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The Dodgers Will Perfect the Art of the Piggyback

Greetings from blustery South Lake Tahoe.  I do not have my MLB TV so I cannot watch the games on TV.

A big thank you to Bear for providing me with multiple columns to help me while I am on vacation. I am on vacation for 14 of 17 days.

I know the consensus belief is that the LAD starting pitching is not good enough to win the WS.  If I were take a poll, I bet that the overwhelming majority would surmise that LAD may squeak out of the NLDS but not the NLCS.  Of course we would all like to see Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Claude Osteen, and Don Sutton, but those guys are nowhere in MLB anymore, and that is not how the game is managed today.

It is not arguable that Atlanta’s rotation figures to be the top rotation in the playoffs, but they are not automatic.

A couple of days ago Dodgerrick wrote, ”Stone and Sheehan have not been good.  There is no way to put lipstick on that pig!”  Rick, surprise.  We do not agree.  Stone may not be ready to be in the rotation, but he is more than capable of getting 6-9 outs.  Sheehan has shown that he can be effective with 9-12 outs.  In last night’s game, he just ran out of gas.  I link that to LAD not letting their younger pitchers get much above 75 pitches.  In his last 6 games he has:

  • 07-29 – 82 pitches
  • 08-03 – 56 pitches
  • 09-02 – 76 pitches
  • 09-08 – 73 pitches
  • 09-16 – 39 pitches
  • 09-21 – 93 pitches

On the night, Sheehan had 18 whiffs, with 9 Ks (out of 14 outs), with 0 hits.  After the 2nd out in the 5th, Emmet was at 68 pitches and hit a wall.   A HBP, 3 walks, and 25 pitches later Emmet was pulled.  They were trying to get Emmet the win, but that would not be a factor if he is the back end in a piggyback.

In a comparison with Clayton Kershaw in both of their last 6 outings:

  • Clayton Kershaw – 26.0 IP, 17 hits, 7 runs (all earned), 6 HR, 12 BB, 22 K
  • Emmet Sheehan – 25.1 IP, 14 hits, 9 runs (all earned), 5 HR, 10 BB, 32 K

Sheehan can easily go 3-4 IP and be effective.

I may be in the minority, but I will be excited to watch Clayton Kershaw, Bobby Miller, Ryan Pepiot, and Lance Lynn as the starters, with Emmet Sheehan, Ryan Yarbrough, and Michael Grove as multiple inning relievers.  There is still a chance that Gavin Stone could be one of those multiple innings relievers. Doc has all but announced that Bobby and Clayton will be 1 and 2 depending as to who they play. The kids have come a long way this year.


For those who have not been following, Rancho Cucamonga was swept in the California League finals to the Modesto Nuts (Seattle).  In the end, relief pitching failed the Quakes.  RC was the Southern Division champions, and #2 in the League.  They did have two California League All Stars:  OF Chris Newell and RHRP Lucas Wepf.

Chris Newell – 22 years old – 13th round 2022 draft – In 188 PA for RC, Newell batted .312/.426/.662/1.088, 8 doubles, 14 HR, 32 BB, 52 K.  Before anyone tries to equate those numbers to MLB, once Newell was promoted to Great Lakes (May 30), in 184 PA, Newell batted .222/.321/.424/.745, 9 doubles, 7 HR, 24 BB, 58 K.

Lucas Wepf – 23 year old RHP, UDFA, at Rancho Cucamonga – 22.0 IP, 2.43 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 1 HR, 8 BB, 58K.  It is that 58K in 22.0 IP that got him the All Star nod.  He was promoted Great Lakes on July 1.

Those would not have been my top two Quakes, but they were pretty dominant when they were there, and were very deserving. I would have selected the California League HR leader, the OPS leader, the SLG leader, and top 5 in multiple other categories… Thayron Liranzo.  Liranzo was also the only California League catcher to have enough PA to qualify, who has improved a great deal in his defensive metrics.

I am going to give a full season review for the Quakes in the near future.

Great Lakes also had two post season All Stars:  LHSP Justin Wrobleski and utility player, Taylor Young.  Unlike both Quakes Cal League All Stars being promoted mid-season, both Wrobleski and Young were on the Loons opening day roster and on the post season roster.

Wrobleski was one of four Midwest League Starting Pitchers so honored, and Young was named an All Star as a utility player.

Justin Wrobleski – 23 years old (22 baseball age) LHSP, 11th round draft pick 2021.

Wrobleski dominated in the 2023 campaign, striking out 109 batters in 102.1 innings. Wrobleski posted a 2.90 ERA, a 3.22 FIP, and a 26.0 K%, the leader in the Midwest League East Division. The left-hander appeared in 25 games, starting 23 and going six innings three times.

Wrobleski pitched an immaculate inning on April 21st  against the South Bend Cubs. He retired the final batter of the first inning through the first batter in the third inning on 15 pitches, 15 strikes. The second inning was the immaculate inning.

