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Diego Cartaya hits grand slam for first Double-A home run

Strong pitching starts for Nick Frasso (Double-A), Ronan Kopp (High-A) & Maddux Bruns (Low-A)

MLB: Spring Training-Los Angeles Dodgers at Kansas City Royals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday night in the Dodgers minors featured some huge offensive outbursts, good nights for a pair of Venezuelan catcher, and solid outings from a handful of pitching prospects.

Player of the day

Diego Cartaya, the Dodgers’ top prospect, hit a grand slam to punctuate a comeback win for Tulsa, his first home run in Double-A.

Cartaya, who fouled a ball off his foot Tuesday and didn’t play Wednesday, was back in the lineup and behind the plate Thursday. He had three hits, including a double to start a three-run tying rally in the seventh inning. His grand slam came in the top of the ninth inning.

This was also Cartaya’s first multi-hit game in Double-A.

Triple-A Oklahoma City

Michael Busch, Bradley Zimmer, and Drew Avans all homered and combined for nine hits in Oklahoma City’s win over the Sugar Land Space Cowboys (Astros).

Busch also doubled, singled, walked, scored three times and scored twice, while playing his second game in a row at third base.

Drew Avans homered, tripled, singled, and scored three times out of the leadoff spot.

Bradley Zimmer also had three hits and drove in three. His home run was Zimmer’s second this season, in 42 plate appearances, matching his total in 117 major league plate appearances last season.

Hunter Feduccia followed up four walks in his last game on Tuesday with three more walks on Thursday, followed by an RBI single in the seventh inning. The catcher has 12 walks in 32 plate appearances (37.5 percent) this season.

Double-A Tulsa

The Drillers were down 3-0 in the seventh-inning, but put up crooked numbers in each of the final three innings to win over the Midland RockHounds (A’s).

Cartaya, Imanol Vargas, and Josh Stowers started the seventh inning with consecutive doubles for two runs, then a Kody Hoese single tied the game. Stowers added the go-ahead RBI single in the eighth, part of a two-run frame, then another single in the ninth, to vault his batting average to .533 (8 for 15).

Nick Frasso struck out five in five innings in his start, allowing a run on four hits with a walk. The right-hander has 11 strikeouts in nine innings in his two starts. Tanner Dodson struck out four in 2⅔ scoreless, hitless innings in relief for the win.

River Ryan, who pitched four scoreless innings in his Double-A debut last Saturday, talked with Dan Lindblad at the local Tulsa NBC affiliate earlier this week. Among other things, Ryan credited Drillers pitching coach Durin O’Linger, who worked with Ryan last season in Great Lakes, with helping to hone his delivery during the offseason.

High-A Great Lakes

Ronan Kopp had another strong start in the Loons win over the Dayton Dragons (Reds). Kopp struck out five in four scoreless innings, allowing only two hits and a walk. In two starts this season, the 20-year-old left-hander has 11 strikeouts and two walks in seven innings, allowing a run.

Catcher Yeiner Fernandez hit a two-run home run, added two singles and a walk, scored twice, and drove in three runs on Thursday in Dayton. At 20 years old with a September birthday, Fernandez is the youngest player on the Loons. He’s split catching duties through the first six games of the season with Dalton Rushing, which each one also seeing multiple starts at designated hitter.

Great Lakes catcher Yeiner Fernandez, at 20 years old, the youngest player on the Dodgers’ High-A affiliate, had three hits, including a home run, driving in three runs against the Dayton Dragons on April 13, 2023.
Great Lakes catcher Yeiner Fernandez, at 20 years old, the youngest player on the Dodgers’ High-A affiliate, had three hits, including a home run, driving in three runs against the Dayton Dragons on April 13, 2023.

Fernandez was the catcher on Thursday, and extended his hitting streak to four games, with an extra-base hit in each of the last three. He impressed last season with Low-A Rancho Cucamonga with a 114 wRC+ while striking out only 13 percent of the time, and also starting 17 games at second base. So far this season, Fernandez has three strikeouts in 22 plate appearances (13.6 percent).

Rushing was the designated hitter Thursday and drove in three runs with two hits, including a double, and a walk. Outfielder Chris Alleyne doubled, drove in two, and stole a base.

Shortstop Alex Freeland added a grand slam in the eighth inning to put a bow on the Loons rout.

After not having an extra-base hit until the ninth inning of their third game, Great Lakes has broken out in Dayton, with eight doubles, two triples, and six home runs in three games.

Low-A Rancho Cucamonga

Maddux Bruns continued his early-season romp in the Quakes’ shutout win over the Visalia Rawhide (D-backs).

Bruns, the Dodgers first-round draft pick in 2021, worked around two hits and two walks to pitch 3⅓ scoreless innings, and struck out six. The 20-year-old left-hander has yet to allow a run through two starts this season, striking out 13 of his 30 batters faced (43.3 percent) in 7⅓ innings.

Rayne Doncon, playing second base on Thursday, homered for the second straight game. Centerfielder Chris Newell homered, walked, and scored twice.

Thursday scores

Friday schedule

  • 4:05 p.m. PT: Great Lakes (Ben Casparius) at Dayton (Julian Aguilar)
  • 5 p.m.: Tulsa (Kyle Hurt) at Midland (David Leal)
  • 5:05 p.m.: Oklahoma City (William Cuevas) vs. Sugar Land (Jimmy Endersby)
  • 6:30 p.m.: Rancho Cucamonga (Peter Heubeck) at Visalia (Jose Cabrera)