Monday, July 22, 2013

Dodgers' prospect notes from four Rancho Cucamonga Quakes' games

I just finished watching four consecutive Rancho Cucamonga Quakes’ games (two in Stockton against the Ports, two in Modesto against the Nuts -- big thanks to both affiliates for the media credentials), and there’s a dearth of talent in Rancho right now.

My takeaways: There isn’t as much talent on this team as there was earlier this season or as in years past.

Ross Stripling and Duke von Schamann getting promoted to Double-A left the rotation depleted. Garrett Gould was also promoted, but he hasn’t pitched well the last two seasons.

Not much movement on the position player front, aside from a resurgent Jon Garcia heading to Chattanooga. There’s just not a lot of talent in Rancho.

Here are a few notes from each game. I’ll post in-depth scouting reports of guys like Lindsey Caughel, Noel Cuevas, Carlos Frias, Scott Schebler, Darnell Sweeney and more in the coming days here and at Chad Moriyama’s site.

Thursday (7/18/13)

Cuevas had a couple soft hits and a couple stolen bases.  His speed is probably his best tool.

Jon Michael Redding got the start. It’s the third year in a row I’ve seen him start in Stockton (and that’s not good). He wasn’t good on this night. His stuff is the same as it’s been. He’s a non-prospect.

Blake Smith took the hill and had impressive velocity for a guy who hasn’t pitched since 2009 in college. He sat at 90-92 MPH with his fastball. Unfortunately, his curveball was a mess. The first he threw went behind the hitter while the other he threw hit a batter. It was a 75 MPH offering. He has a long way to go on the hill, but his mechanics are clean enough to be successful. His command/control needs lots of work.

Friday (7/19/13)

Bobby Coyle popped a home run as the team’s designated hitter. O’Koyea Dickson showed some nice opposite-field power by hitting a no-doubter to right-center field.

Casio Grider, who took over for Cuevas who twisted his ankle in the first inning, has crazy range in center field. A natural infielder, Grider tracked a deep fly ball that he had no business being near, dove and missed a spectacular catch by about six inches. It was an impressive display of speed.

Carlos Frias was awfully impressive. He mixed all his pitches and struck out 11 in seven innings. It was one of the best pitching performances by a Quake this season.

Schebler has a legitimate bat. He hit two home runs. The first was a lined shot over the right-center field wall. The second was a moonshot over the batter’s eye in center field (video below).

Sweeney doesn’t have the chops to stay at shortstop long-term. There’s some loop in his throw from short and he’s messy with his footwork and mechanics. He makes spectacular plays, but botches the routine ones.

Saturday (7/20/13)

Gustavo Gomez started. His velocity was actually pretty good (90-93 MPH), but he gave up a grand slam in the first inning to put him

Schebler has a lot of swing-and-miss, but he also has loud tools. He can play center, but he fits best in a corner. His arm is average in right, so left field could be his future. Speed/power combination isn’t dissimilar to Joc Pederson’s. Has some issues with the mental aspect of the game. Too emotional at times, wears it on his sleeve.

Scott Wingo has sneaky speed and is playing all over the infield. He’s a natural second baseman. He has great on-base ability, but he doesn’t barrel up enough pitches to be considered a legitimate prospect at this point.

Sunday (7/21/13)

Caughel doesn’t have the velocity to be successful in the rotation long-term. Has four pitches, but none grade out as even average. Velo dipped after about three innings.

Coyle is about a 40-45 left fielder at best. His arm is weak and his range is limited. He fits best there or at DH. He has power, but not much else to be excited about.

Grider’s home run was surprising. He’s not a power guy at all, but he ran into one. He had a bunt single in the first inning, too.

Pedro Guerrero has a decent glove, but he can’t hit a lick. He doesn’t hit the ball hard, leading to poor at-bats.

Pratt Maynard has good instincts behind the plate and a decent eye, but the hit tool must improve for him to be more than a career minor-leaguer (and probably a backup in the minors).

James McDonald, the Dodgers’ 18th-round draft pick, isn’t much of a prospect. He doesn’t have a good hit tool, has zero power and his first step at second base is slow. He played left field on Friday night. He’ll be lucky to be a utility man in Triple-A, let alone the majors.


That's about it. Like I said, I'll have some in-depth reports in the coming days and weeks. I'm going to try to get down to Rancho toward the end of the minor-league season to see the boys in their home environment.

Photo credit: Dustin Nosler, Feelin' Kinda Blue


  1. I'm surprised that Schebler is still at Rancho, considering he's only 22 and leading the Cal League in OPS, and the only outfielders blocking him in AA are Jeremy Moore and Brian Cavazos-Galvez.

    1. High strikeout rate is concerning. Also has to keep emotions in check.