AA Tulsa Drillers – 2017 Recap

The Dodgers AA affiliate, the Tulsa Drillers in the Texas League, had a very successful season.  They reached the Texas League Championship final game and lost a heartbreaker 1-0.  Dennis Santana pitched an outstanding game in a pressure situation, and looks primed for 2018.  There were some outstanding performances by individuals as well, and many look to be promoted to AAA for 2018 where they are one step away from the LAD dugout.  Some could make it at some time next year, but most would be projected for 2019.


Below are the individual rankings for all players listed in the top ten of the various offensive and pitching categories.  If there were none in the top ten, the player with the highest ranking is listed.  Below the individual rankings are the team rankings.


Individual League Top 10 or Highest Ranking – Offense
Avg. Matt Beaty          0.326 #1
Erick Mejia          0.289 #8
OBP Matt Beaty          0.378 #4
Tim Locastro          0.366 #9
SLG Matt Beaty          0.505 #2
Tim Locastro          0.429 #7
OPS Matt Beaty          0.883 #1
Tim Locastro          0.795 #7
R Tim Locastro                69 #8
H Matt Beaty              143 #3
DBL Matt Beaty                31 #1
TPL Tim Locastro                  4 #4
HR Kyle Garlick                17 #6
Jose Miguel Fernandez                16 #8
Johan Mieses                16 #8
Jacob Scavuzzo                16 #8
RBI Matt Beaty                69 #5
Jose Miguel Fernandez                64 #10
TB Matt Beaty              221 #3
SB Tim Locastro                22 #5
Minimum 378 PA.
Individual League Top 10 or Highest Ranking – Pitching
Wins Josh Sborz                 8 #15
ERA Josh Sborz            3.88 #10
IP Josh Sborz          116.2 #15
K Scott Barlow             124 #5
WHIP Josh Sborz            1.39 #10
SV Corey Copping               18 #2
ERA Scott Barlow            2.10

(5 innings shy of qualifying for league honors.)

Minimum 112 IP
Team Rankings – Offense
Avg.          0.269 #2
OBP          0.335 #2
SLG          0.433 #1
OBP          0.768 #1
R             672 #1
H          1,288 #2
DBL             245 #2
TPL               18 #7
HR             168 #1
SB               97 #5
TB          2,073 #1
Team Rankings – Pitching
ERA            3.62 #2
H Allowed          1,147 #2
HR Allowed               98 #2
BB Allowed             492 #8
K          1,135 #2
WHIP            1.33 #3
SV               37 #3

Matt Beaty was indeed the most prolific offensive hitter in the Texas League and won Player of the Year Honors for his efforts.  Scott Barlow was 5 innings shy of qualifying for league ERA honors, but he did nail down a post-season All Star berth.

Along the way, Walker Buehler stopped for a short visit and performed well enough to get a quick call to AAA.  His stay was not nearly long enough to qualify for any league honors.

I have already discussed Tim Locastro with the OKC Dodgers, but his year started at Tulsa and he was at the top of the league leaders in a number of categories.   Tim was acquired by Los Angeles along with pitcher Chase De Jong in exchange for three international slots in July of 2015.  Perhaps a future MLB utility player or maybe even a 2B for an international slot…I think FAZ did okay with this trade.

The starting rotation at the end of the year is very much a quality rotation to be sure.  Mitchell White, Scott Barlow, Dennis Santana, Josh Sborz, Yadier Alvarez, and Andrew Sopko.  All 6 could become ML pitchers.  Some starting, some relief.  IMO the class of the group is Mitchell White.  He combines his competitive nature with 3 plus pitches.  I think he is on the fast track, and should start at AAA in 2018.

Josh Sborz and Andrew Sopko had yo-yo seasons in Tulsa.  At times, both pitched very well, and at other times pitched very poorly.  Both dropped out the Dodgers Top 30 prospect list, but I suspect that Josh could find his way back onto the list.  He likes starting, but I still think his future is in the pen.  Both Sborz and Sopko should start out at AAA and either pitch themselves into potential ML pitchers or drop back down to AA and out of prospect status.

