Hitter of the Day: Albert Almora, CF, Cubs (Mesa Solar Sox): 2-4, R, 2 RB, BB. It’s difficult for a hitter to maintain success when not playing every day, but that’s exactly what Almora has done, collecting his third multi-hit game in as many tries in the AFL despite playing in just half of his team’s games. Such is life in the AFL. Almora has solid tools across the board, but he has the advanced feel for hitting that so many toolsy players lack which will allow his other abilities to develop more completely.
Pitcher of the Day: Sammy Solis, LHP, Nationals (Mesa Solar Sox): 4 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 8 K. Eight strikeouts in any game is usually a good sign. In the AFL, where the outings are much shorter is a sign that Solis was dominant on Tuesday afternoon. The lefthander isn’t a big strikeout guy, but he can rack them up with his changeup, which has the potential to miss bats against aggressive swingers.
Seeing it Well
- C.J. Cron, 1B, Angels (Mesa Solar Sox): 1-5, R, HR. Cron’s power is his only plus tool, but this season, it didn’t come out to play as often as it needed. Cron hit just 14 home runs in a full season of Double-A, but connected on his first of the fall on Tuesday. The AFL is a good hitter’s environment much like the California League where Cron had success in 2012, so at some point he’ll have to show that his power plays in weaker hitting environments, especially if he wants to be a regular in Anaheim.
- Japhet Amador, 1B, Astros (Peoria Javelinas): 2-4, R, HR. Amador is a large man who hits home runs, so it’s good that he got his first in the AFL. With a body that makes Matt Adams look like Yasiel Puig, Amador will have to show that his power will play in the big leagues because he’s certainly not going to be selling any jeans.
- Eddie Rosario, 2B/OF, Twins (Glendale Desert Dogs): 3-4, 2B. Serving as the DH on this night, Rosario continued to show off his pure hitting ability and gap power in the AFL.
Finding the Zone
- Jason Adam, RHP, Royals (Peoria Javelinas): 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K. Adam is a big-framed pitcher who is being groomed to eat innings. He doesn’t have overpowering stuff in any facet, but when he makes his pitches, he can be effective like he was on Tuesday. He profiles as a fourth or fifth starter in the majors.
Bad Days at the Plate
- Peter O’Brien, C/3B, Yankees (Scottsdale Scorpions): 0-4, 3K. O’Brien’s AFL struggles continued on Tuesday, and the Yankees prospect is now 1-12 with seven strikeouts in the desert. He’s been primarily a catcher in the minors and is listed as one on the Scorpions roster and started there on Tuesday. Perhaps the positional switch is affecting him at the plate.
- Aaron Northcraft, RHP, Braves (Scottsdale Scorpions): 2 2/3 IP, 5 H, 5 R (3 ER), 3 BB, 2 K. Northcraft is a sinker/slider guy, and pitchers of that ilk have the potential to toss up a clunker when the sinker isn’t sinking like it should. In Northcraft’s case on Tuesday, his command was clearly not what it usually is, as evidenced by his three walks.
- Noel Arguelles, LHP, Royals (Peoria Javelinas): 1 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 0 K. The Royals have likely come to the realization that we came to a while ago – that the money given to Arguelles to sign him out of Cuba is now a lost cause. Sending him to the AFL could be a last-ditch attempt to salvage that, but really it seems like a waste of a roster spot on a lefty who can barely break 90-mph and walks more batters than he strikes out.
- Kraig Sitton, LHP, Rockies (Salt River Rafters): 2/3 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 0 K. You can’t be much worse in a baseball game than Sitton was on Tuesday, getting hit hard without so much as striking out a batter.