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: Shibuya, Ramos, Beaty, Scavuzzo & More

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(Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Davis)

With both Triple-A Oklahoma City and the big league Dodgers finishing up their respective All-Star beaks this week, many fans have turned their eyes to Double-A Tulsa, seeing the Drillers put together a three-game winning streak while taking exclusive control of the Texas League North division.

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Dodgers Bullpen: Brock Stewart Settling into New Relief Role Nicely

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(Mandatory Credit: Matt York/Associated Press)

When pitcher Brock Stewart was initially recalled to the major league roster this year on June 18, many fans of the Dodgers believed that the 25-year-old righty was merely an extra body in the perpetual carousel of the Los Angeles bullpen, setting the stage for yet another roster move when the next Dodger regular became healthy.

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Dodgers Prospect Watch: Edwin Rios, Yaisel Sierra Rising Quickly

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(Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Davis)

The management crew of the Dodgers made a few more notable minor league promotions on Friday, moving both corner infielder Edwin Rios and reliever Yaisel Sierra from Double-A Tulsa to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

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Dodgers Prospect Watch: Scott Barlow on the Rise

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(Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Davis)

Those who follow the farm system of the Dodgers closely will know that there are very few players who paid more dues and are more deserving of success than starting pitcher Scott Barlow. After being named the Texas League Pitcher of the Week for June 5-11, the Connecticut-born righty finally earned a promotion to Oklahoma City, and in his first Triple-A start of 2017 last Monday, held the Memphis Redbirds scoreless through six innings en route to the victory.

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Dodgers Roster: A Look at the Organization’s Middle Infield Depth

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(Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Davis)

After contemplating the fallout from shortstop Corey Seager‘s most recent hamstring saga, some fans of the Dodgers couldn’t help but look far down the organizational ladder just to get an idea of the quality of middle infielders lurking in the Los Angeles system.

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Dodgers Roster: The Time Could Be Now for Joe Broussard

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(Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Davis)

When the Dodgers are faced with the task of replacing lefty pitcher Julio Urias on the 40-man roster sometime in the very near future, the club will have many worthy candidates from which to select, but considering the big league squad’s immediate needs and the players who appear to be most ready, reliever Joe Broussard could be the obvious choice.

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Dodgers Prospects: A Brief Conversation with Infielder Matt Beaty

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(Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Davis)

For fans of the Dodgers who follow the Double-A circuit closely, they’ll know that it’s becoming a common theme for Tulsa to be very well-represented at the annual Texas League All-Star Game. This season is no different, as nine Drillers will participate in this year’s extravaganza on Tuesday, June 27 in Frisco, Texas.

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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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Dodgers Prospect Watch: Edwin Rios Continues Offensive Dominance

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(Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Davis)

After enduring a slight decline with the lumber during the tail-end of May, infield prospect Edwin Rios is beginning to heat up again at the dish, showing all those who follow the Dodgers closely exactly why he’s considered among the most gifted players offensively on the farm.

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