Dodger Chatter: Minor League Gleanings

Don’t look now but the minor league season is looking a bit short. Where has it gone? As always there has been much to follow and some surprises.

The minor league play-off picture is taking shape with the possibility of five Dodger affiliates extending their season with three already qualifying for the extension.

Dominica Summer League Dodgers:

The DSL Dodger complement, after a promising start, has run aground. The DSL Dodgers (Guerrero) are coming off a nine-game losing streak leaving them six games behind the first place Rays 2 in the DSL North Division. The DSL Dodgers (Robinson) have won seven of their last 10 games but stand seven games behind the Rays 1 in the Northwest Division. With 30 games left in the regular schedule anything can happen but it does not look overly promising.

Because there is so little information on the youngsters in the DSL – mostly signing dates and stats – it is difficult to make projections unless there is something totally eye-catching happening.

The following pitchers, 18 years of age or younger, have pitched at least 30 innings with a WHIP of less than one and  a K/BB ratio of 4/1 or better. All are right-handers.

  •    Jose Rodulfo (17)
  •    Carlos Duran (16)
  •    Juan Gonzalez (18)
  •    Carlos Montilla (18)

Offensively the DSL Dodgers have not separated themselves from the pack. Eighteen-year-old Jaime Perez might be the most consistent with a triple slash of .289/.416/.542 along with five home runs and 20 runs batted in. Seventeen-year-old Andy Pages might be the most interesting. His contact is inconsistent but his power is not. Although he strikes out 25 per cent of the time he leads the league with eight home runs. He also has five doubles among his 24 hits.

Arizona League Dodgers

The AZL Dodgers are currently  2.5 games up on the DSL Padres 2 and have captured the first half play-off spot with a 17-9  record.

Offensively the team is in the middle of the pack with a team batting average of .254. On the hill the team ERA of 3.18 and WHIP of 1.21 are both league leading.

A number of players have made a pit stop in Arizona before moving on including 2018 draftees   outfielders Josh McLain, Jon Littell and second baseman Devin Mann. The AZL Dodgers top hitter now is 20-year-old outfielder Ronado Lebron who has posted a slash line of .356/.4343/.386.

The pitching staff has been led by 19-year-old right-hander Juan Morillo who has posted a 3.22 ERA and a WHIP of 1.12 over 22.1 innings pitched. Keep an eye on 18-year-old Aldry Acosta, a right-hander from  Caracus, venezuela.

Of special interest, the Dodgers third round selection in the 2018 June Draft made his professional debut on Saturday, July 21. Left-hander Jon Rooney out of Hofstra University on Long Island certainly had an interesting debut. On paper he pitched two shut out innings on one hit and recording four strikeouts. What happened on the field was far more interesting and perhaps indicative of his pitching make up. He hit one batter and one hitter reached first base on a wild pitch strikeout. Two of his strikeouts were looking and he erased two runners by picking them off first base. More on him later.

Ogden Raptors:

The Raptors also captured a first half play-off spot with a division  leading 24-12 record. The Ogden team simply blasted its way to victory leading the league in most offensive categories including runs, total bases, runs batted in, walks, home runs, slugging, OBP and OPS. They scored 10 or more runs 14 times in 36 games.

Their pitching was in the middle of the pack as a number of those high scoring games were closer than we might think and there were a few double-digit losses. Right-hander Jose Chacin leads the league with a 1.28 ERA. He has gone 5-0 with a 1.18 WHIP along with 36 strikeouts and nine walks in 41 innings pitched. He should get another shot with the Great Lakes Loons after his first opportunity early in the season did not go so well for the 21-year-old. Personal favorite, right-handed reliever 19-year-old  Elio Serrano is starting to round into shape after a slow beginning states side.

At the plate AC has kept us updated with 18-year-old Miguel Vargas. The young third baseman has a slash line of .453/.493/.656. Two 19-year-olds are also on his radar. Shortstop Jacob Amaya and second baseman Jeremy Arocho have done nothing but hit. Well not exactly. Arocho has made but two errors in 133 total chances. At the same time I have been watching recently turned 22-year-old outfielder Drew Avans who was selected by the Dodgers in the 33rd round of the June Draft out of Southeastern University. He is currently hitting .339 in 15 games with four home runs and 18 runs batted in.

