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2024 Great Lakes Loons Watch List After 1st Month

Great Lakes Loons is the High Affiliate of the Dodgers and play in the Midwest League.  After their win on Wednesday, the team is 16-7 and sits atop of the Midwest League East Division by 2.5 games over Lake County Captains (Cleveland).  Great Lakes is tied with Quad Cities River Bandits (KC) for the best record in the League.

Great Lakes has won 8 in a row and their +36 run differential is the best in the Midwest League.

 

Position Players:

Far and away, the best player thus far with Great Lakes is SS Alex Freeland.  Alex is not considered a top prospect in MiLB or with the Dodgers.  His prospect ranking:

  • Baseball America – #25
  • ESPN – #33
  • Fangraphs – #42

Alex Freeland is 22 years old.  He is 6’2” 200 pounds, switch hitting middle infielder.  He was selected in the third round of the 2022 draft out of Central Florida.  He did not have a particularly productive season at Great Lakes in 2023, so maybe repeating A+ to start the season filled him with the confidence he is going to need at AA.  He did have a strong defensive season at SS for Great Lakes.

Freeland was born with a clubfoot and had multiple surgeries as an infant to correct it. His right foot is smaller than his left and he has limited ankle mobility, but he never let it derail his baseball aspirations.

Thus far in 2024, in 91 PA, Freeland is batting .338/.505/.577/1.079, 2 HR, 8 doubles, 1 triple, 17 RBI, 21 BB, 13K 4 SB, 0 CS.  The BB and K numbers are not reversed.

His numbers are good enough to be at or very near the top of the Midwest League leaders in several categories.

  • OBP – #2
  • OPS – #3
  • SLG – #6
  • BA – #8
  • RBI – #6
  • Doubles – Tied #2
  • Walks – #2

Baseball America Scouting Report:

Freeland is a physical, athletic switch-hitter who competes at a high effort level. He’s an aggressive swinger, but he controls the strike zone and shows the potential to hit for average and power from the left side. He has an explosive lefthanded swing and hit .262 with a .740 OPS from the left side last year compared to .149 with a .579 OPS batting righthanded. He has to improve his plate coverage and potentially drop his righthanded swing, but he has the potential to be a fringe-average hitter who reaches double-digit home runs. Freeland is a loose mover at shortstop despite his big, 6-foot-2 frame and below-average speed. He positions himself well with excellent instincts and covers enough ground to stay at the position. He projects to be a steady, average defender with a plus, accurate arm.

 

Baseball America has given Freeland a 45 FV grade with a high risk.

Fangraphs Scouting Report:

Freeland is a viable shortstop defender thanks in part to his fantastic arm, which masks some of his lack of bend and really shines when he has to hurry the turn on a double play ball. While Freeland has all-fields doubles power, his swing is really only geared for low-ball contact, and he swings and misses an awful lot in the strike zone. As a somewhat dangerous switch-hitter and viable defender at every infield spot, there are lots of game situations where Freeland’s skills are helpful and he’s pretty likely to play a sixth infield role down the line.

 

Fangraphs has given Freeland a 35+ FV grade.

Defensively, Freeland has played almost equal number of games at SS (9 games – 67.0 innings), 3B (5 games – 42.0 innings), and 2B (5 games – 45.0 innings).  He has 1 error at SS (30 chances), 1 error at 3B (16 chances), and 0 errors at 2B (16 chances).

 

Dylan Campbell is a 21 year old, 5’ 11” 205 pound, RH hitting OF.  He was drafted as a 4th round compensatory last year from the University of Texas.

Fangraphs was the only publication that has included Dylan as a top prospect, and he was listed as #46.

Fangraphs Scouting Report:

Campbell was a high school infielder who ended up settling in right field during his college career at Texas, where he had a power breakout as a junior (he only played a couple of weeks of pro ball after the draft). The compact Campbell has a minimalistic set-up and swing, with basically no stride and a very short load. He’s a dangerous gap-to-gap hitter with this simple operation, which looks as though he’s using a two-strike approach the whole time, expertly guiding the bat head around the bottom of the zone. Campbell does have trouble with up-and-away fastballs at times, and right field is a tough profile when you don’t have a plus offensive tool. I’d really like to see if Campbell can once again mix an infield position into his defensive duties. If so, he’ll likely hit enough to be a versatile part-time weapon.

In 94 PA – .330/.372/.398/.770 – 3 doubles, 1 HR, 12 RBI, 5 BB, 20 K (21.3%), 7 SB, 1 CS.  The former infielder plays all three OF positions, primarily in RF,  He has 3 assists and 1 error.

For a nonsensical mean nothing comps:

  • Luke Raley was 22 in High A, with numbers – .295/.375/.473/.848 for the year.
  • Kyle Garlick was 24 in High A, with numbers – .306/.367/.551/.918 for the year.
  • DJ Peters was 21 in High A, with numbers – .276/.372/.514/.886 for the year.
  • Cody Thomas was 23 in High A with numbers – .285/.355/.497/.852 for the year.
  • Ryan Ward was 23 in High A with numbers – .278/.352/.524/.876 for the year.

