I started this on Friday, and was not able to make it through the Rancho Cucumonga Quakes Game 2, so I am a little tardy with this one. Friday was just not a good day for Dodger baseball. The ML team still cannot hit lefties, and the 4 minor league teams also went down to defeat. Except Rancho (RC) came up big in Game 2 of their DH.
AAA –Bellinger got his 4th hit in the 1st inning but could not do anything after the 4th inning. Calhoun got a booming 2 run double, and Verdugo got a double and triple in 4 at bats, and ended the game with a very long out to CF. Eibner got a long HR tonight. Baez looked rusty, but got a 1-2-3 6th inning. If it were not for a botched run-down in the 1st inning, Wilmer Font might have gotten out of the inning unscathed, but he gave up a grand slam to the Iowa Cubs’ Jeimer Candelario. Jeimer Candelario and Ian Happ have true potential for the Cubs. Final score 7-5. Loss.
AA – In Game 2 against the Midland Rockhounds (As), Kyle Farmer had a three hit night, and Matt Beatty had two. One of the bright spots for the Drillers was that they scored 2 runs on 6 hits against Grant Holmes in 3.2 IP. Holmes came on in relief in the 6th. I do not know if Holmes has been moved to relief or if this was a onetime thing. OFs Jacob Scavuzzo and Kyle Garlick are looking for their 1st hit, and pitchers Isaac Anderson and Scott Barlow had rough starts to their season. Final score 5-2. Loss.
A –Great Lakes Loons (GL) dropped two to Lansing (Blue Jays) tonight. They had four hits in both games. Leo Crawford started Game 1, pitched 3.2 innings gave up 2 runs (1 earned) on 4 hits, with 2BB and 3K. Crawford was followed by Tony Gonsolin (2.2) and Nolan Long (1.0) who both gave up 2 EE. Lenix Osuna, 21 year old RH out of Mexico started the second game. Sven Schuller and Parker Curry finally put up zeros in relief. Only Zach McKinstry (2B) and Brendon Davis (SS) had multiple hits on the evening; 2 hits apiece and Davis with 2 BB and McKinstry with 1. Final Scores – Game 1, 6-3 and Game 2, 2-0. Both Losses.
High A –Rancho also had a DH due to a rainout on Thursday. The Stockton Ports (As) led by Brett Graves and Joey Wagman thoroughly shut down the Quakes allowing only an Omar Estevez single in the 7th inning. Caleb Ferguson (2 IP) started and gave up 2 R on 4 H, 4 BB, and only 2 K. This was way out of character for Caleb. Last year in 66.1 IP, Ferguson had 63K and 5BB. So in one two inning stretch, Ferguson had one less BB than he threw all last year in 66 IP. We can expect far better pitching performances from Caleb Ferguson. Adam Bray finished the 7 inning Game 1 with 4 solid IP; 0 R, 0 H, 1 BB, 4 K. Final Score – 2-0 Loss.
Game 2 finished far better than any of the previous evenings game. In another 7 inning game, Mitch White (4 IP) and Alex Hermeling (3 IP) combined on a no-hitter. White did give up 3 BB but had 5 K. Hermeling had 0 BB and 1K. Ibandel Isabel provided the run support with a pair of 2 run HR. I told you Bums to keep your eye on Isabel. DJ Peters got his first hit of the year with a single in the 3rd. Peters started his year with 3 K in 3 AB in game 1, and followed his single in Game 2 with another K. This should not be surprising as DJ bypassed Great Lakes with a promotion directly to Rancho after spending 2016 in short season Ogden. Catcher Garrett Kennedy also had a 2 hit Game 2 for the Quakes. Final Score 4-0WIN.
I am going to go through the rosters and identify some of the players to watch, that are not already readily known. But in the interim, there are some names that are not on the rosters that are interesting, and I do not know why.
Walker Buehler –Walker was originally supposed to report to Rancho, but is not on the roster as of now. This may have something to do with Urias being added to the Quakes, but not expected to pitch there. Julio is supposed to pitch in OKC on Monday which will open a roster spot with RC, and maybe Buehler gets the call at that time.
Yadier Alveraz –Some have speculated that Yadier will go directly to Tulsa. IMO it is more likely that either White or Buehler will get a quick promotion when Kapler and Company think it is time for Alveraz to start his season in RC.
Josh Sborz –The rumor was that Josh started throwing too hard too early, and had to be shut down. He will undoubtedly need to build his arm strength before he is allowed to pitch competitively, but he should start his year in Tulsa. Some pundits thought that he would go directly to OKC as a starter, but again only IMO, he will start at Tulsa and then proceed to OKC. Whether as a starter or reliever we will need to wait and see.
Andy Sopko (RHSP) and Mitch Hansen (LH OF) –are not on any roster, and I have not heard any rumblings about why. Sopko was 11-2 in Rancho and was promoted to and started 6 games for Tulsa as a 21/22 year old. I fully expected him to be a top of the rotation starter for Tulsa and be watched for another mid-year promotion to OKC. He had 135 IP in 2016. Hansen had a very good year at short season Ogden, and I was very surprised he did not get a spot at Great Lakes. I have not heard any explanation as to why. He is one of the Dodger top prospects. He was a mid-season All-Star at Ogden, and in 70 games put up .311/.356/.491/.847 line with 11 HR and 50 RBI. That projects to 22 HR and 100 RBI in a full season.