Dodgers Prospect Notes: Buehler touches 96 in return, Stone excellent, Deluca raking, DSL championship, more

Top Farm Batter

Jonny Deluca has been on a red-hot streak since his return from injury. His first week in Oklahoma City officially fell under a rehab assignment, but he was activated and optioned to Triple-A on Thursday. In response, the speedy outfielder posted a .400/.571/.900 slash line over the weekend, including a home run and four driven in.

Even though the Dodgers chose to bring up Kolten Wong over him when rosters expanded, Deluca is looking to earn himself one more chance in the majors before the end of the season. It might require an injury for that to happen, but after slugging like he did this weekend, Deluca is lined up where the Dodgers would likely feel comfortable bringing him back up if a spot became available. He mashes left-handers and provides good defense and speed, giving him value in a multitude of potential roles.

Top Farm Pitchers

Walker Buehler and Gavin Stone both deserve to be named in this section. They combined for eight shutout innings and only one hit and two total baserunners allowed. Buehler started the game with his first rehab appearance of the season, tossing two perfect innings with two strikeouts while touching 96 miles per hour on his fastball.

The command that Buehler showed was very encouraging for his first start back. With both solid velocity and positive control of his stuff, this was as well as the first step towards his major-league return could have gone. If this positive trend continues into his next two rehab appearances and no setbacks arise, he could make it back to Los Angeles around the Giants series that starts on the 21st.

One noticeable tweak Buehler has made since we last saw him is a greatly shortened delivery to the plate. Where he used to have a full over-the-head windup, Buehler kept his glove at his belt this time and got rid of the ball quickly, looking similar to the motion from his college days.

Stone entered the game in the third inning and let everyone in attendance know that the show wasn’t over. Stone carried the combined no-hitter into the seventh inning and kept Round Rock scoreless through when he was removed before the top of the ninth. In his six shutout frames, Stone struck out seven while relying mostly on his cutter, sinker and changeup.

Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers

Miguel Vargas has had himself a good stretch down in Triple-A. He’s picked up nine hits in his last six games, including two home runs. Vargas has an .891 OPS with Oklahoma City and has clearly made some good adjustments since going down to the minor leagues during the All-Star break.

Double-A Tulsa Drillers

Yusniel Díaz has continued to mash this week. He’s currently carrying a seven game hit streak, and more impressively, Díaz only has two hitless contests over his last 29 games. With only two regular-season series remaining in the Double-A campaign, Díaz may get himself a late promotion to Oklahoma City.

High-A Great Lakes Loons

Jared Karros made a very solid High-A debut back on Wednesday. In five innings, a solo homer accounted for the only run Karros allowed as he struck out six and gave up only four hits. Now 20 games into his first professional season, the UCLA alumni owns a 3.81 career ERA.

Peter Heubeck struck out six in only three innings on Tuesday. As with how many of Heubeck’s starts have gone since he was drafted last June, he flashed very good stuff but couldn’t keep his line clean. Two walks and four hits were enough traffic to push across two runs against the young right-hander.

Single-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes

Thayron Liranzo had a good series against Stockton, extending his California League home run lead by mashing two more long balls. Liranzo is at 22 homers this season with a .953 OPS. For a catcher that only just turned 20, his numbers have drawn a fair bit of hype, and that should continue into the offseason and next spring.

Joe Vetrano has a six game hitting streak following this series in Stockton where he batted .450. A first baseman that was selected in the fifth round of this year’s draft, Vetrano will need produce at the plate to provide his value. He has played in 30 games for Rancho Cucamonga with a .379 OBP and .721 OPS.

Rookie Ball

On Friday, DSL LAD Bautista finished their spectacular season by winning the Dominican Summer League championship. In a winner-take-all game three against DSL Pirates Gold, top Dodgers prospects Joendry Vargas and Eduardo Quintero each had three hits in a 9-5 win for their squad.

One of Vargas’ hits was a first-inning homer that gave the Dodgers a lead they would never relinquish. Vargas went deep twice in seven playoff games, posting a .976 OPS in his first postseason action. Vargas won’t even turn 18 until November.

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.