Great Lakes Loons:

What can we say about the Loons? On the season they are dead last in the Midwest League with a 33-66 overall record and that is pretty much where they are in most offensive categories.  The team pitching is somewhat better but still in the lower third of the league.

Outfielder, 22-year-old Brayan Morales, has come into his own this year hitting .273 with a league leading 46 stolen bases. Twenty-year-old pitchers Edwin Uceta and  Alfredo Tavaras have pitched quite well in a starting role. Uceta has a  .353 ERA while Tavaras has posted a 3.22 ERA. Another personal favorite, Dan Jagiello, has pitched very well in relief and should soon be promoted to the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. Jagiello was selected by the Dodgers in the 34th round of the 2017 First-Year Player Draft out of LIU Post on Long Island. Now 23, he has pitched 50 innings while posting a 2.70 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. He has struck out 59 and given up only 30 hits.  His 31 walks have inflated his WHIP. Not to be forgotten is 19-year-old Geraldo Carrillo who is a native of Guadalajara, Mexico. After a brief dominant stint with the AZL Dodgers he has pitched 10.2 innings with the Loons giving up but five hits and no runs while walking three and striking out 10.

Rancho Cucamonga Quakes:

What can we say about the Quakes? The folks in RC  are certainly happy. They won the first half of the season with a 35-35 record. In the second half they have gone 24-7.

The Quakes lead the league in home runs, runs batted in, total bases, walks, slugging and OPS while ranking second to Lancaster in runs, hits, OBP and batting average. The pitching staff has performed just  as well leading the league in ERA and WHIP and with the fewest hits and runs allowed as well as giving up the fewest home runs.

Dodger fans are breathing a sigh of relief that shortstop Gavin Lux is now playing like a  first-round selection. It is easy to forget that he is still just 20 years of age. Outfielder Cody Thomas, third baseman Jared Walker, first baseman Christian Santana and second baseman Omar Estevez are doing their parts. We are still waiting on outfielder Jeren Kendall to get it going.

The pitching staff is led by 20-year-old right-hander Dustin May who is supported by recently promoted  righty Max Gamboa, lefty Leo Crawford and right-hander Isaac Anderson, the Dodgers 40th round selection in the 2015 Amateur Draft. And yes, we are waiting on Jordan Sheffield, presently on the 7-day DL and perhaps more suited to a relief role.

As I write this I find that relief specialist  right-hander Marshall Kasowski has been promoted to the Tulsa Drillers of the Texas League no doubt as a result of the trade that sent Zach Pop to the Orioles in the Manny Machdo trade. Big right-hander Andrew Scrubb will now continue to step up in the Quakes pen and one has to wonder what 6’10” Nolan Long must do to gain another shot  with the Drillers.

Tulsa Drillers:

The Drillers fell short in the  first half play-off run by one game losing out to the Arkansas Travelers. In the second half they are sporting a 3.5 game lead over those same Travelers but more importantly 9.5 games over the Springfield Cardinals. The Drillers are currently 20-9 since the All-Star break. They are fourth in the league with a .267 team batting average but lead in doubles, home runs, total bases, slugging and OPS as well as near the top in other offensive categories. The pitching staff ranks third in most categories behind the San Antonio Missions and Corpus Christi Hooks.

Outfielder Jacob Scavuzzo has been on fire for the past month or so leading the Drillers in batting average and runs batted in. His 17 home runs trail teammates Will Smith and DJ Peters. Peters is tied for the league lead with 20 round trippers with former Dodger prospect Joey Curletta. Scavuzzo is also ably supported by outfielders Luke Raley and  Zach Reks as well as a productive group of infielders as well as catchers Will Smith and Keibert Ruiz. At age-23 the Dodgers no doubt are looking for Errol Robinson to pick up the pace.

