Category: Tulsa Drillers

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


Tim Locastro – Intensity Personified

Tim Locastro – Intensity Personified

The Will To Win

Branch Rickey uttered one of the most famous sayings about baseball when he stated, “Baseball is a game of inches.” If this is true, then one cannot measure such qualities as heart, hustle, and extra effort. These ingredients can make it difficult to defend against as an opposing team. The scouting report may indicate one game plan. That can be executed to a tee, but the end result: Tim Locastro head first dives safely into first base on an infield single to win the game for the Drillers in extra innings. Not many other players in the Texas League would have been safe on that play.

Just glancing at the Tulsa Drillers stat page every now and again will not tell you the whole story on Tim Locastro. The Bomber Alum is tied for 4th in Runs Scored in the Texas League with 33. He has been an outstanding leadoff hitter for the Drillers, Locastro is 10th in the league with 53 hits. He is in the top 10 in 2B’s (Tied 5th with 12), 3B’s (Tied 3rd with 3), and SB’s (Tied 6th with 7). Of course, if you know Tim Locastro at all, he will do whatever it takes to win, he has been HBP 9 times already this season. He is on pace to “take one for the team” roughly 22 times.

Look of Determination T. Locastro Photo Credit The Truth Photography

Everyday Timmy

In addition to providing as a stellar and steady leadoff hitter, Locastro has served many roles in the field as well. Recently, I asked him about how tough it is for him to play short stop, second base and center field. “It hasn’t been that difficult, I have gotten to the point where my role is to be able to play a bunch of different positions. I am ready to play everyday, where ever I am needed.” The Dodgers Front Office have placed a large value upon utility and players being able to have multiple roles within the team, with this in mind, Tim Locastro fits that mold. How many gloves does a player like that need to carry at a time. “I have 4 total gloves that are ready to go. I have my infield glove, my outfield glove, a back up infield glove. Then I have a first base glove if I’m needed at first. Always gotta be prepared!” With that sentiment in mind, would you be willing to put on the catcher’s gear or get on the pitcher’s mound? “I would definitely give both catching and pitching a try if I was needed there. I think with some practice I could find a way to catch, although it might not be pretty. The same goes for pitching; I wouldn’t throw hard, but I’d try some funky wind ups to try to mess with the hitter to get them out.” Anything to be on that field, helping his team to victory.

Never Satisfied

Tim Locastro is playing excellent baseball for the Dodgers Double AA affiliate. For those who may wonder about the mindset of this young man, look no further than his response to this query: Are you playing at the level you expect out of yourself? “I’m never satisfied with my level of play, always looking to get better and do better. I feel like I should hit a thousand and never get out, but baseballs a tough game and it’s a game of adjustments. Hopefully we can start winning more games here in the coming weeks and we can get hot as a team and make a playoff push for the first half.” He is a terminator when it comes to beating the other team, relentless. Great news for the Drillers now and the Dodgers in the future!

Tim Locastro on the bases Photo Credit The Truth Photography

Season Stats

 49  186  33  53  12  3  1 11  74
 9  12  29  7  3  .356 .285  .398  .754

Stats vs Lefties

 23  11  11  3  0  5  1  3  .478

Home Field Stats

 AB  R  H  2B  3B/HR  RBI  BB  SO  AVG
 88  16  29  3  3 / 1  7  8  10  .330

Hitting with No Outs

 AB  R  H  2B  3B/HR  RBI  BB  SO  AVG
 87  7  31  5  2 / 0  2  7  10  .356

Day Game Stats

 AB  R  H  2B  3B/HR  RBI  BB  SO  AVG
 53  10  22  6  1 / 0  3  5  8  .415
Tim Locastro Jedi Leadoff Batter Photo Credit Jeremy Davis
Shea Spitzbarth

Shea Spitzbarth

Spitzbarth Dominates California League, Earns Promotion

Shea Spitzbarth really impressive spring carried over into the first part of the season in Rancho. That led to his promotion to AA yesterday. The right handed closer from Staten Island was as near to untouchable as a closer in the minor leagues can be. He converted all six of his save opportunities for the Quakes, along with striking out 27 California League batters in 15.2 innings. In those innings, Spitzbarth surrendered just 9 hits and walked 5 batters. Only one runner scored versus the red headed, righty reliever while in Rancho Cucamonga. In Visalia (5/12/17), the former Molloy Lion struck out the side on 12 pitches in domineering fashion. The Rawhide batters were behind on his fastball, which in comparison to the curve, must have appeared 10 MPH faster. His promotion to Tulsa became official yesterday, and escalated quickly. He was pressed into action immediately for two shutout innings against Springfield. Spitzbarth has pitched all season in single A, as pitcher who did not belong there. Showing he was ready to move up. Congratulations to Shea Spitzbarth!

