Player of the Week for August 15-21 – Damon Keith
The Midwest League player of the week is outfielder Damon Keith who had a slow start after his promotion to the Great Lakes Loons but has been on fire for the past week.
He was selected in the 18th round – 552nd overall – of the 2021 First-Year Player Draft by the Dodgers out of California Baptist University. He was the only position player signed by the Dodgers selected in that draft and one of only two actually drafted. Shortstop Michael Sirota was the other, but he chose not to sign.
He began his professional career in 2021 with the ACL Dodgers and over 23 games and 69 at bats he slashed .333/.453/.551 with an OPS of 1.004 suggesting he was going to be a hitter.
And hit he did. He was selected as the California League Player of the Month in April. When promoted to the Loons on August 3rd he had posted a triple slash of .299/.433/.55 with an OPS of .933 and with 12 home runs and 65 runs batted in over 88 games.
During the past seven days with the Loons his slash line reads .471/.550/1.235 with an OPS of 1.785. In five games he had eight hits and three walks. Six of his hits were for extra bases including two doubles, a triple and three home runs.
He drove in seven runs.
Have a night, Damon Keith!
The @Dodgers prospect swats a pair of homers and adds a triple for the @greatlakesloons. pic.twitter.com/awSAmYMQ5r
— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) August 19, 2022
Hitting Up A Storm – Yunior Garcia
A performance worthy of a curtain call?
Try #Dodgers prospect Yunior Garcia's three-homer outing for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga on for size: https://t.co/MOCPbb2snB pic.twitter.com/9eiuzGLyvT
— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) August 20, 2022
Bluto upstaged me on Yunior Garcia. Good for him for following the Dodgers MiLB affiliates as closely as he does.
Just turned 21 at the end of July, Garcia originally signed with the Dodgers as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic on July 29, 2017. That is his birthday so he signed on the day he turned 16 which I believe is the first day he was eligible to sign in 2017.
For four years he did not make it out of rookie ball. His first two years were in the Dominican Summer League, 2020 was a canceled Covid-19 pandemic year and in 2021 he played in the Arizona Complex League.
Garcia had a slow start to his 2022 season with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes hitting just .186 in April and .245 in May.
Then he became a new hitter. In the last three months he has slashed .353/.423/.612 with an OPS of 1.035. He has hit 12 home runs, driven in 58, walked 23 times and struck out 44 times. In July and August he struck out 20 times and walked 18 times.
Up until Friday, July 19 Yunior Garcia was still a bit of an unknown except with his hitting coach. In that game he actually received a curtain call, something that hitting coach O’Koyea Dickson said he has never seen before.
The curtain call came after he had a career night from the clean up spot on July 19th in which he had five hits, three of which were home runs and six runs batted in along with four runs scored.
Hitting coach Dickson was not surprised by his 489-foot home run with an exit velocity of 110 mph or by his improvement at the plate.
“We worked a lot … over the last couple of months, just simplifying his swing and simplifying his setup because he’s got probably some of the most power in all of Minor League Baseball,” Dickson said of the 21-year-old slugger.
Dickson is also impressed with Garcia’s work ethic and his contribution in the clubhouse as a teammate.
“He’s an awesome kid,” Dickson said. “He’s very, very easy to work with. He’s definitely one of the best clubhouse guys we have here and one of the most stand-up guys that we have in the organization.”
Yunior Garcia came from out of no where and now ranks in the top 10 in five offensive categories.
He is 4th with 28 doubles, 5th with 74 RBI, 5th with a .305 BA, 6th in SLG at .513 and 6th with an .895 OPS.
On Monday, August 22nd Garcia was promoted to the Loons. He debuted on Tuesday night and went 0-5 with three strikeouts.
Dodgers Prospects: A Chat With Yunior Garcia Of The Quakes
The Other Arm – Moises Brito
The other arm acquired by the Dodgers in the Mitch White trade to the Blue Jays – besides Nick Frasso – is left-hander Moises Brito.
The 6’5”/215 lb. Brito is somewhat of a mystery that will not unfold until he comes stateside in 2023. He is 20 years old and pitching for the first time in the Dominican Summer League.
