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October 29, 2013

Minor League Update

AFL Recap for Games of October 28

by Jeff Moore

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Hitter of the Day: Marcus Semien, 2B, White Sox (Glendale Desert Dogs): 2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, K. Semien broke out this season to show more power to go along with his plus plate discipline, combining for 19 home runs between Double and Triple-A. Power is still not Semien’s game, but on Monday he got a pair of pitches down and in and showed he can do enough damage to still make pitcher’s think twice about just pounding the zone against him.

Pitcher of the Day: Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Blue Jays (Salt River Rafters): 4 1/3 IP, H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K. Sanchez has dynamic stuff, but outings like these have become all too common. He stayed out of trouble on Monday because he doesn’t give up hard contact and misses enough bats, but he was unable to finish the fifth inning. He will be able to get away with poor control more so than most pitchers because his fastball sits in the mid-90s and touches 97 and because he pairs it with a plus breaking ball, but his ceiling will be limited if he doesn’t get it everything under control.

Seeing it Well

  • Yorman Rodriguez, RF, Reds (Glendale Desert Dogs): 1-4, R, HR, 3 K. Three strikeouts in four plate appearances isn’t good, but for Rodriguez, strikeouts are just a part of the package. As long as that package comes with power, the Reds will take it. Scouts believe there is more power in Rodriguez’s still developing frame than the career-high 13 he hit this season, and there’s going to have to be if he’s going to strike out over 150 times a year.
  • Chris Taylor, 2B, Mariners (Peoria Javelinas): 2-4, R, 2 2B, K. Taylor’s combination of gap power and plate discipline makes him an intriguing prospect, with a lot hinging on whether he can stay at shortstop or have to move to second base. He now has six multi-hit games out of nine this fall and could force the issue with the Mariners by next season.
  • Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs (Mesa Solar Sox): 1-3, R, HR, BB, K. No big deal, just another Kris Bryant homer, giving him five in 11 games to go with a 1.404 OPS on the fall. Bryant is a patient hitter who looks for the ball middle in that he can drive to left field. The power production from Bryant isn’t surprising, but it could be making the Cubs decision for next season to skip him over the Florida State League, if they weren’t planning to do so already.

Finding the Zone

  • Tommy Collier, RHP, Tigers (Mesa Solar Sox): 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K. For a sinker/slider guy with a limited ceiling, Collier has dominated the AFL with his outing on Monday lowering his fall ERA to 0.64. He rarely breaks 90 mph with his fastball, but he’s doing a great job this fall of running the ball in on right-handers and keeping it away from left-handers, which is a main key to success for any sinkerballer.

Bad Days at the Plate

  • Corey Seager, SS, Dodgers (Glendale Desert Dogs): 0-4, 3 K. Seager has struggled this fall and now has 15 strikeouts in 11 games, but given his strong season and his inexperience compared to the rest of the AFL, it’s excusable. It’s also the end of his first full season, so there’s a good chance he’s wearing down.
  • Angel Villalona, 1B, Giants (Scottsdale Scorpions): 0-3, 2 K. Villalona, on the other hand, is in the desert making up for lost time but is still struggling in the same ways. Giants fans looking for a silver lining can take solice in the fact that the notoriously impatient Villalona saw 20 pitches over his three at-bats, so that’s something, but at this point, those little signs of development aren’t quite enough.

Forgettable Outings

  • Branden Kline, RHP, Orioles (Surprise Saguaros): 1 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 1 K. Kline possesses a low-90s fastball that the Orioles were hoping would play up in short stints, but on Monday, he barely touched 90 and sat closer to 88 mph. His control remains erratic and his stuff isn’t even looking like a reliever this fall, let alone the starter the Orioles think he could one day become.

Jeff Moore is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
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