Other than the Pioneer League, the minor leagues have completed their regular season. Fortunately for many Dodgers’ minor league teams, the season continues. The only Dodger affiliate that did not make the post-season was the Oklahoma City Dodgers of the Pacific Coast League. The OKC team was constructed a bit strange as they kept many of their main position players like Gavin Lux and DJ Peters in AA until later in the season. It seems the team’s purpose was to have players ready to contribute in the Major Leagues, if needed, and develop others in AA. Will Smith, Kyle Garlick, Matt Beaty and Edwin Rios were ready to contribute when they were called up from OKC.
We’ll take a look at the four Dodgers’ playoff teams.
Tulsa Drillers – Texas League
The AA level Drillers begin their playoff series against the Arkansas Travelers (Mariners affiliate) in a best 3 of 5 series. The Travelers have a reached of 21-9 against the Drillers. The Drillers have had a lot of talent losses and gains. Some key losses were Dustin May, Gavin Lux and DJ Peters. However, some key additions have been pitchers Edwin Uceta, Josiah Gray and Leo Crawford.
Other key players include Jeter Downs, Connor Wong and Donovan Casey. During the season they’ve been lead by Texas League Home Run Champion Cody Thomas, Cristian Santana and Omar Estevez. Overall, the current Drillers team has 8 of the top 30 prospects on their team. The Drillers are the defending Texas League champions.
Rancho Cucamonga Quakes – California League
The High-A Quakes will play the Lake Elsinore Storm (Padres affiliate) in a best 3 of 5 series. The Quakes have also had a lot of turnover but it is all for the best. Cal League All-Stars Jeter Downs, Donovan Casey, Logan Salow, Connor Wong and Edwin Uceta have all been promoted to AA. Top 5 prospect Josiah Gray started the season with the Loons, passed through the Quakes then also went to AA. However, the Dodger farm system keeps the talent rolling through with additions of Jacob Amaya, John Rooney, Andre Jackson, Hunter Feduccia, Dillon Paulson and Jose Martinez among others. Some mainstays on the team include Marcus Chiu, Max Gamboa, Austin Hamilton, Devin Mann, Deacon Liput and Brayan Morales.
After his promotion Miguel Vargas took a little bit of time to get rolling but has been outstanding. Speaking of improvement both Jeren Kendall and Gerardo Carrillo have been on fire lately. They have also been getting stellar relief from Melvin Jimenez, Darien Nunez (keep your eye on him), Max Gamboa, Austin Drury and Guillermo Zuniga. There is a lot of talent there and, since they are local for many of us, go and watch them play. Overall, there are 7 of the top 30 prospects playing for the Quakes.
Great Lakes Loons – Midwest League
The Loons will play the Lake County Captains (Indians affiliate) but come in weakened by a lot of promotions. A sample of some of the names that have been promoted and played significant roles for the Loons include Nico Hulsizer (since traded), Miguel Vargas, Hunter Feduccia, John Rooney, Andre Jackson, Jacob Amaya and Dillon Paulson. Just look at the Quakes current roster and many started the season with the Loons. Top draft picks Kody Hoese and Michael Busch were assigned to the Loons but are both injured. Mainstays like Justin Yurchak, Chris Roller, Romer Cuadrado, Luke Heyer, James Outman and Leonel Valera play almost every day. Top prospect Robinson Ortiz and 2019 draft picks Jack Little (currently injured) and Ryan Pepiot along with Jose Chacin hold down the pitching staff. The Loons only have 4 of the top 30 prospects and two of them are injured.
Ogden Raptors – Pioneer League
The Raptors don’t finish the regular season until this weekend but they have already won 50 games in their short season. They are the first to win 50 in a decade. Alex Verdugo will also help them finish their regular season on a rehabilitation assignment. The Raptors are a Rookie League level team and are filled with draft picks and international players who are coming from the rookie league teams in the Dominican Republic or Arizona.
They have been resilient this season as three of their top players (Brandon Lewis, Sam McWilliams and Justin Yurchak) have been promoted. The big position player has been Andy Pages and his 16 home runs. He has also slashed .287/.391/.610 (AVG/OBP/SLG) and is only 18 years old. On the mound the pitchers are relatively unknown but they’ve been effective during the season. Currently there aren’t any Raptors in the top 30 prospects but something must be going right if they have dominated the Pioneer League all year.
Each Dodger affiliate has had high turnover of players. The Dodgers have been aggressive in promoting a lot of their players, despite their age. The teams are well run and create a culture that keeps the momentum moving forward through promotions, demotions, trades and trade rumors.
What the Astros – and particularly the Dodgers – do very well is exactly that. Consistent philosophy from who they acquire to how they develop. It's hard to get right because this is not the normal state of things in the minor leagues. Forever it's been Mad Max. No longer.
— Kyle Boddy (@drivelinebases) September 4, 2019