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November 18, 2013

Minor League Update

AFL Championship Game and International Games of November 15-17

by Jeff Moore

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AFL Championship

The typically offense-friendly Arizona Fall League hosted its championship game on Saturday, but the season ended not with the bang of the bat, but with the whimper of a pitchers' duel.

  • Dallas Beeler, RHP, Cubs (Mesa Solar Sox): 5 IP, 2 H, R, BB, 5 K. Beeler has been excellent this fall, holding opponents without an earned run in his last four outings (although he did allow seven unearned runs three starts ago, so some of that is his fault). He does it with a fastball that typically sits 92-93 and struck out just 14 batters in 26 2/3 innings.
  • Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP, Orioles (Surprise Saguaros): 3 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 4 K. Rodriguez is a much better prospect than Beeler, but he didn’t pitch nearly as well for the majority of the fall. That wasn’t the case on Saturday, as Rodriguez showed why he’s one of the more highly-rated prospects in a weak Orioles farm system. He doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but he knows how to pitch and how to attack hitters.
  • Henry Urrutia, LF, Orioles (Surprise Saguaros): 2-3, R, 2 2B. The lone offensive catalyst in this game, Urrutia hit even better in the AFL than he did in the minors this season. Scouts still have plenty of questions about Urrutia’s swing and whether or not it will play in the majors, especially after his ultra-aggressive approach in 58 at-bats there this season. Still, as he continues to dominate minor-league competition, the Orioles have little choice but to find out for themselves next season.

Games of Friday, November 15

The Good

  • Arismendy Alcantara, 2B, Cubs (Tigres del Licey, DWL): 2-4, R, K. The Cubs infielder is getting good playing time this winter, but he’s hitting just .214 after the weekend.
  • Chris Marr ro, 1B, Nationals (Tigres del Licey, DWL): 2-4, R, HR. Marrero is hitting just .108 (4-for-37) this fall, but he does have a pair of home runs. He’s probably a bench player at this point, but it will take the return of his power to even warrant that for a player who is stuck at first base.
  • Elvis Araujo, LHP, Indians (Aguilas del Zulia, VWL): 4 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K. The large lefty has been great this fall, allowing just one earned run in his first six relief appearances before finally earning a start. He is still considerably raw and is making up for missed time this season.
  • Luis Sardinas, SS, Rangers (Tiburones de La Guaira, VWL): 4-5, 3 R, 2B, BB. Known mainly for his speed and defense, Sardinas is hardly a slouch with the bat. He’s hitting .363 this winter with nine doubles in 30 games, showing the gap power that could be the difference between him being a regular shortstop and an All-Star

The Bad

  • Bryce Brentz, LF, Red Sox (Leones del Escogido, DWL): 0-4, 3 K. Brentz struggles with good breaking stuff, which hitters see more of in international leagues.
  • Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Astros (Cangrejeros de Santurce, PRWL): 0-5, 3 K. Singleton’s rough day on Friday ended a five-game hit streak that included a home run. He’s been controlling the strike zone better this fall than he did during the regular season, Friday not withstanding.

Games of Saturday, November 16

The Good

  • Leury Garcia, SS, White Sox (Gigantes del Cibao, DWL): 2-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, K. The White Sox acquired Garcia this season from the Rangers for Alex Rios and he’ll get a shot to compete for playing time this spring. He may not hit enough to warrant everyday playing time, but his ability to play all over the field should earn him a spot on their roster.
  • Reymond Fuentes, CF, Padres (Leones de Ponce, PRWL): 3-5, 2B, K. Extra-base hits are great, but what the Padres would really like to see from Fuentes is control of the strike zone, which Fuentes did in the minors but not in his brief major league stint.
  • Jesus Aguilar, 1B, Indians (Leones del Caracas, VWL): 1-4, R, HR, K. Aguilar homered on both Saturday and Sunday to give him 10 home runs in 32 VWL games. That’s a lot. He’s doing so while batting .315 and striking out less than during the regular season.

The Bad

  • Adam Duvall, 3B, Giants (Bravos de Margarita, VWL): 0-3, R, BB, 3 K. Duvall didn’t have the strikeout issues during the regular season that he’s having this winter. He now has 31 strikeouts in 30 games.

Games of Sunday, November 17

The Good

  • Rafael Ynoa, 2B, Rockies (Aguilas Cibaenas, DWL): 2-4, 3 R, HR, 3 BB. The Rockies just signed the former Dodgers farmhand as a minor-league free agent. He’s a low-ceiling guy, but he gets on base at a decent clip and could stick in Colorado as a utility player.
  • Zoilo Almonte, LF, Yankees (Aguilas Cibaenas, DWL): 3-6, 3 R, 2B. Hitting .313 this fall won’t be enough to keep the Yankees from signing Curtis Granderson or Jacoby Ellsbury, but it may be the kind of thing that helps him earn a spot as a fourth outfielder.

The Bad

  • Domingo Santana, RF, Astros (Tigres del Licey, DWL): 0-3, 2 K. A strikeout per game is always going to be a part of Santana’s game, and he’s on that pace again this winter. As long as he hits 20-30 home runs, the bat will still play.
  • Cesar Puello, CF, Mets (Toros del Este, DWL): 0-3. 3 K. The road back from his Biogenesis suspension has been rough for Puello, who has a 14-to-1 K:BB ratio this winter. His aggressive approach didn’t hurt him too much in Double-A, but it’s going to hinder him as he moves up.

Jeff Moore is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
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