Bees Bullets: Former Ute Headlines OKC Dodgers Prospects
SALT LAKE CITY – Despite approaching 100 wins almost every season, the Los Angeles Dodgers still manage to have one of the best farm systems in baseball.
Seemingly always in the mix for the next big name at the trade deadline, the Oklahoma City Dodgers, Triple-A affiliate for Los Angeles, is stacked with talent.
The Bees host the Oklahoma City Dodgers at Smith’s Ballpark August 2-7.
In addition to the young, developing players in Oklahoma City, the Bees will face three players from Los Angeles that are rehabbing from injury. Starting pitcher Dustin May, utility man Chris Taylor and infielder Edwin Rios.
Now we go pic.twitter.com/OIuP0Y0UOp
— Dustin May (@d_maydabeast) August 3, 2022
May is scheduled to start game two of the series on Wednesday night as he rehabs from Tommy John surgery he underwent May 11, 2021. In two previous starts with OKC, May has been working on rebuilding his stamina. He has given up five hits and an earned run while striking out nine.
In three major league seasons, May has a 6-5 record with a 2.93 earned run average
Taylor was added to the OKC roster on August 2 after suffering a left foot fracture on July 5. He was an MLB All-Star with the Dodgers in 2021 after he hit .277 with three triples, 15 doubles, 10 home runs and 46 RBI before the break. For his career, Taylor has batter .259 with 85 home runs and 336 RBI. Taylor went 0-3 in his OKC debut.
Interesting note regarding OKC's lineup tonight in Salt Lake:
In the second game of his rehab assignment, Chris Taylor – who has only played outfield this year due to off-season elbow surgery – is going to start at 2B. Plan is 4 innings at 2B, then 3 innings at 3B.#Dodgers
— Alex Freedman (@azfreedman) August 3, 2022
Rios is rehabbing a hamstring injury suffered in early June. The 28-year old infielder hit .244 in 86 at-bats for Los Angeles to begin the season. He is batting .273 through four games with OKC.
Now let’s take a look at the Dodgers top-30 prospect talent in Oklahoma City according to MLB.com.
No. 3 Michael Busch – 1B/2B
A 2019 first round pick (31st overall) by the Dodgers, Busch is a 24-year old left-handed hitter and infielder. According to MLB.com, Busch is a pure hitter similar to current Dodger Max Muncy.
Busch began the season with Double-A Tulsa. In 31 games he hit .306 with 11 home runs and 29 RBI. In 61 games with Oklahoma City he has a .265 batting average with 12 home runs and 41 RBI.
No. 3 @Dodgers prospect Michael Busch goes deep in a three-hit night for the @okc_dodgers: pic.twitter.com/6RcsZBJvx8
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) July 29, 2022
Busch has been swinging a hot bat in his previous 10 games. He is batting .368 with four doubles and two home runs.
No. 6 Ryan Pepiot – Starting Pitcher
A Dodgers 2019 third-round pick (102nd overall), Pepiot is a 24-year old right-handed starting pitcher with ‘the best changeup in the Minors’ according to MLB.com.
A weapon earning top of the mark 80 grades from scouts, Pepiot supplements his elite changeup with with a mid-90’s fastball that has been known to hit 98 MPH at times. He also has a slider that works to the opposite side of the zone as his changeup, offering good deception against batters from either side of the plate.
Ryan Pepiot continued a pair of trends from his 7/26 outing – he got the same number of outs (21), and he did this despite limited use of his best pitch, as he threw same amount of changeups (12) in both outings. Tonight's line:
2 runs (earned)
4 Ks⬇️ pic.twitter.com/kPMNyx0BEK
— Josh Thomas (@jokeylocomotive) August 1, 2022
Pepiot went 1-0 in four starts for the Dodgers earlier this season, ending up with a 2.76 earned run average while opposing batters hit just .175 against him.
The righty has been lights out with OKC this year. A perfect 8-0, he has a 2.27 earned run average with a nearly 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio. He allowed five hits and two earned runs in his most recent start on July 31 against Sugar Land.
No. 11 Andre Jackson – Starting Pitcher
Once a two-way player at the University of Utah, Jackson was drafted in the 12th round (370th overall) by the Dodgers in 2017.
Pitching where he played his college ball, Utah product and No. 11 @Dodgers prospect Andre Jackson strikes out 10 for the @okc_dodgers. pic.twitter.com/6BYtVr3CyW
— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) August 3, 2022
According to MLB.com, Jackson’s athleticism allows him to generate more arm speed than most, allowing him to reach 98 MPH with his fastball. He mixes in an above average changeup with a mid-80’s slider to keep hitters on their heels.
Taking the mound at Smith’s Ballpark for the first time since his U of U playing days, Jackson tossed five scoreless innings while striking out 10 against the Bees in game one of the series.
Currently, Jackson is expected to make his next start on Sunday afternoon in the series finale.
No. 18 Jacob Amaya – Shortstop
Drafted by the Dodgers in the 11th round (340th overall), Amaya began the year with Double-A Tulsa before a promotion to Triple-A in mid-June.
Jacob Amaya is red hot at the plate again! He is 3 for 4 tonight and 9 for 18 in the series this week against Tacoma and has multiple hits in 4 of the 5 games. #dodgers pic.twitter.com/2FthJEztVK
— Dodger Poke Report (@dodger_poke) July 17, 2022
Amaya is at his best at the plate when he focuses on contact over power.
After struggling to a .216/.303/.343 slash line in Double-A in 2021, Amaya his settled down and looked more comfortable in 2022. With Oklahoma City he is hitting .254 with 27 combined extra-base hits and 48 RBI this season.
In his last 10 games Amaya is hitting .219 with two doubles in 32 at-bats.
No. 21 Michael Grove – Starting Pitcher
The Dodgers tabbed Grove in the second round (68th overall) in the 2018 draft out of West Virginia.
Michael Grove has one of the best overall arsenals in the org., and has every shape to a pitch and a big arm. I'm always excited to get to see him pitch!
He has given up just 1 earned run in his last 7.2 innings & has 11 K's to just 2 walks this month. Job well done @mgrove_2 pic.twitter.com/xbQ7N98Fpb
— Dodger Poke Report (@dodger_poke) July 30, 2022
A mechanical adjustment to a three-quarters arm slot allowed Grove to get a little more life out of his mid-to-high 90’s fastball that can touch 99. According to MLB.com, Grove also has a high-80’s slider and a low-80’s curveball.
In eight appearance with Oklahoma City the right-hander is 0-2 and has a 4.88 earned run average in 31.1 innings pitched.
The Bees returned to Salt Lake for their longest homestand of the season that began on August 2 with a six-game series against the Oklahoma City Dodgers, Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Game two is scheduled for a 6:35 p.m. (MST) first pitch.
Purchase tickets to see the Bees play at slbees.com. Listen to voice of the Bees Steve Klauke on KSLSports.com.