June 22nd, 2022 Scoreboard
- Triple A Oklahoma City 0, Round Rock 1
- Double A Tulsa 0, Midland 4
- High A Great Lakes 4, Fort Wayne 2
- Low A Rancho Cucamonga 24, Lake Elsinore 9
- DSL Dodgers Bautista 8, DSL Dodgers Mega 11
River Ryan, whom the Dodgers acquired in the deal that sent Matt Beaty to the Padres, had an intriguing outing that gradually became moreso as the game progressed. He started off getting blasted around the park a bit, giving up a homer, a double, and a single, all on his first six pitches of the outing. My early observations were that there was some mechanical stuff to clean up — some head whack, release point variance, subsequent location issues, etc. The typical sort of stuff you see out of a guy who has only recently begun pitching full time, as he was a two-way player in college at UNC Pembroke.
That said, I largely liked what I saw, and when the game went into a lightning delay in the bottom of the third, I figured his day was done after 2.2 innings, since he hadn’t yet tossed more than 4.0 innings in an outing this season. So, I put together a little stuff video:
It all looks interesting. The fastball shape and life are solid, Ryan shows decent feel for spin, arm speed on the changeup looks promising.
That, however, was not the end of the athletic former second baseman’s outing, and he ended up putting together an altogether impressive performance:
What I found to be fascinating was how quickly Ryan made adjustments — the head whack lessened, release points tightened up, and command followed, helping him to retire 11 of the last 12 hitters he faced. Confidence and fire appeared to grow as the outing progressed as well, and all in all, I’d say he lived up to the hype, both in looking like a position player on the mound as things got going, and showing the athleticism to make necessary adjustments, and do so with a quickness.
It may take a bit of time, but the Dodgers didn’t just get an arm for Beaty, they got a plus athlete with some serious ingredients in place.
Luis Rodriguez continued his opposite field power surge for Rancho Cucamonga:
Rodriguez ended up going 3/5, doubling and singling as well, and he tied a career high with five RBI.
As it was detailed here in the Prospect Notes, Rodriguez spent the offseason working out with fellow Venezuelan Miguel Cabrera in an effort to get away from his pull-happy, disastrous approach in 2021. It hasn’t been all sunshine, and he is still striking out too much, but the approach remains the same, it’s just up to the young Venezuelan to adjust to a league that has adjusted to his new game plan.
Nick Nastrini continued his recent stellar run for Great Lakes:
Across Nastrini’s last three starts, spanning 13.2 innings, he has an ERA of 2.63, with seven BBs, and 24 (!!!) Ks. 24. It’s off the charts bat missing stuff.
If you’re curious as to how a talent like this slipped to the 4th round, where the Dodgers anxiously snapped up the former UCLA Bruin, there’s a great interview over at The Athletic, which delves into his battle with the yips, and his willingness to say the word. It’s amazing that Nastrini did this interview, and he also shows tremendous self awareness, with the following quotes encapsulating both:
“I’ll probably get chastised for saying ‘yips,’ because no one really likes to call it that. It’s the forbidden phrase,” Nastrini says. “It’s like playing ‘Stairway to Heaven’ in a guitar shop. You just don’t do it.”
“I can say it because I went through it,” he says, “and got to the other end.”
Turns out there’s a stairway to Heaven on the other end, after all. Blue Heaven. Just don’t jam about it in Guitar Center, Phil Bickford will quickly unplug ya.
Ryan Sublette picked up the W in what ended up being Great Lakes’ playoff clinching game on Wednesday, and he looked pretty electric in doing so:
Sublette, a former Texas Tech Red Raider, was picked by the Dodgers in the 7th round of the 2021 draft, and he is one of a bevy of high-end arm talents the picked up. His short arm action and lower release leads to a flatter plane on the fastball, and make it a pitch whose velo plays up with how it gets on hitters. He’s an interesting SIRP to follow.
As for Great Lakes, well, they had a pretty epic run:
As for the clinch itself, Julian Smith did the honors for the Loons:
Congrats to the Great Lakes Loons on their playoff berth!
If you’re petty, and I know I am, it’s fun that Great Lakes clinched against a Padres affiliate.