With the DSL Blue Jays he posted a 1.86 ERA over 29 innings while striking out 32 and walking just one batter.
With the DSL Dodgers Mega he has pitched 11.1 innings over four games in which his ERA is 1.59 and his WHIP comes in at 0.53. He has struck out 13 and not issued a walk with the Dodgers. On the season he has struck out a combined 45 hitters over 40 innings and walked but one.
At 20 years of age he may well be mismatched against teenagers. However, it is his first year of professional baseball and he does throw strikes.
I am guessing the Dodgers are pretty high on him as they were willing to part with 20-year-old infielder Alex De Jesus in that trade.
One More Quick Hit – Josue De Paula
Here come the #Dodgers @MLBPipeline: LHP Josue De Paula, SS Mairo Martinus, SS Alexander Albertus, SS Eduardo Guerrero @MLBPipeline pic.twitter.com/Nnlro88UOt
— Jesse Sanchez (@JesseSanchezMLB) January 15, 2022
On January 15, 2022 at the start of the international signing period the Dodgers signed infielder Samuel Muñoz who was considered to be their top pick and listed among the top 50 international prospects by Baseball America. He has been a good selection and a top hitter for the Dodgers during the current Dominican Summer League season.
Josue De Paula was also among the Dodgers early international signings in 2022 signing on the same day as Muñoz. De Paula is an outfielder and has played all three outfield positions during the 2022 season.
As the season winds down the two 17-year-old players are neck–in-neck with their statistical summary for the season. De Paula is the top DSL Dodger hitter in 2022 and leads Muñoz in 11 offensive categories.
De Paula ranks sixth in batting average (.349) in the league while Muñoz is right behind in seventh place (.347). Beyond that De Paula leads Muñoz in runs (42), hits (65), doubles (13), HR (5), BB (32), OBP (.448), SLG (.552), OPS (.970) and SB (16).
This is not to diminish in any way the very good season that Samuel Muñoz has had and was perhaps expected, but to highlight the season Josue De Paula has perhaps unexpectedly had. The Dodgers are fortunate to have these two youngsters ready to come to the ACL at some point in 2023.
Two other DSL Dodgers 17-year-old players – both listed as shortstops – lead the league in home runs. Jeral Perez has eight and Mairoshendrick Martinus is tied for second with seven. Only four DSL players have hit more home runs than De Paula with his five.
Interesting Fact: Josue De Paula was born in Brooklyn, NY.
Great stuff as always. I saw Keith play when I was out in California and went to a Quakes game.
Are scouting grades available for these players?
Interesting topic for me this morning as I was just perusing the Dodgers top prospects at fangraphs. None of these guys were listed in the Top 51, but the article was a May 7th update. Maybe it’s changed since the deadline.
I have a question regarding FV. There is an excellent definition of it given on fangraphs and in their evaluation all our Top 4, Cartaya, Miller, Busch and Pages, have a FV of 50, which, by their definition predicts an average ML player. We have a few at 45 and 45+, including Vargas and Pepiot. Yes, we are considered a deep organization but it appears we have a plethora of “average” ML potential. That is why, in my estimation, it’s fine with me if we trade a few of these guys for above average ML players.
Please, I encourage my friends in here to tell me why I am wrong.
I think, and I’m probably wrong, that people hope (and probably assume, which is stupid) that people and players improve.
Dustin May probably had a 40 FV at some point…
Yup. 40 on the nose:
I think you hit the nail on the head, Bluto. First of all, players improve at different rates (some never improve), and secondly, the system is obviously flawed to begin with.
Examples from the link you posted:
Yadier Alvarez and Jose DeLeon were rated higher than Walker Buehler and Dustin May.
Willie Calhoun was rated higher than Gavin Lux and Will Smith.
Grading prospects is a very inexact science and its main use, at least for those of us who visit blogs, is to act as a conversation starter.
I’m assuming each team has a private evaluation of each prospect. I wonder how they grade out the Top 20.
Dustin May came up in ‘19, and to date has 2.2 fWAR. By the numbers his production has been somewhat average. I’m sure his FV at this point is a bit higher than 40. He’s a big, strong guy, he’s still young, but sure throws hard. Hopefully his surgery will keep him on the mound for along time, though the articles I have regarding post TJ surgery longevity suggest otherwise.
