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2022 Branch Rickey Award Winners

On Saturday the Dodgers named their 2022  MiLB Pitcher of the Year and Player of the Year. I expect very few would have been surprised at their selections.



MiLB Pitcher of the Year


It probably is safe to say that when Gavin Stone was drafted by the Dodgers he would not have  been seen as a candidate  for MiLB Pitcher of the Year in his second professional season.  Beyond that, some of us felt he deserved the honor in his first professional season in 2021.

He was selected by the Dodgers in the fifth and final round of the 2020 First-Year Player Draft. He was the penultimate selection in the draft at No.159, one pick before the 160th and final selection. He was rated the 303rd best-prospect in the draft by Baseball America.

Selected before him were pitchers Bobby Miller, Clayton Beeter,  Landon Knack and catcher Carson Taylor. Beeter has since been traded to the Yankees in the Joey Gallo transaction.

It has been suggested that Gavin Stone was selected as an afterthought  by the Dodgers as the second last player to be picked in 2020 and was selected for a relief role.

Following graduation from high school he headed off to the University of Central Arkansas for a three-year college career which he thought could be extended if he was not selected in the reduced 2020 draft. During the 2018 and 2019 seasons he pitched primarily in relief with 2019 being a signature season out of the pen in which he made 20 relief appearances sporting a 1.52 ERA along with a 1.12 WHIP and 58 strikeouts in 47.1 innings pitched. He walked 11.

I expect the Dodgers do very little as an afterthought and they do work to determine if  pitchers can be used in a starting role before strictly assigning them to the pen.

He did transition to starting for the shortened 2020 season in which he made four starts.

The 6’1”/175 lb. right-hander was on track for a banner season posting a 3-1 record and a 1.30 ERA in 27.2 innings along with a 0.76 WHIP. He also struck out 31 and walked six, with teams hitting him at a lowly. 161 clip.

Gavin Stone’s piece de resistance came on his final start of the season on March 6th in which he tossed a complete game no-hitter against Southern Louisiana. He was one walk short of perfection. Following the walk he retired the final 14 batters he faced, including getting his 13th strikeout in the final at bat of the game.

Perhaps that no-hitter sealed the deal for the Dodgers and the rest is history.

Stone started his 2021 season with the Rancho Cucamonga and finished it with the Great Lakes Loons. On the season he posted a combined 3.76 ERA and a WHIP of 1.23. Neither would be overwhelming but his 138 strikeouts and 23 walks over 91 innings pitched were a bit overwhelming, certainly to opposition hitters.

He returned to the Loons to start the 2022 season and moved on to the AA Tulsa Drillers after 25 innings pitched in Great Lakes. On August 19th he started for the OKC Dodgers following 73.1 innings with Tulsa. On the year he has posted a 1.50 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP over 102 innings pitched along with 139 strikeouts and 38 walks.

So why did Gavin Stone slip down to the Dodgers in the 2020 draft? One suggestion is that his size at 6’1”/175 lb. might have caused other teams to overlook him. Another is that his three-quarter arm style delivery keeps hitters off balance to help complement his pitching arsenal, which the Dodgers like.

Now 23, Stone does have a three-pitch arsenal  as described in his No. 7 Prospect ranking and one that can yield strikes with all three pitches.

“Stone went from working with a 90-94 mph fastball as a college starter to averaging 94 mph and touching 98 in his first season as a pro, and his low release point creates induced vertical break that leaves hitters scuffling to get on top of his heater. He barely used a mid-80s changeup with some fade in college but now has a harder, devastating cambio that drops off the table. He has scrapped his downer curveball to focus on a harder mid-80s slider/cutter and is working to add more sweep to help combat right-handers.”


In watching Gavin Stone with the Loons and then the Drillers, I have been impressed with his mound presence. He gets the ball and pitches seemingly saying this is what I have, see if you can hit it, rather than saying I am going to try to exploit your weaknesses and nibble around the edges. He seems to cause difficulty up in the zone with his heat and down in the zone with his breaking pitches.



