Tag: Trevor Oaks

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!

oaksquakes1
Trevor Oaks began 2016 with Class A Rancho Photo Courtesy of Jerry Espinoza

 

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

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Trevor Oaks 5.0 4 0 0 1 6 0 1.89

 

oaks3_19
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'koyeadickson
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

jbroussard
Joe Broussard pitching Photo Courtesy of Jerry Espinoza
Oklahoma City Dodgers
Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
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
Memphis
(9-8)
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 6 13 1
Okla. City
(8-8)
1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 0

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

HR:
OKC:
Dickson (5) .
OKC Dodgers Opening Night vs Iowa Cubs

OKC Dodgers Opening Night vs Iowa Cubs

 

okcdodgers2
Logo Photo Credit OKC Dodgers

 

The Oklahoma City Dodgers began the 2017 campaign at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City against the Cubs from Iowa. The opener begins a five game home stand before the boys in blue go on the road to Nashville and Memphis. Looking up and down the roster of the AAA affiliate for Los Angeles, it is hard not to become enamored with this lineup, rotation and bench. A testament to the depth of not only the 40 man roster, but of the organization as a whole. Baseball has never been played on paper, on the field, the stories of the night were fantastic pitching, (both teams) and the zero in front of the run column and the R.I.S.P line. The Dodgers were zero for seven with runners in scoring position.

Trevor Oaks certainly earned his stripes during spring training. He was named the opening day starter for OKC Dodgers. Trevor Oaks pitched very well in the start. He allowed zero runs, but it was no walk in the park with the Cubs line-up. They had a serious threat in the top of the second inning.  That inning ended in the same fashion as it began, a great catch by Dodgers right fielder Trayce Thompson. He had all the putouts in the inning. Oaks will make you put the ball in play, especially with his attack of the lower half of the strike zone. If a batter is not ready with the right handed pitcher from Riverside, that batter will find himself in a hole, and quickly. Each flyball seemed to carry well, with both ending up in Thompson’s mitt in the corner, two or three steps away from the wall. After the right fielder’s first highlight reel grab, the Cubs mounted a charge with two singles and then a walk to the number eight hitter to load the bases. Trevor Oaks kept his composure, as though knew he was going to escape the bases loaded jam.  Oaks then threw eight straight strikes with the bases juiced. On an 0-2 count, Eddie Butler, the Cubs starting pitcher, hit a weak fly to Thompson.  No advancement by the runners on the shallow pop. Then, after a couple of foul balls, on an 0-2 count, Cubs leadoff hitter John Andreoli sent a drive to the spot in the corner Trayce Thompson had made the previous play. Although not as spectacular as the first, a tough play and a game saver at this point. Three or fours runs would have scored, because 1. Andreoli can run and 2. the closest Dodger besides Thompson was seemingly in Tulsa.

Oaks had been coming out of the bullpen mostly during spring training, so pitch count is an issue in this young season. He did walk a batter in the third inning, but otherwise produced a broken bat grounder to Chris Taylor at short, followed by a nice defensive play on a ball to his left at second base by Willie Calhoun. Oaks completed the inning with a strikeout looking on what appeared to be a cutter on the corner. Trevor then set the Cubs down in order in the fourth inning. Oaks was replaced by a pinch hitter in the bottom half of the inning and his night concluded after 70 pitches.

Steve Geltz then came in for the fifth inning and was a reliever on a mission. He struck out the side in the fifth and had one more strike out in his second scoreless, hitless inning. Adam Liberatore pitched a perfect seventh inning and Jacob Rhame worked through some control issues to blank the Cubs in the eighth. Pitching=absolutely fantastic! Brandon Morrow did give up the run that led to the loss in the ninth, however, the Dodgers offense had failed to produce with runners in scoring position and had also left ten men on base. Cody Bellinger and O’Koyea Dickson were the offensive stars of the night and accounted for 6 of the 7 hits. We should not downplay the reason for the poor offense from OKC, the pitching staff of Iowa led by Eddie Butler, Pierce Johnson (WP), and Felix Pena (SV). Pitching was not in question for either team on this opening night 2017!

