New level, same domination for Nick Frasso.
The fourth-ranked Dodgers prospect was absolutely lights-out in his Triple-A debut last week for Oklahoma City en route to being named the Minor League Pitcher of the Week in the Pacific Coast League. The right-hander twirled six scoreless frames -- yielding just two hits and one walk -- while whiffing four. He previously earned Northwest League Pitcher of the Week honors in July 2022 and was named the Texas League Pitcher of the Month in April with Double-A Tulsa.
The 24-year-old was called up from the Drillers on Aug. 27 and took the hill for OKC on Sunday evening. Frasso allowed a leadoff single to begin the game, but recovered quickly to set down the next five batters he faced. After yielding a walk and a single to set up runners on the corners and two outs in the second, Frasso retired the final 13 hitters he faced. He exited after tossing 80 pitches -- 51 for strikes. He needed just 19 pitches to navigate through the final two frames of his outing.
"It was a solid performance overall," Frasso told a panel of Adnan Virk, Dan O'Dowd and Jake Peavy on MLB Tonight. "Honestly, I was just trying to go out there and throw strikes knowing I had a good defense behind me and just was able to go out there and throw some strikes and ended up putting up some zeros."
MLB's No. 68 overall prospect opened the season with Tulsa and posted a 3.91 ERA and 1.25 WHIP with 94 strikeouts in 73 2/3 innings pitched over 21 starts for the Drillers. Frasso posted eight scoreless outings over that span and allowed just one earned run seven times.
Selected in the fourth round of the 2020 Draft by the Blue Jays, the Loyola Marymount product made his pro debut the following year for Single-A Dunedin. His season lasted only five innings though as a nagging elbow injury worsened and required surgery. The native of Torrance, California, opted for the lesser known internal brace procedure over Tommy John surgery.
"It was kind of interesting at first, it had been a relatively new procedure," Frasso told MLB Network. "But I went to Dr. [Keith] Meister over in Arlington, Texas, and he kind of walked me through the procedure and kind of laid out that I was a great candidate for it, and that I had the perfect elbow for that surgery. So I trusted him and I went with it, and I’m glad I did. Obviously the recovery is a little bit shorter than a typical TJ and it was about 11 months I was back -- right around there. Probably right around nine, 10 months was where I started to feel pretty good, pretty back to normal, and I was able to throw pretty hard and just went from there."
Frasso returned to the bump in the Florida State League last year on May 14 and discovered, for the first time in his life, that his fastball could touch triple digits. The flame-throwing righty climbed three levels of the Minors, posting a 0.82 ERA and 0.45 WHIP over three starts (11 innings) with High-A Vancouver before being dealt to the Dodgers in the trade that sent righty Mitch White and infielder Alex De Jesus to Toronto.
Still, the lengthy 6-foot-5, 200 pounder showed his new organization enough in his next two starts for High-A Great Lakes that he earned a promotion to Tulsa on Aug. 25, 2022 and closed out the year making four starts for the Drillers.
"It was kind of a fast change getting traded at the deadline of last year, and crazy meeting a whole new group of people and a whole new staff," Frasso said. "But it went smooth, overall, obviously. Dodgers obviously have a great pitching development system over here, and it really just helped me figure out who I am as a pitcher and how to keep succeeding and get better."
Frasso can devastate hitters with his heater, which sits at 95-97 mph, touches 100 and plays even better than its velocity thanks to armside run and impressive extension in his delivery. His mid-80s changeup with fade and sink continues to improve as he uses it more, showing flashes of becoming a plus pitch. His mid-80s slider also misses bats with a combination of sweep and depth.