Dodgers Prospect Notes: Frasso shoves again, Miller’s return, in-person observations from San Bernardino, OKC walkoff, more

Bobby Miller

April 25th, 2023 Scoreboard


Nick Frasso‘s incredible start continued for Tulsa on Tuesday, as he continues to rack up the strikeouts with minimal free passes (or in today’s case, none at all):

The lanky righty’s line: 5.0 IP, 3 hits, 1 run (earned), 0 walks, and 8 strikeouts. And boy, does he get some uncomfortable hacks:

Frasso’s ERA held steady at 1.50, and his K/BB ratio is up to 26/3, or 8.667/1, if you’re one to go on forever about feeling divisive.

It’s only four starts, but you’ve gotta figure that this can’t go on for much longer at the Double-A level; the 24-year-old is making mincemeat out of the Texas League, which has historically been a little kind to hitters. Keep the challenges coming, Dodgers.


The alluded-to Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers will be receiving some reinforcement this week — one Bobby Miller:

The flamethrowing righty got off to a bit of a slower start in camp due to a sore shoulder, but all systems appear to be go. After Noah Syndergaard got roughed up again, I’m sure Dodger fans will patiently await Miller checking all those developmental boxes and whatnot. Right.


I made my way out to San Bernardino on Tuesday to see the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes play the Single-A affiliate of the Anaheim Angels, the Inland Empire 66ers, and I took some notes from the game action on a few players:

I finally got to see Maddux Bruns in person, and both the stuff and growth did not disappoint. His line, while solid, reflected some areas that could use tightening up — 2.2 IP, 1 hit, 2 BBs, and 4 Ks, all on 66 pitches (40 strikes).

Bruns was in and around the zone all along, there were no Nuke LaLoosh moments, but he fell behind at times and struggled to put guys away, with one AB lasting as long as 11 pitches. The southpaw was not helped by at least three strike-threes by my count that ended up being called balls. The Mobile, Alabama native reacted strongly all three times, and while it wasn’t quite a full-on Dustin May leaping twirl, there was definitely some “come on, man” going on.

The typical Bruns slider came in on two trajectories: hip height, tilting in to cross the plate a little above the knee, and knee height diving a good bit below the zone, the sort of pitch that ends up being a back-footer. This is where some of the trouble, and some solutions, could be found. Hitters swung through some, but fouled off most of the former sliders, and were able to lay off the latter almost entirely. Where Bruns may find egress from difficult ABs in the future was in between; when the sliders came in on an approximately mid-thigh trajectory, they crossed the plate just below the zone, and he was able to induce weak grounders that were automatic outs.

While there were enough of Bruns’ big, Clayton Kershaw-esque benders to be aesthetically pleasing to any long-time Dodger fan, it was the appearance of the latter’s long-time nemesis that I found most rewarding to watch: the changeup. To this #notascout, the 20-year-old’s change of pace seemed to come out of a higher release point, but that could have been a relative thing, as it debuted later in his outing. The seminal moment for the pitch, for me, was when a 3-1 fastball got yanked hard down the left field line foul and Bruns pulled the string on the subsequent pitch, which all but disappeared as its parachute was deployed. This, I believe, is what the people say when they refer to a pitch as “flashing plus”; in both its execution and the perfect timing of its walk on stage before dipping off, narrowly evading the antagonist, full of grace and all that.

All in all, there remains room for growth with the young lefty’s command of his secondaries, along with sequencing that could help to shorten ABs, but it was still good to see the visible progress from a vantage that’s a vast improvement over grainy, California League video (when available).

Kudos to the 66ers’ starting pitcher, Jorge Marcheco, as the 20-year-old Cuban utilized the heavy movement on his heater to great effect. In concert with varying his timing to the plate, he left a lot of Quakes batters guessing, and some guys utterly lost, as he allowed just one run over 6.0 IP.

Rayne Doncon was one of the few who figured out this particular puzzle. Doncon was completely overmatched in his first AB, striking out on three consecutive heaters, and he walked away looking rather shellshocked that his first trip to the plate was over so abruptly. With the pitch clock, and with a quick-working adversary, it was all of 20 seconds for this particular good morning, good afternoon, and goodnight.

In the Dominican infielder’s second AB, he looked at one pitch above the zone, and lined the second one to center for a base knock. The brevity, again, took me aback, but Doncon has received praise for a plus hit tool and feel for barrel, so it was fun to see it in person.

In the 19-year-old’s third trip to the plate, after again looking at a first pitch ball, he launched one out to left. Third time through penalty is a thing for a reason. The kid takes some breathtaking hacks, and seeing him completely puzzle out a pitcher who had so thoroughly dominated him to start things off was a joy to watch.


The Louisville pipeline delivered yet again for the Dodger organization, this time it was Devin Mann coming through in a pinch, as he walked it off for Oklahoma City to cap off a three-run 9th:

Mann is one of four players in the organization who was a member of the Cardinals, along with Miller, Dalton Rushing, and that one guy whom I’d mention if he ever was good enough to make an All-Star team. Yeesh Guy, Walker Buehler, is from Lexington, a scant 75.4 miles away via I-64W, which takes you through Shelbyville.

Shelbyville, of course, is best-known for taking on the Springfield Power Plant softball team in the Simpsons episode of Homer at the Bat, during which some guy named Mike may have contracted an illness. Tragic.


Jose Ramos may have been among the biggest names left exposed to the Rule 5 Draft, but he went unselected. Just the same, sleep on him at your peril:

Coming into Tuesday’s action, the wiry Panamanian was sporting a wRC+ of 133, along with a drastically reduced strikeout rate from 32.7% with Great Lakes in 2022 to 24.1% thus far this season. It’s early, but don’t count out a veritable toolshed in a finely-tuned player development machine.


Three Dodger prospects were named player of the week for their respective leagues.

I did similar tweets for the other two winners, but they didn’t go so well, because I still screw up Twitter despite tens of thousands of tweets that several people have skimmed. Anyway, Jorbit Vivas‘ and Rushing’s stats for the week are as follows:

Vivas – .417/.481/1.000, 5 doubles, 3 homers, wRC+ of 276

Rushing – .350/.533/.850, 3 homers, 10 RBI, wRC+ of 265

They’re great! May they continue to destroy their haters. Meanwhile, I’ll keep working on the basics.


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


Enjoy your Wednesday, folks.

About Josh Thomas