Category: Great Lakes Loons

Trevor Oaks – Path to MLB Debut in KC

Trevor Oaks – Path to MLB Debut in KC

Trevor Oaks, his sinkerball, his pinpoint control and his piano playing skills are traveling to the Kansas City Royals organization. This transaction took place on January 5th of 2018. The Dodgers traded Oaks for a big leaguer, in LHP Scott Alexander, and the Royals nabbed a future starting hurler for their rotation with Trevor. A pitchers’ mindset is always important, with that stated, we asked the tall right-hander from Riverside about his thoughts on this move.

When the trade first happened, I had a lot of mixed feelings. I loved playing for the Dodgers and felt like it was a dream come true playing for a hometown team. But at the same time, I was really excited for the new opportunity and a fresh start. It will be a new staff and group of teammates, and I’m looking forward to building new relationships. The Royals have had a lot of success in the past and I’m hoping I can help out the club this next season in Kansas City.”

The humble hurler had an extremely successful and eventful 2016, in which he rose to Triple-A from A-Ball and compiled a 14 – 3 record. The statistical numbers for Oaks in 2017 were not bad, but it was not an easy road to travel for Trevor. He dealt with inconsistencies in his command at times, and his season was cut short with an oblique injury in August.

“2017 was difficult! I felt like it was a battle the whole year, trying to find my best stuff, struggling with injuries… but despite all the difficulties, I was surrounded by really good people who helped me in so many ways. When you’re not playing well, sometimes you want to close your ears and do it your own way. But I definitely kept mine open and learned a lot about ways that I can continue  to compete as well as being a good teammate, when things aren’t really going your way.”                                                                  

 The Royals did not just pick up a prospect for the future in this deal. The Royals acquired a piece of their pitching rotation for years to come with the Oaks deal. Also noted, the significant value Oaks can provide for the Royals, in this article. Knowing all of the possibilities upcoming, do you feel more excited for this spring training?

“It’s hard to differentiate between this year and last year. Last year was my very first experience in a big-league environment! It’s tough to beat that, but this year’s spring training is definitely going to be a close second, just because it’s like your first day of school! New friends, new coaches, new everything!”

Growing up in Riverside, having the Dodgers as one of your local baseball teams, is it bittersweet to be traded away from Los Angeles?

“It’s bittersweet because of the people. You build relationships with coaches and teammates, and it’s hard to leave. But I can play anywhere! I loved the Midwest when I played with the Loons, and I’m really excited that I get the chance to head back there! Plus, I hear Kansas City has some of the best BBQ in the world! Can’t wait to try it!”               

 Fresh start, new opportunities and a lot of excitement for the Cal Baptist Alum, have you considered how much closer you are to your big-league debut?

“A lot has happened this offseason that can definitely get me to where I want to be, but there are no guarantees. I want to earn the spot, and if the Royals think I’m the best man for the job, I’m going to do it the best that I can. Nothing’s been handed to me, so I have to go out there and get better every day and find a way to be a successful pitcher in the big leagues.”

The fact is, the Dodgers have a lot of depth at starting pitching. This was a contributing factor to the trade of the popular, piano playing, prospect from Woodcrest Christian High. It had been rumored that the Royals had wanted Trevor Oaks for some time before this trade occurred. They got their man, and the possibility that Oaks can become a mid-level rotation starter within the year is not out of reach. For those who have watched Trevor Oaks pitch, this statement is not an exaggeration, everything he throws is nasty! Everything has movement! The Royals have quietly mined a gem for their staff. Dodger fans will miss Trevor Oaks, and his relentless attack on the strike zone, his ground ball double-plays, and his winning personality. Best of luck to Trevor Oaks in Kansas City!

