Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Category: Minor leagues (Page 1 of 8)

Willie Calhoun MVP of AFL Fall Stars Game

By Jon Weisman

Dodger second-base prospect Willie Calhoun went 3 for 3 with a home run to win Most Valuable Player honors and lead the West team to a 12-4 victory over the East at the Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game tonight.

Calhoun, who turned 22 Friday, singled and scored in a four-run second inning, hit an RBI single in a four-run third inning and knocked a two-run homer in the fifth. In 2016 with Double-A Tulsa, Calhoun hit 27 homers and 25 doubles in 503 at-bats and slugged .469.

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Cody Bellinger, the Dodgers’ No. 1 prospect, added a two-run homer in the sixth. The left-handed swinger hit his off 6-foot-7 southpaw Jared Miller, an Arizona Diamondbacks farmhand.

Stewart wins award as top starting pitcher in minors

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Brock Stewart, recently named the Dodgers’ top pitching prospect, has won the award from Minor League Baseball — the MiLBY — as its top starting pitcher. Stewart, whom we’ve chronicled throughout the year, was the subject of a new feature by Tyler Maun of

— Jon Weisman

Great Lakes wins Midwest League title


Photo: Great Lakes Loons

By Jon Weisman

From the start of the Midwest League regular season through the end of the playoffs today, the Great Lakes Loons won 72 games and lost 78.

But the Dodgers’ Single-A affiliate is the champion of the league.

Twice rallying from three-run deficits today, Great Lakes won Game 4 of the Midwest League Finals, 9-8, to take the crown.

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Anderson thrives, Oklahoma City stays alive in PCL

By Jon Weisman

After Brett Anderson pitched five strong innings, Triple-A Oklahoma City scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh to rally for a 4-2 victory over El Paso in Game 3 of the Pacific Coast League finals.

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Found in translation: Dodgers push to make U.S. adjustment easier for international players

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodger minor-leaguer and Dominican Republic native Luis DePaula spoke at a local elementary school, as part of the Dodgers' transitioning program.

Dodger minor-leaguer and Dominican Republic native Luis DePaula spoke at a local elementary school, as part of the Dodgers’ transitioning program.

By Jon Weisman

In a recent piece for Dodger Insider magazine by Bob Harkins, we look at the extra steps the Dodgers are taking to ease transition of international players into the organization. An excerpt:

… The Dodgers are aggressive about helping their international signees as soon as they arrive at their academy in the Dominican Republic, Campo Las Palmas, and also every step of the way as they move into the minor leagues.

The education efforts go well beyond English lessons, as some players, typically ages 16-18 when they arrive, haven’t attended school since they were 10. They live and breathe baseball, but there is much to learn before suddenly being thrust into the American culture.

“These guys are developing life skills beyond just the cultural acclimation part,” Dodger senior manager of player development Matt McGrath said. “For us, it’s as much developing them as men as it is culturally or language-wise.

“We’re trying to make them stronger men, give them the ability to communicate across languages with teammates. That makes everybody better. That’s the ultimate goal of what we’re trying to do.” …

Harkins begins the story by talking with Juan Castro, whom the Dodgers first signed 25 years ago, to illustrate the evolution from then to now.

Read the entire story by clicking here.

* * *

Beginning this year, the Dodgers merged their previously separate Playbill and Dodger Insider magazines into one publication (at least 80 pages per issue) with a new edition available each homestand plus one in October, 13 issues total. It is distributed at auto gates (one per vehicle) and via Fan Services for those who use alternate transportation. Dodger Insider magazine includes news, features, analysis, photos, games, stadium information and more. Fans who wish to subscribe for 2017 can do so at

Triple-A Oklahoma City on the brink in PCL finals

By Jon Weisman

Despite three hits apiece from Kyle Farmer and Drew Maggi, Triple-A Oklahoma City dropped their second straight game in the Pacific Coast League finals, losing 10-4 to El Paso and falling within one game of elimination in their best-of-five series.

