MSTI Special Feature: Mondays With Torgy (Season 2, Episode 1)

Welcome to Episode 1 of Season 2 of Mondays With Torgy! 
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For those unfamiliar with the feature, what it is essentially is that every Monday we will have weekly updates on the Dodgers’ farm system, brought to you
by our very own farm authority, Torgy, also known as Grabarkewitz at The Big Blue Wrecking Crew
With all the talk that we spend on the major league club, we felt it
might be a good idea to give you a nice weekly briefing on what goes
down on the farm and how these kids play a part, especially when their
names might come up in trade rumors. 

So may I introduce to you, the one and only Torgmeister! 

It is 2009 and again Logan White has a fine looking group of
prospects ready to be harvested…..in 2011. We are loaded at the lower
levels with some serious talent, but the Youth Movement in LA has taken
some of the shine off our upper level franchises. Albuquerque is so
bereft of prospects than Blake DeWitt or the recently called up Jamie
Hoffman, it looks like a casting call for Cocoon 3, The Geezers.

It is down in San Bernardino and Midland, MI where the real fruits
of Logan White’s wise labors are very apparent. But, because
Albuquerque is our AAA franchise, it gets the top billing. The ‘topes
(which is one cool nickname, much better than the Dukes, IMO) are
basically Ned Colletti’s Halfway House for mid-thirties scrubs and
other hacks. Such illustrious names as Shawn Estes, Luis Maza, Danny
Ardoin and Val Pascucci (the Godfather) made up most of the roster.
Other than ranting about the bad components of the roster, let’s look
at what is working for a first place team. First off, Hector Luna is
putting up scary numbers for a middle infielder. His ops is
1.089….yeah, this is Albquerque and that should explain some of that,
but the ‘topes have played most of their division games at or near sea
level in places like New Orleans, Omaha, Iowa, etc…

We also have to give some kudos to the starting pitching. Eric
Milton (before he got the call), Shawn Estes, Giancarlo Alvarado and
Jeff Weaver (also called up) were putting up scary good WHIPs. All of
them are/were under 1.25. Given that a goodly portion of the games were
played in or about sea level, that stat does lose some shine, but not
much. Unfortunately, we have also had to put up with trash like Tanyon
Sturtze (since released), Scott Strickland (although he had converted
three straight saves and lowered his ERA to below six) and Stephen
Randolph, who may be the worst pitcher in professional baseball. Yeah,
he is striking out nearly two batters an inning, but his ERA is over
eleven and he has walked nearly as many as he has struck out, this
season. Other than Blake DeWitt and the newly called-up Jamie Hoffman,
there isn’t much there to get a prospect hound excited. I am sure some
will say that Jason Repko and his ops of .982 is a prospect, but he has
done this before and it never really translates into his big league
numbers.

Now, off to Chattanooga and the Lookouts (another great nickname).
The Lookouts got off to a terrible start. They were in last place a
couple weeks ago and only recently have played good baseball. Talent
they have, but I have to question why better talent is burning daylight
at the A level. For the longest time, Jamie Hoffman was the best thing
about the Lookouts. Hoffman was putting up the best numbers on the team
with obp of .452 and ops of 950, but like the rest of his team, power
is not there. Aside from Gaby Martinez’ five homers, not another player
has more than three bombs. Andrew Lambo, likely our best prospect, is
struggling through a funk that dropped his average from the .330′s to
.278. Of course, the pitching has been stellar, led by one of the great
minor league bullpens and some very good starting pitching by Josh
Lindblom, Scott Elbert and Travis Chick. Victor Garate, Jesus Rodriguez
and the recently healthy Travis Schichting have been phenomenal. Of the
Lookouts’ top five relief pitcher, the one with worst WHIP among
Garate, Rodriguez, Schichting, Brent Leach and Paul Koss was the one
called up to Los Angeles. Other good things about the Lookouts – Josh
Bell has stayed healthy and produced and Tony Abreu looks to be at
nearly 100%. There are some worries, though. Lucas May is still one
terrible catcher, Jovanny Rosario can’t stay healthy and Ivan DeJesus
is losing development time with his broken leg.

