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November 13, 2013

Minor League Update

AFL and Winter League Recap for Games of November 12

by Jeff Moore

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Hitter of the Day: Jorge Alfaro, C, Rangers (Surprise Saguaros): 3-4, 2 R, 2B. Alfaro is quickly becoming the second-best catching prospect in the game (behind only Austin Hedges). With plus power and a plus-plus arm, the only real flaw in his game is his plate discipline, but when you hit .409 like he is this fall, no one cares.

Pitcher of the Day: Jarret Martin, LHP, Dodgers (Glendale Desert Dogs): 1 IP, H, 3 K. Lefties with 97-mph fastballs get lots of chances for reasons like this. Martin sits in the low-to-mid 90s and has been mostly 92-93 this fall, but it hasn’t helped him throw strikes more often, having walked 16 batters in 14 1/3 innings for the Desert Dogs. Martin isn’t a more well-known prospect because he generally has no idea how to throw strikes or use his velocity, but when he does, it’s pretty awesome.

Seeing it Well

  • Kenny Wilson, CF, Blue Jays (Salt River Rafters): 2-5, 2 R, 3B, HR, 2 K. The triple is more like it for a player with Wilson’s speed, but his second home run in as many days is unusual for Wilson, who hit just three in 60 games this season.
  • Kyle Kubitza, 3B, Braves (Scottsdale Scorpions): 3-4, R, BB. Kubitza should hit enough, and will definitely get on base enough, to play every day. How much power he has remains to be seen.
  • Travis Shaw, 1B, Red Sox (Surprise Saguaros): 3-4, 2 R, 2B. Fresh off a player of the week award, Shaw just keeps hitting.
  • Zoilo Almonte, LF, Yankees (Aguilas Cibaenas, DWL): 2-4, R, 2 2B. Almonte will be competing for a spot on the Yankees roster this spring and will have a decent shot to land one if the Yankees are unable to land a big free agent outfielder.
  • Domingo Santana, RF, Astros (Tigres del Licey, DWL): 2-4, K. Santana’s .250/.341/.500 line in 14 games this winter in on par with his regular season performance and skill set. He’s not a great hitter and is aggressive at the plate, but neither is a big enough problem to offset his plus power.
  • Billy Hamilton, CF, Reds (Cangrejeros de Santurce, PRWL): 2-5, R, 3B, SB. Hamilton is doing very Billy Hamilton things in Puerto Rico this winter, with five steals in nine games, but he’s also giving us a glimpse into what could be if he doesn’t hit with his .225/.295/.275 line.

Additional Home Runs

  • C.J. Cron, 1B, Angels (Mesa Solar Sox): 2-4, R, HR, K. As long as Cron keeps homering, he’ll have a home at first base in somebody’s lineup. His five home runs and .703 slugging percentage this fall are a good sign after a down year during the season (14 home runs in 134 games and a .428 SLG), but the best sign this fall is his 11-to-7 K:BB ratio compared to 83-to-23 this season.
  • Ryan Rua, 3B, Rangers (Surprise Saguaros): 1-4, R, HR. We still may not know where it came from, but Rua’s fourth home run this fall seems to legitimize to us that his power is for real. Of course, even when he was putting on a power display in Low-A ball this season, he did it while hitting just .251. That went down after a jump to the Texas League and has plummeted to .183 this fall, leaving questions about whether or not he will hit enough for the power to play.

Rough Days at the Plate

  • Reymond Fuentes, CF, Padres (Leones de Ponce): 0-4, 2 K. Well, that didn’t last long. One day after hitting his first home run of the winter, Fuentes struggled to make contact on Tuesday. It should be noted that he struck out three times on Monday as well, giving him five in his past two games.
  • Adam Duvall, 1B, Giants (Bravos de Margarita): 0-5, 2 K. Notice the position listed next to Duvall’s name today. Duvall didn’t play a lot of first base this season but he did appear there nine times. As I mentioned the other day, positional assignments don’t carry the same meaning in international leagues as they do in the AFL, where the organizations have a say. Still, it’s interesting to see him getting time over there.

Forgettable Outings

  • Michael Lorenzen, RHP, Reds (Glandale Desert Dogs): 3 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, K. It was another terrible outing for Lorenzen who has now allowed at least as many runs as innings in five of his six starts this fall. The Reds supplemental-first rounder from this season is pitching deeper into a season than the former two-way player ever did before, so perhaps there are some excuses for his struggles.
  • Taylor Jungmann, RHP, Brewers (Surprise Saguaros): 2 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 4 BB, 2 K. There’s no built-in excuse for Jungmann, who is used to throwing a lot of innings. He’s just been terrible in his past two AFL starts, and this time he was unable to find the strike zone.
  • Elvis Araujo, LHP, Indians (Aguilas de Zulia): 2/3 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, K. This wasn’t all Araujo’s fault, as his third baseman made back-to-back errors behind him, but allowing a three-run home run immediately afterward isn’t exactly picking up your teammate.

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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