Archive for the 'Arizona Fall League' Category

Keller Dominates in AFL

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

Myworld could not get excited for any of the performances of the AFL players on Sunday. Paul Clemons pitched four innings of no hit ball, but he is a journeyman that has been released by a couple teams already. On Monday, Mitch Keller is the winter league player of the day, though it was a very limited schedule for the Caribbean Leagues.

Mitch pitched five innings of one hit shutout ball in the Glendale Desert Dogs 3-2 win over the Scottsdale Scorpions. For Keller it was his fourth start in the AFL and his second shutout performance. His ERA sits at 1.72 and the opposition has struggled to make solid contact off him, batting .151. That performance has earned him an appearance in the AFL Fall Star game.

Last year Keller reached AA, pitching at three different levels. He compiled a 3.03 ERA while limiting the opposition to a .202 average. The second round 2014 pick sits in the mid 90s with his fastball with an above average curveball. He sprung into prospect status after whiffing 9.5 hitters per nine innings in Low A in 2016. His strikeout rate in the AFL (10 in 15.2 innings) is not as great, but he is still able to limit contact. If he continues to have success next year expect him to see some time in the Pirates rotation in 2018.

Acuna and No Hit Outings Dominant Winter League Action

Saturday, October 28th, 2017

Myworld has identified three players for winter league player of the day for October 27.

Ronald Acuna

He will probably be considered the best prospect in baseball when the prospect rankings for 2018 come out. He has all five tools, ability to hit for power, speed, an arm to play right and the defense to play center and the ability to hit for average. His pop showed up on Friday with two solo shots in the Peoria Javelinas 9-8 win over the Salt River Rafters. Acuna also contributed a double and scored three runs in the victory.

The three hits raised his AFL average to .378 with three homeruns. Last year at three different levels, finishing at AAA he hit .325 with 21 homeruns and 82 RBIs. At 19 years of age, the Braves saw no reason to promote him to the major leagues. Next year will be a different story.

Mike Mayers

Mayers threw five innings of no hit shutout ball, striking out 9 in a losing cause with the Toros winning 2-1 over Escogido. The bullpen came on in the seventh and coughed up two runs on RBI singles.

Mayers was a third round pick of the Cardinals in 2013. After next year he can become a six year minor league free agent if not placed on the 40-man roster. In 2016 he struggled in a September callup, finishing with a 27.00 ERA Last year he had an 11.57 ERA in three September appearances.

In two appearances in the Dominican League Mayers has only given up one run in 11 innings, striking out 14. He has only given up three hits, one of those a solo shot that accounts for the only run he has given up. His fastball has some velocity, hitting the mid-90s, but his secondary pitches have held him back. The Cardinals may try to use him in the bullpen where his lack of a breaking pitch will have less of a negative impact.

Daniel Rodriguez

In the Mexican League Daniel Rodriguez had a perfect game no hitter until giving up a leadoff single in the ninth inning. The Culiacan Tomateros were able to hold on to defeat the Navojoa Mayos 1-0. After a sacrifice bunt Chad Guadin came on to get the last two outs of the inning to earn his fourth save.

Rodriguez has pitched in the Mexican Summer League for the last three years. At 32 years of age it would be difficult to find a team in the major leagues. In three appearances in the Winter League he has been sharp, giving up only two runs in three appearances. He has only given up 9 hits in 20 plus innings with a 0.89 ERA.

Brentz and Riley Winter League Mashers of the Day

Friday, October 27th, 2017

Myworld is going to try to recognize at least one player who performs well each day in the winter leagues. Today we have two. Austin Riley a prospect for the Braves and Bryce Brentz, a used to be prospect for the Red Sox. They both had tremendous hitting days in their teams rout of their opponents, Riley in the Arizona Fall League and Brentz in the Mexican League.

Austin Riley hit for the cycle in the Peoria Javelinas 19-4 win over the Mesa Solar Sox. The day started very innocently with a ground ball single up the middle in the second inning. It was the only hit of the inning and it ended with Mesa leading 2-0. With the score 4-0 going into the bottom of the third Peoria rallied for five runs to take the lead. Riley blasted a two run homer to give Peoria the lead.

In the fifth inning Riley strikes out. The game is still close 5-4. The sixth inning gives Riley a fourth at bat and he doubles to center to drive in his fourth run. Peoria erupts for seven runs and Riley is a triple short of the cycle. He gets another bat in the seventh inning and triples in two runs to complete the cycle and drive in five of the 19 Peoria runs. His final at bat is in the eighth inning when he reaches on a fielding error.

