Dodgers Prospect Notes: 2 top prospects reportedly promoted, Great Lakes pitching staff excellent, Clayton Kershaw rehab, Hyun-Seok Jang hits 99 mph, more

Top Farm Batter

Josue De Paula has been fantastic of late in Single-A. He’s dominated to the point that he has earned a call-up to High-A, according to a report from Dodgers Daily.

De Paula has an argument to be the best prospect in the system. His advanced feel for the bat and excellent production have turned heads for the entirety of his pro career, especially when considering that he only just turned 19 years old. He was over two years younger than the average age in the California League, and now he heads up to an even more advanced Midwest League in High-A.

It is likely that De Paula will play the rest of the season in Great Lakes and possibly remain there for the beginning of 2025. That said, he is ahead of schedule to even reach High-A now, so nothing is out of the question if he continues to hit. The outfielder’s power production has taken a big step forward this year, which was exactly what many hoped to see as the next step in his development.


Top Farm Pitcher

Jackson Ferris has had his own hot stretch in High-A. His play has warmed up along with the weather in Great Lakes, posting a 2.56 ERA and 33.9% strikeout rate over his last six starts. The 20-year-old left-hander has allowed just 18 hits in 31 2/3 innings within that span.

Ferris, who was acquired alongside Zyhir Hope for Michael Busch and Yency Almonte, has looked like a great acquisition so far for Los Angeles. The former second round pick has excellent stuff that, like many prospects in the Dodgers system, he continues working to better control. He has been clicking of late and could eventually become the top pitching prospect in the system if he continues on his current path.


Triple-A Oklahoma City Baseball Club

Ryan Ward is slugging his way into the spotlight. The 26-year-old outfielder reached 20 homers on the season with two more this past week. He leads the Pacific Coast League in the category despite having spent a three-week stint on the IL back in May.

Ward’s success has come with some less than ideal peripherals, such as his walk rate of just 6.3%. Even so, at this rate, it looks like he will get a chance to translate his power production to the majors at some point, whether it is in Los Angeles or another city should he enter next year’s Rule 5 Draft unprotected.

Justin Wrobleski made his Triple-A debut and struck out a career-high 11 batters. He allowed two home runs, a rarity for the left-hander, which translated to three earned runs and the loss. Still, a 52.4% strikeout rate in the game makes it a solid debut for Wrobleski, who has a 3.22 ERA on the year.

River Ryan made a very nice start as he continues to work back towards a full workload. After allowing a single to begin the game (with the runner advancing to third on a throwing error), Ryan retired nine batters in a row to finish a scoreless outing. He has a good chance to make his MLB debut later this season once his pitch count is built back up.

Drew Avans has flown under the radar with a quality season so far. The seven-year minor leaguer had a 1.092 OPS last week, and has stolen 24 bases with an .845 OPS this year. He falls into the category of “org-guy,” and is looking for a major league chance after he turned 28 earlier this month.


Double-A Tulsa Drillers

Diego Cartaya has also earned himself a promotion according to Dodgers Daily. After a year and a half in Double-A, Cartaya has battled through adversity to reach solid overall production this season. Since the beginning of May, Cartaya has posted an .817 OPS.

It’s no secret that Cartaya struggled for much of his time in Double-A. However, he has improved substantially in many important ways, including his game-calling, blocking and leadership of Tulsa’s pitching staff. If he has begun to find himself once again offensively, he could quickly regain his status as a very valuable prospect.


High-A Great Lakes Loons

It feels like I’ve been writing about Peter Heubeck every week, but he made yet another start that couldn’t be left off this article. The right-hander struck out six and allowed only two hits across five shutout innings. Heubeck has a 2.52 ERA this year that is backed up by a 2.87 FIP, and he has a 35.1% strikeout rate.

Payton Martin also made a good start, with both of the runs he allowed being unearned. The right-hander struck out six across four innings and lowered his ERA to 2.53 through three High-A starts. Martin hasn’t had the same overall success this season as he did last year, but he is trending back in the right direction.

Jose Rodriguez has been fantastic since his promotion to High-A. Through four games and 12 innings, the right-hander has a 2.25 ERA and 1.28 FIP to go with a 36.7% strikeout rate and 6.1% walk rate. Rodriguez features some of the best swing-and-miss stuff in the system and leads all full-season Dodgers pitching prospects in swinging strike rate at 21.3%.


Single-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes

Clayton Kershaw travelled down the road to Rancho Cucamonga for his first rehab start. He looked very much in control, striking out five in three innings and throwing 26 of his 36 pitches for strikes. The future Hall of Famer had his curveball working well as it produced three of his five strikeouts.

The main story surrounding Kershaw’s rehab is that he has been shut down from throwing for what is planned to be a week due to soreness in his shoulder. His MRI was clean, but any delay in his progression is unfortunate news. The Dodgers hoped to get him back sometime around the All-Star break, but that timeline may be pushed back to August with this setback.

After a hot start to the summer in Arizona, Jose Meza has hit the ground running to begin his time in Single-A. The 21-year-old outfielder has slashed .316/.458/.526 across his first five games with the Quakes. He has a 1.047 OPS in 31 total games this season between rookie ball and Single-A.

Midway through Tommy John surgery rehab when he was drafted in the fourth round last year, Wyatt Crowell made his Single-A debut last week. He had a good outing, striking out four and allowing just one hit across three shutout innings. The 22-year-old left-hander could have a productive future as either a starting pitcher or as a reliever.


Rookie Ball

With the reported promotion of De Paula (as well as two other potential promotions according to Dodgers Daily), some spots could be opening up in Rancho Cucamonga. With De Paula being an outfielder, 18-year-old outfield prospect Eduardo Quintero, who has a .976 OPS with great metrics in Arizona, could be moved up.

If there is a way to fit him in the lineup, then infield prospect Alexander Albertus could also be promoted to Single-A. Albertus, 19, has batted .342 with an 18.9% walk rate in Arizona and plays excellent defense. Top shortstop prospect Joendry Vargas and outfield prospect Jaron Elkins could also be considered.

On the pitching side, one potential candidate for Single-A promotion could be Hyun-Seok Jang, who touched 99 mph on a fastball in his latest start. Jang hasn’t had great overall results, but has a 40.3% strikeout rate in 13 rookie ball innings.

Other pitching options could be Brazilian reliever Kinn Omosako or Venezuelan starter Accimias Morales.

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.