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.
Buehler will wear uniform No. 64.
It’s that time of the year again — the point when all of those who follow the Dodgers farm system can sit back and watch the best prospects in the organization deservedly reel in the many end-of-season awards from their respective leagues across the minors.
The Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday afternoon named right-handed pitcher Walker Buehler as the Branch Rickey Minor League Pitcher of the Year and catcher Keibert Ruiz as the Branch Rickey Minor League Player of the Year.
The first time we had the opportunity to talk with Dodgers‘ infield prospect Tim Locastro right around Christmas of last year, he was coming off a season where he hit a combined .285/.341/.389 for High-A Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Tulsa, mainly splitting his time defensively between shortstop and second base.
In this latest installment of our weekly Dodgers prospect watch feature, we decided to take a look at a handful of youngsters who were able to earn promotions across at least one level of the farm system this season. And, coincidentally enough, by some standards, all five are not terribly far away from making their respective big league debuts.
While most of the recent injury news surrounding the Dodgers has been centered around the prospective return of staff ace Clayton Kershaw, there are a few other players close to activation who may impact the squad down the stretch of the season — most specifically veterans Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Ethier.
With all the emphasis on the non-waiver trade deadline recently, it’s been a few weeks since we’ve checked in on any of the happenings within the Dodgers farm system. Triple-A Oklahoma City is holding steady in second place in the PCL American Northern division, while Double-A Tulsa is clawing away at a potential playoff appearance in the Texas League. High-A Rancho Cucamonga continues to lead the way in the Cal League South, appearing to be destined for a postseason run fueled by several powerful bats. And there have been more than a handful of individual performances lately that are certainly worth mentioning.
For almost a month now, there have been whispers around the Dodgers‘ clubhouse regarding a possible big league promotion for pitching prospect Walker Buehler sometime after rosters expand in the beginning of September. If it does indeed happen, it’s a move that would be beneficial twofold — an opportunity to provide a small break for the Los Angeles pitching staff, but perhaps more importantly, a chance to boost Buehler’s pace of development with the organization moving forward.
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.