Dodgers Prospect Notes: Josue De Paula homers, Maddux Bruns excellent again, pair of switch-hitters mashing, more

Josue De Paula

Top Farm Batter

Josue De Paula had a .693 OPS entering last week. Six games later, he raised his OPS all the way to .803. The teenage outfielder hit his first four homers of the season within a three game span, already surpassing his total from all of 2023.

De Paula has had offsetting changes in his numbers this year, with increases in both his power and his strikeouts. He has 15 extra-base-hits in 29 games after posting only 19 extra-base-hits in 74 games last year. However, his strikeout rate has gone up from 17.9% in 2023 to 26.3% so far this season.

Ranked in the top three prospects in the system by most outlets, including No. 2 on my preseason list, De Paula has many eyes on him as he plays his second Single-A stint. The hope that he would learn to hit for more power could have been a key reason that he was sent back to the level. If that is the case, his four homers this week could spark a High-A promotion in the near future.


Top Farm Pitcher

Since being taken in the first round in 2021, Maddux Bruns has mostly fought himself and his own command as a pro. It prevented him from finding consistent success that would match his excellent pure stuff. But, after remaining in extended spring training for a few weeks this year, Bruns has been dominant since being added to Great Lakes’ roster at the end of April.

The former Gatorade Alabama High School Player of the Year has a 0.71 ERA through four starts. In his outing last week, he struck out seven while allowing just two hits and one walk in four innings.

Bruns has ace-level stuff led by a plus fastball and plus slider. He had a similar stretch of dominance to begin last year in Single-A, but it tailed off once he was promoted to High-A. Should his first Double-A promotion come soon, it will be interesting to see if his success can be sustained across a full season this time.


Triple-A Oklahoma City Baseball Club

The Dodgers acquired Andre Lipcius from Detroit in the spring and he has been an excellent depth addition. While playing both corner infield spots as well as some second base, Lipcius has slashed .329/.389/.628 for a 145 wRC+. His 12 home runs, oddly enough, already match his total from each of his previous three minor league seasons.

Although he’s 30 years old, relief prospect Michael Petersen has been lights out this season and has a unique story. He was born in the United Kingdom and pitched for Great Britain in the 2023 World Baseball Classic. Now, in his first season in the Dodgers organization, he has a fastball that reaches triple digits and a 1.65 ERA through 17 games.


Double-A Tulsa Drillers

Former third round pick Alex Freeland has realized his potential with the bat this season. He forced his way to Double-A quickly after posting a 1.111 OPS through 23 High-A games, and he has continued his success with a .955 OPS since arriving in Tulsa.

Freeland has a good glove that is capable of sticking at shortstop. He also has great plate discipline, posting a 22.2% walk rate so far this season. The UCF product appears to be the full package if he continues his excellent offensive production.

Justin Wrobleski was Tulsa’s opening night starter and began the season red-hot before hitting a three-start speed bump. He got back to his dominant ways last week with his best start of the season, striking out nine across six one-run innings. The southpaw has a deep pitch arsenal that he commands well, carrying a miniscule 3.1% walk rate so far this season.


High-A Great Lakes Loons

Thayron Liranzo is heating up alongside the weather in Great Lakes. The switch-hitting catcher homered from both sides of the plate within a single game for the first time in his career and totaled three home runs on the week. Liranzo led the California League in homers last season and possesses massive raw power.

In the midst of his return from elbow surgery, Edgardo Henriquez has established himself as having stuff that is as good as any other prospect in the organization. The Venezuelan right-hander has touched 102 MPH while posting a 1.17 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 15 1/3 innings. He hasn’t allowed an earned run through his first three High-A appearances.


Single-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes

Patrick Copen made the best and longest start of his professional career, tossing seven full innings with only three hits and one walk allowed. The Dodgers keep their young starters in the low levels of the minors on short leashes, so it is extremely rare for one to go this deep in a game, which is a testament to how great Copen was that night. Taken in the seventh round of last year’s draft, Copen has a 3.41 ERA this season.

Fireballer closer prospect Reynaldo Yean hit an extremely rare milestone: He threw a 104 MPH fastball in- game. The 20-year-old right-hander reaches the upper 90s with ease and could become a late-inning force someday for the Dodgers. He has a 3.09 ERA and 41.7% strikeout rate so far this season.


Rookie Ball

Venezuelan outfielder Eduardo Quintero was one of the highlights of last year’s Dominican Summer League season. Now, he already finds himself in the Arizona Complex League with his 19th birthday still four months away. He homered three times in the last week, with one of them being an inside-the-parker.

Acquired from the Yankees in the Caleb Ferguson deal in February, Christian Zazueta has started the season hot. The 19-year-old right-hander has totaled 12 innings and a 2.25 ERA through three games. I ranked him at No. 54 on my preseason prospects list, and Zazueta could rise up by midseason with continued stateside success.

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.