Taylor Young – 25 years old (24 baseball age) 2B/Utility, 8th round draft pick 2022.

Taylor Young played in the most games (124), scored the most runs (76), tallied the most hits (109), walks (82), stolen bases (56), and plate appearances (545) of any Loon in 2023. Young played at four defensive positions, 65 games at second base, 32 at third base, 22 at shortstop, and five in left field. Young notched a .738 OPS, seven home runs, and 55 runs batted in.  His 56 stolen bases are the second-most in a single-season by a Great Lakes player. Dee Strange-Gordon had 73 in 2009 in 131 games.

I will also give a full season review of Great Lakes in the near future.

The Dodgers have named infielder Michael Busch as the 2023 Branch Rickey Minor League Player of the Year and right-handed pitcher Kyle Hurt as the 2023 Branch Rickey Minor League Pitcher of the Year.  Busch has posted a 1.039 OPS in Triple-A, and Hurt has a 14.87 K/9 and a 28.7 K% less BB % between Double-A and Triple-A.  Kyle Hurt is a future closer for LAD.




09-21-2023 – MiLB Game Summary Report

OKC Dodgers 8 – Albuquerque Isotopes (Colorado) 5

The Oklahoma City Dodgers pieced together a seven-run seventh inning to key an 8-5 victory over the Albuquerque Isotopes. OKC busted out for seven runs to take an 8-2 lead, collecting five hits, along with four walks and one hit batter throughout the seventh-inning rally. Justin Yurchak provided a go-ahead, two-run double to put the Dodgers ahead. Later in the inning, Miguel Vargas drilled a 438 foot three-run homer to dead center field. Yonny Hernández capped the big inning with a two-run single.

The Isotopes quickly responded with three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to narrow the gap to 8-5. The Dodgers pitching staff regrouped and retired eight of the game’s final 10 baters to nail down the victory. OKC scored a run in the first inning on a RBI single by Jonny DeLuca. Albuquerque went in front in the third inning on a wild pitch and a RBI double by Daniel Cope, as the score remained at 2-1 until the seventh inning.

For the second time in three games, the Dodgers won after trailing in the seventh inning or later. It was the team’s 22nd win of the season when trailing after six innings.

Miguel Vargas homered in a second straight game, with both home runs hit out to center field. He also recorded a third straight multi-hit game, going 2-for-5. Over the last three games, Vargas is 6-for-15 with three extra-base hits and seven RBI.

Hunter Feduccia was the only OKC batter in the original lineup who did not record a hit.

Key Performers:

  • Miguel Vargas – 2-5, 1 BB, 1 run, 3 RBI, HR (10)
  • Jonny Deluca – 2-5, 1 run, 1 RBI, double (13)
  • Yonny Hernandez – 2-4, 1 BB, 1 run, 2 RBI
  • Justin Yurchak – 1-3, 2 BB, 1 run, 2 RBI, double (12)


Box Score



For those out there like me who did not get a chance to see the following, this is special.  Baseball is a lot more than just scores and stats.





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OKC is heading to the playoffs. Curious to see how that all shakes out.


Emmet Sheehan should imagine that every batter he faces is wearing a Giants jersey.

Last edited 9 months ago by Bobby

invisible fastball


Be grateful for 5 innings and go to the pen.

It would appear good starting pitching can hold us down. At least it has of late.

I still have Vargas at third. I also still believe Friedman will make a competitive offer for Ohtani, expecting someone else (Seattle) to outbid him. I also believe Ohtani will pitch again, though not as well as he has pitched to date. His 10 WAR days are likely over, but he can still hit to 5-6 WAR for a few more years. What’s that, and the possibility of pitching again, worth? Beats me.

Last edited 9 months ago by Badger

AF may make an offer, but his heart won’t be it. Someone is going to go all in for Ohtani. A team that needs a superstar for the publicity, to increase attendance, and have a need for a great hitter. The Dodgers are not that team.

With their strong prospect depth and future payroll flexibility the Dodgers should concentrate on improving their starting pitching. The current version of Ohtani doesn’t help with that need. The Dodgers lead MLB in attendance by a large margin year after year. The Dodgers are a legendary franchise so additional publicity isn’t a need either. Too many questions with Ohtani right now to invest the money that will most likely be necessary to sign him. The offense now and in the next several years should be in good shape. Again, pitching, pitching, and if there is any doubt, pitching!

Even in free agency there are no high end “ace” starters available with the possible exception of the Japanese phenom Yamamoto . He would be the one I would go after hard. Even more so than Ohtani. He’s only 25 years old and pitches deep into games. With him and Miller heading the rotation along with Buehler, Pepiot, Sheehan or ? in 2024 the team should be great shape. I would, also, get in the Josh Hader market. It depends on whether AF feels there is a prospect (i.e. Kyle Hurt) ready to take that spot.

