On April 2, 2019, the Ranch Cucamonga Quakes had their Media Day. Dodgers Nation was there to interview some of the top prospects in the Dodgers farm system.
The day started with players trickling in with uniforms from last year and shorts. It turns out that the uniforms from last year as just the name panels are replaced. The players had to go back and put on their pants since there were some green screen pictures being taken. Everyone was kind, led by the “Voice of the Quakes” and Director of Public Relations, Mike Lindskog.
Manager Mark Kertenian
The manager of the Quakes for the last three years, Drew Saylor, has moved on to the Pirates organization and his replacement is Mark Kertenian. Kertenian has over a decade coaching at the college level and joined the Dodgers organization for the 2017 season as the manager of the Ogden Raptors. He spent 2018 with the rookie ball clubs in Arizona before getting the call to manage the Quakes.
Catcher Connor Wong
Connor Wong starts his second year with the Quakes due to the presence of Keibert Ruiz at Tulsa and Will Smith at OKC. Wong has risen quickly through the system after being drafted in 2017 so he’s actually where he probably would be on a normal pace. However, I can see him being promoted quickly when there are some at bats available as he proved his worth in 2018.
Starting Pitcher Michael Grove
Remember the name, Michael Grove. He is currently the Dodgers 15th ranked prospect but that will change soon. Sources say he could be the next big prospect for the Dodgers. The Dodgers obviously think so as he debuts at High-A, skipping Rookie and Low-A ball altogether. Make sure you get a chance to see him at Rancho, up close.
Center Fielder Jeren Kendall
Jeren Kendall was the Dodgers 1st round pick in 2017, and like Wong, rose quickly. Kendall also spent 2018 in Ranch and starts there in 2019. He worked hard on the off-season at improving his swing and, if you saw some of his work in the pre-season, there are some preliminary results worth noting. Let’s hope he can continue improving through the season as he has as much or more talent than anyone in the organization.
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Middle Infielder Jeter Downs
Jeter Downs was part of the Yasiel Puig trade return and is rated as the number 8 prospect in the organization. He played at Low-A in the Reds organization after bring drafted in 2017 out of high school. There are some high hopes for him but it would not be fair to judge him based on being part of the Puig trade.
The Quakes are the best baseball bargain in Southern California and worth the time to go out and see them. Media Day was a great kickoff for the season as we can watch the future Dodgers stars up close. The players are much more accessible than in the Major Leagues and you can get great seats for under $20. I’ll be covering the Quakes this year so you’ll see periodic reports about the players that are playing in Rancho this year.