Dodger Thoughts

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

Tag: Jharel Cotton

Dodgers acquire Josh Reddick, Rich Hill

Josh Reddick (Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Josh Reddick (Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Rich Hill (Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images)

Rich Hill (Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images)

By Jon Weisman

With less than three hours remaining in the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline, the Dodgers have made their first move. It might not be their only one.

The Dodgers have acquired left-handed hitting outfielder Josh Reddick and left-handed pitcher Rich Hill, in exchange for minor-league right-handers Jharel CottonGrant Holmes and Frankie Montas.

The 29-year-old Reddick has a career-high .368 on-base percentage and 124 OPS+ this year in 272 plate appearances for Oakland. (He missed five weeks after fracturing his left thumb on a slide May 19.) His 121 weighted runs created is 12th among MLB right fielders.

Against right-handed pitching, Reddick has a .955 OPS this season.

Hill has had an unusual career. At age 36, in his 12th Major League season, he has only 576 big-league innings to his name. He actually is on the disabled list right now, dating back to July 20, because of a blister issue. He also missed pitching in June because of a left groin strain.

However, when healthy in 2016, he has dominated, throwing 76 innings in 14 starts with a 2.25 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings.

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Farm Fresh: Calhoun, Cotton in MLB Futures Game

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By Bart Harvey

Second baseman Willie Calhoun and right-handed pitcher Jharel Cotton were both selected to play in this year’s MLB Futures Game. The game will be played on July 10 at Petco Park, two days prior to the All-Star Game.

  • The 21-year old Calhoun, featured recently at Dodger Insider, has a .799 OPS for Double-A Tulsa, despite a recent 1-for-24 slump, with 14 home runs in 74 games.
  • Cotton allowed four runs in five innings Sunday, but still has 82 strikeouts in 68 2/3 innings this year for Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Highlights from the Dodger farm system for June 27 follow …

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In case you missed it: Organizational news and notes

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By Jon Weisman

There have been several bits of business that I’ve been meaning to get to, so I figured the best solution was to bring back the reliable “In case you missed it” feature from Spring Training to capture them all.

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Dodgers option Cotton, reassign seven to minor-league camp

Eric Gagne and Rick Honeycutt talk with Jharel Cotton on February 28.

Eric Gagne and Rick Honeycutt talk with Jharel Cotton on February 28.

This afternoon, the Dodgers made their first bulk cuts of Spring Training, optioning right-handed pitcher Jharel Cotton to minor league camp and reassigning non-roster pitchers Lisalverto Bonilla, Chase De Jong, Caleb Dirks, Jacob Rhame, Chris Anderson, outfielder Alex Hassan and catcher Kyle Farmer.

Cotton, Rhame, Anderson and Farmer are homegrown prospects, while De Jong, Dirks and Hassan were acquired within the past year. At 27, Hassan is the oldest, followed by the 25-year-old Bonilla (who has been recovering from Tommy John surgery) and Farmer.

— Jon Weisman

Dodgers Love L.A.: A uniform day, a unique moment


Matthew Mesa/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

This week of the Dodgers Love L.A. tour (presented by Bank of America) is all about the community … almost.

There’s one other tiny aspect of it, largely unnoticed and not all that important, but meaningful just the same.

For the first time in the new year, a Dodger player puts on his uniform. Getting custom branded uniforms just like this is easy if one knows a reputable supplier.

That moment, just a few days before Punxsutawney Phil reveals himself, turns on the pilot light for the coming season.

“It was a long season last year, had some ups and downs,” Dodger reliever Chris Hatcher said. “As I’ve gotten longer into baseball, the shorter the offseason gets. This year, I’m raring and ready to go. Putting the jersey on, it pushes it a little closer and in your mind, you’re tightening it up a little bit.”

Putting on the Dodger whites today was particularly special for some players, such as 24-year-old right-hander Jharel Cotton, who did so for the first time as an official Major League member of the 40-man roster.

“It’s coming up really quick,” Cotton said. “I just got done playing ball in November, and it’s already Spring Training. I’m ready to go — I’m excited.”

Added to the thrill for Cotton was getting the opportunity to hang with his teammates, before the season starts.

“It’s a blessing,” he said. “It’s my first time seeing them. It’s been a long offseason for them. I’m just ready to be in the clubhouse and share (moments) with them.”