At 6′3″ Riley is a highly touted prospect in a very deep Braves minor league system. He hit 20 homeruns between High A and AA with a .275 batting average and 74 RBIs. His 124 whiffs in 129 games tells he has a propensity for the swing and miss. He is currently hitting .346 in the AFL with two homeruns in six games. A former pitcher, he has the arm to stick at third but his height combined with a heavy frame may force a shift to first.

Bryce Brentz used to be a top prospect with the Boston Red Sox. The rightfielder was noted for his strong right field arm and his power bat. That power bat was on display yesterday with his three homeruns in the Herosillo Naranjeros 17-4 win over the Culiacan Tomateros. So if my Spanish does not fail me the Oranges beat the Tomatoes.

Bryce began his power display in the first inning with a three run homer to fuel a five run opening frame. His solo shot in the third made it 6-0. He then led off the fifth with a homerun to give him three homeruns in three at bats. With plenty of at bats left in an early game a four to five homerun display was in the making.

In the sixth inning he had to settle for a single, but it drove in a run to give him his sixth RBI of the game. He flew out to left in the seventh inning in his last at bat to leave his homerun total at three.

Bryce is currently hitting .233 with four homeruns in the Mexican League. That follows his blueprint as a prospect, a low average hitter with lots of strikeouts to go along with his pop. He’ll turn 29 in December and he has six years playing for Pawtucket. Perhaps it is time the first round pick of the Red Sox in the 2010 draft find another team in need of an outfielder. He did hit a career high 31 homeruns last year at Pawtucket. Injuries have restricted him to less than 100 games from 2013 to 2016. In his two September callups to the major leagues (2014 and 2016) he has one homerun in close to 100 at bats. He has 127 homeruns in his eight year minor league career, 72 of those with Pawtucket.

Bryce was removed from the Red Sox 40 man roster just after spring training in 2017. This would make him a six year minor league free agent free to sign with any club.

Brave Pitchers Shine in AFL Opener

Thursday, October 12th, 2017

A number of the best prospects continue their baseball careers in the Arizona Fall League. The Atlanta Braves had many of those prospects on the mound for the Peoria Javelinas in their 3-0 win over the Glendale Desert Dogs. Max Fried struck out seven in three innings of shutout ball and Touki Toussaint followed with two innings of shutout ball, striking out four. Touki was given credit for the victory.

Josh Graham, another Braves pitcher worked an inning and struck out two. Corbin Clousse got in two innings of work and struck out four. That gives Braves pitching prospects a total of 16 whiffs on the day. The only non-Brave to pitch was Blue Jays Andrew Case. He did not strike out any hitters in his one inning of work, but pitched the last inning to pick up the save.

Red Sox prospect Michael Chavis drove in two runs with a double and Lourdes Gurriel drove in one run with a single.

Justus Sheffield threw five innings of one hit shutout ball in the Scottsdale Scorpions 7-4 win over the Mesa Solar Sox. Sheffield struck out six in his outing. He was supported by a Billy McKinney three run homer in the third and a solo shot from Tomas Nido in the eighth.

2016 Post Season Arizona Fall League All Stars

Monday, November 21st, 2016

Myworld has selected our Arizona Fall League All Stars based on current production plus future production. So if a talented prospect did not put up good numbers he will be absent from this All Star team. If a Tim Tebow type had put up good numbers he would not be considered because we don’t consider him a viable prospect. Below is the AFL All Star team by position.

C - Carson Kelly (Cardinals) - There were some good catching prospects in the AFL. The 2016 number one pick by the White Sox Zach Collins just did not get enough at bats. Carson was tied for second in the AFL in RBIs and hit a solid .286 with a slugging average of .455. With Yadier Molina aging and becoming injury prone Carson is ripe to take the catching job away from Yadier, first handling the back up responsibilities before taking over the starting role in 2018.

1B - Cody Bellinger (Dodgers) - You have to pick a player who provides some power. The three homeruns hit by Cody were just two away from the league leader and his 17 RBIs were just one down from Carson. Cody also showed he could hit for average with a .314 average to go along with his .557 slugging. Greg Bird could have the most future potential but his .216 average showed a bit of a struggle as he tried to return from his injury.

2B - Travis Demeritte (Braves) - He still strikes out too much, but he has shown potential to be a high octane offensive performer at second base. The former shortstop had a .855 OPS, which will make most managers forgive his swing and miss transgressions. He did hit four doubles, four triples and four homeruns with 14 RBIs. Brandon Dixon had a higher average (.333) than Travis but we feel Travis has the higher upside.

