Drillers, Raptors fall short in finals

September 16th, 2019

Here’s a look at the top performances of the past week by Dodgers prospects in the Minor Leagues:

Sunday, Sept. 15: Downs homers in Tulsa loss, Raptors lose finals matchup
A ninth-inning comeback from the Amarillo Sod Poodles left the Tulsa Drillers on the wrong side of an 8-3 Game 5 of the Texas League Championship Series, losing the series 3-2.

The Dodgers’ Double-A affiliate held a 3-1 lead entering the ninth inning, but a grand slam and three-run homer hit by Padres prospects Taylor Trammell and Hudson Potts in the top of the ninth would give the Sod Poodles the advantage, and the Drillers could not mount a comeback of their own in the bottom half of the frame.

Jeter Downs was the offensive spark once again for Tulsa, as the 21-year-old shortstop hit a two-run homer to go along with an RBI single to provide all of the Drillers’ runs.

Downs, the Dodgers’ No. 6 prospect, collected a hit in all but one game of the postseason and finished with a .429 batting average and 1.503 OPS in the five-game series. He joined the Drillers late in the season after spending most of the year with Class A Rancho Cucamonga, where he hit .269 with 19 home runs and 23 steals in 107 games. Then, in 12 regular-season games after earning promotion to Tulsa, he added another five homers and a steal.

Dodgers pitching prospect Edwin Uceta started the game off on the right foot, tossing four scoreless innings with six hits but no walks allowed, striking out three Sod Poodles. However, the Drillers only collected five hits in support of their pitchers and the bullpen struggled, walking in a run in the eighth before allowing the pair of home runs in the ninth.

The Odgen Raptors fell to Idaho Falls in Game 3 of the Pioneer League Championship Series by a final score of 10-8, losing the series 2-1.

The Dodgers’ Rookie Advanced affiliate fell behind 7-0 before storming back with a five-run fifth, giving up another two runs in the top of the sixth before scoring three more runs. However, the comeback effort ended there, as the Chukars’ bullpen closed things out to win the title over the final three frames.

Zac Ching, a 2019 MLB Draft pick out of VCU, hit a three-run home run to spark the five-run fifth, but across eight different Raptors pitchers to enter the game, only three left the mound without being credited with a run allowed. Sunday's prospect stats »

Saturday, Sept. 14: Drillers and Raptors face winner-take-all games in finals
Double-A Tulsa was unable to clinch the Texas League championship against Amarillo on Saturday night and will now have to win on Sunday afternoon in a winner-take-all Game 5.

The Drillers fell behind in the first inning and were shut out, losing by a final score of 3-0. Tulsa did collect seven hits, but was unable to string anything together and Cristian Santana, the Dodgers’ No. 23 prospect, was the only player on his team to collect multiple hits. He finished 2-for-3.

The Ogden Raptors dropped Game 2 of the Pioneer League finals and will now host a winner-take-all Game 3 on Sunday evening.

Marco Hernandez, whom the Dodgers signed out of Venezuela in 2015, hit a solo homer in the second inning, but the Raptors’ offense never really got into rhythm. Ogden totaled two runs on four hits and eventually lost 6-2. Saturday's prospect stats »

Friday, Sept. 13: Wong leads Tulsa to Game 3 win
Connor Wong, the Dodgers’ No. 28 prospect, has been red-hot throughout the playoffs and that trend continued Friday night as he led Double-A Tulsa to a win in Game 3 of the Texas League finals. The Drillers now lead the best-of-five series, 2-1.

Wong, who hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning that proved to be the only offense in the entire game, finished 1-for-3 at the plate and has also reached base in all eight postseason games. The 23-year-old, a third-round pick from the 2017 Draft, is hitting .260 in the playoffs and an even .500 through the first three games of the series.

Wong began the season with Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga and after hitting .247 over 71 games, he was promoted to Tulsa and subsequently caught fire, batting .349 over the final 40 games of the year.

On the mound, Markus Solbach was lights out and struck out six over eight scoreless innings.

Ogden took a 1-0 series lead in the best-of-three Pioneer League Finals with a 5-3 win over Idaho Falls.

The Raptors fell behind 3-0 in the third inning, but battled back with runs in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings. Andy Pages and Marco Hernandez led the offense with two hits each, while three separate players drove in runs. The Raptors also took advantage of some Idaho Falls mistakes and scored a pair of unearned runs. Friday's prospect stats »

Wednesday, Sept. 11: Downs homers three times in wild win
Jeter Downs deposited the first pitch of the game over the left-field wall and went on to hit three of Double-A Tulsa’s single-game franchise record (since 1905) nine home runs as the Drillers doubled up Amarillo, 18-9, to even the best-of-five Texas League Championship Series at 1-1.

The Drillers scored in all but two innings and pushed across multiple runs in five frames, including each of the first three innings. Of their 18 hits, 13 were for extra bases.

Downs, the Dodgers’ No. 6 prospect, had a monster game, going 4-for-5 with a career-high five runs and a double to go along with his trio of dingers. He reached base five times from the leadoff spot. Acquired in the offseason trade that sent Yasiel Puig and others to Cincinnati, Downs was one of 10 Minor Leaguers to record at least 20 homers and 20 steals during the regular season. In 119 games between Tulsa and Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga, the 21-year-old shortstop produced a .276/.362/.526 line with 24 homers, 35 doubles and 24 steals.

Donovan Casey, another member of this year’s 20-20 club (23-22), went deep twice for the Drillers, hitting a solo homer in the first inning followed by a three-run shot in the third. The 23-year-old outfielder finished the game 4-for-6 with four runs and four RBIs. Cody Thomas (solo), Chris Parmelee (two-run), Carlos Rincon (solo) and Omar Estevez (two-run) hit Tulsa’s other four home runs. Thomas and Estevez (Dodgers’ No. 15) both recorded two hits and three RBIs.

Connor Wong (No. 28) didn’t go deep but still turned in a big performance from the No. 2 spot in the lineup, going 4-for-5 with three doubles, four runs and two RBIs. Wednesday's prospect stats »

Tuesday, Sept. 10: Wong homers in Tulsa loss
No. 28 prospect Connor Wong fueled Double-A Tulsa’s late comeback with a game-tying three-run homer in the eighth inning, only to watch as the Drillers’ bullpen surrendered seven runs in the bottom of the frame to drop Game 1 of the best-of-five Texas League finals to Amarillo, 13-7. Wong’s dinger was the last of the four homers hit by Tulsa in the Game 1 loss.

Cody Thomas, Omar Estevez and Donovan Casey hit the others, though all three were solo shots. Estevez, the Dodgers’ No. 15 prospect, and Casey both finished the game 2-for-4.

Starter Josiah Gray (Dodgers’ No. 4, MLB No. 99) struggled against a loaded Sod Poodles lineup, as he allowed five runs (four earned) on nine hits with two strikeouts and two walks in a no-decision. He still managed to complete six innings while throwing 57 of 90 pitches for strikes. Tuesday's prospect stats »