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Friday, December 11th

Joey Rickard, OF, Orioles (DWL, Leones del Escogido): 1-5, 2 K

On the day he switched teams via the Rule 5 draft, Rickard had a modest showing with a single and two strikeouts. Though it may seem Rickard would have to perform substantially better in order to secure a spot on the O’s 25-man roster, his glove is going to be what cements his role on a big league bench. Rickard is a quality defender at all three outfield spots and if he can hit at all, that is just gravy.

Peter O’Brien, OF/1B/C, Diamondbacks (MPL, Naranjeros de Hermosillo): 1-3, HR, R, BB, K

We can all throw stones at what O’Brien does—or doesn’t do as it may truly be—defensively, and many scouts will even poke holes in his offensive game, questioning how it will translate against big-league caliber arms every day. For all those things you can criticize about O’Brien, and it is all fair criticism, he continues to mash home runs and draw some walks. The Diamondbacks are going to try and find a place for him to play in the big leagues and until he demonstrates that big league arms are too much for him, that shot is warranted.

Jorge Alfaro, C, Phillies (VWL, Tiburones de La Guaira): 2-4

Alfaro may be losing favor in some industry circles because his entire game remains unrefined despite several years of development, but he still owns an enticing blend of tools. Defensively, Alfaro has the athleticism and arm strength to be an asset behind the dish. Offensively, he can run and hit with power, if the approach comes along and he hits enough for both tools to play in games. There’s a lot of work to do here, particularly for a player that has already reached the upper levels of the minor leagues, and while the risk profile remains extremely high, the payoff is still potentially substantial.

Alex Balog, RHP, Rockies (ABL, Sydney Blue Sox): 9 IP, 3 H, 0 R/ER, 2 BB, 7 K

I have already written about Balog in this space this offseason, and as a former second-round pick that is trying to get on track and fulfill his potential, this type of performance is a start in reestablishing his value. Balog owns more of a back-end-starter profile at this point, but if he can log innings, miss some bats, and keep the ball on the ground, he could find success in Colorado.

Saturday, December 12th

Peter O’Brien, OF/1B/C, Diamondbacks (MPL, Naranjeros de Hermosillo): 1-3, HR, R, BB, K

Copy and paste from Friday’s game.

Bruce Rondon, RHP, Tigers (VWL, Navegantes del Magallanes): 0 IP, HBP

It’s not so much what Rondon did in the game over the weekend as it is about what else happened while he was on the field. After hitting the first batter he faced, Rondon had a significant role in instigating a benches-clearing brawl. For a player with immense talent that was sent home by the Tigers at the end of the season because of a lack of effort, you would think the off-season league would be an opportunity to right the ship and prove he and his 100-mph heat belong in the big leagues. Instead, Rondon continues a disturbing trend that dates back to his minor league days when he was sent back to Venezuela for disciplinary reasons for the first time. Million-dollar arm, 10-cent head.

Sunday, December 13th

Rhys Hoskins, 1B, Phillies (ABL, Sydney Blue Sox): 2-4, 2B, K

A fifth-round pick out of Cal State-Sacramento in 2014, Hoskins has managed to put his name on the prospect map in spite of a very challenging developmental path as a right-handed hitting first baseman. Hoskins has hit .308/.373/.550 in 30 ABL games this winter, including 14 doubles and five home runs. All of this comes on the heels .913 OPS across two A-ball levels in his full-season debut. Hoskins has plenty to prove but he could take a big step toward proving his worth if he can perform at Double-A in 2016.

Thank you for reading

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