Results tagged ‘ Arizona Fall League ’

AFL favorites: Non-Top 20 edition

My colleagues Jim Callis (@JimCallisMLB) and Bernie Pleskoff (@BerniePleskoff) have already weighed in on players they liked in the Arizona Fall League who didn’t make MLBPipeline.com’s Top 20 list.  Jim mentioned five players in his blog while Bernie filed two reports, one on outfielder Henry Urrutia and one on lefty Eduardo Rodriguez, both from the Orioles organization.

Teddy Cahill (@tedcahill), who also helped out with the Top 20 along with Jim and Bernie, listed these names when asked who were his non-Top 20 favorites: Eduardo Rodriguez, Andrew Susac, Brian Goodwin and Mason Williams. He also liked Richie Shaffer as a bit of a sleeper pick, not a guy who belongs on a Top 20, but one who “seemed to rebound from a so-so season” and who walked as much as he struck out in Arizona.

Where does that leave me? I, too, like Rodriguez and Susac, but I wanted to find a few players not mentioned by anyone else (a benefit of being late in posting this). So I’m definitely going more of the “sleeper pick” route, though all of these guys are prospects in their own right. In no particular order:

Chris Taylor, SS/2B, Mariners: Not saying he’s going to be a superstar or anything, but he’s hit everywhere he’s been, reaching Double-A this past year. He has good on-base skills and can play second and short. He’s the type of utlity guy (maybe an every-day 2B?) who helps teams win and I’m becoming a firm believer in University of Virginia guys hitting at the next level.

Yorman Rodriguez, OF, Reds: There were signs that the 21-year-old corner outfielder was starting to figure things out during the 2013 season as he reached Double-A for the first time. Yes, there’s swing and miss aplenty, but the tools are very much still there and he’s starting to use them. Oh, and he won’t turn 22 until mid-August.

Mike Montgomery, LHP, Rays: Yeah, I know what you’re going to say. Him again? Been there, done that. But he’s still big and left-handed, and he threw pretty well this fall. He’s still only 24 and has decent stuff. It’s all about command, and it was pretty good in the AFL.

Nick Wittgren, RHP, Marlins: OK, I have to admit. I’m kind of stealing this from Bernie Pleskoff, who really likes Wittgren. So do I, though maybe not quite as much as Bernie does. Wittgren put up video game numbers during the 2013 season (0.77 ERA, .198 BAA, 9.5 K/9, 1.5 BB/9), then did it some more in a much more hostile pitching environment in the AFL (0.66 ERA, .130 BAA, 19 K, 2 BB in 13 2/3 IP). He had 26 saves during the regular season, but he’s likely not a closer in the big leagues. But he could be pitching there in 2014.

AFL and Rookie of the Year success

I’m back in Arizona, watching the final night game here at Scottsdale Stadium, and started thinking about alumni from this league and how they fare during awards season. So I did some digging…

While one was unanimous and one was close, it really shouldn’t have surprised anyone that Mike Trout and Bryce Harper were this year’s Rookie of the Year Award winners.

It also shouldn’t shock anyone that both are Arizona Fall League alumni. For six years in a row now, at least one of the Rookies of the Year played in the AFL previously.

The Trout-Harper perfecta isn’t even that unusual. In five of the last seven seasons, starting with Huston Street and Ryan Howard’s ROY Awards in 2005, both winners cut their teeth here. The other dynamic duos:

Dustin Pedroia and Ryan Braun, 2007
Evan Longoria and Geovany Soto, 2008
Andrew Bailey and Chris Coghlan, 2009
Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, 2012

Trout and Harper have something in common with Street and Howard. In both cases, the Rookie of the Year tandems both played in the AFL the year prior to winning the top rookie honor. Not only that, in both instances, the award winners were AFL teammates. In 2004, Street and Howard were Phoenix Desert Dogs. Last year, Trout and Harper played in the same Scottsdale Scorpions outfield.

There have now been 24 Rookies of the Year who once called the Arizona Fall League home.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a look at Cy Young Award winners.