The biggest surprise on the farm has to be Scott Van Slyke and the
play of the Inland Empire Sixty-sixers. For the past three years, I
would think that most of us wondered why Scott Van Slyke generated so
much positive publicity when we signed him. Last year, at both of our A
level teams, Van Slyke combined for a .663 ops. That is Slappy-like.
For a kid who is 6’5″ and over 200lbs, one would think he would have
some pop. So, when he started to hit like his daddy, I was shocked.
But, when he didn’t slow down a bit after April, I had to take notice.
Sure, he strikes out too much and he is playing in one of the best
hitting leagues in all of baseball, but still an ops over .990 and
among the league leaders in batting average, rbis and doubles were not
something that I ever expected from the kid. But, he is not the only
hitter feasting on Cal League pitching. Eduardo Perez is putting up
even better numbers, as did Tommy Giles (since moved to Chattanooga).

On the pitching side, there have been some fine moments. Tim Sexton
and Alberto Bastardo have been very good, while Chris Withrow shows an
electric arm, but the pitcher who looks the best is Steve Johnson and
it would not shock me to see him jumped up to Chattanooga shortly.
Johnson is likely the closest match I can see to Greg Maddux in minor
league baseball. He doesn’t have electric stuff (his fastball can hit
93, but he works around 87-89) and his off-speed stuff is good, but not
something to write home about, but he is averaging nearly a strikeout
and a half an inning and his WHIP is around 1.2, which is unheard of in
the Cal League. There are other pleasant surprises. Greg Miller (aside
from one very long and bad outing) has been a rock and Justin Orenduff
(although I wish he would walk a few less hitters) is taking to closing
very well. Lastly, let’s not forget Trayvon Robinson and Preston
Mattingly. Both were likely afterthoughts or considered flops, like Van
Slyke, but both have put up good numbers (I wish both would walk more)
and could be inching back to prospect status.

Now, to the crown jewel of the Dodgers farm – the Loons. I knew, at
the beginning of the season, this team would be loaded and it appears
that I was right. Aside from a middle infield who could end up with
over sixty errors, this team has met and surpassed my expectations. No,
they are not dominating the Midwest League, but for individual talent,
I would put them up there with just about any other minor league squad.
The lineup is strong 1-6, the pen is frightening and while the
starters, save for Jon-Michael Redding and Ethan Martin, have been less
than spectacular, they all show signs of better things down the road.
The biggest shock on this team has been the improved bat work of Kyle
Russell. Yes, he still strikes out too much, but when he does make
contact it is more often a hit than an out. He is among the league
leaders, in the Midwest League, in home runs, rbis, slugging and total
bases. Add to that, he has been playing a significant amount of his
game in centerfield. The other shock has been the pen. Javy Guerra was
just a guy with a funny wind-up and a history of not staying healthy.
Now, he is unhittable and is second among all Dodger pitchers in saves.
His setup men have been just as good. Robert Boothe, Luis Garcia and
Josh Walter have been equally stingy against opposing hitters.

To the offensive side, Jaime Pedroza leads the Loons is just about
every offensive category that Kyle Russell doesn’t and Devaris Gordon
is fast becoming the heir apparent to Rafael Furcal as he lead the
Dodgers in stolen bases and has shown some pop with the bat. Then there
is Tony Delmonico. He is making it a bit easier to get over losing
Carlos Santana. Yes, he needs to improve his flexibility behind the
plate and learn to block pitches better, but he has shown a strong arm
and an improving understanding of the mental aspect of the game from
behind the plate. I would not be surprised if, in three or four years,
we will have five or six big league players from this roster.

Next week, I hope to start getting together more information on the
draft and if the Dodgers are going to be players in the International
market.

Thanks, Torgy!  Stay tuned for another edition of “Mondays With Torgy,” brought to you by MSTI.  

- Vin vinscully-face.jpg

MSTI Special Feature: Mondays With Torgy (Episode III)

Welcome to another edition of Monday’s With Torgy! 