3B - Brian Anderson (Marlins) - We would have liked to have given it to Miguel Andujar because myworld feels he will make more of a future impact, but Miguel did not bring his A game to Arizona, which is power. He hit nary a ball over the fence while Brian parked 5 over the fence to lead the AFL in homeruns. Anderson hit .273 while Andujar was up to .284. Anderson won the RBI race 12 to 5. Myworld is still not sure of the impact Anderson will make in the future.

SS - Gleyber Torres (Yankees) - There were a lot of good shortstops in the league. Three of the top four hitters for batting average played shortstop. But Gleyber easily won this award with his AFL leading .408 average. He also showed pop with three homeruns and a .645 slugging. Tagging along with the pop was incredible patience at the plate with a 14/8 walk to whiff ratio resulting in a .513 OBA. Dee Gordon put up some good numbers with a .346 average, but his numbers pale in comparison to Torres. He also does not have as much upside.

LF - Tyler O’Neil (Mariners) - This Canadian will hit for 20 plus homers a year once he reaches the major leagues. In the AFL he mashed three with 14 RBIs, hitting a respectable .292. The Mariners would like to see him cut down on his whiffs, but he has shown the patience to take walks (12). Christin Stewart could be an impact player for the Tigers, but his power bat was absent in the AFL with just one dinger.

CF - Andrew Stevenson (Nationals) - A nice breakout AFL for this first round pick. He was second in the AFL in batting with a .353 average and he showed some pop with his two homeruns and .518 slugging percentage. He also showed blazing speed with nine steals in just 11 attempts. Only three other players had more stolen bases. The most intriguing of the three is Greg Allen, who hit one more homer than Andrew, but his batting average was at .269

RF - Bradley Zimmer (Indians) - It was a toss up between Anthony Alford, who has more physical tools, but they have yet to be displayed in on the field production. Zimmer hit .257 to the .253 for Alford with Zimmer clocked in one more RBI (16 to 15) than Alford. The big separator was in OPS where Zimmer won out .935 to .789. Most of Zimmer’s power resulted in gap doubles, his seven being just one behind the AFL leader. Zimmer was also 8 for 9 in stolen bases. Alford equaled him in stolen bases, but was caught three more times.

DH - Anthony Alford (Blue Jays) - This is where we would like to put someone like Eric Wood here to reward him for his AFL leading 20 RBIs, but we are not convinced he will be an impact player. Alford just decided to focus on baseball after trying to establish a football career. The more he plays the better he gets, with five tool potential starting to gestate. See Bradley Zimmer for his numbers comparisons.

Starting pitcher - Francis Martes (Astros) - Francis throws hard with his 25 whiffs in 22.1 innings a testament to that. Some believe his three digit heat and lack of command to be ideal for the bullpen. In the AFL he had a 3.22 ERA, not allowing a runner to score in two of his last three starts. Michael Kopech also throws six digit heat. His ERA (2.01) was better than Martes but character flaws may prevent him from achieving his potential.

Happ Powers Mesa Over Surprise in AFL Championship

Saturday, November 19th, 2016

Ian Happ blasted two homeruns to lead the Mesa Solar Sox to a 6-1 win over the Surprise Saguaros in the AFL championship game. Happ finished the game 4 for 4 with three runs scored and three RBIs. Both teams had won their division by a half a game because of either a tie in their record (Surprise) or because they had played one more game than the second place team (Mesa).

The big hit of the game was by Brian Anderson when he powered a three run homerun in the first inning, scoring Happ with his first of three runs scored to give the Solar Sox an early 3-0 lead. Happ finished off the scoring with a two run homer in the third and a solo shot in the seventh.

Dylan Covey silenced the Saguaros bats to just one hit and one run in his five innings of work. He gave up his run in the fifth inning after a lead off walk, single and wild pitch put runners at third and second with no outs. The runner scored from third on a ground out double play that first went to first and then to third to complete the double play.

Jose Trevino got the only two hits for Surprise in the game, the first hit not coming until the fifth inning. Frankie Montas followed Covey and pitched three shutout innings, allowing the second Trevino hit. For Mesa it is their first AFL championship since 2003. During that time all five other AFL teams had won championships during the Mesa drought.

AFL All Star Game

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

It was the West playing the East but it would be hard to find anyone with a rooting interest in one of the teams. Most of those in attendance were there to get an overdose of prospect performance. The best of the AFL put their skills on the line with the West beating the East 12-4. Not that anyone really cared about the outcome. It was more about who shined to produce the outcome that mattered the most.

Brent Honeywell showed that his screwball may be a pitch for major league hitters to try to figure out next year. He struck out five of the six hitters he faced in his two innings of work for the West. When he was not throwing his screwball he was hitting mid-90s with his fastball.

