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November 11, 2013

Minor League Update

AFL and Winter League Recap for Games of November 8-10

by Jeff Moore

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Games of Friday, November 8

Hitter of the Day: C.J. Cron, 1B, Angels (Mesa Solar Sox): 4-4, R, 2 2B, BB. Cron is known for his power, which is his lone plus tool and the sole reason he ranked third in our ranking of the weak Angels farm system last week. He is not, however, known for the overall hitting prowess he showed on Friday. He also went 2-for-4 on Saturday with a double and a home run and didn’t strike out all weekend.

Pitcher of the Day: Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Blue Jays (Salt River Rafters): 5 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K. This is a picture of what a dominant box score looks like, and Sanchez has the ability to dominate at times. When he throws strikes and has his command, Sanchez can make pitching look easy. Sanchez’s velocity was actually down a smidge on Friday, with his fastball sitting just below 95 mph, but reigning things in clearly worked for him.

Seeing it Well

  • Addison Russell, SS, A’s (Mesa Solar Sox): 3-5, 3 R, 3B, K. Despite being one of the youngest players in the AFL, Russell is holding his own in all aspects of his game. He’s a stud, and if you believe he can remain at SS, he’s one of the best prospects in the game.

Additional Home Runs

  • James Ramsey, CF, Cardinals (Salt River Rafters): 1-4, R, HR, BB, K. With a swing resembling that of Gerardo Parra, Ramsey doesn’t naturally generate a lot of power, but he does have decent pop in his bat (he’s a little bigger than Parra) and runs into his share of home runs.
  • Kyle Parker, 1B, Rockies (Salt River Rafters): 1-4, R, HR, K. It’s been a pretty standard fall for Parker who has put up decent extra-base numbers (including his third home run) while swinging and missing too often and not controlling the strike zone as well as the Rockies would hope.

Finding the Zone

  • Alex Meyer, RHP, Twins (Glendale Desert Dogs): 5 1/3, H, 0 R, BB, 7 K. Meyer can dominate like this with ease when he’s on his game. His fastball/slider combination is good enough to pitch in a big-league bullpen right now, but reports had him flashing some plus change-ups on Friday, which is key for his development as a starter.
  • Sammy Solis, LHP, Nationals (Mesa Solar Sox): 4 1/3, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K. Solis doesn’t typically miss bats at a rate anywhere near the way he has in the AFL, where he’s recorded a strikeout per inning.

Bad Days at the Plate

  • Tim Wheeler, RF, Rockies (Salt River Rafters): 0-5, 3 K. Wheeler hasn’t shown off his 30-homer power in two years, and if he’s not going to have that, he certainly can’t strike out in bunches like he did on Friday.
  • Matt Skole, 1B, Nationals (Mesa Solar Sox): 0-3, 3 K. Skole’s patient approach is getting him in trouble this fall and he’s now struck out in seven of his last eight plate appearances.
  • Yorman Rodriguez, RF, Reds (Glendale Desert Dogs): 0-4, 4 K. Rodriguez has been putting together a nice fall, but his swing does have a tendency to get long and he will expand the zone, which can lead to days like this.
  • Joc Pederson, CF, Dodgers (Cardenelas de Lara, VWL): 0-4, 2 K. Pederson really hasn’t hit all that well this fall, relying on his patient approach to draw a ton of walks and be an effective hitter. It did not work on Friday.

Games of Saturday, November 9

Hitter of the Day: Henry Urruita, LF, Orioles (Surprise Saguaros): 3-4, R, HR. The Orioles better be prepared to get a good look at Urruita this spring because sending him back down to face minor league competition is a waste of time at this point. After a monster season in the minors in which he hit .347 between Double and Triple-A, Urruita is hitting .410 this fall.

Pitcher of the Day: Andrew Heaney, LHP, Marlins (Glendale Desert Dogs): 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 4 K. The AFL doesn’t appear to be any more of a challenge for Heaney than A-ball was this season, with his ERA now down to 1.82 for the fall.

Seeing it Well

  • Gregory Polanco, CF, Pirates (Leones del Escogido, DWL): 2-4, R, 2B, BB, K. Polanco is making a strong case for an early call-up to the majors next season, hitting .350/.466/.650 in 16 games this winter.
  • Maikel Franco, 3B, Phillies (Gigantes del Cibao, DWL): 3-4, 2 R, 2B. Franco continues to hit this winter despite showing off little power (his best tool) and is now hitting .345 for the Dominican Winter League season.
  • Billy Hamilton, CF, Reds (Cangrejeros de Santurcce, PRWL): 2-6, 2 R, 2B, K. Hamilton reached base but didn’t attempt a stolen base. Still, anytime Hamilton records an extra-base hit, it’s a good sign for his future.

Additional Home Runs

  • Adam Duvall, 3B, Giants (Bravos de Margarita, VWL): 1-4, R, HR. Duvall’s winter has basically summed up his regular season, with some power being shown off (five home runs in 25 games) but a 22-to-5 K:BB ratio to go along with it.

Bad Days at the Plate

  • Taylor Lindsey, 2B, Angels (Mesa Solar Sox): 0-3, BB, 2 K. The Angels top prospect hasn’t done anything to help validate that ranking with just two hits in his last five games.

Forgettable Outings

  • Will Roberts, RHP, Indians (Surprise Saguaros): 3 IP, 10 H, 8 R, 0 BB, 3 K. With a fastball that averaged just 90 mph on Saturday, Roberts was even more hittable than usual. He doesn’t have great stuff, so unless his command is on point, he’s susceptible to days like these.

Games of Sunday, November 10

International League Notes: The Arizona Fall League is off on Sundays but the international leagues were still in action.

  • Oswaldo Arcia, LF, Twins (Tigres de Aragua, VWL): 3-4, R, 2B, HR. In the outfield corner, he’ll need every bit of power he can muster.
  • Cesar Puello, LF, Mets (Toros del Este, DWL): 1-3, R, HR, K. Attempting to make up for the 50 games he lost due to the Biogenesis scandal this season, Puello connected on his second home run of the winter but is hitting just .213.
  • Maikel Franco, 1B, Phillies (Gigantes del Cibao, DWL): 0-3, K. It’s worth noting that Franco was playing first base on Sunday, a position he also played in the Phillies organization down the stretch. Positional assignments in the winter leagues aren’t as indicative of an organization’s plans as they are in the AFL because teams don’t have as much say on how their players are used in other countries, but it’s still interesting.

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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