Dodger Thoughts

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

Tag: Scott Baker

Dodger minor league report No. 12: Scott Schebler’s turn and Zach Lee’s return

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By Cary Osborne

In the June edition of Dodger Insider magazine, we profiled outfield prospect Scott Schebler. The theme of the story was how Schebler was a notoriously slow starter who takes off once the summer months hit.

When the story was written, Schebler’s numbers were subpar. The No. 8 prospect in the system, added in the offseason to the Dodgers’ 40-man roster, was hitting .208/.299/.377 for Triple-A Oklahoma City entering June with six doubles, one triple, six home runs and 14 RBI.

Then June arrived, and true to form, Schebler turned it on. The 24-year-old was one of the best hitters in the Dodger chain last month. He batted .321/.389/.595 with four doubles, five triples, three home runs and 17 RBI.

A year after leading the Double-A Southern League in triples and home runs, Schebler ranks tied for second in the Pacific Coast League in triples. He is mere percentage points from Corey Seager’s OPS in OKC (.780 to Seager’s .783).

We talked to Dodger director of player development Gabe Kapler about Schebler this week, who said, in reality, Schebler’s early swoon was less that met the eye.

“Scheb all along was performing well. He just wasn’t having a lot of luck,” Kapler said. “He was striking the ball with real authority. He was doing a good job from a number of perspectives. He just wasn’t showing the results in the traditional counting numbers. Now you’re starting to see that. A lot of that is completely out of your control. Scheb’s actually been doing a good job all the way through.”

Here’s more from the past week in minor-league action …

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Dodgers make deals, call up Coulombe

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For photos from Sunday, visit LA Photog Blog.

Dodgers at Brewers, 4:20 p.m.
Kershaw CCXV: Kershawzing Saddles
Joc Pederson, CF
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Scott Van Slyke, LF
Andre Ethier, RF
Yasmani Grandal, C
Juan Uribe, 3B
Clayton Kershaw, P

By Jon Weisman

The transaction-happy Dodgers actually went the entire series against Arizona without making a move. But in the aftermath of their 13-inning walkoff shutout victory Sunday over the Diamondbacks, there has been some shuffling.

Most relevant in the short term is that the Dodgers have called up lefty reliever Daniel Coulombe from Triple-A Oklahoma City. Coulombe has 1.74 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this season, allowing nine baserunners while striking out 16.   In fact, the 25-year-old has retired 23 of the last 25 batters he’s faced, striking out 14 without allowing a hit.

Coulombe will take starting pitcher Scott Baker’s spot on the 25-man roster. Baker, who has one of the four seven-inning starts by a Dodger pitcher this season but was hit hard Saturday, was designated for assignment Sunday when the Dodgers acquired first baseman Andy Wilkins from the Toronto Blue Jays for cash considerations.

Wilkins, 26 years old and born the day of Ramon Martinez’s only career Major League hold, had 30 homers and an .896 OPS in Triple-A last year. He went 6 for 43 with two walks in his MLB debut last fall.

But wait — that’s not all. Today, the Dodgers acquired right-handed reliever Matt West from Toronto, also in exchange for cash considerations. West, 26, has pitched 12 1/3 scoreless innings for Double-A New Hampshire this season with 17 strikeouts against 14 baserunners. A converted third baseman, West allowed seven baserunners in four innings while making his Major League debut for the Rangers in 2014, striking out three.

Hyun-Jin Ryu has been moved to the 60-day disabled list. He remains eligible to come off the DL before the end of May.

Arizona Diamondbacks vs Los Angeles DodgersLOS ANGELES DODGERS V ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKSOther notes for today:

  • Tonight’s opponents, the Brewers (7-18) and the Dodgers (16-8), are already 11 1/2 games apart in the standings.
  • The Dodgers released new Brewers manager Craig Counsell (who is replacing another old friend, Ron Roenicke, at the Milwaukee helm) on March 15, 2000 at age 29, after he OPSed .626 in 1999. Counsell played 11 seasons and amassed 1,037 hits after that.
  • Though the Dodger bullpen pitched seven innings Sunday (extending its scoreless streak to 26), no reliever threw more than 15 pitches, and only Juan Nicasio and Yimi Garcia have worked consecutive days. With the addition of Coulombe, that leaves seven reasonably rested relievers behind Clayton Kershaw today.
  • Yasmani Grandal’s home run in the bottom of the 13th Sunday gave the Dodgers their longest walkoff shutout victory ending on a home run in team history, surpassing Carl Furillo’s 12th-inning homer for a 2-0 victory 60 years and one day earlier, during the 1955 championship season.
  • Sunday’s 13th-inning tag by J.P. Howell still amazes me — and frankly, the dish to the dish by Grandal is a thing of beauty as well.

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Puig, Peralta head to DL, while McCarthy awaits MRI

Los Angeles Dodgers vs San Diego Padres

For more images from Saturday, visit LA Photog Blog — here and here.

Dodgers at Padres, 1:10 p.m.
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Andre Ethier, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Justin Turner, 2B
Carl Crawford, LF
Alex Guerrero, 3B
Joc Pederson, CF
Scott Baker, P

By Jon Weisman

There’s not likely to be any update until at least Monday on the condition of Brandon McCarthy, who reported elbow tightness during his five-inning outing Saturday, after he undergoes an MRI.

But two other Dodgers have been placed on the 15-day disabled list today: Yasiel Puig (for the first time in his career) and Joel Peralta. Coming from Triple-A Oklahoma City to take their roster spots are pitchers Carlos Frias and Scott Baker. The latter, as previously discussed, is starting today’s game.

