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Heeee’s Baaack

Walker Buehler last pitched June 10, 2022.  That was 696 days ago.  I do not believe anyone being honest thought that Buehler would pitch as the 2021 Walker Buehler. And he didn’t.  Although he showed signs that he looks as if he will get there. It was just great to see him back out on the bump.

16 pitches to the first two batters.  He got 2 strikes but just could not get that 3rd one.  Honestly, did anyone really believe he would have that command with that adrenaline right out the gate?  After the game, even Buehler admitted that getting those last strikes is one of the last components of making it back.

The HR he gave up in the 2nd, but Andy Pages makes that catch in July/August.

It started to come together in the 3rd and 4th.  He mentioned after the game that he “super tired”.

Dotting the bottom of the outside corner on Nick Fortes in the 2nd for his first K was a great sign.  He then came back in the 3rd with strikeouts with Jake Burger and Josh Bell.

He got Nick Gordon on strikes in the 4th.  After 49 pitches in the 1st two innings, it took 28 pitches in the next two innings, and he admitted he was tired.  It was a good time to bring out Ryan Yarbrough for the 5th.  Yarbrough is at 30.0 IP.   He has a 2.70 ERA and a 0.70 WHIP.

Blake Treinen went back to back and got the same results.  3 batters up, 3 batters out.  His slider is looking as nasty as his pre-surgery slider.

Alex Vesia has not allowed an earned run since April 10 (10 games).  He pitched a perfect 9th inning for his first save.

Offense was provided by 2-run HRs from Shohei Ohtani, James Outman, and solo HRs from Freddie Freeman, and Teoscar Hernández.

Tuesday, Yoshinobu Yamamoto tries to add on to his scoreless streak of 15.1 IP.

Doc has said that Walker will be back out on the mound on Sunday in San Diego.

 

 

ARIZONA COMPLEX LEAGUE PREVIEW

 

The Arizona Complex League is going to be different this year.  It runs from May 4 through July 25.

The MLB Draft will run from July 14 to July 16 and newly-drafted players are not required to sign until August 1.  So unlike years in the past, the current year draft picks will not start in the 2024 ACL.  What is the thinking behind this switch?

According to Baseball America’s JJ Cooper, it is because of the reduction of minor leaguers allowed in an organization playing in the United States from 180 to 165. With 15 fewer slots available for minor leaguers, teams feared that they wouldn’t have enough pitching after the draft to play even the half season that the complex leagues play. Pitchers in the complex leagues rarely pitch more than two innings at a time and many newly-drafted pitchers often get shut down after having carried big workloads in college or high school. Since some pitchers will have to be released at the draft to make way for new ones, there will be far fewer arms available to eat up those innings.

The draftees will still report to Glendale, if they are not assigned directly to RC, and it will take the look more akin to extended ST like games.  They will have exhibition games between teams in Arizona.

I heartily acknowledge that it is difficult to project prospects from 18-20 year olds playing rookie ball.  Last year’s LAD Dominican Summer League players were very good.  LAD DSL Bautista had the best overall record in the League, and won the DSL Championship.  LAD DSL Mesa had the 5th best record in the League, but lost in the Quarterfinals in the Playoffs.

I mention this because those 2023 LAD DSL stars are now on the Dodgers Rookie team in the  Arizona Complex League.  They will combine with nine 2023 draft picks to form what should be a very formidable Rookie League team.  There will be some 2022 draft holdovers and some UDFA.

ACL Dodgers started Saturday, May 4 vs Milwaukee’s ACL team where the Dodgers prevailed 9-2.  Christian Zazueta was the bulk pitcher in this one.  He went 4.0 IP allowing 1 run, 3 hits, 0 walks, and 3 K.  If you do not recall, Zazueta was the lottery ticket the Dodgers received in the Caleb Ferguson trade to NYY.

Who are some of the key personnel on the LAD ACL roster?

The nine 2023 draftees on the roster:

  • Brady Smith – RHP – 3rd round – Full season IL
  • Bryan Gonzalez – SS – 6th round
  • Jaron Elkins – OF – 8th round
  • Ryan Brown – RHP – 9th round – 60 day IL
  • Carson Hobbs – RHP – 11th round
  • Alex Makarewich – RHP – 13th round
  • Luke Fox – LHP – 17th round
  • Sterling Patick – LHP – 18th round
  • Spencer Green – RHP – Full Season IL

Luke Fox will make his first appearance after recovering from TJ surgery.

