2018 Ogden Raptors Year in Review

In 2017 the Dodgers affiliate in Ogden won their first Pioneer League championship  since the Raptors were born in 1994. They were after a repeat championship in 2018 and came oh so close qualifying for a play-off berth with a 26-12 record in the first half of the season. They finished the season with a league best 46-30 record.

However, a second consecutive championship was not to be. They dropped the first game of a three-game play-off 8-5 to the Grand Junction Rockies (Colorado)and evened  the series with  a 7-5 win in the second game. In the winner-take-all third game the Raptors spotted the Rockies a 6-0 lead in the first two innings.  They battled back coming within one run of Grand Junction in the top of the sixth inning but over the next three innings they could not push  across the tying run or winning runs.  The Great Falls Voyageurs (White Sox) swept the Rockies in two straight games.

The Ogden squad featured two different teams. One, an offensive team that tore the league apart and the other a pitching contingent that all too often got lit up.

The Raptors offensive production was impressive.

  • Hits – 798 second
  • Doubles – 164 second
  • Triples – 36 second
  • Batting average – .294 second
  • Stolen bases – 99 second
  • Home runs – 82 – first
  • Runs batted in  – 518 first
  • Total bases – 1278 first
  • Walks – 362  first
  • OBP – .384  first
  • SLG –  .472 first
  • OPS – .856 First

On the mound the Raptors struggled all season long with only starter – Jose Chacin-  posting  a very respectable 2.85 ERA in his 66 innings pitched before moving on the Loons of the Midwest League. The other starters posted ERA’s from 4.91 to 8.24. Overall the pitching staff finished second to last in the league in three significant categories – 5.27 ERA, 394 earned runs, 1.56 WHIP. They were in the middle of the pack with 616 strikeouts and 260 walks allowed.

Manager Jeremy Rodriguez, 28, was in his second year of managing having been with the Loons in 2017. Pitching coach Dean Stiles and hitting coach Dustin Kelly both joined the Raptors out of the college ranks. Stiles had previously coached at San Jose State University while Kelly had been at California Pyrotechnical Sate University. Player favorite  Fumimasa Ishibashi  was back for a second term with the Raptors after two years with the Loons.

The Raptors again led the Pioneer League in attendance as they have done for the past 22 years.

As mentioned the pitching staff had a difficult season. Several of the pitchers were 22-23 years old and perhaps a bit old for the short season rookie league and to pitch without much success. I had hoped that a pair of 21-year-olds would get a good grounding (no pun intended) this year but they too found the going tough – right-hander Kevin Malisheski (38th round -2016) and left hander Justin Bruihl (undrafted 2017).

Perhaps the best performance by a Raptors pitcher was that of right-hander Orlandy Navarro (19). He posted a 2.35 ERA, mostly in relief, over 23 innings pitched while striking out 24 and walking eight. His WHIP was a solid 0.87 and he finished the season with a pair of starts in which he gave up no earned runs over eight innings pitched. Another right-hander, Elio Serrano (20), posted a WHIP of 1.07 while recording 10 strikeouts and three walks over 15 innings with the Raptors.  He had been dominant in relief with the AZL Dodgers over 15 innings. Right-hander Caleb Sampen (20th round – 2018) recorded 43 strikeouts over 30 innings pitched. He walked nine. With the bases empty he allowed no earned runs but struggled with runners in scoring position resulting in a 5.04 ERA.

Where to start with the offense? Several Raptors made their way to the Loons as the season progressed: Miguel Vargas, Drew Avans, Jacob Amaya, Chris Roller, Luke Heyer, Hunter Feduccia, Marcus Chiu.

Raptor hitters took no prisoners when they came to the plate with many having outstanding seasons in addition to the aforementioned Vargas and Amaya.

  • Daniel Robinson (OF) – BA .332 (6th), OBP .423 (4th), 50 runs (6th)
  • Jeremy Arocho (2B) – BA .313, OBP .401
  • Dillon Paulson (1B) – BA .272, OBP .385, 61 RBI (1st), 54 runs (8th), 10 HR (5th), BB 42 (2nd)
  • Jeffrey Souffront (3B) – BA .302, OBP .372
  • Ronny Brito (SS) – BA .288, OBP .352, HR 11 (4th), 52 RBI (7th)
  • Niko Hulsizer (OF) – BA .281, OBP .408, 9 HR (6th), 32 RBI
  • James Outman (OF) – BA .264, OBP .350, 11 HR (4th), 50 runs (6th)
  • Matt Cogen (OF) –  BA .316, OBP .408, OPS 961 (7th), 9 HR (5th), SLG .553 (7th)

Not to be forgotten is 18-year-old Kenneth Betancourt who is listed as a second baseman but has played third base and shortstop. In 135 chances at second base in his two-year career he has made one error. He hit .279 with the Raptors in 22 games after hitting .313 in 22 games with the AZL Dodgers. He is participating in the Dodgers Fall Instructional League.

