May 7th, 2023 Scoreboard
- Triple-A Oklahoma City 7, El Paso 11
- Double A Tulsa 4, San Antonio 5
- High A Great Lakes 9, Quad Cities 6
- Single-A Rancho Cucamonga 9, Lake Elsinore 10
Jose Ramos is putting together a solid campaign for Tulsa, and he is showing progress in his biggest area of question while he does it, with breaking balls:
The Panamanian went 2/4 at the dish on Sunday, raising his OPS to .891, which ranks 13th in the Texas League.
The 22-year-old Ramos has been considered to be one of the toolsiest prospects in the system for a couple of years now, with electric bat speed and an absolute cannon of an arm, but he has (rightfully) been panned for his issues with breakers. Via Baseball America:
Ramos struggles to recognize or lay off breaking balls, resulting in bad plate discipline and poor quality at-bats. He’s overly aggressive in his approach and swings and misses at almost any breaking pitch, limiting him to a well below-average hitter.
The video above is the exact opposite. One slider deposited in the seats does not a renaissance make, but at the very least the process on display here — recognize the pitch, pause, explode — gives an indication that neither Ramos nor the Dodgers are content with where things stood, and that the work never stopped.
For about a decade now, the Dodgers have been a gigantic, lumbering, sauropodian platoonasaurus. Incredible of size, a spectacle to behold, but with a low heart rate, a methodical approach, and feeding on (and giving fans) a steady diet of vegetables and vegetables only. Like broccoli, we know that right vs left and left vs right is good for us, but that doesn’t mean we have to like it on the daily.
Times, however, they may be a-changing, courtesy of guys like Dalton Rushing:
That’s a slash line of .417/.682/.750 vs southpaws for the 22-year-old backstop, which, incredibly, is just about normal for Rushing as a pro. In 2022, he destroyed them to a familiar-looking line of .538/.647/.923. It’s absurd. What’s also absurd is that all 29 other teams passed on the 2022 40th overall pick, but whatever, thanks guys.
No two ways about it, Eddys Leonard got off to an absolutely abysmal start for Tulsa. A week ago, thru 20 games, he was slashing .129/.247/.129. That’s not a typo, his batting average was the same as his slugging, which is to say nary an extra base hit to be found.
Oh what a difference a week makes:
For the week, Leonard tallied six extra base hits (four doubles, two homers), en route to a Texas League-leading OPS of 1.545, raising his season mark from a .376 to .633.
Still just 22, the Dominican infielder has shown improvement at shortstop as well, sitting at +1 Davenport Runs in 23 games vs -13 in 104 games at the position last season. For a system that is all but bereft of shortstop talent at the upper levels, a prospect working his way back into playability there would be a coup. If he can hit, even better.
It was Austin Gauthier‘s birthday on Sunday, and he celebrated in style, as he capped off a huge week of his own with a three hit day for Great Lakes:
Gauthier’s line for the season is currently a healthy .429/.533/.607, with one more walk (20) than strikeout (19). The former Hofstra … uh, Pride? Pride member? Lion? I’m not quite sure what to do with this one. Anyway, the former South County High School Stallion is currently leading the pitcher-friendly Midwest League in the following offensive categories:
- Batting Average
- On-Base Percentage
Yeesh, as one might say.
Gauthier joined the organization in August of 2021 as an undrafted free agent, and it has been a bit of a slow rise since, but he just might be forcing the issue at a this point. Via a position change, the Dodgers may have cleared a path for him, as he has spent more time at 3rd base in 2023 (15 games) than he did in all of 2022 (just 10). And, by Davenport Runs, he has held his own there (+1).
I’m going to go out on a limb here — I don’t think Gauthier’s .523 BABIP is sustainable, and I’m pretty sure some at’em balls are headed his way. Or headed the way of defenders, technically. But still, this level of barrels are overrated is unlikely to continue. Just the same, enough things are going right that the newly turned 24-year-old should make his Southwest to Tulsa in time for the catfish noodling demonstration, coming to ONEOK Field on July 29th.
Peter Heubeck continued what has been a heck of a run for Rancho Cucamonga, as he struck out four in his 4.0 IP of one run ball:
In his last three outings, Heubeck has tossed 11.1 IP, with five hits, six walks, and 14 strikeouts. How’s this for some bait — I have an inkling as to what has aided him during this stretch, which I will detail some time in the next 0-4 months in a standalone post. If a month goes by, please feel free to start the guilt tripping.
Yeiner Fernandez put on a show on Sunday for Great Lakes, punctuated by this dong:
The Venezuelan backstop raised his OPS to .868, which is the 9th-best mark in the Midwest League.
Possessing one of the better hit tools you’ll see for a 20-year-old, Fernandez has shown good pitch recognition and bat to ball, drawing walks 12.1% of the time and striking out at a 16.2% clip, which is the second-lowest mark among qualified prospects 20 or younger at the High-A level.
Additionally, though Fernandez received some poor reviews for his work while donning the tools of ignorance, he has made some strides, and it isn’t as if Great Lakes pitchers are handling him with kid gloves:
Is it the best or most explosive block I’ve seen? No. But that is a pitch that would have had him jogging last year, he is still incredibly young, and improvement is the name of the game.
Here’s the schedule for the minor league clubs when they return to action on Tuesday, May 9th, all times Pacific:
- Oklahoma City at Round Rock, 5:05 PM
- Tulsa vs Springfield, 5:05 PM
- Great Lakes at Lake County, 3:05 PM
- Rancho Cucamonga vs Stockton, 11:00 AM
Enjoy your Monday, folks.