Brad Mills/USA Today

Updating the past week for Oklahoma City Dodgers' Top Prospects

Here's a look at how several of the Dodgers' top AAA prospects have done over the past week for the OKC Dodgers.

The OKC Dodgers finished off a long road trip this week and came home to Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. After starting the week losing three straight to Reno and Tacoma, the Dodgers bounced back to win four straight and look to sweep New Orleans tonight.  The Dodgers currently sit at 58-42, good for first place in the American Northern division on the Pacific Coast League.

Here’s a look at what the Dodgers’ top prospects are doing in Oklahoma City.



OKC

Overall

The Week

Comment

Julio Urias, LHP

W/ L.A. Dodgers:  1-2,

9 G, 9 GS,

40.1 IP,

10.71 K/9

4.69 ERA, 3.32 FIP, 3.56 xFIP,

.89 HR/9

.367 BABIP,

48/17 K/BB


W/OKC:  (4-1)

9 G, 7 GS,

9.64 K/9

1.07 ERA ,2.90 FIP, .43 HR/9

.240 BABIP,

45/8 K/BB

After not starting at either level since the 4th of July and not pitching at all since 7/10, Urias was called up for a spot start against Stephen Strasburg and Washington:


4 IP, 1 ER, 5 H 4 K 0 BB

Urias was optioned back to AAA the day after his start in Washington.  There was no plan to bring him up, but injuries to Hyun-Jin Ryu and Clayton Kershaw necessitated it.  Urias had been into his conversion to a relief role for the rest of the season, and will likely resume that role at OKC. Urias has shown nothing to change the high expectations and hype he’s had during his entire time in professional baseball.  He’d been bitten by some bad BABIP luck at the MLB level, and his command was not MLB-sharp, but he improved significantly after his first two starts and pitched well against a tough Nationals lineup.  He’ll be back with the big club by September, likely in a relief role.

Jose De Leon, RHP

9 G 9 GS

43.1 IP

13.29 K/9

2.49 ERA 3.07 FIP

.83 HR/9

.286 BABIP

64/14 K/BB

1.02 WHIP

One start this week in Tacoma:

8 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 10 K, 0 BB

De Leon was dominant in his one start this week, and his K/9 is even better than Urias’ AAA numbers, which is perhaps the most crucial peripheral to consider, aside from control.  His K/BB ratio is a solid 4.6/1.  For context, the Major League Average is 2.6/1. There was talk that he may have been called up to bolster the big club’s rotation for a spot start, but that’s not Plan A for him this year.  He’ll almost certainly be up in September. He’s not currently on the 40-Man Roster, although is teammate Jharel Cotton is.

Frankie Montas, RHP

4 G 3 GS

11.1 IP

11.9 K/9

2.38 ERA 1.66 FIP

0 HR/9

.400 BABIP

15/2 K/BB

1.24 WHIP

Currently on the 7-Day DL, where he’s been since 6/17.

Montas made three starts in June for OKC as part of the regular rotation, and two days after his last start he was on the 7-Day DL thanks to further complications to the rib surgery he had before the season started.  Montas was slated to compete for a spot in the Major League Rotation, and at worse would have been a great arm out of the bullpen.  This injury stands as one of the most significant in a season overloaded with missing players.

Austin Barnes, C

W/L.A. Dodgers:

24 PA

.143/.250/.190

wRC+: 28

BB% 12.5

K% 29.2

BABIP:  .214


W/OKC:

288 PA

.299/.383/.454

wRC+:  125

BB% 11.1

K% 14.2

BABIP: .340

Barnes was called up to L.A. last Friday. He’s 1-2 in two pinch hitting appearances in the last two games with a double.


Prior to that, Barnes played four games for OKC (7.17-20.16) and hit even better than his season profile.  In 19 PA’s, Barnes slashed .333/.368/.889 for an absurd wRC+ of 216.  He had a BB% of 5.3 and didn’t strikeout in any of the four games.

Barnes is running out of things to prove at the minor league level.  The Dodgers love his defense behind the plate, his versatility, and his bat has certainly played up to AAA.  It’s tough to judge him on the scattered PA’s he’s had with the big club, and with Grandal and Ellis both entrenched in L.A., he’s not likely to get a shot to contribute significantly in 2016 through no fault of his own.   If he’s not part of a trade package, Barnes will almost certainly be the Dodgers’ back-up to Grandal in 2017.

Brock Stewart, RHP

W/L.A. Dodgers:

1 G 1 GS

5 IP 5 ER 8 H 1 HR

7 K 2 BB


W/OKC:

6 G 6 GS

36.2 IP

11.29 K/9

3.19 ERA 2.66 FIP

0.74 HR/9

.333 BABIP

46/4 K/BB

1.04 WHIP

Stewart had one start this past week, and pitched effectively.  He went 6 IP and gave up 2 earned runs on 6 hits with 5 K’s and 1 walk.

Stewart has made three jumps in one season, starting at A-Ball and making it to the Dodgers for a spot start in Pittsburgh.  Since settling in at OKC, he’s pitched very well despite some batted ball misfortune. Considering the Dodger injury epidemic, especially to starters, he’s certainly a good option to have in reserve.

Jharel Cotton, RHP

20 G 14 GS

85.1 IP

11.18 K/9

4.85 ERA 4.37 FIP

1.37 HR/9

.265 BABIP

106/31 K/BB

1.15 WHIP

Cotton made two starts this week, one good one, one mediocre.  He was bit by the long ball, giving up three dingers in the two games, something that’s been an issue for Cotton this season. Hard not to go easy on him in this regard, as the PCL is not a pitcher-friendly league parkwise. He went 7 last Sunday and then 5.2 this past Saturday. On the plus side, he went 16/4 K/BB, which ultimately is the info that matters the most.

With a 1.15 WHIP and a better than 3/1 K/BB ratio, Cotton still projects as a top prospect for the Dodgers.  He hasn’t dominated AAA by any stretch, but the K/9 certainly plays. He’ll turn 25 before next season starts, so he’s likely looking at a make or break 2017 depending on how this year finishes for him.

Trevor Oaks, RHP

4 G 4 GS

28 IP

7.07 K/9

3.54 ERA 4.85 FIP

1.61 HR/9

.333 BABIP

22/2 K/BB

1.25 WHIP

Oaks made two starts this week, and he spent his time pitching around a lot of hits.  He surrendered 11 hits last Monday but only allowed 2 earned runs in 8 innings with 5 K’s and 1 walk.  Yesterday (7.24.16) he lasted only six innings while giving up 9 more hits and 3 more runs.  He struck out four and walked one.

Oaks has been victimized by some bad batted ball luck, but that’s been exacerbated by an inability to miss bats.  If you compare his numbers with Cotton, De Leon, and Urias, the biggest thing that stands out is the K Rate.  All three of those guys are north of double digits.  There’s no reason to be down on Oaks, especially since he’s only had 4 starts at AAA after being promoted this year, so 2016 has already been a success for him.  Oaks is only 23, and won’t turn 24 until just before the season begins. At 6’3” 220, he certainly has the size to be a durable starter, but it should be noted that he’s never had a high K Rate at any level of professional baseball.


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