Dodgers Prospect Notes: Lots of dongs, Nastrini & Leasure rolling along, Hurt rights the ship, DeLuca doing it all, lots more

(Photo: Tim Campbell/MiLB)

July 23rd, 2022 Scoreboard


Michael Busch might be getting things figured out at the Triple A level:


That Busch’s 22nd homer of the season, and he reached base four times overall on Saturday, going 2/2 with a pair of walks. In his last 14 contests, he’s slashing .305/.388/.509, compared to .241/.299/.475 in the previous month and a half. Whether this is a little hot streak or the turning of a corner remains to be seen, but on the surface, he is trending in the right direction.


Jason Martin keeps chugging right along for OKC, hitting a pair of homers in Saturday’s contest, one of them looking about how you’d expect:

The second was a little more entertaining:

No River Cats were harmed in the making of this debacle glorious turn of events.

Martin went 2/4, the homers were his 20th and 21st of the season, and he raised his OPS with Oklahoma City to .961.


Michael Grove had runners on 2nd and 3rd with nobody out in the 1st inning, but after a TOOTBLAN double play, he settled in to what ended up being one of his cleanest of the season:

Grove tossed 78 and 77 pitches in his two outings prior to his two week IL stint, and has now tossed 43 and 46 pitches in the outings since his return. The reasoning behind this might be two-fold. For starters, and as is mentioned in the tweet, they could be stretching him back out again following the IL stint. Secondly, a lower pitch count means he is potentially available for two or three innings on three days’ rest. That lines up with the third game of the series with the Nationals, a game that Andrew Heaney will reportedly start, and it’s the 7th out of 18 games in a row without a day off. If Grove doesn’t make an appearance in the series with the Nationals, immediately following, the Dodgers head to Coors Field, and an abundance of arms are always necessary in that slice of hell stadium.


Additionally, on Saturday, Oklahoma City participated in the Copa de la Diversión by wearing their Cielo Azul de Oklahoma Jerseys, or Blue Sky of Oklahoma. The name and jerseys were inspired by three factors, via the linked article:

  • Incorporating the color blue as part of the Dodgers organization.
  • The vibrancy of Oklahoma’s blue skies, and the breadth of the diversity of Hispanic/Latino culture that resides under those skies.
  • A tribute to Dodgers legend Fernando Valenzuela, who looked up at the sky during his windup.

Also per the article, the jerseys and hats will be auctioned off to benefit a local Hispanic/Latino non-profit or charity.


Ryan Ward‘s scorching July continued for Tulsa, as he hit a pair of homers on Saturday:

Ward went 2/5, and he raised his homer total to 24, which leads the both the Texas League and the Dodger minor league system. For the current month, he’s slashing .324/.407/.761.


Andy Pages went deep as well, hitting his 16th homer of the season:

Pages also went 2/5, knocking in a pair of runs.


Nick Nastrini is on a roll for Great Lakes:

This continues a run that stretches back a ways:

The 22 year old Nastrini is a little over a year younger than average for the High A level, and he won’t turn 23 until next February.


Jordan Leasure has an ERA of 4.34 with Tulsa, but that hardly paints the whole picture:

A sustained run of success like this could see Leasure make the rare jump to a third minor league stop in a single season.


July 24th, 2022 Scoreboard


Kyle Hurt turned things around in a big way for Tulsa:

Long ABs and walks had been killers for Hurt, and coming into Sunday’s action, in his first three appearances for the Drillers, he had a BB/9 of 16.2, and he averaged 27.8 pitches per inning. Though the pitches per inning were still a tad high at on Sunday at 19.3, it was definitely an improvement, as was limiting the free passes to just one.

It sounds simple, but strike one should be a big focus going forward — Hurt fell behind the first five batters he faced, and 11 of 16 overall. When he got ahead with the first pitch, he averaged 3.8 pitches per PA. When he fell behind, he averaged 5.3 pitches per PA. His quality of his stuff remains undiminished, but improving his efficiency is a must, and strike one is the biggest thing he can do to effect change here.


