Notes on eight prospects, including Red Sox first baseman Travis Shaw and Cardinals righty Sam Gaviglio.
Hitter of the Day: Travis Shaw, 1B, Red Sox (Surprise Saguaros): 3-5, 2 R, 2B, HR, K. Shaw doesn’t have many tools, but he does hit for some power and get on base. The power was on display on Wednesday both in the gaps and over the fence, a good sign for Shaw who struggled in his first taste of advanced pitching this season in Double-A.
Pitcher of the Day: Sam Gaviglio, RHP, Cardinals (Salt River Rafters): 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K. Velocity isn’t the only way to strike batters out, but it certainly makes things easier. Gaviglio struck out six batters on Wednesday despite an average fastball velocity of 89 MPH. He relies heavily on his two-seam sinking fastball, which he threw 59 percent of the time on Wednesday and comes in just as fast, and on Wednesday it generated more strikeouts than ground balls. Sometimes that just happens.
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Notes on nine prospects, including White Sox outfielder Jared Mitchell and Marlins lefty Andrew Heaney.
Hitter of the Day: Jared Mitchell, RF, White Sox (Glendale Desert Dogs): 3-4, R, HR, BB, K. Mitchell followed up a bad 2012 with a horrific 2013, yet because he still has many of the tools that got him selected in the first round, he got a chance in the AFL. He’s hitting .389 this fall but that won’t be enough to erase the memory of back-to-back terrible seasons. He still fails to make contact at far too high a rate, although his 11-to-5 BB:K ratio this fall is a great sign, even if it is in a small sample size.
Pitcher of the Day: Andrew Heaney, LHP, Marlins (Glendale Desert Dogs): 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K. After dominating the Florida State League and doing well in Double-A, his 1.45 AFL ERA is really just showing off. The Marlins have been ridiculously aggressive promoting prospects in the past year, but Heaney can probably handle it if they move him quickly. At the very least, Heaney’s fastball/slider combo should have no problem in a return to Double-A to begin next season, and the Marlins have a recent history of skipping prospects over Triple-A altogether.
Notes on nine prospects, including White Sox second baseman Marcus Semien and Blue Jays righty Aaron Sanchez.
Hitter of the Day: Marcus Semien, 2B, White Sox (Glendale Desert Dogs): 2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, K. Semien broke out this season to show more power to go along with his plus plate discipline, combining for 19 home runs between Double and Triple-A. Power is still not Semien’s game, but on Monday he got a pair of pitches down and in and showed he can do enough damage to still make pitcher’s think twice about just pounding the zone against him.
Pitcher of the Day: Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Blue Jays (Salt River Rafters): 4 1/3 IP, H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K. Sanchez has dynamic stuff, but outings like these have become all too common. He stayed out of trouble on Monday because he doesn’t give up hard contact and misses enough bats, but he was unable to finish the fifth inning. He will be able to get away with poor control more so than most pitchers because his fastball sits in the mid-90s and touches 97 and because he pairs it with a plus breaking ball, but his ceiling will be limited if he doesn’t get it everything under control.
The latest on the prospects playing in the desert, including Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler, and Byron Buxton.
Games of October 25
Hitter of the Day: Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs (Mesa Solar Sox): 3-5, 3 R, 2 2B, 3B, 2 K. You’d think it would get tiring talking about the same prospects over and over again, but when it’s a prospect like Bryant, it doesn’t. Friday was a great sign for Bryant, who had a dynamic game despite not hitting a home run. Despite his .429 fall batting average, he still has 13 strikeouts in 10 games, so that’s something to keep an eye on, but if the production continues, no one will care about the strikeouts.
Notes on 11 prospects, including Orioles outfielder Henry Urrutia and Mets right-hander Jeurys Familia.
Hitter of the Day: Henry Urrutia, RF, Orioles (Surprise Saguaros): 3-6, 2 R, 2B, HR. We still don’t know how Urrutia’s game will translate against major-league pitching, but there’s not much else he can do to prove he can hit minor-league competition.
Pitcher of the Day: Jeurys Familia, RHP, Mets (Scottsdale Scorpions): 2 IP, H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K. Familia is in the desert to make up for time he lost this season after elbow surgery in June and because if that, he’s likely to have some inconsistencies. When he’s on, however, he has a great arm and on Thursday showed why he could be in the Mets plans for next season. The lost time won’t help with his need to develop his secondary pitches, but with a plus fastball and a future in the bullpen, he needs only an average second pitch to have a future as, at the very least, a middle reliever.