Trevor Oaks began 2016 with Class A Rancho Photo Courtesy of Jerry Espinoza


Quakes Win, Chris Powell Steals the Show

Quakes Win, Chris Powell Steals the Show

Rehab for the Stars

Adrian Gonzalez and Logan Forsythe were tuning up to return to Los Angeles, and fans flocked to see them up close in Rancho Cucamonga. Neither player was a significant factor in the outcome of the game. Most importantly, both players were healthy after the game. Gonzalez went 0 – 2 with 2 walks, while Forsythe went 0 – 4 with 2 strike outs. Getting the rust out, getting timing back. Adrian Gonzalez talked about how he felt after game. He assured reporters that he felt good in the press conference after the Quakes victory. Logan Forsythe  began his initial rehab assignment last week, but after tweaking his hamstring, he re-started the journey in Rancho tonight. Pre Game BP

Yadier Alvarez vs Joey Lucchesi

Yadier Alvarez did not have his best stuff tonight, evidenced by his 4 free passes to opposing hitters. He did battle through and limit the scoring damage to just two runs. Alvarez, with his free and easy motion,  sometimes does not locate his pitches down in the zone. That is when trouble can arise for most pitchers, Alvarez is no exception. In the 2nd inning, Alvarez walked the leadoff batter. He then allowed an infield single off of Adrian Gonzalez’s glove. Carlos Belen drove a double over Yusniel Diaz’s head in centerfield to plate two runs. He reached his apparent pitch limit (74) by the 4th inning when Manager Drew Saylor went to his bullpen.

Garrett Kennedy Comes Up Clutch

Storm starting pitcher Joey Lucchesi worked at a methodical pace in his four innings of work. His “human rain delay” tendencies stem from his painfully slow start to his delivery  in which he places his hands high above his head and slowly comes down. Slowly. Real Slow. It is no surprise when one reads that a critical error occurred behind Lucchesi. This is the result of putting your defense to sleep, reaction times on routine plays are diminished. A tailor made double pay ball was completely whiffed on by Storm 2B Peter Van Gansen , and the Quakes tied the ball game. The game remained tied until Catcher Garrett Kennedy turned on a fastball and sent it over the right center field wall. Kennedy’s first home run of the season. Chat with Garrett Kennedy

Garrett Kennedy at ST Photo Credit Tomo San

That made the score 3 – 2 Quakes. They would later tack on one more when Storm pitcher Thomas Dorminy threw away a pick off attempt to first base, allowing Luke Raley to score.

Dominant Relief Work

Chris Powell came in to work with two out in the top of the 4th inning. He was “lights out” in his last performance in Visalia on Friday night. He was equally impressive at Rancho as he began his night by striking out Auston Bousfield looking, to end the inning. The Bronco alum calmed the Storm of Lake Elsinore in the 5th, setting them down in order. Powell came out firing to start the 6th inning when he was greeted with a stellar bunt by Miguel Del Castro. The Quakes right handed hurler pounced on the bunt that seemed to be perfectly placed down the third base line. He made the play close with an absolute bullet of a throw to Adrian Gonzalez at 1B. The play was called safe. A questionable call, but no question as to the fielding abilities of the son of former Dodger reliever Dennis Powell. Chris did not waver, he struck out the next batter Javier Guerra and then induced a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. Manager Drew Saylor sent his reliever back out to work the 7th and Powell worked another 1, 2, 3 inning. Chris Powell, who recently returned to Rancho after his promotion to Tulsa, has taken his game to a next level. To further illustrate his dominance tonight, Powell needed only 28 (21 strikes)pitches to get his 10 outs. By comparison, the Storm starting pitcher Joey Lucchesi needed 86 pitches to record his 12 outs. Lake Elsinore’s only hit off Powell was a bunt single that many believe was a blown call by the base umpire. Interview from last Friday with Chris.

Chris Powell in’16 Photo Credit Jerry Espinoza

Tony Gonsolin worked an effective two innings of relief to earn his first save as a member of the Quakes. Tony had one save for the Loons at Midland earlier this season. Tony worked around a couple of walks to retire the Storm without any serious threats from the offense. Gonsolin shut the door on another home victory for the Quakes. Rancho’s overall record moves to 22 – 17. First place in the California League’s South Division.

