Hitter of the Day:
Ryan McBroom, 1B, Toronto Blue Jays (Mesa Solar Sox): 2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 7 RBI, K. More like Ryan Mc-Boom, amiright? Eh? Eh? Eh. McBroom was one of just three hitters to cross the 20-homer threshold in the notoriously stingy Florida State League this year. That production’s a good and necessary thing for his big-league aspirations, as his well-below-average speed and outfield instincts leave him pinned to first, where his questionable hit tool makes him a fringier prospect.
Pitcher of the Day:
Austin Voth, RHP, Washington Nationals (Glendale Desert Dogs): 4 IP, ER, 2 H, 7 K, HRA. Voth struggled in his AFL debut, but bounced back in a big way yesterday, long homer by Tyler O’Neill notwithstanding. He generates an excellent angle to attack the zone by leveraging his height with a high arm slot, and after striking out the side to start his day he continued to effectively mix grounders and whiffs for three more innings.
Best of the Rest:
Bradley Zimmer, CF, Cleveland Indians (Mesa Solar Sox): 1-1, 4 BB, 3 R, 2B, RBI, 2 SB. Not a bad day at the office for Cleveland’s top prospect, who has now stolen at least one base in all four of his AFL games to date without getting caught.
Tyler O’Neill, RF, Seattle Mariners (Peoria Javelinas): 2-4, BB, R, 2B, HR, RBI. O’Neill’s top-shelf makeup is matched only by his raw power, and the progress he showed in both trimming his whiff rate and taking more free passes at Double-A this season was a highly encouraging development. He’s carried the top-line performance into the desert, albeit with significant whiff regression in a tiny sample thus far.
Josh Staumont, RHP, Kansas City Royals (Surprise Saguaros): 4 IP, H, 2 K. Consensus has Staumont riding his 80-grade fastball and a curve that flashes swing-and-miss potential to a high-leverage bullpen role down the line. But with seven scoreless out of the gate he’s used his time in the AFL thus far to argue strenuously for continued rotation opportunities.
Scott Heineman, RF, Texas Rangers (Surprise Saguaros): 2-2, BB, R, 2B, CS. Heineman is one of the more intense players I’ve seen in a pre-game dugout. Perhaps he was excited this season because he finally managed to stay healthy, and in turn he flashed an interesting skill set that just might translate into a quality fourth-outfielder gig down the line.
Paul DeJong, SS (?), St. Louis Cardinals (Glendale Desert Dogs): 1-3, RBI. DeJong’s inclusion here is related entirely to the positional demarcation, as it’s an eyebrow-raiser any time a player who draws fringe-average defensive grades at third moves to shortstop. He had some history of bouncing around the dirt on his amateur resume, and the Cardinals are apparently curious to see if they can return some versatility to his profile.
Jacob Nottingham, C, Milwaukee Brewers (Salt River Rafters): 1-3, R, HR, RBI, K. Nottingham managed to maintain decent production against left-handed pitching amid a poor offensive season, and he’s had the good fortune to log eight of his first 17 fall at-bats against southpaws. The result? Five hits, including a double and yesterday’s homer.
Drew Ward, 3B, Washington Nationals (Glendale Desert Dogs): 1-3, BB, K, RBI, E. That box score is a pretty perfect microcosm of the Drew Ward Experience, actually. Incidentally, yes, that was the name of the band singing in pool-hall harmony when your car radio flipped through the local college station this morning.
Fight Another Day:
Rodolfo Martinez, RHP, San Francisco Giants (Scottsdale Scorpions): 0.1 IP, 4 ER, H, 4 BB, K, HRA. Yeesh. Martinez has one of the better fastballs in the minors and usually enough of a sense of where it’s going to compete, but, um, yeah that wasn’t really the case yesterday.
Victor Arano, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies (Scottsdale Scorpions): 1.1 IP, BB, 2 K. It wasn’t so much that the end results of this outing were poor, but Arano managed to yield three stolen bases in three attempts after allowing one in his inaugural appearance for Scottsdale. His relief conversion went swimmingly this season, but there’s clearly a book out on him in the desert.
Jose Trevino, C, Texas Rangers (Surprise Saguaros): 0-4. Now two for his first 15. It’s almost like catching 900 innings in one desert for five-and-a-half months, then flying out to catch a bunch more innings in another desert, may be physically challenging.