June 12th, 2022 Scoreboard
- Triple A Oklahoma City 8, Salt Lake City 3
- Double A Tulsa 3, Northwest Arkansas 7
- High A Great Lakes 9, Dayton 5
- Low A Rancho Cucamonga 15, Stockton 3
Nelson Quiroz had a monster game for Rancho Cucamonga, hitting three homers and a double, scoring four runs, and driving in six. He had previously hit just one homer in his 272 career plate appearances.
The 20-year-old Quiroz, whom the Dodgers signed out of Sinaloa, Mexico, back in 2019, is a fireplug of a switch-hitting catcher. He’s listed at 5’8, 194 lbs, and as a hitter he is best known for his plate discipline and his bat to ball — for his career, he has a walk rate of 12.2%, and a strikeout rate of 13.3%. The latter is impressive because he reportedly gets pop out of his stature from generating plus bat speed, which is borne out of sheer effort. That kind of effort typically saps contact rates, so excelling at getting on base as he has with his swings indicates plus pitch recognition, which is one of the more difficult things to learn.
As much as I dwell on the future in this space, for now, Quiroz is king of the moment. Enjoy it, young man.
Kendall Williams wrapped his week up with an exclamation point:
To kick off the game, Williams got a weak fly out to left, there was a ground-ball triple, and that was it. Eight consecutive strikeouts. Unreal.
Unfortunately, due to a lengthy rain delay, Williams missed out on a shot to tie old friend Jose De Leon‘s Great Lakes franchise record of nine consecutive strikeouts, which the former Dodger racked up back on August 19th, 2014.
For the week, the 6’6 Williams struck out 15 in 7.2 innings of one run ball, without issuing a walk. A pair of outings like that should have the lanky righty strongly in contention for Midwest League Pitcher of the Week.
Miguel Vargas keeps rolling right along for Oklahoma City:
One small, but notable thing from this game — Vargas batted in the leadoff spot for just the third time this season. This comes on the heels of him having a bit of a light run in the walk department, while also having slightly increased strikeouts. To whit: in Vargas’ first 42 games of the season, he walked and struck out 30 times each, a rate of 15.2%. In the 15 games since, the walk rate has fallen to 4.5%, while the strikeout rate has risen to 22.7%.
I don’t think this is anything alarming, but moving him into the leadoff spot could be an effort to get him to get back to seeing more pitches, and exerting control over the strike zone, which has been a plus part of his game. One more thing to watch for!
Speaking of things to watch for, that brings me back to Nick Robertson, who was one of the few bright points for Tulsa on Sunday:
As for the segue, a couple of weeks ago I detailed how Robertson’s off-speed pitches were coming out of a noticeably lower release point than his fastball. Here is the video from said post:
That was a fastball/changeup overlay. I also overlayed all three of his pitches, fastball, changeup, and slider into a single image with synced release points:
As you can see, there’s one baseball to the left of the head of the dude in the blue jersey and a pair of baseballs on the right, with the pair indicated by the brightness of the baseball due to its concentration in comparison to the faint baseball on the left. I’m not an editing wizard, so this is the best look you’ll get here, but I think it looks rather apparent.
Anyway, today, that was not the case at all:
We’ve all seen successful big league relievers, and unfortunately, sometimes we’ve gotten too close of a look at … lesser successes. Anyway, this is what it’s supposed to look like. Velo, big life, big separation, all out of the same release point. If this is where Robertson is living going forward, that fast rise through the system that was initially in the forecast just might be in the offing after all.
Lastly, I’d remiss if I didn’t mention that Gavin Stone, who had been incredibly dominant all season long, and especially so after his promotion from Great Lakes to Tulsa, is in fact mortal.
Kidding aside, Stone had his worst start of the season, which amounts to tossing just 4 innings, walking two, and allowing four earned runs to score, one less than his previous total for the season. His command was uncharacteristically off a little bit, and while there were a couple balls that were hit hard, there was also a bit of that death by a thousand cuts — bloopers, bleeders, the even year BS we still see now and then.
What is notable about Stone’s outing today — it’s the first time a Texas League lineup has gotten a second look at him. While he will have a reprieve from this situation for the month of June, come the 4th of July, 10 of the remaining 11 series will all be against clubs who will have faced him before, assuming he’s still at the level. Stay tuned!
Lastly, I was abruptly informed today that we have to find a new internet service provider, and our current connection will be gone, starting tomorrow. As such, it might be a few days until I’m able to do anything in this space. Or, it could all get worked out tomorrow. C’est la vie.
It’s still Sunday, and I’ve already got a case of the Mondays. May your week get off to a better start than mine, free of first world problems and such.