MSTI Special Feature: Mond… Fridays With Torgy (Season 2, Episode 4)

mondays-with-torgy3.jpgO.K., I PROMISE the next one will be on Monday!  But I have a good excuse this time! 

Well, no, I don’t. 

Wait, I do!  Yes, the reason this feature was delayed recently was due to the impending draft that took place recently and with the draft now over, here is our very own Torgymeister with analysis.  Enjoy! 

As most of you know MLB had it’s “amateur” draft. To say the Dodger draft was a head-scratcher would be an understatement. Since Logan White has been with the Blue, it has pretty much been high school players taken early and often with the odd college guy in the mix. This year, of the first ten picks, six were college players including a senior. Even more curious was the Dodgers taking two players out of Puerto Rico in the first ten rounds. Yes, the Dodgers have drafted players from Puerto Rico, but not very often. Right now, the only player I remember the Dodgers taking in the first round directly from Puerto Rico was Jaime Ortiz. Even more interesting, aside from Garrett Gould, none of the players taken in the first ten rounds were the usual Logan White/Tim Hallgren selections who never get questioned. First off, our top two picks have huge questions. Our first pick, Aaron Miller, was drafted as a pitcher, but with the exception of his junior season, he has not pitched often and has a better pedigree as a hitter. Mind you, he has a relatively fresh arm and he is lefthanded, two things in his favor.

According to the folks in the know, Miller works in the mid-nineties and has some very good secondary stuff, but he needs innings and experience. When I heard this, the first name that came to mind was Chris Withrow. Given six days to think over this pick, it is typical Logan White, high risk, high reward. Blake Smith came second and I have had the opportunity to see him pitch and hit. When his name was announced, I thought closer as he has a seriously nasty fastball and very good slider. His problem is command. But, I have also seen him hit and he is a big time power threat. He is also a big time strikeout threat. I can see why the Dodgers took him as an outfielder, but he has more holes in his swing then Billy Ashley. Of course, the Dodgers seemed to have fixed Kyle Russell and Blake Smith is the same kind of player. Of the next eight picks, the two I liked the best were Garrett Gould and JT Wise. Gould, who was my choice for our first pick is gonna take some big money to forego Wichita State and his windup is scary ugly, but his upside is nearly as good as Ethan Martin’s or Chris Withrow’s. Wise is a strong pick, if only because Tony Delmonico is not taking to catching as quickly as I hoped and, let’s face reality, Russell Martin is becoming Jason Phillips in front of our eyes. I don’t know if his problem is physical or mental, but he is a mere shade of the player he was two years ago. Therefore, we need Wise to make a quick run through the system as I don’t have much confidence in guys like AJ Ellis, Lucas May or Kenley Jansen to fill our catching needs. Wise is considered a good catch and throw guy with some pop in his bat. Yeah, he is already 22, but all that tells me is that there will be no dithering around with extended stays at Great Lakes or Inland Empire for him. Of the picks between 10-20, my favorites were Dan Palo and Brian Cavazos-Galvez. Palo is a very good looking righthander with some excellent stuff and a commitment to Tennessee. Seeing as how I doubt it will cost us slot to sign our picks from five to ten, it would be nice to see Frank & Hot Lips to spend on the kids we draft in the later rounds who have college commitments. Palo is just one, but there are three or four others who would be worth sticking a finger in Bud Lite’s eyes. As for Cavazos-Galvez, he is another power hitter, albeit righthanded now and possesses a great gun from right field. Also, his dad, Balvino, used to toil in the Dodger organization. We also had some head-scratchers in 10-20 range.

Andy Suiter has a great arm, but he looks like a lefthanded Bill Bene. Too many command issues to get all excited about. The other head scratcher is Nick Akins. Don’t get me wrong, three years ago I would’ve begged McCourt to give this guy a huge bonus. He had the look of being a future centerfielder with some pop in his bat. Since then, he has attended a couple JC’s, had a remarkably short stay at San Diego State and then put in a good season at NAIA power, Vanguard. But, it looks as if his arm has lost it’s power and he has become a lesser hitter. Of course, he could prove me wrong on my latest opinion and I would not be happier. Just when I was wondering if Logan White was being ordered to draft the cheap and old, he made four straight picks who brought a huge smile to my face. They were Chad Kettler, Rich Shaffer, Alex McRee and Brian Johnson. All will be difficult signs, but all are top ten round selections with Shaffer and McRee being possible first rounders in the near future. But, given the past history of bonuses thrown out by Frank & Hot Lips, I would say that our chances of signing all four of these guys are akin to the Nationals winning the World Series, this year. Even signing one of these guys could be a story for Ripley’s. Of the last twenty picks, the only ones who I would love to see are Cornell College right Chris Handke and his 6’10″ height and Steven Piscotty, if only because my son struck him out twice in Legion ball, last year.