Quakes Win    4  –  2

Stats and Game Recap

Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
Player Pos AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG
Will Smith 2B 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 .268
Logan Forsythe DH 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .111
Adrian Gonzalez 1B 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 .000
    Ibandel Isabel 1B 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .252
DJ Peters LF 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 .282
Yusniel Diaz CF 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 .235
Omar Estevez SS 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .224
Luke Raley RF 3 1 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 .313
Garrett Kennedy C 4 1 1 0 0 1 2 0 1 .259
Brandon Montgomery 3B 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .200
Totals 29 4 4 1 0 1 2 7 10 .252
2B: Raley (3, Dorminy).
HR: Kennedy (1, 4th inning off Lucchesi, 0 on, 1 out).
TB: Kennedy 4; Diaz; Peters; Raley 2.
RBI: Kennedy 2 (6).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Smith, W 2; Estevez 2; Forsythe 2.
Team RISP: 0-for-10.
Team LOB: 8.

SB: Diaz (2, 2nd base off Dorminy/Del Castillo, M).

DP: (Estevez-Smith, W-Gonzalez, A).


Quakes Pitching Line

Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
Yadier Alvarez 3.2 3 2 2 4 4 0 5.82
Chris Powell (W, 2-0) 3.1 1 0 0 0 3 0 4.34
Tony Gonsolin (S, 1) 2.0 1 0 0 2 4 0 7.53
Totals 9.0 5 2 2 6 11 0 3.59

Carlos Rincon – Prospect Preview

Carlos Rincon – Prospect Preview

Loons OF Slugger

Manager Jeremy Rodriguez has been raving about his Dominican born outfielder since the skipper arrived to Camelback Ranch for spring training. ST Chat with Manager Jeremy Rodriguez. When asked about the players that impressed him the most, the skipper gave Carlos Rincon and Keibert Ruiz (the young catcher with the Loons) as his first answers. Before the spring of 2017, the number of Dodgers fans who were aware of Rincon could be measured with a microscope. After an excellent spring and start of the season, more and more fans are hearing of his exploits. Carlos Rincon has 8 HR’s and 20 RBI’s while hitting .299 so far in 2017 (As of 5/10/17) for the Great Lakes Loons.

Carlos Rincon at ST ’17      Photo Credit Tomo San

Hot Start, Consistent Since

It has been cold in the Midwest League to start the 2017 season, as it is every season. Carlos Rincon is making it look as though he enjoys playing in the cold. He is off and running in the early part of the campaign. Especially on his 8th HR, an inside the park variety round tripper. Highly Ranked in the Dodgers organization, he is #24 overall prospect in the system. We conducted the rare interview with the slugger and his Manager, acting as the translator. In the midst of our conversation, Jeremy Rodriguez said this about Rincon; “He is a different animal. He has lots of abilities, lots of big league abilities. He brings excitement to everything he does, whether on the field, or even in the clubhouse.” Strong praise from the Manager of the Great Lakes Loons.

Carlos Rincon – Swinging It     Photo Credit Loons

Interview with Carlos Rincon

1.  Who introduced you to the game of baseball, and who taught you how to play?

Answer: ” I saw other kids playing and it was something I just picked up. I was self taught, until the age of 14 when I went to the baseball academy. Then I had a hitting coach.”

2. Who was your favorite player growing up?

Answer:  “Jose Bautista” He answered quickly.

3. How tough is the transition (or adjustment) to the Midwest League?

Answer: “Weather, the weather has been tough. It has been cold here.” He said with a chuckle. Then changed his tone for the next part of his answer. The pitchers have more of a game plan in this league. They change speeds more often and at any time in the count. Also the umpires are much more consistent in the Midwest League.” 

4. On May 3rd you had a walk off 2 run HR against Burlington; Take us through the at-bat and what went through your mind as you rounded the bases?

Answer: “I was just trying to get a good pitch and drive something in the gap. There was a runner on, so I was just trying to drive him home. I was full of excitement as I rounded the bases. It was the first walk off home run I can remember hitting.”

5. I advised him to be careful with this question; What is it like to play for Manager Jeremy Rodriguez?

Answer: “He gives me a lot of confidence. I know I have to be ready to play everyday because he expects that of me and of everyone on the team.”

Carlos Rincon has Dodger fans full of confidence for the future. To listen to his Manager’s assessment of his young talent, and to see him play, there is no wonder he has moved up in the rankings (Top 30 Dodgers prospects) from last season to this season. A right handed, power hitting multi-tool player, waiting and developing in the low class A level is exciting. He will need to spend time, refining his craft and becoming the star so many believe he will be. So we will be patient, and wait for his arrival to the Dodgers, if he hits left handed pitching as well as his idol does, he will be worth the wait. Until that time, the Midwest League will be a bit more exciting with Carlos Rincon it in. Fans in Midland, consider your time with Rincon as a gift, he could be in Rancho Cucamonga (High Class A) before you know it!

