By Bart Harvey
It’s been an excellent 24 hours for the Dodgers’ 2015 draft class …
By Miranda Perez
Highlights from the Dodger farm system for June 21 …
Dream chasers. pic.twitter.com/Ds79HvbecS
— Gavin Lux (@TheRealGavinLux) June 21, 2016
By Jon Weisman
Newly signed Dodger first-round pick Gavin Lux has reported to Camelback Ranch, where he will play in the Arizona Fall League, as several members of the 2016 draft class got into their first action as pros Monday.
By Jon Weisman
We begin this week’s Minor League Report with an update on two pitchers you saw with the Dodgers earlier this year.
Joe Wieland had his best game of the season Tuesday, with seven strikeouts in seven shutout innings in a 9-0 Triple-A Oklahoma City victory at New Orleans. For Wieland, continuing a comeback from 2012 and 2014 surgeries, it came two starts after he allowed only one run in seven innings at Memphis. Since July 26, Wieland has a 2.92 ERA.
Also, relief pitcher Chris Hatcher, on the 60-day disabled list, could be activated by the Dodgers as soon as this weekend.
Hatcher, who has been out since June 14 with a left oblique strain, picked up the save for the Dodgers on Opening Day before struggling to a 6.38 ERA in 18 1/3 innings, despite 19 strikeouts. He pitched a shutout inning Tuesday, but has allowed four runs on seven baserunners in 4 1/3 innings with Oklahoma City.
And now, this week’s tour …
By Jon Weisman
Two of the top arms from the College World Series who were drafted by the Dodgers last month — Virginia right-handed pitcher Josh Sborz and Vanderbilt lefty Philip Pfeifer — have inked their deals with the team.
Sborz was named Most Valuable Player of the CWS after he threw 13 shutout innings there, part of a season-ending 27-inning scoreless streak that lowered his 2015 ERA to 1.60.
Pfeifer allowed three runs (all unearned) in 12 innings at the CWS on 12 hits and four walks, while striking out 13.
The Dodgers have signed 32 of their 42 draft picks.
By Jon Weisman
The College World Series has been a showcase for 2015 Dodger draftees Walker Buehler, Philip Pfeifer and Josh Sborz.
Sborz, a Virginia right-hander who has alternated between starting and relief in his three years there, pitched four shutout innings to close out a 5-4 victory Saturday over Florida, lifting the Cavaliers into the CWS championship round. Sborz has a streak of 23 consecutive scoreless innings, including nine in the CWS.
Josh Sborz’s nine shutout innings in College World Series:
In the best-of-three CWS championship series beginning Monday, Virgina will play Vanderbilt, which features Buehler and Pfeifer in its starting rotation. Buehler allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings (89 pitches) Friday against Texas Christian, striking out eight, in pitching the Commodores to the final round.
That came three days after Pfeifer’s seven shutout innings (111 pitches) with seven strikeouts in a 1-0 Vandy victory over TCU. Pfeifer is scheduled to start Tuesday’s Game 2 on six days’ rest, with Buehler possibly taking Game 3 on four days’ rest if necessary Wednesday.
By Jon Weisman
Scott Van Slyke and Joel Peralta began their rehab assignments Saturday, as Ken Gurnick of MLB.com notes.
The timing of Van Slyke’s return is noteworthy in part because the Dodgers will use a designated hitter for the first time this season when they play Monday and Tuesday at Texas. Alex Guerrero seems like an obvious choice, but Van Slyke could also figure in the mix as he works his way back into active duty.
(Update: Don Mattingly told reporters today that the Dodgers planned to have Van Slyke play left field for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga today and first base Monday, then take Tuesday off and be activated in Los Angeles on Wednesday if all goes well.)
The Dodgers are scheduled to face righties Yovani Gallardo and Chi Chi Gonzalez in Arlington. The 23-year-old Gonzalez has a 0.42 ERA after three career Major League starts, totaling 21 2/3 innings, though with only eight strikeouts.
Here’s an excerpt from Gurnick’s update:
Van Slyke, healing from a strained mid-back muscle, went 1-for-4 with a double and strikeout as a designated hitter against Stockton in his first rehab game.
Peralta, healing from a pinched nerve in his neck, reached his pitch limit after two-thirds of an inning, charged with one run on two hits in his second rehab appearance.