Kind of let the past two weeks get past me on the farm stuff. Probably the biggest news has to be James McDonald looking like he has found it. His last two outings have been unreal. I mean, fourteen innings, six hits, one run, four walks and twenty three strikeouts are the kind of stuff that gets one ready to re-anoint him as our fifth starter. Even more surprising was the much maligned Stephen Randolph tossing six innings of one hit ball, but even more interesting is that he has given up only three hits in his last fifteen innings. Mind you, Randolph i
s hardly a name to get excited about, but with the paucity of pitching in this league, he could be of value to another team. On the other side of the
ball. Hector Luna continues to hit and hit well. MLBTR even mentioned him as a possible player who could get some interest by a team in the show. Also hitting well has been Mitch Jones as he now has twenty one homers and fifty one rbis. The latest rumors have him finally getting the call after spending ten years on the farm. I know I will be happy to see the guy get his big shot. Before I forget, the ‘topes are still in first (tied) with Round Rock, some four games under .500. Gotta love the PCL. I wish there was something more positive to say about the Lookouts, but there isn’t. Aside from Eduardo Perez continuing to rake, the offense is near dead. Andrew Lambo is struggling and the same can be said for just about any bat in the lineup. On the pitching end, it would appear the Dodgers are closely monitoring Josh Lindblom’s innings as he is getting more relief work while Scott Elbert can strike out tons, he is still plagued by command and the Jeff Weaver Curse (one bad inning ruins a great game). The Lookouts are thirteen games under .500 and eleven and a half out of first. I would not be shocked to see a draft pick start here, namely JT Wise. Not much else positive to report from Inland Empire. The pitching has been very good and the offense has been spotty, of late. Except for the odd Elian Herrera start in left or the daily play of Trayvon Robinson, there is not much to get terribly excited about over the past couple weeks. Sure, Preston Mattingly is showing some pop as he now has as many home runs as walks (6), while Pedro Baez, Scott Van Slyke and Steve Caceres are keeping up on the homer race, but there are too many strikeouts on this team with not enough patience being shown. Pitching wise, Tim Sexton has to wonder which Baseball God he insulted. Like Mike says, W-L record is the worst barometer to judge pitching and Sexton is the prime example of that. He is 1-8, but his ERA is in the low threes and his WHIP is the lowest among the starters, just barely above one. As for the other three main starters, all are having fine seasons. Alberto Bastardo, Chris Withrow and Steve Johnson are all putting up good numbers in the worst pitching enviroment this side of the Pioneer League. Some other notes, Justin Orenduff hasn’t pitched since the middle of May and it would appear with the all the catchers the Dodgers drafted that Kenley Jansen is going to be on the other end of the battery pretty soon. The Loons are the only Dodger farm team to put up a winning record and they are only six games over .500. Still, it is something. They are led by Gordon, Pedroza and Russell. Russell continues to hit bombs at an astounding rate considering the league. I would hope that the Dodgers are looking to move him up along with Pedroza as they have little to prove for the Loons. Gordon still needs the rough edges smoothed, but his speed is quite impressive. Jon Michael Redding is the second example of Mike’s dictum about W-L record. He is 8-2 with an ERA over five and a WHIP at 1.5. Otherwise, the pitching has been good. I would hope that the Dodgers move Javy Guerra up the ladder as I would love to see if Cole St. Clair can continue his impressive pitching. The stat that I love is that he has thrown eight innings with ten strikeouts and zero, nada, none, no walks. Plus he is 3-3 in save opportunities. Not much to report from the Dominican Summer League other than 3b Bladimir Franco. In the first fourteen games of the season he already has five home runs and fourteen rbis to go with his .382 batting average. But, it is still early and aside from Franco, the only other noticeable player is 2b Enlly Morales, who is hitting over .400 and has an obp of .583. I am hoping to have rosters for Ogden and the Dodgers’ Arizona Summer League team by next week. Given the Dodgers’ history of announcing signings, we likely won’t have a roster until next Tuesday night and the season opens for the Dodgers on Sunday and the Raptors on Tuesday.

Thanks again, Torgy!  Until next time… 

- Vin vinscully-face.jpg