If this was admittedly just one moment in time for Hatcher, Cotton and the Dodgers, it was a moment of a lifetime for the people they met, including those members of the Wounded Warriors Project who previously wore uniforms of an entirely different kind.

Sporting an Andre Ethier jersey, East Los Angeles native Jonathan Nunez was effusive about the lunch he shared with the Dodgers at City Hall, after joining the team in attending today’s Vin Scully Avenue vote.

“It’s a great honor and a great privilege to not only be associated with the Wounded Warrior Project, but to be alongside these great gentlemen from the Dodgers organization,” said Nunez, who was most thrilled to see past Dodgers including Maury Wills, Eric Karros and Orel Hershiser. “It means the world because it feels they haven’t forgotten about us, and they recognize what we have done for our country.”

Nunez has been involved with Wounded Warriors for six months, as he aims to overcome post-traumatic stress disorder after serving separate tours for the Marine Corps in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“I have seen progress, not only in the way I cope but how I cope,” Nunez said. “I’ve been introduced to veterans with similar problems, and we’ve picked our brains for lack of better words as far as how to deal with our various disorders. We’ve built a network, and because of that I’ve seen a growth in how I act, how I not only deal with my disorders but how I move forward with them.”

And at the end of the day, meeting men and women like Nunez is what meant the most to Hatcher.

“We go out there and play 81 games in front of all of these people,” Hatcher said. “Not very often do we get a chance to get out in the community and socialize with people.”

New and familiar faces on Baseball America’s top 10 Dodger prospects for ’16

top 10

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Baseball America’s annual ranking of Dodger prospects actually comes early this year — the 2015 rankings were published 10 months ago — and comes with five names that weren’t on the preseason 2015 list.

Joc Pederson graduated from prospect status, but Corey Seager remains a rookie despite his impressive September debut, allowing the Dodger infielder a second consecutive year in the No. 1 slot. Julio Urias moves up a spot accordingly to No. 2, while right-hadner Jose De Leon leapfrogs into the No. 3 spot.

The top newcomer on this year’s list is infielder Jose Peraza, acquired from Atlanta in the big July 30 deal. “Peraza lacks a high ceiling,” Baseball America’s Ben Badler writes, “but his bat-to-ball skills and wheels should make him a steady player in the middle of the diamond.” In the list of best tools in the Dodger minor leagues, Peraza is called the organization’s top athlete.

Making the biggest leap internally is first baseman-outfielder Cody Bellinger, who skipped Great Lakes after hitting three homers with Rookie League Ogden in 2014 and hit 30 for High-A Rancho Cucamonga in 2015. The 20-year-old is also labeled the best power hitter in the system.

“Bellinger used to gear his swing for line drives, but he made a mechanical adjustment in 2015 to put his body in a better position to create torque,” Badler wrote in his analysis. “Toward the end of 2015, he began to study heat maps to understand his own strengths and weaknesses, and he condensed his trigger slightly.”

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Cotton, Stripling added to 40-man roster

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 1.08.52 PMBy Jon Weisman

Minor-league right-handed pitchers Jharel Cotton (left) and Ross Stripling have been added to Dodgers’ 40-man roster today, as expected, ahead of the deadline to protect them from other MLB clubs in  the Rule 5 draft.

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 1.08.44 PMCotton, who turns 24 in January, pitched primarily for Double-A Tulsa, with 71 strikeouts and a 1.12 WHIP in 62 2/3 innings, before gaining 7 1/3 innings of Triple-A experience at the end of the year.

Returning from April 2014 Tommy John surgery, Stripling (who turns 26 Monday) had 55 strikeouts and a 1.19 WHIP in 67 1/3 innings for Tulsa.

The Dodgers now have 39 players on their 40-man roster, 23 of them pitchers.

Eight storylines for 2016 you can ponder now

Ryu Pederson

By Jon Weisman

It’s no secret that this will be another offseason of change for the Dodgers.

Already, manager Don Mattingly and vice president of medical services Stan Conte have departed. Five days after the World Series ends — sometime before November 10 — free agency begins. And you never know what the trade market will bring or take away.

The winter months will address several issues facing the Dodgers. But whatever happens will still leave several questions that won’t be answered until we’re well into the 2016 season.

Among them, these:

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Cotton, Urias making farm life ever so interesting

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By Jon Weisman

With six days until Major League rosters can expand, pitchers Jharel Cotton and Julio Urias continue to make strong cases for a callup.