Notes on 10 prospects, including Rockies outfielder Tim Wheeler and Nationals lefty Matt Purke.
Hitter of the Day: Tim Wheeler, RF, Rockies (Salt River Rafters): 2-3, R, HR, BB. Seeing the once-powerful Wheeler connect on a home run is a good sign for the Rockies. Wheeler has combined to hit just seven home runs over the past two seasons after hitting 33 in 2011 His power has yet to fully come back after surgery on his hamate bone.
Pitcher of the Day: Matt Purke, LHP, Nationals (Mesa Solar Sox): 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K. Purke has been fantastic this fall and has now made three starts without allowing an earned run. More importantly, he’s fanned a batter per inning, perhaps signaling a return of some of the impact stuff that he had in college.
Notes on 11 prospects, including Rockies outfielder Kyle Parker and Tigers right-hander Thomas Collier.
Hitter of the Day: Kyle Parker, RF, Rockies (Salt River Rafters): 2-4, R, 2B, HR. After taking out a mortgage on the bad part of these recaps for the first week of the AFL season, Parker finally broke out on Tuesday. He connected on a double and a home run, and more importantly, didn’t strike out after doing so 12 times in his first eight games. Inconsistency is the plight of the young power hitting prospect, but it sure is nice to see them run into one every now and then.
Pitcher of the Day: Thomas Collier, RHP, Tigers (Mesa Solar Sox): 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K. As a relatively non-descript prospect coming off of a non-descript season, Collier has been a pleasant surprise for the Solar Sox and likely the Tigers, who couldn’t have seen one run over three appearances coming.
Notes on 10 prospects, including Athletics shortstop Addison Russell and Royals right-hander Jason Adam.
Hitter of the Day: Addison Russell, SS, Athletics (Mesa Solar Sox): 2-5, R, 2B, HR. It would be understandable if Russell was wearing down playing extended games at the end of his first full season. We saw the same thing happen with Mike Trout in his time in the AFL, and it didn’t exactly slow him down. Russell was hitting just .217 before Monday, but he displayed why he is one of the best prospects in baseball with a multi-extra-base hit game.
Pitcher of the Day: Jason Adam, RHP, Royals (Peoria Javelinas): 4 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 K. Adam has now turned in two straight strong starts after a rough first AFL outing, and it Monday’s outing was his most impressive, missing more bats than he typically does.
Another strong outing for Nationals pitcher Matt Purke and a power display from Yankees catcher Peter O'Brien.
Hitter of the Day: Peter O’Brien, C, Yankees (Scottsdale Scorpions): 2-5, 2 R, 2 HR. Two days ago, O”Brien appeared on the bad part of this list, and I speculated that perhaps the difficulty of seeing time at third base was affecting him at the plate. He was back behind the plate on Thursday and hit two home runs, which proves exactly nothing other than what we already knew about him—that he has above-average power for a catcher.
Pitcher of the Day: Matt Purke, LHP, Nationals (Mesa Solar Sox): 4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K. Purke battled injury, had an inconsistent season and struggled after a promotion to High-A ball, but he appears to be coming on strong in the AFL. After striking out just six batters per nine innings for Potomac, Purke is once again missing bats in the AFL. He’s now given up just an unearned run in two starts.
Notes on nine prospects, including Cardinals outfielder Stephen Piscotty and Astros right-hander Matt Heidenreich.
Hitter of the Day: Stephen Piscotty, RF, Cardinals (Salt River Rafters): 2-4, 2 R, 2B, 3B, BB. Piscotty continues to be red-hot this fall and put together another strong day. He now has three straight multi-hit games.
Pitcher of the Day: Matt Heidenreich, RHP, Astros (Peoria Javelinas): 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K. It’s a slow day in the AFL when the pitcher of the day walked three batters, but Heidenreich did limit the damage by missing some bats and limiting the hits. It was actually an abnormal start for Heidenreich, who doesn’t usually rack up the strikeout numbers but typically has very good control.
Twins outfielder Byron Buxton and Brewers right-hander Taylor Jungmann were among the prospects who stood out in the desert.
Hitter of the Day: Byron Buxton, CF, Twins (Glendale Desert Dogs): 2-4, R, HR. It was only a matter of time before Buxton took over an AFL game at the plate. He connected on his first home run of the fall on Monday and now has a hit in all four AFL games.
Pitcher of the Day: Taylor Jungmann, RHP, Brewers (Surprise Saguaros): 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K. Jungmann doesn’t miss many bats, so getting four strikeouts is a notable feat for the righty. His control wavered this season as well, so just one walk is also a good sign.