Monday was a busy day in the Dodgers minors, with some exciting power, injured players rehabbing, and some professional debuts.
Player of the day
Keibert Ruiz hit a three-run walk-off home run in the ninth inning for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga, continuing his fine season. The switch-hitting catcher was just promoted to the Quakes just over a week ago, and is 8-for-23 (.348) with five extra-base hits in six games since joining Rancho Cucamonga.
Ruiz checked in on David Hood’s midseason rankings as the No. 9 Dodgers prospect.
Including his time with Class-A Great Lakes earlier, Ruiz is hitting .320/.375/.456 with 18 doubles and four home runs in 68 games in 2017. He turns 19 on Thursday.
Craig Minami was in Rancho Cucamonga to watch the Quakes, and spoke with manager Drew Saylor.
“How quiet he is, his poise, his professionalism, even just the maturity, you have to literally do a double take at the roster to make sure he is 18 years old,” Saylor said of Ruiz.
On the mend
Grant Dayton pitched a scoreless eighth inning for Rancho Cucamonga, inducing a ground out, a pop out, and a strikeout. It was the second rehab game for Dayton, who also pitched an inning in the Arizona Rookie League on Saturday. Dayton was placed on the disabled list on July 6 with neck stiffness.
Oklahoma City pitcher Wilmer Font was named the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week on Monday, after striking out eight in six innings against New Orleans, allowing one run on Sunday. Font, who leads the PCL with 127 strikeouts this season, also started the Triple-A All-Star Game on Wednesday and tossed a scoreless inning.
It is the second Pitcher of the Week Award this season for Font, who also took did so in May.
Triple-A Oklahoma City
OKC fell to the Memphis Redbirds (Cardinals) 5-3 on Monday, courtesy of Madison Younginer allowing a two-run home run to Patrick Wisdom in the ninth inning. Alex Verdugo singled in the ninth inning, extending his streak of reaching base by hit, walk or hit by pitch to 36 straight games.
Willie Calhoun continued to rake, hitting a two-run home run for Oklahoma City on Monday. Calhoun extended his hitting streak to 11 games, during which he is 15-for-35 (.429) with nine extra-base hits.
Calhoun was 1-for-3 with a walk on Monday, and ranks fourth in the Pacific Coast League with 20 home runs. Still just 22, Calhoun is hitting .310/.360/.590 on the season. In July, he’s hitting .380/.448/.720 in 15 games, his third straight month with a slugging percentage over .600.
Yaisel Sierra pitched three scoreless innings of relief for Oklahoma City, his second long-relief appearance since getting promoted to Triple-A on July 7. On the season between Double-A Tulsa and OKC, the 26-year-old Sierra has a 2.41 ERA in 28 games, with 69 strikeouts and 19 walks in 56 innings.
The Arkansas Travelers (Mariners) had their way with the Drillers on Monday, beating them 13-2. Tim Shibuya was activated off the disabled list to start, but allowed five runs (three earned) in five innings for the loss. Colt Hynes followed in relief by allowing six runs (five earned) in two frames.
Class-A Rancho Cucamonga
Before Ruiz’s heroics delivered the Quakes’ 4-3 victory over the Stockton Ports (Athletics), Dennis Santana turned in another impressive performance. The right-hander struck out seven and walked none in seven innings, allowing three runs.
“[Santana is] the guy, that we feel that every time he takes the mound, that if we score just a few runs, it’s going to be a win. He’s a stalwart in there, he’s just tremendous,” Saylor told Minami “As he’s grown this year, from day one to now, I think it is really exciting to see all our guys just develop and give us great outings and opportunities."
Class-A Great Lakes
Leo Crawford pitched seven strong innings, leading the Loons to a 5-2 win over the Beloit Snappers (Athletics) on Monday afternoon, snapping a franchise-record 10-game losing streak for Great Lakes.
The seven-inning effort matched a season high for the 20-year-old left-hander, and snapped a personal four-game losing streak during which Crawford allowed 19 runs in 20⅓ innings. Crawford allowed two solo home runs in the third inning but that was it. He struck out five and walked one in the win.
The Loons offense was paced by a pair of home runs, by outfielder Saige Jenco — a two-run shot — and first baseman Jared Walker, a solo blast.
The Raptors lost at home, 8-6 to the Helena Brewers on Monday. Outfielder Starling Heredia, 18, went 1-for-5 with a double. It was just the second time in 11 games with Ogden that Heredia didn’t reach base twice. He’s hitting .438 (21-for-48) with nine extra-base hits with the Raptors.
Mitch White continued his rehab in the AZL, striking out four in three scoreless innings, retiring nine of 10 batters faced.
A trio of 2017 draft picks were added to the roster — third-round catcher Connor Wong, 11th-round shortstop Jacob Amaya, and 20th-round outfielder Donovan Casey. All three appeared as a pinch-hitter in their pro debut, and all three were 0-for-1.
Triple-A: Relief pitcher Jacob Rhame was placed on the seven-day disabled list by Oklahoma City, retroactive to Sunday.
Double-A: Tim Shibuya was activated off the disabled list by Tulsa, and pitcher Chris Cotton was released.
Class-A: Grant Dayton was added to Rancho Cucamonga to continue his rehab assignment; Great Lakes added a pair of pitchers from the AZL — Melvin Jimenez, a Dominican right-hander who turns 18 on Sunday, and Dan Jagiello, the Dodgers’ 34th-round pick this year out of LIU Post. Both are joining a full-season affiliate for the first time.
Rookie: Pitcher Oscar Arzaga was placed on the 60-day DL in the AZL; 2017 draftees Connor Wong, Jacob Amaya and Donovan Casey were assigned to the AZL.
10:35 a.m. PT: Rancho Cucamonga (Adam Bray) vs. Stockton (Norge Ruiz)
5:05 p.m.: Oklahoma City (Justin Masterson) vs. Memphis (Marco Gonzales)
5:05 p.m.: Tulsa (Andrew Sopko) vs. Arkansas (Anthony Mislewicz)
6 p.m.: Ogden (Edwin Uceta) vs. Helena (Alec Bettinger)