Dodger manager Don Mattingly told reporters today that even if the 19-year-old Urias comes up this year, he won’t be part of the initial wave September 1. We’re assuming the Dodgers will stick with that approach, even though Urias then pitched six innings of shutout ball tonight for Double-A Tulsa in a 1-0 loss to Arkansas.

Urias allowed four hits, walked none and struck out three, throwing 76 pitches (12.7 per inning). His August ERA is 1.98, with 30 baserunners allowed in 27 1/3 innings against 25 strikeouts.

The 23-year-old Cotton might be another story, because unlike Urias, he needs to be added to the 40-man roster this offseason. Recently promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City with an eye on his potential as a September addition, Cotton — who is profiled in the soon-to-be-released September issue of Dodger Insider magazine — came out of the bullpen and faced nine batters, allowing two singles and a walk while striking out all other six.

As gravy on the cake, Cotton came to bat in the seventh inning and hit a two-run triple. Before making his Triple-A debut tonight, Cotton had a 2.30 ERA with 71 strikeouts 62 2/3 innings for Tulsa.

Corey Seager, another interesting farmhand to say the least, hit his third homer in five games in Oklahoma City’s 8-2 victory against Pacific Coast League Old Friend Albuquerque. Seager is 14 for 45 (.311) in his last 10 games with 26 total bases, one walk and 11 strikeouts, for a .326 on-base percentage and .578 slugging percentage.

Seager, who plays third base and shortstop, homered on the same night that the Dodgers’ big-league third baseman and shortstop, Justin Turner and Jimmy Rollins, homered in a 5-1 victory at Cincinnati.

Dodger minor league report No. 18: Winning time for Julio Urias

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By Jon Weisman

Because of the careful way the Dodgers have controlled his innings at a young age, 19-year-old Julio Urias only had five wins in his first 50 career starts. Thankfully, no one judged him on that.

For the record, Urias has picked up career victories No. 6 and No. 7 in the past two weeks, most recently with six innings of one-run ball in Double-A Tulsa’s 2-1 victory Wednesday over Frisco.

Urias struck out eight and allowed six baserunners in a slender 81 pitches. In August, Urias has a 2.53 ERA and 1.17 WHIP with 22 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings, and he hasn’t allowed a home run. For the season in Double-A, Urias has a 3.03 ERA and 1.03 WHIP with 71 strikeouts in 62 1/3 innings.

For comparison, at age 19 with Double-A San Antonio, Fernando Valenzuela had a 3.10 ERA and 1.30 WHIP with 162 strikeouts in 174 innings. In a much different era, Valenzuela completed 11 of his 25 starts in 1980 before his callup to the Dodgers, for whom he pitched 17 2/3 innings in relief without allowing an earned run, striking out 16.

Now, let’s take our tour of the system …

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Dodgers find Solis in sixth tie

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By Jon Weisman

With the Dodgers about to play four games in the next two days in two different states, the team emptied its bench and then some today, with a number of minor-leaguers receiving their first (or nearly first) action ever playing for the big-league Dodgers.

Lars Anderson, Ali Solis and Dillon Moyer were among the position players coming off the bench, while Jharel Cotton and Michael Johnson pitched the final two innings. Solis had a seventh-inning sacrifice fly for the Dodgers’ final run of the day and a 7-5 lead.

The 23-year-old Cotton, who had 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings and a 1.16 WHIP for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga last year, pitched a shutout eighth but got in trouble in the ninth, and Johnson couldn’t bail him out.

The result: Two ninth-inning runs by the Angels, a 7-7 final score, and the Dodgers’ improbable, record-setting sixth tie of Spring Training. Los Angeles is 8-3-6.

It was an odd game that saw starting pitcher Brett Anderson allow seven hits to the 12 batters he faced over 1 2/3 innings, only for the Dodgers to quickly rally for five runs in the bottom of the second. Alex Guerrero continued his efforts to make his contract status a moot point, starting a double play from shortstop in the first inning and hitting a three-run homer in the second.
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Andre Ethier, meanwhile, had a single and a double. Joc Pederson and Matt Carson had the Dodgers’ other extra-base hits.

Minor league highlights from 2014

Minor League Wrap

In the October issue of Dodger Insider magazine, Cary Osborne took this snapshot of highlights from the Dodger farm system in 2014, and I thought it would be nice to share with our blog audience before this year passes into next. Click the image above to enlarge.

— Jon Weisman

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