Oaks-lahoma: Dodgers prospect Trevor Oaks goes the distance
Written by Alexi Bollwerk
Photo by Tony Capobianco
Trevor Oaks had a career night on Monday, as he pitched a complete game gem to lead the Oklahoma City Dodgers to an 8-1 victory over the El Paso Chihuahuas, sweeping their only series of the season.
The 30th ranked prospect of the Los Angeles Dodgers allowed only three hits and struck out 11 batters, a career high. Oaks took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, but gave up the first hit on a double in the gap by Hunter Renfroe.
Oaks didn’t let that first hit ruin his night. He continued to strike out batters and show improvements for himself. Though he did give up a run in the ninth, he finished strong and improved his record to 5-1 with the Oklahoma City Dodgers.
Before Oaks gave up a run in the ninth his scoreless inning streak was at 15 1/3 innings. Oak’s said he was looking for a special pitch so he could be more affective at the Triple-A level. He found it in his cutter.
“The separator for him tonight was his cutter,” Dodgers pitching coach Matt Herges said. “He was getting swings and misses with it which is not typical. It’s usually a contact pitch.
“A lot of times I thought they were sliders,” he said, “but they weren’t. I asked (Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes) and they were cutters. There’s more depth to his cutters now. They aren’t just a little dinky thing. They’re actually getting depth. They were chasing, and even after the sun goes down they were still chasing them. That was the main difference for me.”
Herges said players can get the best advice from other player’s on the team. He also said when he played in his career he learned a lot from his pitching coach but he learned a lot from his teammates.
“I tell these guys all the time you’ll learn more from your teammates than you will from any coach and I say that humbly,” Herges said.
“I was talking to my roommate (Dodgers infielder) Drew Maggi and he said I was using my cutter more in Tulsa and that I needed to go back to that,” Oaks said. “I thought yeah that pitch really does keep guys off my fastball so I started throwing that more and its really worked out.”
Oaks said he has had to make adjustments since coming from Double-A Tulsa. One of those adjustments has been keeping the ball down.
“At the lower levels sometimes you can get away with just locating the fastball at each side of the plate,” Oaks said. “Once you get down in the count you have to make good pitches. It’s nice to have a good outing, but I know there’s still work to be done obviously.”
What made Oaks’ gem all the more impressive was that he completely suppressed the only team in the Pacific Coast League to have over 700 runs and a team batting average over .300.