Hitter of the Day: Addison Russell, SS, A’s (Mesa Solar Sox): 3-5, R, 2B, K. There were a few questions about Russell when he was drafted in 2012, but there are very few surrounding him now. Still shy of his 20th birthday, Russell has handled every assignment put in front of him to this point and is now hitting .307 in the AFL. The strikeouts are a little bit of a concern, but as long as he keeps producing, no one will notice.
Pitcher of the Day: Dallas Beeler, RHP, Cubs (Mesa Solar Sox): 5 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K. Coming off a start in which he allowed seven unearned runs, Beeler was strong on Monday, pounding the strike zone and generating weak contact.
Seeing it Well
- Albert Almora, CF, Cubs (Mesa Solar Sox): 3-4, 2B. Add Almora to the list of prospect unfazed by the fact that teenagers aren’t supposed to have this kind of success against advanced minor-league competition. The only question from Almora’s first full regular season in 2013 was how his power would develop, but he has nine extra-base hits in 18 games this fall.
- Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs (Mesa Solar Sox): 2-3, 2 2B, 2 BB. Bryant cares not for the fatigue at the end of a long season or the fact that AFL competition is supposed to be a big jump up from the Florida State League competition he faced this season, as evidenced by his now .371/.458/.771 line.
- Garin Cecchini, 3B, Red Sox (Surprise Saguaros): 3-3, R, 2 BB. Cecchini is an on-base machine and that has continued this fall. He’s kept up his more-walks-than-strikeouts trend and now has 17 walks in as many games for a .449 on-base percentage.
- Tyler Naquin, CF, Indians (Surprise Saguaros): 3-4, 2 R, 3B, BB, K. Most scouts question whether or not Naquin’s power will develop and he hasn’t given any reason not to question that this fall, but he is showing better plate discipline, pitch recognition and ability to barrel up the ball, en route to a .368 average.
Additional Home Runs
- Kenny Wilson, CF, Blue Jays (Salt River Rafters): 2-5, R, HR. Wilson isn’t a home run hitter, having hit just three during the regular season, but after some of the big-strikeout games he’s racked up recently, it’s a good sign to see him making hard contact.
- Stephen Piscotty, RF, Cardinals (Salt River Rafters): 2-4, 2 R, HR, BB. Piscotty has good gap power that some scouts believe will develop into better home run power. He hit 15 this season between the Florida State and Texas Leagues, but this was just his first this fall.
- Kyle Parker, 1B, Rockies (Salt River Rafters): 2-5, 2 R, 2B, HR. Parker has put on a display of power this fall in between his strikeouts, with 13 extra-base hits in 21 games.
- Jared Mitchell, CF, White Sox (Glendale Desert Dogs): 1-4, R, HR, BB, K. It has surprised virtually everyone that Mitchell has returned to effectiveness this fall after two poor regular seasons in a row. His home run on Monday was his fifth of the fall after hitting just five in 90 games this season.
- Mitch Haniger, RF, Brewers (Surprise Saguaros): 1-4, R, HR, BB, 2 K. Haniger had a great half-season in Low-A ball and a disappointing half-season in the Florida State League. His AFL campaign is coming in somewhere in the middle, but with slightly more home run power.
- Reymond Fuentes, CF, Padres (Leones de Ponce, PRWL) 1-5, 2 R, HR, 3 K. It was an all-or-nothing game for Fuentes who hit his first home run of the winter. He’s not a home run hitter by any stretch, but he also doesn’t generally strike out a ton, although he did struggle making contact in his brief major league stint at the end of 2013.