Carlos Rincon – Hot Hitter, Even in the Cold   Photo Credit MILB

Rincon Hitting Stats 2017 *5/10

 26   97   14  29   3   1   8   20   58   9
   42     4  .299   .364   .598     0

Career Hitting Stats

AVG AB   R   H   2B  3B   HR  RBI   SB  SLG
 .322  273   46   88   14    6    21    69   12  .648


Loons Bats Heat Up 9 – 0

Loons Bats Heat Up 9 – 0

Loons on a Roll

Great Lakes offense is beginning to heat up with the weather. Game time temperature tonight at Dow Diamond in Midland Michigan, 70 degrees. A warm April evening in the Midwest League. As the mercury rises, so will the team’s collective batting average. This is the Loons third win in a row and moves their record to 8 – 11 on the young season. Tonight’s game marked a couple of firsts for the Dodgers Class A affiliate. It was their first shutout of the year, scattering four hits to the Lake County Captains. It was also the first inning the Loons had scored more than three runs in a frame. They scored 8 runs in the 6th inning of this game. By far the best offensive inning of the young campaign. This was a case of both the offense and pitching coming together for Jeremy Rodriguez’s club.

Devin Smeltzer vs Captains tonight 4/25/17 Photo Credit Loons

Devin Smeltzer was at the top of his game on Tuesday evening. He worked fast and stayed ahead in counts. He matched the Captains starter, Shane Beiber, pitch for pitch in the early going. Devin really had the slider and fastball working to both sides of the plate, as well as vertically. Smeltzer set a career high with his 8 strike outs. He only allowed 2 hits in his 6 innings of work and perhaps more importantly, zero walks. The left handed pitcher from Mt. San Jacinto junior college in Texas, earned his first victory of the season and lowered his ERA to 1.50 in 18 innings. He now has 21 strike outs to only 2 base on balls. His WHIP is 0.61 and he has surrendered just 9 hits in those 18 innings worked. He was so good tonight he even picked a runner off from first base.

Loons Outlook-with Manager Jeremy Rodriguez link to earlier article.

Brendon Davis at ST in Glendale Photo by S. Douglas

Brendon Davis had another multi hit game. He had a multi hit inning in the explosive 6th inning for the Loons. Davis smashed a solo HR to left center, and then hit once more in the 6th. This time Brendon had the bases loaded and he delivered a clutch single to drive in 2 more Loons. At that point, making the score 7 – 0.

The Loons had contributions from all members of the starting line-up on this night. Even the players without hits either scored a run or drove one in. Nick Yarnall made his debut with Great Lakes and he drove in the games first run with an RBI fielders choice in the 5th inning. He also played a solid first base. Welcome to the club. Miguel Urena also debuted for the Loons, he pitched three scoreless to earn a save in his first appearance.

Mitchell Hansen ST ’17 Photo Credit Tomo San

Players who had not been hitting, or at least in the box score, had those hits fall in, in tonight’s contest. Oneil Cruz had 2 hits. Cody Thomas had two hits, a single and an RBI double. Mitchell Hansen broke out with a 3 hit night as well. Of course, Carlos Rincon kept up his hot hitting, going 3 – 5 with one run scored and driven in. Fun night at Dow Diamond for the Loons and their fans. They return to battle for four wins in a row tomorrow in Midland, one more before the road. Go Loons!!