The Drillers pitching staff is led by left-hander Devin Smeltzer and right-hander Mitchell White and supported by Logan Balcom who returned to the Dodger fold as a free agent last May, as well as free agent acquisition Kyle Lobstein. Right-hander Tony Gonsolin has done well in his two starts after being promoted to the Drillers from Rancho Cucamonga. Personal favorites, both right-handers, Andrew Istler has pitched well in relief while Shea Spitzbarth needs a bit more consistency to pave his way to MLB and stay at the AAA level.

OKC Dodgers:

The Dodgers got off to a flying start, fell behind, and now have a .5 game lead over the Colorado Springs Sky Sox in the American North Division of the league. The Dodgers rank fourth in a number of offensive categories along with a .284 team batting average. On the mound they have compiled a 3.91 ERA, second in the league to the Memphis Redbirds with other pitching categories ranking about fourth.

The talk of the town is left-hand hitting outfielder Alex Verdugo. Will he be traded or become a fixture in the Dodger outfield? He is currently hitting . 349 just behind the league leading .350, and his call to LA suggests the later. One wonders if Connor Joe, Edwin Rios or Henry Ramos will get a September call up at least. Catcher Kyle Farmer surely will. Andrew Toles should keep his suitcase packed.

Relief pitcher Corey Copping has had three good appearances after making 30 with the Tulsa Drillers before his promotion to OKC while right-hander Ariel Hernandez has had control issues at the AAA level this year walking 20 in 23 innings.


Mark’s Thoughts on Last Night’s Debacle

As always, hindsight is 20/20. I thought the biggest mistake was leaving Maeda in the game… but that’s hindsight, which only fans have the benefit of using. The bullpen pitched well.

Roberts could have used Ferguson.”Yeah, Dusty Baker would have used him! Right or wrong, the Dodgers are treating Ferguson much like a starter and he had thrown 50 pitches the day before. He’s young and they want to be careful.

Rich Hill should have started the inning.” Yes, in hindsight he should have, but he pitched a 40 pitch bullpen session Monday, so he was really a stretch.

Position player pitching appearances are becoming fairly common and it is happening at a record pace. There have already been more position player pitching appearances this year than any other season in baseball history – 41 times! It’s not just Roberts, it’s everyone. Why that is is apparent: starters are pitching less and they are trying to save the pen.

I hate to say it, but maybe Doc did just give up… and maybe he should have. Well, maybe he hoped for a Kike Hernandez miracle… after all the guy can probably hit 100 MPH on the gun, but Kike listened to his teammates and dialed it back.

Is it better to win the game and lose a pitcher or two to injury, or lose a battle in order to win the war? In 2014, John Baker actually won a 16 inning game for the Cubs as a position player pitching the last inning.  Startegy is “dumb” when it doesn’t work, but the same strategy can be deemed “brilliant” if it does.

As Joe Maddon said:

When asked if he’s heard anything from these naysayers about the use of position players, Maddon pounced:

“I have not and for those that may have said that, let me just inform you about this: People that want to say that do not understand the interconnectedness of the day,” Maddon said. “Today’s Tuesday. Tuesday could absolutely be won or lost based on Monday.

“If I used one of our better guys yesterday in a game that was not really going anywhere vs. Steve Carlton reincarnated and then we get into a crucial moment today and then either [Steve] Cishek or [Pedro] Strop or [Carl] Edwards is not available because of that, that’s the wrong thing to do.

Relax, folks. It’s a baseball game. It is not life or death. I want people to understand that.It’s a typical perfect example of it is a game and so I think people that say things like that don’t really understand how each day is connected. Yesterday was connected to Saturday, most specifically. Having to come out of the break and having to play five games in four days and the day-night doubleheader impacted Monday’s game.

“Whether or not you want to understand that, believe it or not, it doesn’t really matter. It’s true. And we’re not crying, because that’s the way the schedule was set up. But yesterday’s game was definitely impacted by what had happened prior to that.

“But I did not want today’s game to be negatively impacted by a really bad process or method on my part to bring somebody in to emilerate somebody’s perception of what it should look like.”

Nobody died!  Unlax doc!  It is what it is: a loss.  They have got another opne to win today!