So can Dylan Campbell replicate any of those OF prospects?    If so he can become a nice AAAA player with a decent career.  MiLB players are making more money now, so there is less need to make MLB or move on.  If he improves at AA, his chances of success are greater.  All of those prospects had more HR power than what Dylan appears to have.  I have always been a fan of players from the University of Texas, so I am pulling for him

 

Noah Miller is a glove first switch hitting middle infielder the Dodgers received in a trade with Minnesota for Manuel Margot and Rayne Doncon.  He is an excellent defensive infielder.  He is alternating SS starts with Alex Freeland.  He was a first round compensatory pick in the 2021 draft for the Twins.  He is 21 years old, stands at 5’11” and weighs 190 pounds.

Offensively he is having a very good year compared to prior years.  With 105 PA – .258/.362/.4483/.755, 5 doubles, 5 HR, 19 RBI, 15 BB, 19 K.   His BAbip is .273 so there is room to grow from where he is.

Rankings in the Midwest League:

  • HR – 5 – #2 tie
  • RBI – 19 – #5
  • BB – 15 – #8 tie

He made two prospect list – MLB Pipeline #27, Fangraphs #27

MLB Pipeline Scouting Report:

Miller won a Minor League Gold Glove in 2023 and is equipped to do the same in the Majors. He can make all the plays at shortstop with smooth actions, a strong and accurate arm, soft and reliable hands and an outstanding internal clock. He’s a reliable and spectacular defender who could fit almost anywhere on the diamond if he winds up in a utility role like his brother. 

Though Miller batted just .220/.326/.318 in his first three pro seasons, Los Angeles hopes to unlock more impact by helping him improve his swing and his approach. He’s a switch-hitter with bat speed from both sides of the plate and shows the patience to draw walks, but he makes a lot of soft contact and rarely drives the ball with authority. He’s an average runner with good instincts on the bases.

 

Fangraphs Scouting Report:

When Miller was the 36th overall pick in 2021, there was hope he’d develop enough strength to be an everyday shortstop; the defense and contact components were already in place. That hasn’t happened, and the 21-year-old Miller has had a below-average overall offense performance at every minor league level because he has roughly 30-grade power. He’s still a terrific and precocious shortstop defender with fantastic actions and arm accuracy. A switch-hitter with above-average plate skills and bat-to-ball ability, there’s enough offense here for Miller to be a lower-impact utilityman.

 

Is Miller another Jacob Amaya, or Miguel Rojas?  He is not hitting at the same level as is Alex Freeland, but he is also 1 year 3 months younger.  This is his first year with a OPS > .700, and he is on pace for a 20+ HR season which is > than his previous 3 years combined.  That should give him greater than the 30 power Fangraphs had issues with.  Maybe the Dodgers have tapped into something.  He needs to build on this excellent start.

 

Disappointment – But Way Too Early To Get Negative

 

Thayron Liranzo is a 20 year old, 6’3” 195 pound, switch hitting catcher.  In 73 PA, .159/.274/.333/.607, 5 doubles, 2 HR, 9 BB, 28K (38.3%).  Thayron was signed 01-15-2021 out of San Francisco de Macoris, DR.  He has always been well thought of, but he had a breakout season in 2023:

  • 2023 – Cal League All Star
  • 2023 – MiLB Organizational All Star – Dodgers
  • 2023 – Baseball America Low Class A All Star
  • 2023 – All MiLB Prospect 2nd Team

This year he was a consensus LAD top prospect, and top ten in 4

  • Baseball Prospectus – #4
  • Fangraphs – #4
  • Athletic – #5
  • MLB Pipeline – #10
  • ESPN – #12
  • Baseball America – #12

MLB Pipeline Scouting Report –

 A switch-hitter, Liranzo provides power from both sides and is more consistent with his left-handed stroke, which ranks among the best in the organization. He hits the ball hard and his pull-heavy approach allows him to get a lot of his plus raw power, which he’ll tap into even further as he learns to launch the ball in the air more regularly. His approach will lead to strikeouts, though he offsets his whiffs with a healthy amount of walks. 

Liranzo’s receiving and blocking skills regressed during his U.S. debut in 2022 but improved last summer. He has the hands to become an average or better receiver and moves well behind the plate despite well below-average speed on the bases. He owns at least plus arm strength and will deter the running game even more as he improves his throwing accuracy.

 

Baseball America Scouting Report –

Liranzo has a strong, mature body and above-average power from both sides of the plate. He has a smooth, rhythmic lefthanded swing that punishes balls to all fields. His righthanded swing is stiffer, but he has the strength to hit long drives when he connects. Liranzo has solid strike-zone discipline, but he tends to overswing and will swing and miss in the zone. He projects to be a below-average hitter with above-average power and may need to drop his righthanded swing. Liranzo is a solid receiver and blocker who moves well behind the plate. He has plus arm strength and the ability to throw runners out from multiple arm angles, although his accuracy is inconsistent. He projects to be an average defender overall.