Michael Kopech followed Honeywell on the mound for the West. He does not have a screwball but his fastball breaks the 100 mile per hour barrier with ease. He also pitched two perfect innings striking out three. When your changeup hits 91 you know there is something special in that arm The West had the game under control after four innings, jumping out to an early 8-0 lead.

Homeruns were hit by Ryan McMahon, Christin Stewart, Cody Bellinger and Willie Calhoun, all names you should remember for future major league All Star ballots. Calhoun was voted the MVP of the game with his 3 for 3 performance and three RBIs. Stewart and McMahon were the two players from the East squad to go deep.

Michael Gettys cleared the bases for three RBIs with his double in the second to give the West an early 4-0 lead. Carson Kelly drove in the first run with his RBI single in the second and then added another RBI with his sacrifice fly in the third. Ryan O’Hearn only collected one hit, but he also walked twice which allowed him to score three times in the game from his designated hitter slot in the lineup.

Gleybor Torres struggled a bit, striking out in three of his four appearances at the plate in a hitless performance. Chris Stratton and Evan Phillips were tagged for four runs each. Chris at least pitched a scoreless first inning. Phillips could only retire one batter before he was removed.

Sam Bragg and Jared Miller had Jekyl and Hyde performances. In their one inning of work they each struck out the side. They also each gave up a homerun, Bragg to Calhoun in the fifth and Miller to Bellinger in the sixth.

The East did most of their damage against Francis Martes, who followed Honeywell and Kopech. Martes also has a fastball that hits triple digits but that did not prevent the East from assaulting him for three runs. Ryan McMahon drove in two of those runs with his homerun. Ryan Brinley only faced one batter in the ninth. Christin Stewart sent him deep to score the fourth and last run for the East.

A couple months from now the fans who attended the game will not remember which team won the game. They will remember the players whose performance shined above the rest.

An AFL No Hitter

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

Three Mesa Solar Sox pitchers combined for the third no hitter in AFL history. It has been 15 years since the last no hitter was thrown. Two Oakland Athletics prospects Dylan Covey and Frankie Montas worked the first eight innings. Covey went five innings and walked one while Montas worked three innings and walked two. Each pitcher struck out one hitter in the game.

The Mesa offense was also being shut down by the Surprise Saguaros pitchers, with Michael Kopech firing four shutout innings with six strikeouts and allowing just one hit. Four other Surprise pitchers followed him with one shutout inning each to make it a 0-0 game after eight innings.

Mesa was finally able to table a run in the ninth with three hits. Brian Anderson got the key hit with his RBI single. That brought in Drew Steckenrider to finish up the no-no. He retired the side in order with one strikeout.

No hitters are rare in the AFL because position players are usually better prospects than the pitchers. Most teams are trying to give their top position prospects at bats while resting their top pitchers from throwing too many innings.

AFL All Stars

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

The Arizona Fall League is also flying along. They will be playing the All Star game this Saturday and below are the rosters for the two teams.

West All Stars

Pitchers - Astin Barrett (Reds), Trey Ball (Red Sox), Ryan Brinley (Nationals), Diego Castillo (Rays), Brent Honeywell (Rays), Michael Kopech (Red Sox), Francis Martes (Astros), David Paulino (Astros), Edgar Santana (Pirates), Rowan Wick (Cardinals)

Catchers - Carson Kelly (Cardinals), Jose Trevino (Rangers)

Infielders - Cody Bellinger (Dodgers), Willie Calhoun (Dodgers), Paul DeJong (Cardinals), Nick Gordon (Twins), Joe Connor (Pirates), Ryan O’Hearn (Athletics)

Outfielders - Harrison Bader (Cardinals), Michael Gettys (Padres), Tyler O’Neil (Mariners), D.J. Stewart (Orioles), Drew Ward (Nationals)

East All Stars

Pitchers - Sam Bragg (Athletics), Matt Dermody (Blue Jays), James Farris (Cubs), Jarlin Garcia (Marlins), Jared Miller (Diamondbacks), Evan Phillips (Braves), Adam Ravenelle (Tigers), Tyler Rogers (Giants), Chris Stratton (Giants), Dillon Tate (Yankees) and Corey Taylor (Mets)

Catchers - Jacob Nottingham (Brewers), Taylor Ward (Angels)

Infielders - Brian Anderson (Marlins), Franklin Barreto (Athletics), Kevin Cron (Diamondbacks), Scott Kingery (Phillies), Dawel Lugo (Diamondbacks), Ryan McMahon (Rockies), Gleybor Torres (Yankees)

Outfielders - Anthony Alford (Blue Jays), Eloy Jimenez (Cubs), Brett Phillips (Brewers), Christin Stewart (Tigers), Bradley Zimmer (Indians)

AFL Review

Friday, October 21st, 2016

The Arizona Fall League has finished their first week and it’s time for myworld to take a look at some of the key players doing well and not so well. This is the premium winter league to watch if your goal is to identify the prospects of the future.