PITCHING TOTALS

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Trevor Oaks 4.0 3 0 0 2 2 0 0.00
Steve Geltz 2.0 0 0 0 0 4 0 0.00
Adam Liberatore 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Jacob Rhame 1.0 0 0 0 2 1 0 0.00
Brandon Morrow (L, 0-1) 1.0 2 1 1 0 2 0 9.00
Totals 9.0 5 1 1 4 9 0 1.00
oaksquakes1
Trevor Oaks began 2016 with Class A Rancho Photo Courtesy of Jerry Espinoza

BOX SCORE

Oklahoma City Dodgers
Player Pos AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG
Chris Taylor SS 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000
Cody Bellinger 1B 3 0 3 2 0 0 0 1 0 1.000
Trayce Thompson RF 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000
Rob Segedin 3B 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .250
Alex Verdugo CF 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000
O’Koyea Dickson LF 4 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 .750
    1- Tyler Holt PR 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Willie Calhoun 2B 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000
Bobby Wilson C 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 .000
Trevor Oaks P 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000
    a- Brett Eibner PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000
    Steve Geltz P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
    Adam Liberatore P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
    b- Darnell Sweeney PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
    Jacob Rhame P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
    Brandon Morrow P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
    c- Charlie Culberson PH 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 .000
Totals 31 0 7 2 0 0 0 5 9 .226
a-Struck out for Oaks in the 4th. b-Grounded out for Liberatore in the 7th. c-Intentionally walked for Morrow in the 9th.
1-Ran for Dickson in the 9th.
BATTING
2B: Bellinger 2 (2, Butler, E, Butler, E).
TB: Bellinger 5; Segedin; Dickson 3.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Segedin 2; Oaks; Eibner.
SAC: Wilson, B.
GIDP: Thompson; Taylor, C.
Team RISP: 0-for-7.
Team LOB: 10.BASERUNNING
SB: Holt, T (1, 2nd base off Pena, Fe/Caratini).

DSC_7199
Cody Bellinger at ST in 2017 Photo Credit S. Douglas

Dickson went 3-4 and Bellinger went 3-3 for 2 doubles. Otherwise, the Dodgers attack had only one other hit, a single from Rob Segedin. The Dodgers lost this contest 1 – 0. The boys in blue continue their home stand with the Iowa Cubs tonight until April 10th. The Cubs will send Alec Mills to the mound against OKC while the Dodgers will counter with RHP Wilmer Font. Go Dodgers!!

o'koyeadickson
O’Koyea Dickson at ST Photo Credit Tomo San

Pitching Coach’s Dream – Trevor Oaks

If you subscribe to, or can relate with the famous utterings of one Yogi Berra, you will understand why a pitching coach, or any fan of the game can appreciate the efforts of Trevor Oaks on the mound.

“Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical” ~ Yogi Berra

Oaks is a pitcher who has a great mentality. Throws strikes, attacks the bottom of the strike zone and induces weak contact. He lets his teammates do the heavy lifting when it comes to defense. There have been may times in a baseball game, when a pitcher will just about drive everyone in the stadium or watching, crazy! Their stuff is great, hitters are taking defensive swings, yet, the pitcher is nibbling here, there and every where. Leading to walks, long counts and defensive players growing less nimble by the pitch. Not Trevor Oaks, and when he does miss the strike zone, the movement on his array of pitches may have been to blame.

Trevor Oaks ST 2017 Pitching Stats Before 3/19 Start

W        L        ERA       G       IP       H
 1         0        0.00      4       7.2      8
R      ER      BB        K        AVG    WHIP
 1       0         3           7       .267      1.43
oaksquakes1
Trevor Oaks began 2016 with Class A Rancho Photo Courtesy of Jerry Espinoza

 

Trevor Oaks Stat line: 3/19 Start

IP        H       R        ER        BB        K        ERA
 3          3       0         0          0          2         0.00

Trevor Oaks comes right after hitters. He is aggressive in the lower portion of the zone and is effective partly because of how much movement his pitches have. Trevor likes the idea of being known as a pitcher who doesn’t waste any time, as I found out in our first interview back in December of ’16  Trevor Oaks Interview Part 1. He throws a variety of pitches, to include a slider, and a cutter he has been throwing since last season, but his specialty is the sinker. His sinker, which has been referred to in some circles as a “power sinker,” is a pitching coach’s best friend, it is certainly Trevor’s. He induces ground ball double plays to squash would be rally’s of the opposing team.  Do not be scared off by a higher batting average against, he throws strikes and makes hitters put the ball in play, usually on the ground. A ball in play will find the hole in the defense from time to time.

oaks3_19
T. Oaks just before 3/19 start Vs. Japan Photo Credit Matt Gramata

 

Trevor Oaks ST Complete Stats after Start Vs. Japan on 3/19

W        L        ERA       G       IP       H
1         0        0.00       5      10.2     11
R      ER      BB        K        AVG    WHIP
 1       0         3           9       .xxx      x.xx

Today vs Japan after two scoreless innings, Trevor had thrown 10 pitches, 9 of which were strikes. That is very typical of the type of pitcher Oaks is. I wanted to know a bit more about how Trevor was feeling after his start today, so I asked him.

My Question:

How are you feeling after today’s start as far as your arm and thoughts on your game?