 

Thayron got off to a horrendous start to 2024. He was 0-18 (four games), 1-32 (seven games), and 4-53 over his first 12 games.  His last 4 games he is showing more of what made him an All Star.  He is 6-20, including 3 doubles and 2 HR – .333/.400/.833/1.233.  Still striking out too much.  6 K and 2 BB.  I would bet by the time we look at May and June numbers, we will see a different Thayron Liranzo (but with the Ks).  So while he has not had a good start, he is not coming off my top prospects list.

Others to consider:

Luis Rodriguez is a 21 year old, 6’ 2” 175 pound, RH hitting OF.  Luis was signed ($2,667,500) as an IFA from Quibor, Venezuela on 07-02-2019.  For 2024 in limited play, 48 PA, .333/.417/.452/.869, 1 HR, 2 doubles, 5 BB, 13 K.

 

2021 Baseball America SCOUTING REPORT:

Rodriguez was a lanky, contact-oriented center fielder when he signed, but his game has changed as he’s started to fill out. He’s added weight and strength and started focusing on hitting balls as far as he can with his newfound strength. While his power potential has ticked up to plus, he’s lost his all-fields approach and become a pull-only hitter who is too aggressive at the plate. Rodriguez plays an adequate center field, but his average speed and growing body portend a possible move to a corner. He has the above-average arm strength for right field.

Luis fell out of all LAD top prospect lists after 2021.  His lack of HR power does not bode well for him as a MLB corner OF.  The Dodgers have multiple corner OF prospects with great arms for RF with better outlooks than Rodriguez.  But he is still just too young to give up on.  Perhaps he can continue to develop so as to become a lottery ticket add-on in a trade.

  • Kyle Nevin – 22 year old RH hitting 3B, 11th Round pick in 2022 draft out of Baylor – .282/.371/.400/.771 – Organizational Depth
  • Nick Biddison – 23 year old RH hitting OF, 4th round draft pick in 2022 out of Virginia Tech – .256/.360/.395/.755 – Organizational Depth
  • Chris Newell – 23 year old LH hitting OF, 13th round pick in 2022 out of Virginia, .200/.309/.450/.759, 5 HR (Tied for #2 in Midwest League with Noah Miller) – Baseball America #30 LAD Prospect – Organizational Depth

 

Pitching:

There are some legit pitching prospects at Great Lakes.  However, my favorite and my 2024 darkhorse prospect, Jared Karros, is not named on any of the lists…yet.

The most heralded and highest ranked prospect at Great Lakes is LHSP, Jackson Ferris.  Ferris was a 2nd round pick out of high school in the Cubs 2022 draft.  The Dodgers acquired Ferris with Zyhir Hope in the Michael Busch/Yency Almonte trade this past winter.  He is another of those live arms with minimal command or control.

He was named on the 6 top prospects lists I monitor.

  • MLB Pipeline – #8
  • Baseball America – #9
  • Athletic – #10
  • ESPN – #17
  • Fangraphs – #17
  • Baseball Prospectus – #11 on Cubs list

Ferris has 2 plus pitches (Fastball and curve), and 2 above average pitches (slider and change), with below average control.

Baseball America Scouting Report

Ferris is a tall, projectable lefthander with loud stuff. His fastball sits 93-95 mph with explosive late life that overwhelms hitters in the strike zone. His plus, 74-77 mph curveball is a hammer for which he shows has great touch and feel. He expertly manipulates the shape and velocity of his curveball and is able to neutralize righthanded hitters with it. Ferris added a 79-81 mph slider with power sweep in his first pro season and shows above-average potential with it, though his execution is inconsistent. He rarely throws his average 85-87 mph changeup. Ferris has plenty of stuff, but his complicated, contorted delivery yields below-average control. He has a deep stab in the back, his arm is late at foot strike and he finishes with a notable head whack. His arm action and command are below-average, but his stuff is good enough to beat hitters even when he misses his spot. He held opponents to a .179 average in the Carolina League and allowed only one home run all season.

 

MLB Pipeline is an almost mirror of the above scouting report, except they think his ceiling is a bit higher:

He has frontline-starter ceiling and resembles Blake Snell at the same stage of their careers, albeit with better stuff and a cleaner delivery. 

In five starts in 2024, Ferris has 19.0 IP, 5.68 ERA, 1.79 ERA, 14 BB, 23 K – .267/.385/.360/.745 against.  The Dodgers are going to need to “fix” his delivery so that he can reach that mid to front rotation type pitcher.  They have not accomplished that yet for the next Great Lakes pitching prospect, Maddux Bruns.