Shea Spitzbarth at ST 2017 Photo Courtesy of Bayleigh Katharyne

A Closer’s Mentality

To finish another team off in the 9th inning takes a certain personality, a mix of intensity, confidence and nasty stuff. Chatting with Shea regarding his curveball, he stated; “I think I’m one of those kids who started throwing it when you weren’t supposed to start in little league.”  Full Interview with Spitzbarth  Shea has the right DNA needed for the job. His role for the Drillers is undefined. The Dodgers AA affiliate have been a “closer by committee” bullpen this season. Whatever his role, however long his chance to pitch, you can be sure he will be locked in, focused and dropping hammers (curveballs, in baseball jargon) on Texas League batters while he has his occasion.

Shea Spitzbarth Bullpen in Lancaster Photo by S. Douglas

Stats are listed below for the recent college graduate. This season is young and he has only pitched in 12 games (1 in Tulsa 11 in Rancho) thus far. His career stats include a 2.22 ERA in 77 innings worked. He has 116 strike outs in those innings and has converted a perfect 15 of 15 save opportunities. Spitzbarth has been stingy in his career, allowing opposing hitters a .194 batting average against him. His career WHIP is an astonishingly low 0.91. Keep in mind, he has pitched 13 games (7 in ’15, 6 in ’16) for the Ogden Raptors of the hitter friendly Pioneer League in Rookie ball. These are impressive numbers for a potential future closer. Looking forward to seeing Shea rise through the system and into Los Angeles in the near future!

Pitching Stats 2017 Rancho

1 0 0.57 11 6 15.2 9 1 1 5  27

Pitching Stats 2017 Tulsa

0 0 0.00 1 0 2.0 2 0 0 0  1

Career MILB Pitching Stats

3 4 2.22 51 15 77.0 54 20 19 31  116


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

Drillers Win 9 – 3

Drillers Win 9 – 3

Crazy 8’s

In an inning that saw the Drillers only collect two hits, they had their best run producing frame of the young season. The Cardinals defensive did help, they committed three errors in the 8th inning alone. There was also a wild pitch and 4 walks that set the boys from Tulsa up for the large offensive outburst.

The Drillers came to the plate in the bottom of the 8th inning trailing the Redbirds 3 – 1. Former Boston Red Sox set up man, Daniel Bard came in throwing side arm gas up to 94 MPH. He retired the first man he faced, pinch hitter Wynston Sawyer, on a ground ball to the hole between third base and short stop. The pesky Tim Locastro worked a walk with one out to get it all started for Tulsa. After a failed bunt attempt by Tyler Holt, the Cardinals catcher threw a strike right back to his pitcher, Daniel Bard. Only problem, Bard was not looking. He took a fastball off the top of the head and was visibly shaken. He continued to pitch, but he was not right. His balance was gone and his vision for the strike zone seemed blurred. He walked Holt and Farmer in consecutive at bats. He was not even close to the strike zone. Springfield replaced Bard with RHP Blake McKnight to face the hot hitting Edwin Rios.

Tulsa Drillers Logo


Mr. Clutch

Edwin Rios came into today’s game tied for the Texas League lead in runs batted in with 26. The left handed hitting 3B has been among the team leaders in runs, home runs, batting average and RBI’s thus far in the 2017 campaign. The exact hitter Manager Ryan Garko and fans of the Drillers would want stepping to the plate in the bases loaded situation.

Edwin Rios got one of the few hits in the 8th inning, but he made it count. Although only credited with the one RBI, (E-9) two runs did score on the bases loaded line drive single to right field. After another walk (K. Garlick) and then two more errors. Johan Mieses grounds out. Then Wyston Sawyer comes to the plate once again in the inning. He entered in the 8th as a pinch hitter. He made his second chance count, Sawyer launched a 3-run HR to the opposite field, over the 4 foot high wall in right field. This blast made the score 9 – 3 and pretty much finished the Cardinals for today.

