Dodgers Prospect Notes: Dalton Rushing finding success, Jackson Ferris great, Landon Knack dominant, Rookie-ball season kicks off, more

Dalton Rushing (Photo: Cody Bashore)

Top Farm Batter

In his first season of Double-A ball, Dalton Rushing has started the season hot. Ranked as my No. 1 Dodgers prospect heading into the year, Rushing has a 167 wRC+ through 18 games. Over the last week, he slashed .333/.467/.583 with a home run in 12 at-bats.

Since being drafted in the second round two years ago, Rushing has mashed at every stop so far in his professional career, even through some trouble with injuries including a concussion last year. The 23-year-old catcher will likely play most if not all of 2024 in Double-A.


Top Farm Pitcher

Jackson Ferris had a nice week in High-A, starting two games and pitching to a 2.57 ERA. Through six starts as a Dodger farmhand, the left-hander has a 4.70 ERA and 26.9% strikeout rate.

Acquired as the headliner prospect in the Michael Busch trade over the offseason, Ferris fits the Dodger mold of young, stuff-first arms that struggle with control. Playing in Michigan during the first month of the year is tough due to the weather, so as the Loons get further into the schedule, Ferris, 20, will look to settle in. His starts last week were the best he has looked so far.


Triple-A Oklahoma City Baseball Club

Landon Knack made a few solid starts in the Majors before being sent down, and his first start back in Triple-A was a great one. Knack struck out eight across five innings, surrendering only one run. His slider has been a weapon, and he threw it even more than his fastball in this last start, albeit by two pitches.

Ryan Ward continues to mash home runs for OKC. With a couple more over the last week, he now stands with a total of 12 homers, which leads the organization. The 26-year-old has taken a more aggressive approach to the plate this year, which has seen his walk rate plummet but his power numbers skyrocket.


Double-A Tulsa Drillers

After a nice start to 2023 in High-A, Ben Casparius got rocked after his midseason promotion to Tulsa. With good stuff that could still be unlocked, including a 70-grade slider, Casparius was sent to the Arizona Fall League last October, where he still has hit pretty hard. He must have found a fix in the offseason because Casparius has been a ton better this year, posting a 35.8% strikeout rate and 3.32 ERA.

Potentially to blame for his problems in Double-A last year was a drastic drop in ground ball rate after his promotion. That number has rebounded to 45.8% in 2024, which is the highest of his professional career. Casparius, 25, has stuff that should play in a Major League role eventually; he just has to keep the ball on the ground and away from barrels.


High-A Great Lakes Loons

Maddux Bruns remained in extended spring training until late April and then scuffled through his first start of the season. However, he bounced back last week with one of his better starts as a pro, allowing only one hit and striking out six in three shutout innings. Control has always been the wild card for Bruns, and now that he’s in his third full season as a pro, this is a big year for him to take a step forward.

The uber-athletic Chris Campos has made four three-inning relief appearances so far this season and has been excellent in all of them. He boasts a 0.75 ERA to go with a .125 opponent batting average, 35.7% strikeout rate and 4.8% walk rate. With a deep all-around pitch arsenal that can miss bats and command that has looked great so far, Campos could be in for a breakout season.

Former third round pick Jake Vogel has struggled to hit thus far in his pro career, but you wouldn’t know it from his last five games. He slashed .471/.524/.941 with two doubles and two homers in 17 at-bats last week. The speedy 22-year-old is in his second High-A season and will look to continue producing with the bat in what could be a make-or-break season for his future in the organization.

Advertised as a heavy glove-focused prospect, Noah Miller has done his fair share with the bat since being traded to the Dodgers in the spring. He has seen an increase in essentially every offensive category, and after homering three times in the last week sports a 116 wRC+ this season. Miller won the MiLB Gold Glove at shortstop last year, so if he can produce at an above-average offensive level, he could be a very valuable prospect.


Single-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes

Payton Martin went from virtually unknown to one of the most mentioned names in “underrated” prospect discussions last year. He got a late start to his 2024, but he looked good in his first start of the campaign, striking out five in 2 2/3 innings. Martin already has an impressive fastball/slider combo and is looking to establish his changeup as a reliable third pitch this season.

Kendall George had a very Kendall George week, showing off the tools that make him valuable. In five games, he batted .381 while reaching base at a .500 clip and stealing six bases. Last year’s first round pick, George has been both a hit and a walk machine this year and has already stolen 10 bases.


Rookie Ball

The ACL Dodgers season kicked off over the weekend. There is an extremely talented group of prospects in Arizona this year, and more than a couple of them could see time in Single-A down the stretch.

Alexander Albertus started the year with a bang, getting hits in four of his first seven at-bats including two doubles and a homer. Albertus could end up being the first player of this ACL crop to head to Single-A, as his production in Arizona last year and hot start this year show he is ready for the challenge.

Hyun-Seok Jang made his first official pro start and was excellent. The top international signee out of South Korea tossed two perfect innings, striking out three and forcing two groundouts. Jang just turned 20 this spring and could quickly become one of the top pitching prospects in the system.

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.