Highlights across the Dodgers minor leagues on Saturday included a multi-homer game, a few strong pitching performances, and a player in Triple-A trying to add to his versatility.
Player of the day
Shortstop Alex De Jesus, the youngest player on Low-A Rancho Cucamonga’s roster having just turned 19 in March, had four hits, scored three runs, and drove in three, thanks to a pair of home runs.
De Jesus, signed as an amateur out of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic in 2018, hit a solo shot in the fourth inning against Angels 2020 draftee Adam Seminaris, then added a two-run shot in the eighth against lefty Ryan Smith.
Triple-A Oklahoma City
Second baseman Carlos Asuaje hit a two-run home run and drove in three, but Round Rock (Rangers) hit four home runs to beat OKC by a run. Mike Kickham allowed three solo homers in three-plus innings, the only three runs he allowed in his start. Round Rock added another in scoring three runs in the fourth and fifth against Ryan Moseley, who took the loss.
Infielder Omar Estévez, with two outfielders joining the Dodgers in Anaheim, played his first professional game in the outfield in this one, starting in center field and even threw out a runner at second base. Estévez, the 23-year-old middle infielder out of Cuba, also played four games in the corner outfield during spring training.
“He brought it to our attention, as far as his desire to step out into the outfield a little bit, just to add to his versatility,” manager Dave Roberts said during spring training in March. “You look at what we’ve done with guys like Kiké [Hernández] and Chris Taylor, and how valuable they can be. Omar has that same skillset, and I applaud him for initiating that conversation.”
Ryan Pepiot had a solid first start of 2021, but it wasn’t enough in the Drillers’ loss to the Amarillo Sod Poodles (D-backs). Pepiot, the Dodgers’ third-round pick in 2019, allowed only a solo home run to center fielder Jake McCarthy in his four innings, striking out four.
Amarillo won this game with three runs in the fifth and one in the sixth against lefty Bryan Warzek. Tulsa pitchers had three balks in the game, including one by Warzek and two by Hunter Speer.
Tulsa catcher Hunter Feduccia, the Dodgers’ 12th-round pick out of LSU in 2018, threw out both Amarillo attempts at stolen bases on Saturday. That included nabbing leadoff hitter Alex Thomas in the first inning, upholding his feducciary responsibility to help keep runs off the board.
High-A Great Lakes
Offense has been hard to come by for the Loons, but despite their biggest inning of the year, Great Lakes lost a third straight game to the Dayton Dragons (Reds).
Left fielder Ryan Ward, an eighth-round draft pick in 2019, hit a three-run home run, part of a four-run second inning, doubling the previous best frame for the Loons. It was the third home run of the season for Great Lakes, averaging three runs per game.
Great Lakes had only four hits on Saturday, but that counts as progress as they averaged three hits in the first four games. The Loons are hitting just .120/.326/.241 as a team. The comeback attempt in the ninth was fueled without hits. Down two in the bottom of the ninth, Great Lakes struck out twice to open the frame but then walked four straight times to pull within a run. But Deacon Liput grounded out to first to end the game.
Jose Martinez, a non-roster invitee for the Dodgers during spring training, pitched four scoreless innings in relief for the Loons, but after he left Dayton scored five runs in the sixth and seventh innings to seize the lead.
Low-A Rancho Cucamonga
After getting postponed Friday due to COVID-19 protocols, the Quakes were back in action on Saturday and cruised to a win over the Inland Empire 66ers (Angels). In addition to the two home runs from De Jesus, center fielder Jake Vogel had two hits, including a double.
Kendall Williams, one of two players acquired from Toronto in last August’s Ross Stripling trade, made his Dodgers debut on Saturday, throwing four scoreless innings, striking out four while allowing a single, two walks, and a stolen base.
Triple-A: DJ Peters was recalled to the Dodgers, and Luke Raley also made the trip to Anaheim.
- Round Rock 6, Oklahoma City 5
- Amarillo 5, Tulsa 3
- Dayton 6, Great Lakes 5
- Rancho Cucamonga 7, Inland Empire 1
- 10:05 a.m. PT: Great Lakes (Bobby Miller) vs. Dayton (Lyon Richardson)
- 11:05 a.m.: Oklahoma City (Aaron Wilkerson) at Round Rock (Sam Gaviglio)
- 11:05 a.m.: Tulsa (TBD) vs. Amarillo (Humberto Mejia)
- 2:05 p.m.: Rancho Cucamonga (Carlos Duran) at Inland Empire (Erik Rivera)