Tag: MLB

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!

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

 

Dodgers Add RHP – Dylan Baker

Dodgers Add RHP – Dylan Baker

 

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Dylan Baker Pitching in College.   Photo Credit Western Nevada CC

     The Los Angeles Dodgers have made a deal today to receive RHP Dylan Baker from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for cash or the infamous player to be named later.

Weighted Baseballs

     One certainly does not need the weatherman to know, it rains a lot in and around the capitol city of Alaska. The average rainfall yearly in Juneau is over 62 inches. In comparison, Los Angeles gets just under 19 inches annually. Such a climate can force some to stay indoors, while others put on an extra layer under, and over and proceed with zero caution. With all that precipitation, there are likely many soaked baseballs.

       The Dodgers latest acquisition, Dylan Baker is a product of this rainy environment. When asked about growing up in Alaska, and trying to play baseball, Dylan had this to say.  “You get use to after a while but it definitely makes the game harder. Everybody just wants to play so it’s really rare to have a rain out up here. Didn’t even matter if we couldn’t see home plate, we played, and it was fun. It looked a lot like the scene from The Longest Yard, when their field got flooded.”  

Baker, who was born in Roseburg Oregon, moved to Alaska after his 4th birthday and grew up in amongst the glaciers, mountains and wildlife that make Juneau unique.

Happy New Year!

The newly acquired Dodger had this to say, in an interview this morning, “I am so excited to join an incredible organization! I love the west coast so that makes it even better.” 

A new year, a new start for Dylan, who is now with his third organization in the last few months. He has been plagued with injuries thus far in his minor league career after being drafted by Cleveland in the 5th round of the 2012 draft.

Sunny Forecast

The Dodgers have just added more depth to their organization with Baker, he has the potential to help, from out of the bullpen, as early as this season. First question on the mind of many, may be, “Is he healthy now?” To which Dylan commented, “My arm is feeling great. My injuries are all in the past now and I’m ready for this year and more.” 

 

 

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Dylan Baker Hurling for the Captains in the Indians Organization       Photo Credit Cleveland

 

 

The Dodgers Front Office has once again invested very little, on a pitcher with tremendous upside. He throws his fastball in the mid to upper 90’s with movement. At times, reports can be embellished a tad bit. When asked for confirmation, Baker retorted, “The reports are true, I sit around 95-99.” 

 

 

 

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.

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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!

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Tim Locastro on the bases Photo Credit The Truth Photography

Season Stats

 G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB
 49  186  33  53  12  3  1 11  74
 HBP BB SO SB CS  OBP  AVG SLG OPS
 9  12  29  7  3  .356 .285  .398  .754

Stats vs Lefties

 AB R H 2B 3B/HR RBI BB SO AVG
 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
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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!

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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.

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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

W L ERA G SV IP H R ER BB  K
1 0 0.57 11 6 15.2 9 1 1 5  27

Pitching Stats 2017 Tulsa

W L ERA G SV IP H R ER BB  K
0 0 0.00 1 0 2.0 2 0 0 0  1

Career MILB Pitching Stats

W L ERA G SV IP H R ER BB  K
3 4 2.22 51 15 77.0 54 20 19 31  116