June 23rd, 2022 Scoreboard
- Triple A Oklahoma City 6, Round Rock 5
- Double A Tulsa 4, Midland 1
- High A Great Lakes 0, Fort Wayne 3
- Low A Rancho Cucamonga 8, Lake Elsinore 13
- ACL Dodgers 4, ACL Guardians 6
- DSL Dodgers Bautista 5, DSL Texas Red 0
- DSL Dodgers Mega 9, DSL Rays 10
Clayton Beeter had his second consecutive excellent outing for Tulsa:
In Beeter’s last two outings, he has combined to toss 7.0 scoreless innings, allowing four hits, walking three, and racking up 13 punchouts. When he’s commanding the fastball, his feel for spin on his breakers is so strong that the script basically writes itself. He can do what he wants out there.
Beeter’s pitch count was 57, so he has basically stayed within the same general 55-65 pitch count band for nine starts now, with just a couple of exceptions. If they have remained committed to him being a starting pitcher, this should increase modestly before too long, perhaps to the 65-75 range.
The Nick Robertson resurgence tour continued for Tulsa, as he wrapped up the Drillers’ first half title with a shutdown performance:
In Robertson’s last six outings, spanning 8.2 innings, he has an ERA of 2.08, with 15 Ks vs just three BBs.
As for Tulsa’s first half title, while they did capture it in comeback fashion, it wasn’t quite as dramatic as Great Lakes’ pursuit. Ten games ago, Tulsa was one and a half games back of the Wichita Wind Surge, but the Drillers went 8-2, while the Wind Surge went 3-7, so the Drillers wrapped things up comfortably ahead by 3.5 games.
Congrats to the Tulsa Drillers on their playoff berth!
The Texas League playoffs are scheduled to begin on September 20th.
Michael Busch hit what ended up being the game-winning homer for Oklahoma City:
Over Busch’s last seven days, the suddenly resurgent former Tar Heel is slashing .333/.375/.714. As I have said before, I like seeing a guy struggle a bit after a promotion, and I like it even more when he shows he can make the adjustment and break through. Stuff like this gives you confidence that a prospect will be able to make future adjustments at the big league level as well, and it’s great to see.
Utility man Kenneth Betancourt reached base five times for Rancho Cucamonga, going 3/4 with a pair of walks.
Betancourt, whom the Dodgers signed out of Venezuela all the way back in 2016, has ridden the minor league elevator up and down due to his capable glove — in 2021, as a 21 year old, he spent time with all four full season affiliates, from the Low A Rancho to Triple A Oklahoma City, playing everywhere but center field and catcher. However, he didn’t hit much, posting a composite OPS of just .506.
2022 has been a different animal. Betancourt has spent all of his time with the Quakes, and after a lukewarm pair of months to start the season, the 5′-8″, 160 lbs Swiss Army knife has gone off in June, slashing a ridiculous .400/.500/.569, with more walks (13) than strikeouts (12). Small caveat – the Venezuelan fireplug is doing this while being 0.9 years older than average for the level, which is not egregious, but it is worthy of note.
With the roster situation in Great Lakes, Betancourt is pretty well blocked until the next round of promotions goes through. Until then, his commonly overlooked skillset will likely have to continue to be honed in the California League, but he has answered the bell at every turn, and worn whichever hat the org has asked him to don. If he sustains some level of his success at the plate, if ever someone merited a promotion for sustained success, this is the guy.
Kody Hoese started a rehab assignment with the ACL Dodgers, and he went 2/3 with a homer.
Jesus Galiz continues to rake with the ACL Dodgers as well, he went 2/4 with a pair of doubles, raising his OPS to 1.044.
Aldrin Batista struck out six over 3.2 innings for the DSL Dodgers Bautista, giving him a 1.04 ERA with 14 Ks in 8.2 innings this season. If he keeps this up, he’ll generate some buzz.
Lastly, scheduled starting pitchers for the full season affiliates for Friday:
- Triple A Oklahoma City – Jon Duplantier
- Double A Tulsa – Gavin Stone
- High A Great Lakes – Kendall Williams
- Low A Rancho Cucamonga – Ronan Kopp
Happy Friday, folks.