One would need to go back nearly a decade to realize the last time the Dodgers had significant strength and depth at the catching position. Russell Martin was coming off back-to-back All-Star campaigns in 2007 and 2008, while A.J. Ellis was emerging as one of the most reliable backup catchers in the bigs. Plus, there was a Top 5 prospect named Carlos Santana who was revered by every rival GM across the league.
The Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday named right-handed pitcher Tony Gonsolin as the Branch Rickey Minor League Pitcher of the Year and infielder Gavin Lux as the Branch Rickey Minor League Player of the Year.
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).
It was certainly an exciting sight to see the big-league Dodgers briefly retake first place in the NL West this past weekend; but now, it’s that time of the week to see how their minor-league affiliates fared as their respective seasons are quickly drawing to a close.
While many fans of the Dodgers probably think a conversation about next year’s catching picture is irrelevant, there are certainly a few relative factors that play into the remainder of the 2018 season’s landscape. The four biggest questions which pertain to many of the upcoming discussions over the winter are whether or not management will pursue a contact with Yasmani Grandal, if the coaching staff will ever trust Kyle Farmer defensively behind the plate, if Austin Barnes‘ 2018 season is simply an anomaly, and whether or not Will Smith can hit big league pitching.
If you’ve been checking out any of Jason’s weekly minor league reports, you’ll know that he has been mentioning infielder Gavin Lux quite a bit recently. Selected by the Dodgers in the first round of the 2016 draft, many folks believed that he got off to a relatively slow start in the organization; however, his 2018 campaign has proven his tremendously high value.