 

Maddux Bruns is a 22 year old 6’ 2” 205 pound LHP.  Bruns was a LAD 1st round pick in 2021 out of high school.  Bruns has consistently showcased some of the best “stuff” in the organization, but with horrid control.  He has thrown 148 innings in his brief pro career, and has struck out 200 batters.  That is impressive and indicative just how good his arm is.  But he also has 122 BB in those 148 IP.  That is not acceptable.

In his only start in 2024, Bruns was brilliant in the first inning.  He retired the side with 2 Ks, and threw 11 pitches, with the first 8 all strikes.  The 2nd inning…not so good.  3 BB and 1 hit in 0.1 IP.

Bruns has 3 plus pitches (fastball, curve, slider), and 1 average pitch (change), with 40 control, and this is improved.  He was a consensus selection on the top prospect lists.

  • Baseball America – #10
  • Athletic – #14
  • MLB Pipeline – #15
  • Baseball Prospectus – #16
  • Fangraphs – #18
  • ESPN – #21

 

MLB Pipeline Scouting Report

Bruns throws harder than most left-handers, operating in the mid-90s and topping out at 98 mph with a fastball that’s tough to barrel thanks to its combination of velocity and carry. Both of his breaking pitches grade as well above average at their best, as his upper-70s curveball can be a true hammer and his mid-80s slider features plenty of sweep. His fading mid-80s changeup has the potential to become average, though he doesn’t use it very often. 

Bruns has made some strides with his pitchability, cutting his walk rate from 9.1 per nine innings in his first full pro season to 6.2 in his second, though he’ll need to refine his control much more to remain a starter. Los Angeles has helped him clean up his strong 6-foot-2 frame and his mechanics, having him use a high three-quarters slot rather than the over-the-top delivery he employed in high school. He has the upside of a mid-rotation starter but a greater likelihood of becoming a power reliever.

Baseball America adds: Bruns has matured after frequently melting down on the mound in his first full season, but he still occasionally displays his frustration when his defense makes errors behind him. The Dodgers have worked with him on bouncing back better from adversity.

Fangraphs is putting Bruns in the Jake Diekman mold and role.  That works.

 

Peter Heubeck is another potential starter at Great Lakes.  Heubeck is another 2021 draft pitching prospect.  He is a 21 year old, 6’3”, 170 pounds (yeah skinny) RHP.  He was the LAD 3rd round pick out of high school.  He projects to have a plus curveball, above average fastball and slider, and an average change.  And yes he is another with big strikeouts and poor control.

4 starts in 2024.  14.1 IP, 9 hits, 10 BB, 23K, 0 HR, .176/.311/.196/.507.  Just how good could Heubeck be if he finds a way to minimize those walks.  Peter Heubeck and Nick Nastrini were my two favorite picks in the 2021 draft.  Nastrini is now with CWS and has two MLB starts, although he is now back in AAA.

Heubeck was named in 4 of the top prospect lists:

  • Fangraphs – #15
  • ESPN – #22
  • Baseball America – #27
  • MLB Pipeline – #30

MLB Pipeline Scouting Report:

Heubeck still has a plus downer curveball in the upper 70s, and now he has a solid fastball and slider to go with it. His fastball gained a couple of ticks in velocity in 2023, sitting at 92-95 mph and touching 97 with quality induced break. He added a mid-80s slider last spring and it gets swings and misses from both lefties and righties. 

Heubeck is gaining more feel for his mid-80s changeup as he uses it more often, and it features both fade and sink. Though he has a clean arm action and athletic delivery, he has struggled to harness his upgraded repertoire. He’ll need more time to develop then initially anticipated, but the payoff could be a mid-rotation starter.

Fangraphs adds: Of the many 20-to-22-year-old high-variance pitchers in the org, Heubeck has the best chance to start.

 

And now to my favorite – Jared Karros.  Jared is a 23 year old 6’7” 195 pound RHSP.  He was the LAD 16th round pick of the 2022 draft out of UCLA.  He did not pitch until late in his HS years.  He did not pitch much at UCLA due to injury, and he pitched only 83.2 innings in 2023, although he was good.  He did not come into his professional years with any kind of hype, and with his limited amount of time pitching, he naturally would not be included in any of the top prospect lists.  I think that will change.

He did rank #39 in the expanded BA list.  They commented:

The son of former Dodgers first baseman Eric Karros, Jared posted a 3.44 ERA across the Class A levels in his pro debut. He effectively elevates his 92-94 mph fastball, lands his breaking ball for strikes and shows an advanced feel for pitching.

He has 5 starts for Great Lakes in 2024, including another gem on Wednesday.  He pitched 5.0 innings in each of his starts.  In 25.0 IP, 18 hits, 4 BB, 27 K, 1 HR, .196/.282/.390/.672 batting against.  He has a 2.16 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP.

