Player of the Week:
David Bote, 2B, Chicago Cubs (Mesa Solar Sox): 14-26, 3 BB, 8 R, 2B, 4 HR, 8 RBI, 7 K
Have yourself a week, kid. A non-descript 18th rounder entering the year, Bote rode a big ol’ leg kick to a solid season at Double-A. He’s played every position but center field and catcher in his minor-league career, and fits the mold of fun organizational depth. If he can exceed that lot in life, he’d be the second alumnus of Neosho County Community College in Kansas to crack a big-league roster, joining former teammate Matt Strahm.
Pitcher of the Week:
Justus Sheffield, LHP, New York Yankees (Scottsdale Scorpions): 2 GS, 9 1/3 IP, 3 R (2 ER), 5 H, BB, 9 K
Sheffield has been one of the more polarizing arms for our prospect team here, with raw stuff that tantalizes as much as his command concerns. But in the AFL it’s been so far, so good through two starts–his mid-90s fastball has dominated, impressing scouts and doing mean things to other top prospects.
Other Prospects of Note:
Eric Filia, OF, Seattle Mariners (Peoria Javelinas): 10-19, 3 BB, 3 2B, 3B, 5 RBI, 2 K, CS
I tried to warn y’all about this dude’s bat, but the damage is done. He’s picked up right where he left off in Stanislaus County, turning around 99 mph heaters like it ain’t no thang. It will remain wildly unclear whether he’ll ever help a big-league team until he does it, but I have been and remain a fan of the stick.
Alex Jackson, C, Atlanta Braves (Peoria Javelinas): 8-21, 2 BB, 8 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 3 K
Lost in the shuffle of, well, Jackson’s shuffle off to Atlanta and a seat behind the dish, his bat kind of did a bunch of impressive damage this season in the Florida State League before holding his own after a promotion to Double-A. The bat has continued to burn bright in the desert sun thus far, and it could just be enough to carry the former top prospect to a big-league career.
Albert Abreu, RHP, New York Yankees (Scottsdale Scorpions): 2 GS, 10 IP, ER, 6 H, 3 BB, 11 K
Abreu lost about two months to a shoulder injury this summer, but has come back no worse for the wear across a couple strong starts for Scottsdale, including a sparkling five-inning effort with eight strikeouts to out-duel Mitch Keller in his most recent turn.
Lucas Erceg, 3B, Milwaukee Brewers (Salt River Rafters): 6-16, BB, 3 R, 3 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 4 K
Erceg struggled mightily in his High-A debut, but the bat picked up in the second half, and he’s off to a solid start this fall. Plus raw power with a feel to hit headline the package if he can figure out how to sustain his current momentum.
Josh Naylor, 1B, San Diego Padres (Peoria Javelinas): 10-27, 2 BB, 5 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 4 K, 2 SB
Naylor has continued to steal bases at every stop, and for the life of me I still can’t figure out how. He hit a rough patch midseason that continued through most of his time at Double-A. Between body concerns and a flatter bat path that doesn’t always allow him to tap into his raw power, it’s a profile with a thin margin for error, even if the bat’s got tasty potential.
Max Fried, LHP, Atlanta Braves (Peoria Javelinas): 2 GS, 8 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 11 K
The 23-year-old acquitted himself reasonably well in a late-season audition with the big club, and should enter the spring with a shot to crack the rotation.
Yonathan Daza, OF, Colorado Rockies (Salt River Rafters): 6-17, BB, 3 R, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI, 2 K, SB
I’m glad more scouts are getting a chance to see Daza this fall, and I’m gladder still that he’s doing the things he does.
Lourdes Gurriel, SS, Toronto Blue Jays (Peoria Javelinas): 8-23, 3 R, 4 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 3 K
After inking a seven-year, $22 million deal last November, Gurriel missed time with a hamstring injury early in the season before struggling throughout his stateside debut. He headed to the desert with a lot to prove, and has been up to the task in the early going.
Mitch Keller, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (Glendale Desert Dogs): 2 GS, 6 2/3 IP, ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 6 K
It’s not particularly often that a marquee pitching prospect graces Arizona ballgame-goers with his presence, but after missing more than a month with a back injury Keller will make at least a few turns in Glendale’s rotation.
Corey Ray, OF, Milwaukee Brewers (Salt River Rafters): 1-21, R, 2B, 5 K
In more than 750 career plate appearances at the High-A level now, Ray sits on a .241/.310/.374 line. Allowing that we aren’t in the business of scouting stat lines, that production from a former fifth overall pick is … not ideal. Of less concern broadly, though more relevance currently, he put up a clunker of a first week in Arizona, to boot.
Adam Hofacket, RHP, Anaheim Angels (Scottsdale Scorpions): 3 G, 3 1/3 IP, 11 ER, 10 H, 3 BB, 4 K, 2 HRA
Yeesh. Giving up eight runs in an inning-plus does funny things to a man’s stat line. Hofacket’s a decent little three-pitch reliever, who should push for middle-relief innings in Orange County next season.