Hitter of the Day
Brandon Dixon, INF, Cincinnati Reds (AFL Peoria Javelinas): 3-4, 2 R, 2 2B, HR, RBI, K, E. One of the pieces Cincy got back in the Todd Frazier three-teamer, Dixon flashes some interesting offensive traits. He’s crushed the ball in Arizona to the tune of a 1.002 OPS that currently sits fourth in the league. Unfortunately, that “E” you see up there in his box score? That’s his fifth one of those, in just 14 games. He’s jumped around the dirt to every position but short for Peoria, after playing six different positions at Double-A.
Pitcher of the Day
Spencer Turnbull, RHP, Detroit Tigers (AFL Salt River Rafters): 4 IP, 3 H, BB, 4 K. That’s back-to-back scoreless outings for Turnbull. Limited to fewer than 50 innings because of a shoulder issue, he has pitched effectively for Salt River. He can struggle at times to throw strikes, but that wasn’t an issue yesterday.
Others of Note
Anthony Alford, CF, Toronto Blue Jays (AFL Mesa Solar Sox): 1-4, BB, 2 R, K, 3 SB, E. Earlier in the fall I noted Alford’s encouraging early performance, and he has since maintained an impressive pace. Yesterday’s outburst on the bases gives him a league-leading 11 bags, to go along with seven extra-base hits in 72 at-bats. His advanced approach has shown up, too, though some extreme swing-and-miss has persisted as well. His is a bat that may take some time in the higher minors, but the tools are awfully exciting.
Jorge Bonifacio, OF, Kansas City Royals (DWL Tigres de Licey): 3-5, 2 RBI. It hadn’t been a great start to Dominican ball for Bonifacio, so yesterday’s three-hit outburst bears some watching to see if he’s starting to turn the corner.
Travis Demeritte, 2B, Atlanta Braves (AFL Salt River Rafters): 2-3, 2 BB, 4 R, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI. Demeritte has shown some intriguing patience throughout this season, and it has translated reasonably to his stint as Salt River’s leadoff man this fall. He works a lot of deep counts, and it leads to more than his share of whiffs. But his violent swing is leveraged and fast, and yesterday’s extra-base pop is legit.
Josh Staumont, RHP, Kansas City Royals (AFL Surprise Saguaros): 4 IP, H, 4 BB, 7 K. A nice rebound outing after getting crushed in his previous start. Staumont has now given up one lonely run in five of his combined starts, and 11 in two others. That’s pretty much par for the course when you’re talking about a guy with Staumont’s combination of elite velocity and non-elite control.
Ryan O’Hearn, 1B, Kansas City Royals (AFL Surprise Saguaros): 2-4, BB, R, RBI. O’Hearn has power, and lots of it. And he tries hard to get to it, too, with a long swing that generates hard contact to all fields … when he makes contact.
Louis Lechich, LHP, Chicago White Sox (AFL Glendale Desert Dogs): 1.1 IP, 2 K. Lechich is a 24-year-old former sixth-rounder who only just converted to the mound in June after hitting .238/.285/.333 in parts of three seasons of Rookie and A-ball. He’s got good size and some deception from a low three-quarter slot, with a slingshot 88-91 sinker and a low-80s change that looks semi-interesting. Between 15 innings in the Sally and now 12 more in Arizona, he’s yet to be scored upon in his first 21 professional pitching appearances.
Fight Another Day
Jason Martin, OF, Houston Astros (AFL Glendale Desert Dogs): 0-4, RBI. One of the youngest regulars in the Cal League, Martin took some time to adjust to the level before taking full advantage of his environment as the year progressed. He’s similarly struggled to hit through his first 11 AFL games, though the patience has translated to where he’s scored nine runs despite going just six for his first 31.
Chris Anderson, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (AFL Glendale Desert Dogs): 3.2 IP, 5 R (2 ER), 5 H, 3 BB, 2 K, HRA. Welp, the good news is that this one went better than his last start, in which yielded eight runs without recording a single out. The bad news is he once again struggled from the jump to harness his stuff, and he’s gotten shelled in four of his six turns. The former first-rounder’s days of starting may be coming to an end, and while the raw fastball/slider combination still leaves open a creaky, chipped window to bullpen potential, there’s been too little progress with command refinement to expect it’ll happen.