Dodger Chatter: Ramblings

Will  Corey Copping get a call to climb the hill at Dodger Stadium  during the 2018 season? Now 24, the 6’1”/175-pound right-hander was selected by the Dodgers in the 31st round of the 2015 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Oklahoma. He was one of the first young Dodger pitchers to benefit from the Driveline Program.Copping said his fastball was clocked between 86 and 88 mph at the end of Spring Training 2016. After 10 weeks of Driveline following Spring Training, he was regularly touching 92 to 94 mph.After a brief stop with the Ogden Raptors of the rookie level Pioneer League in June of 2016 he bypassed the Great Lakes Loons and made 16 relief appearances with the High A Rancho Cucamonga  Quakes of the California League.During the 2017 season Copping made 49 appearances with the Tulsa Drillers of the AA Texas League leading the league in appearances. He collected 18 saves while posting a 3.57 ERA along with 60 strikeouts. He gave up only 48 hits in 68 innings pitched.Copping was selected as the Texas League Pitcher of the Week for the week of August 14-20 and also selected as a Mid-season All-star.Will Donovan Solano be this year’s Charlie Culberson?He was signed to a minor league contract by the Dodgers in January with an invitation to spring training and has made the most of that opportunity.Solano, born in Barranquilla, Colombia, fits the Dodgers profile of a valuable utility player. In 370 MLB games, mostly with Miami, he hit .257 and in 2012 was named to the Baseball America Major League All-rookie Team.In 560 games at the Triple-A level he hit .289 while in his minor league career he has played 441 games as a shortstop, 279 as a second baseman and 282 at third base.  In 2013 he was named to the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Team from the MarlinsSo far in Spring Training 2018 Solano has appeared in 13 games posting a .333 batting average with six runs batted in.Will 19-year-old catcher Ramon Rodriguez follow in the footsteps of Kyle Farmer, Will Smith and Keibert Ruiz and Connor Wong?Rodriguez was selected by the Dodgers in the 30th round of the 2016 June Draft out of Puerto Rico Baseball Academy. He had one at bat in 2016 but in 2017 played in 32 games as an 18-year-old, 17 of them with the Ogden Raptors. He hit a solid .276 with 13 runs batted in. Six of his 16 hits were for extra bases including two home runs. He threw out 41% of would-be base stealers.Will first-round selections, Gavin Lux (2106) and Jeren Kendall (2107) look more like first-round players in 2018?Lux struggled for a good part of the 2017 season at the plate with the Loons but caught fire in August posting a slash line of .336/.388/.467 over 26 games. On the season he stole 27 bases and drew 56 walks. He seemed more comfortable at second base than at shortstop.Kendall did not start his season until the third week in July so perhaps that helps account for his sub-par season. He struck out 23% of the time with the Loons. Kendall was considered to have been a steal for the Dodgers in the 2017 draft – selected No. 23 overall – after having been ranked in the top five through most of the 2017 college season.  He was considered to be the best college athlete available in the  draft. His strikeout rate mostly caused him to fall towards the bottom of the first round in the draft and become available to the Dodgers.According to Baseball America the Dodgers have released 21-year-old first baseman Luis Paz?The native of Marilla, Brazil led the Pioneer League  in 2017 with 63 runs batted in and placed third in home runs with 18. In 39 games with the Great Lakes Loons he did struggle at the plate but perhaps he is a bit young to jettison so soon.  Twenty-two-year- old right-hander William Soto was also released.Is Jairo Pacheco the youngest coach in minor league baseball?The 21-year-old left hander was released by the Dodgers in January and signed as a coach with the Arizona League Dodgers.Will 21-year-old Caleb Ferguson return to his earlier free pass routine?Now that is not to say there was anything wrong with his 2017 season. He led  the hitter friendly California League in ERA (2.87), ranked second in opponent average (.246) and third in strikeouts (140 in 122 1/3 innings). He walked 55 whereas he walked but five in 66 innings during the 2016 season.Will outfielders Zach Reks and Luke Raley continue their quick ascent  through the minor league system?Both players were drafted by the Dodgers during the 2017 First-Year Player Draft., Raley in the seventh round and Reks in the 10th round. Hopefully they will make it all the way to Tulsa during the 208 season as Raley is 23 and Reks 24.Will Errol Robinson make a permanent move to second base?Will Michael Ahmed get noticed?Thirty-two-year old Colt Hynes  was released by the Oklahoma City Dodgers in February and was signed by the Dodgers to be their Minor League Rehabilitation Coordinator.The Dodgers draft very late in the first round of the 2018 June Draft, maybe 30 overall. Could it be that they are already looking at Ethan Hankins, a possible first or second overall selection who has experienced a shoulder issue.Photo credit: Matthew Christensen, Tulsa Drillers

