May 21st, 2023 Scoreboard
- Triple-A Oklahoma City 5, Sugar Land 4
- Double-A Tulsa 4, Corpus Christi 5
- High-A Great Lakes 6, West Michigan 3
- Single-A Rancho Cucamonga 10, Visalia 5
With the Dodgers reeling from injuries at the major league level, some welcome news arrived on Sunday — Michael Grove returned to action with Oklahoma City, and he had a little bit more in the tank than he showed in April:
The 95.4 mph average fastball velo is a 1.0 mph uptick over Grove’s MLB average from 2022, and 1.5 mph over what he showed during the first three weeks of the 2023 season. Whether this is due to being fully healthy or merely exceptionally well-rested remains to be seen, but for a club with a pitching staff that is beyond running on fumes, seeing the former West Virginia Mountaineer in uniform and on the field in any capacity is welcome, indeed.
19-year-old catching prospect Thayron Liranzo had another monster game for Rancho on Sunday, punctuated by the kind of dong that would have Steve Lyons on full tilt:
Liranzo went on to go 3/5 at the plate, tacking on a single for good measure. Both of the 19-year-old switch hitter’s homers came from the right side of the plate, putting his OPS splits at an entirely acceptable .954 righty vs 1.054 lefty. This put the San Francisco de Macoris, DR-born prospect’s stat line for the season in some rarefied air:
Following that electric, albeit abbreviated 2021 campaign, Diego Cartaya was a consensus top-40 prospect, ranking 37th at FanGraphs, 8th at MLB Pipeline, and 23rd at Baseball America.
Cartaya, however, had the pedigree that makes the prospect ranking industry feel comfortable about launching a guy up the leaderboard, as he was a consensus top-3 IFA from the 2018 class. Liranzo has no such pedigree, as he was a relatively no-name amateur, whose bonus wasn’t high enough to be listed at every outlet I checked (if anyone knows, please feel free to say so in the comments). At any rate, while there is plenty to be excited about, there are points of concern to his game that may limit a meteoric rise, as Baseball America pointed out in an article about prospects standing out in Spring Training:
Liranzo signed with the Dodgers in 2021 out of the Dominican Republic and posted solid but not spectacular numbers in each of his first two seasons, which were spent in the DSL and ACL. In his first season, he showed on-base skills but little impact. In his second season, that script flipped. This spring, the switch-hitter showed scouts a more polished game on both sides of the ball, leading to projections of above-average power from both sides of the plate. There are still swing-and-miss concerns—especially against premium velocity—meaning he might never be more than a below-average hitter. Evaluators also noted that Liranzo’s defense has taken steps forward in the past two seasons and he’s now a solid receiver and blocker. He has plenty of arm strength, but the accuracy must improve.
Lots of good, some assembly required.
Funnily enough, Liranzo may actually benefit from having so many catchers ahead of him on the depth chart. All of the issues listed above take a little time to refine, and while he is standing out offensively, it isn’t quite enough to overtake any of Cartaya, Dalton Rushing, or Yeiner Fernandez in the system. That’s a good thing. Catchers have a lot of difficult areas to master, and being a switch-hitter makes it that much more difficult.
However long Liranzo needs to marinate, he has already established himself as the most exciting switch-hitting power bat in the system in recent memory, and in the age of platoon this and matchup that, by itself that’s enough to keep a weather eye.
On Sunday, Oklahoma City Dodgers picked up their 6th walkoff win, and their 10th win in their last at bat of the season:
Sure, a wild pitch isn’t the most exciting way to walk it off. It feels more like how the Dodgers themselves would get walked off, more than anything. But still, this Oklahoma City club has no quit in them — they have trailed in 23 of their 33 wins to-date.
TL;DR: If you’re watching the OKC Dodgers, don’t turn it off, no matter the score. They’re some comeback kids, for sure.
Lastly, Bobby Miller is set to make his long-awaited major league debut on Tuesday, May 23rd against the Atlanta Barves:
The 6’5 righty got off to a late start due to shoulder soreness, but he showed no ill-effects when he shoved last Wednesday:
This is not a soft landing; Atlanta’s offense leads the National League in OPS, wOBA, and is second in wRC+, and the Dodger bullpen is absolutely cooked.
If ever there were a time for an electric debut (and, perhaps, for the stars to align, too), this is it.
That’s all for Sunday’s action. Enjoy your Monday, folks.