Dodgers Prospect Notes: Hoese, Ward, Outman go deep, Casparius’ no-hit outing, Robertson’s release points

Kody Hoese (Photo: Tim Campbell/MiLB)

May 26th, 2022 Scoreboard


Kody Hoese had a big day at the plate for Tulsa, starting with a homer in his first AB of the game:

He drove in a run with a single in his second AB, and his double from his fourth AB had a little fun added in by Devin Mann:

Overall, he went 3/4, and he knocked in four runs. For the month of May, Hoese is slashing .328/.343/.552, which is easily the best month of his career outside of complex ball.

Though you’d like to see more walks sprinkled in (K/BB is currently 17/2 for the month), step one is getting the swing dialed in, and step two is figuring out which pitches you can drive with it so you can go hunting for them. Step three is then recognizing the pitches you can’t do much with, and spitting on them. It’s good to see positive signs, growth from here would be even more encouraging.


Ryan Ward went deep for Tulsa as well:

For the season, Ward is slashing .281/.327/.583, and his success at AA prompted Baseball America to move him into their top 30 prospects for the Dodgers, slotting him in at 23rd.


James Outman hit a monster shot to lead off the game for the Drillers:

Outman followed that up with a walk, along with three of what may be keeping him at Double A for the time being — strikeouts. His K% for the season is currently 30.9%, which is the highest among Tulsa’s qualified hitters, and although his wRC+ was a strong 135 going into yesterday’s action, if there are holes, pitchers at higher levels will only be more successful at exploiting them. While his defensive prowess and 60 wheels would make him a bench asset as is, cutting the Ks could bump him up to the strong part of a platoon.


Ben Casparius absolutely shoved for Rancho, tossing 5 no-hit innings, walking one, and striking out seven. One unearned run came across in the first inning after the lone batter he walked stole second, reached third on an error, and scored on a throw down to second that nailed an attempted base stealer.

Casparius, whom the Dodgers picked in the 5th round last June, lowered his ERA with Rancho to 2.73, and he now has 43 Ks and 14 BBs in 29.2 innings.

Casparius has one of the very best sliders in the system, and his FB/SL combo alone is enough to get outs:

FanGraphs puts a 70 on the pitch, and Casparius should have a plane ticket to Michigan before too long.


Kendall Williams had an encouraging outing:

For the season, Williams, who got grounders at a better than 50% clip in 2021, had a ground ball rate in the low 40s.

Still just 21, the 6’6, 205 lbs Williams hasn’t made the velo gains that were expected when he was acquired in the Ross Stripling trade, and his fastball is still sitting 90-92 mph. There’s still room on the frame for mass, and potentially velo, but as currently constituted, he’s pretty far away.


Lastly, Nick Robertson has been a bit of a mystery. He has a 70 fastball with tremendous spin characteristics. His secondaries, changeup and slider, are both graded as solid major league average. He was highly touted as a potentially quick mover in a relief role, but he isn’t missing as many bats as the stuff profile suggests. The K% is a pretty tepid 21.7%, and his ERA and FIP were both up there going into last night’s action (5.09/4.85). Very curious.

Enter last night’s outing, during which, something was rather apparent:

Those are rather disparate release points. For another look at them, here’s two images, take a look at the height of his fastball release point relative to the head of the guy in the red hoodie in the stands (bless him, he’s like a rock):

And compare that with the changeup release point:

Robertson was exclusively FB/CH in this outing, so there wasn’t an opportunity to compare these two with the slider, though it will absolutely be a thing I’ll be tracking going forward.

I figure if I’m aware of something like this, the club is as well. Making an adjustment on something like this, with a feel pitch like the changeup, is easier said than done. The plus-plus FB characteristics are achieved out of the higher release point, so raising the CH release point should be the goal, if possible.

All that said, having a secondary that’s distinguishable from the get-go is upping the difficulty level, and can at least partially explain why a potential quick riser has stalled out a bit. Expect more info on this as the season progresses, it’s on the radar.

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