This article has 31 Comments

    1. MLB Report on Raley:

      Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 45 | Run: 50 | Arm: 55 | Field: 55 | Overall: 45

      Raley had a monster junior season at NCAA Division II Lake Erie (Ohio) in 2016, setting school records for hitting (.424), on-base percentage (.528), slugging (.747) and homers (12). He also eclipsed Ryan Rua as the highest-drafted player in Storm history when the Dodgers took him in the second round. They challenged him with an assignment to high Class A for his first full pro season and he responded by batting .295 with 46 extra-base hits.

      Raley has strength and leverage in his 6-foot-3 frame and could develop average power if he adds more loft to his left-handed stroke. For now, he tends to drive balls to the gaps and hit more grounders than he should. An average runner out of the batter’s box who picks up speed underway, he’s aggressive on the bases.

      With his sound instincts and solid arm strength, Raley can get the job done on either outfield corner. He also can fill in as a center fielder and has seen action at first base. Club officials praise his grinder attitude and believe he’ll get the most out of his ability.

  1. Another good catcher in our system. That is one position where you cannot have enough good ones. We have our share of good ones. Some of these players are not drafted very high. What does that tell us about our player development program.

    1. agree. posey, Molina, all key reasons why those teams have multiple rings. I envision will smith as that guy for us. if Ruiz’s bat is really that special, we’ll find a position for him. nice problem to have.

  2. DC, I agree with you on Donovan Solano, so far in spring training, he is looking good.
    I don’t know about Lux and Kendall, especially Kendall who has 5 tool ability but his strikeout rate is a concern. I think this year will be very telling for both.
    According to reports I have read on Raley he plays an average left and right field with a good arm, not much power but should hit for average, he is moving up the list.
    Copping from what I have read is his velocity after improving to the 92-94 MPH range from the 90 – 92 MPH range is back at the 90 – 92 range and his strikeout rate have declined in each of his three seasons. Also, I read he doesn’t have a plus breaking ball, so this is an important season for him.

    1. I almost wonder if we should sign a cheapie SS option as insurance for seager but maybe that’s exactly who Solano is

      1. I wondered at the time why we let Culberson go to Atlanta Dionysis.
        He couldn’t have been the deal breaker?

        1. I think he will play more in ATL. I think the deal was in apprecaition for what he did the past two years. He would not have made the team.

  3. According to Vassegh, Taylor has taken a lot of work at short during camp. If Seager were to go down for any length of time, Taylor would play SS. The Dodgers have enough quality outfielder to cover. Kike is NOT a shortstop. He can play it for a few games, but it is his worst position on the field. He’s below average there. Seager can be nursed through the season and if he needs surgery it will be next offseason in my opinion.

    Mark, did you get your invite?

        1. It wasn’t in spam, but it came through the second time. I filled it out. I’ll send you the money from my winnings.


          Just kidding. I’ll send the money later tonight.

          FYI- I always pick Duke to win it all… and they could! Or they could lose in the first round. They are capable of doing either.

          1. I wish you luck. I see your picks are in. I have fun just watching the App because I know 90% of the people in the pool including some of the kids. GO Duke at least until I need them to lose. As long as I have the $20 by April 1st it is all good. I don’t have to pay people until then. I spent the last two night hanging with Alice Cooper’s band and daughter and then saw him last night so I’ve been trying to get us past our record on the pool today.

