If you were able to catch my column on Sunday, you would have seen my projections for the 2020 starting rotation at Triple-A Oklahoma City. The main goal of the story—as with most of my prospect posts—is to examine the organizational depth of the Dodgers at all levels of their farm.
For those of you who are regular readers of this site, you know that we spend a lot of time covering the Dodgers‘ minor league affiliates, especially the Double-A Tulsa Drillers. And for those of you who tuned in frequently over the winter months, you know that we gave a lot of air time time to 21-year-old righty pitching prospect, Dennis Santana.
As most Triple-A rosters normally don’t start taking shape until later in the spring when the big league squads become firm, it’s probably a bit too early to take a stab at guessing Oklahoma City‘s 2018 Opening Day starting pitching rotation. However, with the departure of veterans Brandon McCarthy and Scott Kazmir last weekend, the major league rotation is developing earlier than usual, giving us at least some kind of idea as to how most of the system’s starting pitchers fit onto the organizational ladder.
While the Dodgers left the 2017 Winter Meetings with only a consolation prize of a mid-level infield prospect, many fans have taken to social media to express their respective concerns heading into 2018, especially in the area of the bullpen. It took several years for the team to finally find a competent setup man in Brandon Morrow, yet the veteran righty was able to walk away from Los Angeles and land a lucrative deal with the Cubs for the next several seasons. Andrew Friedman and his troops seem fairly confident in the internal relief options heading into 2018 spring training, but questions loom as to whether the impending bullpen will be talented enough to help guide the squad into next season’s playoff picture.
Very rarely is an entire Double-A starting pitching rotation filled with players who have the potential of landing in the big leagues. Yet, the 2017 Tulsa Drillers had that type of talent and much, much more. After the promotion of several key members to Triple-A Oklahoma City, the organization brought in another handful of starters from High-A Rancho Cucamonga—a group who unbelievably may have had more talent than the original starting crew.
The Dodgers on Monday made a few adjustments to the 40-man roster by selecting the contracts of right-handed pitchers Trevor Oaks and Dennis Santana. Space was created by designating righty reliever Josh Ravin for assignment after left-handed relief pitcher Grant Dayton was claimed off waivers by the Braves.
While many fans identify baseball’s Winter Meetings as a hotbed for trades and potential free agent signings, few realize that the event also features the annual Rule 5 Draft, which is held on the final day of the gathering.
For those of you who follow the farm system of the Dodgers closely, you’ll know that the Double-A Tulsa Drillers had one of their best seasons in recent history. Anchored by the Texas League batting champ and MVP Matt Beaty, coupled with some of the best pitchers in the entire organization, the Drillers came up just one game short of bringing home their first league championship in 19 seasons.
For those of you who have been fully entrenched in the big league scene of the Dodgers and unable to catch any of the latest minor league action, we have some good news for you—the Double-A Tulsa Drillers are only one game away from securing their first Texas League Championship since 1998.