I now present to you for week three: The Torgmeister:

Good Monday, to all. Not the best week on the farm. First off, before he throws pitch one, Ethan Martin tears up his knee during PFP to end his season. Still, I doubt he would’ve pitched much this year, so it saves the Dodgers from themselves and the kid can rehab and be ready to start at Ogden, next June, unless he is as precocious as most scouts feel. At least his injury happened on the field, that can’t be said for Chris Withrow, who hurt himself throwing a sandal on the beach. I know kids will be kids, but this kind of injury during horseplay reminds me of Brien Taylor, the poster boy for stupid injuries. Kid had one of the best lefty arms and gets into a fight at a bar and his career is toast.

Well, just because I care, here are the numbers for Carlos Santana at Kinston (.379/.419/586 with a homer and four ribs.), Jon Meloan at Buffalo (0-1, 1.93, 1.50 WHIP, 4.2ip, 1bb, 3k) and Bryan Morris (no stats yet, he was assigned to Hickory in the South Atlantic League). Of these three kids, I am gonna miss Santana, the most, followed by Morris, with Meloan a distant third. Andy LaRoche has been doing okay with the Pirates, a homer today and is looking like his bat is getting warmed up. But, right now, the trades look very good in the Dodgers’ favor. Casey Blake has provided a good bat and has flashed some great leather at third. As for Manny, I hear good things about him.

One thing I have to speak on is the impact of this year’s draft by Logan White. Just from the numbers and scouting reports, it appears that Logan White may have pulled a huge rabbit out of his hat. This draft, which was so in opposition to White’s previous drafts, is looking like one of his best. I know when I heard names like Kyle Russell, Devaris Gordon, Nick Buss, Anthony Delmonico, Steven Caceres, etc… I had thought White had lost his mind. Boy, was I wrong! Nick Buss is one of the hottest hitters in the minors, Russell is not the most awful player in the game as some were opining when we drafted him and Gordon (for a kid who didn’t play at all this year) has been something special – although his glove needs some work. But let’s look at two pitchers, who were late round picks. Matthew Smith, a 6’6″ righty is holding an ERA of 0.96 in the Pioneer League – yes, the Pioneer League where any ERA under 4.5 is considered Cy Young material. Then there is Matt Magill, a kid we stole from Cal Poly. He just went 1-0 for the week, tossing 5.1 innings, allowing only two hits, one walk and striking out eight. Even Nathan Eovaldi, who with Zack Cox (very likely on his way to Arkansas) and Chris Joyce ( on his way to UC-Santa Barbara) were the players that I felt the Dodgers needed to sign to make this a successful draft, started his career with a two strikeouts in his first inning of work and was clocked at 98. Right now, signing Cox or Joyce would just gild the lily, this draft is that good.

Now, that brings me to the 2009 draft and the potential for the Dodgers to have something like eight of the first 60-70 picks. Eight picks in the first and sandwich rounds for Logan White, that should be illegal. It appears, that as long as we offer arbitration, we will net two picks for Manny, two for Raffy, two for the Most Interesting Man in the World (you may start on the Termel Sledge story, Vin) and two more for the ADD Kid. Even if we sign Sabathia, we are only out one pick. Actually, I wouldn’t mind if we did resign three of these potential free agents, but I think the most likely scenario is that we resign Blake, but not the others.

Okay, back to the farm. Las Vegas closed the gap between themselves and Sacramento, but a bad week of 3-4 dropped them to 61-55, some 4.5 games back of the RiverCats. We are kind of understaffed with Terry Tiffee and Mike Koplove playing for the US Olympic team and John-Ford Griffin aching. Blake DeWitt had a nice week, going 10-30 with two bombs and three ribs. Nice week for Heath Totten as he won two games and posted an ERA of 2.25 for the week. Brad Penny’s rehab start went well, as he threw four innings, only tossing 55 pitches, of which 44 were strikes. There was even talk that he hit the upper nineties on the gun at Oklahoma City.

