Dodgers Prospect Notes: OKC in-person looks, Trayce dominates, Pepiot rehabs, De Paula continues to impress, draft pick debuts

Top Farm Batter

Trayce Thompson has stood apart from everyone else on the field through his first two rehab games in Triple-A. He has five extra-base hits and 12 total bases in his first eight at-bats. Further, Thompson has played quality defense in center field, including an incredible diving play in the first inning last night.

Working his way back from an oblique strain, Thompson is going to need to prove himself to keep a roster spot. Fellow outfielders Jake Marisnick and Jonny DeLuca are both on the shelf for now, but with this week’s acquisitions of Kiké Hernández and Amed Rosario, the Dodgers are stacked with right-handed bats at the moment. Thompson was huge for L.A. down the stretch last season, and he will need to return to something closer to that form to remain on the team heading into October.

Top Farm Pitcher

Kendall Williams has had a bumpy couple of seasons, but he is looking like he is back to form so far in 2023. Williams made what is likely his best start as a pro on Tuesday, allowing just one hit across five shutout innings. He walked one while striking out five in the outing.

Williams was activated by High-A Great Lakes just over a month ago and has been excellent since. Through six starts, the former second rounder has a 1.69 ERA and a miniscule .168 opponent average. After back-to-back years of ERAs around 4.50, Williams has settled into a groove and will look to reach Tulsa this season.

Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers

Hunter Feduccia has kept on hitting, putting up two big performances to start the week. The catcher went 4-for-5 with a double and a homer on Tuesday, then followed that game with two more hits Wednesday night. Feduccia is slashing .301/.418/.495 in an impressive Triple-A campaign.

Kole Calhoun hit a ninth inning grand-slam on Wednesday to secure a winning lead for OKC. The 35-year-old veteran has been solid since signing with the Dodgers, posting an .886 OPS in 31 games.

Bryson Brigman has been impressive the last two nights, both in terms of the box score and his actions on the field. The 28-year-old shortstop picked up three hits on Wednesday night and has made a few impressive plays on grounders over both games. Brigman is in his first season in the organization and is batting .303 through 34 games in Triple-A.

Ryan Pepiot got roughed up in his rehab start on Wednesday, allowing six hits in just 3 1/3 innings of work. Both of the runs he allowed scored on a long homer from Josh Rojas. While he only struck out two, Pepiot did manage to walk none in the start. Nonetheless, his ERA is an ugly 7.88 through three rehab starts.

Gus Varland has been noticeably electric in two appearances out of the bullpen. The right-hander has a 2.30 ERA since being returned to the Dodgers from Milwaukee, who took him in last offseason’s Rule 5 draft. Varland rides his fastball up to 97 mph and has a nasty slider that sits in the high 80s. He has struck out over 11 batters per nine with OKC and is a good bet to be called up if the Dodgers find themselves in need of a reliever later in the season.

To cap off the first half of this week’s of Oklahoma City coverage, I took some video of Michael Busch and Miguel Vargas getting in some pregame glovework. I will be in Reno again through the weekend to watch OKC play.

Double-A Tulsa Drillers

Jorbit Vivas had a big day on Tuesday, going 3-for-4 with his 11th homer of the year. Vivas has an .873 OPS in an impressive season, and is a name to watch with the trade deadline coming up. His occupation of a 40-man roster spot increases the Dodgers’ odds to move him for pitching reinforcements.

Also on Tuesday, Ben Casparius broke his streak of brutal outings by throwing 4 1/3 solid frames. He allowed only two hits and one unearned run while striking out four.

Lastly, for a quick update, Diego Cartaya is struggling pretty bad of late. He is hitless so far in the week, despite starting all three games, and his slash line is down to .182/.265/.345. The backstop is still a good bet to figure it out, but it hasn’t happened quite yet.

High-A Great Lakes Loons

Taylor Young had a big game on Tuesday, tallying two doubles and a stolen base. The former Louisiana Tech infielder leads the organization with 34 steals on the season, having been caught just three times.

Aside from Young and the previously mentioned Williams start, it has been an unremarkable week for Great Lakes. They’ve lost three straight games to start their series with Reds affiliate Dayton.

Single-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes

Josue De Paula has continued to rake, looking much more advanced than his age would suggest. He is batting .360 with a .449 OBP in July, and once his raw power starts to show through more often in games, he will be an incredible hitter to watch. De Paula has walked four more times than he’s struck out so far this month. RotoWire released their updated prospect rankings on Tuesday and put De Paula at 24th in all of baseball.

A trio of 2023 draftees made their Single-A debuts last night. Joe Vetrano, Sam Mongelli and Jordan Thompson all moved straight to the Quakes after just two games in Rookie ball. They were the Dodgers’ 5th, 10th and 15th round picks respectively.

Rookie Ball

Jake Gelof and Bryan Gonzalez were two more draftees to make their pro debuts this week in Arizona. Gelof, the Dodgers’ second rounder, walked twice in five plate appearances. Oswaldo Osorio had the biggest performance of the game, hitting his fourth homer in a two-hit day.

Over in the DSL, Arnaldo Lantigua homered twice and walked twice in an essentially perfect game yesterday. Only 14 games into his first professional action, Lantigua has already homered five times while posting a 1.066 OPS.

About Bruce Kuntz

Avatar photo
I'm a Long Beach State journalism student and I've been writing about the Dodgers and their farm system since I was in high school.