Oklahoma City tied the game at 2-2 in a bizarre top of the fourth that featured four El Paso errors and two runners thrown out on the basepaths. The Chihuahuas’ Carlos Asuaje homered off Chase De Jong to give El Paso the lead for good.

The remaining three games of the series, as needed, will be played at Oklahoma City beginning Friday, with Brett Anderson taking the Game 3 start.

Clinton 16, Great Lakes 6: In the opener of the best-of-five Midwest League Finals, DJ Peters (2 for 2, two walks) hit a three-run homer in the first inning for Single-A Great Lakes, but the Loons never recovered after allowing eight runs in a fourth inning that included three errors and three wild pitches. Great Lakes pitchers had 10 walks and eight wild pitches in the game.

Brendon Davis and Jake Henson each added two hits for Great Lakes.

O’K for OKC: Dickson’s homer lifts Triple-A Dodgers to PCL Championship Series

By Jon Weisman

O’Koyea Dickson’s three-run homer in the top of the eighth inning lifted Oklahoma City to a 10-9 victory over Nashville in the winner-take-all finale of their best-of-five playoff series, sending the Dodgers’ Triple-A team to the Pacific Coast League Championship.

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A Hill of beans in this crazy world

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Dodgers at Marlins, 10:10 a.m.
Chase Utley, 2B
Josh Reddick, RF
Corey Seager, SS
Adrián González, 1B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Joc Pederson, CF
Andre Ethier, LF
Howie Kendrick, 3B
Kenta Maeda, P

By Jon Weisman

I guess my wife and I picked the wrong day to take the family to Disneyland.

Exactly 51 years and one day after Sandy Koufax threw the last perfect game by a Dodger pitcher, Rich Hill nearly did the same (in a 5-0 Dodger victory). And in the process, he became the first Dodger pitcher since Hiroki Kuroda in 2008 to throw seven perfect innings — and the first ever to do so without facing another batter.

The controversy arose from the latter fact. In the overnight chatter since Hill was removed, many have had a chance to weigh in, and so with the Dodgers’ next game already about to start, I’m just going to highlight a few points …

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Rancho Cucamonga wins ’16 playoff opener in 16


By Jon Weisman

Noah Perio’s walkoff single in the 16th inning lifted Single-A Rancho Cucamonga past Lancaster, 4-3, in its California League quarterfinal best-of-three playoff opener.

Corey Copping (three innings), Alex Burgos (four) and Gavin Pittore (one) combined for eight innings of shutout relief to help the Quakes outlast the JetHawks. Erick Mejia went 3 for 6 with a walk, and Mike Ahmed went 2 for 5 with a homer and two walks.

In his 10th rehab game, Andre Ethier came to the plate seven times as designated hitter and had a home run and the leadoff single to start the bottom of the 16th.

For more from the Dodgers’ minor leagues Wednesday, click here.

Scott Kazmir’s rehab outing cut short

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Joining Brett Anderson and Brandon McCarthy in the past week, Scott Kazmir tonight had a short-circuited rehab outing.

Kazmir, whom Dave Roberts today said was potentially on track to pitch for the Dodgers at Yankee Stadium next week, faced seven batters for Oklahoma City in its opening playoff game against Nashville. Two walked, two were hit by pitches, and one — Renato Nunez — hit a three-run home run.

Kazmir then left with the trainer before the inning was over, and was said to be heading back to Los Angeles for evaluation, as Jack Baer of wrote.

