August 13, 2022

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Outman drills first 2 homers of season

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Welcome to the Dodgers prospect update, where you’ll find news, promotions and standout performances, all year long.

Outman drills first two homers of the season (April 16)
Coming off back-to-back seasons of swatting nearly 20 homers (19 in 2019 and 18 in 2021), James Outman is determined to finally reach the mark. The No. 17 prospect drilled his first two homers of the season in Game 2 of Double-A Tulsa’s doubleheader, driving in two of the team’s three runs in the 3-2 victory.

Both of the 24-year-old’s home runs went to center field, with the first one coming on the first pitch he saw in the third to break the scoreless tie. After Amarillo took the lead in the top of the fifth, Outman launched the equalizing blast on the seventh pitch of his at-bat. Five of the outfielder’s eight hits to start the season have gone for extra bases. — Stephanie Sheehan

Busch slams two homers, drives in six (April 13)
As the second of Michael Busch‘s two homers sailed over the right-field fence, it took with it the remnants of a middling start to his 2022.

Baseball’s No. 66 overall prospect went deep in consecutive at-bats, the latter a grand slam that gave Double-A Tulsa a lead it would not relinquish in its 13-11 win over visiting Amarillo. Busch’s first two long balls of the year produced six RBIs, equaling a career high set last Sept. 4 against Springfield when he tallied his first multihomer game.

“It was a good night,” Busch said. “I saw the ball well and put together some real good at-bats. I’ll certainly take it. Not all of them went the way I wanted, but baseball’s a tough game.” Full story »

Miller mows ’em down in 2022 debut (April 12)
If Bobby Miller‘s first start was any indication, last year’s sterling professional debut was just an appetizer. The No. 2 Dodgers prospect allowed one hit and struck out six, including five straight, over four scoreless frames for Double-A Tulsa. Miller, who averaged more than 11 strikeouts per nine innings in 2021, struck out the last Amarillo batter in the first before fanning the side in the second and opening the third with his fifth consecutive whiff.

The 23-year-old surrendered a leadoff single to begin the game but set down the final 12 batters he faced, tossing 41 of 58 pitches for strikes.

Drafted in the first round out of Louisville in 2020, Miller posted a 2.40 ERA, a 0.94 WHIP and struck out 70 in 56 1/3 innings across 17 appearances (14 starts) with High-A Great Lakes and Tulsa last season. — Michael Avallone

Cartaya slugs second career grand slam (April 12)
An ordinary night at the ballpark quickly turned grand for Diego Cartaya.

Baseball’s No. 28 overall prospect broke the game open the game with a fourth-inning grand slam to help lead Single-A Rancho Cucamonga past visiting Inland Empire, 8-6. Cartaya’s second roundtripper of the young season accounts for both of his hits through his first three games.

With a run already in and the Quakes leading, 4-0, Cartaya turned around a 1-1 offering from 66ers hurler Chase Chaney and deposited it over the left-center field fence. Full story »

Pepiot looks good in season debut (April 5)
Ryan Pepiot got his 2022 off to a strong start with four one-hit frames for Triple-A Oklahoma City. The No. 6 Dodgers prospect allowed two baserunners — a first-inning walk and a double in the fourth — while striking out three batters on 49 pitches. Although he wasn’t involved in his club’s 3-2 win over Albuquerque, it was a positive sign for the 24-year-old, who struggled during his Triple-A introduction last season.

After posting a 2.87 ERA and limiting opponents to a .149 average in 15 appearances (13 starts) with Double-A Tulsa, Pepiot was hit hard following his promotion. The 2019 third-round Draft pick finished 2021 by sporting a 7.13 ERA in his final 11 outings (nine starts) with Oklahoma City. — Michael Avallone

Miller to start on Tuesday vs. Angels (April 2)
Right-hander Bobby Miller, the Dodgers’ top pitching prospect, will get the start on Tuesday at Dodger Stadium in the Freeway Series against the Angels. Miller will likely begin the season with Triple-A Oklahoma City, but the Dodgers want to get a closer look at the right-hander. According to manager Dave Roberts, Miller will pitch three or four innings. — Juan Toribio

Vargas hits mammoth shot off 2020 Cy Young Award winner (March 23)
Over the past two weeks, Miguel Vargas has been one of the most impressive young players in Dodgers camp. On Wednesday afternoon, he showed every bit of why Los Angeles believes the young infielder can make a significant impact on the Major League team as early as this season.

Vargas hit a mammoth shot off 2020 American League Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber in the second inning of the Dodgers’ 6-2 win over the Guardians. The homer was the talk of the clubhouse.