Where he ranks in the Midwest League:

  • ERA – 2.16 – #4
  • WHIP – 0.88 – #2
  • IP – 25.0 – #5
  • Least walks – 4 – #6
  • BAA – .196 – #7
  • K – 27 – #6

Jared is 23 and even though he has a limited number of IP, I would sure like to see what he could do at AA.

Relievers to follow:

  • Chris Campos – 23 year old RHP, 7th round draft pick from St. Mary’s – 3 games, 9.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.56 WHIP, 2 BB, 12 K
  • Christian Romero – 21 year old RHP, 01-15-2021 IFA from Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, 4 games (2 starts), 15.2 IP, 1.72 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 9 BB, 13 K, 1 HR
  • Kelvin Ramirez – 23 year old RHP, 01-15-2021 IFA from Cumana, Venezuela, 8 games, 12.1 IP, 0.73 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 2 BB, 12 K, 1 HR
  • Christian Suarez – 23 year old LHP, 07-02-2018 IFA from Maracay, Venezuela, 8 games, 12.1 IP, 0.73 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 10 BB, 17 K
  • Jacob Meador – 23 year old RHP, 12th round draft pick from Dallas Baptist – 4 games (all starts), 12.2 IP, 2.84 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 6 BB, 10 K, 1 HR

There is some talent at Great Lakes, primarily pitching.  But this looks to be a 2024 affiliate that will have multiple MLB players, but probably lacking elite talent.  I do not see any All Star position players.  Pitching All Stars…maybe(?).  My big hope is for Noah Miller to continue to develop his offensive skills.

 

MiLB Game SUmmary Reports

 

OKC Baseball Club 9 – Salt Lake City Bees (LAA) 3

The Oklahoma City Baseball Club jumped out to an 8-0 lead on the way to a 9-3 win against the Salt Lake Bees Wednesday afternoon. OKC hit two home runs and held the Bees scoreless in eight of nine innings to even the series, 1-1. Drew Avans led off with a triple for Oklahoma City and scored on a sacrifice fly by Miguel Vargas for a 1-0 lead in the first inning. In the second inning, Chris Owings doubled and later scored on a Bees fielding error for a 2-0 lead, and in the fourth inning, OKC went in front, 4-0, on a two-run home run by Kody Hoese. Oklahoma City (17-12) scored four runs in the fifth inning, with Avans and Vargas hitting back-to-back doubles. Andre Lipcius added a RBI single before Kevin Padlo connected on a two-run home run for an 8-0 OKC lead. The Bees scored all three of their runs in the eighth inning on two hits and OKC tacked on a final run in the bottom of the inning when Vargas reached base on a fielding error.

Dinelson Lamet was one of three LAD affiliate starting pitchers to log 5.0 scoreless IP.  He allowed 3 hits, 3 BB, and registered 7 K.

Blake Treinen had his 4th rehab assignment, and this went much better away from Albuquerque.  1.0 scoreless IP, 1 hit, 1 K.

Ricky Vanasco lost the shutout in the 8th.  After retiring the side in order in the 7th.  Vanasco allowed 3 runs on 2 hits, 2 walks, and 1 HBP without getting an out in the 8th inning.  Michael Flynn relieved Vanasco, allowing a sac fly and registering 2 K to end the inning.

Michael Petersen pitched a perfect 9th with 1 K.

  • Drew Avans – 2-4, 1 BB, 2 runs, double (9), triple (4)
  • Andre Lipcius – 2-4, 1 run, 1 RBI
  • Kevin Padlo – 2-4, 2 runs, 2 RBI, HR (4)
  • Chris Owings – 2-3, 1 BB, 1 run, 2 RBI, 2 doubles (3)
  • Kody Hoese – 1-4, 1 run, 1 RBI, HR (3)
  • Miguel Vargas – 1-4, 1 run, 2 RBI, double (10)

 

Box Score

 

 

Tulsa Drillers 11 – Springfield Cardinals 0

Ben Casparius was the second starter to go 5.1 scoreless innings – 80 pitches (50 strikes).  This was Ben’s best pitched game as Driller over the last 2 years.  He gave up 3 hits, 2 BB, and notched 7 Ks.  Antonio Knowles (1.2 IP), Juan Morillo (1.0 IP), Ben Harris (1.0 IP), completed the shutout without allowing a hit.  They had 1 BB and 4 Ks combined.

The bottom of the batting order gave Tulsa an initial lead in the second inning. Eighth-place hitter Brandon Lewis plated the first run of the game with an RBI single. Ninth-place hitter Bubba Alleyne followed with a drive just inside the right field foul pole for his first homer of the season that gave the Drillers a 3-0 lead.

The lead increased to five runs in the third inning thanks to consecutive run-scoring singles from Yeiner Fernandez and Brendon Davis.

The Drillers made it 6-0 in the fifth when Lolo Sanchez singled home Fernandez.

They added another run in the seventh on Griffin Lockwood-Powell’s solo homer before capping their big day with a four-run eighth inning. The big blow was a towering, three-run homer from Lewis that easily cleared the Budweiser Terrace beyond the left field wall.

