May 23rd, 2023 Scoreboard
- Triple-A Oklahoma City 7, Sacramento 4
- Double-A Tulsa 6, Northwest Arkansas 5
- High-A Great Lakes 2, Peoria 3
- Single-A Rancho Cucamonga 3, Lake Elsinore 4
It’s May 24th, and Emmet Sheehan has not allowed a run in the month. Indeed, the 6’5 righty’s outings are turning into quite the spectacle, and he absolutely shined on Tuesday night, as he struck out 9 in his 4.0 no-hit, scoreless innings for Tulsa:
Tulsa’s play by play had the fastball sitting 95-98 with several 99s. Sheehan lowered his ERA to 1.66, and his strikeout total for the season is 67, which leads all of minor league baseball. Yeesh.
The former Boston College Golden Eagle issued three walks, putting his walk rate at a … I won’t say concerning, but it puts his walk rate at a notable mark of 10.7%. There are a couple very good starting pitchers who hand out free passes at the same rate:
- Shohei Ohtani – 10.8%
- Shane McClanahan – 10.7%
These two, of course, boast exceptional stuff. If you bring filth and heat, you will likely miss enough bats to get away with some walks. Throw hard in case it’s a strike, and all that.
That said, it does amp up the difficulty level, and it is the upper limit of what a starting pitcher can get away with. It makes the odd Texas Leaguer, bleeder, floater, duck snort, dying quail, ground ball with eyes, swinging bunt, etc, all have a good shot of hurting a little bit more, though to-date Sheehan has been able to power his way through it, as evidenced by an opponent batting average of just .115, the lowest such mark out of all qualified pitchers in minor league baseball at any level. It just might be time to see if the 23-year-old can throw his weight around the same way at Oklahoma City.
Maddux Bruns is settling into life in the Midwest League quite well, as the southpaw settled in after some early traffic, going on to toss 4.0 IP of scoreless ball, allowing 2 hits, walking 1, and he struck out 5:
Bruns wrapped up his outing by retiring 10 consecutive batters, showcasing what the Mobile, AL native is capable of when he fills up the zone as he did on Tuesday, with nearly 70% of his pitches going for strikes.
Still just 20 years old (he turns 21 on June 20th), the sky remains the limit for the Bruns, whom the Dodgers drafted in the first round back in 2021. It may take some time for the offseason mechanical changes he implemented to fully take effect, but the results are incredible when he’s on.
Eddys Leonard turned off the lights in Tulsa with his second double of the ballgame, as he drove in his double-play partner Jorbit Vivas to give the Drillers the 6-5 victory in the bottom of the 11th:
Leonard ended up going 3/6 for the evening, tacking on a single as well, and tallying 3 RBI.
The difference between April and May for the 22-year-old shortstop remains mind-boggling — going from a slash line of .129/.247/.129 in the season’s first stanza to .386/.434/.743 in its second is a breakthrough for the ages. After April, his wRC+ was sitting at 15, and coming into Tuesday’s action he had clawed his way all the way back to league average, 100.
As an aside, Leonard is one of the fun ones. As you can see in the celebration of the walkoff above, as his teammates are charging out to mob him, he’s skipping, wind-milling his arms, and flashing that megawatt smile. Among other things, it takes perseverance and a short memory to be a major league baseball player. Some joy along the way helps a bit, too.
Here’s Wednesday’s start times for the minor-league clubs (all times Pacific), along with the Dodger affiliate’s starting pitcher:
- Oklahoma City at Sacramento – 6:45 PM, Matt Andriese
- Tulsa vs Northwest Arkansas – 5:05 PM, Landon Knack
- Great Lakes at Peoria – 4:35 PM, Ronan Kopp
- Rancho Cucamonga vs Lake Elsinore – 6:30 PM, Chris Campos
Enjoy your Wednesday, folks.