Player of the Year Diego Cartaya


Catcher Diego Cartaya might just be a unanimous choice for the Dodgers 2022 MiLB Player of the Year award although there are others who may well garner considerable attention.

They signed the Venezuelan catcher as an international prospect during the 2018 signing period. The native of Maracay was considered to be the top rated international prospect by

Here is some information from Cartaya’s prospect page.

“The best overall prospect in this year’s class, Cartaya is a well-rounded player at a premium position with the potential to be a star on both sides of the ball. An advanced hitter, the teenager displays plus contact skills and has been praised for his pitch recognition and feel for the strike zone. He has shown some power to the gaps and is expected to improve on that part of his game as he matures. Cartaya is a below-average runner, but the team that signs him does not expect him to be a threat on the bases. It does hope he follows in the footsteps of Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez, who is also from Venezuela. On defense, Cartaya has a reputation as a great receiver with very good hands. He handles pitchers well and has a high baseball IQ. He moves well behind the plate.”

Cartaya set out in  2019 to secure his position as a top prospect and has not disappointed.

During the 2019 season he played 13 games in the Dominican Summer League before coming stateside. With the then Arizona League Dodgers (Bautista) he suited up for 36 games hitting .296/.353/.437 with a .790 OPS.

As with all MiLB players the 6’3”/219 lb. Cartaya lost his 2020 season to the Covid-19 pandemic.

He played the entire 2021 season with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes but had it limited to 31 games by injury. He hit .298/.409/.614 with a 1.023 OPS. His power stroke emerged as he homered 10 times in those 31 games and drove in 31 runs. His injuries were described as multiple back injuries and a strained hamstring.

As expected with catchers, Cartaya has missed a few games  during the current season but has played in 87 games between the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes and the Great Lakes Loons. He has hit .267/.399/.436 with a .935 OPS. His power numbers continue to rise as he has 22 home runs and driven in 69 runs.

In watching Cartaya, what I have  appreciated most is that he has been a clutch hitter during the current campaign. According to Baseball Reference in 76 at bats with two outs and RISP he has hit .305/.461/.678 with a 1.139 OPS. He has produced five home runs and driven 31  in those 76 at bats.

Diego Cartaya will turn 21 on September 7th. However, when interviewed he comes across as a more experienced player. He is always willing and cordial in his interviews as well as humble.

I appreciated his answers when asked about the trade rumors that he might be involved in a trade for Juan Soto. If the Dodgers are looking for character in players, they too have hit a grand slam in signing this young man.

“I only care about playing,” he recently said of the trade rumors. 

“I don’t really listen to what they say or speculate about me. I know I can play and I just want to play.”

While some find it difficult being involved in trade speculation, Cartaya has tuned out the noise.

“It’s not very hard,” he added. “I don’t think it’s hard. Just go out and play. It’s just a game. Enjoy it. It’s not very hard.”



I also enjoyed his home runs, especially against Blake Snell.







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Jeff Dominique

I think there were several deserving Player of the Year candidates. I have no problem with Cartaya winning it, but the award is not for most promise, but for the best year. Cartaya had a very good year, but was it the best? I know Miguel Vargas won the award last year, but I think he was deserving. Michael Busch would also have been a good choice. James Outman coming out of virtually nowhere to make the ML roster, and go back down to OKC and still produce.

At the very least, Outman is giving the LAD brain trust some optional thinking about Cody Bellinger for 2023.


I watched OKC against El Paso on MLB.TV last night. Pretty impressive offensive performance. 5 homers, Rios, Mann, Vargas, Martin, and Outman. Dalton Rushing had a night at Rancho too. A couple of kid catchers who can rake. Bodes well for the future.

Harold Uhlman

We tend to forget Yeiner Fernandez with the Quakes who has had to compete as catcher with Cartaya and now Rushing. Fernandez is still19.

He is hitting .297/.389/.440 with .829 OPS along with 9 home runs and 61 RBI.

He is kind of small at 5’9″/170 lb.but might have grown quite a bit since his measurements were listed.


5’9” 170?

