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Dodgers minors: Imanol Vargas, Emmet Sheehan, Maddux Bruns

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Peoria Javelinas v Glendale Desert Dogs
Emmet Sheehan #48 of the Glendale Desert Dogs throws a pitch during a game against the Peoria Javelinas at Camelback Ranch on November 1, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona.
Photo by Chris Bernacchi/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Saturday in the Dodgers minors saw a shaky return to Triple-A, some stellar pitching starts elsewhere, and a standout performance at the plate in Double-A.

Player of the day

Tulsa first baseman Imanol Vargas drove in five runs on Saturday, with a first-inning grand slam and an RBI double in the sixth inning.

The 25-year-old first baseman is the oldest regular on the Drillers, but only slightly older than the Texas League average position player. Vargas is hitting .276/.401/.503 with eight home runs and nine doubles. After Jonny DeLuca and Andy Pages were promoted to Triple-A, Vargas’ .904 OPS leads Tulsa regulars, a group that includes three players on the Dodgers 40-man roster, one of them the organization’s top prospect.

Vargas, signed by the Dodgers as an international free agent in 2017, has struck out a third of the time this season, tops on the Drillers, but he also leads the team with a 17.5-percent walk rate, including two more free passes on Saturday.

Triple-A Oklahoma City

A six-run eighth inning turned a three-run Oklahoma City lead into a three-run loss to the Reno Aces (D-backs). Trevor Bettencourt and Adam Kolarek allowed three runs each in the fateful frame, with six hits against them.

Gavin Stone had his wildest start of the season in his first start back in Triple-A, walking six in his 4⅓ innings, allowing three runs while also striking out six.

Jahmai Jones homered and doubled, driving in two.

Jonny DeLuca was hitless in three at-bats but also walked twice and scored a run. He’ll be called up to the Dodgers to replace the injured Trayce Thompson on Sunday, per multiple reports.

Double-A Tulsa

Vargas supplied the bulk of the offense and Eddys Leonard also homered in Tulsa’s win over the Wichita Wind Surge (Twins).

Emmet Sheehan continued to shine on the mound, allowing a run on three singles and a walk in 5⅓ innings, with seven strikeouts. That was his second-longest outing of the season, behind only last Sunday’s six-inning gem. Sheehan has a 1.64 ERA with 83 strikeouts and 19 walks in 49⅓ innings.

The only pitcher in the minors with more strikeouts than Sheehan is fellow 2021 draftee Andrew Abbott, who was added to the Reds’ taxi squad on Sunday.

High-A Great Lakes

Maddux Bruns has found his groove with the Loons, striking out seven in three scoreless innings in a rout of the Beloit Sky Carp (Marlins). The left-hander allowed a double, two walks, and hit a batter, but still kept Beloit off the board for his third consecutive scoreless start.

Shortstop Alex Freeland singled twice, doubles, and walked three times, reaching base in all six plate appearances, and even stole two bases. But in an odd quirk, in a game Great Lakes scored 10 runs, Freeland only scored once. Eight different Loons scored.

Catcher Frank Rodriguez homered.

Orlando Ortiz-Mayr pitched five scoreless innings to close out the game, striking out four. The Loons have won 10 straight games, matching their franchise record.

Low-A Rancho Cucamonga

Two runs in the seventh and two more in the eighth off the bullpen sent the Quakes to a loss to the Inland Empire 66ers (Angels).

Catcher Thayron Liranzo homered for Rancho Cucamonga’s only run, his California League-leading 14th homer of the season.

20-year-old Waylin Santana made his full-season debut with a start for the Quakes on Saturday, and allowed a run on four hits in three innings with two walks and a strikeout. The right-hander was signed out of the Dominican Republic in July 2019.


Triple-A: Southpaw Justin Bruihl was optioned to Oklahoma City. Right-hander Tayler Scott was called up to the Dodgers.

Low-A: Right-hander Waylin Santana joined the Quakes from extended spring training. Pitcher Carlos Martinez landed on the 7-day injured list.

Saturday scores

Sunday schedule

  • 11:05 a.m. PT: Tulsa (Landon Knack) at Wichita (David Festa)
  • 11:05 a.m.: Great Lakes (Yon Castro) at Beloit (Zack King)
  • 12:05 p.m.: Oklahoma City (Matt Andriese) vs. Reno (Bryce Jarvis)
  • 2 p.m.: Rancho Cucamonga (Chris Campos) vs. Inland Empire (Michael Darrell-Hicks)