Down On The Farm: August/September – Season Comes To A Close

The Dodgers minor league affiliates have seen their seasons come to a close. The Oklahoma City Dodgers lost three games to none in the American Conference Finals, the Tulsa Drillers did not qualify for the playoffs, the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes won the California League Championship Series with a three-game sweep, the Great Lakes Loons lost two games to none in the Midwest League Eastern Division Semifinals, the Ogden Raptors did not qualify for the playoffs despite having the best record in the league (minor league baseball!!!), the Arizona League Dodgers lost in the single-elimination quarterfinals, and the Dominican Summer League Dodgers did not qualify for the playoffs.

There was a bunch of movement in the final months as well, which many fans already know of. Corey Seager, Austin Barnes, and Scott Schebler were promoted from AAA to the MLB, Darnell Sweeney was traded from AAA to the Phillies, Julio Urias, Jharel Cotton, and Chris Anderson were promoted from AA to AAA, Caleb Dirks was promoted from A+ to AA, Alex Verdugo, Willie Calhoun, and Josh Sborz were promoted from A to A+, Andrew Sopko was promoted form R to A, and Jordan Paroubeck, Brendon Davis, and Gersel Pitre were promoted from AZL to R.

Oklahoma City Dodgers (AAA)

Hitters

Corey Seager – SS – 21 – 153 PA, .300/.346/.464/.811, 14 XBH, 4 HR, 10 BB, 24 K (Month) – 550 PA, .293/.344/.487/.831, 58 XBH, 18 HR, 37 BB, 76 K (YTD)

No explanation necessary on Seager since everybody has already seen him play. Not sure why he “struggled” comparatively in AAA, but other top prospects seemed to have suffered the same before excelling in the majors (Carlos Correa/Francisco Lindor).

Scott Schebler – OF – 24 – 134 PA, .220/.313/.322/.635, 7 XBH, 2 HR, 12 BB, 25 K, 3/1 SB/CS (Month) – 488 PA, .241/.322/.409/.731, 38 XBH, 13 HR, 40 BB, 94 K, 15/2 SB/CS (YTD)

Schebler is another prospect that has looked like a potential platoon bat at the major league level, but really seemed to struggle with just about everything during his time in the minors this year. Either way, he’s impressed me since he came up to the Dodgers.

Austin Barnes – C – 25 – 82 PA, .347/.402/.467/.869, 6 XBH, 1 HR, 7 BB, 10 K, 2/0 SB/CS (Month) – 353 PA, .313/.389/.472/.862, 29 XBH, 9 HR, 37 BB, 40 K, 12/1 SB/CS (YTD)

Barnes has shown the ability to handle catching, to take a walk, and to make contact. Whether or not he ever gets a shot to show he can do more is gonna be a question for an indefinite amount of time in the future. Barnes certainly deserves a shot at a backup role, but with A.J. Ellis‘ late-season resurgence, it’s not gonna be coming anytime soon.

Pitchers

Julio Urias – SP – 18 – 4.26 ERA, 31.2 IP, 34 H, 12 BB, 30 K (Month) – 3.81 ERA, 80.1 IP, 73 H, 22 BB, 88 K (YTD)

Weird to categorize a season disappointing when an 18-year-old in AA and AAA strikes out more than a batter an inning and demonstrates solid command. However, I think this sort of falls into that range, not because of his superficial ERA or disappointing finish, but because his innings total still sits around 80, well short of the goal of 100 or so. This obviously affects his ability to go any further than 120 innings or so next year, so if the Dodgers want to use him late in the season, he’ll have to be monitored closely again all year.

His September was disappointing though, cemented by his AAA showing in which he pitched 4.1 innings, gave up 11 hits, nine runs, and walked six for an 18.69 ERA. Granted, he did still strikeout five and his BABIP against was .579, but it still sucked to see. Nothing to worry about at all in the long-term though.

Jharel Cotton – SP – 23 – 3.80 ERA, 21.1 IP, 21 H, 5 BB, 27 K (Month) – 2.45 ERA, 95.2 IP, 76 H, 31 BB, 114 K (YTD)

Cotton was perhaps the quickest mover up boards this year, and well deserved. Already entering his age 23 season, Cotton had question marks since he was still in A-ball and then it was revealed he’d miss the start of the season with injury. Well all he did was blitz through A+ and AA to reach AAA by the end of the year, striking out in double digit per nine at every stop. Even if Cotton doesn’t end up a starter, and I think he could, he’ll be a back-end type in relief.

Zach Lee – SP – 23 – 3.22 ERA, 44.2 IP, 47 H, 5 BB, 31 K (Month) – 3.02 ERA, 128.0 IP, 122 H, 6 HR, 21 BB, 88 K (YTD)

Lee’s results were much improved after a disaster of a year in the thin-air at AAA last year, but the same issues with him being an MLB starter persist. Lacking a strike out pitch, he couldn’t get AAA hitters to chase, and his MLB experience was about the worst-case scenario of how his stuff might play at that level.