Salt River Rafters (5-3-1)

At 6′6″ Grayson Greiner may be a little tall for catcher but his bat is forcing eyes to take notice. He does not hit for a lot of power but he makes good contact, rarely striking out even with his large strike zone. He is hitting .556 with one homerun and three doubles, one for each game he has played. He has yet to strike out in his 11 at bats. Jacoby Jones may not hit for the power necessary for a corner infielder but he leads the team with 5 RBIs with his .381 average. Despite this lack of power in his bat he does have one homerun. JaCoby leads the team in stolen bases with three.

Another tall drink of water is lefthanded pitcher Jared Miller at 6′7″. AFL hitters have been having trouble making contact off him as he has struck out four hitters in each of his three relief appearances, without allowing a walk. This in only 5.1 innings of work where hitters are batting .111 against him. Jared has yet to give up a hit to a right handed batter and has struck out 8 of the 11 right handed hitters he has faced.

Mesa Solar Sox (5-5)

This team has been lighting up the AFL base paths with their stolen bases. Bradley Zimmer leads the team with six stolen bases in six attempts. His 9 walks and .300 average has ensured he has been on base with great frequency. Yefri Perez has five stolen bases in six attempts and Greg Allen has four in five attempts. Greg has been one of their hottest hitters in the AFL with his .350 average. The big run producer on the team has been Ryan McBroom, who has two homeruns and 10 runs driven in.

Frankie Montas has been mowing AFL hitters down in relief with a 0.67 WHIP and six whiffs in six innings of work. He has yet to give up a run in his two relief appearances.

Scottsdale Scorpions (3-7)

The player to watch is Yankees recent acquisition Gleyber Torres who is hitting .429 with two homeruns. The only down side for the shortstop is his two caught stealings in four attempts. His OPS is up at 1.330. Greg Bird is getting tuned up for the 2017 season after missing all of 2016 because of injury. He is hitting a quiet .261 with four of his six hits doubles. The first base position is his with the Yankees if he has a good spring. Tim Tebow is a publicity draw that is hitting .100 with two singles and seven whiffs in 22 at bats.

The starting pitching has been solid with Chris Stratton (1.00 ERA), James Kaprielian (1.50 ERA) and Marcos Molina (1.80) deserving wins in each of their two starts. The bullpen has been a sieve with Dillon Tate (9.00 ERA) being taken deep twice in just four innings of work.

Peoria Javelinas (7-1-2)

Tyler O’Neil has bombed three balls over the fence for the top team in the AFL resulting in seven runs driven in. Tyler is hitting .250 but five of his eight hits have been for extra bases, leading to a .908 OPS. Hitting was supposed to be the weak part of the game for Guillermo Heredia but he is hitting .400 with two doubles and one triple. The Cuban defector is better known for his center field glove than for his bat. Michael Gettys has struck out in nearly half his at bats (14). The speed is there to steal bases and the power exists to blast balls over the fence, but if he continues to struggle with his inability to recognize pitches he may never see the major leagues.

Luz Gohara has been feast or famine with 10 whiffs but nine hits given up in just 5.2 innings of work. One of those hits was a four bagger. Brent Honeywell has struggled (16.62 ERA) in his two starts, giving up three homeruns.

Surprise Saguaros (4-4-1)

Yoan Moncada has been the player to watch. The top prospect in baseball last year has struggled to make contact with 9 whiffs, but when contact is made he barrels the ball, hitting .333 with one homerun. Another Red Sox prospect to keep an eye on is Panamanian shortstop Maurice Dubon, who is hitting .318. He won’t hit for a lot of power but his defense at short is superb. Andy Ibanez is another Cuban showing a good bat with his .381 average. He makes contact with only one whiff and no walks in his 21 at bats.

Michael Kopech and his three digit fastball made one start with three hitless innings. He struck out five in his perfect outing. Josh Staumont has yet to give up a run in his two starts covering seven innings. The opposition is hitting only .125 against him.

Glendale Desert Dogs (3-7)

Ramon Laureano has opened some eyes with his .400 average. Of his 10 hits four have been doubles and two he has stretched for triples. Ramon is also 4 for 4 in stolen bases.

Ryan Brinley has not give up a hit or walked a batter in his three perfect relief outings covering four innings.