Bad weeks at Jacksonville (2-5, 17-26, 11 games back of Mississippi and in last place in the Southern League South Division) and Inland Empire (also 2-5, 22-21, 1.5 games back of Lancaster and in second place in the Cal League South Division). The Suns got some very bad pitching, but Ivan DeJesus put up good numbers, going 13-28 with six doubles, a homer and six ribs. The only pitcher who had a good week was Scott Elbert as he picked up a win, while striking out three in three innings. The Suns got a good week from Tommy Giles as he went 5-16 with three homers and six ribs for the week, while Victor Garate put together a great outing, working six, striking out ten and only giving up one run. Scott Proctor made his first rehad appearance and got ripped for three hits in two thirds of an inning.

Both the Loons and the GCL Dodgers put up the same numbers (the Loons went 3-4 and dropped their record to 16-27, eleven games back of South Bend and in last place in the Midwest League West Division). The Dodgers put up a 3-4 record, falling to second place behind the Nats and dropping their record to 22-15, a half game back. With the exception of Eduardo Perez and Andrew Lambo, the Loons couldn’t hit water if they ran off of the end of a pier. Perez went 13-27 with three doubles and four ribs. Lambo went 10-30 with a homer and six ribs. Josh Lindbloom had a nice start, going three innings, striking out five and giving up no runs. As for the Dodgers, Albie Goulder led the moribund offense with a 6-18 week, with a homer and a rib. On the pitching end, Edwin Contreras went 5.2 innings in a no decision, striking out three and walking none. Jerry Sands did drive home seven runs, this week, but also struck out ten times.

Lastly, the Raptors went 4-3 and are tied for first with the Idaho Falls Chukars. Elian Herrera and Nick Buss had big weeks, Herrera drove home seven runs in a Raptor’s win, this week and Buss belted three homers and eight ribs for the week. Anthony Delmonico struggled for a bit, going hitless for three games, but he put together a couple three hit games to get back on track. That is all I have this week, see you all next week….if Mike lets me back.

Ladies and gentleman: Torgy has left the building.

Thanks again, Torgy!

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MSTI Special Feature: Mondays With Torgy (Episode II)

Welcome to Episode II of Monday’s With Torgy!

So, may I introduce to you, the farm authority you’ve known all these years… Sgt. Torgy’s Lonely Farm Authority Cl… oh, forget it, here he is!

Morning, all. First my editorial comment on Ned Colletti, aka Fucking Bonehead. I am sure that most are still trying to figure out why Carlos Santana was dealt for a journeyman third sacker. Of course, it could be the fact that the McCourt’s seem to be rolling change for payroll, but did we really need to overpay for a guy who’s second half splits are abysmal? At this point, one has to hope that Anthony Delmonico can follow the same path as Russell Martin, or we could be in deep when Russell gets close to free agency.

Okay, back to the week at hand. Overall a pretty good week on the farm. The 51′s and the Raptors both went 6-1 for the week and on the other extreme was Great Lakes who well 1-5 for the week. As of this evening, the 51′s upped their record to 58-51, 4.5 games behind Sacramento, in second place. The Suns turned in a 2-4 week, dropping to 15-21, 8.5 games behind Mississippi and they are in last place in the Southern League South Division. The Sixers had a good week, although their pen blew two games. They went 4-3 for the week and are now 19-17, 1.5 games behind Rancho Cucamonga in the California League South Division. The Raptors had a great week, going 6-1 and evening their record at 19, but they are still 6 games back of Orem. The GCL Dodgers had an uncharacteristic bad week, going 2-4 and dropping their record to 18-11 and seeing their lead fall to .5. Lastly, the sad sacks of the farm system, the Loons, went 1-5 and dropped their record to 13-23, eleven games behind South Bend and in last place in their division.