OMG. From everything I’ve read the teams who spend have so much more data and evaluators than what FG or Baseball America can offer.
May’s FV at call-up was a 60 or 65.
Years ago, when Dan Evans was the Dodger GM, I remember him being questioned about why they traded a prospect rated so highly by Baseball America for the player they acquired. Evans simply responded with”we know our prospects a whole lot better than they do.”
I suspect that is even more true now.
There is a very good reference book by Eric Logenhagen and Kiley McDaniel titled Future Value. It goes with me where ever I go.
Good reading in the jacuzzi Jeff?
I would sure like to get a peek at Andrew’s Future Values chart.
Just arrived in Tahoe with a jacuzzi (okay hot tub) so maybe I will.
Several factors in FV. One is the position they play. The Dodgers have a lot of utility type players, and you are not going to get a 55 or 60 for utility players. Miguel Vargas is a LAD fan favorite, but FanGraphs considers him a 45 FV because they do not consider him a legit 3B at the MLB level, and consider him more likely a 1B. His power does not project to be a 50-60 FV 1B, thus the 45.
Rayne Doncon and Jorbit Vivas are rated higher by FanGraphs FV than is Vargas. All three have 60 FV hit skill, with Doncon having a 55 FV power. But the difference is that both Doncon and Vivas are middle infielders and they get graded higher due to their athleticism.
Another is that defensive grades and power grades are going to be a strong consideration. ty Andy Pages does not have the hit skill that Vargas has, but his power tool, his defensive tool, and his arm tool are superior to Vargas. Pages run skill is superior to Vargas. And yet, most LAD fans consider Vargas a much better prospect than Pages (myself included).
For pitching, the Dodgers select a lot of reliever risk pitchers, and they do not grade as high as starting pitchers. Dustin May was not the elite HS pitcher that goes in the top 15-20 picks, or even first round at all. But he had projectable frame that LAD believed they could develop. He has gone from a fastball that sits at 90-93 to mid to upper 90’s reaching 100-101. His slider was has gone from a FV of 55 to 70. He did not have any other pitch, and now he has a 2-seamer and 4-seamer and working on a change. He is not the same pitcher he was when he was drafted. Go through the last several drafts, and the pitchers very clearly have huge reliever risk, and most have been put in that role.
Evaluators do not take into consideration which team is developing the player. Tony Gonsolin is another example. Not all pitchers develop as May and Gonsolin. But MLB needs Ross Stripling, Mitch White, Devin Smeltzer, Dean Kremer, AJ Alexy type pitchers. Braydon Fisher and Jimmy Lewis are two HS pitchers that have not yet developed as LAD had hoped.
Determining FV is not a science, but an art. The Dodgers look for specific athletes that they can perhaps mold into ML players even if not considered elite. They do not have a problem with depth. They do not draft in a position to be able to get the elite prospects. They have to develop them. That is why LAD spends so much on development. They draft a 40, 45, 45+ FV athlete and develop them into 50-55-60 MLB baseball players.
Christ, I wish I could have written that.
Yeah, me too. Jeff is pretty good at this.
I wonder how hard it is to make the right draft choice when trying to compare someone who is looking elite at draft time and one that projects to be elite down the road. The latter might take a lot more guts to draft with an early pick and less guts to draft where the Dodgers draft.
Where was Trout and Piazza drafted? Late.
I’d be shocked if any team drafted strictly on a prospect status at the time of drafting, everything is down the road
Maybe I need to find another hobby but it is exciting for me that the Angels are probably being sold. What will happen with Trout and Ohtani? BTW, a big thanks to Moreno for out-bidding Dodgers for Rendon.
Do we know that we were outbid? We just know that Rendon didn’t like the “Hollywood Lifestyle”.
Ironic, because the Dodgers probably have one of the most vanilla-type clubhouse mixes of any team in MLB.
RHP Nick Frasso assigned to Tulsa Drillers from Great Lakes Loons.
Starting for the Drillers tonight.
SS Rayne Doncon assigned to Rancho Cucamonga Quakes from ACL Dodgers.
RHP Reinaldo De Paula assigned to Great Lakes Loons from Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.