Edwin Rios at ST ’17       Photo by S. Douglas

Pitching Performance

Great job by starter Colt Hynes and by the bullpen today. Colt went 4 innings and allowed just the 2 runs. Hynes was followed by Chris Powell, son of former Dodgers pitcher Dennis Powell. He pitched two solid relief innings, but did surrender one run. Corey Copping came in to pitch the 7th and 8th innings and was in command and dominated the Springfield batters. The 8th inning could not have looked any different from the top to the bottom halves. Copping threw strikes, stayed ahead of the batters and finished them off in a timely fashion. As opposed to the Cardinals, and the fiasco that was the bottom half of inning 8 to follow; complete with walks and defensive blunders. Copping earned the victory for the team. He looked sharp and confident. Great sign for the Drillers and the entire Dodgers family! Karch Kowalczyk finished the game up for the Drillers with a perfect 9th to end a strong team performance.

Corey Copping in 2016     Photo Credit Tomo San

Today’s Pitching Line

Tulsa Drillers
Colt Hynes 4.0 4 2 2 2 4 1 4.13
Chris Powell 2.0 1 1 1 1 4 0 1.50
Corey Copping (W, 2-1) 2.0 1 0 0 0 4 0 2.81
Karch Kowalczyk 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1.65
Totals 9.0 6 3 3 3 13 1 3.70


Tulsa Drillers
Player Pos AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG
Tim Locastro SS 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 .263
Matt Beaty 1B 3 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 .238
    Corey Copping P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
    a- Tyler Holt PH-LF 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 .227
Kyle Farmer C 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 .250
Edwin Rios 3B 4 1 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 .361
Kyle Garlick RF 3 2 2 0 0 1 1 1 1 .255
Jose Miguel Fernandez 2B 3 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .263
Jacob Scavuzzo LF 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .175
    Karch Kowalczyk P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Johan Mieses CF 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .068
Colt Hynes P 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000
    Chris Powell P 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000
    Wynston Sawyer 1B 2 1 1 0 0 1 3 0 0 .295
Totals 31 9 6 2 0 2 6 5 5 .248
a-Batted for Copping in the 8th.
2B: Rios (10, Hudson); Beaty (3, Hudson).
HR: Garlick (8, 7th inning off Hawkins, 0 on, 0 out); Sawyer, W (3, 8th inning off McKnight, 2 on, 2 out).
TB: Beaty 2; Rios 3; Sawyer, W 4; Garlick 5.
RBI: Garlick (19); Rios (27); Fernandez (10); Sawyer, W 3 (8).
2-out RBI: Sawyer, W 3.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Scavuzzo; Fernandez; Rios.
SF: Fernandez.
Team RISP: 2-for-9.
Team LOB: 4.


Final Score

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
0 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 3 6 3
0 0 0 0 0 0 1 8 X 9 6 0

Tomorrow (Tuesday 5/9) Starting Pitcher’s:  Matt Pierce ( 1 – 2  3.64 ERA) vs. Andrew Sopko ( 0 – 2  4.91 ERA) at Oneok Field.

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.”





Oaks Strong, But OKC Bats Quiet

Oaks Strong, But OKC Bats Quiet

Trevor Oaks – ERA 1.89 – Still Winless

The piano man from Riverside is denied his first victory after another quality start tonight in Oklahoma City. Trevor Oaks had his usual efficient outing.   Interview with Trevor at ST  Working quickly and attacking the bottom of the strike zone, Oaks found the zone often in the first inning. He only needed 13 pitches (9 strikes) to maneuver through the top three in the Redbirds batting order. He induced a lazy fly ball to Trayce Thompson in center for the game’s first out, then got Hoffman and Voit to each strike out swinging to end an impressive opening frame. The 2nd inning was not an atypical Oaks effort, although he did recover to end the threat with the bases loaded. He hit a batter, with a cutter that moved four feet, and he walked a batter in the top of the 2nd as well. The bout of temporary wildness came after a one out single to Kelly, then Oaks hit Bader and walked Tovar. Trevor showed his poise and worked out of the jam in a calm but serious demeanor. Tommy Pham, the hottest hitter in the Memphis line-up, lead off the 3rd with a sharp single and Oaks would once again work from the stretch. No problem for the right handed sinker ball specialist, he proceeded to dispatch the next three Redbird hitters, numbers 2, 3 and 4 in the line-up. Oaks cruised through the 4th and the 5th innings respectively and had thrown 82 pitches at the end of 5 innings. The most he had thrown previously was in his last start, 79 pitches. Manager Bill Hasselman did not take any chances with his young ace and relied on the bullpen for the rest of the night.