In case you missed them, here are two more AFL team reports:

The Yankees report focuses on Mark Montgomery. Their video report takes a look at Montgomery, Slade Heathcott and Dellin Betances:

Gary Brown is the focus of the Giants report. In the video report, Brown, Joe Panik and Chris Dominguez are featured.

Finally, Stars of the Day for Monday and Tuesday:

Monday: We’ll go with Kevin Siegrist of the Cardinals, for his four-inning, one run performance. The lefty gave up four hits, walked one and struck out eight. He’s now 10th in ERA (2.37) and second in strikeouts (27).

Tuesday: The aforementioned Slade Heathcott gets the nod after going 4-for-5, including his first homer of the fall. He drove in two and scored a run. Heathcott is now fifth in the league in batting average (.371) and second in OPS (1.084).

AFL Reports: White Sox, O’s and Braves

Been a busy week, what with participating in our democracy and all. Let’s catch up, shall we?

The report on the White Sox featured Trayce Thompson. The video report focused on Thompson, Carlos Sanchez and Andy Wilkins.


The Orioles’ report featured Jonathan Schoop, while the video report’s focus was on Schoop, Clay Schrader and Chris Petrini.

And, finally, the report on the Braves centered around Nick Ahmed , while the video report focused on Edward Salcedo, Ahmed and Cory Rasmus.

And a quick catch up on Stars of the Day:

Monday: Chris Owings of the Diamondbacks. The D-backs’ No. 5 prospect went 3-for-5 with a double, homer and 3 RBIs.

Tuesday: Nick Franklin of the Mariners. The M’s No. 3 prospect went 4-for-5, with two doubles and 6 RBIs.

Wednesday: Logan Darnell of the Twins. The left-hander went four innings, allowing no runs on one hit while walking none and striking out five in his first AFL start.

Thursday: Rymer Liriano of the Padres. The Padres’ No. 1 prospect went 3-for-5 with two doubles and 3 RBIs.

 

AFL Report: Royals

Since last we spoke, we’ve missed two team reports:

Here’s the Royals report, focusing on Whit Merrifield.

The video report hones in on Orlando Calixte and Brian Fletcher.

And here’s the Padres report, which features top prospect Rymer Liriano.

Their video report talks about Liriano, Cory Spangenberg and Nate Freiman.

 

Quick Star of the Day from Friday, again an in-person account, though the choices from the Surprise-Phoenix game are somewhat limited.

But I’ll mention the opposing shortstops. The Braves’ Nick Ahmed had just one hit, but it was a home run. The UConn product, Rising Stars participant and the Braves’ No. 10 prospect,  is hitting .326 this fall after a solid first full season in the Carolina League. But the Star goes to the other shortstop, the one for Surprise. Luis Sardinas is No. 7 on the Rangers’ Top 20. Just 19, Sardinas had a fine full-season debut, hitting .291 with 32 steals in the South Atlantic League. In the AFL, he’s hitting .364 in 33 at-bats. He went 3-for-4 on Friday and continues to impress scouts. Doesn’t seem fair, for a system that already has Elvis Andrus in the big leagues and Jurickson Profar knocking on the door soon, does it?

 

AFL report: Red Sox and Mets

Thursday’s AFL Report was on the Boston Red Sox, focusing on Bryce Brentz, the system’s No. 4 prospect (No. 70 overall).

The video report features Brentz, Michael Almanzar and Brock Huntziger.

Today’s report is about your New York Mets, featuring outfielder Darrell Ceciliani. The video report focuses on him and fellow outfielder Cesar Puello, the Mets’ No. 6 prospect.

 

Got two Stars of the Day for you, one from Wednesday and one — witnessed in person! — from Thursday.

For Wednesday, I’m going to go with T.J. House of the Indians. This is the second Star of the Day nod for the lefty and for good reason. He’s been solid this fall. On Wednesday, he went four shutout innings, allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out four. For the fall, he has a 1.59 ERA and .175 BAA over 17 IP. It’s been a pretty good way for House to cap off a successful 2012 season that saw him spend much of the year in Double-A.