Brandon League will move to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Baker on the 40-man roster.

Los Angeles Dodgers vs San Diego PadresAs for today’s starting lineup, Howie Kendrick — who had played every inning this season — will begin today on the bench alongside Juan Uribe and the injured Yasiel Puig.

Yasmani Grandal, who is 4 for 7 with two walks and two doubles (1.524 OPS) in this series, is batting cleanup. Grandal is fifth among NL catchers in WAR.

Justin Turner, who is starting in the No. 5 slot of the batting order for the second time as a Dodger, has reached base eight times this season — four of those a week ago today.

In case you missed it: Andre Ethier keeps on truckin’

Los Angeles Dodgers vs San Diego Padres

For more images from Friday, visit LA Photog Blog — here and here.

Dodgers at Padres, 5:40 p.m.
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Andre Ethier, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Carl Crawford, LF
Juan Uribe, 3B
Joc Pederson, CF
Brandon McCarthy, P

By Jon Weisman

So-called reserve outfielder Andre Ethier hasn’t exactly been a wallflower this season.

With Yasiel Puig’s left hamstring again ailing, Ethier is making his eighth start this season. He is also appearing in his 16th game out of the Dodgers’ first 17, more than every other Dodger except Adrian Gonzalez, Howie Kendrick, Jimmy Rollins and Joc Pederson.

So far in 2015, Ethier is 9 for 30 with four walks, two hit-by-pitches and an extra-base hit of each kind, giving the 33-year-old a .405 on-base percentage and .900 slugging percentage. All but five of his plate appearances have come against right-handed pitchers, which is what he’s facing tonight in San Diego’s Ian Kennedy.

Here are some other pregame notes:

  • Both Puig and reliever Joel Peralta are candidates to go on the disabled list, Don Mattingly toward reporters today, but no decision has been made. Peralta told Ken Gurnick of that he has no pain but also no strength in his right arm.
  • Right-handed pitcher Scott Baker has arrived in San Diego with the intent of making the start Sunday for the Dodgers. Baker, who came within one strike of a seven-inning perfect game for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Monday, allowed two runs on 10 hits with one walk while striking out 16 in his three minor-league starts. The 33-year-old had a 5.47 ERA with 55 strikeouts in 80 2/3 innings for Texas last season.
  • Hyun-Jin Ryu is going to throw a bullpen session, possibly as soon as Sunday, Mattingly said.
  • Defensive positioning paid off in two big ways for the Dodgers in Friday’s 3-0 victory over San Diego. In the second inning, Howie Kendrick was standing almost directly behind second base when he caught Wil Myers’ line drive, completing Zack Greinke’s escape from a bases-loaded, none-out jam. And shortstop Jimmy Rollins ended up on the other side of second base when he threw out Yonder Alonso with two on and two out in the bottom of the eight.
  • Rollins went 0 for 4 to lower his on-base percentage to .282, but he really saved the Dodgers in that eighth inning, throwing out Wil Myers from the grass in left field for the first out, then later knocking down a Justin Upton shot to keep Matt Kemp from scoring from second base.
  • With his seven shutout innings, Zack Greinke lowered his ERA to 1.35, fourth in the National League.
  • Yimi Garcia’s perfect ninth inning, leading to his first Major League save, means that he has faced 36 batters this season and allowed only three singles and three walks while striking out 16.
  • Carl Crawford, who hit his first homer of 2015 Friday, did not hit between .200 and .300 in any given month last season. His batting averages the last three months of 2014: .163, .313, .448. Crawford is currently batting .244 with a .262 on-base percentage and .390 slugging percentage.
  • When Yasmani Grandal had to settle for a double after nearly hitting a home run in the second inning Friday, it set the stage for Juan Uribe’s first RBI of the 2015 season. Uribe hasn’t had more steals than homers since 2002, but for now, he’s one up in the stolen-base department.
  • First-base coach Davey Lopes, who turns 70 May 3, “is the oldest person in uniform with a big league team this season,” according to Tracy Ringolsby of

We’re not in Albuquerque anymore

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By Jon Weisman

On Friday, Mike Bolsinger extended to 11 his streak of scoreless innings to start 2015. He has allowed three hits and three walks while striking out 17.

Zach Lee has given up but one run and eight baserunners in 12 innings, with 13 strikeouts. Scott Baker’s ERA is 1.80.

As a team, the Dodgers’ new Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City has a 2.79 ERA with 104 strikeouts against 90 baserunners in 83 innings.

It’s still the Pacific Coast League, but it’s definitely not the high-flyin’ altitude of Albuquerque, where the Isotopes in 2014 had a team ERA that was more than double (5.83).

The OKC Dodgers played their first eight games of the season at a home ballpark that is far more friendly to pitchers than Albuquerque fans could ever imagine.

That’s not to minimize what the OKC Dodgers are doing at the outset of the season — that their 2.71 ERA leads the Pacific Coast League isn’t entirely the ballpark’s doing. Bolsinger’s five scoreless innings Friday came in the team’s road debut, a 3-2 victory over Iowa in which Oklahoma City allowed seven baserunners and struck out 14. But as time passes this season, we need to remember a different set of standards now applies to evaluating Dodger Triple-A pitchers statistically.

Similarly, the forgiveness typically directed toward Isotope pitchers might now be reapportioned toward the batters of Oklahoma City, who have the fourth-worst OPS in the PCL. Individual results vary wildly, from Buck Britton’s 11-for-28 start with six walks (1.036 OPS) down to Scott Schebler’s .379 OPS.

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