This article has 54 Comments

  1. Lot of movement. Great to see my favorite, Marshall Kasowski, move up to Tulsa from RC. Throw strikes Marshall. I expect Nolan Long was an emergency replacement with the Quakes for some relief and will soon return to Tulsa. Since I wrote this, right-hander Logan Bawcom who was recently reassigned back to Tulsa moved back up to OKC and pitched well last night giving up one earned run in five innings. He did walk five. Throw strikes Logan.
    Unfortunately left-hander Logan Salow has not worked out as well as hoped with the Quakes and Connor Strain might continue to find the going tough.
    Time to give Dan Jagiello a plane ride to RC from Midland. Throw strikes Dan.
    As AC and Dionysis have pointed out the infield with the Raptors is intriguing: Amaya, Brito, Vargas, Arocho. Third baseman Jeffrey Souffront is doing his part although he is a couple of years older than the fearless four. Brito is the only one of the five that has shown any power yet with six home runs but they are young. All teenagers except Souffront and all four have at least seven doubles.
    Third baseman Jared Walker homered in his fifth straight game with the Quakes? Are he and Cody Thomas two of those good but not quite good enough guys? Thomas is a K machine but so are Wong, Estevez, Santana, Kendall and recently traded Rylan Bannon. It is hard to believe that all six have already struck out more than 100 times.

    1. Gotta like JM’s take on it. As you say, if a move works out the manager is a genius but if it doesn’t he is somewhat less than dumb. He does know what happened yesterday, he can’t completely control what is happening today because he is not throwing, catching or hitting the baseball and he knows tomorrow is coming. This wasn’t the last game of the WS. Will Caleb Ferguson be available today? There is a greater chance of it than using him, in my opinion, yesterday. I expect he is still seen as starter material.
      Who knows, maybe 10 left on base instead of 11, or 2-for-7 instead of 1-for-7 would have made a difference along the way. Maybe MM and MM going 0-for-13 had a bearing on the outcome or Cody getting picked off.
      I don’t know if Dave Roberts made bad choices and we never will because we can’t have a make-over. He had to go with what he had and what his gut told him. At best he had a 50-50 chance of being a genius. It is a team game and most likely a number of players had something to do with the loss along with the manager making decisions.
      It all starts over again today and I also know we want another one of those runs that come along every now and then but I expect the big thing is how the team responds today. BTW – the Phillies are not a push over any more. Everything they do is not a fluke.
      Go Dodgers!

  2. I know I’m one of the people Mark is talking about but I hate giving away a game after you work so hard for 15 innings to win. Late nights game just sucked. Maeda pitched is A$$ off but you could see he was done after the 6th inning . Wow I am without words to describe this loss.

  3. Great work by the BP last night, but the line score– Manny 0-6, Muncy 0-7, Enrique 0-7, Verdugo 0-4, CT3 1-7 with 4 K’s and the irrepressible Forsythe 0-2 with 2 K’s. If I never see Forsythe come to bat in a Dodgers uniform my life will be complete. He is absolutely garbage and in a week or so if they can’t find a way to offload him in a salary swap trade I can see a DFA, or at least wish for one.

    Lets go get em today!

    1. Forsythe officially has a hole in his bat. It’s like that dream when you just cant run and you dont know why.

  4. Either add a 26th/27th player(s) to the active roster or eliminate extra innings and go to a point system (1 point for a win, 1/2 point for a tie).

  5. If the Dodgers had taken the lead in the 16th Hill comes in. Since it was stilled tied, Roberts held him back. Remember, Buehler is pitching today and it’s his first start after his DL stint. I suspect Hill was held back in case he is needed to replace Buehler at some point during today’s game. We’re only 4 games into a 17 game stretch and the pen will need a day off.

  6. It was obvious in the 7th when Maeda gave up the opening single to Santana. He was so gassed that it took an effort just to climb the mound for the next pitch. I could see it on TV clearly. Go back and watch it! Roberts should watch the game on TV in the dugout, maybe he could see better. The relievers did great, they just were not utilized correctly. Should have been an easy 9-inning win. If we lose the West by 1 game, look back at this one. Talk about pitching moves affecting other games, we used 8 relievers instead of 2 or 3!