That’s me! Well, actually 165 now, but it’s all prime choice.

who am I kidding

Well, maple bats should help. Coefficient of restitution of maple bats is E (MPa) = 77.99 -4.38 w (%) (R 2 = 0.94). That could be maple syrup. Not really sure. Mmmm maple syrup. I’m thinking waffles.

Fred Vogel

That is me as well…in high school.


Yogi Berra was 5′ 7″


True. And 185 pounds. Berra was put together.

So was Smokey Burgess. He was 5’8” 185. They both could bench press 250. Ok, I made that up.

Here’s something I bet none of you knew – Berra OPS’d .856 as a 38 year old. Burgess OPS’d .801 as a 39 year old.

Anybody want to guess what Berra’s salary was the year he won his first of 3 MVP’s?

$28,500. Or, $325k in today’s dollars. Beats my best year, that’s for sure.


From Great Lakes to OKC. That’s impressive. He’s 23, so he likely has some maturity. Is he still 175 pounds?

Cartaya is the Crown Jewel, right?

I have been thinking about next year’s outfield. What if Gallo likes it here?

Harold Uhlman

Badger – their weight is always uncertain as it doesnt’t seem to get updated. MiLB, Baseball Reference and Baseball Cube all have him still listed at 175 lb.

Gavin turns 24 on October 15th.

Cartaya seems to be the crown jewel. He is a player and such a fine young man who is very fluent in Spanish and English.

Jeff Dominique

The Travis and Raquel Barbary family had a lot to do with Diego’s English skills. Diego and Chase Barbary his Dodger teammate and son of OKC Manager Travis, became friends. When the pandemic hit, Diego had no place to go. He could not go home to Venezuela. He could not train at the Dodgers Arizona complex. So Chase invited him to come home with him in the Barbary household in South Carolina. This was not new for the Barbary family since Keibert Ruiz was also mentored in the offseason by the Barbary family. This is where both learned English and both became acclimated. Both Diego and Keibert are considered family in the Barbary household.

Here is a good article on that relationship and the genesis.


I recently read that Stone now weighs 195


They can move him to safety.


From Plaschke a few days ago

“Don’t push it

Now that they’ve essentially clinched a division title, their sole focus should be setting up their bullpen, adjusting their rotation and resting their starters in pursuit of Roberts’ promise.

Doing everything possible to win every game possible? Meh.”

I agree.


News from Internet:

The ProspectsLive site is new to me, but this is just a great piece on Pitch Tunneling. In it, they reveal the stat to follow, the “miracle pitch”, and how the Dodgers remain elite.

John Thomas takes a look at the past week in prospects:

Dodgers Prospects Weekly Best: Outman stellar, Miller improves, Harris’ streak, Rushing crushing, Ortiz-Mayr has the stuff, a Doncon note, more

Great Q&A interview (redundant?) with Emmet Sheehan

The Dodgers’ Emmet Sheehan Is a Fast-Rising Pitching Prospect

Eric Stephens at True Blue looks at the impending 40 man crush and reliever return
“Alvarez, easy DFA. Reed, easy DFA. Jackson and Bruihl are non-prospects having bad years, DFA candidates…Almonte might not make it back, 60-day candidate”

Kyle Glaser on the Dodgers Yunior Garcia ($$$)
“Few prospects have been hotter than Dodgers first baseman Yunior Garcia the last five weeks. Garcia, 21, has hit .430/.504/.730 for Low-A Rancho Cucamonga since July 16, the highest batting average and fifth-highest OPS in the minors during that time…”

The great Effectively Wild podcast does a nice segment on the Dodgers:

Effectively Wild Episode 1894: The Indomitable Dodgers

Dodgers top prospect Diego Cartaya and breakthrough performer Gavin Stone are the Branch Rickey Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year.

Mike M: Brighter future: LAD or ATL?