“It was a great at-bat, a professional at-bat,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “He’s a special person, he’s a special ballplayer and he’s only going to get better, which is really exciting for the Dodgers.”

There was no official distance for Vargas’ homer, which gave him some freedom in estimating his long blast.

“Like 600 feet,” Vargas said with a smile when asked about his homer. — Juan Toribio

Pepiot makes first Cactus League start (March 19)
Ryan Pepiot, the Dodgers’ No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline, made his first start of the Cactus League season in Los Angeles’ 7-6 loss to Seattle on Saturday. Pepiot struggled, allowing six runs on four hits over two innings. Most of the damage was done in the first, when Pepiot allowed five runs. Former Dodgers outfielder Steven Souza Jr. hit a grand slam off the right-hander.

Pepiot will likely start the season with Triple-A Oklahoma City, but the Dodgers are expecting the 24-year-old to make the leap to the big leagues this season and make a significant contribution to a starting rotation that isn’t as deep as it has been in the past.

“It was just one of those things that he couldn’t command the baseball,” manager Dave Roberts said. “But to see him go back out there for the second inning and ultimately come out feeling good, healthy and built up, that’s most important right now.” — Juan Toribio

Cartaya shows off power (March 5)
On March 4, Dodgers farm director Will Rhymes said Diego Cartaya was fully healthy from a back/hamstring injury that sidelined him most of last season. The catcher, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the organization’s top prospect, wasted no time in showing off his talent. 

During live batting practice against left-hander Robbie Erlin, who has Major League experience, the 20-year-old Cartaya teed off on a fastball and sent the pitch way over the left-field wall and into the parking lot. 

“That felt good,” Cartaya said with a smile. “First one of the year.”

Fulmer has a strong outing (March 5)
Right-hander Carson Fulmer, a Minor League Rule 5 Draft pick, tossed two scoreless innings in a back-field game against the Guardians. A first-round Draft pick of the White Sox in 2015, Fulmer said he feels confident now that he has a fresh start with the Dodgers.

“I’ve had a lot of really good opportunities, but I’ve also been knocked down quite a bit,” Fulmer said. “I think that’s really what’s pushing me right now.

Fulmer, 28, is 6-9 with a 6.41 ERA in 74 career games at the Major League level. He posted a 6.66 ERA in 20 appearances with the Reds in 2021.

Cartaya healthy, impressing in camp (March 4)
Diego Cartaya missed the final couple of weeks last season because of a hamstring injury. But farm director Will Rhymes said the catcher is fully healthy in camp and is turning some heads with his immense potential.

“He looks great,” Rhymes said. “He’ll be a full participant in Minor League Spring Training come March 15 in games. We’re really excited. We were cautious with him just because he’s such an impressive young player. We’re excited to see him back out there.”

In 2021, Cartaya hit .298 with 10 homers and a 1.023 OPS in 31 games with Low-A Rancho Cucamonga.

Busch goes deep in scrimmage (March 4)
In a scrimmage against a local independent team, Asian Breeze, second baseman Michael Busch launched a mammoth homer that cleared the right-field wall and a pair of trees behind a back field.

Busch, a 2019 first-round pick, could be in the mix for a big league callup this season. The 24-year-old is one of the top hitters in the Dodgers’ system, having launched 20 homers in 107 games with Double-A Tulsa last season. He represented the Dodgers in the 2021 Futures Game.

“I just try to keep it pretty simple and try to get better every day,” said Busch, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the organization’s No. 3 prospect. “If we’re taking defense, then I focus on defense. If we’re in the cage, then I focus on things I’m working on in the cage.”

Hurt embracing a more traditional camp (March 4)
Kyle Hurt
pitched in an intrasquad scrimmage, and the 23-year-old right-hander has welcomed a more traditional Spring Training. Hurt was acquired from the Marlins last February and admitted it took some time for him to get fully comfortable.

But now, in his second season with the organization, Hurt believes he can take a jump in his development. 

“Getting traded here was pretty eye opening to me,” Hurt said. “It was pretty shocking at first. But then it settled in a little bit, and at the end, it was a good thing. … This is the best [organization] in baseball.”

After opening 2021 in the Rookie-level Arizona Complex League, the University of Southern California product posted a 5.51 ERA in eight appearances with Low-A Rancho Cucamonga. Hurt struck out 28 over 16 1/3 innings of work.

Pepiot brings new outlook, pitch to camp (March 3)
Right-hander Ryan Pepiot, the Dodgers’ top pitching prospect, per MLB Pipeline, said he visited with psychologists this offseason in order to get back to his normal self. On the mound, the 24-year-old feels like he’s more prepared, and he has more pitches, too.

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