Happy Monday everyone. Just wanted to catch everyone up on the team reports and accompanying video:
- Toronto Blue Jays, with a focus on Sam Dyson (Video focuses on Jake Marisnick, Deck McGuire and Kevin Pillar)
- Colorado Rockies, with a focus on Kent Matthes (Video focuses on Matthes, Corey Dickerson and Isaiah Froneberger)
And we have 2 Stars of the Day to hand out, for Friday and Saturday. First, Friday:
While the Marlins’ Kyle Jensen gets a tip of the cap for his 4-for-5 day at the plate for Phoenix (to go along with 3 RBIs), B3 has to go with another pitcher as Friday’s Star of the Day. Any 1-0 game in the AFL stands out and while Indians LHP T.J. House didn’t figure into the decision of Scottsdale’s win by that score, he certainly did his part. House went five hitless innings for the Scorpions, walking three and striking out four. He’s now given up one run on three hits over eight innings in the AFL, following a season that saw him finish third in the organization in strikeouts and fourth in WHIP, BAA and wins.
And now, from Saturday:
The scores from Saturday look much more like the Fall League we’ve all been used to over the years — one game 16-10, another 12-11. Kudos to the aforementioned Sardinas for homering and driving in four runs. But Saturday’s Star is awarded to Josh Prince of the Brewers. Prince, a former shortstop who made the transition to the outfield during the regular season, did what a leadoff man is supposed to for the Phoenix Desert Dogs. He went 3-for-3 with two walks, getting on base all five times he came to the plate. He scored two runs and drove in three, walking and scoring the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. He also fell a home run short of the cycle. The only downside for the speedster who his hitting .433 in the AFL thus far is that he got caught stealing twice (once via pickoff).
Today’s featured AFL Team Report is on the Seattle Mariners and focuses on 2012 first-round pick Mike Zunino. And here’s the video report:
A quick Star of the Day goes to…another pitcher:
Bobby Cassevah of the Angels went four scoreless on Thursday. The right-hander gave up just one hit, walked none and struck out three. In two AFL starts, he’s now gone seven shutout innings allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out four. Cassevah has actually spent quite a bit of time in the big leagues, pitching out of the Angels bullpen in 2010, 2011 and a bit this past season. A groundball machine, he’s been pitching in relief for most of his professional career. He didn’t have a good year in 2012, but it’s not often to see a guy with almost 65 Major League innings under his belt in the Fall League.
We’ve started rolling out our AFL team overviews. We have choices, too — the written word. Yesterday, the Phillies report went up. And you can watch the accompanying video report:
And if you missed it from earlier in the week, you can read the Twins report as well. I linked to that video yesterday, but here it is again.
Many more to come… And here’s the Star of the Day from Wednesday’s action:
While Kyle Kaminska (Pirates) should be applauded for his five scoreless innings of work for Scottsdale, it’s hard not to give the Star to Kevin Pillar of the Blue Jays. While going 3-for-5 with 2 RBIs and 2 SB sounds ok, but maybe not exceptional for the hitting haven that is the AFL. But then consider that one of his steals was of home, then you take notice, right? It was part of a double-steal, but as Pillar explained in the recap, he did it on his own (take note, young baserunners, that secondary lead is important!)
“[Later in the inning], we had a left-handed hitter (Andy Wilkins) up, so the third baseman (Cody Asche) was playing off the bag a lot. I had a huge lead for my normal secondary lead, and when I saw the catcher (Mike Zunino) throw down [to second base], I was able to walk in. It was just something I did on my own, I just got a good read. At that point we still needed runs, so I capitalized on it.”
He’s been capitalizing all year. Pillar was the Midwest League MVP, got promoted to the Florida State League and kept on raking. The 32nd round pick in 2011 hit a combined .323/.374/.439 with 91 RBIs (his most surprising stat!) and 51 steals.
Covering Monday and Tuesday’s games, following my two-day stint in our studios in NYC to shoot AFL team reports and record things for the 2013 Draft Top 50 (coming in November!)
Monday’s Star of the Day nod goes to Padres’ 2b prospect Jeudy Valdez. Leading off for Peoria on Monday, the 23-year-old went 3-for-5 with two doubles, a triple, an RBI and three runs scored. Valdez had a big year in 2011, in the hitter-friendly California League, hitting .295 with 15 homers, 92 RBIs and 34 steals. But he wasn’t nearly as productive with the move up to the Double-A Texas League (.225/.273/.364), so a good AFL could help him get back headed in the right direction.
I figured at some point, there would be repeat Stars of the Day, but I didn’t think it would happen this quickly, and I certainly didn’t think it would happen with a pitcher. With all due respect to Kolten Wong’s 4-for-4 day, it’s Kyle Gibson who once again deserves the honor. The Twins’ right-hander continues to put Tommy John surgery in his rear view mirror. The Twins’ No. 16 prospect (me thinks he’ll move up in 2013) once again went five innings, allowing one run on six hits. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out 8. In two outings, his line reads: 10 IP, 10 H, 1 ER, 0.90 ERA, 0 BB, 16 K. Not too shabby.
Gibson is one of the Twins’ prospects featured in the AFL team report we recorded in NY. Here’s the finished version.
Hey all –
We’ll cover two days with one post, as long as there aren’t any objections.
First, for Friday’s action:
I’m declaring it a draw, an all-UConn day. There was shortstop Nick Ahmed of the Braves. The 2011 second round pick out of UConn went 3-for-3 with a double, two runs scored and four RBIs. He’s gone 5-for-9 in two AFL games to date after a solid first full season in the Carolina League that saw him steal 40 bases.