For Thursday’s Star, I have to go with a guy I saw. Kevin Jensen has been mentioned here before, too, named the Star of the Day for last Thursday. I threw out some fun stuff from our friends at Trackman about how Jensen was among the leaders in hardest, and farthest, balls hit in the AFL. Well, he was at it again on Thursday at Salt River Fields. The Marlins’ outfielder went 3-for-3 in the game, driving in driving in a pair and scoring twice. His second hit was a laser triple to center field that hit the batter’s eye (without knowing the ground rules of the place, I thought at first it was gone). In his next at-bat, he crushed a ball out the opposite way. Not sure what Trackman would have to say about either, but they’d have to register somewhere on the hard hit balls list, I’d wager. I’m told that Jensen is more of a mistake hitter than anything else (he did strike out over 160 times in 2012 and his Double-A numbers weren’t great), but boy, he’s not missing any mistakes here so far this fall. He currently stands second in RBIs and SLG and he’s third in OPS.

AFL Report: Astros and a Yankee Star

The Houston Astros are up next, with intrepid reporter Brian McTaggart writing about new manager Bo Porter’s visit to his prospects in the AFL.

As always, here’s the video report, focusing on Jonathan Singleton, George Springer and Jarred Cosart.

Now, a look at Tuesday’s Star of the Day:

The Yankees’ Slade Heathcott hasn’t had the easiest path as a professional. No. 5 on the New York’s Top 20, the former first-rounder has had some issues on and off the field. Injuries have really hampered him (2 shoulder surgeries) and his career high in at-bats is just 351. So he’s really trying to make up for some lost time with Scottsdale this fall. He certainly did that on Tuesday, going 4-for-5 with a double, two triples and five RBIs. He’s hitting .275/.408/.400 over 11 AFL games (40 ABs). He’s really enjoyed hitting from the leadoff spot, with a .471 average in four games. And yes, he was in that slot on Tuesday.

AFL catchup — Rays, Marlins, Phillies, Cubs, Dodgers…

As could have been predicted, I’ve fallen behind on AFL updates in recent days. I’d love to blame Sandy for that, but that wouldn’t be fair. So… let’s catch up on team reports and Stars of the Day, shall we?  Oh, and stay tuned for news on the Rising Stars Game rosters, the exciting game being played at Salt River on Saturday (And I’ll be there in person to cover).

First, the team reports:

Tampa Bay Rays: Focuses on Tim Beckham

Miami Marlins: Focuses on Christian Yelich

Chicago Cubs: Focuses on Tony Zych

Los Angeles Dodgers: Focuses on Chris Reed

OK, now that we’ve got that out of the way, it’s time to hand out some Stars of the Day for action from Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday.

Thursday: While there were some good hitting performances — Nick Franklin homered and drove in a pair for Peoria; Kyle Jensen homered and drove in two for Phoenix, Brian Goodwin went 3-for-4 with two doubles and Carlos Sanchez  went 2-for-3 with a triple and 4 RBIs, both for Salt River. But I have to give the tip of the B3 cap to Tim Crabbe of the Reds. He tossed four hitless innings for Peoria, walking one and striking out two. That brought his AFL batting average against down to .182.

Friday: It really comes down to two hitters from the Peoria-Salt River game. Vinnie Catricala of the Mariners had a nice day, going 2-for-4 with a homer and 3 RBIs. But the Rockies’ Kent Matthes one-upped him a bit, going 3-for-3 with a home run and 4 RBIs. Matthes is now fifth in the AFL with his .596 SLG and tied for fourth with 10 RBIs.

Saturday: It was tempting to give a rare star to a reliever. Chris Martin of the Red Sox went two perfect innings and struck out four for Surprise. But it was too hard to ignore Tyler Botnick‘s day for Salt River. The Diamondbacks’ infielder went 4-for-5 with a double, four RBIs, two runs scored and a stolen base. Those were the first four RBIs of the fall for Bortnick, who is hitting .296 for the Rafters.

