Dodgers Prospect Notes: Gavin Stone finding his stride, Nick Frasso’s dominant start, Wilman Diaz crushing the ball, more

Top Farm Batter

Wilman Diaz had a tough start to his highly-hyped career. After a subpar 2021 season in the DSL, he posted an abysmal .441 OPS across 50 games in Arizona last year. Diaz showed improvement to begin the 2023 season back in the ACL, but has really taken off since he was promoted to Single-A.

Diaz started the last three games in a row for the Quakes and went 10-14 at the plate with four home runs. Now 16 games in from his call up, Diaz has a 1.207 OPS. His abrupt offensive surge should regress due to his .606 BABIP and strikeout rate nearing 40%, but it is a much needed sign of life for Diaz’s bat. Any offensive production paired with his good speed and defensive tools keeps Diaz as a prospect worth keeping an eye on.

Top Farm Pitcher

Gavin Stone is in the midst of a great run of starts in Oklahoma City. He was named the MiLB Pitcher of the Week today following a dominant outing in which he tossed six no-hit frames and struck out 10. Stone is looking like himself again, with his cutter playing a big factor in his turnaround.

In five starts since he was optioned in early July, Stone has a 2.67 ERA and a 22.9 K-BB%. He threw his cutter more than any other pitch in his great start Friday, and that pitch has played well since he added it to his arsenal. With both the cutter and four-seamer to worry about, hitters are left even more susceptible to Stone’s filthy changeup. The adjustments he’s made are working and it could be enough for Stone to give the majors another try before the end of the year.

Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers

Landon Knack and Kyle Hurt paired for a mostly effective piggy back in Oklahoma City on Saturday. Knack started and tossed four shutout innings to begin the game before Hurt covered the last five frames. Knack’s walkless performance lowered his ERA with OKC to an even 3.00.

Hurt’s outing was close to being a perfect Triple-A debut. However, a sixth-inning grand slam tagged Hurt for all four runs that he allowed, and wound up giving him the loss. Overall, he struck out six and had a 32 CSW% while allowing zero hits in the final 3 1/3 frames after the grand slam.

Double-A Tulsa Drillers

Nick Frasso made one of his best starts of the season on Thursday. He generated 19 swings-and-misses in just five innings on the mound, allowing zero runs and only three hits. Furthermore, only 24 of Frasso’s 77 pitches were balls.

Frasso looked to be back to himself after a rough seven game stretch where his ERA was over nine. He has been fantastic when his stuff is right, earning a spot in MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 prospects list less than a year after he was traded to Los Angeles. With another solid start or two, Frasso could wind up finishing the season in Triple-A.

Yusniel Díaz was red-hot at the plate on his way to winning Texas League Player of the Week. He started all six games of Tulsa’s series, homering four times and posting a 1.561 OPS while leading the Drillers offense. The 26-year-old Díaz, who was originally signed by the Dodgers before being traded to Baltimore in the Manny Machado deal, has an .809 OPS in Double-A this season.

After drawing attention for his great performance in High-A, Kendall Williams carried his momentum into a very solid Double-A debut. The 22-year-old struck out seven across four innings, and although his command was a bit fringy, he limited any runs from crossing apart from a solo homer.

Excluding his rehab appearance in rookie ball, Williams has started eight games with a 2.02 ERA this season. Opponents have batted just .178 against him. The former second rounder had a lot of hype around him when he was acquired from Toronto in 2020, and he is beginning to live up to it this season.

Diego Cartaya homered on back-to-back days, increasing his total on the season to 15. His overall numbers look pretty bad this season, but his dreadfully unlucky .205 BABIP has only dragged down the rest of his struggles. It is good to see Cartaya still driving the ball over the fence through the adversity.

High-A Great Lakes Loons

Jerming Rosario got a win on Sunday, throwing four innings and only allowing one run on a solo homer. Over his last nine outings, Rosario has an impressive 2.83 ERA and a 31.7% strikeout rate.

Single-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes

Second rounder Jake Gelof tripled on Sunday night to secure his first Single-A RBI. He has three hits through his first three games with the Quakes and a 111 wRC+ in his first seven professional games.

Rookie Ball

Joendry Vargas has looked to be worth all $2,077,500 he signed for this season. He hit his sixth homer of the DSL season on Saturday, has a 150 wRC+ that is sixth best in the organization, and has stolen 14 bases. What might be most impressive about his profile is his even 1.00 K/BB rate, as he as posted a 15.2% clip in both categories.

Elias Medina is up to seven homers in his great DSL season. The 17-year-old is flashing an impressive combo of speed and power, stealing 16 bases and posting a .278 ISO. Medina doesn’t turn 18 until November and has quickly put himself among the best teenage prospects in the organization.

About Bruce Kuntz

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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.