Jay Jaffe: Dodgers because they’re better able to outspend their competition AND have a great farm system

Two fun trades from the Trade Simulator:
The price to acquire Pittsburgh CF Bryan Reynolds will be much lower this offseason than in previous trading seasons. With that in mind, the Dodgers could look to replace Cody Bellinger with Reynolds — that is, if a package like this one, as proposed by beerhunter3000, makes sense to the Pirates.
To Pitt:
Vagas and Pages

To Dodgers

Will a potential ownership change mean that Shohei Ohtani is on the block? If so, what would a team like the Yankees have to give up to get him (albeit for only one year)? LaserShark proposes this haul:
To Yanks

To Angels:
Pereira, Volpe, Vasquez, and Wells

Minor League Moves:
RHP Nick Frasso, acquired from Toronto in the Mitch White trade, has been promoted to Double-A Tulsa. He made two starts for Great Lakes—allowed one earned run in 5.2 innings with 9/0 K/BB. Has an 0.85 ERA overall this year across both A-ball levels in 42.1 IP, with 66/10 K/BB.

RHP Reinaldo De Paula, with a 2.89 ERA and 29/9 K/BB for Rancho this year, moves up to Great Lakes in Frasso’s spot. RHP Jacob Meador, the Dodgers’ 12th round pick, moves up from the ACL to Rancho after a couple of one-inning outings in Arizona.

KEEP your eye on: 
JEFF BELGE. He put together another great outing for the Loons. Belge struck out 2 of the 3 outs he recorded and has 16 strikeouts in his last 18 outs. He has 19 K’s this month to just 2 walks and hasn’t given up a run in his last 5 outings.

Ben Clemens answers a question I never asked, ‘Why don’t soft liners get any respect’

Why Don’t Soft Liners Get Any Respect?

The ludicrously good FutureDodgers Twitter account on the end of the ACL/DSL
All stats will be 100+ PA for hitters, 20+ IP for pitchers unless otherwise noted. A lot of these stats have age context too, which will be noted.

Same Dodgers only list, Samuel Muñoz (146 wRC+), Oswaldo Osorio (146), & Alexander Albertus (143) are now 4-6 on that list respectively. Jeral Perez (131) is 11th. Others in that range: ’18 Andy Pages (3rd), ’16 Oneil Cruz (7th), ’21 Rayne Doncon (8th) & ’18 Eddys Leonard (9th).

Moving over to the pitching side, Mexican lefty Luis Valdez earned a promotion from the DSL to ACL after ten scoreless innings, and his 37/1 K/BB in the ACL was the highest for any pitcher age eighteen or younger in Arizona since 2010, and third highest for any age since 2006. Valdez’s 11.8 K/9 in the ACL is the highest for a Dodger pitcher (18 yrs old or younger) in Arizona since ’06, just beating out ’18 Robinson Ortiz’s mark of 11.7 Valdez’s 0.3 BB/9 is also the lowest for a similarly aged Dodger, moving him ahead of ’16 Dustin May (1.2 BB/9)

Removing the age parameters, 20 year old Dominican righty Carlos Martinez also earned a midseason promotion from the DSL to ACL, and his 14.5 K/9 in the ACL is the third highest for a Dodger since ’06, behind ’21 Octavio Becerra (18.6) and ’19 Daniel Cruz (14.9). Down to the DSL again, Accimias Morales had the second highest K/BB (8.0) for a Dodger pitcher 17 years old or younger since ’06, behind only ’18 Carlos Duran. Spanish lefty Peter Bonilla had the third highest K/9 for a Dodger pitcher 17 or younger, at 10.3, behind only ’08 José Dominguez and ’16 Melvin Jimenez. <Editor’s note: Longenhagen favorite> RHP Reynaldo Yean, who was also promoted midseason from the DSL to the ACL, had the highest K/9 for a Dodger of any age with 20+ IP in the DSL since ’06, at 15.2.

Dan Szymborski looks at POST MVP Bellinger. WARNING: it’s very ugly.

The Bellinger Tolls For the 2019 NL MVP

Ben Clemens Chat:

Farhandrew Zaidman: Joey Gallo – unironically comeback player of the (second half of the) year?

