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James Outman and Max Muncy Put On a Show

First off, I have been hard on Alex Vesia this season, so when he does well, I have to give him credit.  Not only did he have to face the Cubs batters, but he had to battle the umpire as well.  Check out Ball 3 and Ball 4 below.

 

 

 

However, after a double steal, he got out of the inning without allowing anything, getting Patrick Wisdom to pop out and striking out the ultra bat to ball hitter, Nick Madrigal.  Madrigal was striking out at a rate of 2.7% before the game.  This was Alex’s best game of the year.  Alex has been a vital and integral part of the bullpen for the past two seasons, so hopefully this game gets him back on track.  Good for Alex!!!

Dustin May had a good bounce back game.  5.1 IP and after a 27 pitch 1st inning he settled down.  The key to the first inning was the three pitch strikeout of Cody Bellinger.  The second run was set up by the HBP and an Eric Hosmer drive to right center that James Outman almost made an improbable catch.

Dustin was wild with 3 BB and an HBP which added to his pitch count.  But his 6 strikeouts was a season high. For a pitcher with as much movement on his pitches that he has, he does not get a lot of chase.  His K rate is in the 11th percentile.  His whiff rate is in the 5th percentile.  And his chase rate is in the 47th percentile.  6 strikeouts in 5.1 IP was good to see.  After 96 pitches, and a runner on 1st, Dustin gave way to LHRP Vesia to face LHH Cody Bellinger who he walked (according o the umpire).  He got Wisdom and Madrigal to end the threat.

Yency Almonte still has work to do.  He gave up a 2-run bomb to Nico Hoerner in th4e 7th.  His ERA is now up to 7.56 with a whip of 2.16.  This was Yency’s 10th game of the season (8.1 IP).

Caleb Ferguson entered into the 8th, and he is getting better and better on the bump.  He did allow the one hit in what was a 6-4 game at the time.  But he did not give up a run.  The Patrick Wisdom AB was one of the best I have seen all season.

 

While strike 3 may have been border line, strikes 1 and 2 had such late break that fooled Wisdom into chases.  Great effort by Caleb.

Shelby Miller pitched another solid inning in relief to close it out.  He retired the side in order with 2 Ks.  15 pitches/10 strikes.

After a disastrous bullpen in Friday’s game, the bullpen was much better in this one (save the Almonte 2-run HR).

The James and Max show is getting very entertaining.  James goes yard, and Max has to follow.  Then Max hits a 2 run shot, and James had to match that.  In the three games, the Dodgers have scored 15 runs.  There have been 14 RBIs, and James (9) and Max (4) have accounted for 13 of the 14 RBIs.  Besides the HRs, James had a run scoring single.  On the day, Outman went 4-5, 2 HRs, and 4 RBIs.

Since Muncy’s horrendous start, he has been extraordinary.  In the last 11 games:

  • 45 PA
  • 34 AB
  • 13 H
  • 9 HR
  • 17 RBI
  • 11 BB
  • 11 K
  • 40 TB
  • .382/.533/.1176/1.710

 

That is as an impressive 11 game run that I can remember. Although I am sure he will, he does not give the impression that he will struggle for a sustained period of time.

OTOH, James has remained fairly consistent throughout the season.  He has failed to reach 1B only twice all season.  He has only had one time where he went two consecutive games without a hit, and that time, it was only 1 AB in the second game.  He has not gone back to back games without a hit since April 2 (0-1 with a BB).

For the season:

  • Max Muncy – .254/.419/.701/1.120 – 10 HR, 19 RBI, 10 XBH
  • James Outman – .314/.407/.714/1.121 – 7 HR, 19 RBI, 11 XBH

 

  • Max is tied for the MLB lead in HRs. James is 4th in NL and tied for 4th in MLB .
  • Max and James are tied for 7th in MLB and tied for 3rd in the NL in RBIs.
  • James in tied for 8th in the NL and tied for 11th in MLB in XBH.

That is a dynamic duo.  Today, batting 3rd and 6th was perfect.  For the record, fellow rookie Miguel Vargas got the only other RBI for Saturday and the Cubs’ series.

His seven home runs in March/April are the most in Dodgers history by a rookie. His seven homers are also the most in a month by a rookie since Will Smith hit eight back in August of 2019. If he keeps this up, he’ll be breaking that number.

Here’s where he ranks among ALL rookies across baseball.

