Dodgers Start 2023 Season Thursday, Loons Approach Milestone
MIDLAND, MI – The 65th season of Los Angeles Dodgers baseball will commence on March 30th as the Dodgers host the Arizona Diamondbacks. Julio Urias, a starter on the 2013 Loons as a 16-year-old, will be on the mound for his first career Opening Day start. The 2023 season is
MIDLAND, MI – The 65th season of Los Angeles Dodgers baseball will commence on March 30th as the Dodgers host the Arizona Diamondbacks. Julio Urias, a starter on the 2013 Loons as a 16-year-old, will be on the mound for his first career Opening Day start.
The 2023 season is expected to mark the Loons reaching and then surpassing 100 alumni who have played a game in Major League Baseball.
Michael Busch can potentially be the next Loon up, with the 25-year-old currently on the 40-man roster. After being selected in the first round of the 2019 Draft by the Dodgers, he played five games with Great Lakes that year. The left-handed hitter reached base in four of five games. Busch last season played in a combined 142 games at the Double-A and Triple-A level.
The current roster is adorned with plenty of players whose road to the show went through Midland.
James Outman, who suited up for 184 games as a member of the Loons from 2019-2021, made his Dodgers debut last September. Outman compiled 162 hits including 28 home runs and 86 RBI. The California native earned 41 stolen bases and committed just six errors.
Outman will join the Opening Day outfield group alongside Mookie Betts, David Peralta, Chris Taylor, and Trayce Thompson.
Miguel Vargas started his major league career last August, and is expected to be a Dodgers starter in the infield. The Cuba-born Vargas across three seasons with the Loons played 130 games, producing 156 hits. In 2021, Vargas slashed .314/.366/.532 with seven home runs in 37 games.
Behind the plate, Will Smith will play in his fifth season for Los Angeles. Smith in his first year in the minors back in 2016, had 21 hits in 23 games in July with the Loons. Smith was then promoted to at the time High-A Rancho Cucamonga. He would make his Dodgers debut in May of 2019.
The Los Angeles Dodgers one-two pitching duo will be the aforementioned Urias and Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw, 16 years ago as a 19-year-old, dominated the Midwest League striking out 134 batters over 97 innings in 20 games, all starts, for the 2007 Great Lakes Loons.
Eight days after the Dodgers home opener, the Loons will begin their season hosting the Lansing Lugnuts on Friday, April 7th at Dow Diamond. First pitch is at 6:05 p.m.