Dodgers Prospect Watch: Verdugo, Rios, Ruiz, Fernandez & More

In this edition of our weekly minor league highlight feature, we take a look at the hot-hitting Edwin Rios and Alex Verdugo of Triple-A Oklahoma City, stop by Double-A Tulsa for a glance at Henry Ramos and Jose Miguel Fernandez, and check the progress of Keibert Ruiz who was just promoted to High-A Rancho Cucamonga not long ago.

Since his promotion to the Triple-A level on July 7, Rios, normally a corner infielder, is continuing to show his value to the Dodgers organization. The 23-year-old native of Puerto Rico was the hero in Friday night’s contest against Iowa, having hit a tie-breaking home run in the top of the ninth inning which proved to be the game-winner. So far in his short time at OKC, he’s hit three long balls and two doubles with five RBI, but perhaps most significantly, has appeared in five games in left field. Across two levels this season, Rios is slashing .307/.354/.529 with 18 home runs and 67 RBI through 89 games.

Verdugo continues to reach base at an absolutely insane rate of success. Against Iowa on Saturday evening, the 21-year-old outfield prospect drew a walk in the third inning, extending his consecutive streak of reaching base to 39 games, which is tied for first in all of Triple-A. For the year, he’s hitting .334/.406/.446 with three home runs, four triples, 20 doubles and 47 RBI, primarily batting out of the leadoff spot. Based on his recent production, many fans of the big league club are eager to see Verdugo appointed to the team’s 40-man roster, if only to watch him compete in the majors when rosters expand in early September.

Though he’s probably not considered a prospect by some standards, Wilmer Font is also making a case for a potential promotion to the bigs. Font was the starter in OKC’s victory on Friday, having thrown seven strong innings against the Cubs. He scattered seven hits, but struck out a whopping 11 batters, increasing his number of punchouts to 138 on the season. For the year, he’s posted a 7-5 record with a 3.38 ERA over 101-1/3 innings of work.

Fernandez is continuing to produce at the Double-A level, and outside of a strong couple of days at OKC during the All-Star break, is striving to show the organization that he belongs at the highest levels for good. Not normally known for his power, Fernandez smashed his 14th long ball of the season against NW Arkansas, and is now hitting .307/.365/.483 through 87 games this year. To further prove his versatility, the 29-year-old Cuban native has already appeared at third base, second base, first base and even left field for the Drillers during his inaugural campaign in the States.

After suffering a severe groin injury in spring training, Ramos has been scorching at the dish since being activated from the disabled list on June 20. In his first 19 games back, the 25-year-old outfielder is hitting .415/.481/.662 with four homers, two doubles, a triple and 12 RBI. Originally selected by the Red Sox in the fifth round of the 2010 draft, the switch-hitting Ramos was signed by the Dodgers as a minor league free agent last November.

Through his first eight games at Rancho, Ruiz is slashing .375/.412/.719 with two home runs, three doubles, a triple and nine RBI. Across two levels of the farm in 2017, he’s hitting .324/.377/459 with four homers, 19 doubles and 33 RBI in 259 AB.

The Dodgers signed Ruiz as a free agent out of Venezuela for a mere $140,000 on his 16th birthday in July of 2014. According to FanGraphs, Ruiz’s catching mechanics are near perfect, and some scouts believe that he has the ability to competently handle duties behind the dish at the major league level right now. Dodgers’ management has been impressed with Ruiz to the point that they allowed him to dress for an official Cactus League contest against the Rangers last spring.

(Photo Credit: Jeremy Davis)

 

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Dodgers Prospect Watch: Willie Calhoun Still Sizzling at the Dish

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(Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Davis)

Now trailing Colorado Springs by just three games in the Pacific Coast League’s American Northern division, the bats of the Oklahoma City Dodgers continue to stay hot, with infield prospect Willie Calhoun being the center of attention on what seems to be a daily basis.

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A First-Quarter Progress Report for the Oklahoma City Dodgers

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(Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Davis)

While we typically take a concise look at a handful of standout Dodgers prospects on a weekly basis, we very rarely check the progress of one of the affiliate squads as a whole. Yet, as it’s a bit difficult to size up the growth of the Triple-A Oklahoma City club with all the very frequent roster fluctuation, we thought it be interesting to check on the team just past the quarter-way mark of the regular season.

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Dodgers Outfield: A Quick Look at the Big League Depth Chart

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(Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports)

On a day when many folks close to the Dodgers await the outcome of an MRI on the right knee of Andrew Toles, it may be worth taking a quick moment to peek at the club’s outfield depth, if only at the majority of the players who appear to be major league ready.

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Dodgers Roster: Putting Together an Outfield at Oklahoma City

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(Mandatory Credit: Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Even though there’s plenty of time left in spring training for the landscape of the big league outfield to change, it’s still not difficult to make an educated guess regarding the outfield crew at Oklahoma City, as the Dodgers‘ surplus of young talent has now created a very crowded locker room at even the Triple-A level.

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Dodgers Lineups: One Conceivable Batting Order at Triple-A Oklahoma City

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(Mandatory Credit: Michael Spomer/Cal Sports Media)

With all the endless discussions currently in the news surrounding the prospective layouts of the club’s Opening Day 25-man roster, many fans of the Dodgers can’t help but envision the overwhelming amount of depth and skill lurking on the fringe of the bigs at Triple-A Oklahoma City. If the major league squad stays relatively healthy and productive throughout the regular season, the crew at OKC will not only possess some of the best player talent in the Pacific Coast League, but will also be almost untouchable en route to yet another American Northern divisional crown.

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Dodgers Prospects: What We Learned from the 2016 Arizona Fall League

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(Photo Credit: Buck Davidson/MiLB.com)

With the 2016 Arizona Fall League having entered the history books last Sunday when the Mesa Solar Sox defeated the Surprise Saguaros 6-1 in the championship game, followers of the Dodgers‘ farm system learned quite a few things, including just how good some kid named Bellinger actually is.

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Dodgers Rumors: Is a Trade with White Sox Worth Exploring?

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Being normal for the time of year, there are many trade rumors going around. One tweet stirring up some interesting thoughts is an idea by Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. He sees the Chicago White Sox being very good trade partners for the Dodgers. Chris Sale, Todd Frazier, Jose Quintana, and David Robertson are players that the White Sox would be willing to move in order to restructure, while Cody Bellinger, Alex Verdugo, Jose De Leon, Willie Calhoun and Yasiel Puig are all players that the White Sox could have interest in.

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Dodgers Prospects: Calhoun, Bellinger Impress in Fall Stars Game

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(Photo Credit: Zachary Lucy)

Second baseman Willie Calhoun went 3-for-3 and earned MVP honors while teammate Cody Bellinger added a two-run home run on Saturday night, powering the AFL West squad to a 12-4 victory over the East in the Fall Stars Game, a showcase of the top talent in the Arizona Fall League.

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Dodgers Top Prospects by Position: 2016-17 Offseason Edition

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(Photo Credit: Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire)

While many fans of the Dodgers are feeling a touch of stress regarding several of management’s upcoming roster decisions during the winter months, a little bit of relief can be found in realizing the multitude of talent flourishing on almost every level of the farm, setting up a seemingly secure future for the entire organization in terms of player personnel.

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