Trevor Oaks’ Rise Strengthens Pitching Depth

LOS ANGELES—In the span of just six months, the Dodgers traded away four well-regarded righthanders. They dealt Jharel Cotton, Frankie Montas and 2014 first-rounder Grant Holmes to the Athletics (for Rich Hill and Josh Reddick) and then Jose De Leon to the Rays (for Logan Forsythe).

But the system remains stocked with young pitchers thanks to the development of players like righthander Trevor Oaks.

A seventh-round pick out of Division II California Baptist in 2014, Oaks progressed through three levels last season, going a combined 14-3, 2.74 in 24 starts with a 1.11 WHIP over 151 innings at high Class A Rancho Cucamonga, Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City.

With buzz surrounding younger righties like Walker Buehler, Yadier Alvarez, Jordan Sheffield and Mitchell White, the 23-year-old Oaks’ rise has flown under the radar.

“I feel like there’s a lot of buzz around certain people sometimes, but your job is just to go out there and pitch,” said Oaks, 24. “That’s what I do. I just try to be as efficient as possible. I’m not going to throw 100 (mph), but I’m going to get my team seven or eight innings every time and get you a ‘W.’

“I know where I stand with the front office. I think I’m definitely an option this year and I’m trying to prove that to them.”

Oaks went seven innings or more in 10 of his 24 starts last season. Along the way, he made strides toward expanding his repertoire by developing a cut fastball and working to add a splitter with minor league pitching coordinator Brandon Gomes and Hall of Famer Greg Maddux, who has taken a role in the front office.

“Trevor was solid in 2015 and even better in 2016,” farm director Gabe Kapler said. “His hand speed improved, and this uptick was validated by an increase in velocity. He was better early in the count, and he improved his slider and added a cutter.

“Oaksie aims to make everything look like a fastball out of his hand. Our pitching crew is enthusiastic about the potential of an additional weapon to compete with the best lefthanded hitters he’ll face in 2017.”


Outfielder Jacob Scavuzzo had surgery in mid-January to remove a bone spur from his left elbow. The surgery should limit him until he arrives at minor league camp in March.

The Dodgers acquired 28-year-old outfielder Brett Eibner by sending Double-A second baseman Jordan Tarsovich to the Athletics.

— Bill Plunkett covers the Dodgers for the Orange County Register

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