Scott Barlow pitched at a higher level at AA than anyone.  He is still 24 and sported a 2.10 ERA over 19 AA starts and 107.1 innings.  He was 5 innings shy of being the Texas League ERA leader.  He deserves and will get a chance to start at OKC in 2018.

Dennis Santana is relatively new to pitching and is quickly getting noticed.  He was an All Star at Great Lakes last year, and was an All Star at Rancho this year.  I see no reason for the trend to stop in 2018 where he should start at AA.  He is still 21 and is rocketing up the prospect lists, and will undoubtedly land in many Top 10 lists.  He has 2 plus pitches, and unless he finds a third, he should end up in the bullpen, most likely in high leverage late inning situations.  But for now he will continue to be a starter.

Yadier Alvarez is the most enigmatic pitcher of the group and perhaps the pitcher with the highest ceiling, and  lowest floor.  He has a million dollar arm but lacks something else (head, heart, competitive streak, hunger to succeed???).  He has three plus pitches (2 plus plus), and an average 4th pitch (his change).  I really would like to speak with someone in the organization who can shed some light on his true potential and limitations. At 6’3″ and 175 lbs. he may lack the stamina to become a starter who can pitch deep into games, but his stuff can translate into a highly successful late inning high leverage reliever.

Corey Copping led a very good group of relievers at AA this year.  He was a mid-season All Star and his 18 saves were good enough to be #2 in the Texas League. His K/9 decreased in 2017, while his BB/9 increased.  But his BAA was sub .200.  He is 23, and could end up back in AA, but if he has a good spring he could start out at AAA.   Another AA reliever with potential is 22 year old Shea Spitzbarth.  Spitzbarth made people sit up and notice last year at Great Lakes, and again this Spring with the ML team.  He dominated at Rancho early in the year but was inconsistent at AA.  Both Copping and Spitzbarth could start out at AA, but both should move up to AAA during the season if they do not start out there.

Will Smith and Keibert Ruiz should have a very good battle determining who will become the #1 catcher at AA.  Smith unfortunately had his hand broke on a pitch on 7/14 and did not play again.  Smith is the superior catcher, and Keibert shows more ability with the bat.  Smith can play other positions but probably does not hit well enough to make the change, while Ruiz is really strictly a catcher.

SS Errol Robinson (22) played at three levels from Great Lakes to Rancho to finally land in Tulsa.  The 2016 6th round draftee had a strong year at Tulsa with a .273/.357/.352/.709 batting line.  He is solid defensively, and could stay at SS, but is getting experience at 2B, 3B, and CF.  At 22, he probably will start again at Tulsa, but he could get a AAA promotion.  He cracked the Top 30 mid season prospect list and should continue to move up.

SS Erick Mejia (22) was acquired from the Mariners for Joe Wieland.  While he has not risen to Top 30 status, he nevertheless had a solid 2017 campaign.  He hit .289/.357/.413/.770 at Tulsa.  And yet another SS, Drew Jackson (24) was promoted to Tulsa late in the year.  All three could start back at AA, but depending who is signed and/or retained from OKC, one or two could start the season at OKC.  The Dodgers organization went from no clear middle infield prospect close to the ML level to having three have some success at AA.  Regardless, the organization is not going to want to stall the development of another middle infielder, Omar Estevez.

Kye Garlick was hurt for much of the year, but still managed to to hit 17 HRs good for #6 in the league.  I thought he played well enough in 2016 to get a chance to start at AAA.  Hopefully next year, he gets that chance.

The most intriguing AA Of is Yusniel Diaz (20), who is a true CF.  At AA, in 108 AB’s, he slashed .333/.390/.491/.881.  Did a light officially go on, and can he continue to perform at a high level?  I think he will start out at AA in 2018, but I also believe he will be pushed, as a CF is needed at the ML level.

2B Jose Miguel Fernandez had a very good year at Tulsa, but at 29, he is really not a prospect.

Matt Beaty (24) is a left handed hitting corner infielder. He was also a catcher at Belmont University. But he has always been a good hitter. He is also considered a competent defensive 3B.  As Texas League Player of the Year, he does not have much to learn at AA, and should make the conversion to AAA in 2018, with a potential late season callup. He should be fun to watch next season.

