MLB

Knack off to solid start, Rushing clutch, Feduccia goes off, in-person observations from Rancho, more – Dodgers Digest

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Dalton Rushing. Photo by: Cody Bashore

April 18, 2023 Scoreboard

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A leaner-looking Landon Knack had his third consecutive solid outing for Tulsa on Tuesday:

The 2020 2nd round pick out of East Tennessee State has allowed just one run (earned) in his first 14.0 innings of the season.

Like the slim ERA, Knack’s narrower profile is no mirage — the righty found that after taking a test to find out which foods bothered him, that he could aid his recovery by eliminating gluten and eggs, along with some “other stuff”.

Also from the linked article, Tulsa manager Scott Hennessey said that if Knack stays healthy, the 25-year-old will be in Tulsa, “just a short amount of time, a month to five weeks,” as a ticket up to Oklahoma City would be in the offing.

Thus far, Knack is doing everything within his power to make it happen.

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Dalton Rushing saw 24 pitches on Tuesday. He saw just four strikes. Despite South Bend pitchers dancing around the subject all evening, the 2022 40th overall pick still found a way to deal some game-changing damage for Great Lakes:

With all of the walks, when combined with Rushing’s defensive position, he absolutely lived at first base on Tuesday. That’s right — the catcher got his first start of the season (and his 6th as a pro) at the other hot corner. The less hot corner? The lukewarm corner? Either way, the amount of depth in the organization at the catcher position, it would come as no surprise if he continues to get time there, as finding avenues for all of the top 100 prospects in the system to coexist positionally is of paramount importance.

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Speaking of catchers, Hunter Feduccia‘s monster start to 2023 continued on Tuesday:

Feduccia tacked on another single, going 5/5 on the evening. The former LSU Tiger is slashing .407/.585/.778 for Oklahoma City, and though nine plate appearances from qualifying, had he enough, his OPS of 1.363 would rank second in the Pacific Coast League.

With Will Smith being out while recovering from a concussion, you’d think a 25-year-old, lefthanded hitting catcher, launching balls all over the ballpark, and getting on base at a ridiculous clip, would be the perfect addition, but 40 man roster space is at a premium, and as Cody Bashore pointed out in the Dodgers Digest Discord, using someone whom they can DFA with impunity helps maintain flexibility, even if it’s a bit annoying in the interim. Though maintaining clearly navigable routes is indeed of great import, Feduccia is doing everything within his power to make the Front Office regret their penchant for optionality.

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This #notascout found his way out to Rancho Cucamonga to see the Quakes on Tuesday:

Unfortunately (sorry not sorry), my seats were too low to take any good video, but in lieu of that, I took a lot of notes. A lot of notes. I have pared them down to the four guys who stood out the most:

Payton Martin, 2022 17th round pick, and the first 18-year-old prospect in the system to receive a full season assignment on opening day in five years, looks like the real deal:

  • FB sat 94-95 t96, good flat plane at the top
  • Slider sat 85, locked RHHs up front door, command slipped at times East/West, but it showed flashes of being a legit plus pitch
  • Changeup sat 86-87, inconsistent shape, but it did indeed have shape – some fade, some sink, and in his 3rd inning, he went almost all changeup, breaking two bats with the thing

Martin, a former shortstop, looks every bit the athlete on the mound, as he has a clean, repeatable delivery with a smooth tempo, and the lower half strength and flexibility to employ an aggressive lead-leg block. For the uninitiated:

So yeah, Martin’s doing that. Between advanced mechanics, and room to add another 15-20 lbs, I expect to see him in the upper 90s in a year or two.

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Rayne Doncon was the most impressive-looking athlete on the field. The 19-year-old is V-shaped, like a freshman cornerback who will grow into a hard-hitting safety. Seeing him in person, I’m less certain than ever that he will stick at short, but even in light of the big club’s present… uh… situation, who cares. He shows plus bat to ball, if a bit of an aggressive approach, and with this kind of physicality, the sky’s the limit.

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Jesus Galiz, a Venezuelan catcher whom the Dodgers signed as an IFA after his deal fell through with the Yankees, hit the Quakes’ only homer when he jumped all over a middle/middle hanger and hit an absolute moonshot to left. He also showed why 19-year-old catchers rarely move quickly, as he had three passed balls, a backpick in the dirt to first (ill-advised, as it was obstructed, too, what with a lefthanded batter up obstructing him, though first baseman Dayton Dooney saved Galiz’s bacon), and another throwing error that allowed the tying run to score in the 9th. You have to make mistakes to know what not to do, but things like this remind you that, for all the juice in the bat, sometimes, a prospect needs to be in the California League for a minute.

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2023 11th round pick Kyle Nevin had the best hit tool on the field, and it didn’t matter who was pitching. Lefty changeup specialist, shorter backspinning righty with some gas, lefty fireballer from a low 3/4 slot, he put the bat on the ball, spraying it all over the place, including a double to the warning track in center. He has a conservative setup and swing — he sets up with his hands just below shoulder height, showing very little load, and keeping both hands on the bat throughout, giving him a little bit of deceleration as opposed to exploding through contact. That said, the hit tool is the hard part, the rare thing. Take that hand-eye coordination, and let the dev guys cook, because Nevin, fresh off being named the California League player of the week (see below), is still just a 21-year-old, this is some good clay.

By the way, Nevin had himself one heck of a ballgame, going 4/5 at the plate, with the aforementioned double, and walking it off the the Quakes with an opposite field knock in the 9th:

Have a day, kid!

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Three Dodger prospects were named players of the week for their respective leagues for April 11th-16th:

Not bad, gents, not bad.

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Here’s Wednesday’s start times for the minor-league clubs (all times Pacific), along with the Dodger affiliate’s starting pitcher:

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Enjoy your Wednesday, folks.





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