  7. I stopped watching after the 12th knowing I probably would not like the finish. When I looked at the box score this morning I found myself thinking…E. Hernandez? Who the hell is this pitcher E. Hernandez guy who took the loss?

  8. If Doc had brought in Ferguson and he gave up a walk off HR or is he had brought in Hil and he gave up a walk off HR, the second guessers would be saying the same thing…because they are never wrong!

    I’m not picking on you, Billy!

    1. If Hill were going to be brought in if the Dodgers took the lead, it begs the question of why he wouldn’t also been brought in to give the Dodgers another 3 innings to win this game. It’s hard to have it both ways and not be second guessed. Doc also used several relievers that pitched less than one inning staring in the 8th of a tie game.
      It’s one game. We will see which team bounces back for an early game after a very long game. The last time the Dodgers lost a close game they bounced back to score 11 runs.
      For a guy (Taylor) that leads the NL in RBI (18) in the month of July, he sure strikes out a lot.
      Lots of trade Joc talk in here but he keeps shoving back at ya, doesn’t he?

    2. If they had come in and given up a walk-off HR then the game would have been over quickly and they would have thrown very little pitches with no harm. The Dodgers have SIX starting pitchers, they could afford to throw Hill or someone an inning or two and then re-shuffle the deck. All season long there has been a lack of urgency in winning ball games. We’ve seen them throw Buehler out there for a 3-inning rehab assignment vs the Cubs a few weeks ago only to throw away a victory. W’s in April, May, June, and July count in the win column just as much as September. This attitude is why the Dodgers are only .5 game up. With Arrieta facing them today, I try to win that ballgame still. Yes, Maeda blew the lead after pitching well and maybe he should have been yanked. I’ve seen a couple of recent games now where the Dodgers lacked the confidence in pulling their starter and handing it to the pen. Hopefully, a trade will help with that. However, the pen was great last night and that was flushed down the toilet by bringing in Kike when they did.

  9. Maeda starts off the 7th giving up a single and then a run-scoring double, time to take Maeda out of the game but a hard call either way to make.

  10. I would not have been pissed if we lost trying to win the game. I thought Maeda was done after 6 innings and was surprised to see him come out for the 7th. I believe Brian thought the same thing from his comments above. Play to win the games is all I ask. And maybe another good relief pitcher, that’s all I ask. And deGrom if it’s not too much……..

  11. Floro optioned for Buehler. Baéz is also in clubhouse but no word yet on another roster move.

    1. The quality of jocs atbats has been amazing
      Too bad we cant give muncy a day off
      Looking forward to see verdugo in cf


    – The Los Angeles Dodgers today reinstated right-handed pitcher Pedro Báez from the 10-day disabled list and placed left-handed pitcher Zac Rosscup on the 10-day disabled list with left middle finger inflammation.

    Báez, who missed 35 games with right bicep tendinitis (retroactive to June 12), has made 30 relief appearances for Los Angeles this season, posting a 3.23 ERA (11 ER/ 30.2 IP) with 36 strikeouts.

    Rosscup, 30, has made four relief appearances with Los Angeles this season, tossing a scoreless inning of relief with one strikeout. The southpaw was claimed off of waivers by the Dodgers on July 11 from the Colorado Rockies.

  13. I don’t want to hear people complaining about the shift especially Harper’s agent when we’ve watched a free swinger like Joc regularly beat the shift and learn to have a two strike approach.

  14. Whole lotta zeros from the 6th to the 16th. Seems like they should of been able to push a run across before Keekay was forced to pitch. I don’t know.

    1. They definitely had their chances. Sure wish Toles was on the roster and not Forsythe.

    1. Hooey. You have SIX starting pitchers. Throw Hill an inning before throwing in the towel. Who’s throw Day is today? They could have thrown an inning. Don’t tell me Ferguson can throw today when today’s game was 7 hours away if he couldn’t throw an inning last night. It would have been interesting to see Verdugo throw had he still been in the game.

