Monday, June 27, 2016

Welcome to the Dodgers, Brock Stewart!

Few players have risen up the ranks as fast as Brock Stewart.  He started the year with the Dodgers Single-A club in Rancho Cucamonga, was quickly promoted to Double-A Tulsa, and spent the past few weeks with the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers.  Now, with a rotation spot open in Los Angeles on Wednesday, the Dodgers have decided to bring up the 24-year old prospect to make his Major League debut.  On his rise, via Michael Avallone at
"Honestly, it has been fast," Stewart said. "The other day our pitching coordinator, Rick Knapp, said to me, 'You know, I met you two years ago at [Rookie-level] Ogden.' It was really crazy to hear him say that. It seems like yesterday that I was drafted, but here I am. I'm blessed and fortunate to be where I am now, but I'm not all the way there yet."
The Illinois native said he's a bit surprised with what he's done so far in the Pacific Coast League.
"A little bit, to be honest," Stewart said. "But I'm confident in my stuff and I'm confident I'll get guys out. It should be the norm for me. I try to not focus on the numbers, but at the same time, it is a little surprising, especially because I just got to this level."
BTW, although the Dodgers have yet to confirm his promotion he all but confirmed it himself on twitter:
As for what he brings to the table, check out what Vince Lara-Cinisomo at Baseball America wrote recently:
Stewart spent most of his time at Illinois State at third base, but the Dodgers were intrigued by his arm strength and drafted him in the sixth round in 2014 as a pitcher. Now, his fastball touches 96 mph with advanced command. He now throws two types of sliders, one he tries to get batters to chase and one he can throw for strikes, and scouts say his harder slider is an average to tick-above pitch. His changeup has progressed to where it is now a fringe-average pitch.

Stewart has great mound presence and poise and his arm has low mileage. His physicality and pitch mix give him a viable starter profile.

The Dodgers have rotation options on the horizon in Hyun-Jin Ryu, Brandon McCarthy and Ross Stripling nearing returns, but Stewart could stick around and help keep down the workloads of all three as well as teenager Julio Urias.
Stewart is a workhorse, back-end type who will eat innings and has great makeup and should fit in well in a veteran, high-priced clubhouse.
Below are links to more stories worth checking out:
The club's sixth-round draft pick in 2014 out of Illinois State is a combined 8-3 with a 1.47 ERA in 14 starts this season. He already has compiled 86 innings, a year after throwing 101 innings with two separate Single-A teams.
In celebration of his impending promotion to the Dodgers I made the above two fantasy Baseball cards of him.  On the card on the left I used a photo grabbed from MiLB Pipeline on twitter and the 1991 Upper Deck Baseball card design. The card on the right uses a pic grabbed from Michael Avallone's twitter and the 1991 Donruss Baseball card set design.

Below are his career stats, via Baseball Reference:

UPDATE:  Per a Dodger press release (dated 6/29/2016):
The Los Angeles Dodgers today selected the contract of right-handed pitcher Brock Stewart (#51) from Triple-A Oklahoma City. The 24-year-old will make his Major League debut tonight as the Dodgers’ starting pitcher at Milwaukee. In corresponding moves, the Dodgers placed infielder/outfielder Kiké Hernández on the disabled list with left ribcage inflammation (retroactive to June 28) and transferred left-handed pitcher Alex Wood to the 60-day DL (left posterior elbow soreness).

Stewart combined to go 8-3 with a 1.47 ERA in 14 minor league starts this year with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, where he opened the season, Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City, limiting opposing hitters to a .186 batting average with a 0.83 WHIP. He combined to strike out 99 against just 14 walks in 86.0 innings, while notching quality starts in 11 of 14 outings.

In three professional seasons, Stewart has gone 15-11 with a 3.13 ERA in 56 games (34 starts) after being selected by the Dodgers in the sixth round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft out of Illinois State University, where he was primarily an infielder during his four-year collegiate career. He will be the first Dodger since Hideo Nomo in 1995 to begin the year in Single-A and start in a Major League game the same season.

Hernández batted .189 with five home runs and 12 RBI in 65 games with Los Angeles.

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* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

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