For this morning's Minor League Update, let's check in on some of the Arizona Fall League All-Stars, announced yesterday.
Freeland missed over half the season with a shoulder issue, so Fall Ball is a way to get the Rockies 2014 first-round pick a few more reps. A good start last night (5 IP, 5 H, 4 K) is a positive sign, and I was impressed with the stuff when I saw him last year for Asheville. It's a wicked-fast arm that touches 94, and one of the better sliders I have seen at that level. I worried some about the effort in the delivery, and the arm issues this year certainly haven't dissuaded me from thinking he is a reliever long term.
Black is nothing if not consistent. He walked a batter per inning in the Cal League, and now he is walking a batter per inning in the Arizona Fall League. He throws really, really, really hard, and guys with that fastball only need a little bit of command and a show-me secondary to get major-league opportunities.
Smith has cooled down after a white-hot start in Arizona. He is currently mired in a 2-for-19 slump, though he has continued to make buckets of contact. Chris called him one of the best first-base prospects in baseball in a recent look, and that may well be true, but part of the problem with the profile is that he is a first-base prospect at 20. Unless the power shows up in games (and I don't know where we are getting the projection from at this point), Smith will need to keep hitting .300.
Adam Brett Walker, RF Minnesota Twins (Scottsdale Scorpions)
There, now every single Minor League Update writer has mentioned Walker in a piece.
I loved McGuire coming into the 2013 draft, and catcher development tracks (especially with the bat) can be tricky, but he just hasn't shown as much offense (especially pop) as I'd hoped to see so far. He might still grow into double-digit home run power, but he's not even hitting doubles at this point in time. Still, it's a really nice defensive profile behind the plate that will keep him employed for a long time in some capacity.
Peterson was very much the college version of Dom Smith in the 2013 draft. The Mariners did give Peterson a shot at third base for a bit, but he has transitioned to playing mostly first base over the last two seasons and that was always expected to be his major-league home. So, like Smith, he will have to hit a ton. He certainly did that in 2014. Now, the overall line was buoyed by a half-season in High Desert, but Peterson maintained his good power numbers in his first taste of Double-A. This year, though, everything fell apart for the 23-year-old. The power has shown back up in a couple of weeks in Arizona, but Peoria is far closer to High Desert than Safeco.
And oh hey, I remember you
The Baltimore Orioles issues with developing and graduating pitching prospects probably deserve a long, in-depth, well-researched piece. Instead, we will probably all make jokes about how Dylan Bundy will be starting Game Two in the playoffs for the Cubs in 2017. The best jokes always have a grain of truth to them though, and Bundy will be out of options in 2016. Early indications are the O's will try to find a spot in the pen for him if he remains healthy. He might be hanging out with Kevin Gausman and Brian Matusz there. Yeah, someone should really write that piece.
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