I’m looking forward to the upcoming playoffs. With their questionable starting staff it’s difficult to be optimistic with the team’s chances to succeed. But, for some reason, I am. I just have a feeling in my gut. You know, similar to the feeling Dave Roberts has with his pitching decisions in the playoffs. LOL.

To conclude, I’ve never been more excited about the future of the Dodgers. With a strong ownership, front office, incredible player development, and talented core of HOF caliber players multiple World Series championships are possible. Even Dave Roberts will evolve and cement his legacy as MLB’s most successful manager. At least, there will be memorable battles with a now young and talented Atlanta team for those WS victories.

Carry on.


Yeah, I still think it lines up for Ohtani. Perhaps even more than before because there’s more opportunity to find value in a contract due to the injury.



Scott Andes

Would rather see them sign Blake Snell.


I agree with most of your reasoning Jeff.

I’d add to it that:
I think he’d eat up a significant amount of salary.
I’d rather see a RH bat.
I see many issues with Ohtani being a relief pitcher/everyday player (like how would he warm up?)

That said, there’s just too much smoke for me not to see a fire.

Last edited 9 months ago by Bluto

I too do not see the fascination with Ohtani. Especially at the length of contract he and his agent will be seeking. Get a real 3B and more starting pitching. Both can be had for what Ohtani will get.
Any contract over 5 years is setting yourself up for failure.
We will not be happy with the Mookie deal in the 2030. And by the way, he will be on the books until 2044. He got a Bonilla deal.
Enjoy it now because it is not likely to turn out well.

Last edited 9 months ago by OhioDodger

The fascination has nothing to do with attendance or what he has done with pitching, which by any measure has been outstanding (14.4 WAR over the last 3 years) it’s about his offense (15.3 WAR the last 3 years). This year he leads MLB in HR, OBP, BB, SLG., TB, OPS and OPS+. I have no idea whether he will pitch again, but I suspect he will.

This cat is different. He’s the best player in baseball and why wouldn’t the Dodgers want him on the roster?


So it’s pitching pitching pitching? Gotta have more more more.

I agree but the difference between me and some others is that I think the Dodgers already have it. Should they go after Yamamoto? Yes, definitely. Snell? Not so much.

I believe in Pepiot, Sheehan, and Stone. I hope Buehler will be back and as good as ever. I like Grove too. I like piggyback and always have.

Lynn and Stone
Pepiot and Grove
Miller and Hurt
Kershaw and Sheehan

Buehler replaces Kershaw
Yamamoto replaces Lynn

I want to add Bobby Witt Jr in 2024 and make an offer KC can’t refuse to get him.

Lopes and Russell were centerfielders and made the switch to middle infield at the major league level. Do the same with DeLuca and move him to third. Can he hit well enough to play third? Some want him in RF maybe as a platoon so if he can hit well enough to play RF he can hit enough to play 3rd.

I think DeLuca would be a better 3rd base defender than Vargas, Busch, or Muncy and besides, I included Vargas and Busch among others to get Witt.


has deluca ever played 3b professionally?


Did Russell or Lopes ever play middle infield professionally?


Did you just answer my question with a question?


Why would you ask that?

Scott Andes

My guess is the Dodgers pick up his option and he returns to play some third base, but a lot of DH, if they don’t bring back JD, and Busch gets the majorty of the reps at third next year.
Cant argue with bringing back both of them. Muncy 36 home runs over 100 RBI. I don’t care about this defense.

But I’m just guessing.


KC would want a haul and yes it would have to include pitching. KC averages about 16K fans and are 28th in attendance. Witt is not bringing enough fans to the ballpark. Winning brings in fans especially in a small market. They need depth and they don’t have it. What do they have to lose if they trade Witt? A thousand fans?

DeLuca is an athlete. He is quick. Of course I don’t know if he can play third well but the bar Busch, Muncy, and Vargas have put up defensively isn’t that high. It’s just fun conjecture that amuses me and some will tend to reject it out of hand because it doesn’t stay within their box.

DeLuca, like Vargas, will have to hit to stay on the 26 regardless of his position. I suppose Busch and DeLuca could platoon at third but it is my hope that DeLuca can own third.

Last edited 9 months ago by Bumsrap

I looked it up. In 2018, he played three games at 1B and one game at 2B. Other than that, he has played no infield whatsoever during his professional career.

Considering his skill set favors defense and speed over a true impact bat, I think it’s safe to say a conversation to full-time IF is unlikely and not worth discussing.

Enjoy your blog.


You’re forgetting Yarborough


I did. He has to be part of any piggyback system.

Singing the Blue

DeLuca as the every day third baseman? Not likely, but I have a solution. Let DeLuca hit and have Ron Cey play the field. They can both wear #10 and nobody will know the difference.

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