  4. DC, I have been singing the praises of Donovan Solano for a couple of weeks now. I am of the opinion that if Seager should go down for any length of time, then Solano should be the primary consideration. There is no reason to move CT3 from CF to play SS. Why make 2 positions weaker defensively? If for a game or two, that is what Kike’ is for. I have no problem with Kike’ playing SS on a short term. He is an adequate SS for a short term.
    Again only if Seager goes down for a lengthy time, I would also assume that an alternative would be to make Kike’ the everyday SS, and bring up Jake Peter to be the super utility player, or Kyle Farmer. But leave CT3 in CF.
    I am not convinced that Lux is the real deal. I do not see him any more special than Estevez or Robinson. I know I am a broken record on this, but everytime Lux’s name comes up, I harken back to why the Dodgers did not select Bo Bichette over Lux. Jeren Kendall is another story. Defensively he is tremendous. If he can cut down his K’s and keep the ball in play, he could become a special player. I still would like to see the Dodgers hire Brett Butler to teach Kendall the art of hitting/slapping the ball. He may not get many HR’s, but he would get a lot of infield singles, leg doubles and triples, and keep an inning alive by not hitting into too many DP’s. Kendall can be an All Star or a bust. Right now, I am cautiously optimistic that it will be the former.
    I do think Ramon Rodriguez can be a quality plus catcher, but not at the same level as the catchers above him. The Midwest League will be a good test for Ramon. Hopefully Mark will get a chance to see him live this year.
    I do think Robinson’s future is at 2B, but so is Estevez’s. I do not know if FAZ will push Errol to AAA to start the season, but if he stays at AA, he and Estevez will probably play both SS and 2B. Robinson is the better SS, and has the arm to stay. Estevez is good defensively, but does not have the arm Robinson has nor the range. They are both quality middle infielders, just not special….yet.
    Raley and Reks are both more organizational depth for the Dodgers. Not a criticism. Every team needs a #4 and #5 OF. They are also both talented enough to get a look from other teams.

    1. I don’t think you are weakening SS by making Taylor the SS. You may be improving it if he were there every day.

      1. The good thing is, the Dodgers have many options. I believe Solano is an upgrade over CC at SS.

        Lux is one of the few mistakes FAZ has made.

        Kendall scares me. I see Joc with speed.

      2. To clarify, in my opinion, CT3 is not as good defensively as Seager, so by moving CT3 to SS, SS would be weakened defensively, and any CF replacing CT3 would weaken CF defensively. I am not saying that CT3 is bad defensively at SS, just not as good as Seager, and IMO CT3 is the best defensive CF on the roster.
        If CT3 were to move to SS for a longer term, I would guess that Joc/Kike’ would platoon in center or left depending as to where Toles may play.

  5. Wow I had no idea we took Lux over Bichette. But that type of thing happens so often in baseball, by every team.

    This will be a big year for Lux.

    1. I have no idea why they took Lux.

      I understand taking Kendall: High Risk – High Reward!

      1. Lack of SS depth in the system. It was the position that needed addressing.

        It was him or Nolan Jones if I remember correctly.

        1. Jones was in the discussion, but the choice seemingly came down to Lux or Bichette. I remember screaming at my TV when the selection was made.

          1. Interesting. I never heard Bichette’s name. Always heard it would be a SS more times than not. There’s a kid Delvin Perez too.

          2. Bichette is a SS. He may move, but he was a HS SS in St. Pete, FL. Delvin Perez was rumored to be overall #1, and then a failed (PED) drug test came back (which he denied), but it cost him going from projected #1 overall to #23 overall to the Cardinals, 3 spots behind the Dodgers pick of Lux.
            Two other HS SS that went in the 1st round, Carter Kieboom (Nationals) who is a highly regarded SS prospect, and Hudson Potts (Padres) who is now at 3rd. Both played in first full year A programs, South Atlantic League and Mid West League respectively.

  6. i just realized we play tonight. i was wondering why nobody was talking about the game. this is around the time in spring training you start noticing who plays where and when. some spots are legitimately up for grabs. expect at one least one plot twist between now and then. kemp and toles are the new joc and kiké. a reliever breaks from the pack. a trade.

  7. Agree on Barnes’ arm. I am not liking what I see in Baez. He reminds me of Hatcher. That is not good. Right now I would rather have Vindette. Kike and Taylor look ready.

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