There were plenty of good games to choose from as our highlights with probably the best being Las Vegas coming back in the bottom of the tenth to score three runs to defeat Omaha, 4-3. After Mike Koplove gave up two runs in the top of tenth, it looked bad for the 51′s, but it only took three hitters to change the outcome. Jason Repko opened the tenth with a single off of Shake Yabuta, followed by a Terry Tiffee rbi double and the John Lindsey’s two-run bomb to close the game. Tiffee and Lindsey each had three hits in the game and Mike Koplove picked up the win. The 51′s are still getting great offensive production from Lindsey (.318/20/81 with .399/.563/.962), Terry Tiffee (.375/8/62 and .418/.559/.974) and John-Ford Griffin (.310/14/67 and .386/.527/.913) – all of whom would be better than Mark Sweeney off of the Dodgers’ bench. On the pitching side, Mike Koplove (2-1, 3.48 with nine saves, his WHIP is 1.12 and K/BB is 42/18), Dwayne Pollok (8-3, 4.56 with two saves, his WHIP is 1.20 and his K/BB is 53/16) and Eric Stults (5-6, 3.86 with a 1.34 WHIP and his K/BB is 72/30) are leading that contingent.

The Suns had a bad week, but James McDonald came through with a good outing to lead the Suns to an 8-3 victory over Mobile. McDonald picked up his fifth win, going five and only giving up three hits and two runs. Adolfo Gonzalez led the offense with three doubles, while Ryan Rogowski and Juan Gonzalez each hit homers. James Tomlin added three rbis on his two hits. The big hitters for the Suns, this season, are Jamie Hoffman (.282/9/54 with .359/.412/.771), Ivan DeJesus (.292/2/40 with .395/.356/.751) and Juan Gonzalez (.270/13/50 with .391/.478/.869). On the pitching side of the ledger, it is James McDonald (5-2, 3.04 with a WHIP of 1.19 and K/BB is 109/43), Jesus Castillo (7-4, 2.99 with a 1.33 WHIP and K/BB is 74/32) and Scott Elbert (1-1, 2.79 with a WHIP of 1.10 and K/BB is 26/15).

Even though the Sixers lost their best player, they still played well, winning four of seven games for the week and one of those wins came from Steve Johnson, who shut down Lake Elsinore, 7-2 with a strong five innings, giving up two runs and six hits. Trayvon Robinson and Andrew Locke each had three hits, including a two-run homer from Locke and a double and triple from Robinson. Austin Gallagher added a pair of doubles, while Bridger Hunt had two hits and two ribs. This team will miss Santana, but there is plenty of offense to keep things going. Pacing the offense is Austin Gallagher (.324/5/46 and .366/.521/.887), Tommy Giles (.286/15/78 and .343/.434/771) and Andrew Locke (.321/8/58 and .384/.502/886). On the pitching end, Steve Johnson is having the best season at 12-3 with an ERA of 2.99 and a WHIP of 1.20. Paul Koss and Francisco Felix are leading the pen with Koss going (2-1, 3.43, a WHIP of 1.26 and K/BB is 52/23) and Felix, before he was sent up to Las Vegas is 5-3 with a 3.43 ERA and a WHIP of 1.14.

A really bad week for the Loons as they only could win one game, this week. The only win was a 7-3 decision over Clinton. Bryan Morris picked up the win, going five innings, giving up five hits and one unearned run. Morris did walk five, but struck out four in his outing. The recently activated Eduardo Perez belted a three-run homer among his two hits and Alfredo Silverio matched him by adding a three-run bomb and a triple. Pacing this offense is the Natural, Andrew Lambo, who is hitting .292/14/66 with .348/.483/.831. The rest of the offense is more pedestrian, but Kenley Jansen is improving on his early season struggles as he is now up to .243/9/21 with ..308/.448/.756 – not bad numbers for a defensive-minded catcher and Alfredo Silverio is hitting at .255/7/33 with .264/.396/.660. On the pitching side, it is much better with Victor Garate putting up a 6-3, 1.85 with a WHIP of 1.15 and K/BB is 103/28, Bryan Morris who is up to 2-4, 3.39 and a WHIP of 1.27 and K/BB of 70/27. Gabe White is the representative from the bench, with a 1-1 record, two saves and a 1.71 ERA, his WHIP is 0.81 with K/BB is 22/4.