Trevor Oaks Pitching Line Tonight

Trevor Oaks 5.0 4 0 0 1 6 0 1.89


T. Oaks just before 3/19 start Vs. Japan Photo Credit Matt Gramata


O’Koyea Dickson HR & Nothing More

The Dodgers offense, besides a first inning blast by O’Koyea Dickson, never got it together against the Memphis Redbirds on Saturday evening. Dickson crushed a fastball over the fence in left center field and it looked as though the Dodgers would be off and rolling from an offensive standpoint. It was not to be tonight as the Redbirds starter Daniel Poncedeleon was stingy with base runners, and matched Oaks inning for inning in the early going. Singles from Alex Verdugo, Darnell Sweeney and Charlie Culberson, the extent of the attack from the AAA Dodgers. After Poncedeleon, the Memphis bullpen came in for three perfect innings to ensure that OKC kept their bats from waking late. Trayce Thompson, still shaking off the rust from a short spring training, continued his batting of zero for 2017 so far between OKC and LA.

O’Koyea Dickson at ST Photo Credit Tomo San


Not Much Offense for OKC


Oklahoma City Dodgers
Player Pos AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG
Willie Calhoun 2B 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .316
Cody Bellinger 1B 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 .339
O’Koyea Dickson LF 4 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 .345
Alex Verdugo RF 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .345
Trayce Thompson CF 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000
Darnell Sweeney 3B 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 .213
Charlie Culberson SS 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 .224
Bobby Wilson C 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .129
Trevor Oaks P 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000
    Joe Broussard P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
    a- Ike Davis PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .143
    Layne Somsen P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
    Brandon Morrow P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
    Patrick Schuster P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Totals 30 1 4 0 0 1 1 3 8 .250


Bullpen and rest of game

Joe Broussard pitched the 6th and 7th, and had a big strikeout of Tommy Pham, one of the hot hitters for Memphis to end the 7th scoreless with a runner at first. Layne Somsen enters in the 8th. Somsen, surrendered one hit but managed the 8th inning well to keep the Redbirds from advancing the runner or scoring. Both Broussard and Somsen were fantastic tonight. Their performances will get lost in the story of this game, but should be noted. Neither righty reliever has surrendered an earned run yet in 2017.  Interview with Joe at ST

Joe Broussard pitching Photo Courtesy of Jerry Espinoza
Oklahoma City Dodgers
Trevor Oaks 5.0 4 0 0 1 6 0 1.89
Joe Broussard (H, 1) 2.0 1 0 0 1 2 0 0.00
Layne Somsen (H, 1) 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Brandon Morrow (BS, 1)(L, 0-3) 0.0 6 6 6 0 0 0 11.57
Patrick Schuster 1.0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1.29
Totals 9.0 13 6 6 3 8 0 3.49


Then in the 9th the Redbirds got their bats going against RHP Brandon Morrow. Three straight singles and Memphis tied up the game, after all that fantastic pitching by Oaks, Broussard and Somsen. Two run single by Tommy Pham with the bases loaded made the score 3 – 1. With the anemic offense that lead seemed insurmountable. Then Huffman singled in two more for the Cardinals affiliate and the game really became out of control. 5 -1. Then Voit with an RBI single and it was a 6 – 1 deficit. Still no outs recorded by Brandon Morrow. He was never able to record an out. He faced seven batters, all reached base. Six hits, and a fielders choice that resulted in no outs as Morrow’s throw to third was late after he played the bunt. So the Dodgers had the lead going into the ninth 1-0, and lost after going quietly in the bottom of the 9th 6-1.

April 22, 2017

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 6 13 1
Okla. City
1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 0

Sherriff (1-0, 9.00) ;
Morrow (0-3, 11.57)

Dickson (5) .