Ben Clemens: oh yeah let’s go, all aboard the Joey Gallo bandwagon! I’m soooooo in on it. It was just so obvious that this would happen. Not to the extent that it has, he’s not gonna keep babiping this much or even slugging this much, but it was just so predictable

Dodgers Fan: Same as Benjamin’s NYY question, playoff rotation for LAD?

Ben Clemens: I’d go Urias/Kershaw/Gonsolin/May, but not really care too much about the ordering. I thikn it’s a BIT too soon to say May is unhittable now but his first start was certainly very encouraging

Porcho Villa: While it has been only a month, have the recent struggles of Bo Bichette and Brandon Lowe changed your perspective on them at all since the trade value series? Bichette perhaps just in an extended slump, albeit bad enough to get him dropped in the order. Lowe’s post-IL stint performance is more worrisome and it seems likely he is playing through injuries.

Ben Clemens: Yeah, I’m not changing my opinion on Lowe too much because I agree, I’m pretty sure he’s hurt. I was worried I had him too high in the ranking, but I was more making a statement about how I think good-bat second basemen have value. I’m definitely very worried about Bichette! That’s the one I lose the most sleep over (to be fair, it’s a many-way tie with 0 sleep lost)

Guest: 3/90 for deGrom seems a little light, considering Scherzer got 3/130 and Bauer got 3/102. deGrom has obviously had more injury issues, but then, he’s also considerably younger than Scherzer and considerably better than Bauer.

Ben Clemens: Yeah… the injuries are definitely worrisome, though. Like, he’s been a LOT less healthy than Scherzer

Last edited 1 year ago by Bluto

Thank you for your work, but that’s a lot of words Bluto. Might take me a while to get through it.

Bellinger. Try this: spread your legs, bend your knees, on the delivery just slightly lift your front foot, turn and throw. Keep it simple. One thing is for certain, you keep doing what you’re doing you will keep getting what you’ve been getting. If van Skyhack and Brown are so damm good why can’t they see the obvious here?

Last edited 1 year ago by Badger
Harold Uhlman

Posted July 7, 2022

I have been following Jeff Belge since he was drafted by the Dodgers, not because he was a high draft pick, but because he epitomizes the desire and will of these young men to pursue the impossible dream of MLB.

Jeff Belge was selected by the Dodgers in the 18th round of the 2019 First-Year Player Draft out of St. John’s University in New York. He had previously been selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 32nd round of the 2016 draft out of Henniger High School in Syracuse.

Belge is currently pitching with the Great Lakes Loons of the Midwest League and had pitched with the Loons both in 2019 and 2021. During his professional debut season in 2019 he was limited to 4.2 innings pitched with the Loons after having spent time with both the Arizona League Dodgers and the Ogden Raptors.

His 2021 season with the Loons was not all he had hoped it would be primarily because of control in which he walked 34 in 43 innings. He did strike out 63.

This year with the Loons, in late inning situations, he has posted a 3.27 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP over 11 innings pitched while walking six and striking out 14. Before a slip in which he gave up two earned runs to the Dayton Dragons on July 4 and recorded no outs, he had given up but two earned runs in his previous 11 innings over nine appearances. Along the way he had two holds and three save in three opportunities.

The 6’5”/225 lb. left-hander has had to persevere to get to where he is now. If we were to meet Jeff Belge we would observe that his right eye is blue and his left eye is green. His eyes tell the story of his commitment to following his dream.
Belge’s right eye — the blue one — has extremely limited vision, only capable of seeing shapes and outlines. It’s been that way since he was 9 years old, when an accident involving skipping stones resulted in one of the rocks piercing into his right eye. The tear required more than a dozen stitches and two surgeries to fix, and resulted in the eye’s color changing from green to blue.

As difficult as it is to believe, disaster struck Belge for the second time in 2015. He again injured the same eye in another freak accident. Goofing around with a friend ended when a finger poked into Belge’s right eye, reopening his initial scar. More than a dozen stitches — again — were required to close the wound, several of which still remain in his eye.

Jeff Belge is legally blind in his right eye. He wears a protective lens for his right eye while pitching and a prescription lens for his left eye.

