division with a 7-4 record.
Entering Sunday’s game against El Paso, the lefty-hitting Noda is slashing a highly impressive .371/.500/.743 (13-for-35) with four homers and nine RBI. For those horrible at math, that calculates to a ridiculous 1.243 OPS.
What’s even more impressive is that the Illinois native is leading the team with eight walks and is tied for the team lead with 10 runs scored.
Last year was a breakout season for the 6-foot-3, 217-pounder in the power department, as he led the entire Texas League with 29 bombs playing exclusively for Double-A Tulsa.
Noda, who just turned 26 two weeks ago, ended up hitting just .250 last year, but his eye at the plate accounted for a whopping 74 walks, elevating his OBP to a hefty .383. Coupled with a respectable .521 slugging percentage, his final OPS for 2021 was .904 to lead the entire Driller team.
For those who don’t remember, Noda was acquired by the Dodgers as the second player to be named later in the 2021 trade that sent swingman Ross Stripling to the Blue Jays. The first PTBNL in the deal was righty pitcher Kendall Williams.
Noda can capably handle first base and both corner outfield spots. However, he’s probably a bit lower on the totem pole than players like Zach McKinstry and James Outman since he’s not yet on the 40-man roster. So far this season, the former 2017 15th round draft pick out of the University of Cincinnati has played four games at first base, four games in left field, one in right field and one at designated hitter.
Noda has a decent glove and a slightly above-average outfield arm, along with deceptive mobility and range.
He swiped a career-high 14 bases for the High-A Dunedin Blue Jays in 2019.
The early knock on Noda was his high number of strikeouts, but as his walks have skyrocketed in recent years, his strikeout numbers have begun to dwindle. After tallying a career-high 135 strikeouts in 2019, he logged 127 in 2021 over about a dozen more at-bats.
Noda was a non-roster invitee to the big-league side of spring training for the Dodgers this year and went 2-for-9 with a double and a runs scored over six Cactus League appearances.
Like many lefty power hitters, his splits are a bit lopsided, as he hit .213 against southpaws last season and .263 against righty pitching.
Nevertheless, when considering his power display last year and his early hot start this season, he’s definitely worth keeping an eye on. Knowing that the big-league club used an insane 15 different outfielders last year, anything can happen.
At 26, it could be a make-or-break year as far as getting his MLB clock started goes.