Great Lakes Loons – Peoria Chiefs
The Loons game with the Chiefs at Dozer Park in Peoria was postponed due to inclement weather. The game has been rescheduled as part of a double header on Friday. The regularly scheduled game for Thursday is on tap with left-hander Kyle Hurt making his first appearance of the season on the mound for the Loons.
OKC Dodgers 3 – El Paso Chihuahuas (Padres) 4
The Dodgers made a run for the finish line with two runs in the top of the ninth inning but came up one run short.
Dodgers pitchers didn’t pitch badly but not quite good enough to win. Right-hander Andre Jackson started and over 3.2 innings gave up but one run on two hits, two walks and three strikeouts. He was followed by right-hander Jose Adames who gave up two earned runs in 1.1 innings. Righty Phil Bickford, still working to right himself, recorded two outs and one run on a home run to Amarillo left fielder Brent Rooker.
The player of the game, for me, was right-hander Marshall Kasowski who struck out three in his 1.2 innings and recorded zeros in all other columns. He stranded three inherited runners who had been left there by fellow right-hander Shane Green.
At the plate the Dodgers scored one run in the third after a Drew Avans triple and Kevin Pillar sacrifice fly. They did threaten in the top of the ninth stringing together four singles plating two runs but fell just short leaving two men on base.
Zack McKinstry had two hits as did Kevin Pillar while Jason Martin had three.
Of note, old friend Trayce Thompson homered to drive in one of the Sod Poodles runs.
Amarillo Sod Poodles (Arizona) 11 – Tulsa Drillers 13
The Drillers got involved in a slugfest with the Sod Poodles doing all of their scoring in the first five innings.
Justin Yurchak, who is heating up, Brandon Lewis and Carson Taylor all drove in a run in the top of the first inning. In the bottom of the second inning, James Outman drove in a run with a sacrifice fly while Andy Pages doubled home another run.
Heading into the top of the fourth inning starter Michael Grove had been breezing along almost unscathed. Then things unraveled, not all of his own doing. Four Sod Poodle runs scored charged to Grove, although only one earned. Two errors contributed to the inning in which Grove gave up a double and a triple. His outing was much better than the box score suggests.
Melvin Jimenez replaced Grave and recorded only one out while giving up three earned runs.
Trailing 7-5 in the bottom of the fourth inning, the Michael Busch show began as he hit a two-run home run to left field.
Amarillo added one more run in the top of the fifth inning off left-handle Alec Gamboa and three in the sixth off right-hander Jose Martinez. That would finish the Sod Poodles scoring for the day.
But, back to the Michael Busch show. In the bottom of the fifth inning he got into the grand slam action with a shot over the right field wall. As some icing on the cake, both Justin Yurchak and Carson Taylor doubled home a run following Busch’s home run.
GRAND SLAM!! Michael Busch is ON IT tonight!
Drillers ⬆️ 11-8 in the 5th pic.twitter.com/BgjQfLWEMy
— Tulsa Drillers (@TulsaDrillers) April 14, 2022
Unheralded Mark Washington earned a save with two scoreless innings on one hit, a walk and a strikeout while inducing three groundouts.
Inland Empire 66er (Angels) 6 – Rancho Cucamonga Quakes 7
Nineteen-year-old Jerming Rosario started for the Quakes going 2.2 innings. He gave up six hits and four runs, two earned, while walking two and striking out two.
Rosario was relieved by 24-year-old right-hander Orlando Ortiz-Mayr who was making his professional debut. He stranded two inherited runners and over 3.1 innings had all zeros except for eight strikeouts. Right-handed Ortiz-Mayr was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Dodgers in August of 2021. The Puerto Rico native had previously played two years with the Kansas City Kansas Community College and then two with the Troy Trojans. He should quickly move to Great Lakes.
The Quakes trailed 4-1 going into the bottom of the third inning. Then lightning struck again. That is, another grand slam home run. This time it was first-baseman Luis Yanel Diaz (Pictured Above) who followed catcher Diego Cartaya’s from the previous night.
The Quakes took a 6-4 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning on Yeiner Fernandez’s double.
Left-handed Christian Suarez followed Ortiz-Mayr to the mound and was charged with two runs in the seventh inning while recording only two outs.
Right-hander Martin Santana finished out the game allowing only one hit in 2.1 innings. Unfortunately that one hit had allowed an inherited runner to score.
