Today we start a two-part interview with Drew Saylor, manager of the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. This part will focus on his thoughts on a few players that have played for the Quakes this season.
Infielder Jared Walker is hitting .301/.400/.658 in 21 games at Rancho Cucamonga. Walker started the season at Great Lakes. This Walker’s second stint at Rancho Cucamonga, he played 20 games in 2017 with one home run and a .653 OPS.
“[Walker] was up here a little bit last year,” Saylor said, “I think that a couple of the adjustments that he made is that he is able to kind of have a little more manipulative ability with the bat. He’s able to be able to get on different planes both vertical and horizontal to be able to get to pitches more.”
“He’s really buying into a lot of our advanced game planning, and so I think just his approach has gotten better,” Saylor said, “where I think last year, it was a little bit, trying to get to into this position to be able to hit. “I guess for me, buying into that advanced process, so you are seeing him manufacture his at-bats better, he’s getting into better pitching counts and really, you’ve heard me say a little bit this entire year, about baiting the pitcher to throw into your zone and I feel that is what he has done really really well.”
Outfielder Cody Thomas was drafted out of Oklahoma in 2016. He was dual sport athlete, playing quarterback when not on the baseball field.
And now, in the second half of his second full-season, Thomas is hitting .275/.347/.557 in his last 31 games with eight doubles and nine home runs.
“[Thomas] made a couple of slight adjustments with his swing,” said Saylor, “he’s hitting with a little bit lower, more squatty-type of position so he’s actually engaging his hips and his core more. And I think it’s also creating a little more space for his arms to be able to go forward. Sometimes guys are so tall that as you start to hit and get into the rotation phase of your swing, your arm actually gets caught and so then your bat has to go all the way around the center axis.”
“When you are in an athletic position and you start to rotate,” Saylor said, “this elbow is allowed to clear the front part of your body and so your swing wants to go out this way and it does not want to go around balls. I think that is what we’re seeing now, because [Thomas is] in that position, he’s able to be able to get to that middle away pitch and he has that ability to drive the baseball on the inside.”
Right-handed pitcher Marshall Kasowski was promoted on Monday. Saylor and I talked about the 2017 draft pick who pitched 23⅔ innings for the Quakes. Kasowski struck out 44 and walked 11 with an opponents batting average of .154.
Saylor says Kasowski is a two pitch mix guy, he throws a fastball and a curveball out of the same tunnel and he thinks he is very intriguing prospect.
“One of the things that stands out about Marshall is just his fastball,” Saylor said, “he actually has a swing and miss percentage up in the 40 percent, which is bananas for a fastball.” “I mean it would be really really good, like almost borderline bananas for like a slider, an off-speed pitch.”
“He just has that fastball that has that ride to it and almost like that invisible. Being a Cleveland guy, I’d remember as a young kid seeing David Riske throw a lot. And you would see guys swing through his 91 all the time, it’s only 91, how are they so tardy.”
“Now that I’m understanding little bit more about how the physics of the game come into to play, I get it more,” Saylor said, “he has that Riske invisible type thing and I think that is what is really uncommon. “Also [Kasowski] throws so over the top, as you see him getting ready to throw and you think the ball is going to be right at his head, right where is his hat is at and it is actually another foot and a half above that.” “So I think that hitters just have a tough time being able to recognize where the ball is coming out, and so they don’t get a good feel, a good read on the ball as it is coming to them. And then it is 95.”
Triple-A Oklahoma City
The Dodgers were off on Monday. They start their next series at Albuquerque on Tuesday.
The Springfield Cardinals shut out the Drillers 8-0 on Monday. The Cardinals pitchers limited the Drillers to three hits and three walks while striking out 12.
Andrew Sopko started for the Drillers and he gave up four runs and five hits in 3⅔ innings pitched. Devin Smeltzer did not fare much better. Smeltzer allowed two runs and four hits in 2⅓ innings pitched.
Los Angeles Dodger right-handed pitcher Pedro Baez made his first rehab appearance for the Drillers. Baez gave up a solo home run in his one inning of work.
Jacob Scavuzzo went 1-for-3 with a walk. Will Smith and DJ Peters each went 0-for-4, each of them striking out three times.
Class-A Rancho Cucamonga
The Quakes took a three-run lead over the Modesto Nuts (Mariners) into the eighth inning. They still that lead with two outs and one on in the top of the eighth. But then after a pitching change, a single followed by a three-run homer turned the game around.
After setting the Quakes down in the bottom of the eighth, the Nuts scored three runs in the ninth inning to take the lead and they would hold on to beat the Quakes 8-6.
Prior to the eighth inning, Dustin May had pitched seven innings and given up two runs. He would leave the game going 7⅔ innings and giving up three runs and seven hits. May struck out five and walked one. Connor Strain would allow five runs and four hits, recording one out in the eighth and one out in the ninth.
Cody Thomas drove in four runs with a home run and double. Jared Walker went 2-for-3 with a home run and a walk.
Class-A Great Lakes
The Loons and the Peoria Chiefs (Cardinals) took a scoreless tie to extra-innings and the Chiefs scored one run in the top of the tenth. The Loons used two fly balls and a walk to tie the game and put the winning run in scoring position. Brandon Montgomery singled home Eric Peterson and the Loons won 2-1.
Alfredo Taverez started for the Loons and he pitched a season high seven innings. His seven strikeouts were also a season high. Melvin Jiminez turned 19 on Monday and he celebrated by pitching three innings and striking out five.
Jiminez did not pitch well for the Loons in the first half. In 27⅓ innings, he allowed 25 runs and 30 hits. He struck out 20 and walked 18. The Dodgers then assigned to the Arizona League where he made four appearances. He only pitched four innings but he allowed no runs and struck out six.
Since his return to Great Lakes, Jiminez has pitched 15 innings. He has given up two runs and six hits. Jiminez has struck out 21 and walked two.
Rookie - Pioneer
The Raptors played their first extra-inning game and after scoring three runs, they went on to beat the Helena Brewers 7-5. The win gave the Raptors their 25th victory in the first half, the first time they had done that in franchise history.
Drew Avens, Dillon Paulson, Niko Hulsizer and Chris Roller all homered for the Raptors. Those four players and Jacob Amaya each had two hits.
Rookie - Arizona League
The AZL Dodgers woke up Monday morning as first half champions of the Arizona League West. Later, on Monday night, the AZL Dodgers defeated the AZL Padres One 10-1 to give them an 18-9 first half record.
Jon Littell and Luis Rodriguez each had four hits. Sauryn Lao went 3-for-4 with three runs scored. Lao had two doubles and three runs driven in.
Triple-A: Los Angeles recalled outfielder Alex Verdugo from Oklahoma City.
Double-A: Right-handed pitcher Marshall Kasowski assigned to Tulsa from Rancho Cucamonga. Los Angeles sent right-handed pitcher Pedro Báez on a rehab assignment to Tulsa.
Class-A: Right-handed pitcher Nolan Long assigned to Rancho Cucamonga from Tulsa.
Rookie: AZL Dodgers activated outfielder Andrew Shaps. AZL Dodgers placed right-handed pitcher Oscar Arzaga on the 60-day disabled list.
5:05 p.m.: Oklahoma (Logan Bawcom) vs. Albuquerque [Rockies] (Jeff Hoffman)
5:05 p.m.: Tulsa (TBD) vs. Springfield (TBD)
6:05 p.m.: Ogden (Caleb Sampen) at Helena (Wilfred Salaman)
7:00 p.m.: Rancho Cucamonga (Ben Holmes) at San Jose [Giants] (Logan Webb)
7:00 p.m.: AZL Dodgers vs. AZL Rangers