Big week in Ogden as the bats were putting up good numbers and the pitching is starting to come together. In a week of six wins, it was difficult to pick out the highlight game, but a come from behind victory over Great Falls won the ballot. The Raptors were rolling along with a 6-1 lead going into the top of the eighth when the White Sox proceeded to plate eight runs over the last two innings to take a 9-6 lead going into the bottom of the ninth. But the Raptors opened with a single by Anthony Delmonico, followed by back to back doubles by Travis Vetters and Kyle Russell. A wild pitch and a walk put runners on first and third when Steve Caceres plated Russell on a ground out. After an Austin Yount ground out, Brian Ruggiano singled home Baez to win the game. It was hard to pick just three players to lead the offense, but I chose these three – Kyle Russell (.319/7/28 and .428/.575/1.022), Anthony Delmonico (.379/2/9 and .471/.755/1.226) and Pedro Baez (.294/6/30 and .327/.514/.841). On the pitching end, two lefties are holding down the fort with Geison Aguasviva (2-2, 3.67 and a WHIP of 1.49 and K/BB is 32/10), Michael Watt (4-2, 2.91 and a WHIP of 1.32 and a K/BB is 39/14). The best reliever is Luis Garcia who is 2-0 with a 2.65 ERA. His WHIP is 1.35 with a K/BB of 19/12.

A pretty bad week for the GCL Dodgers, but Edwin Contreras continues to impress. Contreras combined with Luis Ferraras and Jacob McCarter on a two hit shutout of the Mets, 7-0. Contreras went five, allowing both hits and walking only one. Leading the offense in this game was Garrett Green and Lennell McGee with three hits including a triple for Green and two rbis for McGee. Gorman Erickson added two hits and an rbi. The offense isn’t as potent as Ogden’s, but there is plenty to be happy about. Erickson is putting up the best offensive numbers with a .313/1/8 and .414/.438/.852, followed by Joris Bert at .295/0/4 and .466/.341/.807 and Jerry Sands at .219/6/19 and .326/.494/820. On the pitching side it is all about Edwin Contreras at 4-0, 1.20 with a WHIP of 0.87 and a K/BB of 16.5, ably abetted by Roberto Feliciano at 1-0, 1.08 and a WHIP of 1.32 and K/BB of 13/6 and Beyker Fructuoso at 2-1, 3.00 and a WHIP of 1.05 and a K/BB of 22/6.

Thanks again, good sir!

- Vin vinscully-face.jpg

MSTI Special Feature: Monday’s With Torgy

As my partner in crime, MSTI, is off touring and having lots of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, I, the one who actually DOES music for a living, sit here typing on a baseball blog with my dog on the couch.

Thanks, life.

But, as he is living the high life, we did say we might have a special guest during his time off, and now we will. Welcome to our new feature:

Monday’s With Torgy!

Every Monday until MSTI comes back (or maybe permanently, if it sticks) we will have weekly updates on the Dodgers’ farm system, brought to you by our very own farm authority, Torgy, also known as Grabarkewitz at The Big Blue Wrecking Crew.  With all the talk that we spend on the major league club, we felt it might be a good idea to give you a nice weekly briefing on what goes down on the farm and how these kids play a part, especially when their names might come up in trade rumors.

So I present to you this week’s first edition:

Morning, all. Some of you know me and some don’t, my tag is Grabarkewitz and this is my payback to Mike for not rescuing me from the insanity of planning a wedding and taking me and my keyboards on tour with him. Those that do know me know what I love – the farm. Logan White, DeJon Watson and the Jacksonville Five are my holy trinity. That being said, we will start with the standings and where each of our teams are in the respective leagues. You will note that I have my favorites (mancrush in bloom) and they are the Heir Apparent, Carlos Santana, who I feel is the best player in the Dodger farm system, right now – The Minotaur, that mythical beast known as Clayton Kershaw, I think we all know about him – The Natural, Andrew Lambo, who I feel will be our starting left fielder in three years and Steve Johnson, , as I feel he is gonna be our Greg Maddux. Some of the nicknames I haven’t used much, because they are like me, lame, but when I put pen to paper on the farm, that is my names for these four.