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Farm Fresh: Hicks, Peters each slug a pair of homers

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By Miranda Perez

Highlights from the Dodger minor leagues from September 5, including a pair of two-homer games …

  • Triple-A Oklahoma City used the same winning formula as the big league club yesterday, belting four home runs in its 10-8 win over Omaha in the final game of the regular season. Brandon Hicks had two homers of his own, while Cody Bellinger hit his third home run in two days and Corey Brown hit a solo shot.
  • O’Koyea Dickson was named the Pacific Coast League Player of the Week for August 29-September 5. Dickson went 13-for-26 (.500) with seven extra-base hits, including three doubles, a triple, three home runs and 10 RBI.
  • Activated from the disabled list before the game, Victor Gonzalez struck out eight in five innings with no walks, allowing only a solo home run as Single-A Great Lakes closed out its regular season with a 5-1 win against West Michigan. Infielder Matt Jones went 2 for 4 with a home run and three RBI in the season finale. The Loons will go on to the first round of playoffs and face the Bowling Green Hot Rods at home Wednesday to start in a best-of-three series.
  • DJ Peters did his part to help Rookie League Odgen stay in the playoff race, launching two home runs and driving in four in the Raptors’ 6-2 win over Grand Junction. Peters, Keibert Ruiz and Brock Carpenter each tallied three hits, while Rob McDonnell hurled five solid innings, allowing two runs on three hits and earning the win. With three games left, Odgen is only a half a game behind Grand Junction in the Pioneer League South.


Farm Fresh: Brock Stewart, Edwin Rios win Dodger Player of the Year awards

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Brock Stewart has been named the Dodgers’ Branch Rickey Minor League Pitcher of the Year, and third baseman Edwin Rios is the franchise’s Minor League Player of the Year.

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First-rounder Gavin Lux relishes Dodger Stadium visit

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

He sat down in the Dodger dugout Tuesday afternoon, wisely ignoring the guy in street clothes on his left, in order to pick the brain of the Major League pitcher on his right.

To say the least, it’s been a big year for Gavin Lux. Taken in the first round of the 2016 draft in June, the 18-year-old shortstop posted a .365 on-base percentage in 48 Arizona Rookie League Games. Then on Wednesday, he took the next step higher with Rookie League Ogden, going 3 for 4 with an RBI and stolen base in his debut.

But before the promotion came what Lux called his highlight of the season. For the simulated innings being thrown by Dodger starters Clayton Kershaw, Brett Anderson, Scott Kazmir and Brandon McCarthy, Lux was among the group called upon to take swings against the MLB veterans.

“Facing all big-league pitchers is pretty sweet,” Lux said.

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De Jong named Texas League Pitcher of the Year

Rich Crimi/Tulsa Drillers

Rich Crimi/Tulsa Drillers

By Jon Weisman

Double-A Tulsa right-hander Chase De Jong was named Pitcher of the Year in the Texas League, which also placed second baseman Willie Calhoun and outfielder Alex Verdugo on its All-Star Team.

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Farm Fresh: Josmar Cordero goes from coach to player

Cordero 593588By Jon Weisman

A few months back, we had a story on Dodger bullpen catcher Steve Cilladi and his baseball journey, which included appearing in exactly one game for Triple-A Albuquerque in each of his final two years as a player.

That resonated Monday when, in the 135th game of the season for Triple-A Oklahoma City, Josmar Cordero played for this first time in 2016.

Cordero, who turns 25 September 10, has been in the Dodger organization since 2010, when he signed as an 18-year-old out of Venezuela. He played in the Dominican Summer League for his first three years, then Rookie League ball in Arizona in 2013.

In 2014, he got his most action with 103 games at Single-A Great Lakes, in which he hit 11 homers and stole 10 bases with a .678 OPS. Last year, he had a .785 OPS with the Loons (including a 4 for 5 game in which he doubled and homered) on June 12, when he was moved up to High-A Rancho Cucamonga.

But this year, Cordero spent the season in Triple-A, coaching first base and catching in the bullpen. He was put on the active roster when, for example, Austin Barnes was called up to Los Angeles in June and July, and Oklahoma City needed a temporary second-stringer.

Most recently, Cordero was activated August 27, and according to Oklahoma City director of media relations and broacasting Alex Freedman, he might have been needed to pitch at some point.

That didn’t happen, but on the day after Oklahoma City clinched its division title, manager Bill Haselman made the decision to get Cordero in a game. He went 0 for 4, but for one more year, his career continued.

Jacob Unruh of the Oklahoman has more:

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