Cap Space: Oklahoma City Dodgers to have heavy Arizona presence
Tony Capobianco talks Dodgers prospects with Steven Douglas of Dodgers Lowdown.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have traded some of their top prospects but still have plenty left to power the top level of their minor league affiliates. The Oklahoma City Dodgers are going into the 2017 season with plenty of players who either played high school or college ball in the state of Arizona, three of whom are some of the organization’s top five prospects and are within the 20-22 year age range.
“Guys that are really young and get pushed faster are really good players,” Tulsa Drillers manager Ryan Garko said. “The youngest players in are like Alex (Verdugo), really promising players.”
Drew Maggi stands out as the elder statesman of the group and the most underrated. The former Arizona State Sun Devil bounced around a few teams in the Double-A circuit from 2014-16, appearing in the mid-season all-star game in each season. He found a home last year in the Dodgers organization after hitting a career high .289 and finally broke into Triple-A.
“Yeah there were tough situations but that has made me the player I am today,” Maggi said. “The experiences and the stuff that I been through made me a better player and a better guy.”
Cody Bellinger currently stands as the Dodgers’ top prospect. The Scottsdale native followed up his 30 home run season in Single-A Rancho Cucamonga with a 27 home run season in Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City. He is expected to be the heir of the first base throne once Adrian Gonzalez departs, although the outfield is also an option for the Dodgers as he possesses gold glove like defensive capabilities.
Willie Calhoun brought back that Yavapi power to Tulsa to the tune of 27 home runs. He is more of a bat than a glove but he found his home at second base with left field possibly being the final destination. He has come a long way from going the entire 2014 season at the University of Arizona without a homer.
Alex Verdugo hit .273 with 13 home runs and 63 RBI at Double-A Tulsa in his second full season. The 20-year-old Tucson native is an athletic outfielder with a strong arm forged from being a talent high school pitcher. Verdugo credits Drillers hitting coach and former Montreal Expos outfielder Terrmel Sludge for helping him with his approach
“I’ve always had a pretty sound approach but he’s definitely helped me to step it up more to an elite level,” Verdugo said.
- Previous Cap Space: Previewing the Los Angeles Dodgers with NBCLA’s Michael Duarte
- Next Thunder gelling well in dominant victory over Sacramento