Dodgers Prospect Notes: Rushing and the Great Lakes offense come alive, Lewis goes yard, OKC walkoff, more

Dalton Rushing (Photo: Cody Bashore)

April 11th, 2023 Scoreboard


You all haven’t seen too many Great Lakes Loons position player prospects in the notes after that first weekend, but there is a pretty good reason — the Midwest League got off to a brutally cold start, with the temperatures at first pitch hovering in the low to mid-40s. This did offenses league-wide absolutely no favors:



On Tuesday, however, the temperature at the time of first pitch for the Loons was a balmy 74°, and the lumber warmed up as well.


First off, the prospect who is on the mind of many a Dodger fan after his explosive debut (1.263 OPS in 134 PAs), 2022 first round pick, Dalton Rushing:

The 22-year-old Rushing, who was the DH in this contest, ended up going 2/5, raising his OPS to a team-leading 1.018.


And now, the dingers!

First up is catcher Yeiner Fernandez, who put Great Lakes on the board in the 2nd inning with the Loons’ first longball of the season:

The 20-year-old Venezuelan backstop is also showing some growth behind the dish, blocking pitches in the dirt with runners in scoring position and employing a nifty backhand en route to erasing an overconfident baserunner (I said that in my 1940s radio guy voice as I typed it out):

Next up is Austin Gauthier, who tacked on a solo shot for the Loons in the 5th:

The 23-year-old Gauthier, who was an undrafted free agent out of Hofstra, went 3/4, raising his OPS to .975. Though he was signed as a shortstop, and is listed on the roster as a shortstop/second baseman, he played third base for the third time in four games in 2023.

Lastly, it’s Oceanside native Damon Keith, who said boom goes the dynamite. Sound on, for an audio sensation that was sorely missing from last night’s Dodger game:

The 22-year-old Keith, who went to Cal Baptist in Riverside, posted some of the loudest exit velos in the system last year, including a max EV of 117 mph per FanGraphs. Whether or not he can get to that juice often enough in games is a valid question, but there’s some huge raw power in the tank.


Brandon Lewis also has some of the best raw power in the system, drawing a 70 raw grade from FanGraphs. Getting to that power on a consistent basis has also been an adventure, to say the least, as he struck out 33.7% of the time at Tulsa in 2022 and posted a wRC+ of just 73, leading to a present game power grade of just 40. Oof.

That said, it’s a new year, possibilities abound, and the former 4th round pick out of UC Irvine hit a skyscraper of a homer on Tuesday:

What’s most intriguing, though it’s way, wayyy too early to draw anything from it, is that Lewis’ current strikeout rate is just 18.8%. I’ve been fooled before — there was that time when DJ Peters struck out 23% for a month and change in 2019, kicking off his promotion to Triple A, where he jumped right back up into the 30% range. I won’t enumerate all the times, but suffice it to say, my alter ego Overreaction Man has indeed made appearances now and then.

I will be cautiously watching this situation.


Lastly, because baseball, even the tamest of walkoffs (one via sacrifice fly) can have a bit of drama to it, as was the case on Tuesday night:

Out from me to you, but the ball was like a wet bar of soap, and Ben DeLuzio, who danced around the tag like a parent evading questions about the Easter Bunny’s provenance, found his comfortable alibi, and trotted off with a victory.


Here’s Wednesday’s start times for the minor-league clubs (all times Pacific), along with the Dodger affiliate’s starting pitcher:


Enjoy your Wednesday, folks.

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