Who (in my opinion) will be key personnel to watch over the next 2 ½ months?

Pitchers:

  • LHP Moises Brito – 21, Bani, DR, Dodgers received Brito from Toronto in the Mitch White trade. Yes the Dodgers also got Nick Frasso in that deal.  Briot is someone to watch independent of Frasso.
  • RHP Hyun-Seok Jang – 20, Changwon, Republic of Korea
  • RHP Accimias Morales – 19 – Maracay, Venezuela
  • RHP Ben Serunkuma – 22 – Kiwoku, Uganda – I have no idea how good he will be. The odds are stacked against him big time, but you have to root for a player from Uganda.
  • RHP Jesus Tillero – 18, Coro Venezuela
  • Christian Zazueta – 19, Navojoa, SO, Mexico

Catchers:

  • Victor Rodrigues – 19, Maracay, Venezuela, Played in DSL and ACL last year – 176 PA – .268/.398/.373/.771 – 31 BB, 24 K
  • Angel Diaz – 20, Maracay, Venezuela – Last year DSL – 117 PA – .353/.457/.586/1.043 – 23 BB, 21 K

Infielders:

  • Alexander Albertus – 19, Oranjestad, Aruba – Last year DSL and ACL – .310/.471/.468/.939 – 38 BB, 19 K
  • Oswaldo Osorio – 19, San Felipe, Venezuela – This is his 2nd year at ACL. He also played 3 games this year at Rancho – 3-9, double, HR, 2 BB, 5 K
  • Eduardo Guerrero – 19, Maracaibo, Venezuela – He was 2-3 with a triple in his 1st game
  • Easton Shelton – 18, UDFA from Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas, NV – He was 3-3, 1 BB, 3 RBI, double in his 1st
  • Joendry Vargas – 18, Santo Domingo, DR, Last year at DSL, 208 PA – .328/.423/.529/.952 – Big things are expected. In the revised Baseball America Top 30 LAD prospects, Joendry has moved from #18 to #5.  I suspect we will see Vargas in RC at some point this year.

Outfield:

  • Eduardo Quintero – 18, Ocumare del Tuy, Venezuela, Last year at DSL, 212 PA – .359/.472/.618/1.090
  • Jaron Elkins – 19, 8th round draft pick 2023 draft, Tennessee High School (You just know Marty Lamb knows about this kid).

 

Game 1 – LAD 9 – Milwaukee 2

  • Alexander Albertus – 2-5, 2 doubles, 1 run, 2 RBI
  • Eduardo Guerrero – 2-3, SF, 2 RBI
  • Victor Rodrigues – 2-3, 2 BB, 1 run, 1 RBI
  • Mairoshendrick Martinus – double
  • Cameron Decker – double
  • Christian Zazueta – 4.0 IP, 1 run, 3 Hits, 0 BB, 3 K

 

Game 2 – LAD 3 – Cleveland 1 – 7 innings

Hyun-Seok Jang was making his professional debut and pitched very well.  He went the first two innings without allowing a baserunner and striking out 3.  4 relievers allowed 1 unearned run and 1 hit over the next 7 innings.

Eduardo Quintero led off the bottom of the first with a single.  After 1 out, Alexander Albertus hit a 2-run HR.

In the 5th, Nicolas Perez was HBP and stole 2nd.  He went to 3rd on an Albertus single, and scored on a Jose Meza SF.

  • Alexander Albertus – 2-2, 1 BB, 1 run, 2 RBI, HR (1)
  • Angel Diaz – 1-3, double (1)

 

Box Score

 

 

 

 

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Bluto

I am a sucker for alliterative names, so Albertus amd Osorio are my faves.

Duke Not Snider

And Mairoshendrick?

Oldbear48

Buehler looked a lot better after the second inning. It was just great seeing him back on a mound. Anyone worried about his velo can relax. He got up to 97 on several pitches and was averaging 96.6 on his heater. Ohtani is a certified beast. Nice to see Outman tag one.

