The 2015 minor league playoffs are finally upon us. Unfortunately, they ended abruptly for two Los Angeles Dodgers affiliates. Triple-A Oklahoma City, who finished with the best record in the Pacific Coast League, was unceremoniously swept by Round Rock, while Low-A Great Lakes shared the same fate in the Midwest League.
OKC’s fall was predictable, as the team saw most of its best players promoted to the big leagues prior to the postseason. Great Lakes suffered a pair of heartbreakers, losing each game by a single run. On the bright side, High-A Rancho Cucamonga won its first playoff game with a dramatic walk-off home run from Cody Bellinger, but fell in Game 2.
They now head to High Desert looking to advance to the next round on the road.
Hitter of the Week – Cody Bellinger
After hitting 30 home runs in the regular season, Bellinger saved No. 31 for a special moment. Rancho and High Desert remained scoreless through nine innings and entered the 10th with Josh Sborz pitching in relief.
After taking a comebacker off his pitching arm, Sborz was replaced by Kyle Hooper, who recorded the final out. In the bottom of the 10th, after a Spencer Navin groundout, Devin Ahart walked and Tim Locastro lined a single into left field to bring up Bellinger.
The 20-year-old first baseman blasted a no-doubter over the right field fence to send the Quakes home with the win.
Pitcher of the Week – Chase De Jong
De Jong, acquired from the Blue Jays for international slot money, had been spectacular in his first handful of starts with the Quakes before coming back down to Earth. He pitched well enough to earn the start in Game 1 and did not disappoint. Over 6.2 scoreless innings, he scattered four hits, issued just two walks and struck out eight.
Top 10 Update
–Julio Urias ended the regular season on a sour note, once again struggling with his control and exiting his final start of the season after just one inning. Hopefully next year, he’ll be able to pitch a full season without interruption.
–Corey Seager had himself quite a week at the Major League level, batting .474/.630/.789 with twice as many walks than strikeouts.
–Jose De Leon also struggled in his last start, allowing four unearned runs on seven hits, including a pair of home runs. Double-A Tulsa did come back with five runs in the bottom of the frame and ended up winning the game, so it wasn’t all bad news.
–Grant Holmes allowed three runs in 4.2 innings in Game 1 of Great Lakes’ playoff run, though the Loons came up short of getting the win.
–Yadier Alvarez spoke to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com, which resulted in this article being published on Monday.
–Jose Peraza returned from a hamstring issue, only to re-aggravate it on Sunday.
–Jharel Cotton pitched an inning in relief for OKC in the seventh but didn’t make an appearance in the playoffs. It seems he may not make his Major League debut this season.
–Alex Verdugo went hitless in Game 1 for Rancho but made his mark in Game 2, going 1-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base. He also doubled a runner off first on a failed hit-and-run.
–Austin Barnes is up with the big club, though he still hasn’t played much. He did have a walk and a stolen base on Wednesday.