Batting Box Score – Loons

Great Lakes Loons
Player Pos AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG
Oneil Cruz SS 5 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 .125
Brendon Davis 3B 5 2 2 0 0 1 3 0 1 .333
Carlos Rincon RF 5 1 3 0 0 0 1 0 2 .355
Cody Thomas CF 5 1 2 1 0 0 1 0 1 .188
Gavin Lux 2B 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 .125
Mitchell Hansen LF 4 1 3 0 0 0 2 0 0 .171
Keibert Ruiz C 3 1 2 0 0 0 1 1 0 .245
Luis Paz DH 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 .150
Nick Yarnall 1B 4 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 .000
Totals 38 9 14 1 0 1 9 3 12 .223
2B: Thomas (2, Martinez, H).
HR: Davis, B (2, 6th inning off Bieber, 0 on, 0 out).
TB: Rincon, C 3; Cruz, O 2; Ruiz, K 2; Thomas 3; Davis, B 5; Hansen 3.
RBI: Yarnall (1); Davis, B 3 (10); Hansen 2 (2); Ruiz, K (6); Rincon, C (15); Thomas (10).
2-out RBI: Davis, B 2; Rincon, C; Thomas.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Cruz, O; Lux 2; Davis, B 2.
Team RISP: 8-for-17.
SB: Thomas (1, 2nd base off Bieber/Ice).

Pitching Stats for the Loons

* indicates season stat

Great Lakes Loons
Devin Smeltzer (W, 1-0) 6.0 2 0 0 0 8 0 1.50*
Miguel Urena (S, 1) 3.0 2 0 0 1 1 0 0.00
Totals 9.0 4 0 0 1 9 0 0.00

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Lake County
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
Great Lakes
0 0 0 0 1 8 0 0 X 9 14 1

Smeltzer (1-0, 1.50) ;
Bieber (2-2, 3.68) ;
Urena (1)

Davis, B (2) .
Loons Outlook-with Manager Jeremy Rodriguez

Loons Outlook-with Manager Jeremy Rodriguez

Young Season

Great Lakes, single A affiliate of the Dodgers, and defending league champs, have won two straight games as they begin to warm up along with the weather. It has been a cold start to the Midwest League for the entire region. Average temperatures in the 40’s, wind chill factors below that, with the occasional game snowed out. That chill has certainly extended to the Loons bats. Until Luis Paz got hot the last couple games, with his walk off home run on Sunday and 3-4 performance yesterday, he was hitting south of .100. At a glance it would appear many players have had a tough time at the plate to begin the young season. Oneil Cruz Mitchell Hansen, Cody Thomas and Gage Green all have batting averages below .200 currently. To only peak at the box score would ignore the quality at-bats that these young men are having and hard contact they’re making. Some of the outs are smashed, but, right at a defender. Loons fans have seen all of these players hit some scorchers, unless they fall in for a hit, the box score still shows a zero for that plate appearance. You can’t see minor league development from numbers alone. Perhaps the most perspective one could truly attain on these players, and the team as a whole, is to speak with their leader. Loons Manager Jeremy Rodriguez told me, “this team doesn’t quit. They have a lot of heart, a lot of energy, a lot of passion and that’s all I really want from my guys.”


Jeremy Rodriguez Manager Great Lakes Photo Credit Great Lakes Loons


Loons Manager

Jeremy Rodriguez, born in Burbank and grew up in Southern California, is in his first season with the Dodgers Organization after spending the last seven years with the Padres. He was a minor league catcher for five seasons and Managed for the Friars’ Dominican Summer League team the last two years. Before his professional career, Rodriguez played collegiately at California State University, Bakersfield. He prepped at Crespi High in Encino. Before he played for a varsity team, before he attended high school, Jeremy took lessons on baseball and hitting from Reggie Smith. Perhaps there is no one more qualified to impart knowledge on the game than Mr. Smith. The Loons dropped their first four games of the season against the Lansing Lugnuts, before winning at Lake County 6-2 on April 10th. Win number one for the Padres former 16th round draft pick, the Roadrunner alum responded, “Great experience for me to get that first one as a Dodger and the first one in the United States. Definitely awesome to get it out of the way, the guys really pulled together and it was great.” Wondering about such an achievement, I asked who he felt shares in that victory with him? “My father,” was his statement after telling me that he could go on for a half hour about all the people that helped him along the way. Jeremy continued, “he was my number one coach my whole life, still is.”  The Manager at Midland went on to speak of his high school coach at Crespi, the late Scott Muckey, and his coaches while in college, Bill Kernen and Joey Robinson. “I have been very blessed with a good group of coaches.”  Pure baseball wisdom. Patience, a virtue for any Manager, particularly one managing 19 year old talent in the Midwest League. Jeremy has that engrained in his baseball DNA. A true benefit for the development of the Loons players of today and the future.