Then there’s the Astros’ George Springer. A 2011 first-round pick (No. 11 overall) also drove in four runs with a homer and a triple, going 2-for-3 with three runs scored. Springer was a California League All-Star, putting up some big numbers, albeit in Lancaster (22 HR, 28 SB, .557 SLG). He earned a promotion up to Double-A, where he struggled a bit.
Now on to Saturday’s action:
It’s tempting to go with Mike Zunino of the Mariners. After all, how often does a catcher hit two triples in one game. But the real Start of the Day has to be Brock Kjeldgaard of the Brewers. The outfielder hit two homers and drove in three runs. Kjeldgaard clearly has some pop — he hit 24 homers in 2011 — but took a step back in 2012. Could he be righting the ship in Arizona? He’s 4-for-7 with three homers and 4 RBIs in two games.
Sure, there were some good performances at the plate. Gary Brown had three hits, two RBIs and a stolen base, not a bad day’s work for the Giants’ No. 1 prospect. Nick Castellanos, the Tigers’ top prospect, hit a ninth-inning home run to give Mesa its first win. And Washington prospect Brian Goodwin (No. 3) homered to tie the game in the ninth as Salt River went on to beat Brown and Scottsdale, 6-5.
But Thursday’s Star of the Day is a no-brainer, and it comes from the mound.
Kyle Gibson came to the Fall League to continue to make up for lost innings and to regain his form following Tommy John surgery. The Twins’ No. 16 prospect would likely be in the big leagues by now if it hadn’t been for his elbow woes and he threw just 28 1/3 innings in 2012 as he worked his way back. Well, if Thursday is any indication, he’s shaking the rust off quite nicely. Gibson went five shutout innings on Thursday, something that doesn’t typically happen this early in the AFL schedule. He gave up just four hits, walked none and struck out eight. He hadn’t thrown more than four innings in any outing since he returned from TJ surgery.
It’s pretty clear that the Star of the Day comes from the Surprise Saguaros, who beat Peoria, 8-4.
Rangers first base prospect Chris McGuiness went 4-for-5 with three RBIs, falling just a triple short of the cycle (in over 1,500 professional plate appearances, McGuiness has just one triple, so this isn’t exactly shocking). McGuiness, a product of the Citadel, came to the Rangers from the Red Sox as part of the Jarrod Saltalamacchia deal. He’s coming off a solid 2012 campaign in Double-A where he finished fourth in the Texas League in homers and seventh in slugging percentage.
Elsewhere… Rays OF Kevin Keirmaier stole three bases as his Phoenix Desert Dogs lost in 11 innings to the Scottsdale Scorpions, 6-5. And Salt River homered three times. The Diamondbacks’ No. 4 prospect Matt Davidson hit one, and two of the Nationals’ Top 20 went deep as well: Matt Skole (No. 12) in the first inning, going back-to-back with Davidson, and Brian Goodwin (No. 3 and No. 67 overall) in the 9th.
The first day of the Arizona Fall League is in the books and it’s time to revive a series I’ve tried on here in the past — the AFL Star of the Day. I’ll admit it’s been a challenge keeping it going all Fall, but I’m going to do my darndest to post every day. After a day’s games, please feel free to send in nominations in comments or via Twitter (@jonathanmayob3).
Typically a hitting-friendly league, there were some pitchers that deserved serious consideration. The Royals’ Justin Marks tossed three hitless innings for Surprise in what ended up being a 5-2 win for Peoria. Chris Gloor of the Giants tossed four innings of three-hit, shutout ball for Scottsdale, striking out five and walking none. In the same game, Shawn Haviland of the A’s went three scoreless, allowing just one hit while striking out four for Phoenix. And it was the Desert Dogs who won the game.
But I think I’ll stick with some offense for our first AFL Star of the Day: Javier Baez of the Cubs. Ranked No. 23 on MLB.com’s Top 100 Prospects list, and No. 1 on the Cubs’ Top 20, Baez is coming off of a very solid first full season that saw him reach the Florida State League at age 19 and hit a combined .294/.346/.543 with 16 homers and 24 steals. And he didn’t make his 2012 debut until the end of May. Now he’s one of the younger performers in the AFL. And all he did was homer and double while driving in three in Mesa’s 6-5 loss at Salt River on Tuesday night.
OK, so maybe he’s Seattle-bound, but that didn’t work as well alliteration-wise.
After previous comments saying they would not call up their 2011 first-round pick, the Orioles did just that today. Dylan Bundy is headed to the big leagues. The teenager, who was taken No. 4 overall in the 2011 Draft, last pitched on Sept. 5, a victory in Game 1 of the Eastern League playoffs.
If only someone, back at the time rosters expanded, say… Aug. 31, had encouraged the Orioles to bring Bundy up, thinking he could help out of the bullpen down the stretch, at the very least. A prospect expert of some sort maybe… hmmmm
Slowing down, obviously, but a few good names getting promoted for the first time:
Edwar Cabrera (COL, No. 10): Called up for the third time this year.
Wilmer Font (TEX, No. 6): Called up for the first time.
Justin Grimm (TEX, No. 10): Called up for the second time this year.
Jhan Marinez (CWS, No. 13): Called up for the second time this year.
Jake Odorizzi (KC, No. 3): Called up for the first time.
Zach Putnam (COL, No. 15): Called up for the third time this year.
L.J. Hoes (BAL, No. 13): Called up to the Majors for the first time.