Duke Not Snider

Ditto all of that. Outman needed that one. Also another nice outing from Yarbrough.
Buehler’s return will limit opportunities for Knack and others. I’m especially intrigued by Hyun-il Choi, who recently threw six no-hit innings in OKC. He was the Dodgers ML Pitcher of the Year in ’21, then got hurt and kind of fell out of the conversation, but six innings of no-hit ball merits some talk.
Rotation is now Glasnow, Yamamoto, Buehler, Paxton and Stone. When will Bobby Miller return? And of course we expect Kersh later on. And May too, I think….And of course there will be more injuries along the way…

Mookie really seems to be settling in at SS. While I keep hoping that Outman and Lux get more opportunities to hit against lefties, Roberts seems increasingly committed to platoons. Max hits 3 HRs–and the next day, with a lefty on the mound, Kike is playing 3rd, and Taylor and Rojas are in for Outman and Lux.

Funny, but I just now remembered that Roberts gave Trayce Thompson a start after his 3-HR game. He joked about it being a new rule–hit 3 HRs and you start the next day. Did not apply to Max.

Sam Oyed

Unfortunately for Thompson it was all down hill from there. Maybe Roberts didn’t want Max to have the same fate.

Dionysus

There are really no healthy others after Knack and Knack is perfectly cast as an understudy. The world needs ditch-diggers too.

Last edited 10 days ago by Dionysus
Oldbear48

Well, he might have gotten the start had it been any other lefty except Freid. Probably would sit against Snell too. Max has hit lefty’s pretty good when he is healthy. The two years since his injury, not so much. His career BA is just 5 points lower against LHP than right, and his OPS is above .800 against LHP. He has hit 53 bombs against LHP and let’s remember how he took Bumgarner deep. He gets really hot, Doc will have no choice, especially come playoff time.

Dionysus

Great stuff, thanks

Bklyn2LA57

Does anyone hit the ball harder than Ohtani? The “it sounded like a shotgun” call was priceless. Even the single to right was hit like a bullet.

Badger

Not surprisingly I see it a bit differently.

Walker Buehler isn’t back yet.

3 earned in only 4 innings against the 29th ranked offense in MLB. Plus an error in the field. I predicted less than 5 as his tuneups in MiLB didn’t quite show he was ready. But he is here now and I expect after a couple more starts he will settle in.

Another win, and impressive bombs by Ohtani and Outman. Hopefully Outman will now find some grass with his contract. Team 0 for 4 WRISP is notable.

Mookie looks good fielding but many of his throws still challenge Freeman. Pages could have, maybe should have, caught that home run. Replay showed about a 12” vertical, leaving him about 3”” short. Bullpen looked good, but again, that Miami offense is very weak.

Interesting write up on lower case prospects Jeff. It would appear several are worthy of promotions. Diaz, Jang and Vargas are players I expect to move up quickly. I’m sure there will be one or two surprises in there.

Bumsrap

I thought the Marlins hit good fastballs that were in difficult locations because they were sitting on the fastball. Pages should have caught the home run and obviously Buehler should have caught the toss from Freeman. Overall, I thought it was a good first outing for Buehler.

Outman almost had a second home run but he pulled it just foul and then was called out on strikes on a pitch that was embarrassing for the umpire because it was so low. Outman, like Muncy, need to go the other way on outside pitches.

Badger

I’m encouraged by Outman’s at bats. Yes, he got hosed on that call. All called third strikes should be reviewable.

Buehler will get there but I would caution him throwing 98 at this time. No need for that now. Spot 95 and use sliders, change ups, and a 92 mph 2 seamer to left and right edges ala Hershiser. This was your second TJ. The team will need you in October and that is a long way off.

Lipcius, Gauthier and Ward would all probably be better than Taylor. Still time to decide of course but those guys are performing in leagues that supply players to the bigs. And, there is Miguel Vargas. He’s doing it again at AAA. The Dodgers appear to have minor league players ready to play in the bigs and that is of course good news. In the heat of summer there could be a strained Rapeziuz or Rhomboid muscle (R&R) that would require 15 days or so of recovery time.

It sure looks good for this team at this time with a lot of .500 or less teams coming up on the schedule.

Last edited 10 days ago by Badger
Bumsrap

As ramped up as Buehler was he probably couldn’t pitch a ball less than 97.

