The Pioneer League is home to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ other stateside rookie league affiliate, the Ogden Raptors. The league notoriously favors hitters, with small park dimensions and high altitudes. The average age of hitters was 20.6 and pitchers was 21.1, so it’s just slightly older than the Arizona League.
Now let’s take a look at last season and the year ahead.
2013 Record: 36-40
The team averaged more than six runs a game on offense but allowed 6.37, which was second worst in the league. Ogden’s home park, Lindquist Field, is only 390’ to center field and 335 down the lines. Young players, coupled with roster turnover, means inconsistent results.
2013 Team MVP: Jacob Scavuzzo [image src=”http://www.milb.com/assets/images/9/8/4/58910984/cuts/scavuzzo_480_fvhhiv7b_20oa3d3o.jpg” width=”240" height=”135" title=”Jacob Scavuzzo” lightbox=”yes” align=”center”]
A year after being selected in the 21st round, Scavuzzo dominated the Pioneer League by hitting .307/.350/.578 with 18 doubles and 14 home runs in 63 games. In July alone, he clubbed 8 longballs in just 23 games. And after drawing just 3 free passes in the first 31 games, he drew a dozen in August. In 2014, he should face the daunting task of playing in Great Lakes, a league known to keep hitters at bay.
2014 Manager: Jack McDowell
Former major league pitcher Jack McDowell replaced Lee Tinsley as Ogden’s manager for the upcoming season in February. McDowell hadn’t coached professionally prior to this, retiring in 1999 after 12 seasons with the White Sox, Yankees, Angels and Indians.
Greg Sabat will take over as pitching coach after serving in the same capacity for the Tigers’ Gulf Coast League affiliate for 15 years. Leo Garcia returns as hitting coach.
2014 Players to Watch: Josh Henderson, Theo Alexander, Victor Gonzalez, Victor Arano
Alexander and Henderson were two 2012 outfield draftees who didn’t get much playing time in 2013. They have similar profiles as left fielders with upside at the plate. Both hit left-handed and have similar builds. It’ll be interesting to see which one gets out of rookie ball first.
The Dodgers landed Arano and Gonzalez out of Mexico, both as fairly unheralded signings that didn’t get near as much fanfare as Julio Urias. Both pitched in the Arizona League last summer and had fantastic success, especially Gonzalez, who was just 17. Arano has more power to his arsenal right now but Gonzo has more polish.
2014 Opening Day: June 16
Luckily, the Ogden Raptors have live audio feeds for all their games and certain teams in the Pioneer League offer video through MiLB.com. Be sure to check back at DodgersNation.com once the season starts for daily minor league recaps.
Next up, the Great Lakes Loons of the Midwest League.
ICYMI: Dodgers legend Sandy Koufax was struck in the head by a line drive during Spring Training