The list of Dodgers lined up for injury rehab assignments with Rancho Cucamonga in the next few days includes Paco Rodriguez (elbow spur), who shows up there Monday, Brandon Beachy (Tommy John surgery) on Tuesday, and Brandon League (right shoulder impingement), who goes back to back both of those days.
Peralta, out since April 23, has allowed no runs or inherited runners to score in his 5 2/3 innings this season, scattering two singles and three walks while striking out four.
An activation of League from the disabled list is expected around June 24, according to J.P. Hoornstra of the Daily News, who separately notes that Beachy is expected to use the full 30 days available to him for his rehab assignment, which would place his arrival in the Dodger rotation no sooner than July 17, the first day after the All-Star Break. No doubt, the sequence of the Dodger rotation will depend on the use of Zack Greinke and/or Clayton Kershaw at the Midsummer Classic.
In addition, Pedro Baez has been throwing bullpen sessions at Camelback Ranch “but is probably still a week away from starting a rehab assignment,” according to Bill Plunkett of the Register.
Adam Liberatore and Josh Ravin are the two current Dodger relievers who have spent time in the minors this season, but if the Dodgers want to make room in the bullpen for Peralta, Rodriguez, League and Baez, they’d have to carve out more space.
If Van Slyke, Peralta, League, Beachy, Rodriguez and Baez are all activated over the next month, that would turn over nearly 25 percent of the active roster. And that doesn’t factor in Carl Crawford, in Arizona recovering from his oblique injury, and Hector Olivera, whose MLB debut is still expected in the coming weeks.
* * *
Josh Sborz, drafted 74th overall by the Dodgers last week, was profiled by Cash Kruth at MLB.com after striking out five in three shutout innings for Virginia at the College World Series on Saturday.
“He throws strikes. He attacks you. That slider is, what, 84 to sometimes up to 87, 88 mph. It’s a pretty darned good pitch,” Virginia coach Brian O’Connor said. “So you have a lot of confidence in him that he’s going to go at them and give his best. And he’s been pretty darned near as good as you can be all year long for us.”
Aside from his fastball and slider, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Sborz also shows solid feel for a changeup that he really doesn’t need as a reliever. Last season, Sborz posted a 2.92 ERA in 15 games (13 starts) while mostly working out of the rotation, and the Dodgers have said they plan to begin developing him as a starter.
[mlbvideo id=”130579383″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]
By Jon Weisman
Using the competitive balance draft pick (74th overall) they acquired from Baltimore in the Ryan Webb deal, the Dodgers selected 6-foot-3 college right-handed pitcher Josh Sborz from Virginia.
Here’s the MLB.com snapshot:
Sborz, whose brother Jay spent eight seasons in pro ball, pitched in relief as a freshman at Virginia before moving into the rotation as a sophomore. He returned to the bullpen in 2015, serving as the Cavaliers’ closer and thriving in the role. Sborz’s arm strength is what defines him as a prospect. He’s shown a fastball that he can crank up to 98 mph on occasion, though it usually sits in the 93-95 mph range, with some sink. He has a slider that should be at least Major League average and while he doesn’t need a changeup much in short relief, he will show occasional feel for the pitch. Scouts aren’t in love with his funky arm action, but the stuff is hard to be denied. Sborz didn’t pitch badly as a sophomore starter, and it’s possible a team taking him early could decide to send him out in a rotation. But he more than likely profiles as a hard-throwing short reliever at the Major League level.
And Baseball America …
The younger brother of one-time major leaguer and second-round pick Jay Sborz, Josh has the potential to be the second in his family to reach the big leagues. The younger Sborz has bounced back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen for Virginia, and scouts have had ample time to evaluate him in both places. Sborz has a less than conventional delivery, with a stab in the back followed by a deep finish out front that makes his stuff difficult to square up. His fastball works mostly at 90-94 mph, but can reach 95 and the pitch features late life, which allows Sborz to generate poor contact. His best offspeed pitch is his slider, which plays as an above-average pitch because of how late it breaks, but the pitch lacks the shape and depth of the standard swing-and-miss slider. Sborz tends to struggle with fastball command, sometimes elevating the offering and running into trouble. Even so, many scouts believe Sborz has the stuff, as well as the body, to make it as a back-of-the-rotation starter.
The MLB draft resumes beginning with the third round Tuesday morning.
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