Brendon Davis had a 4-hit game.

If I were to say that a team with Austin Gauthier on it, scored 11 runs, on 15 hits and 7 BB, and Austin Gauthier did not reach base in 6 PA, how unbelievable would that sound?

  • Brendon Davis – 4-4, 1 BB, 3 runs, 1 RBI
  • Brandon Lewis – 2-4, 1 BB, 2 runs, 4 RBI
  • Dalton Rushing – 2-3, 2 BB, 1 run
  • Griffin Lockwood-Powell – 2-4, 1 BB, 2 runs, 1 RBI, double (3), HR (3)
  • Yeiner Fernandez – 2-4, 1 BB, 2 runs, 1 RBI
  • Bubba Alleyne – 2-5, 2 runs, 3 RBI, HR (1)

 

Box Score

 

 

Great Lakes Loons 9 – Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Milwaukee) 8

The Great Lakes Loons (16-7) tallied nine runs off 12 hits, enough to get past the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 9-8.  They went up 8-0 and held on.

For the third straight game, Noah Miller hit a homer and drove in three runs. This game, Miller went yard twice, a two-run shot in the first and a solo blast down the right field line in the sixth. The 21-year-old has four home runs in his last three games and is tied for the team lead with Chris Newell at five. Newell started the third inning with a deep fly to center field, his fifth.

Great Lakes scored seven runs through the first five innings. Alex Freeland  roped an RBI double in the second to keep his OPS, top three in the league at 1.079. An error pushed across a run in the fourth. Jared Karros was the third Dodger affiliate starting pitcher to record 5.0 scoreless innings  For his fifth straight start, he went five innings. The right-hander permitted no runs, allowing just three hits.

Entering the bottom of the sixth down 8-0, Wisconsin started a comeback. They tacked on two an RBI single, and a Madison Jeffrey wild pitch. In the seventh, Wisconsin pulled within one rallying back with six consecutive hitters reaching with two outs, five via single.  Jerming Rosario after retiring two of his first three faced was removed after 33 pitches.

The Loons responded with an insurance run in the eighth. Kyle Nevin walked and was moved over by a Chris Newell sac bunt. Dylan Campbell sliced a single to left field, his third hit of the game and first RBI.

Up 9-7, Christian Suarez worked a scoreless bottom of the eighth, working around two walks with two strikeouts. Lucas Wepf was called upon for the ninth, inducing a double play after a leadoff single. Wisconsin’s Terence Doston belted a 2-0 pitch over the right field wall to make it 9-8. After a HBP, Wepf, once again forced a groundball to end the game.

 

Box Score

 

Modesto Nuts (Seattle) 9 – Rancho Cucamonga Quakes 6  

One of my favorites, Payton Martin, finally got his first start of the year.  He is just 19 (turns 20 on 05/19), and he is just learning how to pitch.  The Dodgers are going to be careful with him. He is still primarily a 2-pitch pitcher (fastball and slider), and both are plus pitches.  He is working on the change, but if there is an organization that can help to develop a change, it is the Dodgers.

Sean McClain (SS) playing in his first game of the year, booted the first ball hit to him, and that led to an unearned run in the first. He walked a player in the 2nd and 3rd, but neither scored.  After the BB in the third,  Payton reached 47 pitches and he was pulled.

RC scored a run in the top of the first.  Jeral Perez singled and scored on a Jake Gelof single and fielding error.

Going into the top of the 3rd all tied up at 1, RC put up 4.  With one out, Jeral Perez doubled.  With 2 out, RC got three walks, a WP, a 4th BB, and a Juan Alonso 2-run single.

In the 4th, Jeral Perez singled leading off the inning for his 3rd hit of the game.  Two walks and a fielder’s choice ground out pushed the score to 6-1.

Joseilyn Gonzalez finished up the 3rd, but allowed a run in the 4th.

Modesto scored a 3rd run in the 6th, but broke it open in the 8th.  Jorge Gonzalez, allowed 3 hits and 3 BB before an out was recorded.  Reynaldo Yean relieved Gonzalez.  He unleashed a WP, 2 BB, and a HBP to plate all three inherited runners, and gave the Nuts a 9-6 lead.

In the 9th, Carlos Rojas walked to open the inning.  Kendall George and Jeral Perez both struck out.  Jordan Thompson drew a BB, and that brought the potential tying run to the plate…Jake Gelof.  No 9th inning magic.  He struck out to end the game.

It is hard to win a game when your pitchers walk 13.  But then the Quakes batters walked 11 times.  One has to wonder what was going on with this one.  Was the pitching that bad, or was Angel Hernandez calling the game.

Besides Payton Martin and Sean McClain, Samuel Muñoz made his 2024 debut.

Zyhir Hope and Joe Vetrano went onto the 7-day IL.  Josue De Paula did not play, but he is still not on the IL.

