Sunday extended a pair of long, season-opening streaks by Dodgers on the 40-man roster. Here’s a look at the day in the minors, which included wins by all four affiliates.
Player of the day
Jorbit Vivas has thrived in his first three weeks in Double-A, including two home runs in Tulsa’s win over Wichita.
Vivas has at least one hit in all 15 games this season, the longest Drillers hitting streak since Jacob Scavuzzo had a 21-game hitting streak in 2018. Vivas has multiple hits in seven of his last nine games, including each of his last four.
“I haven’t seen too many hot streaks like his right now,” Jonny DeLuca said of Vivas, per Barry Lewis of Tulsa World.
The 22-year-old is in his second year on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster, playing mostly second and third base (this year, 12 of Vivas’ 15 starts came at second) and has shown control of the strike zone during his time in the minors, including more walks (63) than strikeouts (58) last season in High-A. This year, Vivas is striking out more (17.1 percent) but still well below the Texas League average (26.3 percent).
But those strikeouts have come with a tremendous increase in power. He has at least one extra-base hit in eight of his last nine games. The two home runs Sunday give Vivas four on the season, after hitting 10 last year. But he also has 10 doubles in 15 games, plus a triple, after hitting 19 doubles and seven triples all last season with Great Lakes.
He’s hitting a robust .400/.486/.800, leading the Texas League in hit (24), doubles, extra-base hits (15), total bases (48), and slugging percentage (.800). Vivas’ isolated power (slugging percentage minus batting average) in High-A in 2022 was .132. This year, it’s an absurd .400.
Sure, Vivas isn’t going to keep up a .455 batting average on balls in play. Nobody would. But he still has a long way to fall before falling well out of the excellent range.
Triple-A Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City had a season-high 18 hits in a blowout win over the Albuquerque Isotopes (Rockies), to win their fourth consecutive series to open the year.
Every batter in OKC’s lineup had a hit, and eight of the nine scored at least once. Ryan Ward was the only one who didn’t score, but made up for it with three hits and two RBI.
Michael Busch singled twice and doubled, driving in two. He’s reached base in all 21 games this season in Triple-A. Busch played third base on Sunday, his ninth time in the last 11 games at the position.
The game wasn’t all offense, as Bradley Zimmer made his nice running catch in center field in the sixth inning, too.
Everything is going right for the Dodgers at the moment, including this great grab by Bradley Zimmer! pic.twitter.com/W7nDUoqnF1— Oklahoma City Dodgers (@okc_dodgers) April 23, 2023
Oklahoma City scored 50 runs during the six-game series, winning four times. Albuquerque scored 38 runs in the series, which made the last two pitching starts by OKC all the more impressive. Gavin Stone struck out seven in 4⅔ scoreless innings on Saturday, and veteran Matt Andriese struck out five in his six innings on Sunday, allowing only one run. Andriese’s had the longest start by an Oklahoma City pitcher this season.
The Drillers got three solo home runs in a one-run win over the Wichita Wind Surge (Twins). The non-Vivas long ball came from Jonny DeLuca, who followed three straight games with a leadoff home run with a third-inning shot on Sunday. The offense overcame an early deficit.
Landon Knack retired only two of the six batters he faced, and was pulled in the first inning after throwing 31 pitches. He allowed a double and home run to open the game, then after a two-out error, allowed a double on his final pitch. The right-hander allowed only one extra-base hit and one run in 49 batters faced over his first three starts.
Tulsa was able to chip away at that early 3-0 hole thanks to scoreless relief from five pitchers. Lael Lockhart struck out four in his three innings. Ryan Sublette got the save with a scoreless ninth, striking out two. The right-hander was just promoted to the Drillers on Friday, and has four strikeouts in two scoreless innings in his first two games in Double-A.
High-A Great Lakes
Two big innings proved enough for the Loons to hold off the South Bend Cubs in a high-scoring affair.
Great Lakes sent 11 batters to the plate in a six-run fourth. Dalton Rushing homered to start the inning, then drove in a run with an infield single later in the frame. The big blow in the fourth was a grand slam by Griffin Lockwood-Powell, who caught and drove in five runs on the day.
Rushing played first base for the second time this season on Sunday. This season, he’s started nearly as many times not a catcher (four times as designated hitter, plus twice at first base) as he has behind the plate (seven times). But he’s hit all the same, with an 1.120 OPS and eight extra-base hits on the year.
Shortstop Alex Freeland doubled home two in the four-run seventh inning. He had two hits and scored twice in the game.
Despite the high-scoring final score, Adolfo Ramirez was effective in his four innings, allowing only one earned run (and one unearned one). Jake Pilarski struck out two in a scoreless ninth inning for his fourth save in six games, having yet to allow an earned run this season.
Low-A Rancho Cucamonga
The Quakes scored three in the first inning and held on to beat the Fresno Grizzlies (Rockies), winning four of six games in the home series.
Rayne Doncon homered and scored twice in the win.
Jared Karros made his first professional start, pitching in his third game as a pro, and tossed three scoreless innings, working around a single and three walks to strike out three, two of the three whiffs coming with a runner on base.
Right-hander Payton Martin, still one month shy of his 19th birthday and one of the youngest players in the California League, followed on the mound with four strikeouts while recording eight outs, allowing a run on four hits and a walk. Martin earned the win, his first professional decision.
- Oklahoma City 11, Albuquerque 1
- Tulsa 4, Wichita 3
- Great Lakes 10, South Bend 8
- Rancho Cucamonga 5, Fresno 3
- 9:05 a.m. PT: Tulsa (Nick Frasso) at Arkansas [Mariners] (Bryce Miller)
- 11:05 a.m.: Rancho Cucamonga (Maddux Bruns) at Inland Empire [Angels] (Jorge Marcheco)
- 3:35 p.m.: Great Lakes (TBD) at Fort Wayne [Padres] (TBD)
- 4:05 p.m.: Oklahoma City (TBD) vs. Sacramento [Giants] (TBD)
Nick Frasso starts Tuesday for Tulsa. Josh Thomas at Dodgers Digest wrote about Frasso’s exceptional start to the season, and why the right-hander is poised for more.