Trevor’s Response:

“I felt good, my command wasn’t where I wanted it to be, but I was a lot closer to hitting my spots. I was happy with the outing, but I know what I need to work on moving forward. I was really happy with the weak contact, and my cutter. But I need to get my slider going again, it was a little inconsistent today.”

Special thanks to Trevor Oaks for a bit of insight into his mindset right after today’s performance. I have spoke to Trevor after every appearance he has made this spring training. Interview with Trevor at ST ’17  Keep in mind his ERA is still at 0.00, no matter, Trevor always finds faults in his performance and perhaps more importantly, he is trying to learn from those situations and better himself, great news for the Dodgers! Not stellar news for opposing hitters!

dsc_0055
Trevor Oaks at OKC Photo Credit Tony Capobianco

Youthful Efficiency

Here are a few of the top pitching performances in the early spring. I know what you may be thinking, “already? We just started spring, too early to tell because the hitters do not have their timing down yet.”  While I totally understand that viewpoint, I am of the opinion that these pitchers came to camp ready to roll and it has translated into quality outings immediately. This is by no means an extensive list, many Dodgers and their prospects have looked fantastic already, so no disrespect or neglect intended.

DSC_6878
Clayton Kershaw at ST 2017 Photo by S. Douglas

 

 

 

Especially since Kershaw is not on this list despite not allowing so much as a hit thus far in 6 innings of work.

 

Andrew Istler

G             IP           H           R           ER          BB          SO            AVG           WHIP
4              4             1            0            0             0             5             .077             0.25

Istler had a microscopic ERA last season, in 18 games  (11 Great Lakes, 7 Ogden)he had an ERA of 0.99. In 27.1 innings the right hander from Duke had 29 K’s compared to only 5 BB’s. The 24 year old, Istler held opponents batting average to .173. Even with these stellar numbers from last season, few Dodger fans had heard of the hurler before his emergence this spring. Only allowing one hit over your first four appearances of spring will help get you noticed quickly. It will be interesting to see his 2017 play out and how far up the ladder he climbs in the organization.

 

istler
Andrew Istler 2017 ST Photo Courtesy of Bayleigh Katharyne

 

Shea Spitzbarth

G              IP           H               R         ER           BB         SO         AVG            WHIP
 4               4             4               0          0              1             5          .267              1.25

Shea Spitzbarth had a solid 2016 as well. The right handed, red headed pitcher from Staten Island, New York had only one bad outing all year. That outing came in his only appearance above Rookie ball in (AAA) OKC. Besides that game, he pitched between Great Lakes and Ogden only allowing 7 earned runs in 37.1 innings. Spitzbarth had 6 saves and an overall ERA of 2.72 in 24 games. This spring the 22 year old has enjoyed success both on and off the field. I want to congratulate Mr. Spitzbarth in his recent graduation from Molloy College with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Management. He graduated in December, but was very excited that his degree arrived today! With Shea Spitzbarth, the Dodgers front office enjoys even more organizational depth.

spitz
Shea Spitzbarth at ST 2017 Photo Courtesy of Bayleigh Katharyne

Trevor Oaks

G              IP           H              R         ER         BB          SO          AVG            WHIP
3               6             6               1          0             1             6           .261                1.17

Trevor Oaks is efficiency in motion. In his first inning of work today, he threw 8 pitches, zero balls. His aggressive style of attacking the low portion of the strike zone gets hitters into early holes. I understand, looking at the .261 average against by batters, that you may think that number is too high. A sinker ball, control pitcher like Trevor will give up some base hits, he will keep most of those batted balls on the ground, causing his defense to work and his double play numbers to increase. Oaks has already shown the poise to play piano in front of his teammates and coaches, and to get the ground ball when he needs out of a jam. If inconsistencies and injuries play a major role in the unfolding story of spring, look for this young man to make the Dodgers roster.

It is certainly exciting to see pitchers ready and in good form as soon as action begins. Every bit as exciting, is the prospects of plenty of organizational depth with so many young arms developing, it is a bright future for years to come.

oaksquakes1
Trevor Oaks began 2016 with Class A Rancho Photo Courtesy of Jerry Espinoza

 

 

Dreaming of Spring-Conversation with Trevor Oaks

dsc_0055
Trevor Oaks on the mound for Triple-A Oklahoma City. Photo courtesy of Tony Capobianco of 27 Outs Baseball.

How many of you thought about what it might be like, to make it to the big league? All kids dream of making it big in some way or another. How about waiting for that first call or email, which would invite you to Spring Training with a Major League Organization?  It doesn’t matter whether you were just starting out your baseball journey, a seasoned player, or reliving the glory days of baseball seasons past, one can imagine that the player in all of us would have dreamt of such a day. Many of us will never know what it is like to see this “diamond dream” come to life. Now, wouldn’t it be nice to hear from someone who is living this dream as his reality right now.