  • 7 Home Runs (1st)
  • 19 RBI (1st)
  • 14 R (1st)
  • .314 AVG (1st)
  • .407 OBP (1st)
  • .714 SLG (1st)
  • 121 OPS (1st)
  • 50 total bases (1st)

Not bad for a kid that was never supposed to make the 26 man out of ST.  Outman will strike out a lot, but his short compact swing with barrel to ball is going to minimize long slumps.

If the Dodgers can get Smith back, and Mookie and Freddie heat up, this could be a fun lineup.  But the bottom of the order is still going to be problematic.  CT3 and Austin Barnes were a combined 0-7 with 4 K.  Combined on the season, they are 6-74 for a dismal BA of .081.  How can Freddie get RBIs with that at the bottom.  Last year, Gavin Lux was in the 9 hole a lot, and gave Freddie a lot of RBI opportunities.  Jason Heyward also went 0-4, but three of his outs were graded as hard hit (95 + MPH).

There was a change to the bullpen on Saturday.  Victor González was recalled and Jake Reed was Designated for Assignment.  This has been a common occurrence for Jake the last couple of years (8 times in last 22 months).  We will see if anyone claims him, and if not, whether he will select FA rather than go back to OKC.  The Dodgers now have a spot open on their 40 man.

Saturday was a good bounce back game.  Can they now get that elusive 2-game win streak?  They will be facing the NL ERA leader in Marcus Stroman (0.75).  Clayton Kershaw gets the call for the Dodgers, and his 2.52 ERA is good for 8th.

Chicago has the #1 NL ERA leader (Stroman), and #4 (Justin Steele).  Atlanta has 2 in the top 10: Bryce Elder #2 and Spencer Strider #7.  And Arizona has #9 (Merrill Kelly) and #10 (Zac Gallen).

One of the curious player personnel decisions has been to keep Michael Busch at AAA instead of promoting him to MLB.  Unfortunately for Busch, he does not have a clear path to the LAD roster.  There is little question in my mind that Busch can hit ML pitching, there is the question as to where he will play.

 

04-22-2023 MiLB Summary Report

 

One of the key areas of improvement from Busch this season has been his strikeout and walk rates. Over the years, Busch has struck out at a fairly high rate, averaging a 26 strikeout percentage since 2021. That number has dropped significantly in 2023, as he’s striking out only 19.8% of the time.  He is also walking at an unbelievable18.75% rate.

It you want his numbers to look even better, here’s what he’s been doing since April 6 (Prior to Saturday’s game):

  • .386 AVG / .526 OBP / 1.163 OPS
  • 183 wRC+
  • 21.1 BB% / 15.8 K%

 

OKC Dodgers 3 – Albuquerque Isotopes (Colorado) 2

OKC scored a pair of 2-out runs in the 1st inning.  With 2 outs, Steven Duggar doubled.  Hunter Feduccia drew a BB.  Ryan Ward and Yonny Hernandez both hit run-scoring singles for a 2-0 lead.  Last year that would have been more than enough for Gavin Stone.  But this year is a little different.

But on this game, Gavin Stone was outstanding.  He retired the first five before giving up a double but no run.  In the 4th, the Isotopes led off with a single and walk.  Stone buckled down and retired the next three batters.

In the 5th, Stone got the first two batters, but he walked Brenton Doyle.  Justin Hagenman was summoned to get the final out.  Hagenman came back out for the 6th.  The leadoff batter singled, and Michael Toglia tripled him home, and scored on a sac fly, and a 2-2 tie.

In the top of the 7th, again with 2 outs, Bradley Zimmer singled and scored on a Devin Mann double (10).

OKC got excellent relief in the 7th thru the 9th. Tayler Scott and Nick Robertson retired the side in the 7th and 8th.  In the 9th holding on to a tenuous 1-run lead, Wander Suero gave up a 1-out single before retiring the final 2 batters.

Justin Hagenman got the win, but no longer is in the sub 4.00 ERA group.  Nick Robertson’s horrendous last relief appearance, he is now getting back down closer to the sub 4.00 ERA group (4.22).

Devin Mann was the only OKC Dodger with 2 hits, one being a double, with an RBI.

 

Box Score

 

 

Wichita Wind Surge (Minnesota) 4 – Tulsa Drillers 3

Jonny DeLuca led off the bottom of the first with a HR.  This was his 3rd consecutive game  with a home lead off HR.  He now has 4 HR on the year.

Emmet Sheehan gave up a game tying HR of his own in the 2nd inning.   Sheehan completed 4.0 innings allowing 2 additional singles and 1 BB.  He struck out 8 batters in those 4.0 IP.

