Dodgers Prospect Notes: Busch plays 3B, Doncon goes deep, Martin & Karros have strong debuts, more

Michael Busch (Photo: Cody Bashore)

April 12, 2023 Scoreboard


Michael Busch, the composite #5 prospect in the Dodger farm system, is off to a solid start with the bat, as this 103.7 mph double will attest:

Though the former North Carolina hasn’t gone yard yet, it’s of little concern, as a lot of things are going right offensively — in addition to the solid slash line, his Triple A strikeout rate is down from 26.0% to 20.8%, and his walk rate is up from 9.9% to 13.2%.

Unfortunately, there’s nowhere to put the guy. The Dodgers are blessed with a bevy of 1B/2B/LF types, leaving the 25-year-old prospect, barring injury, as the odd man out at the moment.

On Wednesday, the Dodgers took their first step towards adding a new trick to Busch’s repertoire, and while it wasn’t a disaster, it wasn’t exactly the very picture of grace, either:

Busch really hasn’t played the position in a game at any decent level — not at any of North Carolina, the Northwoods League, or the Cape Cod League, and definitely not since joining the Dodger organization in 2019.

Oklahoma City play-by-play guy Alex Freedman said that the Dodgers will continue to have Busch play multiple positions, though he will spend several consecutive days at each spot, which should help with familiarity and/or whether to pull the plug on the experiment. It might be a minute before it gets passable (if ever), but you can’t blame them for trying.


Rayne Doncon, a helium pick of yours truly, hit an impressive blast for Rancho Cucamonga on Wednesday, with the ball leaving the yard a good 30 feet above the left field fence:

The 19-year-old Dominican infielder went 2/5 on Wednesday, tallying a single as well.

I say infielder because Doncon’s ultimate destination isn’t set in stone either. Signed as a shortstop, from the Cradle of Shortstops, San Pedro de Macoris, DR, Doncon has spent time at second base as well. Though he is listed at 6’2, 176 lbs, he is closer to 200 lbs, and he still has room to add on his considerable frame. The Dodgers will keep running him out as a middle infielder while it continues to work, but with power like this already showing up as a teenager, he may end up a bat-first prospect no matter what the club does. It is yet another situation that bears watching.


Payton Martin showed why the Dodgers made him the first 18-year-old to make a full season opening day roster on Wednesday, as he looked comfortable beyond his years, even going so far as to triple up on a pitch, in meme-worthy fashion:

For the uninitiated, it’s called a White Castle Special because it’s three consecutive sliders, and the last emoji is due to the pitches and the burgers all being disgusting. I have never had the pleasure of a White Castle burger, but this is enough to put me off them. The kids like the meme, and, well, here we are.

Anyway, Visalia’s play-by-play guy noted that the fastball was up to 95, and Martin utilized a four-pitch mix (4S, CB, SL, CH) en route to his stellar debut. That does not look like a 17th round pick — that’s the sort of young, projectable arm, with some present velo and feel for spin, that teams typically buy away from a college commitment in the 4th or 11th-12th rounds. They may, indeed, have found another one.


The second intriguing debut that happened on Wednesday night was that of Jared Karros:

Karros, who is indeed the son of ol’ what’s his face, was drafted by the Dodgers in the 16th round in 2022 out of UCLA. Listed at 6’7, 195 lbs, he’s all elbows and knees as he comes at hitters with his four-pitch mix (4S, CB, SL, CH). Unfortunately, there was no mention of velocity.

While at UCLA, Karros the Younger missed a fair amount of time due to injury, including all of the 2022 season, but the Dodgers saw fit to pop the projectable righty just the same, as he showed impressive command for a pitcher of this size, posting a K/BB ratio of nearly 7:1 as a Bruin.

As for the debut, of course, it’s a good thing that Karros was able to hit the ground running, but secondaries like his are enough to make Cal League hitters flail. His eventual trip Northeast, to Great Lakes and the Midwest League, should be a bit more telling.


Speaking of Great Lakes, get a whiff of the Loons’ new double celebration:

It’s the wrist smell that seals it. Bravo, kids, bravo.


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


Enjoy your Thursday, folks.

About Josh Thomas