Dodgers Prospects Weekly Best: Miller putting it together, Outman continues raking, Valera evolves, De Los Santos gets whiffs, more

Photo: Tim Campbell

Triple A Oklahoma City

Bobby Miller put on a clinic for OKC, lighting up the radar gun, and matching an MiLB season high for strikeouts in his dominant performance:

Miller generated a whopping 20 whiffs, good for an exceptional whiff rate of 38%.

In a funny quirk, the 14 strikeouts equaled a total posted by only one other minor league pitcher this season:

Former rotation mates, and now likely mound adversaries for years to come, as they both are in position to toe the rubber for geographical rivals for years to come. Additionally, the last Oklahoma City Dodger to strike out 14 or more was old friend Wilmer Font, who struck out 15 Sacramento River Cats back on May 15, 2015.

As for Miller, this punctuated a second-half surge, as he has shown incredible improvement in one of the most important areas; K-BB%. In the first three months, he posted a figure of 17.4%, which is rather pedestrian for a pitcher with top of the rotation stuff. Since the calendar flipped to July, that figure soared to 30.1%, and no qualified pitcher, whether at MiLB or MLB, has posted a figure that high for the season, so the last two months have been nothing short of elite.

It sure looks like it’s all coming together for the tall righty.


James Outman would have been hard-pressed to maintain the level of performance had him atop Baseball America’s Prospect Hot Sheet, what with a week that saw him post an OPS of 1.946, but he still paced the offense for Oklahoma City, picking up another cycle in the process:

For the week, Outman’s OPS was a comparatively modest 1.282, as he tallied another homer, a triple, and a pair of doubles. Since he returned to Triple A from his exciting cup of coffee with the big club, he has slashed .438/.500/.938, with 14 of his 21 hits going for extra bases. He is clearly doing everything within his power to make it back.


Double A Tulsa

Leonel Valera stood out for the Drillers last week, both with the bat and on the bases:

Valera slashed .429/.520/.810, with a pair of homers, a triple, and he swiped four bases.

The big deal with the Venezuelan shortstop is the strikeouts — he’s one of the most gifted athletes in the system, but bat to ball has been an issue, as his strikeout rate has hovered around 34%. Though it’s a very small sample, for the week he only struck out 16% of the time, and the results serve to show what a five-tool force he’s capable of being if the hit tool ever comes around. That’s a rather big caveat, but on the rare occasions that it clicks, the results are electric.


Dominican reliever Jose Hernandez had the performance of the week for the Drillers as he had a pair of perfect relief outings, striking out six in his 2.2 IP:

As mentioned in the tweet, Hernandez’s hot run extends back a little ways now. From July 15th on, the flame throwing lefty has an ERA of 1.45 in 18.2 IP, with a K/BB of 26/7.


High A Great Lakes

For the Loons, the top pitching performance of the week goes to Adolfo Ramirez:

Ramirez’s fastball sat 93-95, and its flat approach angle generated several whiffs, with barrels underneath the pitch.

The 23-year-old righty out of Heroica Mulege, Mexico, was signed by the Dodgers back in July of 2016. Although he has bounced around a lot this season, from Great Lakes to Rancho to Tulsa and back to Great Lakes, he has remained effective just the same, posting a composite ERA of 3.32, and a strong K-BB% that has him smack in the middle of some prospects that are a little more heralded (min 60 IP):

  1. Emmet Sheehan – 28.0%
  2. Nick Nastrini – 25.4%
  3. Gavin Stone – 24.2%
  4. Adolfo Ramirez – 23.9%
  5. Bobby Miller – 23.4%
  6. Michael Grove – 19.5%
  7. Ryan Pepiot – 19.3%

Whether Ramirez’s level of performance holds up for an extended stint at higher levels remains to be seen, but on the surface, but he is holding up his end of the bargain this season, as he is clearly missing bats and limiting free passes at a rate that’s up there with the best in the system.


Eddys Leonard was one of the few bright spots for the Great Lakes offense this past week:

The 21-year-old Dominican infielder’s OPS was .904 for the week, as he was one of two Loons to post a mark over .705 (grimacing emoji). While Leonard’s season hasn’t been on the level of his breakout 2021 campaign, he did ramp up his production as the year progressed. Thru June, his wRC+ was sitting at 112, and from the beginning of July thru the start of action on Sunday, that figure was a much more impressive 132.

This is just speculation, but given that both Leonard and Jorbit Vivas are on the 40-man roster, and that both have had somewhat uneven performances this year, they seem like candidates for the Arizona Fall League. This would serve to further challenge young prospects who returned to and remained at a minor league stop from the previous season (boredom is a thing), and it can also showcase them to other clubs to potentially clear up some of the roster logjam via trade. Last year, AFL rosters were announced on October 6th, so there is some time yet to see if I’m full of it. Well, whether I’m even more full of it.


Low A Rancho Cucamonga

Taylor Young takes home the honors for the Quakes this week, as he hit his first two homers as a pro:

Young, whom the Dodgers drafted in the 8th round this past July, put together a slash line of .360/.500/.640.

The former Louisiana Tech Bulldog’s major calling card while in college was his proclivity for drawing walks, as he posted a 16.7% walk rate, including 18.2% as a senior. He has improved upon that thus far as a pro, drawing free passes 21.3% of the time thus far, and he’s making them really hurt, what with being 11/11 in stolen bases in his first 27 games. He is a couple years older than average for the Cal League, but he is showing a well-rounded toolkit in his pro debut.


Lastly, Carlos De Los Santos had an eye-popping week on the hill, as he struck out nine in his 3.2 scoreless relief innings, and he did so without issuing a walk:

In the past three weeks, De Los Santos has an ERA of 1.04 in 8.2 IP, with a K/BB of 15/3.


I hope you guys have a safe, relaxing, and cool Labor Day.

About Josh Thomas