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.
The last time we checked on the progress of Dodgers‘ pitching prospect Walker Buehler, the young righty was coming off a successful return to the bump, having contributed to the postseason success of Low-A Great Lakes after missing more than a year recovering from Tommy John surgery.
While many fans of the Dodgers have recently been mulling over the numerous roster transactions and watching the Boys in Blue hover around the .500 mark, it’s been business as usual down on the farm, where a handful of blue chippers are on the rise across several different levels of the organization.
Looking across the entire length of the Dodgers‘ farm system, it’s often difficult to find a consistently effective reliever, especially one at the lower levels of the organization. In spite of that, one golden arm which is already beginning to pay dividends is that of Shea Spitzbarth. During 2017 spring training, the 22-year-old native of Staten Island raised many eyebrows with his fine performances over the course of Cactus League play. So far during the regular season, the young righty has already amassed five saves for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga while posting a 0.96 ERA with 14 strikeouts over 9-1/3 innings of work.
The Dodgers on Tuesday afternoon selected the contract of 21-year-old infielder/outfielder Cody Bellinger from Triple-A Oklahoma City for the club’s middle game of a three-game set against the Giants.
Now that the regular season is quickly approaching its third week, we’re finding out a bit more on a daily basis about why a handful of players in the Dodgers‘ system mysteriously disappeared from their normal roster statuses during the early phases of the 2017 campaign.
On Tuesday afternoon, Andy put together a rather intriguing story surrounding the question of whether or not the Dodgers should consider a roster move or two based on the early performances of some players, most specifically those in utility or bench roles. Ironically, as the club embraces the middle game of the three-game set against the Cubs at Wrigley, we may see the bullpen revamped with the addition of righty Pedro Baez, while the offense could be infused with the presence of Trayce Thompson, if lefty-killer Franklin Gutierrez does indeed find himself on the 10-day disabled list with a hamstring problem.
If there’s one area of player development that president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and the management team of the Dodgers have mastered during their tenures in Los Angeles, it’s giving an inflated number of organizational prospects the opportunity to perform on the highest stage of the game. In doing so, it appears as if the crew has created a “fast track” of sorts to the big leagues, especially for the younger players who stand out amongst their peers in terms of skills and baseball savvy.
Up until a few years ago, the catching talent over the entirety of the Dodgers‘ farm system may have been considered downright barren. However, after acquiring Austin Barnes via trade in December of 2014, and selecting the highly regarded Will Smith in the first round of the 2016 draft, the organization took a big step towards being adequately stocked. Yet the catcher who could have perhaps the highest ceiling in the whole system, Keibert Ruiz, is still flying under the radar in terms of his reputation among the fan base.
Not long after the 25-man big league roster is submitted the morning of April 3, the entire management crew of the Dodgers will find itself spinning its wheels drawing up a prospective draft for the Triple-A Oklahoma City squad. Opening Day for OKC falls on Thursday, April 6 at home, so there’s basically just a few days to decide which players remain on the upper fringes of the farm and which players head for the plains of Double-A Tulsa.