  • Jeral Perez – 3-4, 2 BB, 3 runs, double (8)
  • Jake Gelof – 2-4, 2 BB, 1 run
  • Logan Wagner – 2-3, 1 BB, 1 HBP
  • Kendall George – 2-6

 

Box Score

 

 

 

 

 

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Jeff

Yes, big shout out for Walker. Really hoping he has healed properly and can resume is spot in the rotation. It doesn’t have to be #1. I’d be happy with #3 or even 4 at this point.

YY seems to have pulled himself out of any funk due to his rocky start and rookie year in the MLB. The dude can pitch and looking forward to his progress for years to come.

Our catchers seem to have caught up with themselves this season. Will is on fire, plus he has a much higher Caught Stealing % than ever before. Even Barnesy is starting to hit.

Rojas has started to look like the player that I thought they signed last season. He has always been able to hit decently, not great, as we are seeing this season. He and Pages are helping the bottom of the order become a factor. This is great news.

Let’s hope Shohei begins to start knocking runs in WRISP. If that happens we will win much more than 100 games, guaranteed.

I have not much hope for CT3. We need to prepare for his replacement if there is one.

Dionysus

He just had a good game.

Wally Moonshot

Good. He just increased his trade value.

Oldbear48

Doubtful. He still has one year and an option on his contract. How many teams do you know that want a guy hitting under .100 with 15 million plus owed over the next 2 years? He either gets better, or he gets DFAd.

Wally Moonshot

I was being a bit tongue in cheek, but you’re right. If the Dodgers finally say enough, they’ll be left eating his salary. Another topic— I really enjoy reading your trips down memory lane. Have you written anything on Willie Davis? He was a pretty interesting dude.

Badger

CT second 50 is off to a resounding start. He’s hitting .500 with a 1.250 OPS. I don’t expect him to continue at that pace.

Pages looked better in center but I still prefer him in the corners.

Heyman thinks Jansen to the Dodgers is a possibility.

Buehler may go 5 against Miami.

How many of the A players will make the Majors? I’ll say…. 4. No…3. But not all with us.

2 out of 3 with Atlanta.

Badger

A, A+, A-. A players. Who stays with the Dodgers?

Dave

Is Buehler replacing Knack? I hope not, the Dodgers need 6 starters not 5 starters and a bullpen game. My guess is he will be brought back up after YY’s next start.

Duke Not Snider

Knack was sent down with Feyereisen coming up, but I hope it’s a short stay. An extra starter would help. I assume Buhler will be operating with a pitch count, so he would add labor for the pen.
And certainly Knack has earned more opportunity.
Yoshi seems to be a quick learner. If we put aside his disastrous debut in Seoul, his ERA is under 2.00.
It would be nice if Buhler can get back to ace form. We’ll see…

Phil Jones

Nice win last night. The bottom of the order was 4 for 10 which was nice to see and we treated Montgomery like a rented mule.
*Yamamoto needs a mulligan on that first start in Korea. What a difficult situation to be thrown into for your first start in MLB. I’m sure he was embarrassed by his performance after all the attention, money and hoopla. Since then, he’s showing he’s the real deal. In his 6 starts since, Yamamoto has given up a little over 4 hits per start with only one walk with a 1.64 ERA and only a .203 batting average against. He creates interesting angles on his pitches to opposing hitters, throwing from the glove side of the rubber. His stuff seems run arm side to jam RHB and run away to LHB. I enjoy watching him work hitters and learning how he approaches hitters.
*Joe Davis’ information on the significant of number 18 for a Japanese pitcher was interesting. The staff aces in the 60s in Japan wore 18 and that has stuck around as a tradition. 
*The infield defense looked great which brings me to the decision to keep Mookie at SS. That wouldn’t have been my first choice.
I heard Joe Davis mention that the decision to keep Mookie as the everyday SS moving forward, was Mookie’s idea. The Dodgers acquiesced to his wishes and I’m good with that. He’s playing well at short and getting better. It’s nice to have Freddie over there to serve as a net on any errant throw. 
I had not heard that before, as I previously listened to the D-Backs broadcast for game one, like I do once a series. Miggy, being a team guy, won’t make waves over this stuff. He seems content and comfortable just helping the club and helping Mookie get better. He’s also pretty damn good at 2nd. 
*I certainly remember back in the day when an incumbent in no way would help another player take his job. Rookies and new players to his position would get no help from a veteran. 
*I was initially a little pissed at Joe Davis’ comment about Miggy, stating “any offense you get from him is gravy”.
He hit .236, the last 2 season, all be it with no pop, but he was injured. That thinking, in my mind, has led a number of fans to want to break the bank to find a shortstop via trade. But there are a number of big league teams that would happily take Rojas tomorrow.
Happily, Joe backtracked on that comment after Miggy was 2 for 2 and pointed out that he had some seasons when he hit .282, .290, .284 and .304. In fact, from age 26 to 32, he hit .272/700. “After his injury he got labeled as an all glove, no bat SS. He’s returning to where he’s been throughout his career.”  
Good for Joe correcting himself and showing more respect to Miggy. He’s a huge part of the Dodgers success and chemistry.
*Nice homer by Pages. He is really blossoming into a nice hitter. He has a plus approach for a rookie. So far, he has taken advantage of his opportunity and run with it. He’s making it impossible not to have him in the lineup. I love this kid.
Enjoy the day off everyone.

tedraymond

Excellent post Phil. I had been a Rojas fan on his first go around with the Dodgers and was sad to see him traded. He really blossomed in Miami especially with his hitting. I was disappointed with his offensive output last year. I didn’t know he was injured. So, a nice comeback for Rojas so far this season.