Santana did secure the win as outfielder Jake Vogel drove home the winning run with a single in the bottom of the eighth inning.
I have added a Twitter video of Michael Busch’s Grand Slam. Do not blame me for the lighting. I was not at the game taking the video, but I think everyone will get the idea.
In an organization focused on developing skills and procedures.
Do wins and/or losses mean bupkes?
Maybe only at highest of levels? Is a “winning attitude” a teachable trait?
Bluto, whenever I have listened to minor league managers or minor league co-ordinators speak they always talk about development but also speak about playing to win within the context they must use.
I would not want to suggest to Loons manager Austin Chubb that winning isn’t important.
I do believe that a “winning attitude” or culture can be ingraIned in these young men who did play to win in high school and college.
I think that the team at the top declaring its goal is to compete for the WS every year sets the stage for the minor league personnel.
I know that all these players must get playing time so there are many times that skill development trumps winning but towards the end of the season MiLB teams , in my opinion, do play to win.
You bring up Austin Chubb. What do you, Harold, think his criteria for evaluation are/is?
I can think of general areas, but I have no clue which to evaluate more highly than the others:
It’s interesting, especially because we kinda know at the MAJOR league level a manager’s impact on wins is minimal.
Bluto – I think development is absolutely number one on his list attempting to advance players to higher levels as they pursue their careers. The goal is to get as many to MLB, with the Dodgers or other MLB teams, as possible. That goal also includes helping them to have successful careers as it is their job.
You should be a MiLB manger Bluto. That relationship with players is all important as these are still very young men out in the world away from home and family. Austin Chubb is a player’s manager. He is still relatively young so can relate to their trials and successes. He is 33 and has been managing for about six years. He hasn’t forgotten what it is like to play a sport that seems to be designed for failure.
That relationship also helps them to at times to out perform their skill level, at least in spurts. I think of the 2016 Loons who won the Midwest League championship. There were so many times in their stretch run that they did what didn’t seem possible for them to do. They just never gave up. They would have run through walls for manager Gil Velazquez.
I do not think there would be any team in the Dodger organization that would not be striving to win. It is difficult, but also for all organizations, because the better players get promoted even as play-offs approach.
However, victory celebrations demonstrate how much they want to win.
I would suggest that a manger’s influence on winning at the MiLB level is a notch above minimal.
I am not Harold, but I do agree that Development is far and away the most important task for any MiLB manager or coach. There are organizational meetings (before and during the season) whereby developmental goals are identified and chronicled for every player, and monitored. Those goals can change during the season which is why development personnel come in to evaluate.
The primary purpose of any MiLB team is to prepare the players for MLB. Even AAAA players that are brought in (See OKC), their purpose is to fill in for players that are out due to injury with minimal change.
Player/Manager or Coach relationships are more important to some than others. I know that they were for my son. Andy grew up a Cardinals fan (because of Ozzie Smith), so he knew who Ken Oberkfell was. Obie was Andy’s manager at Piedmont, and Andy stuck to him learning as much as he could. He went on to have a very good year at Piedmont. He slashed .282/.369/.496/.865 with 24 HRs and 102 RBIs.
At Clearwater, organizational development people, Del Unser and Dallas Green were extremely influential to Andy. Del Unser thought that the Phillies could take advantage of Andy’s bat behind the plate, and fostered his conversion to catcher. And Dallas Green was a big supporter of Andy’s and mentored him as much as he could.
In AAA with Philadelphia, Andy did not score from second on a single by a player looking to get called up. When he got back to the dugout the players gave him a cold shoulder, and the manager chastised him for not running fast enough. Andy was doing well for his 1st time in AAA up to that point, but went into the dumpster after that game.
In both Philadelphia and Boston, the MLB manager was Terry Francona, and he and Andy became close.
So, yes player/Manager/Coach/Staff relationships are very important, but the purpose for those relationships is to foster that development.
From an organizational standpoint, Wins and losses are not important at the MiLB level. OTOH the players want to win.
I think both you, Jeff and you, Harold, are familiar with Future Dodgers. He’s got a new segment to his spreadsheet up and running. It keeps track of when the various minor leaguers will be subject to the Rule 5 draft.
Boy, are we going to need to clear some space this year (meaning December, I guess).
The list is a long one, but includes the following:
Cartaya, Pages, Vargas, Pepiot, Busch, Ramos, DeJesus, Choi, Lewis and Ochsenbein.