Since I am partial to catchers, look for a pair of 20-year-olds to emerge in 2019. Ramon Rodriguez should rebound after being overmatched with the Loons and having to return to the Raptors Marco Hernandez hit .325 in 13 games with the Loons so his sample size is small but he has shown steady growth since 2016 in the DSL. Both are attending the Fall Instructional League as is Tre Todd the Dodgers 21st selection in the 2018 June draft.

The Dodgers have renewed their player development agreement with Ogden for another two years.


This article has 29 Comments

  1. It is so hard to put a lot of faith in the future of players from a performance in a Rookie Leagues. But it is a good barometer for finding names that may be worthy of following. For me, Ogden had several players, but the names I have been talking most about all season and will continue to follow will be Jacob Amaya, Miguel Vargas, Jeremy Arocho, Hunter Feduccia, Jose Chacin, Ronny Brito, Orlandy Navarro, and Elio Serrano. I plan on following Dillon Paulson more because he is a Trojan, but he did have a productive year in the Pioneer League. There will be players who will break from the group and lead, but they may be different players than those I have identified that I will be following. Maybe it will be someone like Jefrey Souffront who has had a couple of good seasons in the Dodger organization. Or Ramon Rodriguez, or Matt Cogen, or Kenneth Betancourt. Quite often, players I have identified to be followed will never develop. The most recent player in that category for me was Mitchell Hansen.
    The picture becomes more clear at Great Lakes and then comes into focus at Rancho. AA is generally the make or break level. But the names start in the Rookie Leagues. Great write up DC.

    1. I hear you DC and you so correct. However, it is better to have hit well in the Pioneer League hitter’s paradise than not to have done so. When players are 22-23 in rookie ball they have to advance at an accelerated pace if they are to realize their dream. I would not be surprised if a couple of these guys break free in the next year or so and it might surprise us who they are.

    1. Great question!! That is extremely difficult to project right now. Amaya and Brito are both defensively gifted SS. Brito has a little more pop, with a great arm. I can see him sliding over to 3rd. I think Vargas will continue to play between 3B and 1B, but should eventually end up at 1B.

      1. Depending on Arocho at 2B I can see one, maybe Amaya, moving to second. Arocho is smaller and 2B would seem to be his best location. All have moved around a bit in the infield but I expect with the Raptors that was to get them into games. I agree that Vargas being a bit taller may wind up at first base and Brito could move to third. At 6’0″/ 165 lb he could be a Ron Cey type at third.
        Dare to dream – Vargas 1B, Arocho 2B, Brito 3B, Amaya SS.

  2. Is it safe to mention last night’s disaster yet?

    We are just not playing well enough consistently.


    At this point, with 3 games to play, would you take the Wild Card Game, in Milwaukee or let the cards play out?

    1. Disaster it was! I’d let the cards play out, we either win the division or lose everything, all or nothing for this team. Just like the long ball, this team is all or nothing.

      1. You just know we’re going to game 163, losing that at home, and then heading to StL for a wild card play-in game. It’s the way of this team!!

    2. It’s all execution at this point. I really cannot fault Roberts. I know he’s an easy scapegoat but the players have to do it. As always, there is plenty of blame to go around.

  3. Last night was a debacle and an example of how frustrating this team is to the loyal fans that follow them. I had no problem with the lineup (except they did not come through, although some balls were hit hard for outs) but I had a big problem with Stripling getting the start. It’s almost as if with a day off today they were ok with a bullpen game. It’s not fair to Ross because he is not stretched out but you could see that coming.

    Too early to say Milwaukee because the Cubs could lose today to Pitts and be tied. The Cards could go to Chi and knock the Cubs out completely in the next 3. Brewers get the Tigers (?) in an odd interleague match up at home against a team 30 games under .500 and 25 games out of 1st. The Rocks try to finish the sweep of the Phils at noon then host the Nats for 3. They could be tied for 1st or a game up after today.

    The Dodgers have no one to blame but themselves and it is quite clear both the Snakes and now Giants will consider their season a success to just knock them out. Is it time to play with a sense of urgency?! With 3 games left possibly in their season? All this setting up the rotation for the playoffs really rankles me, gotta get there 1st.

  4. I would be shocked if we made any noise in the playoffs. This team is just too poor with RISP, and they are so one dimensional in their approach that a long playoff run seems difficult to imagine. Hopefully I am wrong.