Duke Not Snider

We have found Pages’s weakness: Crappy vertical.
Outman has been dogged by some bad luck this season, including bad calls…
Loved the news that Gauthier has been promoted to OKC. His progress from undrafted free agent to Triple A has been impressive. If he continues to get on base and show competence at multiple positions, he could be an option if Kike or Taylor get hurt.
And if Mookie is indeed ensconced at SS, Gauthier could even compete for the 2B job if Lux continues to underperform.

Badger

“Not excellent, not elite, not outstanding, not even very good”…

So not Walker Buehler.

Not yet anyway.

I guess I worry more about re-injury than others.

Duke Not Snider

Pretty high bar there. Do you really expect “elite” in a player’s first performance in two years?
Buehler is back. With Glasnow and Yoshi cooking, he slots as a mid-rotation guy next to Paxton. Stone is now the 5th starter, with Knack as an option from OKC, and Bobby Miller due back from the IL at some point. (Will the Dodgers go to a six-man rotation?) And we should see Kershaw after the all-star break, and maybe Dustin May too.

Badger

Of course I don’t “expect” it. And I said exactly that before the game. I was speaking more about him being ready. I don’t think he was, said so, and in my opinion he proved me right.

Buehler is in the rotation. So, if that’s all it takes, he’s back.

Last edited 9 days ago by Badger
Phil Jones

*Thanks Jeff for the information in the ACL. Nice to keep up with the changes.
*I was so pleased to see Beuhler back. Like Yamamoto in Korea, I’m sure there was some nervousness after almost 700 days on the shelf, and all the questions about his ability to come back from a 2nd TJ. There was a lot to like about his performance starting with his fastball velocity. He got better and his 3rd and 4th innings. The question will be how he feels today. I hope all is good. The next steps will be knocking off the rust and finding his out-pitch.
He’s obviously filled out a bit. I’m not sure he can fit into those same bun-hugger pants he used to.
*Muncy has worked his ass off to be a better defender. And he’s made some eye-popping backhand picks lately. He’s never going to be Nolan Arenado but he’s playing the best defense of his career.  
*Lux needs to do the same hard work. Is he spending the time that Mookie does with Miggie Ro learning subtle things about second base? While he seems to have solved his throwing issues with a different transfer that looks very confident, he just doesn’t show great feet around second base. It shows up with his one pivot at 2nd on double plays and on his tagging of runners. Again he doesn’t move his feet well.  
If Lux straddles the base on Chisholm’s steal, in the1st, Will’s throw had a chance. But Lux takes every throw to second with both feet in front of the bag; every time, to varying degrees. 
The trick is to position yourself initially so if the throw is good, you step back with the left foot to straddle the base, while letting the ball travel that extra 18 inches, and pop tag.  
Lux always gets both feet in front of the bag and has to catch and reach for the runners. Sometime he’s a couple of feet in front of the bag, having to reach for the ball and making a long sweep tag, turning a good throw into a poor one. The ball obviously travels faster than a sweep tag.
At best Lux is an adequate defender at 2nd and needs to hit to earn his keep. 
I’m a hard grader on infield mechanics (move your feet) but he can improve on little things that matter.

Bluto

+1

i would only add that adding value to the transaction reports, like what you are doing here, is really appreciated by me (and hopefully others.)

Bobby

Is Osorio a 3b as well, and how good of a prospect is he?

Bluto

Rough outings for some of our pitching prospects:

Payton Martin today: 2.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K.

At least it appears he’s healthy?!?

Ronan Kopp. 0 innings, 5 walks, 3SBs

Wrobleski 3ER, 7 hits in 5.2 IP. His ERA (FWIW) is nearing 5.0

OTOH:

J Karros today: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K. Wonder if he will also be promoted soon ala Casaprius.

Oldbear48

Toribo reported on the Dodger site today that Heyward could be back as early as this weekend with the Padres, or when they play the Giants next week. Most likely candidate to go down???? Outman.

Therealten

Have to agree with you on Heyward. The way most are talking Heyward is a guarantee. He is one year removed from being designated. He started slow this year. He plays good defense which we have. The offense we shall c.

