Dodgers Prospect Notes: Nastrini looking like a 1st-round talent, Valdez in command, Miller shoves again, Ward blistering in July

Photo: Tim Campbell

July 9th, 2022 Scoreboard


Nick Nastrini had what might have been the best outing of his career on Saturday:

Nastrini, who went to UCLA, and whom the Dodgers drafted in the fourth round last Summer, put up a career high game score of 70. The former Bruin has had higher game scores on a rate basis – among others, he posted a 68 in 4.0 no-hit innings back on May 10th. In this outing, however, he turned the lineup over on Saturday nearly three full times, and he was efficient in doing so, needing just 84 pitches to toss his career high 6.0 innings.

It has been a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde act for the righty, with his last three starts being prime examples – he went from 5.0 IP, allowing one run on two hits with 10 strikeouts, to 1.2 IP, allowing six runs on five hits, to the aforementioned career best.

While it can be a bit frustrating to watch a prospect have such highs and lows in near proximity, it’s important to remember that Nastrini is a first round talent who fell to the fourth because of a struggle with the yips, a dirty word he’s even willing to say, per a fantastic interview over at The Athletic (highly recommended). He has done the work, is continuing to do the work, and one of the benefits of being in a system like this just about every resource possible is available. Also, there isn’t the kind of urgency that would hinder his development – he has time to marinate. This isn’t Arte’s club, and the Dodgers aren’t that desperate.


It has been nearly a year since Luis Valdez walked a guy.

Valdez, who is listed at 6′-2″, 158 lbs, was signed by the Dodgers back in November of 2019 out of Navajoa, Sonora, Mexico, just plain has not issued free passes. He last walked a guy on July 19th, 2021, and has since made six appearances, spanning 18.1 innings, with nary a slow trot up to first base.

The lanky lefty is one of the first Dodger pitching prospects to get promoted from the Dominican Summer League to the Arizona Complex league, and he is dominating there despite being exceptionally young for the level — at just 18 years old, he is 3.2 years younger than average for the ACL, and he has struck out nine, while allowing just two hits in 6.1 scoreless.

There’s little information on Valdez’s stuff just yet, but there is a video from just prior to his signing. He hides the ball well, his fastball shows a bit of life from the lower release point the Dodgers covet, there’s a solid changeup, and breaker with significant tilt:

With such advanced command at such a young age, if they can add some mass, Valdez could be an interesting find.


July 10th, 2022 Scoreboard


Bobby Miller is starting to consistently deliver on all the hype:

The emphasis on consistently is due to the dominance Miller showed in two consecutive starts, a first for this season. The former Louisville Cardinal has seen starts go with his fastball shape and command all season, and in his last two, it has been right on the money. In those outings, he has tossed 11.0 innings, allowed no earned runs, and had a K/BB of 19/4.

There have been other things the tall righty has been working on — namely, landing the curve more often — but the Dodgers remain committed to him developing as a four-pitch starter, one who can slot at or near the top of the rotation, and consistency with his triple digit heater is of paramount importance. And, when it’s right, like it was on Sunday, its explosive life up in the zone leaves barrels consistently under the pitch.

Please pardon me as I bang this drum, but again, consistency with ol’ number one going forward is key. Miller’s four seamer is a weapon, one that sets up everything else in his repertoire, and another handful of starts like this could see him jump up to Oklahoma City, and have him knocking on the door to the big club.


Ryan Ward got off to a pretty hot start in the Texas League, posting a .903 OPS in April. As is often the case, the league caught up to him, and that OPS figure dipped to just .649 for the month of June. As the calendar has flipped to July, Ward has clapped back:

Ward went 2/5, raising his OPS in the early going of the current month to 1.192, good for fourth in the Texas League thus far.

I don’t like to call guys out as trade bait, as that is a fool’s game, in my opinion, usually done for noise/clicks. Exhibit A:

That said, hear me out as I idly speculate anyway, because I’m full of shit. I do think Ward would benefit from a change in scenery — he’s limited to left field, it’s a good, but not elite bat, he’s 24, and he is pretty well blocked at the moment.

The Dodgers covet versatility, so if they do what Andrew Friedman hates, which is trade for relievers at the deadline, I think Ward is a prime candidate to be included when the FO goes shopping for a guy they can fix with this one weird trick. Sometimes, those guys end up being Adam Kolarek or Yency Almonte. We won’t discuss the other outcomes.

(Of course, because I put this out into the ether, he’ll be a postseason hero.)


Happy Monday, folks.

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