    Their manager is extremely one dimensional and just does not seem to have a feel for anything. He is obsessed with platooning and his computer, never going by what he sees or if a player is hot or cold. I, like others, want to throw up because of all the maddening moves Robert’s makes. I will be honest I have been following this team since the early 80s and this is the most disgusted I have ever been watching a ball club. I cannot believe the player’s enjoy Robert’s never ending matchup game. If I was a free agent I would not want to play here unless I had even productive splits. No one can gain traction, and in my mind there is a correlation between our inability to hit with RISP and the platooning. Our players are not robots, just able to perform in the clutch with a snap of management’s fingers.

    How does a guy like Freese has a great game one and then does not see an at bat the rest of the series? Makes no sense. A lot of what Robert’s does makes no sense, pulling Alexander early on Tuesday but not on Wednesday?
    Anyway not going to beat a dead horse. I am wondering what anyone thinks about our player’s perspective on Robert’s and the FO matchup philosophy? I know it is playoff time so everyone does what is best for the team, but I wonder if the player’s are really upset as well?

    1. Don’t give up, man. Geesh. Believe in the team and share in its glory and be saddened by its failure. But don’t give up. We shall fight them in San Francisco; we shall fight them in Milwaukee; we shall fight them in Chicago. (We probably don’t want to fight them in Denver but whatever.) This is the gauntlet. Situational hitting is KILLING us but there is still time. Don’t give up. Never give up.

    2. I would have to say I’d bet turner is getting there. I don’t think so many free agents desire to play for this organization as before this season. In the meanwhile we hope for a sweeping at Giants and root for Philies and Nats. Big IF but if IF happens it could put the needed spark go all the way. Like Yogi Berra said “it ain’t over til it’s over”! Now everybody says that.

  5. All the Dodgers have to do is take 2 of 3 from the Giants to insure that they at least get a tie breaker game against the Cardinals. And a sweep at the very least locks up a wild card berth. And of course there are a bazillion (not quite that many) other scenarios.

    Lots to be upset about in last nights game, but no use crying over spilled milk. The Dodgers simply have to pick themselves up and play them one at a time. And if they miss the playoffs, then it will be time for the Dodgers to begin to begin the process of evaluation (which has probably already begun), and do what’s necessary to patch their weaknesses. But that’s another discussion for the off-season, which hopefully doesn’t begin for the Dodgers until after a successful WS (trying to keep my glass half full 🙂 ).

  6. OK, definitely scoreboard watching today. Let’s go Phillies {5 clap}!

    Wouldn’t it be crazy if we ended up playing the Cubs in the WC game?

    Also, trying not to bemoan possibly not matching up with Atlanta [against whom we appear to do quite well]. I’ve learned my lesson on this far too many times. Be careful what you wish for . . .

  7. I’m not so sure that free agents wouldn’t want to play for the Dodgers. First off, it’s usually all about the money. Secondly, if the Dodgers aren’t successful, then that’s all the more incentive for a free agent to come on board, believing that they’re the difference make. And like I said above, that’s going to be a discussion for the off-season.

    Actually, right now my only complaint is that I have to keep typing in my name and email address everytime I post, be it on my iPhone or my computer. Doesn’t this website create any cookies that would enable my browser to recall that information. If memory serves, that was never a problem in the past.

  8. “difference maker”, NOT “difference make”, in next to last sentence in the opening paragraph of my previous post.

    At least on my computer my name and email are both recognized after I type the first letter. Not with my iPhone.

  9. The way that Roberts constructs his lineups is going to be driven by data provided by the Braintrust. If he wasn’t willing to accept direction from the ‘Trust then he wouldn’t be managing the team. In many ways, the job of field manager has changed greatly in the SABR age. Time was when the manager’s word was absolute – he decided who would play and under what circumstance and how to run the team. Now, the manager is the go-between for the front office and the players. He is first and foremost a “communicator”, not a strategist.


    The same has to be true with hitters’ approaches with RISP, with 2 strikes or 2 outs. All of the big swings, efforts to hit HRs every time up, all of the launch angles (uppercuts) doesn’t happen by accident. The fact that just about everyone up and down the roster does the same thing (with similar results – lots of HRs, not too many RBIs, too many Ks) tells you it’s programmatic.

    The Dodgers aren’t going to change what they do unless the Braintrust wants them to.

    1. AC

      I was wondering have you looked at team stats on Fangraphs, and compare our numbers to the Red Sox numbers?

      Because that is a good example on why HRs don’t always equate to a lot of runs.

      We are second on that list below the A’s, because that list is based on War.

      And I don’t think that is a coincidence that we are right under the A’s, there.

  10. Watching the Ryder Cup from outskirts of Paris on TV.

    Atmosphere looks amazing.
    Gonna be watching a lot of sport this weekend….

  11. Overall I’m liking most everyone’s tude today!!! Adam, now he’s a different cat… I’m sure he’d make a extraordinary greeter at a mortuary…

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