As of Sunday, Las Vegas is second in the PCL Pacific South Division, 8.5 games behind Sacramento, with a record of 52-50. The fact that the 51′s are second is more a testament to the great seasons by retreads like Terry Tiffee, John Lindsey, Jason Johnson, Matt Riley and John-Ford Griffin. The only real prospects on the team, who are playing well, are Xavier Paul and Jonathan Meloan, although I think that making Meloan a starter is a bad move. The 51′s went 2-2 for the week, but the did open up the can of proverbial whipass on the Rainiers from Tacoma, crushing them 13-3, on Monday. Angel Chavez went off huge, getting four hits in five at bats with a homer(7), double(21) and two ribs(54). John-Ford Griffin added a perfect day with three hits in three at bats and he homered(14), doubled(17) and drove home three runs, but I take great joy in Mitch Jones, who just came back from Japan, and has picked up where he left off when he was moved from the 51′s, last year. Jones went two for five with a homer(7), four ribs(20) and a run. The remainder of the 51′s nineteen hit attack was led by Jason Repko, Paul, Lindsey and Kevin Howard with two hits each. Jon Meloan really didn’t have to do much, but he put up his best game in a month by going seven innings and only giving up eight hits and three runs. Meloan’s record sits at 5-9 with a not awful 5.18 ERA (well not awful in the PCL)

Not a great week for the Suns, they went two and three for the week and only great pitching by Jesus Castillo and Clayton Kershaw got those wins for the Suns. The Suns are 13-17, some 4.5 games back in the Southern League South Divison(?). The Suns have more prospect strength, but nothing like the quantity of talent at Inland Empire or at Ogden, but it is still well worth talking about. Of course, the biggest name is Clayton Kershaw, but there are also some well regarded players in Jamie Hoffman, Ivan DeJesus, Jesus Castillo and Scott Elbert. While I know some folks love Lucas May, but I am not a huge fan. That is just me.

The Suns have actually been playing better behind Clayton Kershaw, as his last win shows. The Suns dropped eight runs on the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx as Kershaw tossed five, one-hit innings (if you want to read a first person report on the game – check out dodgers.cc and CeyHeyJay’s perfect game report.). Kershaw only struck out three, but he only walked one while upping his record to 2-3 and putting his ERA at 1.91. The Suns made their fifteen hits count, with Russell Mitchell leading the offense with three hits and a run. Jamie Hoffman, Ivan DeJesus, Shane Justis and Lucas May all had two hits. Juan Gonzalez belted a solo homer, his eleventh. A little love for Jesus Castillo as he picked up his seventh win against four losses with his five inning effort today. Castillo’s ERA is now down to 2.85 A nice week for Scott Elbert, also. Scott tossed four shutout innings with four strikeouts and only one hit.

Not a great week for the Inland Empire Sixty Sixers as they went 1-5 for the week and dropped their second half record in the Cal League South Division to 16-14, a game and a half back off of the pace. Again, I think this team is the most loaded on the farm. But, any team with Carlos Santana is loaded from the get-go. But, I see big futures for Tommy Giles, Austin Gallagher, Jaime Pedroza, Trayvon Robinson, Steve Johnson, Andrew Locke, Matthew Sartor and Paul Koss. Matter of fact, I think that Gallagher could be our rightfielder, come the 2012 season, with him and Andrew Lambo surrounding Matt Kemp. But, that is just me.