Trevor Oaks, the Lancer Alum from Riverside, was nice enough to spend some time away from his extensive offseason training regimen to let us know about his experiences so far. After congratulating Trevor, I asked him about what it is that is going through his mind right now? “I’m very excited for the opportunity to come to camp and try to show the coaching staff I can compete at this level.” Oaks continued, “I wasn’t surprised by the news. I felt that it was something I earned and feel very honored to have this chance. I want to make the most of it and do my best to make a good first impression.” Fans in the California, Texas and Pacific Coast League’s witnessed some tremendous first impressions from the right-handed pitcher, to include throwing a near no-hitter, being named an All-Star (Texas League) and claiming two Pitcher of the week awards. He throws strikes, is aggressive, goes deep into ball games and his pitches have some nasty movement.

Trevor had an extensive workload in 2016, more innings and pitches thrown than any season before. Oaks threw over 150 innings last year, spread out between starts in Class A (Rancho Cucamonga), Class AA (Tulsa) and Class AAA (Oklahoma City). I asked the young sinker ball pitcher about his arm and his overall health in general. “My body is feeling really strong and ready to go. I feel like I’ve picked up right where I left off. My arm feels fresh and ready to go! I’m excited to get going on this next season.” We are all excited for 2017, especially if Trevor can continue to put together really effective outings like he did in the ’16 campaign. Oaks compiled an overall record of 14 Wins against only 3 Losses, while keeping his ERA under 2.75 (2.74) for the season. Trevor was promoted to Tulsa after only 4 starts with the Quakes, then proceeded to become a Texas League All-Star with the Drillers going 8 and 1 in 10 starts. Eventually the control pitcher was bumped up again, this time to Oklahoma City where Trevor shined going 5 and 1. Last month, when I first interviewed Trevor, he mentioned that he would like to be known as an efficient pitcher. Especially for the kids, I asked Oaks to talk about why that is so important, particularly for starting pitchers? “It allows you to control the pace of the game and dictate the momentum. Your focus is on attacking the bottom of the strike zone, with an emphasis on getting weak contact on the ground, while keeping your pitch count at 15 pitches or less per inning.” Trevor went on to say (listen up kids), “I have found that my teammates are more locked in and focused on every pitch because they’re anticipating contact.”

I wanted to press beyond the stats from last year, wondering with all the success that Trevor Oaks enjoyed, was there anyone who gave him a bad time at the plate. I asked who was the toughest out he faced last year? “Danny Volgelbach! He had my number and I couldn’t figure out how to stay off his barrel.” For the moment, Volgelbach is a member of the Mariners organization, however, with Dipoto as G.M. who knows for how much longer. Imagining a soon to be Major League debut, I asked Trevor, who do you least look forward to seeing in the opposing batters box? The confident, but humble prospect replied, “I can’t say there’s anyone in particular I wouldn’t want to face. I want to see how I do against them. Some guys will be better at hitting me, and some guys I’ll have a lot of success against. It’s just the nature of the game.” For us visual dreamers, further information was needed to complete the scene, we need some names Mr. Oaks! The 2016 Texas League All-Star stated, “I would love to face everyone because I’ve grown up watching all of them. I would love to face Bryce Harper and Miguel Cabrera. I like the challenge and I would want to see how I would do against them.” He certainly seems ready for the “trial by fire” that is pitching in the Major League’s as a rookie and beyond. Great character, an effective-control pitcher with the drive and determination to not only battle through early injuries in his career, but also gracefully rise through the levels in the minors last year. I had to know, who was Trevor’s biggest influence growing up. His response, “My Dad. He’s my hero and everything he did, I wanted to be a part of. He’s always encouraged me to try different sports and to stay

oaksedit
Young Trevor Oaks at his first ball game, pictured with sister and father. Photo courtesy of Trevor Oaks.

active. He helped me with baseball and taught me everything he could. If he didn’t know, he got me lessons so I could learn.” While I was lucky enough to have this time, I knew it was coming to a close, I asked Trevor Oaks about his offseason workout routine. His answer may surprise you, because of how much stuff he does! His trainer, Kevin Royce, at Crossfit Proper in Corona, not only trains Trevor Oaks, but also trains Mr. Caleb Dirks, Lancer Alum and former Dodger farm hand. Oaks recommended, if you want a professional type of workout, with an amazing trainer, go see Kevin Royce of Crossfit Proper.

After speaking with Trevor Oaks at length, I feel myself rooting more and more for this talented young man. It is just one more reason to be very excited for the 2017 season. Pitching prospects like Oaks, going to his first Big League Spring Training, while taking some of us day dreamers along on his “adventure of a lifetime.”

Go Dodgers!