Earlier this week, the Dodgers called up pitching prospect Dennis Santana from Triple-A Oklahoma City. Throughout the year, the Dodgers have called on players from the minor leagues to provide depth the to the big league roster.
Oklahoma City’s active roster consists of several familiar faces including Tim Locastro, Alex Verdugo and JT Chargois. With the boatload of talent with Major League experience playing in triple-A, the Oklahoma City Dodgers are atop the standings in the Pacific Coast League with a 30-19 record.
Leading the offensive charge is infielder Donovan Solano. Had it not been for Chris Taylor’s defensive versatility, Donovan Solano may be the starting shortstop for the Dodgers. He is ranks second in the league with his .370 batting average and he has Major League experience, playing for the Miami Marlins and the New York Yankees between 2012-16.
Of the active roster, Donovan Solano leads the OKC Dodgers with a .370 avg., ranking him fourth in the PCL. This month he has hit safely in 15 of 19 games, collecting two or more hits in eight of those games.
— Oklahoma City Dodgers (@okc_dodgers) May 29, 2018
In addition to Solano, Alex Verdugo and catcher Rocky Gale are each batting above .320 with four home runs and 18 RBI a piece. Outfielders Henry Ramos and Travis Taijeron are driving in the runs, with a combined 47 RBI this season. Tim Locastro is continuing to show off his speed with a team leading eight stolen bases without getting caught.
Position Player to Watch: Edwin Rios
While Donovan Solano is raking like nobody’s business, I will use this section to focus on a player who has yet to receive a big league call-up.
Edwin Rios probably would have received his Major League call-up earlier this season had he not been on the disabled-list with a calf-injury. Listed as a corner infield and left fielder, the 24-year-old Rios ranks as the Dodgers 11th best prospect. He hit .379 with three home runs during Spring Training but he struck out in more than one-third of those at-bats. Between 2016 and 2017 he his over .300 with a combined 51 home runs.
This season, since Rios was dealing with his calf injury, he has been limited to only four games. As long as he can lower his strikeout rate, his bat should carry him to a Major League roster.
To add to their strong offense, the pitching in Oklahoma City has been lights out. Despite playing in an offense-dominated league, their staff lead the Pacific Coast League with a 3.07 ERA. Leading the rotation is southpaw Manny Banuelos.
Banuelos was a highly regarded prospect for the New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves. He pitched for Atlanta in 2015 but struggled with a 1-4 record and a 5.13 ERA. This year, he leads the team with his five wins and 55 strikeouts, while owning an ERA of 3.24. Brock Stewart is also back in triple-A to add depth to the Oklahoma City rotation.
Brian Schlitter leads the team with nine saves, which ranks third in the league. Their bullpen also consists of Pat Venditte, JT Chargois, Adam Liberatore and Edward Paredes.
Pitcher to Watch: Josh Sborz
Back in 2015, the Dodgers used their second round pick to draft relief pitcher Josh Sborz out of the University of Virginia. He began the season with Double-A Tulsa before moving up to Oklahoma City earlier this month. Between the two levels, Sborz has an ERA of 2.84 with six saves. In close to 300 innings in the minors, he has an ERA of 3.20 and should find his way into the Dodger bullpen within the next year.
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