I do follow Future Dodgers. Justin Lorber is one of my favorite Dodger prospect sources out there. In your list of meaningful Rule 5 eligible players this winter, I noticed that you did not include Kody Hoese. 😊 Any reason?
I think your smiley face says it all.
I also didn’t include Jhan Zambrano or Heisell Baro.
Until now, I could (and did) get the same information with Roster Resource. I will now use the Future Dodgers spreadsheet for this information. It is already compiled.
SB – I hate to admit it but I have not ever come across Future Dodgers website.
Shame on you, Harold. 🙂
Here’s the link to the site. When you get there, click on Prospect Portal and you’ll find an absolute wealth of information about Dodger prospects, assembled in all kinds of different categories.
Prospect Portal – Future Dodgers (wordpress.com)
As I say, somehow I just never came across it even with all the time I have spend on searches on MiLB players over the past number of years.
Was just perusing the Future Dodgers site, the current rankings, and a question came up. Busch. This is his 24 year and he’s at AA. Is he a trade candidate or are we keeping him stashed in case Turner leaves? I can see an up the middle defense of him and Lux, but not next year. I’ve had a gut feeling that Turner may go back East, close to his home in Florida, Atlanta or Miami, though I do wonder if Miami can afford him. What’s the take in here about our future middle infield defense?
Busch is older, and one wonders what might have happened if there was MiLB in 2020. Busch was at the Alternate Site (USC), but it is not like playing competitive professional baseball. There are too many prospect analysts who believe that Busch’s defensive ceiling is as an average defensive 2B. Maybe he gets to the Max Muncy level. With the draft, the Dodgers always look offense over defense with early picks. For pitchers they often look for power over control/command (thus the exceptional high reliever risk). They need to do this because of where they draft. The elites are gone by the time LAD drafts, and maybe they can find the hidden gem they can develop. Busch can hit, and that is his ticket.
I do not know what Trea Turner may or may not do, but if he does go back east, and if the Dodgers do not go out into the FA market, then Lux would seem to be the odds on favorite to be the everyday SS (this is not a platoon position). CT3 would continue in his uber utility role, and probably Zach McKinstry would join the roster in the LHH role. Muncy has a $13MM club option that I would anticipate the Dodgers picking up. They could hide Busch in left if his hitting continues.
I agree that I cannot see Michael Busch cracking the roster for LAD in 2023, but after Muncy and JT leave after 2023, then Busch can get a legit shot at a roster spot in 2024. But so can several other prospects. So yes, Busch is a viable trade candidate. But if will need to be for a game changer.
Middle infielders lower in the system:
Jacob Amaya – AA – (a defensive specialist). Has utility ceiling. I am a Jacob Amaya fan, but not sure his defense is better than Zach McKinstry’s offense,
Eddys Leonard – SS (21) – Hi A – Burst on the scene in 2021, but has started out very slowly in 2022. Will need to wait and see.
Jorbit Vivas – 2B (21) – Hi A – Also burst on the scene in 2021, but has started out very slowly in 2022. Will need to wait and see.
Leonel Valera – SS (22) – Hi A – Another Eddys Leonard and Jorbit Vivas.
None of the above figure to be an everyday SS. Maybe Leonard, Vivas, or Valera can hit enough to be a regular 2B, but all three look to be utility players.
Going further down in the system, Wilman Diaz and Rayne Doncon both will be making their US debut in Arizona this summer. Doncon is an 18 year old SS from San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. He is a fast climbing under the radar international free agent signing. He will be high on my radar this summer. He outperformed the more heralded Venezuelan SS, Wilman Diaz, also 18 years old.
So a long way to answer your question, outside of Trea Turner and Gavin Lux there are no SS on the immediate horizon for the Dodgers, while Busch and McKinstry look to be the only 2B candidates right now. Although there are those that I have had disagreements with that swear that Leonard will be ready to come to LA in 2023, all based on his excellent 2021 season in A ball.
Thank you. A lot of information there.
I believe most teams are offense first and I know the Dodgers are. No prospect is promoted because of his defense. Busch can hit and that will get him to the bigs. Where he plays will be figured out later. I’m assuming he’s a good enough athlete to be drilled into adequacy defensively. He could be a 3 oWAR player and as long as he’s not Marv Throneberry out there he will play. I can’t help but wonder if it will be with us.