Posted by Always Compete

This article has 30 Comments

    1. Thanks. I was concerned. Tulsa was a little long because of the number of personal accomplishments from the players. These guys are close. Some will be All Stars, some will be fillers, and some will flame out, but there is a lot of quality on this Tulsa team.

  1. Thank you again for a thorough review AC! Some very intriguing prospects in Tulsa. White, Barlow and Santana all have a chance to be very good. As do, Smith and Ruiz. Diaz and Beatty will indeed be fun to watch next year, as well as during the fall league. Interestingly, they have Beatty listed as an outfielder in the AFL.

    I know they’re a little older and were set back by injuries this year, but I thought that Garlick and Michael Ahmed were starting to breakout this year before they got hurt? What are your thoughts about them as future major leaguers. I see Ahmed as being slightly better than his brother and Garlick as a Scott Schebler type.

    Thanks again, I appreciate the time and effort you put in on providing us with this information and insight into our prospects.

    1. Kyle Garlick is a power hitting OF who will be 26 next year. Scott Schebler is a good comparison. Kyle, a mid-season All Star, could have led the Texas League in HR’s if not for the injury. Kyle had 1 HR for every 15.76 AB’s. The HR league leader, Franmil Reyes (SD), had 25 HR’s or 1 for every 20.28 AB’s. JD Davis another power hitting OF who started out at AA, and is now playing for the parent Astros team, had 21 HR’s or 1 for every 16.71 AB’s. I would project Kyle to be a #4 or #5 OF at the ML level or a LF platoon. He could project higher if he improves on his batting average and OBP skills. By the way, being #4 or #5 is just fine. That puts you on the 25 man, and that’s not too shabby.
      Like Garlick, Michael Ahmed will be 26 next year. Kyle is actually 5 days older than Michael. Like his brother, Michael is a middle infielder who is really a utility player. He has played all defensive positions other than pitcher/catcher. Knowing that he is a Holy Cross graduate, and knowing that the catcher’s equipment is often referred to as the tools of ignorance, I would not anticipate Michael donning the catcher’s gear. The obstacle for Michael is that Tim Locastro, Erick Mejia, and Drew Jackson are also multi-faceted utility players with better overall skills. Throw in Errol Robinson, and that is 5 potential utility players with Michael probably #5.
      Both Kyle and Michael should become ML players, but unfortunately, I do not see them as Dodgers.

  2. AC

    I don’t know how you keep up with all of this, but as always, you are very complete, with everything you post!

    I know that is where your heart is, so this is not work for you, but thanks anyways!

    I was looking at all the team’s records in our division, in the last ten games, and the Dodger’s record, is not that bad at all, as compared, to the other team’s, in there division.

    The Dodgers are 5&5, and the Dbacks are also 5&5, but every other team in there division, is 4&6, so it hasn’t been as bad as it has felt, in these last ten games, if you look at each team’s record, during this time.

    I am not saying that the team doesn’t have issues, but it isn’t like every other team, is out there, playing well, right now!

    The Dbacks haven’t been playing as well, as they once did, once they built that lead, in the wild card race.

    So maybe the Dback’s players, are having a little let down, just like the Dodger’s players eventually did, after they build such a big lead, from the other teams, in there division.

    It is somewhat human nature that our players, were not able to play that well, that long!

  3. I wish we had given Edwin Rios a shot in Sept. He’s a bit older, and he’s succeeded (at the plate) every year. Maybe he has a legit stick. Worst case, he’d prove to be solid trade bait with some exposure up here


    – The Los Angeles Dodgers today reinstated right-handed pitcher Brandon McCarthy from the 60-day disabled list and placed right-handed pitcher Josh Ravin on the 60-day disabled list with an abdomen strain (retroactive to Sept. 18).

    McCarthy, who was placed on the disabled list on July 24 with a right finger blister (retroactive to July 21), last pitched on July 20 against Atlanta allowing six runs on nine hits in 4.0 innings with five strikeouts in the Dodgers’ 6-3 loss. In 16 starts this season, he has posted a 6-4 record with a 3.84 ERA (37 ER/86.2 IP) and has struck out 66 batters against 25 walks, while holding batters to a .254 average.

