Here is the concluding part of my recent conversation with Oklahoma City Dodgers broadcaster Alex Freedman. We talk about today’s starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin, other potential prospects you may see in LA this year and some thoughts about the recent trade deadline.
If you missed the first half, you can read it here.
This interview is slightly edited for clarity.
Q: A pitcher who could prove to be an important addition to LA’s roster is Tony Gonsolin. What have you seen from him in his time with Oklahoma City?
(Note this was recorded prior to Tony Gonsolin being recalled and scheduled to start Monday against the Cardinals)
AF: “[Gonsolin] has been a little bit tough for me to figure out, because he’s been a bit inconsistent with us here. From what I understand, he’s a lower fastball usage pitcher than most. I didn’t really see what he did in Colorado the other day, but obviously knew the results were really good.
“He has had a few injuries this year — an oblique strain and a minor hamstring strain. So I don’t know if that is played into it. I wasn’t 100 percent sure he was fully healthy the last few times he pitched with us just because he’d been kind of all over the place getting hit like he had throughout the year, but then he goes out and pitches four great innings in Coors Field of all places.
“We all know the Dodgers need some bullpen help at the big league level. So I think it’s certainly worth getting a look up there when you got a lead as big as the Dodgers do. It gives you time to experiment and try some stuff that you wouldn’t if you were in a pennant race.”
“I’m not sure what’s going to happen when he comes back to [LA] I assume he will probably move back into a starter role, but I haven’t heard anything yet. It might be one of those where they kind of treat him maybe more like an opener, three, four innings at most, just get through the lineup once or twice and then go from there.”
Q: Are they any other Oklahoma City Dodgers we have not talked about yet that you think could be part of the 2019 Los Angeles Dodgers?
AF: “We’ll see how Tyler Thornburg does. I think he’s one for sure. He had his first outing for us a couple nights ago and was all right. He’d actually been with our team for about two weeks, throwing bullpens and live batting practice. He’s someone for sure to keep an eye on to see how he progresses here.
“Victor Gonzalez is another interesting name, a guy who was in that same signing class out of Mexico as Julio Urías. He has been battling injuries for years and then this year at Rancho Cucamonga he has just shot up and they moved him into a bullpen role. He’s just pitched a handful of games for us so far and he’s look pretty decent. That’s another guy, especially because he’s left handed who knows he might have a chance when the rosters expand as well.
“I do think there is one other position player that could go up ... Zach Reks. He might be under the radar, not only for the Dodgers, but all of minor league baseball. When you look at the numbers puts up, he is the organizational leader in home runs and RBIs. He hasn’t really played high-level baseball for many years in the grand scheme of things but this guy can hit it.
“I talked to not only people in the Dodgers organization, but to other scouts and other coaches [about Reks]. This guy who grows on me every time I see him and just keeps growing on me. He’s someone I think might get a look at the end of the year.”
Q: You have been around several minor league teams, both in the Astros organization and now the Dodgers organization. What is it like to be around them for the last couple of weeks with the uncertainty in the air?
AF: “There had been a little bit of nervous energy in our clubhouse. Guys on Twitter a little bit more than typically, but I think also when you get the Triple-A, you have guys who are a little bit more older and mature and just had to know of it know what happens, happens and for some guys at trade can be a good thing because it means more opportunity and potentially at the big league level.
“There’s definitely some chatter and I know there were some jokes played on some guys in the clubhouse to try and throw them off guard a little bit. Those first three years with Houston when they were rebuilding, trade deadline was a day when we thought, ‘Okay, who are we going to get?’ Now trade deadline days are, ‘Who are we going to lose?’”
True Blue LA thanks Alex Freedman for taking the time to do this interview. You can follow Alex on Twitter @azfreedman for all the news about the Oklahoma City Dodgers.