In the 3rd inning, Jorbit Vivas hit his 2nd HR of the season, and Tulsa was back out in front.

Ben Harris came in to relieve Sheehan in the 5th, and retired the side in order.  But in the 6th, the first two batters singled.  After a failed sac bunt pop out for the 1st out, Harris issued a BB to load the bases.  Harris almost got out of the jam with a K, but Brandon Lewis booted a ground ball for an error to score the tying run.  John Rooney relieved Harris and after a strike three wild pitch for another run, he did get the final out.

In the bottom of the 6th, José Ramos hit a one out HR (2) to tie the score.

Rooney allowed a single in the 7th but no runs.

The 8th had a lot of traffic for both teams, but no runs.

With Tanner Dodson on the bump for his 2nd inning in the 9th, he gave up a tie breaking HR to Jake Rucker in the 9th.  Jorbit Vivas drew a 1-out BB in the 9th, but could not get to the plate.

The Drillers scored their three runs on three solo HRs; Jonny DeLuca, Jorbit Vivas, and José Ramos.

Vivas and Ramos had two hits, with Vivas getting his 10th double to go with the HR.

For the year, Vivas is now batting a cool .386/.470/.702/1.172.

 

Box Score

 

 

South Bend Cubs 4 – Great Lakes Loons 2

In the 4th, in a 0-0 tie, Chris Alleyne hit a double, stole 3B, and scored on a sac fly from Griffin Lockwood-Powell.

For 4 innings, Yon Castro faced the minimum number of batters.  He did allow a 3rd inning single that was erased by a DP.  But in the 5th, Castro allowed a lead off double, a walk, and a single for the tying score.  After two ground out, the Cubs had runners on 2nd and 3rd.  He then gave up a two run single.  Antonio Knowles relieved Castro and struck out Jacob Wetzel to end the inning.

Knowles pitched a perfect 6th with his 2nd K.  Julian Smith also pitched a perfect inning (7th).  Aldry Acosta allowed a walk in the 8th, but nothing else.

In the 9th, Mitchell Tyranski walked the first two batters, and one scored on a Jake Vogel fielding error.

In the bottom of the 9th, Dalton Rushing did what many Dodger players and MiLB players do…hit a solo HR.

 

Box Score

 

 

Rancho Cucamonga Quakes 7 – Fresno Grizzlies (Colorado) 3

 

Luis Valdez just off the IL started and pitched two scoreless innings, allowing a single, BB, and 3 K.

The Quakes scored 6 runs in the 3rd for a 6-0 lead, and remarkedly without a HR.  Jose Peraz led off with a double (1) and then singles by Joel Izarra and Rayne Doncon, Kyle Nevin BB, Jesus Galiz single, Nick Biddison single, Frank Rodriguez BB, and Peraz singling home two for his 2nd hit of the inning.

With Darlin Pinales on the hill, Fresno put together a BB, WP, and single for a Grizzlies run.  Pinales was wild as he allowed 4 BB with the 1 single and 2 K in his 3.0 IP.

Kelvin Bautista was touched up for a pair of unearned runs in 6th to cut the lead in half.  He did surrender 2 hits, a BB, with 2 K in his 1.0 IP.

Livan Reinoso pitched a pair of scoreless innings with 4 Ks.

In the RC 8th, Frank Rodriguez doubled and scored on a Rayne Doncon single.

Lucas Wepf struck out the side in the 9th to close out the win for the Quakes.

  • Rayne Doncon – 3-5, 2 RBIs
  • Jesus Galiz – 3-4, 2 RBIs
  • Jeral Peraz – 2-3, 2 RBIs

 

Box Score

 

 

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Badger

From what I’ve seen it is no surprise we are currently at .500. The last two games are illustrations of who and what we are. Inconsistent. After 13.5% of season, that is what we are

Nobody on this team is going to OPS over 1.000 for the year. .900 is reachable by a few. With that being the case, some of those slumping will need to produce. Thompson, Peralta, Barnes, Vargas, Taylor. They represent too large a percentage of total at bats to continue with OPS’s as low as they are.

As I mentioned in the last thread, I don’t believe any pitcher other than Urias will go beyond 150 innings. Not difficult to look forward and see what that means.

Thanks again for the MiLB reports. Sure makes it easier to stay current.

Singing the Blue

Random thoughts on a Sunday morning:

1) Not entirely sure why so many here seem so concerned about this team. True, they haven’t played well on a consistent basis, but as Badger pointed out, the season isn’t yet even 15% completed. Every team has its issues and the Padres, who on paper probably have a stronger roster than we do, are behind us in the standings. And we’re one game out of first place, having played well below expectations. Give it time, folks.

