After the Dodgers' top pitching prospect suffered his first bump in the road in Double-A, another former top prospect continued on his road to redemption in Triple-A.
Player of the day
You are forgiven for giving up on Zach Lee. Prospect fatigue is a real thing and though you may feel Lee has been in the Dodgers' system for a decade, Lee is only 23 and right in line for a B-grade prospect in age and level. Coming down from the Albuquerque altitude, Lee's star is beginning to shine again. Wednesday, Zach Lee went seven innings, surrendering only one run on six hits, striking out six. Lee was pitch efficient, throwing 61 strikes over 96 pitches, and he continues to keep the ball on the ground when put in play.
Lee strikes out the side in a 1-2-3 fourth inning. Hit 94 MPH on the gun.— Dustin Nosler (@DustinNosler) April 23, 2015
The Dodgers are auditioning fifth starters until Hyun-jin Ryu returns from injury, but don't expect Lee to factor in just yet. At 23 and very much still a prospect, when Lee does get the call, you would rather he be in a position to run with the opportunity and not return to Triple-A.
Triple-A Oklahoma City
While Lee held down the Nashville Sounds' (Athletics) bats over his 7 innings, the Dodgers worked quickly to build a sustainable lead, scoring two in the top of the first in route to an eventual 5-2 victory. Buck Britton went 3-for-5 from the third spot in the order, driving in two runs (the first on an RBI triple in the first inning) while scoring one himself. Scott Schebler hit his third homer in as many days, as he looks to liven his bat after a slow start.
Speaking of slow starts, Darnell Sweeney looks to be recovering from his own. He went 2-for-5 on Wednesday to up his average on the year to .260 over 50 at bats. He still struck out three times and has surpassed 26% in his K rate. After going 0-for-10 over three games before taking a game off, Austin Barnes returned to go 2-for-4 in the victory.
The Drillers were off with a scheduled travel day. Their season resumes Thursday at home against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Royals) with Deck McGuire on the hill. I will be attending and will have a detailed rundown of any prospect happenings after the game.
Class-A Rancho Cucamonga
The Quakes were undone by four unearned runs in the sixth inning, going on to lose 5-3 to the Lancaster JetHawks (Astros). Scott Barlow cruised through five innings before running into trouble in the sixth that neither he, nor reliever Daniel Tillman could clean up.
The offense struggled for consistency and contact throughout the game, striking out 12 times. Brandon Trinkwon had his second consecutive multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 with a run scored. The 2013 seventh-rounder out of UC Santa Barbara is starting to cash in on his hitting potential he displayed as a college sophomore and is progressing through the system on par with his draft year. His hot start and positional flexibility should put him on the cusp of prospect lists as a future utility infielder. No other Quakes player managed a second hit in this game.
Low Class-A Great Lakes
The Loons braved the cold weather and two short weather delays for snow to defeat the West Michigan Whitecaps (Tigers) 7-1. Brock Stewart maintained effectiveness despite a stuttering start to the game with weather delays in the first and second inning, finishing his day after four innings, surrendering only one run on three hits and two walks, with five strikeouts. The win was captured by Jose Alberto Molina for his 2⅓ innings of shutout work that followed.
The story at the plate for the Loons was catcher Julian Leon and his 3-for-4, 3-RBI night. Regarding his performance at the plate, Leon said "I was seeing the ball good today, it was a really cold night and I made the adjustment. It went well." The top three hitters in the Loons' order all had multi-hit games, highlighted by three hits in five at-bats for Johan Mieses
Triple-A: The Los Angeles Dodgers continue to play musical chairs with the 25th roster spot, making the Chris Heisey recall official, while optioning Adam Liberatore to Oklahoma City. In what could be possibly cover for a future arm departure, Chin-hui Tsao was assigned to the OKC club (no corresponding move, if any, has been announced for Tulsa). Josh Ravin, who had 12 strikeouts in five innings, was placed on the seven-day disabled list.
Tuesday box scores
11:05 a.m. PT: Great Lakes (Grant Holmes) vs. West Michigan (Spencer Turnbull)
5:05 p.m.: Tulsa (Deck McGuire) vs. Northwest Arkansas (Jonathan Dziedzic)
5:05 p.m.: Oklahoma City (TBD) at Nashville (Brad Mills)
7:05 p.m.: Rancho Cucamonga (Michael Johnson) vs. Lake Elsinore (Justin Livengood)