The minor league baseball season is quickly coming to an end with most leagues finishing regular season play in late August or very early in September. There has been a recent flurry of activity with pitchers moving around in the Dodger farm system, apparently in preparation for the end of the schedule or having players coming off the DL.
Great Lakes Loons
On a positive note Ralston Cash returned to the lineup on August 11 throwing two hitless innings and striking out three. He has spent most of the season on the DL and may well be considered to be injury plagued. He missed all of the 2011 season and pitched in only 40 innings in 2012. A cousin of former Dodger prospect Ethan Martin, Cash was a second round draft pick in 2010.
Zachary Bird has just been promoted to the Loons from the Ogden Raptors. He started the season with the Loons but did not quite get settled in at the A ball level. Control was a big part of his struggle as he walked 35 and struck out 36 in 41 innings. He is a big right hander, 6’4”, 205 pounds and just turned 19 in July. He was a ninth round pick in 2012. I expect he is one of those sleeper picks. In Ogden after his demotion from the Loons his command improved. In 43 innings he struck out 44 and walked 19. He will take Miguel Sulbaran’s spot on the Loons’ roster.
Victor Gonzalez with the AZL Dodgers would be a good choice to replace Bird with the Raptors but he has not yet turned 18. However, Zachary Bird was about that age when he pitched for the Raptors in 2012. If not Gonzalez, perhaps Jose De Leon who has not had the year Gonzalez has had but is 21.
On a rather disappointing note Miguel Sulbaran was shipped off to the Minnesota Twins as the player to be named later when the Dodgers acquired catcher Drew Butera whose MLB batting average is .182. Sulbaran, a 19 year old lefty, was having a very successful season with the Loons (6-4, ERA 3.01, 85 K, 27 BB). Not bad for a youngster in the Midwest League. I understand the Dodgers need for another catcher in the event that A.J. Ellis or Tim Federowicz should get injured down the stretch. However, John Baker is already with the Isotopes and hits much better than Butera. Sulbaran was way too much to pay for Butera.
Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
Craig Stem rejoined the Quakes after spending much of the season with the Loons where he saved 14 games, had a 1.38 ERA and a WHIP of 1.03. In two appearances with the Quakes he has recorded a save and retired all four batters he has faced. Stem is a fifteenth round pick from the 2011 draft.
Edwin Carl has made two appearances with the Quakes after having his contract purchased from the Schaumburg Boomers. He has struck out nine in 3.2 innings but also walked four. He was initially signed by the Kansas City Royals as an undrafted free agent in 2010.
Jarret Martin joined the Lookouts in early August after having been converted to relief pitching with the Quakes and experiencing success in that role in Rancho Cucamonga. In 5 appearances with the Lookouts the 24 year old lefty has a 1.35 ERA, struck out 8 in 6.2 innings but has walked 6. Opponents have hit just .190 against him as a Lookout.
Onelki Garcia was promoted to the Albuquerque Isotopes on August 11. The 24 year old left hander posted a 2.75 ERA with the Lookouts while striking out 53 in 52 innings. He held opponents to a .215 batting average but did struggle with command walking 32. With the Isotopes he has retired all four hitters he has faced in two appearances. This was a bit of a surprise move but I expect it is in preparation for the Dodgers September stretch run. No doubt the team would like to rest Paco Rodriguez and JP Howell more going into possible post season play. Both southpaws, they have made 57 and 49 appearances respectively.
Blake Johnson had returned from the DL and in two appearances has pitched eight strong innings giving up no runs and striking out 12. He gives the ‘Topes a much needed lift in the starting rotation.
Rob Rasmussen has been demoted to the Chattanooga Lookouts. He was acquired in a the trade that sent John Ely to Houston. He didn’t fair very well with the Isotopes after considerable success with the Lookouts earlier in the season. His most recent appearance with the Lookouts has been in relief.
Brian Wilson has made three appearances with the Isotopes and seems to be a man on a mission to get to LA. In 3.1 innings he has given up but one hit, walked none and struck out two. He has thrown 39 pitches, 25 for strikes. With a good appearance on Wednesday, he will be with the Dodgers on Thursday or Friday.