2) Love the idea of Mookie at shortstop. If he’s up for it, I’m in favor of making it an every-day thing. It’s far easier to find good outfielders than All Star shortstops.

3) Do we have a potential Joe Mauer-like situation developing with Will Smith? With all our catching prospects, maybe, as some have suggested, AF should consider moving Smith to 3B or LF. His main value to the team is on offense, not defense.

4) Speaking of catching, Hunter Feduccia is not on the 40-man roster which means he’ll need to be added if we don’t want to lose him in the Rule 5 draft this winter. If that’s the case, why not just add him now and see what we have. I realize that moving Fresh Prince to a new position in mid-season is not ideal, but he does have prior infield experience and is a good enough athlete to probably be serviceable in left field if given enough reps. If Feduccia falls on his face after a couple months of regular playing time, he goes back to OKC and Smith returns to catching duties. The other option would be to trade Barnes and let Smith and Feduccia share catching duties. Not sure how AF and Kershaw would feel about that one, though.

5) Prime winter target – no not Ohtani. Too much money tied up in one player and he is just about to reach the end of his prime years. I want to go after Korean outfielder Jung-hoo Lee, nicknamed “Grandson of the Wind”. He’s a 22 year old centerfielder, due to be posted this winter. Above average speed and defense and during his Korean baseball career has walked more often than struck out. Career batting average of .337 and OBP of .403.

Opening day 2024 lineup:

Mookie – SS (also available for 2B/RF)
Outman – RF (also available for LF/CF)
Freddie – 1B
Smith – LF (also available for C/3B)
Max – DH (also available for 3B)
Vargas – 2B
Chapman – 3B (free agent signing, you’re welcome Bums)
or Busch, if he has a really good year at OKC and is functional at 3B
Feduccia – C
Lee – CF

I don’t expect Lux back to start the season next year, but when he’s ready, I would give him outfield reps in left and center. When he’s back to 100%, health-wise, a decision would need to be made about his future as a Dodger. Maybe he spends most of his time in the outfield and Smith is doing well enough to spend more time catching again. Maybe we don’t sign Chapman, Lux goes back to second and Vargas moves to third. If not, there are certainly teams who would take Lux in trade.

OK, that’s my Sunday morning scramble………….er, ramble. Have at me, gang.

Last edited 11 months ago by Singing the Blue
Bumsrap

Welcome back Blue. Can we count on a Sunday chat with you?

I’m looking for a spot for Pages and Lux plus moving Smith to third no later than the start of 2024. I also want to make Outman the full time center fielder. That leaves your Lee guy in Left field and I would want him hitting leadoff.

I would prefer Lux over Vargas at second base so a trade might be needed or Lee is not needed and one of Vargas or Lux moves to LF. If there is a trade then I want a shortstop and then move Betts to second.

Singing the Blue

My lineup suggestion was for opening day next year. I don’t think Pages will be quite ready at that point. Maybe mid-year next season.

Getting All Star shortstops is very expensive, either in dollars or prospects, or both. I say, keep Mookie there since we’ve already paid that price and I think he’s capable of being pretty much as good a shortstop as we could find.

Lee – you can never tell how a player from Japan or Korea will translate to MLB but I love the fact that he doesn’t strike out and puts the ball in play. That’s what they said about Ichiro when he first came. No, I’m not expecting that kind of career, but I’m looking for guys to insert in our lineup that don’t strike out.

I’d be happy to see a lineup that included Lee and Vargas and Lux (if healthy). Just a matter of how and where to play them. And I’m ready to give Vargas pretty much the entire season to get acclimated. I don’t care if he’s hitting .203 in May, I keep playing him. I’m absolutely convinced that he’ll be a very good hitter and that’s the spot in the lineup that I’m willing to “black hole” if necessary.

Bumsrap

The Dodgers do need someone like Lee. Okay, I’m sold but in LF or if Pages isn’t ready for RF then we are in agreement with Lee in CF and The Rookie in RF. That leaves LF open for Lux or Smith.

Farhan Friedman

Is Outman the rover?

Bumsrap

I was for getting Chapman last year but not so much as a free agent next year. I want to keep third open for Smith. Joc’s worst season came after he received a concussion from colliding with Puig. His teammates called him dizzy that season.

Singing the Blue

Here I try to give you a present and you reject it.
All good, I’m willing to move Will to third.

