Note: On occasion, when I’m unable to write up notes during an evening, I’ll try to recap interesting moments the following evening, including notes from the pair of days into a single post along with links to individual game recaps.
June 2nd, 2022 Scoreboard
- Triple A Oklahoma City 6, Round Rock 2
- Double A Tulsa 5, San Antonio 6
- High A Great Lakes 5, Fort Wayne 2
- Low A Rancho Cucamonga 8, Lake Elsinore 3
James Outman had the top offensive performance for Tulsa on Thursday, reaching base four times out of the leadoff spot, via a single, walk, HBP, and his 12th homer of the season:
That wasn’t a cheapie, either — that’s the deepest part of the ballpark down in San Antonio.
Outman just wrapped up a solid May that saw him slash .289/.389/.577, and it looks like a bit of that momentum is carrying forward.
One of the unsung bats in the system this year has been Tulsa catcher Hunter Feduccia:
Feduccia, whom the Dodgers picked in the 12th round out of LSU back in 2018, was an interesting selection — after a strong juco campaign in 2017, where he put up an OPS of 1.120, that dipped all the way to .752 in the SEC. Undeterred, the Dodgers picked him anyway, and things seem to be coming together.
Like Outman, Feduccia just wrapped up a fantastic May, during which he slashed .340/.418/.723. For the season, he’s running an ISO of .266, 122 points better than what he posted at Tulsa last season. So, what changed? One of the important things — batted ball profile. Feduccia’s groundball rate is a career low of 30.0%, his flyball rate is a career high of 44.3%, and his GB/FB ratio is 0.68, whereas coming into this season, for his career, that mark was 1.14.
Despite the change in batted ball profile, he has kept two aspects of his game that have been solid at every step along the way. First, he’s drawing walks at a robust 15.8% clip. He has posted double digit walk rates at every stop, and his rate is up from 11.9% last season. Second: bat to ball. Feduccia is striking out a respectable 21.9% of the time, but what really stands out is he currently has a swinging strike rate of just 9.2%. Swinging strike rates that low that are typically associated with guys who show little pop, and the numbers bear that out — Feduccia is one of just three catchers under 26 (he’s 24) who has a swinging strike rate under 10%, and an ISO of .250 or better (minimum 90 PAs). That’s across all of minor league baseball.
Now, good/bad. On top of the previous good, I mean. Feduccia bats from the left side, and he crushes righties, currently sporting an OPS of 1.018 vs them. The bad? His OPS vs lefties is an anemic .601. But that’s ok! There’s always a place for a lefty hitting catcher who can rake against righties, and there’s always going to be righty hitting catchers who can lefties, and little else. Being the strong half of a catching platoon definitely has value.
There’s always room on a big league roster for a guy like Feduccia, assuming this keeps up. Now it’s the watch and wait period, to see if the gains carry forward.
Heubeck starting off strong, pitching a scoreless first. In his second inning, the old axiom got him — he walked the leadoff hitter, who ended up scoring on a wild pitch. Heubeck ended up allowing three earned runs, while walking and striking out a pair in his 2.1 innings. To reiterate from the other day, assuming Heubeck pitches in Stockton, where the game will be streamed, expect video of his repertoire. His rotation spot is set to come up on Wednesday, June 8th.
Casparius allowed a pair of runs to score in his 3.0 innings, walking three and striking out four. His fastball velo was as advertised, in the 93-95 range, and it showed good riding life. His changeup and slider have the ability to make Xs on the corners, so how he uses those secondaries to complement one another going forward will be interesting to watch.
June 3rd, 2022 Scoreboard
- Triple A Oklahoma City 10, Round Rock 4
- Double A Tulsa 8, San Antonio 4
- High A Great Lakes 5, Fort Wayne 7
- Low A Rancho Cucamonga 5, Lake Elsinore 4
And now for the second part of Outman leading off the Prospect Notes — he homered on back to back days:
Outman reached base four times again, with a homer, a single, and drawing two walks. This pushed his line for the season to .296/.408/.586, and extended his hitting streak to six games.
Miguel Vargas put up another loud exit velo:
This is his third exit velo of 110 mph or greater. That isn’t an off the charts, phenomenal figure — it would tie him for 55th if he did it at the big league level. His hard hit rate of 39.1% (that is to say, the Statcast version, 95+ mph exit velo) would be about average for the major leagues as well.
All this is to say, it appears he has grown physically into power, but leveraging his new raw into game-power is a work in progress. But, he’s still just 22, and he has a swinging strike rate of just 10.3%, while being 4.8 years younger than average for AAA. I’m still buying.
Bobby Miller was cruising through his outing against San Antonio for the first four innings, needing just 47 pitches to get the 12 outs.
After sitting for nearly half an hour while the Tulsa bats so rudely put up five runs in the top of the 5th, Miller gave up a pair of runs, and labored through a 30-pitch bottom of the 5th, tiring and losing his command when he got to 20+. He ended up getting bailed out by a TOOTBLAN, came out for the sixth, got the first two outs, and was pulled after his second walk.
The final line: 5.2 IP, 5 hits, 2 runs (earned), 2 BBs, and 4 Ks, all of which came on secondaries, which he continues to lean on a bit more heavily with two strikes than he did in his early-season starts. He also tossed a career-high 87 pitches. All in all, Miller’s stuff was, as usual, high quality. He could probably contribute as a reliever now, and just simply blow hitters away in short spurts.
Discretion is often the better part of valor, and he’ll be better prepared to assume a rotation role, and more effective in it for having honed seemingly small things like coming back out to pitch after sitting for a long while, and doing so away from the brightest lights (even if the spotlight is on him, anyway). Relievers are fungible, top of rotation starters are rare.
For what it’s worth, I do think Miller is getting closer to a Triple-A promotion. Though he gave up two runs in each of his last two outings, the circumstances were at least somewhat understandable. Consistency has been the aim, and he has been effective in three of his last four outings. Another two or three solid performances might push on to the next stop.
Speaking of rare, have yourselves a look at a triple play:
8-6-2-4-5-8, just like you’d draw it up.
Adolfo Ramirez tossed 3.0 perfect innings for the Quakes, striking out seven.
Ramirez, who is 23, was signed by the Dodgers out of Mexico back in 2016. Reports on him are rather scant, but back in January of 2020, Dustin had this description of him from his Top 100 Prospects:
Ramirez has a 4-pitch mix (low-90s FB, CB, SLD, CHG) who is a pitchability guy
All that hard work, still paying dividends. Thanks, Dustin!
Lastly, starting pitchers for Saturday, 6/4:
- Triple A Oklahoma City: Sam Gaviglio is scheduled, but with Andrew Heaney set to begin a rehab assignment, the starter could change
- Double A Tulsa: John Rooney
- High A Great Lakes: Emmet Sheehan
- Low A Rancho Cucamonga: River Ryan is scheduled, but with Clayton Kershaw set to begin a rehab assignment, the starter could change
Enjoy your weekend, folks.