Dodgers News: Minor League Affiliates Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, Great Lakes Loons Clinch Playoff Spots

Since being bought by the Guggenheim Baseball Management group in 2012, the Los Angeles Dodgers set about transforming their Minor League system into what is now consistently one of the sport’s best.

While the Dodgers under Guggenheim initially became known for spending big to improve with veteran Major League stars like Adrian Gonzalez and Zack Greinke, several of the team’s biggest contributors over the past few seasons are homegrown such as Corey Seager, Walker Buehler and Cody Bellinger.

Despite promoting or trading away so many top prospects in recent years, the Dodgers still have one of the best minor league systems in baseball, finishing in the top 10 of MLB Pipeline’s rankings before the 2019 season.

Another example of the system’s strength is the success of the Dodgers’ Minor League affiliates, which has continued this year. Thanks to the split-season format of their respective leagues, the Low-A Great Lakes Loons and High-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes have already clinched playoff spots.

The Loons reached the Midwest League postseason for the seventh time in franchise history and fourth time in the past five years. However, they had not secured a playoff spot in the first half of the season since 2015.

The Loons also did so in 2010, when they finished with a franchise-best .623 first-half winning percentage. They look poised to break that record this year, with a .651 winning percentage and four games remaining in the first half.

Once postseason play begins in September, the Loons will look to improve on their 2018 performance, when they were swept in the MWL’s Eastern Division semifinals. It marked John Shoemaker’s first trip to the MWL playoffs in three tries, having also managed the Loons from 2011-12.

Shoemaker returned to the helm in 2019, becoming the first manager to stay with the Loons for more than one season since his initial stint with the team. The Loons won their first and only MWL championship in 2016 under Gil Velazquez.

The defending champion Quakes will play in the California League playoffs for the fourth time in the past five seasons as well. They are led by first-year manager Mark Kertenian, while former Dodger Elian Herrera serves as bench coach and third base coach.

During the five-season stretch, the Quakes have won two Cal League titles after winning just one in their previous 22 seasons in Rancho. Their 87-53 record in 2018 under former manager Drew Saylor easily became the best in Quakes history, while their 2015 championship squad featured Bellinger as a breakout prospect at first base.

The current Quakes squad features several top-30 Dodgers prospects per MLB Pipeline, including shortstop Jeter Downs, outfielder Jeren Kendall, catcher Connor Wong and pitcher Josiah Gray.