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Offseason Overview: Oklahoma City Dodgers

Photo by Tony Capobianco

The Oklahoma City Dodgers finished the 2016 season a couple games short of winning the Pacific Coast League championship but fell to El Paso in four games.

Like any year in minor league baseball, the offseason is a basic overhaul. In the Triple-A ranks, free agency is involved and just like that, the Dodgers enter the 2017 with a completely different team but with the same goal as before.

The Dodgers saw plenty of departures over the course of the offseason. Pitcher Seth Frankoff signed with the Chicago Cubs and is expected to start the season with the Iowa Cubs. Jordan Schafer signed with the St. Louis Cardinals hoping to make the team as a reliever after a decade as an outfielder and is having a good spring so far. Logan Bowcam signed with the San Diego Padres and may actually start the season with the same team that ended his previous one.

Lisalverto Bonilla signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates but was later designated for assignment and then claimed on waivers by the Cincinnati Reds in time for spring training. Zach Walters had a solid season — batting .276 with 10 home runs and 53 RBI — and made a brief appearance with the LA Dodgers but was shortly released soon after. He later signed with the Reds and is expected to start the season in Louisville.

There were also the departures through trades. Infielder Micah Johnson was traded to the Atlanta Braves while pitching prospects Jose De Leon and Chase De Jong was also traded. De Leon was sent to the Tampa Bay Rays for second baseman Logan Forsythe and De Jong was sent to the Seattle for two other prospects.

Photo by Taylor Barnes

Former Dodgers that are still free agents are Rico Noel (.230), Alex Hassan (.232,), Will Venable (.276), Sam LeCure (4.55 ERA, 31 appearances), Alfredo Figaro (2.70 ERA in 10 appearances), Corey Brown (.249, 23 HR, 70 RBI), Brandon Hicks (.229, 8 HR, 23 RBI) and Josmar Cordero who played only one game last year.

Oklahoma City acquired Kyle Grana, Edward Paredes, Madison Younginer, Stetson Allie, Patrick Schuster, Tyler Holt, Steve Geltz, Andrew Thurman, Wilmer Font, Bobby Wilson, Fabio Castillo, Brandon Morrow and Ike Davis.

Younginer recorded a 2.98 ERA in 35 appearances for AA Miss and made his MLB debut for his hometown Atlanta Braves. Allie spent the last three seasons in Double-A Altoona, averaging 18 home runs and 61 RBI while batting no higher than .247.

Paredes spent last season with the Arkansas Travelers, striking out 53 batters in 43.2 innings while recording a 2.27 ERA in 46 appearances. Grana spent last season with the Palm Beach Cardinals, striking out 53 batters in 43.2 innings while recording a 2.27 ERA in 46 appearances.

Schuster started the season in Nashville and recorded a 1.16 ERA in 32 appearances on his way to being called up by the Oakland Athletics. After being DFA’d he was claimed by the Philadelphia Phillies and made six appearances with them.

Holt spent last season with the Cincinnati Reds, batting .235 in 106 games. Holt was a part of the Triple-A champion Columbus Clippers in 2015. The Dodgers are familiar with that team, having acquired James Ramsey and Zach Walters last April.

Geltz recorded a 3.03 ERA with 40 strikeouts in 35.2 innings pitched with the Durham Bulls. He also appeared in 27 games for the Tampa Bay Rays. He has spent some time on the Rays in each of the last three seasons, his most being in 2015 where he struck out 61 batters in 67.1 innings.

Thurman went 1-9 with a 7.55 ERA in 25 appearances with Double-A Mississippi and Single-A Carolina. Castillo split last season in the Padres system between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A El Paso, going 3-7 with a 4.52 ERA in 13 starts.

Font went 4-4 with a 3.66 ERA with 55 strikeouts in 66 innings in 12 appearances for Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Buffalo. Font made his MLB debut in 2012 for the Texas Rangers.

Wilson spent 75 games last season with the Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays as a backup catcher, batting .237 with seven home runs and 33 RBI.

Morrow and Davis are the two acquisitions who have MLB experiences. He was once the top prospect of the Toronto Blue Jays system and peaked in 2012 with a 2.96 ERA in 21 starts before injuries ravaged and reduced him to being a reliever with the Padres. Davis also peaked in 2012 with 33 home runs for the New York Mets but hasn’t been able to return to that level. He previously appeared with the New York Yankees last year.

 Even with all this overhaul, there are still familiar faces like Trevor Oaks, Jake Murphy, Alex Verdugo Cody Bellinger, O’Koyea Dickson, Drew Maggi, Willie Calhoun and Charlie Culberson. There’s still hope for the Dodgers to return to championship contention.

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