    Ravin, has appeared in 14 games this season with a 0-1 record with a 6.48 ERA, striking out 19 batters over 16.2 innings pitched. The West Hills, California native was recalled from Triple- A Oklahoma City on August 22

    1. Won’t miss Ravin. Didn’t miss McCarthy. I am hoping McCarthy showed enough to move him in the off-season. Miami and Baltimore could use some starters.

  5. Good to see Andre in the lineup tonight. Puig 3 for his last 9 against Samardzia. Makes sense to put Granderson in the lineup. Would be a good night for Cody to break the record.

    1. Hawkeye

      Did you know the Rockies haven’t scored a run in 16 innings, I believe they said?

      And like I mentioned above, the Dbacks haven’t did much, in the last ten games either.

      It seems like the players, are all hitting the wall, like in a marathon!

      1. The Rockies have been extremely streaky. Dbags have seemed to lose their focus. Greinke gets shelled after the big baseball card controversy.

    2. With Turner out and Puig sitting the lineup does not look nearly as dangerous. Grandy at cleanup irks me but who else do they have? I better not see McCarthy come out of the bullpen tonight, might just lose it!

      1. I would have liked to see Kike hit for Granderson and play RF rather than Andre. The decision by Doc there says a lot.

        1. Hawkeye

          I agree, I rather see Kike bat for Granderson there.

          I felt bad for Ethier there!

          What gets me when they trade for a player, at the trade deadline.

          They not only give this player more chances then anyone on the team, they go way out of their way, and treat these players, like they are superstar players, and they are not!

          Granderson has hit at the Mendoza line, for the last few years, and with these players, that have high OPSes, that are more from walks, then a decent batting average, these player’s OPSes are so deceiving!

          And right now in baseball, more people are realizing that these all or nothing hitters, are not that valuable, especially for a productive offense,

          Not to mention, it isn’t exciting to watch a hitter, walk, and strike out more, then they hit!

          And how often does these players HRs, happen when anyone is on base, and do they really make that difference in a game, most of the time?

  6. Dodgers manage 5 hits and 3 walks against 8 Ks in 7 innings. But for Bellinger, this is a 1 to 1 game. Rich Hill sharp again. He has been the best pitcher down the stretch.

    1. I never understood the criticism of re-signing Rich Hill. Yes, two years would have been ideal, but once he got past the blisters he’s been darn good.

      1. Hawkeye

        I thought Hill was different then McCarthy, and the other pitchers that they gave a multi year contracts too, because he had a higher upside, and he is much more a competitor then these other pitchers.

        But I wasn’t sure at the beginning, when they didn’t have answers to his blister problems, earlier in the year.

  7. Nice the SportsNetLA broadcast ran on for awhile on Directv so I could see a lot of the post-game party.

    1. Is Directv now carrying SportsnetLA? If that’s what is happening I’m hiding from current issues of concern. How did I miss that news? I’m really sick of all these providers that exist only by hijacking what was once free to hold ransom what was ours before they charged/purchased to middle. That includes Dodgers franchise. To think about it really, I’ve got a bigger bone to pick with Dodgers newest ownership than any of the previous ones because after all the hoop diving I’ve done I have less which cost a lot more. TWC plain and simply is a disgusting company that expanded further to dig deeper into our pockets. Spectrum costs more than TWC and gives less. I had their great telephone deal that costs the low price $30 plus hidden fees to where $30 + $30 + $30 = $122 and my only use of that phone was one call to give it’s number to someone. The TV package part of that bargain was for my use solely for SportsnetLA. That package doesn’t even include MLBN. Merging is to make things less competitive and to have more control on a supply built to sell commercials. Gene Autry bought and built the Angels simply to sell commercials on his KTLA TV station. Now the monsters have invaded and stole what was already ours before being charged.

      1. Quas

        Hawkeye doesn’t live in California, and that probably makes a difference!

        I rather have Direct TV then Charter, but Charter is the only provider in California that has the Dodger’s Channel.

        Charter is cheaper, if someone likes to watch a lot of movies, but there is more disruptions, with the picture with cable.

        Charter bought out TWC last year.

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