Monday, May 28, 2012

Pair of Dodgers' prospects make season debuts with Loons

Two Dodger prospects are finally healthy and making their season debuts today for the Great Lakes Loons.

Ralston Cash and Angelo Songco are in Midland and playing today. That's encouraging in and of itself, especially since one is coming back from a serious hip injury and one from a leg injury.

Cash, who missed the entire 2011 season with a hip injury, threw 36 innings in his debut season for the Ogden Raptors.

He told me on Twitter earlier this month he hadn't logged a lot of innings since the end of that season.
"Right now pitching in Extended & building my innings up. I only recorded 3 in ST and now I'm up to 8 total since 2010"

Hell, it's just nice to see him back on the mound against live hitting.

Cash's season debut was, for a guy who hasn't been on the hill in more than a year and a half, pretty solid: 
  • 4 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HBP
Cash relieved Jarret Martin, the Loons' starter. Martin threw a perfect inning and struck out one.

He was even on flyouts and groundouts (4-4) and threw less than 75 pitches (no exact count yet, but was at 55 through three innings). His last inning of work was his first 1-2-3 inning of the day.

Update (5/28, 2:20 p.m.): He threw 69 pitches, 44 for strikes.

Cash, 20, was my 32nd-best prospect in the system prior to the season. The 2010 second-round selection would have been ranked higher if he hadn't missed the 2011 season. He has a nice three-pitch repertoire, including a low-90s fastball with movement. In fact, his velocity today is surprisingly solid, sitting anywhere from 89-92 MPH.

Great Lakes figures to be Cash's home for the remainder of the season, provided he stays healthy. And he'll probably be on a strict pitch count in his first few outings and a strict inning limit overall. Seeing as he's thrown eight innings since the end of 2010, that makes a lot of sense. There's no reason to rush Cash along.

Angelo Songco
Songco's debut was delayed because of a metal rod he had inserted into his right leg. He was hit with a pitch late in the 2011 season, which caused a stress fracture. He fought through the injury to post great numbers in the California League last season.

As of right now (12:51 p.m. Pacific time), Songco, who is the designated hitter and No. 3 hitter, is 1-for-3 with an RBI single and a strikeout.

Unlike Cash, Songco isn't long for Great Lakes. I don't know exactly what the Dodgers have in store for him, but he could make a cameo in Rancho Cucamonga before landing in Chattanooga. At 23, Songco has nothing left to prove against younger competition. This is likely a matter of getting him in game shape before taking on the challenge that is Southern League pitching.

I had Songco ranked No. 6 in the system (probably a tad high, injury notwithstanding) after his great 2011 season. Still, Songco has legitimate raw power that he generates from a 6-foot, 195-pound frame.

I honestly didn't expect Songco to be back this soon. When I heard the words "metal rod inserted into leg" and "two to three months," I thought there was no way he'd be back in that time. But here we are, roughly three months after surgery, and Songco is playing.

Photo credit: Dustin Nosler, Feelin' Kinda Blue

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