Hopefully he will make his way to the Tulsa Drillers before the 2022 season ends.
Jeff Belge Video

Jeff Dominique

The MLBPA has taken the necessary steps to begin the unionization process of MiLB players. Below is a synopsis of where the process is at. There is a more detailed report by Evan Drellich and The Athletic. That article is referenced in the below site, but that is a pay site, so I cannot copy and paste it. But if you have a subscription, check it out.

This is an important topic for families of those who have played MiLB. One of the grievances mentioned by Tony Clark was substandard attention to player health and safety”. I know from personal knowledge that is true. During the 2005 season my son was optioned to Syracuse from Toronto. And while with the Blue Jays AAA affiliate, he tore his plantar fascia (not inflamed like Plantar Fasciitis, but tore). There was a long story about what happened, but suffice to say, there was PT but no medical treatment. The team had no idea how hurt he was. He was being “labeled” a malingerer and he finally told the team to go ahead and shoot him up and he will get back out on the field. That is how they do it in MiLB. When he called home to tell us, my wife immediately got on the phone with her nephew who is an orthopedic surgeon who works on professional athletes in KC. He called the team and asked for the MRI and found out that one was not taken. He went off on the doctors and the next day he was sent to Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham.

He was told that not only was his season done, but his career could be as well. He should have been put in a boot the day of the injury. Instead he went without and cannot walk without pain today. He could no longer play like he wanted to and after Spring Training with Seattle in 2006 he called home and said he was done.

This is a kid who PLAYED with two torn meniscuses, a broken hand, a concussion, and multiple other injuries. He was not a malingerer as he was being labeled by the Syracuse staff.

I apologize for personalizing this topic (and there are other stories that I promised I would not tell – ever). Yeah, there needs to be changes. It is not just the pay, which is pitiful.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeff Dominique

As an old fart might think, and I qualify, Stone needs a shave and a haircut.


From The LA Times:

St. John Bosco’s football team is about to go where no high school team has gone — a team-wide name, image and likeness deal that will pay compensation to anyone who wants to participate, according to an announcement by KONGiQ Sports Performance on Monday. It is believed to be the first for a high school.

Payment is believed to be $400 for those who choose to participate”

I wonder if larger shoe deals will be coming?

Private schools. $$$$$

$400. That’s $42.50 in ‘65. Or, 28 trips to the Warner Drive In Theater. $1.50 a car load.

Last edited 1 year ago by Badger
Fred Vogel

From Juan Toribio:

#Dodgers Tony Gonsolin, who was scheduled to start tonight against the Marlins, has just been placed on the 15-day injured list with right forearm strain. Michael Grove starts tonight.

Singing the Blue

Someone tell Badger so he can say “I told you so”.


I wonder if this chiefly is a strategically-timed breather for Gonsolin. It is dated to August 26, but he last pitched on August 23. Dating to August 26 allows him to miss the series with the Mets and two with SD …


Oh crap.

Is it possible they are just resting him? Somebody say yes.

Singing the Blue

A few people have made that guess. My comment in response was that would actually be a positive piece of news so let’s go with it until they announce the date of his surgery.

AF knows how to manipulate the IL. It is possible that he has a very minor situation with his arm and it was the perfect excuse to rest him.

Glass half full – why not?

Jeff Dominique

I will go with that.


Yeah, me too.



Jeff Dominique

I guess that is why Grove did not start last night for OKC. He was the scheduled starter.

Jeff Dominique

The Catman is out, and now Mookie is getting the night off. Per Jack Harris of the LA Times, Dave Roberts decided to rest Mookie rather than having him play four straight days on the artificial turf at the Marlin stadium.

Singing the Blue

They had already announced Mookie’s day off during the game yesterday and it also dovetails with Doc’s strategy of benching his hottest hitter.


Anderson isn’t getting much playoff love but maybe now he might be back in the playoff rotation.

Jeff Dominique

Doc just reported that after talking with the trainers and doctors, and looking at the tests, it is believed that Gonsolin will miss two starts…max.


I’ll believe it when I see it

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