Rojas has help lead the bottom of the order into respectability in the past couple of weeks. Here are some numbers for the last 7 and 15 games:

Rojas – .333 / .250
Pages – .321 / .291
Kiki – .304 / .262
Lux – .188 / .231
Barnes – .188 / .240
CT3* – .188 / .081
*.500 in last 1 game

Excluding CT3, a huge improvement for the bottom 3.
Scott Andes – Are you not entertained? Lol!

Sorry to see Landon Knack sent down. I’m sure he’ll be back in the near future.
It’s kind of funny to me when Knack standing on the mound he looks like a position player who is in there to mop up a blowout game. But, that all changes when he begins his delivery and throws a pitch. He is a good example of not having to throw 98+ to be successful. Nothing flashy. I like it when a prospect comes up and is not afraid to attack the strike zone. They are called up because management believes they have major league ability. It seems to be the case with most of the young Dodger pitchers. I know his last start was delayed due to the bees, but I wanted him to continue for at least another inning or so. Finally gives up a hit and immediately yanked. Disappointed, but kind of understand with the delay.

Again, Pages is currently my can’t miss AB. I love his approach to hitting so far. I’m curious to see how he handles a second turn through the league and how he adjusts to their adjustments.

It should be a fun weekend against the Braves this weekend.

Carry on.

Bumsrap

Knack being optioned is probably just Friedman working the system. It gives them an extra reliever to temporarily replace a starter who would be unavailable for 5 days.

I hope they go with a 6 man rotation once Buehler shows us more.

Singing the Blue

Random thoughts:

Karros – the thing I like best about his future potential is how well he’s done with so little experience as a pitcher. Definitely one to watch going forward.

Yamamoto – I love watching him pitch. When Greinke was here he was my favorite and now it’s YY. Between his ability to command so many pitches, his fielding ability and the way he approaches the game, it’s really fun to watch him ply his trade.

Pages – Andy the Unflappable. Nothing fazes the guy, either on offense or defense. Plays the game as though he’s been a major leaguer for years.

Knack – must have been tough for him to hear he was going back to OKC, but probably not a huge surprise. There are always injuries to pitchers, so he shouldn’t plan on being away too long.

Buehler – I’m not expecting great results from him this year. I very much hope I’m wrong.

Last edited 15 days ago by Singing the Blue
Bumsrap

Even more impressive would be if Pages can handle some failure as well as Outman did after his hot start last year. Vargas apparently shrunk some from his hitting woes. Baseball is 90% mental and 50% physical or something like that.

Singing the Blue

Thanks Yogi.
And you’re right, his big test will be to see how he handles failure.

Bumsrap

Carlos Santana, Twins first baseman, is 38 and is off to a slow start hitting below .200. The Twins could use a first baseman. I mention this because I would love to trade for Royce Lewis, 3b and 24 years old. They have 25 year old Jose Mirandaat third due to Lewis’ injuries and he is doing well.

Trading for Lewis could help the Dodgers get younger and maybe better defensively and offensively. He hits from the right side.

Is there a Dodger offer the Twins couldn’t refuse?

Dave

Tell them you’ll throw in a new guitar for Santana in the deal!

Singing the Blue

If the Twins are looking for equal value, we’d have to give them a player who is only able to play a few games a year. The Angels should offer them Trout, straight up. Of course the Twins would never take on that salary.

Buxton hurt himself again last night. Think of what they might have gotten for him 2 or 3 years ago. Maybe that would encourage them to trade Lewis for slightly under market value………………….but I doubt it.

Lots of us here are gaga over Royce, but maybe we should be careful what we wish for.

Oldbear48

Lewis is on the IL for the 5th consecutive season and has not played since the first game of the year. He has a severe quad strain. Why would the Dodgers trade for a guy who probably won’t play until late in the season, and then only after a rehab assignment. And why would they trade for a player, like him or Buxton, who is obviously injury prone. I have seen guys on this and other blogs complaining about former Dodgers who had that kind of history. No thank you. We do not need the Walking Wounded.

Oldbear48

I try to watch some of the minor league games. The quality of the video is pretty bad, and the sound isn’t very good either. But just watching some of these kids play, you know they have talent and the Dodger system is in good hands.

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