Carlos Rincon at ST ’17 Photo Credit Tomo San

In our interview from spring training last month,  Interview with Jeremy Rodriguez ST ’17 , we spoke about players who’s talent “jumped out” at him. Carlos Rincon and Keibert Ruiz were two names the former catcher mentioned immediately. Rincon has started the 2017 season as the Loons most productive and arguably most consistent hitter thus far. He and Brendon Davis, .333 and .327 respectively, are the main-stays of the lineup in this young season. When scouting reports begin to circulate about you, as they have about Rincon, the true tests come. The Midwest League has already begun to pitch him differently. Rincon, like any young power hitting prospect, must make the necessary adjustments. According to his Manager, Rincon is passing his early tests. “He is learning, which is great!” Rodriguez added, “he is making adjustments.” Those are high remarks from the skipper about his young hitting protégé. Rincon has seen much more off speed and breaking balls lately. He has remained on the ball, with his weight back. Going deep in counts and hitting the ball sharply. Carlos Rincon is the #24th ranked prospect on the Dodgers very talented Top 30 List.

Carlos Rincon 2017 Stats

15 57 10 19 2 1 6 14 41 .333

Keibert Ruiz is also ranked on that list, #13. The young catcher from Venezuela that the Dodgers organization is so excited about has shown great promise early. In late March, Manager Rodriguez said, “I expect my catchers to take control of the defense and the pitching staff. I expect great communication and leadership.” That department has not been a concern for the Loons as Ruiz and Steve Berman have been more than effective in handling the pitching staff. Watching Ruiz behind the plate, his footwork, poise, and framing abilities, it is easy to see why he is valued so highly. Catching and defense may be the first thoughts when the name Keibert Ruiz is mentioned, but his at bats have been solid as well. The young backstop has come up with some important run producing at bats. As Jeremy Rodriguez noted, “he clutched up that at bat! He grinded it out.” We had been speaking of Keibert’s recent 6th inning at bat, with 2 outs,and Rincon at 3B. Ruiz had a 9 pitch at bat before stroking a single to centerfield. When the Manager confirms it as a “professional” at-bat, you know it’s accurate.

A.J. Alexy at ST ’17 Photo Credit Tomo San

Loons Pitching Well

The Loons pitching staff have shown early success and strides to keep pitch counts down and limit runs. Starting pitching, in particular has been especially consistent and impressive. Led by A.J. Alexy and Jordan Sheffield , the staff has kept the Loons in position to give the team a chance at a victory. Dustin May (2.93 ERA) and Devin Smeltzer (2.25 ERA) have also had great starts to the ’17 season. Parker Curry and Willian Soto have pitched “lights out” coming from the bullpen. Jeremy Rodriguez and his catching staff have some of the most highly touted pitching prospects in the system, pitching for them. That’s got to be a good feeling, especially in comparison to the cold of the Midwest League. I asked the general of the Loons dugout about one of his youngest starting pitchers. The Skipper describes A.J. Alexy in this way, “He competes…like every time he goes up there I can never tell if he has his best stuff or he has his worst stuff that day because of his confidence on the mound, his attitude and the way he goes about his business. That’s something I have been impressed with especially for such a young pitcher.” As far as compliments a Manager could bestow on a young pitcher, this quote is among the best. It will be interesting to watch these young pitchers develop this season.

If the hitting can heat up and match the pitching, this team will be doing plenty of winning this season. However, the best thing that can happen to these players is to stay injury free and to develop. These young men will benefit from the experience that Jeremy Rodriguez brings to the clubhouse and the field. He has played in countless games behind the plate, for some of the most knowledgeable coaches baseball has to offer. The Dodgers family as a whole benefits from the new Loons Field Manager. Two more games at Dow Diamond versus Lake County, then the Loons travel to Dayton to play a four game set against the Reds affiliate. No shortage of talent on this roster! Go Loons and Go Dodgers!!

Great Lakes Loons (LAD) 7 11 .389 4.0 50 4-6 3-5 7-11 5-5 W2
New Manager for the Great Lakes Loons, Mr. Jeremy Rodriguez. Photo by S. Douglas

Loons Manager Jeremy Rodriguez told me, “this team doesn’t quit. They have a lot of heart, a lot of energy, a lot of passion and that’s all I really want from my guys.”