Chris Anderson – SP – 22 – 9.13 ERA, 22.2 IP, 34 H, 18 BB, 12 K (Month) – 4.74 ERA, 133.0 IP, 137 H, 68 BB, 100 K (YTD)

In what was supposed to be a year he could take a big step forward, Anderson did end up making it to AAA, but was generally pretty mediocre. If it wasn’t for his raw stuff and draft pedigree, he wouldn’t be all that noteworthy, struggling to limit hits, struggling to throw the ball in the strike zone, and struggling to generate swinging strikes.

Tulsa Drillers (AA)

Hitters

Kyle Farmer – C – 24 – 145 PA, .220/.276/.318/.594, 11 XBH, 1 HR, 9 BB, 20 K (Month) – 487 PA, .296/.343/.437/.780, 50 XBH, 3 HR, 26 BB, 80 K (YTD)

Farmer’s lack of power, lack of walks, and swing-and-miss aren’t exactly the best of signs for his MLB potential, but him emerging into organizational depth is a victory in a way.

Pitchers

Jose De Leon – SP – 22 – 2.21 ERA, 20.1 IP, 21 H, 4 BB, 31 K (Month) – 2.99 ERA, 114.1 IP, 87 H, 37 BB, 163 K (YTD)

Can’t wait to see De Leon in AAA next year, and despite a potentially crowded Dodgers rotation, there’s a good chance he’ll end up cutting to the front of the line in terms of rotation reserves next year.

Jacob Rhame – RP – 22 – 2.70 ERA, 10.0 IP, 8 H, 0 BB, 11 K (Month) – 2.68 ERA, 57.0 IP, 36 H, 20 BB, 70 K (YTD)

Hard-thrower finished the year with easily his best control of his career thus far, and considering he can be in the high-90s, he should be in AAA to start the year and could move to the Dodgers before long.

Caleb Dirks – RP – 22 – 1.35 ERA, 13.1 IP, 7 H, 6 BB, 17 K (Month) – 0.90 ERA, 50.0 IP, 35 H, 22 BB, 64 K (YTD)

Who is this? Ah, it’s the guy the Dodgers got from the Braves for that international slot money. His statistical profile is close to impeccable besides the slightly elevated walk rate, but I don’t think as much of him as Rhame yet. He’s still in the 92-93 mph range, though his breaking ball could be a swing-and-miss pitch at the next level. The raw stuff isn’t as good as Rhame, but like with Yimi Garcia and others, there’s usually at least a solid middle relief arm in guys who continually dominate through the minors at appropriate ages.

Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (A+)

Hitters

Cody Bellinger – 1B – 19 – 117 PA, .333/.402/.707/1.109, 16 XBH, 10 HR, 13 BB, 22 K (Month) – 544 PA, .264/.336/.538/.873, 67 XBH, 30 HR, 52 BB, 150 K (YTD)

It’s obviously easy to praise a guy who puts up a .873 OPS at 19 in high-A, and who finishes the year on an absolute tear, so I’ll provide some reality check downside. Power breakouts like Bellinger in this league, combined with a mediocre walk rate and a bunch of strikeouts, commonly find sledding significantly more tough against advanced pitching who can exploit flaws.

That said, this was undoubtedly a promising breakout, and I hope he’s one of the power/strikeout guys that make the adjustments necessary.

Alex Verdugo – OF – 18 – 142 PA, .360/.380/.581/.961, 18 XBH, 5 HR, 5 BB, 14 K (Month) – 540 PA, .311/.340/.441/.781, 45 XBH, 9 HR, 21 BB, 65 K (YTD)

Verdugo continued his assault on pitchers after a rough first two months of the year, proving that it was more about adjustments to his swing and stance than it was about any inherent lack of ability or being overmatched by pitchers. The power and patience should come with maturity, but it’s not hard to see why he’s been so highly touted with the type of bat-to-ball talent he has.

Willie Calhoun – 2B – 20 – 144 PA, .366/.417/.534/.951, 14 XBH, 4 HR, 11 BB, 19 K (Month) – 323 PA, .316/.390/.519/.909, 35 XBH, 11 HR, 35 BB, 38 K (YTD)

Calhoun’s destruction of the lower minors has been a welcome sight as other 2015 Dodger draftees struggled with performance or injury. I’m still not sure where Calhoun will end up positionally, but if his bat continues to progress at this rate, it won’t matter a whole lot.

