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Keibert Ruiz headlines Dodger prospects in Arizona Fall League

Ruiz has two hits in first game in the Arizona desert

Keibert Ruiz behind the plate
Keibert Ruiz behind the plate
Rich Crimi

The Arizona Fall League (“AFL”) began play on Tuesday. The six-team league that has minor league prospects from each Major League organization will play until November 15th. The championship game will be played on Saturday November 17th.

Eight Dodger minor league players were assigned to the Glendale Desert Dogs and the following are some items of note about each one of them.

AFL assignment celebrates big year for Keibert Ruiz

Keibert Ruiz is the only top-100 prospect from the Dodgers playing in the AFL. The 20-year old catcher completed a full-season at Double-A Tulsa. His year culminated with strong finish in Tulsa’s run to the Texas League championship. Ruiz hit .333/.351/.500 in the playoffs. He hit two home runs and did not strikeout in 36 at-bats.

The other Dodger position player prospects playing for the Desert Dogs are shortstop Errol Robinson, first baseman Jared Walker and outfielder Cody Thomas.

Errol Robinson also played second and third base at Tulsa. Robinson turned 24 last week, he was the Dodger’s sixth pick in the 2016 draft out of Mississippi. In 117 games this season, Robinson hit .247/.309/.353 with ten home runs.

Jared Walker played at both Great Lakes in the Midwest League and was then promoted to Rancho Cucamonga at the beginning of the second half of the season. Walker had begun to put together some good slugging numbers at the end of the 2017 season and he continued that into 2018.

After Walker had a .838 OPS in 228+ plate appearances at Great Lakes, he improved to a .980 OPS in 229+ plate appearances at Rancho Cucamonga. He hit 17 home runs at Rancho Cucamonga and he had a total of 25 home runs in his 2018 season.

Walker also played second base at Rancho Cucamonga and he added some third base starts at Great Lakes this season.

Cody Thomas played a full-season at Rancho Cucamonga. The former Oklahoma Sooner was drafted in the 13th round by the Dodgers in 2016. Thomas, who just turned 24 on Monday, had a great second half. He hit .297/.373/.556 with 21 doubles, three triples and 15 home runs in a little over 300 plate appearances.

Top draft pick Jordan Sheffield is one of four pitching prospects in AFL

Right-handed pitcher Jordan Sheffield is highest ranked prospect to pitch in this year’s AFL. The other three pitchers from the Dodger organization are left-handed pitcher Ben Holmes and two other right-handed pitchers, Nolan Long and Andre Scrubb.

Sheffield was the 36th overall pick for the Dodgers in the 2016 draft and he started his season at Rancho Cucamonga as a starting pitcher. He made seven starts and gave up 24 runs (22 earned) in 27 innings pitched. Sheffield was put on the disabled list on May 13th and he returned to the Quakes on August 14th.

When Sheffield came back, he began to pitch out of the bullpen. And despite one rough outing, he did appear to adapt well to the change. Time will tell if this change is permanent for the 23-year old pitcher.

Ben Holmes had originally been drafted by the Miami Marlins in 2014. The Marlin organization released Holmes during the 2018 season and then he was signed by the Dodgers was assigned to Rancho Cucamonga on July 6th.

Holmes pitched in six games for the Quakes with three starts and three relief outings. He pitched 17 innings and struck out 25 while walking 5. Holmes was then promoted to Tulsa on August 4th.

At Tulsa, Holmes he started six games and pitched 38⅓ innings. He struck out 30 and walked 12. Holmes also won a postseason start where he pitched 6⅔ scoreless innings.

RIght-handed pitcher Nolan Long pitched at both Rancho Cucamonga and Tulsa. The 24-year old was drafted in the 16th round in the 2015 draft. Long made 43 appearances in his two-stop year. He pitched a total 70⅔ innings where he gave up a .177 Batting Average Against with 92 strikeouts.

Andre Scrubb is the final player from the Dodger organization on the Desert Dogs. The 23-year old right-handed pitcher was drafted in the 8th round in the 2016 draft.

Scrubb pitched for three teams in 2018, starting his season at Great Lakes. He was then assigned to Rancho Cucamonga on June 21st. Finally, he was promoted to Tulsa on August 11th.

For the entire 2018 season, Scrubb pitched in 38 games and pitched 63 total innings. He struck out 72 but he also walked 32 in those innings.