Quakes Defeat Storm 5-3 on 4/15

Quakes Defeat Storm 5-3 on 4/15

Buehler’s Night On

Fans, do not wait to watch Walker Buehler pitch in Rancho Cucamonga, if you do, you may regret it later. Not attempted to stoke any trade rumors, just trying to warn fans. The warning is this: Watch your stars before they are gone. Again, not a trade rumor, no insider information, just a plea to anyone reading. Go watch Walker Buehler pitch before he is moved up to Tulsa. Fans may have a few more starts with Buehler at the Dodgers Class High A affiliate in Rancho, but after that, he may just move along towards to big leagues. Tonight Walker Buehler threw only three innings, but they were three electrifying innings.

Interview with Walker Buehler on 4/10/17

Walker Buehler ST ’16 Photo Credit Bill Mitchell

There was much more to the story on this night for the Quakes, but pitching still the prime topic as the bullpen was fantastic. Shea Spitzbarth came in to prolong the Lake Elsinore team’s strike out streak, that Buehler had started, by ringing up the first batter of the top of the fourth. Spitzbarth, already with 2 saves on the year finished the Padres minor league affiliate in order to conclude his work for the night. Dean Kremer came in for the next three innings for the Quakes. Although Kremer did surrender the three runs the Storm scored on the night, his stuff looked great and he did strike out five batters in his three innings of work. Wes Helsabeck came on in relief in the 8th inning. He worked both the 8th and the 9th, the lefty from North Carolina was certainly on his game tonight. He struck out the side in both innings to earn his first save of the season. The Quakes pitching staff ended up striking out 20 Storm batters on Saturday night.

Quakes Offense Keeps Rumbling

Drew Jackson drove in the games first run in the bottom of the second when he singled to left field, Ibandel Isabel scored on the play. Luke Raley was thrown out at third on Jackson’s RBI base knock. The Quakes offense went back on the attack in the next inning as Will Smith smacked a triple off the wall in center field, scoring both DJ Peters and Yusniel Diaz. The Dodgers farm hands were now up 3-0. Next batter, Ibandel Isabel got a chance with Smith at third base and he capitalized, plating the young catching prospect with a fairly deep fly to left field. 4-0 Quakes until the next frame for Rancho, that’s when Drew Jackson came up and had Logan Landon in scoring position. Landon came around to score after Jackson singled sharply to left field. Drew Jackson, one of the newest prospects in the Dodgers organization ended up a great night. 2-4 2RBI’s and 2 clutch singles when his team needed them the most.

DJ Peters high five from Manager Saylor   Photo Credit Jerry Espinoza

Back to Walker

Walker Buehler began the game by surrendering two singles. The first was a squib just past the pitchers mound to the right of Buehler. Omar Estevez, at shortstop, charged hard and attempted the bare-hand, but was unsuccessful. The next batter, Chris Baker singled to left field sharply and the Quakes found themselves in a jam early. Or so it seemed. You could see no emotion from the Quakes right handed pitcher, but you got the feeling he was none too happy. The Vanderbilt alum went to work. He got the next batter for the Storm, Josh Naylor, to fly out to left field. After that, no other pitch by Walker Buehler was put into play. Buehler went on to strike out the next two batters to complete the first inning and to get out of the first inning “situation.”

Walker Buehler did not stop there. He went on to strike out the side in not only the second inning, but also in the 3rd inning. Walker was dominate as he disposed of would-be hitters one by one. He had 8 strike outs, five looking, three swinging. Walker threw 53 total pitches and 37 of those were strikes.

Walker Buehler Pitching vs. 66ers 4/10/17 Photo by S. Douglas

Not sure how accurate the stadium radar gun reading is, but according to that, (besides breaking balls) Walker did not throw a fastball slower than 94 MPH. He was consistently in the 97-98 MPH range. It even registered 99 MPH once.

The Dodgers organization is being very careful with young prospect pitchers such as Mitch White and Walker Buehler. Walker was not allowed to continue his strike out streak in the fourth inning. Quakes Manager Drew Saylor took him out after his 53 pitches.

