Dodgers Prospect Notes: Bruns’ mechanical changes, Cartaya & Freeman get grand, Kopp & Frasso impress, more

Diego Cartaya (Photo: Cody Bashore)

April 13th, 2023 Scoreboard


Diego Cartaya, the consensus number one prospect for the Dodgers, had a huge night for Tulsa, and he capped it off with his first homer at the Double A level:

The 21-year-old catcher went 3/5, with a double and a single in addition to the granny, scoring a pair and knocking in four. Cartaya’s big night at the dish raised his slash line in the young season to a healthy .333/.444/.600, and that’s despite him being the 9th-youngest prospect in the Texas League, 3.5 years younger than the average position player. A slow start wouldn’t have been worrying, but it’s still good to see the kid spittin’ fire right out of the gate.


Alex Freeland, who was selected by the Dodgers in the third round of the the 2022 draft, and a helium pick of this dopey amateur (a slightly lesser honor, or so I’m told), left the yard for Great Lakes for the first time, and he too did so in grand fashion:

The former University of Central Florida Knight went 2/5 on the evening, tallying a single as well, which raised his slash line to .278/.435/.444. Freeland’s number one calling card out of the draft was downright Muncian plate discipline, and that has definitely shown up as a Loon, with his big OBP buoyed by a 21.7% walk rate.

The one part of the 21-year-old switch hitter’s game that we have yet to get a really good look at is his swing from the right side. Only eight of his 52 PAs as a pro have come from the third base side batter’s box, and of those eight, only one has come in 2023. Great Lakes’ current opponent, the Dayton Dragons, have only one southpaw listed among the 22 pitchers on their roster, and their next opponent, the South Bend Cubs, have only three among their 22 hurlers. In short, it will be a bit before we have any idea how he looks from that side of the dish, but if he keeps getting on base, and mashing off whatever schlub is out there, it’ll do just fine in the meantime.


Ronan Kopp‘s excellent start to the season continued on Thursday night, as he continued to overpower hitters, while being stingy with the free passes:

The 20-year-old was mostly fastball/curve early, but he worked in the slider as the game wore on, showing feel for spin and the ability to keep his two breakers distinct from one another, which is a necessity if he is going to continue on a starter’s development path in the long-term. That, and, you know, keeping the walk rate in the single digits. It’s early, but with overpowering stuff like this, halving his walk rate into the 7% neighborhood would be an revelation.


Nick Frasso had a second consecutive effective start for Tulsa, utilizing his unicorn heater effectively, as it racked up four of his five strikeouts:

The fifth strikeout came via Frasso’s changeup that flashes plus. What is helping to sell the pitch is the improvement in his delivery — when the lanky righty came to the organization, his tempo was significantly different when throwing offspeed vs fastballs, and while you can simply overwhelm guys with raw stuff on the way up the ladder, big league hitters are little less susceptible to such a blunt approach. The former Loyola Marymount Lion has made excellent strides since arriving, and it’s exactly the kind of progress that will eventually kick him up to Triple-A finishing school.


Speaking of offseason work, 2021 first round pick Maddux Bruns spent a good part of his working to rein in his errant command via tightening up his delivery a bit, and thus far, the results of said work have been evident:

Both of Bruns’ walks came in his 4th inning back on the bump, and the misses weren’t egregious. All in all, it’s an encouraging start to the season. So what sort of mechanical changes did Bruns affect? Here’s the #notacout look at things, roll tape:

Keeping everything tighter to the center line, and being both smoother and a bit quicker to the plate should help keep Bruns’ delivery more consistent and repeatable, which is where command comes from. The stuff was never in question, and still isn’t; it’s entirely too much for the Cal League (when he’s filling up the zone, a reasonable enough caveat), and should this pay off in the form of a consistent month or two, the 20-year-old Mobile, Alabama native could find himself trekking Northeast and Loonward in no time.


Said in this space, yesterday, regarding Michael Busch:

Though the former North Carolina hasn’t gone yard yet, it’s of little concern

Welp, it didn’t take long:

Yeah, there’s plenty of juice in the tank.

Busch went 3/4 with a double, a single, a pair of walks, scoring three times, and driving in a pair. The third baseman raised his slash line to a perfectly cromulent .367/.475/.510.

As for the hot corner business, don’t turn the lights out just yet, because Busch looked the part on Thursday night:

This isn’t going to turn into an as the world turns of Michael Busch at third base. Fan is short for fanatic, but even I’m not quite that nutty (by a hair). That said, I think we have all seen major league third basemen look a whole heck of a lot worse than this. It may take time, but he wasn’t sent out there on a whim, and he may indeed prove to be playable in some capacity there after all.


Speaking of finding glove in a hopeless place, how about a svelte Andy Pages committing robbery!?

Pages reportedly lost 35 lbs in the offseason, and he looks like a completely different guy out there. Like Michael Busch, the Cuban center fielder is off to a hot start with the bat, slashing .353/.556/.471, though he has yet to go yard. Also like Michael Busch, it’s of little concern. Pages will get his, and with his new-found mobility shining up his prospect star from a different angle, it just gives Dodger fans another reason to laugh at Arte Moreno. As if we needed any further ammunition.


Lastly, Rayne Doncon, good heavens:

That’s a 19-year-old with some grown man strength. Sheesh.


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

  • Oklahoma City vs Sugar Land — 5:05 PM William Cuevas
  • Tulsa at Midland — 5:00 PM, Kyle Hurt
  • Great Lakes at Dayton — 4:05 PM, Ben Casparius
  • Rancho Cucamonga at Visalia — 6:30 PM, Peter Heubeck


Enjoy your Friday, folks.

About Josh Thomas