April 23, 2023 Scoreboard
- Triple-A Oklahoma City 11, Albuquerque 1
- Double-A Tulsa 4, Wichita 3
- High-A Great Lakes 10, South Bend 8
- Single-A Rancho Cucamonga 5, Fresno 3
Jorbit Vivas has not been fazed by the Texas League in the early going, recording a base hit in every one of Tulsa’s games coming into Sunday’s action, and that trend continued as the 22-year-old notched his first multi-homer game of his career:
The Venezuelan infielder went 2/3 and also reached via hit by pitch, raising his slash line to an impressive .400/.486/.800.
I’m going to try to post this without pulling a muscle patting myself on the back, but this surge was put forth as a possibility by yours truly in the 2023 Dodgers Digest Top 33 Prospects that Dustin and I put together back in mid-March. To wit:
For 2023, Vivas will head to Double-A Tulsa, and the Drillers’ friendly home confines should help him see an increase in homers, as it’s just 307 feet down the right field line, with the wall height for the most part being just four feet. Look for an offensive uptick, but take it with at least one grain of salt.
And indeed, three of Vivas’ four homers have come at home, two of which are unlikely to have been homers at Dodger Stadium just based off eventual landing spot, so again, take the power numbers with a grain of salt.
There are reasons for optimism, however. Vivas has always put on a laser show, and he is still shooting ropes all over the ballpark, with a line drive rate of 26.1% going into Sunday’s action. He has also cut his ground ball rate in the early going by a significant amount, from 41.7% to 30.4%, and he is drawing free passes at a higher clip than ever at 13.6%. Plus, all of that is coming with him being 2.6 years younger than the average Texas League position player.
Ultimately, I think he’s a bat-first second baseman with on base skills and 10-15 homer pop, but there is an outside shot of the plus hit tool pushing the game power grade ahead of the raw, a la Ozzie Albies. Only time will tell.
The last time Dalton Rushing appeared in this space, it was noted that he hadn’t seeing too many pitches in the zone — on Tuesday April 18th, despite seeing 24 pitches, he saw just four strikes en route to drawing four bases on balls. In an effort to rectify that, the Dodgers have moved the former Louisville Cardinal into the leadoff spot in four of the last five games. While the numbers of walks has taken a downturn (four in the aforementioned five contests), the power numbers have taken off, as he has gone deep three times over that timeframe:
At the close of Sunday’s action, Rushing was slashing .295/.484/.636, putting his OPS at a Midwest League-leading 1.120. The Midwest League is not friendly to hitters, so to give an idea of how good of a mark that is, here are the league-leading OPS figures for the past several years:
- 2022 – .871
- 2021 – .933
- 2020 – N/A
- 2019 – .872
- 2018 – .910
- 2017 – .910
- 2016 – .901
- 2015 – .890
- 2014 – .930
- 2013 – .872
If you reduce it from qualified batters to a minimum of 300 PAs, only one player has come within 100 points of Rushing’s figure, and that’s 1.071 posted by Bo Bichette‘s back in 2017.
There’s still a whole lotta season left, but the pace that Dalton Rushing is currently on is enough to make Walker Buehler say yeeeeeesh.
The third lefty bat in the Dodger system who is making waves these days is Michael Busch, who went 3/6 on Sunday, including an opposite field double that was 101.7 mph off the bat:
Busch is slashing .337/.461/.506, and impressively his strikeout rate is currently just 18.6%. For the past two seasons, the former North Carolina Tar Heel struck out at or above 26.0% of the time, regardless of level, but that is a stat that can ride the hot hand a bit, so to speak. Something that stabilizes a bit more quickly? Swinging strike rate.
Contact rate stats have been found to stabilize around 100 plate appearances, and Busch is currently at 96 PAs, so we are in the neighborhood to begin paying close attention. In 2022, he posted a swing strike rate at Triple-A of 11.7%, and he is currently sitting at 8.2%. To put those numbers in perspective, in 2019 MVP Cody Bellinger posted a swinging strike rate of 9.5%. 2022 Dude Wheres My
Car Offense Cody Bellinger was at 12.0%. Small amounts, big indications.
I don’t know that anything clicked for Michael Busch. To reiterate, though — I do think it’s worth paying attention to, as the big club’s offensive inconsistency may make the front office give the guy who’s on the 40-man and blasting Triple-A pitching some serious consideration in the near term.
Who doesn’t love a grand slam? I mean, circumstance depending. Anyway, here’s Dodger prospect Griffin Lockwood-Powell putting four on the board en route to a career high five RBI for the day:
Here’s Tuesday’s start times for the minor-league clubs (all times Pacific), along with the Dodger affiliate’s starting pitcher:
- Oklahoma City vs Sacramento — 4:05 PM, TBD*
- Tulsa at Springfield — 9:05 AM, Nick Frasso
- Great Lakes at Fort Wayne — 3:35 PM, TBD (Ronan Kopp‘s turn in the rotation)
- Rancho Cucamongs at Inland Empire — 11:05 AM, Maddux Bruns
*Since I am not above idle gossip, there is word going around that top prospect Bobby Miller posted something on his Instagram story about catching a flight somewhere, but he has since taken it down. Do with that what you will.
Enjoy your Monday, folks.