  15. Nationals are now 7 GB in division and 6 GB in wild card. It’s getting late early in DC.

      1. Seriously. They have some terrific young talent they could build on. No way hes coming back there.

  16. When the Dodgers took Verdugo out of the game yesterday, it occurred to me at the time that it might be necessary to use a position player to pitch at some point. Because Verdugo was top pitching prospect when he was drafted, and has a very strong arm, I questioned why he was removed. Of course, Doc and the coaching staff know a lot more than I, so perhaps they had a good reason not to consider him as an option to pitch. In any case, it’s just something I thought about.

    And the Dodgers lost last night not because of any pitching decisions. They lost because they couldn’t score a run for 10 innings after they last scored in the 6th.

    1. That happens sometimes though. Both teams didn’t cash in when they had the chance. I understand Doc’s logic. Especially if Hill had thrown a bullpen the day before but I highly doubt Hill coming out and flipping an innings worth of curve balls would have been catastrophic.

  17. But bringing Hill in, and not knowing how much longer the game would drag on , was a problem. Every game is important, but not so important that it would be worth it to tax what pitching assets the Dodgers had available. I wouldn’t have used Ferguson if there was any risk to his arm, and protecting the staff long term takes precedence over any short term ramifications.

    1. I give Hill an inning and if his pitch count is low maybe two. I get it though.

  18. Maybe having JT on the DL is a thing. Seems like we don’t play the same when he’s out.

  19. I thought Buehler pitched a bit better than his stats. He gave up a bandbox HR and then another hit. A probably tired Alexander didn’t pick him up. That hasn’t happened in awhile.
    I’m seeing way too much Kike for my liking. He should do what he does best which is a platoon player. We all love his power and versatility but he’s now hitting .218. Give him Forsythe’s platoon spot at 2nd. JT better come off the DL healthy.

  20. Watching the debacle last night let me go to a water park today with 3 teenagers with no doubt the team would come out flat and not do much against Arrieta. We are used to the heat in Vegas, not so sure about the rest of the country. 90% humidity in Philly? Yikes!

    It does not matter who the team adds for the pen, we will continue to see the constant mixing and matching and roster churning-it’s in the FAZ DNA. I’m kind of tired of it, get some stars who play every day please. I get they are in 1st place but there is no sense of urgency and since they are favored every stinking day they are not a good bet and I refuse to bet against them.

  21. If Roberts was worried about burning the bullpen he should have taken Maeda out last night after 6 like he usually always does. You can’t pitch people 5 innings all year and then leave them in for seven. In my mind Roberts created the mess and yes today’s game was dependent on yesterday’s screwup. That is not a second guess it’s just Roberts not following his own script. I’m beginning to wonder if we are playoff bound. Roberts has no urgency and I have to wonder about his sanity in using Forsythe. I don’t totally blame him he is on the roster so faz needs to step up. All I heard about mm is he never strikes out but he seems to be striking out a lot and not much clutch yet. When you play on a terrible team like Baltimore you can play relaxed. I’am ecstatic to have him but to advance we need the guy we traded for. If turner doesn’t get healthy and play like turner not sure we will advance anyway. I would play Verdugo a few days over bellinger to give Verdugo a look and bellinger a break.

    1. 1. Dont panic
      2. Repeat #1
      3. We are making the postseason. If we dont, we dont deserve to 0lay on
      4. Machado is a stud. All players slump
      5. I agree with you that Forsythe could be on the way out
      6. I agree that verdugo needs regular playing time
      7. I almost guarantee you at least one reliever is coming
      8. I fear no team in the nl
      9. I want hou/bos to go 12 rounds in the ALCS
      10. Barnes is a problem

        1. They are doing Barnes a disservice by keeping him up. Let him play everyday at okc and he might get his confidence back. He has always been a good hitter. I suppose they don’t want to risk another catcher with the pitching staff. They probably value his defense first at this point. In the end the cubs look good on paper and the Phillies have good pitching. The nationals and cards are fading fast.

  22. Manny has stud numbers for a last-place club goin’ nowhere.

    It remains for August/September/October to decide his genuine studliness….:-)

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