Hitter of the Day: Yorman Rodriguez, RF, Reds (Glendale Desert Dogs): 2-5, 2 R, 2B, HR. It feels like Rodriguez has been around forever, mainly because he has, but he’s still just 20 and quite raw. He’s used to facing older competition, so the AFL shouldn’t faze him too much. His power potential finally began to translate into power production for the first time in 2013, and he’s off to a good start in carrying that over to the AFL this fall.
Pitcher of the Day: Matt Purke, SP, Nationals (Mesa Solar Sox): 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 2 K. Any time you can make it though an AFL start without allowing an earned run, it’s a moral victory. Of course, for Purke, any time he’s healthy enough to take the field given his injury history, it’s a victory as well. Purke’s stuff has diminished since his dominant early college days, but he’s showing the ability to get by with a lesser arsenal.
Seeing it Well
- Delino DeShields, Jr., CF, Astros (Peoria Javelinas): 2-3, BB, 2 R, 2B (2). DeShields’ game is all about speed, and the more he remembers that, the better off he’ll be. He did just that on Thursday, reaching base three times and using his speed to lead the Javelinas offense. He’s not as much of a favorite around the BP offices as he is in a lot of other places, but if he can use his speed and make an effort to learn the nuances of center field, he has a future.
- Nolan Fontana, SS, Astros (Peoria Javelinas): 2-3, BB, R, 2 2B. If you took DeShields’ athleticism and Fontana’s #want, you’d have one heck of a prospect. Fontana gets the most out of his abilities, limited as they may be in some cases, and continually produces at the plate, no matter the situation or the competition.
- Brian Cavazos-Galvez, LF, Dodgers (Glendale Desert Dogs): 5-5, 2 R, 2 2B. This would have been the prospect performance of the day if Cavazos-Galvez were more of a prospect. He’s already 26 and hit for no power this season, but there’s a track record from a few years back if you’re looking for something to cling to.
- Albert Almora, RF, Cubs (Mesa Solar Sox): 2-5, 2 R, 3B. Almora followed up a big offensive day on Wednesday with another one on Thursday. Despite being just 19 years old, Almora appears to be unfazed playing against much older competition on a much bigger stage.
- James Ramsey, CF, Cardinals (Salt River Rafters): 3-3, R, 2B, BB. Ramsey has been red-hot in the early going of the AFL. He has solid tools across the board and is lauded for his leadership and makeup, which help his tools play up on the field.
Finding the Zone
- Aaron Sanchez, SP, Blue Jays (Salt River Rafters): 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, K. More walks than strikeouts is never good, but getting out of three AFL innings unscathed means you did something right. The control issues have been there before, but Sanchez has an arm that most players would kill for.
Bad Days at the Plate
- Alen Hanson, SS, Pirates (Scottsdale Scorpions): 0-5, 3 K. After a breakout 2012 campaign, some of the luster came off of Hanson’s shine this season, perhaps unfairly for a 20-year-old who made it to Double-A. It’s not shock to see Hanson struggle against advanced competition, and while he’s never been a big strikeout guy, he has struggled against better pitching.
- Kyle Parker, DH, Rockies (Salt River Rafters): 0-4, 2 K. With a big swing and big power, sometimes you get days with swings and misses. It happens, and it's a part of Parker’s game, although not nearly as much as it is for many young power hitters.
- Kyle Crick, SP, Giants (Scottsdale Scorpions): 2 IP, 3 H 4 R (3 ER), 3 BB, 4 K. If this line looks familiar for Crick, it’s because it’s on par for what he's done as a professional. Scouts love Crick’s arm, and striking out two batters per inning against a prospect-filled lineup demonstrates why, but walks have always gotten him into trouble. Crick has the goods, but this isn’t the first time he’s left a game with a stat-line like this. On the positive side, Ben Lindbergh (who was in attendance) reports that Crick's fastball sat 96-98, touching 99.
- Mike Montgomery, SP, Rays (Salt River Rafters): 1 1/3 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 0 K. Montgomery has fallen a long way from when he was one of the top prospects in the Royals' system. Now with the Rays and coming off a second straight disappointing Triple-A season, this wasn’t the start to the fall Montgomery had hoped for. He also made an errant pickoff throw.