The Dodgers minor leagues on Monday was defined by a pair of standout pitching performances.
Player of the day
This award was already decided in my mind by Monday afternoon, and it took an otherworldly performance to change things. Wilmer Font proved more than deserving, in a dominant start for Triple-A Oklahoma City against Sacramento.
Font retired his first 18 batters faced, and ended up striking out 15 batters in seven innings, allowing a run on two hits and a walk. The 15 strikeouts set a new franchise record.
It’s a new record! Wilmer Font has set the team single-game strikeout record with 15 K’s! Chuck Smith had 14 on 6/23/99.— Alex Freedman (@azfreedman) May 16, 2017
Font, signed by the Dodgers to a minor league deal in the offseason, has 63 strikeouts and just nine walks in 42 innings this season, leading the Pacific Coast League in punch outs. His K-BB% is a ridiculous 31.6%.
To put that in perspective, the only qualified major league pitcher with a K-BB% that high this season is Chris Sale of the Red Sox, at 32.9%.
Triple-A Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City was up 6-0 behind Font, and held off a late rally to beat the Sacramento River Cats (Giants), 6-4. OKC got home runs from Drew Maggi and Trayce Thompson in the win.
For Thompson, it was his second straight game with a home run, and over his last 10 games is 13-for-42, hitting .310/.341/.500 during that span.
Max Muncy, signed by the Dodgers on Apr. 27, was 3-for-5 with two doubles and two runs scored out of the leadoff spot on Monday. In 15 games with Oklahoma City, Muncy is hitting .373/.400/.549, and the utility man has started games at third base, first base, second base, left field, and right field.
Michael Ahmed doubled and homered, but it wasn’t enough for the Drillers in a 7-2 road loss to the Springfield Cardinals. Matt Beaty started at third base and went 4-for-5 in the loss.
Andrew Sopko had a start to forget, needing 32 pitches to record one out in the first inning. He walked three of his five batters faced and allowed two runs, one earned.
Class-A Rancho Cucamonga
Mitch White was the one I thought had player of the day locked down, thanks to his dominant seven innings on the road against Visalia, in the Quakes’ 2-1 win over the Visalia Rawhide (Diamondbacks). White allowed just three hits, with the only run against him coming in the seventh inning. White struck out eight and induced eight ground ball outs. Even with the strikeouts, White was remarkably efficient, throwing just 67 pitches, including a whopping 55 strikes (82.1%).
Before Monday, White had never pitched longer than five innings as a professional. He was bumped from a scheduled Sunday start to give an extra day of rest in between outings.
On the season White, the Dodgers’ second-round pick in 2016 out of Santa Clara, has 43 strikeouts and 14 walks in 33 innings, owner of a 31.1% strikeout rate.
White didn’t have the only dominant mound performance on Monday. Justin Donatella was just as good for Visalia striking out eight and walking none, and he even took a no-hitter into the sixth inning until Ibandel Isabel broke that up and the shutout with a home run.
Isabel leads the California League with 10 home runs, and that shot ended an 0-for-19 skid for the first baseman, with 11 strikeouts (and four walks) during that span.
Omar Estevez doubled with one out in the eighth inning, forcing Donatella out of the game, then three passed balls by Visalia catcher Matt Jones gave the Quakes the winning run. The Quakes won despite just two hits on offense, and finished with a 5-2 road trip.
Class-A Great Lakes
The Loons rallied for a run in the eighth to beat the the Lake County Captains (Indians), 3-2 on Monday night. Errol Robinson led off the eighth inning with a walk for Great Lakes, then scored two outs later when Carlos Rincon doubled to left. It was Rincon’s second hit of the game.
Three Loons errors led to the only two runs given up, both unearned against Leo Crawford, who otherwise struck out four and walked nobody in his six innings.
Triple-A: Brett Eibner was optioned to Oklahoma City. In a pitcher swap, OKC placed Jeremy Bleich on the temporary inactive list and added Layne Somsen from extended spring training.
4:05 p.m. PT - Great Lakes (Dustin May) vs. Lake County (Brady Aiken)
4:30 p.m. - Tulsa (Josh Sborz) at Springfield (Matt Pearce)
5:05 p.m. - Oklahoma City (Fabio Castillo) vs. Sacramento (Dan Slania)
7:05 p.m. - Rancho Cucamonga (Yadier Alvarez) vs. Lake Elsinore (Joey Lucchesi)