Dodgers Prospect Notes: Grove adds a new wrinkle, Ward stays hot, Luis Rodriguez walk-off showcases his improvement

Photo: Tim Campbell

May 1st, 2022 Scoreboard


Michael Grove‘s upward trend continued for Tulsa:

In addition to cutting the walks, Grove’s K/9 has increased from 11.15 to 13.14.

On top of all of that, Grove has added a new wrinkle to his repertoire:

In the interview, Grove mentions the addition of the pitch, the aim behind it (the regular curve being too big, looking for another curve that tunnels off his fastball better, and that it helps vs lefties), along with a lot of other interesting stuff, it’s worth a watch.


Ryan Ward is now tied with Michael Busch for the Tulsa homer lead:

Ward ended up singling as well, going 2/4, and raising his OPS to .953, 12th in the Texas League.

Ward has really come on in the past two weeks, slashing .333/.370/.786, and his OPS of 1.156 is 6th in the Texas League over that timeframe (Jacob Amaya is 1st with 1.339, and Michael Busch is 5th with 1.251).


Luis Rodriguez made his first homer with Rancho Cucamonga count:

Rodriguez, who is still just 19, was signed by the Dodgers out Venezuela in 2019 for $2.67 mil, which, at the time per Baseball America, it was the largest bonus the Dodgers had given to an international amateur.

Note: It has since been eclipsed by the bonus received by Wilman Diaz. Yusniel Diaz and Omar Estevez both played in Serie Nacional, the top professional league in Cuba, and Yadier Alvarez played in the younger Cuban national divisions, but never at Cuba’s highest level, so the trio weren’t amateur signings.

FanGraphs ranked Rodriguez third in that IFA class, and MLB Pipeline ranked him fourth, so at least two major outlets agreed with the Dodgers regarding his lofty status. Though he was signed as centerfielder, he seems likely to outgrow the position long-term, but the power he has picked up since signing will play in any OF spot.

In Rodriguez’s Arizona Complex ball debut, he walked 11.4% of the time, and struck out 30.9% of the time, leading to some questions about his swing decisions and hit tool. Thru 81 PAs with Rancho Cucamonga, these numbers are a bit more palatable — a 22.7% walk rate and a 27.2% strikeout rate.

Looking a little bit deeper, after a particularly rough first week of the season, Rodriguez has really come alive in the last two weeks, slashing .395/.566/.579, with a walk rate of 28.3% and a strikeout rate of 22.6%. His 1.145 OPS in that timeframe is second in the Cal League, just ahead of highly-regarded teammate Jose Ramos (1.071).

Is it early season noise, or a developing situation? Time will tell, but he has the tools, and he’s doing this while 2 years younger than average for the league, so he’s definitely one to watch.

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