Badger

I think Julio could get away with 92 by using it differently. Throw strikes with breaking stuff, changing speeds with all of them, then spot the fastball. He sure can’t challenge with it.

I think most are in agreement with getting Smith out from behind the plate. Gonna take a roster move. Some playing time will be affected.

Jung-hoo Lee? Oh yes.

I still want a shortstop.

Singing the Blue

Totally agree, Jeff, I have no problem with showing concern. There are certainly things to be concerned about. I just don’t understand those who say, based on the first 20 or so games, we need to fire Doc, fire AF, trade CT, trade Muncy, send Miggy back to OKC, don’t let Max play third, dfa JDM, etc. etc. etc.

Yes, starting pitching is a bit of a concern at this point, but with all of that, we may wind up tied for first place at the end of today. Looks like Gonsolin will be activated to start on Wednesday, but with Miller not even pitching yet, Grove and Pepiot not available for possibly weeks and Stone inconsistent, that might be the area AF concentrates on in July.

And while we’re talking about pitching, Yamamoto will be posted this winter and he may very well be worth going after if we don’t get Ohtani. Definitely not the same upside, but far less expensive and would probably be quite productive for us.

Smith’s concussion is definitely concerning and you have far more experience with that than I do. That’s why I’m fine with moving him out from behind the plate, either to 3B of LF. In the meanwhile they certainly better keep a close eye on him when he gets back.

I don’t see how even Scott Boras will get Chapman anywhere near 300 mil. As a matter of fact, I don’t expect him to get even 200 million. But if we do all the moving around of guys that we’ve discussed here, there may not be any room for him anyway. And if Bums has even crossed him off the list, well…………

So, yes, it’s OK to be concerned and I tend to be concerned about things even when I shouldn’t be. For whatever reason, though, I’m OK with letting this season play out however it goes, rooting hard for my Dodgers, and being OK with whatever the results might be. Not my normal way of approaching a season, but that’s my plan for 2023.

Just one more thing. I don’t always manage to follow through on my plans, so you may see me screaming here at season’s end and calling for the dismissal of the entire front office and roster.

Bluto

I don’t get it either, but perhaps the fans are just spoiled?

Ohtani or bust, isn’t QUITE where I am but I think I’m heading there?

Aldry Acosta. Tell me more and show me more!

Last edited 11 months ago by Bluto
Bluto

Of course they have issues. Which team doesn’t?

Every team could go backwards at anytime.

This reminds me of how Andrew Sullivan summarizes Buddhism:

  1. Everything changes
  2. Anything can happen at any time
  3. You are not exempt.

In this case, the You is the Dodgers.

Badger

Sure looks good when this team does what it’s designed to do. They can’t get away with doing it 50% of the time, but 60% would do.

Mookie looked good at short right up until his cardinal sin play in left. Never cut in front of an oncoming outfielder.

1 earned run. Against a top hitting club. Impressive.

Last edited 11 months ago by Badger
Singing the Blue

I think we have to cut Mookie a little slack on that play. Luckily he and Peralta survived it. Keep in mind, he’s normally on the other end of the play as the outfielder charging in and expecting the second baseman to get out of his way.

I really like what I see from him at SS and from the sound of Doc’s comments after the game, he may be out there again on Tuesday.

Badger

“Keep in mind, he’s normally on the other end of the play as the outfielder”

I get that Jefe, which is exactly why he should know better.

Last edited 11 months ago by Badger
Bumsrap

A collision would have been a better teaching moment but still, that was good enough.

Badger

Losing Mookie would be disastrous.

SandyIsTheGreatest

He’s no superstar

Badger

Really? He’s a 6.4 WAR player. You want to tell me how you would replace him?

RC Dodger

Good article Jeff!
Another strong performance by Kershaw today, and a two game win streak!
Love to see Clayton continue his excellence.
Muncy has been fantastic lately, and only a few weeks ago fans wanted him benched or traded. His roller coaster ride shows how difficult it can be to hit MLB pitching. Even Freeman has a slump on occasion.
While I prefer Mookie in RF except in emergencies, he has looked like a natural in two appearances at SS. I still do not see him as a long term shortstop, but if anyone can convert from RF to SS, it is Mookie.
On to Pittsburgh!

Bobby

This Evan Phillips news is horrible, just thinking about it.

For those that don’t know, he was on paternity leave last week and was set to rejoin the team in Pitt. Now, he’s on the bereavement list and flew back to LA.

This sounds horrific already.

Fred Vogel

Terrible news.

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