Dodgers re-arm minor league system

In the past three weeks the Dodgers have continued to search for and sign minor league players – especially pitchers – that they can bring on board in trades, as minor league free agents or even claim off waivers. This never ending process is both interesting to minor league enthusiasts and significant in developing the farm system as well as rewarding to the young men still striving to carve out a career in MLB baseball. During that three-week span the Dodgers have added at least five new players to bolster the overall farm system and perhaps assist in play-off runs. Some have already had a taste of major league baseball.

Brian Moran

Moran, now 28, was signed by the Dodgers as a free agent on July 14 out of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.

The 6’3”/210-pound left-hander had begun his professional career back in 2009 when he was signed by the Seattle Mariners in the seventh round of the First-Year Player Draft out of the University of North Carolina.

He has toiled seven years in the minors twice making it to the AAA level, first with the Tacoma Rainiers in the Seattle farm system and later with the Gwinnett Braves in Atlanta’s system.

During his minor league career, the native of Port Chester, New York, has posted an impressive 3.05 ERA while striking out more than a hitter per inning and posting a 4:1 strikeout to walk ratio. All 242 of his minor league appearances have been in a relief role.

A nephew of well-known and versatile major league player B.J. Surhoff, Moran has been selected in the Rule 5 Draft on three separate occasions. In 2013 he was selected by the Blue Jays and traded to the Angels, in 2015 the Indians selected him in the Rule 5 Draft and in 2016 he was picked by the Orioles in the minor league portion of the draft.

Moran missed the entire 2014 season as he had TJ surgery in April and returned to action on June 5, 2015.

In 29 games for the Bridgeport Bluefish of the Atlantic League in 2017, Moran put up numbers that caught the attention of Dodger scouts. In 19.1 innings, he surrendered eight hits, gave up five runs while striking out 33 and posting a 2.33 ERA. and a WHIP of .879.

Moran had also played in the Atlantic League in 2016 and his service was appreciated by his Bridgeport General Manager.

“Brian has been a great asset to our bullpen for the past two seasons,” says Bluefish General Manager Paul Herrmann. “We wish him the best of luck with the rest of this season and beyond.”

Moran has made 10 appearances with the Tulsa Drillers of the Texas League. Over 9.1 innings he has struck out 11 while walking two and posting a 0.96 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP. Left-handers have hit .118 against him.

Jason Richman

Richman was signed by the Dodgers as a minor league free agent on July 16 after he was released by the Down East Wood Ducks, an advanced Class-A team in the Texas Rangers farm system.

The 23-year-old left-hander was selected by the Rangers in the 18th round of the 2015 First-Year Player Draft out of Georgia Southern University. In his brief professional career he made six stops in the Rangers organization including the Spokane Indians (Short A), Hickory Crawdads (Full A), Down Est Wood Ducks (Adv. A), High Desert Mavericks (Adv. A), Frisco RoughRiders (AA), Round Rock Express (AAA).

During his two plus years in the Rangers farm system the Marietta, Georgia native posted a 3.43 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP in 76 relief appearances. He allowed less than a hit an inning while striking out 82 and walking 53.

The 6’4”/210-pound Richman is a sidearmer who gives left-hand hitters fits with a sinking, running fast ball and a slow slider. He could be described as a soft-tossing lefty, perhaps in Jamie Moyer style, with a fastball that tops out at 84 mph. While his fastball has great arm-side run that bores in on lefties, right-hand hitters can sit on it as he hasn’t yet been able to consistently back them off the plate. That would be an emphasis for the coaching staff with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.

Richman was immediately assigned to the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes when he signed with the Dodgers. In five appearances with the Quakes over 8.1 innings he has posted a 3.24 ERA along with a 0.96 WHIP and five strikeouts. He has walked two. In limited innings left-handers are hitting .100 against him.

Luke Farrell

Farrell, the son of the Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell, was acquired for cash by the Dodgers on July 28 in a trade with the Kansas City Royals.

He had been selected by the Royals in the sixth round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of Northwestern University.

Farrell was in his fifth season in the Kansas City farm system when he was acquired by the Dodgers.

During his current AAA season with the Omaha Storm Chasers, he has posted a 4.07 ERA along with a 1.25 WHIP while striking out 94 and walking 33 over 16 starts. His ERA ranks fourth in the league while his WHIP is the third best.

The 26-year-old Farrell was the June 19-25 Pitcher of the Week in the Pacific Coast League. He worked a PCL-high 14 innings over two starts, allowing only three runs (two earned) while striking out 18 and walking none.

On July 1, 2017 the 6’6”/210-pound right-hander made his MLB debut pitching for the Royals against the Minnesota Twins in the first game of a day-night double header. With his father watching nervously from the stands, the younger Farrell gave up five earned runs in 2.2 innings.

The journey through baseball has been a bit more challenging for the Westlake, Ohio native because of an unanticipated health issue. In 2009 a golf ball size tumor was discovered in his throat. The tumor was found to be benign but removing it had possible serious implications. The tumor could have affected nerves that control movement in face, arm, tongue, lips and eyes. Fortunately through the work of skilled surgeons, Farrell had no ill effects from the surgery.

