Dodgers Prospect Notes: Stone takes MiLB ERA lead, Fernandez goes off, checking on Vogel, Callum Wallace & IFA scouting

Gavin Stone (Photo: Tim Campbell)

July 7th, 2022 Scoreboard


Editor’s Note: A welcome back to Josh!


Gavin Stone pitched in a game in his home state of Arkansas for the first time in over two years, and while he might have been a little amped for the occasion, he still ended up taking care of business:

Stone lowered his season ERA, compiled across six starts with High A Great Lakes, and nine starts with Double A Tulsa, to a microscopic 1.34 — a figure that leads all qualified pitchers with full season minor league affiliates. That’s not a typo — Low A, High A, Double A, Triple A, 285 total pitchers, and he’s by himself on top of the leaderboard.

Regarding the walks, Stone didn’t have the usual command of his changeup, and there were a lot of misses in general to the glove side. Despite all of the walks, he wasn’t particularly erratic, which is funny to type, but /shrug. He missed, and it was often just off the plate, or a bit low with the changeup. It wasn’t anything that looked particularly alarming, and he made it work.

As for the last time Stone pitched in Arkansas, well, he wrapped up his college career at Central Arkansas in what ended up being a pretty legendary way. The athletic righty tossed a nine inning, complete game, 13 strikeout, no-hitter. Stone’s homecoming wasn’t quite as clean, but should he remain at the Double A level, he will have a couple more shots, as the Drillers will go back to The Natural State twice in August.


Yeiner Fernandez had a big day at the plate for Rancho Cucamonga:

Fernandez, a catcher who hails from Barquisimeto, Venezuela, the same town that produced old friend Cesar Izturis, has seen his bat come alive in recent weeks.

The Venezuelan backstop had an OPS of just .652 after the first two months of the season. Since the calendar flipped to June, his OPS is a far more robust .941. For a 19-year-old catcher who is 2.1 years younger than average for the level, it’s, uh, an eye-catching development. The system is loaded with backstops, but one more, why not.


Jake Vogel had a solid game out of the two spot in the lineup for Rancho:

Vogel was discussed here in the Prospect Notes back on June 10th, when some signs of improving contact and plate discipline and contact caught my eye.

Before getting into how the fleet-footed outfielder has looked this season, a brief background — Vogel struck out 29.8% of the time in 2021, and after posting an OPS of just .690, he was a bit of a forgotten man. The 70 wheels never left, but after striking out 30.3% of the time in April, it seemed like more of the same. As was mentioned in the linked Prospect Notes post, Vogel reduced his strikeout rate in May to a much more palatable 22.2%, but was it a blip, or a sign? In the two months and a week since things began looking noteworthy, Vogel has struck out 20.1% of the time, and has an OPS of .763. Both of these represent solid improvements.

Since the calendar flipped to June, things have gotten a little better — Vogel struck out just 18.0% of the time, and his OPS is .827. There are some interesting mechanical changes as well — Vogel is shorter to the ball, and he used to employ a bit more of an open setup that he has since closed up a bit. Long-term, he projects as more of a 10-15 homer guy who can stay in CF long-term, so this swing and this approach better suits his likely profile.

All of that said, this isn’t enough to make any sort of turning the corner proclamations, but the improved bat to ball paired with the elite athleticism has moved the former Huntington Beach High School Oiler from a guy I’d note in box scores, to a guy I’ll keep much closer tabs on going forward.


Callum Wallace, an 18-year-old righthanded pitcher whom the Dodgers signed out of Australia this past January, is off to a good start with the ACL Dodgers. In his first three outings, spanning 3.1 innings, he has six Ks, two BBs, and he’s yet to allow a hit.

He also threw the javelin at Nudgee College in Queensland. Why in the world does that matter?

As you can well imagine, details on international signees are often a bit scant. Trawling around for any sort of details led me to a relatively brief, but quite interesting Australian Morning Radio interview with Jon Deeble, who is the Director of Asia Pacific Scouting for the Dodgers. The interview took place back on January 23rd, so while this isn’t breaking news, it’s news to me. If you’re an avid follower of Australian morning sports talk radio, please feel free to skip the next section.

Deeble, who had a combined 23-year history of scouting and coaching state-side with the Marlins and Red Sox before joining the Dodgers, listed off some pretty key elements his current club looks for when scouting athletes, regardless of background, including ankle mobility and hip mobility. When it comes to elements of throwing mechanics, they have seen specific commonalities with the most successful javelin throwers and hardest cricket bowlers that share similarities with modern baseball throwing philosophies.

All of these positive, targeted traits, are apparently strongly present with Wallace.

Deeble goes on to estimate that the club employs 100 international scouts, and along with some of the signings we are aware of (a kid out of Russia, for example), he mentions that they had been looking at a couple of kids in the Czech Republic as well. I have yet to see that particular country show up in the transaction log, so stay tuned.

As for Wallace, as I again plumbed the depths of google for information, in a morning radio interview of his own back in January (when he was 17), the young righty said that his fastball was up to 93 mph. He also apparently watches Selling Sunset, and he was working part-time serving beer before flying state-side to huck baseballs for a living. What a life.


Lastly, scheduled starting pitchers for the full season affiliates for Friday, July 8th:


Happy Friday, folks.

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