Jacob Scavuzzo – OF – 21 – 144 PA, .264/.347/.544/.891, 19 XBH, 8 HR, 14 BB, 36 K (Month) – 481 PA, .286/.337/.500/.837, 54 XBH, 18 HR, 28 BB, 98 K (YTD)

Scavuzzo continued his assault in the season’s final two months, and it’s maybe officially time to get excited? Yeah, the swing-and-miss is still there, but he’s adding a bit of a willingness to take walks along with his power now. Normally, a few great months from a 21-year-old in A-ball wouldn’t be something I would get hyped about, but Scavuzzo has always had the tools and profile to be a good prospect, it was just a matter of putting it together. It looks like his breakout may have already started. Hopefully he puts in the work this off-season, because if he’s pushed to AA and holds his own, he could rise right into the thick of prospect lists in an already strong system.

Johan Mieses – OF – 19 – 65 PA, .259/.338/.414/.752, 7 XBH, 1 HR, 7 BB, 14 K (Month) – 395 PA, .260/.309/.439/.748, 41 XBH, 11 HR, 24 BB, 88 K (YTD)

Considering the adjustments he’s needed to make coming from the Dominican Summer League and his age, Mieses’ performance has to go beyond just his line. Yes, he’s evolving as a prospect and shows plus raw power potential, but he also seems to have handled the transition well. Mieses will likely start at A+ next year again, where I’ll be looking for him to shore up his plate discipline while maintaining his power.

Pitchers

Chase De Jong – SP – 21 – 3.89 ERA, 34.2 IP, 34 H, 10 BB, 31 K (Month) – 3.43 ERA, 136.1 IP, 119 H, 33 BB, 129 K (YTD)

Again, it’s great that the Dodgers basically got De Jong for free, but what matters is whether he becomes something valuable or not. AA should be a solid test for him next year, and I’m curious to see how he does because he still lacks plus stuff. Whether he settles in as organization depth or progresses to back-end rotation candidate will likely depend on his command unless his stuff takes a step forward.

Josh Sborz – SP – 21 – 1.96 ERA, 18.1 IP, 17 H, 5 BB, 21 K (Month) – 2.42 ERA, 22.1 IP, 19 H, 9 BB, 25 K (YTD)

The Dodgers say they’re gonna go with Sborz as a starter, but I really like him as a reliever. I suppose that’s always the fall back in the end, but I can’t really understand the choice as it stands right now because I don’t see a ton of upside with him as a starter and the Dodgers have a bunch of back-end rotation types as it is.

Great Lakes Loons (A)

Hitters

Julian Leon – C – 19 – 75 PA, .203/.320/.359/.679, 6 XBH, 2 HR, 8 BB, 27 K (Month) – 339 PA, .201/.269/.298/.567, 20 XBH, 5 HR, 22 BB, 107 K (YTD)

Nothing really left to say for this year. Just a horrible campaign for Leon, and one just has to hope he learns and progresses with a fresh start in 2016. I assume he’ll repeat the league if the Dodgers still have confidence in him, but it’ll be telling if he has to go back down.

Pitchers

Grant Holmes – SP – 19 – 6.06 ERA, 16.1 IP, 16 H, 10 BB, 12 K (Month) – 3.14 ERA, 103.1 IP, 86 H, 54 BB, 117 K (YTD)

Not the way Holmes probably wanted to finish the season, but overall he continued to progress. The control, much less the command, does not yet match the stuff, but if he continues on a linear path and is at high-A next year, he should handle the league fine.

Andrew Sopko – SP – 20 – 2.10 ERA, 30.0 IP, 23 H, 5 BB, 28 K (Month) – 2.68 ERA, 37.0 IP, 32 H, 5 BB, 36 K (YTD)

The seventh-round pick from this year’s draft, Sopko is making a quick ascent in the system. He could be started at either A or high-A, and it probably wouldn’t matter, as he has an advanced feel for pitching. The question that lingers with him, and a lot of other Dodger pitchers without plus stuff, is whether the command is good enough to beat advanced bats.

Ogden Raptors (R)

Hitters

Jordan Paroubeck – OF – 20 – 139 PA, .344/.424/.582/1.006, 17 XBH, 5 HR, 17 BB, 36 K (Month) – 154 PA, .331/.409/.551/.961, 17 XBH, 5 HR, 18 BB, 40 K (YTD)

Paroubeck is alive! No, seriously, I had thought they put him in witness protection or something. Anyway, he’s even been moved up to Rookie-ball to close the season and finally got to show why he was a potential sleeper as a prospect. I’m guessing he’ll be put at A-ball to start the year, but with an eye on moving him up if he performs to expectations.

Michael Medina – OF – 18 – 68 PA, .262/.324/.525/.848, 9 XBH, 3 HR, 5 BB, 24 K (Month) – 199 PA, .254/.302/.514/.815, 26 XBH, 9 HR, 10 BB, 73 K (YTD)

Medina benefited from some luck this year to even have his batting average as high as it was while striking out in well over a third of his plate appearances, but he also benefited from hitting the hell out of the ball when he did make contact. Anybody can tell that he needs to work on controlling the zone better, but specifically, learning to recognize spin would help him a lot. Regardless, his power as an 18-year-old is impressive, and that makes him relevant.

