On the first day of the season with multiple Dodgers minor league affiliates playing, all three teams won on Thursday night.
Player of the day
Emmet Sheehan didn’t start for Double-A Tulsa on opening day, but he did have the best pitching performance of the night. He pitched the final five innings in relief, and struck out eight. Sheehan, wearing number 99 for the Drillers, was anything but a wild thing on Thursday, walking none and allowing no hits. He allowed only one batter to reach base, hitting San Antonio catcher Chandler Seagle to open the ninth inning.
Pure mastery from No. 15 @Dodgers prospect Emmet Sheehan for the @TulsaDrillers on Opening Day— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) April 7, 2023
8 K pic.twitter.com/dogmmhmyeV
Sheehan, who was drafted by the Dodgers in the sixth round in 2021 out of Boston College, is ticketed for Tulsa’s rotation. But with the funky schedule, with a three-game mini-series to open the year before having both Sunday and Monday off, Sheehan piggybacked with starter Landon Knack on opening day. Drillers broadcaster Dennis Higgins said during the ninth inning of the broadcast that Sheehan was expected to start next Tuesday for the Drillers.
Triple-A Oklahoma City
Down a run with two outs in the ninth, Oklahoma City rallied to beat the Las Vegas Aviators (A’s), winning their fifth straight game.
Michael Busch began the rally by getting hit by a pitch, followed by a Luke Williams double to put two in scoring position. Steven Duggar cashed them both in with a two-run single for the road win.
Scoreless relief by right-hander Justin Hagenman (2⅓ innings, three strikeouts) and lefty Bryan Hudson (two innings, two strikeouts) finished off the game for OKC.
Catcher Hamlet Marte was on the developmental list for Oklahoma City for long stretches last year. The 29-year-old is now working with the major league coaching staff. To show how popular Marte is, despite paying only seven games last year in Triple-A, his Oklahoma City teammates voted him teammate of the year for 2022, the reward for which Marte shared on Instagram on Thursday:
Sheehan and Knack combined to allow only two singles and a hit by pitch in the Drillers’ shutout rout of the San Antonio Missions (Padres).
The offense came first in the third inning, in the form of back-to-back home runs by Yusniel Díaz and Jonny DeLuca, for the former in his first at-bat in Tulsa since 2018. DeLuca later doubled. Both Díaz and DeLuca had two hits and scored twice in the win.
Knack earlier this week talked to Barry Lewis at Tulsa World about bouncing back from an injury-plagued 2022 and complete changing his diet during the offseason:
“I took a test to see what foods bothered me and what didn’t. I wound up finding out gluten really was an issue for me, eggs and other stuff were issues, kind of had to eliminate some things from my diet. Had to overhaul some of the way I eat.
“I feel like the way I bounce back from outings and from throwing is just like night and day, how much quicker I feel back to normal, how much faster I’m recovering. It’s been a huge difference.”
High-A Great Lakes
The Loons open play Friday night, but unveiled their opening day roster on Thursday, headlined by catcher Dalton Rushing, the Dodgers’ top draft pick in 2022 who was ranked in three top-100 prospect lists this preseason.
Great Lakes also has three other players rated among the top-20 prospects in LA’s system by at least one national list — pitcher Maddux Bruns and Ronan Kopp, catcher Yeiner Fernandez, and shortstop Alex Freeland. Kopp starts opening day.
The 2023 Great Lakes Loons. #Dodgers #MiLB pic.twitter.com/TQAkkwtN5k— Brad Tunney (@brad_tunney) April 6, 2023
The Loons also have pitcher Jake Pilarski, who signed with the Dodgers after playing in independent leagues the last two years, and hit triple digits on the radar gun during spring training. Pilarski talked with Hugh Bernreuter at MLive about how he tried to gain velocity and hone his skills by, among other things, going to Tread Athletics in North Carolina.
Low-A Rancho Cucamonga
Quakes pitchers combined for 16 strikeouts in an opening-day win over the Inland Empire 66ers (Angels), the second Dodgers affiliate of the night to toss a shutout.
Maddux Bruns, the Dodgers’ first-round pick in 2021, struck out seven in four innings, allowing three singles and two walks. Chris Campos, a seventh-round pick last year, followed with six strikeouts in three scoreless frames of his own, allowing only three singles.
Lucas Wepf, a Canadian right-hander signed by the Dodgers last August, finished things off with two scoreless innings in his professional debut, with three more strikeouts.
Catcher Thayron Liranzo had two hits, including a home run in the eighth inning. Liranzo was listed by Josh Norris at Baseball America as one of 50 prospects who stood out this spring training.
“This spring, the switch-hitter showed scouts a more polished game on both sides of the ball, leading to projections of above-average power from both sides of the plate,” Norris wrote of the 19-year-old catcher.
Triple-A: Marshall Kasowski joined Oklahoma City. Jake Reed was placed on the temporarily inactive list.
- 3:05 p.m. PT: Great Lakes (Ronan Kopp) vs. Lansing [A’s] (Joelvis Del Rosario)
- 5:05 p.m. PT: Tulsa (Nick Frasso) vs. San Antonio (Jackson Wolf)
- 6:30 p.m.: Rancho Cucamonga (Peter Heubeck) vs. Inland Empire (Caden Dana)
- 7:05 p.m.: Oklahoma City (TBD) at Las Vegas (Jack Cushing)
Opening day in High-A for Great Lakes.