And, finally, Monday: A couple of good candidates, including another homer from Matthes. Ryan Perry of the Natinals went five scoreless, allowing just one hit while striking out three. But the Pirates’ Kyle Kaminska was just a smidge better. He also went five scorless, allowing just one hit. But he struck out six to earn the Star. He’s on a one good, one bad start pattern. In the two good starts, he’s gone 10 IP, allowing no runs on just four hits and no walks while striking out nine. In the not as good starts, he still isn’t walking anyone — just one free pass allowed all fall — but he’s given up four earned runs on 13 hits over eight innings. Kaminska came to the Pirates at the trade deadline along with Gaby Sanchez. He hasn’t started regularly since 2009, so it’ll be interesting to see if the fact that he is starting in the AFL means anything in 2013.

AFL Report: Angels

Today’s report is on the Los Angeles Angels and how Kaleb Cowart (No. 1 on the Angels’ Top 20) and Bobby Cassevah have taken very different paths to be in the same place in Arizona.

The video report below focuses on Cowart, Travis Witherspoon and Randal Grichuk, all in that Top 20.

And Wednesday’s Star of the Day is…

Someone from the Phoenix Desert Dogs, who absolutely pounded the Surprise Saguaros, 15-1. Honestly, I thought going for the two-point conversion after their second touchdown was a bit much… The Dogs, as I like to call ‘em, had two players with four hits. Brock Kjeldgaard of the Brewers went 4-for-6 with a pair of ribbies. But Tim Beckham of the Rays outdid him just a bit. The former No. 1 overall pick went 4-for-5 with a double, triple and four RBIs. Beckham has been working on his play at second base while making up for lost time and trying to restore his prospect status following a 50-game suspension this year.

AFL Report: Cleveland Indians

Are you kids on the Twitter? Well, then, I suggest you take a look at a handy list compiled of the players in the Arizona Fall League who like to “tweet,” as you youngsters call it. It’s fun for the whole family.

So is reading the most recent  AFL team report. Today’s subject: Your Cleveland Indians (focus on T.J. House). And, as has been my custom, here’s the video report (featuring Ronny Rodriguez, Alex Monsalve and Shawn Armstrong):

As for the Star of the Day for Tuesday’s games, let’s give a big B3 cheer for…

Kyle Jensen of the Miami Marlins for his grand slam in what ended up a 7-7 tie between Phoenix and Mesa. Jensen’s had himself a fine AFL campaign so far, sitting fifth in batting average (.390), second in RBIs (10) and seventh in OPS (1.017). But I also wanted to use Jensen to highlight some cool stuff that the folks at Trackman are doing in Arizona. They measure all sorts of cool stuff, from good ol’ fastball velocity to fastball extension and breaking ball spin for pitchers to hardest and longest hits, including exit speeds for hitters. Why do I bring this up now? Because Jensen, at last check in, led the AFL in hard contacts at the plate. Of 15 contacts recorded off the bat by Jensen, 12 were deemed as hard contacts by Trackman (hard meaning 90+ mph). He has three of the top 20 hardest hit balls of the AFL, all three of which had speeds of over 106 mph. And as Trackman points out on that leaderboard, the MLB average on  balls hit over 105 mph is .722, so Jensen is clearly doing something right.

AFL Report: Pirates

You can read all about the Pirates prospects in the AFL, featuring Vic Black. You can also watch the video report, which focuses on Black, Brandon Cumpton and Gift Ngeope. Black and Cumpton are currently on the Pirates’ Top 20.

 

And Monday’s Star of the Day goes to…

Chase Anderson of the Diamondbacks. The right-hander, ranked No. 19 on the D-backs’ Top 20, has flown under the radar because of injuries that forced him to miss nearly all of 2011. But he had a very solid 2012 season in Double-A and he’s kept it up in the Fall League. In his third AFL start on Monday, Anderson tossed four shutout innings, allowing one hit and one walk while striking out five. He now has a 2.79 ERA over 9 2/3 IP, with the league hitting just .152 against him.

 

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