Last August I wrote a similar article as the minor leagues were beginning to wind down. For me this is not the happiest time of my baseball season – opening day is, with both the Dodgers and their minor league affiliates ready to provide several months of baseball nourishment. Now I do have to admit that opening day would be an obscure memory, actually totally forgotten, if the Dodgers have a repeat of the 1988 season.
Nonetheless, the playoffs are a reminder that the life of the baseball season is starting to go on life support. All too quickly we will be gasping for our baseball breaths searching for Dodgers information on trades, free agent signings – anything Dodgers to feed out addiction, including minor league transactions. As playoff time approaches I thought it might be interesting to again check the minor league possibilities for an extended season. Overall it might be safe to say this has not been an overly successful season for the seven Dodger minor league teams in terms of playoff aspirations.
The Dominican Summer League Dodgers just completed one of those seasons which concluded on August 24. A team of youngsters – as are all DSL teams – the Dodgers roster included nineteen players who are 19 years of age or younger. The team finished the last ten games of the season with a 3-10 record and an overall recorded of 27-43, 19 games behind the North Division league leading DSL Red Sox.
The Arizona League Dodgers had a much more successful season in the W-L columns. The Dodgers have qualified for the playoffs. In the first half of the season they compiled a 16-11 record – good for first place – four games ahead of the AZL Indians. During the second half of the season the Dodgers are 16-11 which gives them a one game lead, again over the AZL Indians.
The Ogden Raptors of the Rookie League went 20-18 unfortunately winding up one game back of the Grand Junction Rockies. The second half has not gone quite as well. The Raptors are presently 10-16 trailing the Orem Owlz by 5.5 games with 12 games left in their schedule. A playoff spot does not look very promising as the Raptors also are 3-7 in their last ten games.
The Great Lakes Loons, the LA Dodgers Low Single-A affiliate, had a dismal first half of the season finishing with a 27-43 record and 17.5 games behing the first place South Bend Silver Hawks. Even thought the team lost Corey Seager to the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, they have had a much better second half going 7-2 in their last nine games and 38-26 during the half. They presently trail the Bowling Green Hot Rods by 1.5 games for the division lead and have a 3.5 game lead on the Dayton Dragons in the wild card chase. During their final five games of the season two of those games are scheduled with the Dragons. The Loons last appearance in post season play was in 2010.
The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, Advanced Single-A, are in a similar situation as the Loons. They finished the first half with a 31-39 record, 8 games behind the Lancaster Jethawks. The Quakes are presently 32-33 in the second half, and though currently one game below .500, they have a realistic shot at the wild card spot. Since Lancaster finished first in both halves of the season there are two wild cards spots yet to be determined. The Quakes lead the Inland Empire 66ers by two games and the Lake Elsinore Storm by 2.5 games. With six games remaining in their schedule the Quakes have two with the cellar dweller High Desert Mavericks and four with the division leading Jethawks. Their task is not an easy one as the Quakes are 7-14 against the Jethawks this season. The Quakes did get a shot in the arm with the news that Dodgers All-Star centerfielder Matt Kemp will begin his rehab assignment with the Quakes on Thursday night. Kemp is expected to make several starts with the Quakes in their final week of regular season play.
The Chattanooga Lookouts in the Double-A Southern League have also had one of those seasons. The first half finished with a respectable 35-35 record that left the Lookouts 9 games behind the Birmingham Barons. The second half finds them in last place in the division with a 23-41 record, a full 15 games behind the Tennessee Smokies.
The Albuquerque Isotopes, the Dodgers top minor league team of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, have also missed the playoffs having been eliminated from contention with a 72-66 record, 7 games behind the Oklahoma City RedHawks. The RedHawks took 11 of 16 games played with the isotopes during the 2013 campaign.