The final score tonight   Quakes 5 – Storm 3

Buehler’s Pitching Line From Tonight

 4/15 W L ERA   IP  ER   R   H   K  BB   NP    S
 0 0  0.00   3.0    0   0    2    8    0   53    37

 Career Pitching Stats – Walker Buehler

  1   0  0.00   5   3   0     0    0    0  11.0


  H    R   ER    HR    IBB   BB     K    AVG  WHIP


  3    1      0      0      0     3    18

.083  0.55
Mitch White Dominates Tonight

Mitch White Dominates Tonight

After the combined no-hitter in his last start, Mitch White gave up one hit, and more importantly, has still not given up a single earned run in his entire professional career. On a night when the Quakes complied 11 runs and racked up 17 hits, the story in the minds of many, is the future MLB star pitcher that was hurling seeds past 66ers hitters.

It was a balanced scoring attack from the Dodgers High Class A affiliate tonight. Every batter in the lineup had at least one base hit in the game. Most of the runs scored early. The Quakes scored three in the first and added one more in the second inning, to help attentions turn to the stud on the mound for the Rancho squad.

Coach’s Description

There are many ways to describe the Los Angeles Dodgers pitching prospect Mitch White. Thus far my favorite is the way his Manager, Drew Saylor, choses to paint the picture regarding his right handed pitcher. Coach quipped, “I have been describing him (Mitch White) like this, if your playing MLB 2017  (Video game) and if you were to develop a player, from a physical standpoint, from a leadership standpoint, grit, hardworking…the guy you create would be Mitchell White.”  Full Chat with Manager Saylor  Appropriate and accurate.

Mitch White has not only never allowed a run in his professional baseball career, in his last start, he did not allow a hit. He and Alex Hermeling combined for a 7 inning no-hitter, the first no-no in the Quakes 25 year career.

Mitch White came out of the gate as expected tonight, efficiently working through the Inland Empire line-up. As an example, White threw only 12 pitches in the first inning with 8 of those being strikes. You need to be at the top of your game to use only 12 pitches in one inning, especially while striking out two of the batters in that inning. That is how Mitch White began tonight’s game against the 66ers. That is also, pretty much the way he disposed of opposing batters all night.

White’s Line From Tonight

W L ERA G GS IP  H  R   ER   BB   K
1 0 0.00 1 1 5.0 1 0 0  1 6

After three runs scored in the first and one more in the second, the early part of the game seemed to be in complete control with Mitch White mowing down batters with relative ease, or at least that’s how he made it look. White, although only facing the minimum amount of batters, did surrender both a hit and a walk. The base hit he gave up was erased quickly enough as the DH Jared Foster of Inland Empire tried to stretch the single into a double and was unsuccessful. In the 3rd inning, after a lead off walk by White, he bared down for the ground ball double play on the very next batter, Cody Ramer. That was the only signs of life from the Angles minor league affiliate against Mitch White in his five innings of work. The RHP from Santa Clara finished his dominate start after 5 innings. He struck out 6 batters to go with the 1 BB and 1 H that White allowed. He finished the night throwing 59 pitches, 37 of which were strikes. After speaking with a few of the many scouts in the crowd, the consensus was that White had topped out at 97 MPH, and stayed consistently around 93-95 with the fastball.  Impressive performance for Mitch White, especially considering he still, has not allowed an earned run in his entire professional career. That is now 31 career innings without a base runner coming across and scoring an earned run. As a matter of fact, he has only allowed 1 unearned run in his career, with only 8 hits allowed.  I spoke with Mitch after the game, and asked him what his secret has been, his humble response, ” Been working with Kip Wells (Quakes Pitching Coach).”    Post Game Chat with Mitch White  A tremendous performance tonight, and an equally outstanding attitude. Look forward to seeing him pitch for the Dodgers for years to come. With outings like this, our chance to watch Mr. White in Rancho will be fading fast, he continues like this, Tulsa is not too far away!

Mitch White Career Pitching Stats

Minors 1 0 0.00 12 7 0 0 0 0


26.0 7 1 0 0 0 9 0 35 .082 0.62 3.00
Mitch White at ST ’17 Photo Credit Tomo San