April 15, 2022 Scoreboard
Clayton Beeter had another impressive outing for Tulsa:
All of Beeter’s strikeouts appeared to come on sliders (more on that in a sec), which he tunneled off the fastball effectively:
“Appeared” to come off sliders, because via an interview with David Laurila at FanGraphs, Beeter says they’re both curves, only it acts like a slider when he tries to bury it. FWIW, they’re different enough that FanGraphs classifies and grades them separately (70 slider, 60 curve), the catcher calls for one or the other with traditional signs for each, and they have clear velo differences (slider is 84-87, curve is 79-80).
As if the 70 slider and 60 curve wasn’t enough, Beeter was also working in a cutter was mostly 89-92:
Ryan Ward had a big game for Tulsa as well, both with the bat:
And the glove:
Ward, whom the Dodgers picked in the 8th round of the 2018 draft out of Bryant University, spent all of 2021 with High A Great Lakes. He posted a wRC+ of 135 and hit 27 homers for the Loons, both of which were second in the Central League to teammate Andy Pages.
Yency Almonte, another arm barn possibility, pitched a pair of scoreless innings for Oklahoma City:
Almonte’s name might sound familiar — he spent parts of the last four seasons with the Colorado Rockies. And, as is almost expected these days: guy who leaves a backwards club, guy joins cutting edge club, guy improves.
- He is featuring a sinker he barely threw with the Rockies, +1.4 mph
- His four seamer has bumped up, +3.0 mph
- His slider has gone from a roughly league average 7 inches of horizontal movement to 13 inches
Ryan Noda‘s hot start keeps on going for Oklahoma City:
Noda’s four homers ties him for second in all of Triple A, and his 1.338 OPS ranks third.
A note about Noda from FanGraphs is worth bringing up again: when the Dodgers acquired him in the Ross Stripling trade, he was already known for having pop and drawing walks. In effort to cut his strikeouts, the club had him open his a stance a bit, and he also added a bit of a leg kick. It’s too early to get excited, but his K%, which previously hovered between 25-30%, is currently an exceptional 12.8%, and he hasn’t sacrificed any of the power or patience. Time will tell whether the bat to ball improvement sticks, but it’s definitely eye-opening at the moment.
Speaking of hot starts, while this can’t actually keep up, Damon Keith‘s days in the California League still might be numbered. Keith, who is still just 21 years old and hails from Oceanside, was an 18th round pick of the Dodgers in 2021 out of Cal Baptist in Riverside.
He went 2/4 Friday night for the Quakes, and he hit his second homer of the season, putting his slash line at an absurd .577/.694/1.038, and his OPS at 1.732, which leads the entire Low A level. He has also walked more times (6) than he has struck out (5).
The ballparks and weather in the High A Midwest league have historically combined to suppress offensive numbers, and if he is promoted, his time there will serve as a real litmus test. For now, he is definitely enjoying the thus-far friendly confines of the Cal League.