Dodgers Minor League Recap: Quakes Jose De Leon Strikes Out 12, Twice
Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen and outfielder Yasiel Puig both played in rehab assignments with High-A Rancho Cucamonga last week. Jansen progressed through his recovery without issue, while Puig suffered a setback in his second game.
While those are certainly storylines to watch for the Dodgers, Quakes right-hander Jose De Leon stole the show last week.
Hitter of the Week: Brandon Trinkwon
A seventh-rounder from 2013 out of UC Santa Barbara (Go Gauchos!), Trinkwon hit well out of the gate with Ogden but struggled after a promotion to Great Lakes. Last season, he stayed with the Loons and put up a .697 OPS while walking more than he struck out. This year, he’s with High-A Rancho and has been one of the best hitters in the league.
Trinkwon leads the league with a .366 batting average, places second with a .432 OBP and eighth with a .917 OPS. Originally drafted as a shortstop, he’s played primarily second base in 2015, along with short and third. He shows enough speed to steal a base on occasion and has already matched his 2014 home run total with three.
This past week, Trinkwon hit .423/.531/.577 with a double, a home run, a pair of stolen bases and six walks compared to five strikeouts. The 23-year-old Atlanta native likely isn’t long for A-ball and will face his real test in Double-A Tulsa.
Pitcher of the Week: Jose De Leon
De Leon’s season started as expected, with a dominant debut that resulted in a five-inning, 10-strikeout outing that had everyone talking. In his second start, he looked far more hittable and lasted just four innings while allowing a pair of runs.
As it turns out, he was dealing with a groin injury that would cause him to miss his next scheduled start. After struggling with control in his return to the mound, De Leon posted a strong six-inning, seven-strikeout effort on April 30.
Then, last week, he went nuts. On Tuesday, De Leon struck out 12 over seven innings of one-hit ball. And if that wasn’t good enough, he struck out 12 again on Sunday. He now leads Minor League baseball with 50 strikeouts, compared to just six walks, and also boasts a miniscule 1.69 ERA. He should be in Double-A before the end of the month.
Top 10 Update
Julio Urias: Another start, another strong performance from the 18 year old, who fanned six and allowed just one run over six strong innings. The only reason he’s still in the Minors is because he needs to build innings, so don’t expect him to reach the Majors before he proves he can handle a big league workload.
Corey Seager: Seager struggled getting acclimated to Triple-A initially but posted solid numbers last week, hitting .278/.381/.500 with one triple and a double.
Grant Holmes: Holmes also seems to be turning things around, with six innings of scoreless ball in his first start of last week followed by five quality innings in his second.
Alex Verdugo: Verdugo continues to struggle with the Midwest League, hitting .235 last week and now .232 on the season.
Julian Leon: Leon has also struggled, batting just .200 on the year and was recently moved to extended Spring Training. The 19 year old has plenty of time to turn things around and plenty of upside on both sides of the plate.
Chris Anderson: It seemed like Anderson’s control problems were behind him, walking just eight batters in his first 24 innings, but he then walked eight batters in two starts while totaling just 6.1 innings last week. The 22-year-old righty has a starter’s repertoire, but if control issues persist, he could move to the bullpen.
Zach Lee: Lee had one of the more unique outings of his career on Friday, tossing five innings of one-hit ball but also walking five batters. He had previously walked just six batters in his first five starts. Still, his ERA is only 2.38 and he’s striking out nearly a batter per inning.
Surprise Player: Brandon Dixon
The Dodgers’ third-rounder from 2013 showed glimpses of ability with the bat last year and has been better this season. Through 27 games in Tulsa, Dixon is hitting .287/.306/.454 with three home runs, seven doubles and seven stolen bases. He’s walked just three times compared to 30 strikeouts, so he’ll need to work on his plate discipline in order to take full advantage of his speed.
Corey Seager Discusses Playing Under High Expectations