Bluto

i think there’s a zero chance of Hayward being moved or cut, I would have thought you were joking! 🙃

that said, I think the case could be made that Taylor is reaching Carl Crawford status.

OhioDodger

Taylor and Heyward will get at least until the middle of June and possibly longer. If they aren’t cutting it, some moves may be made at the deadline. Outman is probably headed back to OKC.

Duke Not Snider

In defense of older players, how about that much-traveled 35-year-old Kevin Pillar?
I was really happy when the Dodgers got him a couple seasons back, but he was quickly hurt. Bummer. Great defender, OK bat.
He recently was released by the White Sox, his 8th team, and the woeful Angels quickly became his 9th team.
And he arrived with a Mike Trout impersonation: two HRs and a double, with 6 RBI and 2 runs scored….
I’m rooting for Outman, but I do expect he’ll see some more time in OKC. This kind of sucks, but the brass seem committed to Taylor and Heyward.
Perhaps the brass can find a trade partner for Taylor provided that the Dodgers cover most of his salary. AF has been creative at times.

OhioDodger

Would have to be a wizard to get anything for Taylor. Best scenario is to trade bad contracts.

OhioDodger

I was not on board with resigning Heyward. However, we have to wait and see what he does when he gets back to make conclusions.

Bluto

I agree with this. Id add Kike to the same category. Why not let Vargas have that role?

I find my curiosity compounded because of Friedman’s pedigree in Tampa.

A head-scratchet indeed. Would love to get some info on the philosophy.

dodgerpatch

What does “difference maker” even mean? I don’t think Heyward was ever expected to be a difference maker. They signed him because he filled a role and was a high character veteran… and AF likes high character veterans … which is a good thing.

Ohtani is a “difference maker” (one you were vehemently opposed to signing, BTW).

All of you reactive types that crawl out of the woodwork and say you always opposed the Heyward signing, that’s easy to do now because Pages is playing well in an extremely small sample size, but in the off season, when Pages was just a prospect coming off a shoulder injury, Heyward was a no-brainer signing.

Yes, the Dodgers are old. That issue should work itself out next year when Heyward moves on and Teoscar signs for big $$$ someplace else. In an ideal world, Pages is the real deal and sticks in right, Outman figures things out and stays in center, and some combination of CT3 or maybe even Vargas (if he learns to play defense) in left. There’s your controllable youth for the foreseeable future.

In the meantime, Outman will probably have to go down … for now … and I’m sure Mark will crow non-stop because he’s egotistically invested in seeing him fail, but that doesn’t mean that Heyward was a bad signing.

Bluto

Not sure about all this Jeff.

First, the Dodgers ARE the 2nd oldest, but the difference from the lower third is but 2 years. That’s pretty inconsequential. And they have a top farm system, so if you look holistically it’s not an issue.

Second, who beyond Kike and/or CT would you replace with a younger player? (I still think Taylor could go this season.) Kershaw? Come on.

Third, Friedman. He’s pretty much the best POBO/GM in baseball. We know this because his peers proclaiming him the best in MLB, period.

Regular Season and playoffs.

Whom is better? Nobody has won more Championships than him for a decade (wait. didn’t Houston move on?) Nobody has made the playoffs as much. I mean maybe Dombrowski? But his burn the fields style makes it a question (to me at least)

Finally, why do you think the Dodgers will sign another high-priced OF?

Last edited 9 days ago by Bluto
dodgerpatch

“…so if you look holistically…”

Yeah, that’s the key here.

I think we’ve been watching AF long enough to understand what his overall strategy is. He uses multiple tools. The Dodgers have really made the player development system into a machine, not necessarily one that produces superstars, but one that consistently produces value, value that can either fill holes in the roster or be packaged to acquire value in trades. It’s a supplement to the Dodgers using the financial advantage to get the superstars – the true superstars.

dodgerpatch

Good grief! I wasn’t necessarily singling you out as the reactive worst offender but was opining more on the trend I see here, but you personalizing things with that last paragraph was pretty emotionally reactive, no?

Why are you and others suddenly so upset about Jason Heyward? Remember, the only reason … ONLY REASON … we’re even having this discussion/angry argument about Jason Heyward and AF’s allegedly poor historical management of the organization is because Andy Pages has come out of nowhere and forced the issue. Pages wasn’t even a glint in the most optimistic Dodger prospect watcher’s eye in the Winter when Heyward was signed.

