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November 7, 2013

Minor League Update

AFL Recap for Games of November 6

by Jeff Moore

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Hitter of the Day: Aaron Altherr, CF, Phillies (Peoria Javelinas): 3-5, 3 R, 2 2B. One day after being on the bad part of this list, Altherr put together the best night in the AFL. Such are the trials and tribulations of developing such a raw and inconsistent prospect. Altherr made great strides this season in Double-A, but the fact that he still needs to take more signifies exactly how far away he was when the Phillies first got him. Still, after posting a career high ISO (isolated slugging percentage) of .180 this season, he’s shown a lot of signs of putting it together.

Pitcher of the Day: Nick Wittgren, RHP, Marlins (Glendale Desert Dogs): 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K. WIttgren is a polished college starter whose stuff has played up in a relief role as a pro. He has great control and has struck out well over a batter per inning in his professional career, and has continued that trend this fall.

Seeing it Well

  • Jared Mitchell, CF, White Sox (Glendale Desert Dogs): 2-5, R, HR, K. It’s hard to figure out what to make of Mitchell, who was as bad as any player in the minors this season but now has four home runs and an OPS over 1.000 in the AFL. After the regular season, Mitchell was beginning to look like a lost cause, so it’s a good sign to see Mitchell having success for the first time in almost two years, even if it is in a limited sample size.
  • Mookie Betts, 2B, Red Sox (Surprise Saguaros): 2-4, 2 R, HR, BB. Betts hasn’t been able to keep his breakout season going this fall, but even during his struggles, he’s still maintained a pretty good grasp on the strike zone. That will be important for Betts going forward, as there are questions about just how legitimate his power breakout was. But with good range at second base, good on-base skills, and above-average speed, he can still put together a nice package of skills to make a major-league career.
  • Andrew Susac, C, Giants (Scottsdale Scorpions): 2-3, R, HR, 2 BB. Susac has decent power and a patient approach at the plate, so games like he had on Wednesday are certainly a possibility. He’s not a great overall hitter and needs to work on his receiving behind the plate, but with decent pop and on-base skills, he’ll get a chance to move up as a catcher.

Other Home Runs

  • Corey Seager, SS, Dodgers (Glendale Desert Dogs): 1-4, R, HR, K. Seager has had an incredibly tough fall, but his second home run of the fall came in the form of a grand slam.
  • Taylor Lindsey, 2B, Angels (Mesa Solar Sox): 1-3, R, HR, K. The best prospect in perhaps the worst farm system in baseball connected on his second home run of the fall.
  • Japhet Amador, 1B, Astros (Peoria Javelinas): 1-5, R, HR, 2 K. Perhaps the most Amador-ian game ever and a statline the Astros should get used to seeing.

Bad Days at the Plate

  • Brian Goodwin, CF, Nationals (Mesa Solar Sox): 0-4, 2 K. After homering in two straight games, Goodwin struggled to make contact on Wednesday. He doesn’t have incredibly high strikeout totals, but they are too high for a table-setter and are usually due to his inability to recognize advanced breaking pitches.

Forgettable Outings

  • Drew Hutchison, RHP, Blue Jays (Salt River Rafters): 2 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, BB, 2 K. Hutchison hit a bump in the road on his way back from Tommy John surgery despite having put together four solid starts leading up to this point. These sorts of things happen during the rehab process while working out the inconsistencies of a player’s mechanics and release point, so it’s not a huge reason for concern unless it becomes a trend.
  • Michael Lorenzen, RHP, Reds (Glendale Desert Dogs): 3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, BB, K. It hasn’t been a good fall for 2013 first-rounder. Lorenzen has been awful in all five of his appearances. He gets a pass because he’s on his fifth professional team this year and has just recently given up being a two-way player, but this fall has been really ugly.
  • Corey Knebel, RHP, Tigers (Mesa Solar Sox): 2/3 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, K. Wednesday was the first real hiccup for Knebel, after he posted a 0.87 ERA in Low-A ball this season and allowed just one run in his first six AFL appearances.
  • Taylor Jungmann, RHP, Brewers (Surprise): 2 1/3, 5 H, 4 R, 2 BB, K. Jungmann hasn’t pitched very much this fall, but when he finally got back on the mound on Wednesday, it didn’t go well. Jungmann has very fringy stuff and profiles as a back-end starter.

AFL News

  • It was announced on Wednesday that Byron Buxton is likely to be shut down due to a lingering shoulder injury. The injury is not considered serious and is something Buxton dealt with earlier in the season, but that flared up again this fall. If nothing else, it helps explain his struggles in Arizona.

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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