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November 6, 2013

Minor League Update

AFL Recap for Games of November 5

by Jeff Moore

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Hitter of the Day: Travis Shaw, 1B, Red Sox (Surprise Saguaros): 2-3, 2 R, HR, BB, K. Shaw is an on-base machine that is unfortunately stuck playing first base. He has some pop, although it usually comes in the form of doubles, but his real value comes from what happens when he doesn’t swing. He likely won’t be a starting first baseman, at least not on a first-division team like the Red Sox, but there’s a niche out there for him somewhere.

Pitcher of the Day: Hansel Robles, RHP, Mets (Scottsdale Scorpions): 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K. Robles is a relatively inexperienced prospect for his age (23) having taken four seasons to get to a full-season league and never having thrown more than 95 1/3 innings in a season despite working as a starter. Robles’ performance has rarely been in question, but as an undersized right-hander (5-foot-11), he needs to prove that he can handle the workload as a starter.

Seeing it Well

  • Yorman Rodriguez, RF, Reds (Glendale Desert Dogs): 2-3, BB. It’s always nice to see Rodriguez do something other than hit a home run or strike out, and any time he draws a walk it’s a bonus worth noting. Also heard a report of some #want on a ground out.
  • Ryan Rua, 3B, Rangers (Surprise Saguaros): 1-3, R, HR, BB, K. It’s good to see that some of Rua’s unexpected power surge from this season has carried over to the fall since he’s been playing a lot of third base for the Saguaros. Positions in the AFL aren’t random or circumstantial, so if he’s playing 3B this fall, it’s because the Rangers want him to be. That means his power had better be for real. Given the drop-off when he was promoted to Double-A, I’ll still have to see it next year before I believe it.
  • Austin Hedges, C, Padres (Peoria Javelinas): 2-4, 2B, 2 K. After the performance he put on in the Fall Stars Game throwing out base runners, the baseball world got a glimpse of why Hedges has one of the highest floors in all of the minors. He’s probably a starter in the majors even if he can’t hit a lick. Luckily, he’s perfectly capable with the bat, especially for a catcher. He’s not a big-time power hitter, but his gap power should play well in Petco Park.

Finding the Zone

  • Kenny Giles, RHP, Phillies (Peoria Javelinas): 1 1/3, H, BB, 3 K. Giles opened some eyes in the Fall Stars Game when he averaged over 98 mph on his fastball. Of course, velocity has never been the problem for Giles. He got hit around in the FSL this season because he walks almost a batter per inning, and he’s walked eight in 7 1/3 innings this fall. He has, however, turned in scoreless outings in six of his seven appearances this fall. The problem is that the other one was a six-run clunker in which he didn’t record an out. The issues with Giles are inconsistency and the lack of a good breaking pitch, but with a powerful arm like he has, he’ll continue to get chances.

Bad Days at the Plate

  • Aaron Altherr, LF, Phillies (Peoria Javelinas): 0-4, 2 K. Altherr figured out how to put his tools to use this season, sort of. He took big strides forward, especially in allowing his power to translate to games, but there’s still a lot of swing-and-miss in his game. He’s struggling this fall, hitting just .115 against the most advanced pitching he’s faced to date.
  • Peter O’Brien, C, Yankees (Scottsdale Scorpions): 0-3, 3 K. This was the second three-strikeout game for O’Brien, who is playing both catcher and third base this fall. He does have some power but also has some serious swing-and-miss in his game.

Forgettable Outings

  • Noel Arguelles, LHP, Royals (Peoria Javelinas): 2/3 IP, 0 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 0 K. I’ve been brutally honest in this space before and it’s time to do it again. Arguelles is no longer a prospect. If it weren’t for the name recognition due to his signing bonus, he probably wouldn’t be in the AFL and we wouldn’t even mention him. At this point, he can’t throw strikes and he doesn’t strike anybody out. For the Royals to get anything out of him at this point would be one heck of a reclamation project.

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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