For our one win, we have to turn to Steve Johnson, who after his initial start in the Cal League (hugely bad – the numbers are just scary) has won his last two games, allowing only one run in thirteen innings to move his Cal League record to 2-1 with a 5.87 ERA and is overall record to 11-3 and a 2.95 ERA. Johnson held the Stockton Ports to three hits and one run over six innings with six strikeouts. The Sixers took the game 8-3 as the big hits were by Carlos Santana, bases loaded double and three more ribs, giving him 92 for the season. 92?….in less than four hundred plate appearances – that is nearly Nintendo like. Plus he is a catcher. And a switch hitter. Please pray with me that Colletti doesn’t even think about dealing him. Matt Berezay added a two run homer and Jaime Pedroza was the only Sixer with two hits.

A pretty good week for the Great Lakes Loons. They went 4-2 for the week and upped their record to 12-18, but they are in last place in the Midwest League Eastern Division, some seven games back. This team is less prospect rich through injuries (Josh Bell, Eduardo Perez), less than spectacular seasons (Preston Mattingly, Erik Kanaby and Jovanny Rosario) and some suspects (Victor Garate – age, Kenley Jansen – bat and Jaime Ortiz – great power, but can’t hit for diddly). But, it isn’t like the team is bereft of prospects, both Bell and Perez are top flight players, along with Miguel Ramirez, Miguel Sanfler, Bryan Morris and, of course, the Natural, Andrew Lambo.

Their biggest win of the week had to be, lefty, Victor Garate’s excellent pitching effort as he shut out Kane County over seven innings, allowing only four hits with eight strikeouts. Garate, a Rule V acquistion, two winters ago from the Astros, is starting to put it together as he upped his record to 6-3 with an ERA even better than Kershaw’s 1.91 with a 1.85. The Loons took the game 7-3, as Andrew Lambo and Brendan Taylor each notched three hits with Lambo rocking a pair of doubles and Taylor adding a double and two ribs. Preston Mattingly, Eduardo Perez and Parker Dalton each had two hits. For our Jekyll and Hyde performer of the week, we have Bryan Morris with his five innings of four hit ball with eight strikeouts on Monday and his five run, eight hit outing today.

Now, my favorite team in the Dodger system, the Ogden Raptors. Yeah, the Raptors had a rough start, but things are beginning to turn around as they went 3-3 for the week to make their record 13-18 and 8.5 games back of the leaders in the Pioneer League South Division, which is good enough for third place in a four team division. I feel this team is nearly as loaded as the Sixers in talent with sticks like Kyle Russell, Tony Delmonico, Devaris Gordon (albeit his sixteen errors give one pause), Pedro Baez, Austin Yount and pitchers like Robert Boothe, Geison Aguasviva, Michael Watt and the newly signed Cole St. Clair.

The Raptors’ biggest win was today’s 5-0 shutout of the Great Falls White Sox as we all know a shutout in the hitter friendly Pioneer League is as rare as a good Ned Colletti trade. Michael Watt tossed five innings, giving up six hits, but striking out nine. We also had a Cole St. Clair sighting as he went one shutout inning, striking out two and giving up one hit. Tony Delmonico has opened up his career in fine fashion as he already has three doubles in two games and has driven in three runs in the same time frame. Of course, like all of the rest of the Raptors, he is averaging an error a game. Nick Buss notched his first homer of his professional career and drove home two runs also.

Lastly, we have the GCL Dodgers who went a rainout hindered 2-2 for the week, but still lead the GCL East Division with a 16-7 record. Again, this team has some serious potential with guys like Jerry Sands, Rafael Ynoa, Johan Garcia, Matt Magill, Roberto Feliciano, Edwin Contreras, Luis Ferraras and Beyker Fructuoso. Their best win was against the Mets on Monday, picking up a 6-3 victory, picking up Fructuoso after his rare bad start with great pitching from Luis Ferraras, Roberto Feliciano and Fredy Quintero (who picked up the win with 2.2 innings, giving up one unearned run on one hit striking out one). Johan Garcia and Jake New each had three hits for the Dodgers, both driving home a run and New ripping a double. Rafael Ynoa added a pair of hits, a rib and a stolen base to pace the team from the leadoff spot.

I hope you all enjoyed this and I will be back, next Monday.

Indeed, we did, Torgy.  Thanks, again!

- Vin vinscully-face.jpg