Jonny DeLuca‘s stellar run with Tulsa continued on Sunday, both with the glove:

And the bat:

DeLuca went 2/4, raising his OPS with Tulsa to .942. He has now reached base in 13 out of his 14 games at the level

As for “Go Jonny, go”, per Tulsa’s play by play man Dennis Higgins, DeLuca hasn’t picked a walkup song, so Chuck Berry’s classic has been to go-to in the meantime.


Tulsa’s catcher, Carson Taylor, also shined both defensively and offensively as well:

And Taylor followed that up with what ended up being the game-winning shot:

Taylor went 3/3, hitting a pair of singles as well.

Double A has been challenging for the Virginia Tech product, as he has an OPS of .682 at the moment. One of the things that was on the docket for the former Hokie was getting the ball in the air more this season, but that hasn’t come to fruition just yet, and his 47.3% ground ball rate is the highest on the club.

On Sunday, at least, he showed what’s possible with an improved batted ball profile, with a flyball and a pair line drives buoying one of his best days at the plate of the season, and what’s hopefully a sign of things to come.


The Driller victory came with a little added bonus — they won the The Propeller Series, which is the name of the head to head matchup Tulsa and Wichita, both of whom are involved in the aviation industry, and the pair of cities are separated by just 129 miles.

Immediately following the win, the Drillers had a little fun with their prize:

“You gotta be a man to play baseball for a living, but you gotta have a lot of little boy in you, too.” – Roy Campanella

Indeed, Roy. Indeed.


Jose Ramos hit a moonshot for Great Lakes:

It’s no secret that the wiry Panamanian outfielder needs to cut his strikeouts — whiffing 1/3 of the time at High A is unlikely to play at higher levels, but he has some of the loudest tools in the system, and posting a wRC+ that has hovered around 130 during his time with the Loons despite the Ks is pretty impressive. There’s more in the tank, and it’ll be a lot of fun if they can unlock it.


Peter Heubeck got the start for Rancho Cucamonga on Sunday, and he breezed through his outing:

The lean righty, who turned 20 on Friday, has been dialed in for his last four outings. He tossed 6.2 scoreless innings, allowed one hit, walked two, and struck out eight. There have only been a handful of velo mentions, but they’ve been in the 94-95 range. Considering how much projection is left here, that’s impressive.

If Heubeck looks a little familiar on the bump, it’s with good reason:

It doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but when someone is that similar mechanically to a Cy Young award winner, it’s at least fun.


Ronan Kopp continued his tour of destruction through the California League:

Kopp lowered his ERA to 1.61, and among the 877 minor league pitchers who have tossed 40+ innings, that ranks 6th, and his K/9 of 16.1 ranks 1st.

Kopp set one more career high in this outing, as he tossed 61 pitches, which is generally around the upper limit these days for teenage prospects in the organization.


Damon Keith had a huge dong on Sunday as well:

The only shame is that the camera operator didn’t have the best track of it, but I’m digging the third baseman here, he never moved a muscle.

As for Keith, he went 2/4, also singling and drawing a walk. For the season, his OPS is a team-leading .963.


On the same day that the Dodgers swept the Giants, James Outman paced the attack as Oklahoma City swept San Francisco’s Triple A affiliate. Outman picked up the hard 3/4 of a cycle on Sunday, starting off with his 4th homer at Triple A, and 20th of the season overall:

He followed that up with a bases clearing double:

And he wrapped up his day with a triple, setting a new career high for RBI in the process:

Outman has gotten off to a solid start at the Triple A level, posting an OPS of .855 in his first 18 games with Oklahoma City. Considering he is on the 40 man roster, and he is one of the best defensive outfielders in the system, sustained success could see him in the mix in a 5th outfielder role for the stretch run.


Lastly, the Dominican Summer League All-Star Game was played on Sunday, though it ended a little anti-climatically:

Three Dodger prospects participated:

Munoz went 0/1, Rojas went 1/2 with a double, and Morales tossed a scoreless inning.


Whew, that was a lot. Enjoy your Monday, folks.

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