Although the family was assured that the likelihood of the tumor returning was almost non-existent, it did reoccur and in 2011 he went through a second operation as risky as the first, but this time it was followed by proton radiation, a specific and localized treatment that lasted six weeks. Farrell has continued to have a clean bill of health since his second operation.

Considered to have an extremely high pitching IQ by the Royals, which would also appeal to the Dodgers, Farrell made his 2017 debut with the Oklahoma City Dodgers on Sunday evening. He started and pitched four innings against the Las Vegas 51s allowing two earned runs on four hits and two walks. He struck out five.

Luis Ysla

Ysla was acquired by the Dodgers in another cash deal on July 29, this time with the Boston Red Sox.

The 6’1”/185-pound left hander was late to baseball. He was initially signed as a 20-year-old in 2012 by the San Francisco Giants and actually began playing competitive baseball at age-18.

“I started playing baseball really at 18,” Ysla said, “And I got signed and everything I’ve learned really just (has been) on my own or with coaches

“I’ve always wanted to play baseball. My parents just didn’t have enough money to fund that dream,” he added. Ysla was born in Estado Carabobo, Venezuela.

He found immediate success in the lower levels of the Giants farm system and was selected as a 2013 Rookie-Level Arizona League Post-Season All-Star, while also being honored as the 2014 Single-A South Atlantic League Mid- and Post-Season All-Star.

He has played four years of minor league baseball, two in the Giants farm system and two in the Red Sox organization. He was traded by the Giants to the Red Sox on August 31, 2015 for outfielder Alejandro De Aza.

The Red Sox at that point were quite high on Ysla and protected him from the 2016 Rule 5 Draft last December.

Although things came easily for him at the lower minor league levels, he has found the going more challenging at the upper levels.

Ysla made 29 relief appearances with Boston’s AA Portland Sea Dogs this season going 1-5 with one save and posted a 5.05 ERA over 46.1 innings pitched. He struck out 44 and walked 32.

Obviously, the Dodgers saw something in Ysla that they liked and saw possibilities of using his fastball and pairing it with an improved off-speed pitch. The slider has been the biggest challenge for him.

The 25-year-old throws hard, with a fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s. He also features a slider with downward bite and a change-up perhaps in its infancy. He still has to improve his command and especially with his secondary pitches. However, he is still relatively new to pitching because of his late start so there’s certainly plenty of room for growth. Ysla will be a willing student as he knows he needs to, and is committed to, improving his slider.

“I’m having a little trouble hitting the corners with it,” he said. “But that’s one I’m working on.”

Ysla debuted with the Tulsa Drillers on August 3 in a contest with the Arkansas Travelers. He pitched two scoreless innings giving up one hit, one walk and striking out one.

Dylan Floro

Floro was claimed off waivers by the Dodgers from the Chicago Cubs on August 4.

He was initially selected out of high school by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 20th round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft but chose not to sign. The Rays selected him again in the 13th round of the 2013 draft out of California State University, Fullerton and this time he quickly signed.

In five minor league seasons in the Rays farm system Floro had a 3.30 ERA, pitching 528.1 innings. The 6’2”/175-pound right-hander has pitched out of the bullpen and as a starter, making 73 starts out of 126 total appearances in the Tampa Bay organization. He has walked just 1.3 hitters per nine innings in his minor league career. He was the Rays minor league Pitcher of the Year in 2013 after leading the organization with a 1.77 ERA.

During the 2016 season the Merced, California native was especially effective with the AAA Durham Bulls of the International League posting a 2.88 ERA over 50 innings and 32 appearances with seven saves and inducing ground balls at a 56.5 percent ground-ball rate. His strikeout rate was an acceptable 7.2 K/9 and his walk rate a more than acceptable 1.6 BB/9. He was named as a mid-season International League All-Star.

The 26-year-old Floro made his MLB debut in 2016 with the Rays, pitching in 12 games. He posted a 4.20 ERA in 15 innings in 12 relief appearances while striking out 14 and walking five.

On January 19, 2017 Floro was claimed off waiver by the Chicago Cubs and has spent the better part of the current season with the AAA Iowa Cubs of the Pacific Coast League. In 25 appearances with the Cubs he posted a 3.88 ERA over 48.2 innings along with 26 strikeouts and eight walks. His ground ball rate at Iowa was an eye catching 61.6%.

Floro was called up to the parent Cubs twice during the 2017 season and appeared in three games. He pitched 9.2 innings giving up seven earned runs along with six strikeouts and two walks.

Floro was designated for assignment by the Chicago Cubs on July 31 and claimed off waivers on August 4 by the Dodgers thus renewing his connection to Dodgers President of Baseball Operations, Andrew Friedman who initially had drafted him when he was the Rays Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager.


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3 Responses to “Dodgers re-arm minor league system”

  1. Ron Cervenka says:

    I am absolutely amazed at what Friedman, Zaidi, Gasparino and Kapler have done with the Dodgers farm system. It is arguably THE best in baseball.

  2. CruzinBlue says:

    The Dodgers are dominating baseball because they have depth in their roster. Their farm system is the reason they have the options they do. It IS the best in baseball.

  3. Bluenose Dodger says:

    WOW! Luke Farrell claimed off waivers by the Reds.

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