Brendon Davis – SS – 17 – 91 PA, .247/.286/.341/.627, 5 XBH, 1 HR, 5 BB, 24 K (Month) – 121 PA, .254/.289/.325/.614, 5 XBH, 1 HR, 6 BB, 34 K (YTD)

Davis should stick at shortstop, and like many young players who project to stay at shortstop, the bat is the question and will likely take a while. He’ll repeat at Ogden next year, and there’s no real rush here, as he’ll only be 18 in 2016.

Gersel Pitre – C – 18 – 72 PA, .324/.352/.485/.837, 6 XBH, 1 HR, 3 BB, 14 K (Month) – 132 PA, .350/.420/.479/.898, 10 XBH, 1 HR, 12 BB, 19 K (YTD)

Pitre was moved up a level and continued his assault, though not quite as prodigiously as before. Still, for an 18-year-old, it was an overall impressive performance and that the Dodgers felt he was good enough to handle a promotion seems to bode well. I would like to see him perform outside of a hitter-friendly environment, but pushing a catcher to A-ball at 19 might be asking too much at the moment.

Pitchers

N/A

AZL Dodgers (R)

Hitters

Mitch Hansen – OF – 19 – 68 PA, .279/.353/.410/.763, 6 XBH, 0 HR, 6 BB, 20 K (Month) – 167 PA, .201/.281/.282/.563, 9 XBH, 0 HR, 15 BB, 51 K (YTD)

Hansen got off to an atrocious start, and even though he was supposed to fly through complex ball, it’s not a huge worry that it took him a while to get going. And when he did get going, he finished looking about what was expected of him when he was drafted.

Ariel Sandoval – OF – 19 – 85 PA, .301/.318/.494/.812, 9 XBH, 3 HR, 1 BB, 21 K, 3/1 SB/CS (Month) – 206 PA, .325/.337/.520/.857, 21 XBH, 8 HR, 3 BB, 49 K, 10/4 SB/CS (YTD)

On the surface, he did better than his same-aged, same-positioned counterpart. However, strikeout-to-walk ratio is remarkable, as was his BABIP. Still, he flashed power and the ability to make hard contact when he did make contact.

Pitchers

Miguel Urena – SP – 20 – 3.27 ERA, 22.0 IP, 26 H, 7 BB, 14 K (Month) – 2.73 ERA, 56.0 IP, 56 H, 15 BB, 37 K (YTD)

My favorite giant sleeper continued to put up solid results, but he still hasn’t missed bats and he’s old for the league, so plus performance is expected.

Angel German – RP – 19 – 3.38 ERA, 18.2 IP, 18 H, 8 BB, 16 K (Month) – 4.53 ERA, 45.2 IP, 51 H, 24 BB, 36 K (YTD)

A relief prospect in AZL, but one that can sit in the high-90s already. German has a ton of work to do in regards to his command and development of a breaking ball, but the arm strength is there for him to contribute in the MLB.

Imani Abdullah – SP – 18 – 5.40 ERA, 6.2 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 7 K (Month) – 4.85 ERA, 13.0 IP, 9 H, 5 BB, 13 K (YTD)

The most interesting thing about Abdullah is where he’ll be placed next year. He has a lot of upside and projection, but until all that comes to fruition, it seems like moving him slow would be ideal.

DSL Dodgers (R)

Hitters

Keibert Ruiz – C – 16 – 27 PA, .296/.296/.407/.704, 3 XBH, 0 HR, 0 BB, 2 K (Month) – 159 PA, .300/.340/.387/.726, 10 XBH, 1 HR, 8 BB, 15 K (YTD)

Ruiz slowed down in the past month, but still ends the season with a solid batting line that was better than most, and he did so as a 16-year-old.

Pitchers

Leonardo Crawford – SP – 18 – 1.88 ERA, 14.1 IP, 14 H, 2 BB, 16 K (Month) – 1.41 ERA, 63.2 IP, 55 H, 10 BB, 74 K (YTD)

Nothing more to say at this point. Could potentially be tested as far up as A-ball if they like his stuff.

Gregorio Sequera – SP – 17 – 3.75 ERA, 12.0 IP, 10 H, 3 BB, 6 K (Month) – 2.97 ERA, 36.1 IP, 35 H, 10 BB, 35 K (YTD)

If he’s prepared off-the-field, then it seems like Sequera is ready to make a move over to the States at this point. Big if, considering he’s just 17, and he could be held back another year like Crawford.

About Chad Moriyama

Chad Moriyama
"A highly rational Internet troll." - Los Angeles Times