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October 31, 2013

Minor League Update

AFL Recap for Games of October 30

by Jeff Moore

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Hitter of the Day: Travis Shaw, 1B, Red Sox (Surprise Saguaros): 3-5, 2 R, 2B, HR, K. Shaw doesn’t have many tools, but he does hit for some power and get on base. The power was on display on Wednesday both in the gaps and over the fence, a good sign for Shaw who struggled in his first taste of advanced pitching this season in Double-A.

Pitcher of the Day: Sam Gaviglio, RHP, Cardinals (Salt River Rafters): 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K. Velocity isn’t the only way to strike batters out, but it certainly makes things easier. Gaviglio struck out six batters on Wednesday despite an average fastball velocity of 89 MPH. He relies heavily on his two-seam sinking fastball, which he threw 59 percent of the time on Wednesday and comes in just as fast, and on Wednesday it generated more strikeouts than ground balls. Sometimes that just happens.

Seeing it Well

  • Stefen Romero, 2B, Mariners (Peoria Javelinas): 2-5, R, 2B, HR, K. Romero is a borderline prospect who can do a few things well but probably not enough to play every day. He has some pop for the second base position, but he is extremely aggressive at the plate, which leads to low on-base percentages and lots of outs. He doesn’t have any standout tools, but his plus makeup should help him carve out a utility role in the majors.
  • Tyler Naquin, CF, Indians (Surprise Saguaros): 2-4, 3 R, HR, BB. Naquin continues to hit this fall and on Wednesday he added power to the equation, something that scouts have been waiting to see. Naquin has showed plus power displays in batting practice but it hasn’t shown up in the games the way many had expected. It’s just his first home run and third extra-base hit in 16 fall games, so he’s still not hitting for the power many had hoped, but any sign of it coming out is a good thing.
  • Nolan Fontana, SS, Astros (Peoria Javelinas): 2-3, 2 R, 2 BB, K. Fontana’s job is to get on base and he did that on Wednesday. He hasn’t been doing it as often this fall as he usually does, but even with a paltry .167 batting average, his patient approach has helped him post a .333 on-base percentage. Fontana’s hit tool isn’t as refined as his approach, but the combination of the two makes for a decent table-setter who still needs to prove himself against upper-level pitching.

Finding the Zone

  • Dallas Beeler, RHP, Cubs (Mesa Solar Sox): 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K. Despite a low-90’s fastball, Beeler doesn’t strike out many batters, so even when he’s effective like he was on Wednesday, it’s done with help from his defense. Beeler has the ceiling of a back-end starter because he throws a ton of strikes.

Bad Days at the Plate

  • Cam Maron, C, Mets (Scottsdale Scorpions): 0-3, 2 K. Maron is a patient hitter at the plate, but as with many patient hitters, that approach can lead to some strikeouts thanks to the deeper counts. That was the case on Wednesday for Maron who generally doesn’t strike out excessively. He’s a contact hitter with a limited skill set and little power, but his patient approach and ability to occasionally get on base gives him a chance.

Forgettable Outings

  • Will Lamb, LHP, Rangers (Surprise Saguaros): 2 2/3 IP, 5 H, 5 R (4 ER), 4 BB, K. Every one of Lamb’s starts has made this part of the list, thus his 11.25 ERA should be no surprise. He simply hasn’t been any good this fall and it all comes back to his control, or lack thereof. He’s walked over a batter an inning then caught too much of the plate trying to throw strikes. He’ll want to forget about this fall as soon as possible.

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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