Dodgers Prospect Notes: Wild one in Rancho, Ugandan prospects, May rehabs, Futures Game, Nastrini shoves, more


July 15th, 2022 Scoreboard


The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes and the Fresno Grizzlies had a barn burner of a game on Friday night, as they combined for 29 runs on 36 hits, sending 86 batters to the plate, and leaving 35 men on base.

Former shortstop River Ryan, whom the Dodgers acquired for Matt Beaty in a trade with the Padres, got things off to a sane start, as he tossed 4.0 innings of one run ball, with four strikeouts, and no walks. For the season, the converted infielder has an ERA of 3.49, a FIP of 3.51, and a solid K-BB% of 25.0%.

Jake Vogel continued his hot streak, as he went 4/6, with a double and three singles, and since the calendar flipped to June, he’s slashing .325/.403/.439.

Luis Yanel Diaz, whom the Dodgers signed out of the Dominican Republic back in 2016, went 3/5, and he stole his system-leading 27th base of the season. He has been blazing hot in July, slashing .420/.463/.560, and he is tied for the lead in homers for the Quakes, with 11. He’s a big time athlete with swing and miss issues, but if it ever clicks, the sky’s the limit.

As for the end of the game, Diaz also provided the heroics:

July in the California League, and walkoff celebrations go hard. Baseball is a game of joy, love to see it.


This past January, the Dodgers signed international prospects from all around the globe, most from traditional baseball hotbeds, like the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and Mexico, and some others from very much non-traditional spots, like Russia, Spain, and… Uganda?

Yep, Uganda. Umar Male, who was listed as a catcher at the time of signing, and Ben Serunkuma, a right-handed pitcher, both made an impact in Friday’s DSL Dodgers Bautista victory. Male hit his first professional homer, a three run shot, and Serunkuma tossed a pair of scoreless innings, striking out three.

I don’t know a thing about either of these guys, but it’s pretty cool to see any sort of influx of talent from such a far flung locale. If the club is going to continue to be hamstrung with low bonus pools, then hunting for talent world-wide is the logical route to go.

Who knows how it will go in the near term, but the Dodgers have a trailblazing history, and they were the first club to open an academy in the Dominican, all the way back in 1987. It’s likely that this venture will take a little longer to bear meaningful fruit, but it’s still worth tracking in the interim. Either way, congrats to these two young men on having a little bit of success, a long, long way from home.


July 16th, 2022 Scoreboard


Camelback Ranch had a welcome sight on Saturday, as tall drink of water Dustin May got back on the hill in his first official rehab outing after having Tommy John surgery back in May of 2021. And, what a sight for sore eyes:

May tossed a pair of scoreless innings, and he faced seven batters, with it going groundout, error on an infield fly, strikeout, groundout, pop out, strikeout. The big question, of course, is how he feels the day after, and I think we will all be eagerly awaiting word.


Major League Baseball held its annual Futures Game on Saturday, an annual jewel of an event, where the entire baseball world Peacock subscribers got to watch some of the best and brightest prospects in the world.

Since the showcase was introduced back in 1999, several familiar Dodgers have participated as prospects, including: Clayton Kershaw, Russell Martin, Pedro Baez, Dee Strange-Gordon, Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, Julio Urias, Dustin May, and Gavin Lux.

In this year’s contest, the Dodger contingent consisted of Bobby Miller, Diego Cartaya, and Miguel Vargas, all of whom started the game.

Miller showed out the most, hitting 100 mph with his fastball several times, and striking out three in his one inning:

Vargas went 0-1 with a walk, and Cartaya went 0/2, reaching an an erroneous attempt to catch his 104 mph liner and also grounding out.

Unfortunately for all of the prospects involved, the decision to move the fantastic event to yet another subscription service, and having it run concurrently with a nationally televised Red Sox/Yankees game, dominated a lot of the discourse. Prior to their own contest with the Angels, Dave Roberts put it about as succinctly as one could:

It looks like this particular feather isn’t in all that many caps just yet.


2021 4th round pick Nick Nastrini had another excellent outing for Great Lakes:

Across Nastrini’s last two starts, he has tossed 11.0 scoreless innings, striking out 15 vs just three walks. The paucity of walks is notable due to the command issues he faced while he was at UCLA. In his 2021 college season, he posted an abysmal K-BB% of just 6.5%. For the 2022, season, the former Bruin has a K-BB% of 24.4%, which ranks second in the system (min 50 innings pitched). For it being a little over a year later, that is a stunning amount of progress.

So, get hyped for the draft, be prepared to be underwhelmed by college stats, and trust the process.


Ryan Ward‘s torrid July continued, as he hit opposite field homers on back to back days for Tulsa:

In the pair of games, Ward went 4/7, knocking in four runs, and also drawing three walks. For the month of July, the Worcester, MA native is slashing a sizzling .362/.431/.793.

At the moment, Ward remains effectively blocked from even ascending to Triple A, but if he keeps on raking, you have to imagine the situation will eventually sort itself out.


2020 IFA signee Rayne Doncon, an 18-year-old shortstop, from San Pedro De Macoris, Dominican Republic, provided the bulk of the offense for the ACL Dodgers, hitting a grand slam in the second inning. He went 2/5, tacking on a double as well.

And please pardon me, as I go on a wistful aside, but San Pedro de Macoris is the hometown of many notable big leaguers. I’m probably not the only one who hears Vin Scully‘s voice when I mention the city, as several of those notable players are former Dodgers: Mariano Duncan, Pedro Guerrero, Guillermo Mota, Jose Offerman, and Juan Samuel.

I tried and failed to find Vin mentioning both the town, and one of the more well-known Dodgers from the list above, but I think my lack of success led me to something a little better. For anyone who misses Vin a bit, here he is mentioning both a pretty fantastic current Dodger, along with the aforementioned baseball hub:

Pablo, ambidextrous, facing Dominguez, trying to get him out, youthful righthander. Dominguez, from San Pedro de Macoris, in the Dominican Republic.

That, and the high praise for Freddie Freeman, who was just 24 at the time.

Like water for a thirsty soul.

Circling back to the slightly off-topic, topic, that is currently at hand, truly, San Pedro de Macoris is a remarkable font of big leaguers. It is called “The Cradle of Shortstops”, and with a population of approximately 195,000, it has produced 99 major league baseball players. For the sake of comparison, the Dominican capital city of Santo Domingo has a population of just a shade under three million, and they can boast 106 big leaguers.

For a bit of local perspective, Glendale, CA has a population of 199,000, and, being in Southern California, it is smack in the middle of the most fertile youth/high school baseball grounds in the United States. With all of that going for it, including vastly superior baseball facilities you’ll find in a major US metropolis, it can boast all of 23 major leaguers. This is a very, very good number, but, given the current light, all of its inherent advantages only serve to highlight the degree to which San Pedro de Macoris is a baseball mecca.

Pedro Guerrero is the first star player I can recall, and that pronunciation of his hometown from Vin is hard-wired into my brain. Continuing to see prospects enter the system from this legendary port, it’s a bit of a time capsule, and it sends me on an enjoyable trip down memory lane. Best of luck to you, Rayne, may we see you in Chavez Ravine some day, manning the position for which your hometown is best-known.

Let’s get back to this one.


Lastly, Sunday’s starting pitchers for the full season minor league affiliates:


Enjoy your Sunday, folks.

About Josh Thomas