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October 21, 2013

Minor League Update

AFL Recap for Games of October 18-19

by Jeff Moore

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Friday, October 18

Hitter of the Day: Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs (Mesa Solar Sox): 3-5, 3 R, 2B, 2 HR. The second overall pick in the 2013 draft is capable of impressive displays of power, such as the one he put forth on Friday. Bryant is the best power hitter of the bunch of impressive prospects the Cubs sent to the AFL, and it’s showing despite his facing the best competition of his career this fall.

Kris Bryant, 3B, Chicago Cubs (Arizona Fall League) – October 18, 2013 from Jason Cole on Vimeo.

Pitcher of the Day: Phil Irwin, RHP, Pirates (Scottsdale Scorpions): 3 IP, H, 0 R, 3 K. Irwin took the roster spot on the Scorpions vacated by Jameson Taillon and his groin injury, which was a significant prospect step down for fans and scouts alike. On Friday, however, Irwin did his best to fill Taillon’s shoes. At 26, he isn’t much of a prospect, but he has a shot to work as a back-end starter/longman in the majors.

Seeing it Well

  • Stephen Piscotty, RF, Cardinals (Salt River Rafters): 2-3, R, 3B, BB. As if the Cardinals haven’t gotten enough (well-deserved) attention for their player development skills as they’ve been led to a World Series by homegrown stars, another first-round pick in Piscotty is absolutely on fire in the AFL. His two-hit day on Friday was his third in a row, and by the end of the weekend he was hitting .414/.471/.621 in eight games this fall.
  • Tyler Naquin, CF, Indians (Surprise Saguaros): 3-5, R, BB. The leadoff man for the Saguaros did his job well on Friday, reaching base four times. Naquin had an adequate first full season in the minors and is a high-profile prospect as a former first-round pick, but scouts are generally lower on him than would be expected of someone selected 15th overall so recently.

Finding the Zone

Bad Days at the Plate

  • Kyle Parker, RF, Rockies (Salt River Rafters): 0-4, 3 K. Parker has already made this list twice this fall for having big-strikeout days, and now he finds himself on it again. For a guy with big-time power, Parker didn’t rack up huge strikeout numbers during the season, but he now has 11 in seven AFL games with just one home run.
  • Travis Mattair, 1B, Reds (Glendale Desert Dogs): 0-4, 4 K. A former second-round pick in 2007 and a former Phillies prospect, Mattair has a little bit of power, but not enough if he has to slide across the diamond from third base to first.

Forgettable Outings

  • Will Lamb, LHP, Rangers (Surprise Saguaros): 2 2/3, 5 H, 5 R, 4 BB, 4 K. It was an all-around struggle for Lamb on Friday, who was both hittable and wild in the same outing. Walks have been an issue for Lamb, but getting hit has typically not been. Lamb now has a 13.50 ERA working as a starter this fall after having been a reliever all season.

Saturday, October 19

Hitter of the Day: Mitch Haniger, CF, Brewers (Surprise Saguaros): 1-3, 2 R, HR, 2 BB. Those not familiar with Haniger before the fall are getting to know him now as he continues his hot hitting. Haniger connected on the only home run in the league on Saturday and now has five extra-base hits in nine games to go along with his .394/.475/.667 slash line.

Pitcher of the Day: Drew Hutchinson, RHP, Blue Jays (Salt River Rafters): 4 IP, 0 H, 0 R 1 BB, 5 K. Not technically a prospect any longer, Hutchison threw just 35 1/3 innings this season on his way back from Tommy John surgery. He’s making up for lost time in the AFL this fall.

Seeing it Well

  • Elmer Reyes, 2B, Braves (Scottsdale Scorpions): 4-6, 3 R, 2 2B. Reyes is a light-hitting, glove-first prospect, but on Saturday he showed both the ability to barrel up the ball and to drive it for some moderate power. He did have 30 doubles this season.
  • Cory Spangenberg, 2B, Padres (Peoria Javelinas): 4-5, 2 R, 2B. After going hitless for a couple games, Spangenberg broke out on Saturday. He doesn’t offer much power and his contact abilities can be streaky, but when he’s going well, he collects hits in bunches.

Finding the Zone

  • Michael Roth, LHP, Angels (Mesa Solar Sox): 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K. Scouts know that Roth has below-average stuff, but with off-the-charts makeup and pitchability, he gets the most out of what he has.

Bad Days at the Plate

  • Ryan Rua, 2B, Rangers (Surprise Scorpions): 0-5, 4 K. Rua had a breakout campaign this season, hitting 32 home runs combined between High-A and Double-A in his first year of full-season ball and playing second base for the first time consistently. He’s playing some third base this fall, a position he’s appeared at before, and trying to prove that his 2013 power surge was for real.

Forgettable Outings

  • Ken Giles, RHP, Phillies (Peoria Javelinas): 0 IP, 4 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 0 K. Saturday’s outing was a complete disaster for Giles, who failed to record an out and allowed seven straight batters to reach, the first three on walks. The shelling was an anomaly for Giles, who had allowed just one hit in three previous scoreless AFL outings and hadn’t walked a batter.
  • R.J. Alvarez, RHP, Angels (Mesa Solar Sox): 0 IP, 3 H, 7 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 0 K. Alvarez has a big-league arm and should be a major-league reliever, but Saturday wasn’t his day. His defense let him down a little, but not until he had already loaded the bases. Alvarez typically misses a ton of bats, but on Saturday he was very hittable.

Thanks to Jason Cole for the video support.

Jeff Moore is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jeff's other articles. You can contact Jeff by clicking here

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