If Pages is hitting .260 in AAA and Heyward is hitting .260, is healthy and playing good D, we aren’t having this discussion, and you and others would have absolutely no problem with Heyward being on the team.

If you didn’t like the Heyward signing, then what would you have done? He was too expensive at 8 mil? There are other “high character” players who would have been cheaper? Like who? I didn’t realize that High Character was this fungible commodity that could be bartered for on the open market.

“Why did the Dodgers pay 8 mil to Heyward when they could have gotten Player B with 85% of his character for 5 mil?”

It’s a strange argument.

Heyward was on the team last year. He played pretty well. By all accounts he was a great clubhouse presence and the team really liked him. He filled a need for a good veteran defensive right fielder who hit against right handers. So what’s the problem? Again, it was a no-brainer signing. I mean, it’s a one year deal.

And are you really going to knock the Dodger player development system? Is that really the hill you want to die on? Because, by nearly every metric and by all accounts, the Dodgers are outstanding relative to their draft position year after year. Are they the Orioles? No. But they also didn’t suck to get good draft picks. Draft position matters, and the Dodgers are consistently a 5-10 farm system in spite of picking last in each round year after year.

The rest of your comment is just a little rambling. No, I don’t mean CT3 as an example of youth. If Vargas is even half of what Mark hypes him up to be every single day and he can play passable left field defense, then sure.

And your worries about the pitchers? I’m not even quite sure what your point was. Are you saying that AF is to blame for several of the Dodger pitcher prospects being injured? That there is mismanagement of the pitcher development system? If you’re making that argument as part of some larger point about AF’s flaws as a GM, that’s a stretch. Creative, but a stretch.

Bobby

Tanner Scott would be nice to have for October

Duke Not Snider

In alumni news, I hope everyone noticed that Michael Busch hit a walk-off for the Cubs. He may be Pages’s top rival for ROY.
Check that: Both Yamamoto and Imanaga are technically rookies. I think Buehler was right: There should be a separate Rookie Pitcher of the Year Award.
It would be interesting to see the Dodgers’ internal analytics. We can look up a lot of stats these days, but the Dodgers must have richer detail.
My question: Just how unlucky has Outman been?
BABIP suggests that there has been some bad luck. Outman’s batting average on balls in play is .211, about 90 points below the major league average. This seems especially low for a runner as fast as Outman. (His foot speed is at 89th percentile per Statcast; his hard-hit and barrel rates are average. Oddly, his “sweet spot” is at 83, but his exit velocity of 88.3 mph is only 40,)
Something else to consider: BABIP doesn’t factor in the luck of bad calls by the ump, or the line drive that goes foul by an inch. Does the Dodgers analytics staff calculate that stuff?

dodgerpatch

I think you answered your own question with that BABIP stat. Yes, most definitely he has been unlucky, and maybe even more so than that stat indicates.

BABIP’s kind of weird. It’s based around a league average of .300. So, if you’re above that, it’s assumed you’re lucky.

But is there individual variability? Outman’s BABIP last year was around .340. Was he lucky? If you look at the his entire minor league career, it’s always been well above .300. Last year was about in line with his minor league career BABIP, so you could argue that he has been especially unlucky this year.

Badger

BAPIP is a fun stat but you’re right, luck can play in that stat. Last night, Muncy broke his bat and got a double out of it.

I’ve always been more interested in barrels and hard hit % as I was taught hit the ball hard (line drives) and everything else will fall into place. Worked for me and also worked for those I coached. 1. get a good pitch to hit. 2. hit it hard.

Last edited 9 days ago by Badger
dodgerpatch

You’re right about barrels and whatnot. All really BABIP is useful for as a tool is giving you a clue as to whether a player is getting lucky and if his current performance is likely to revert to the mean. Even then, it ain’t perfect.

Jeff

Perhaps you could recommend an astrologer to him. I’m sure his stars got crossed somewhere around late last season. 😀
With Vargas breathing down his neck and Heyward coming online, his days may be numbered. Taylor may be kept around for insurance against injury since we are doing well enough that we can afford a couple on unproductive players on the fringe.

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