Picking up where he left off
Ike Davis, 1B, Mets (AFL: Surprise)
Tuesday’s stats: 4-for-6, 2 2B, HR (1), 2 R, 6 RBI
Davis’ emergence after a nightmarish pro debut was one of the bigger stories in the Mets system, especially during the second half of the season, as he hit .341/.401/.651 after the All-Star break for Double-A Binghamton with 10 home runs in 129 at-bats. He was certainly the player of the day as the Arizona Fall League opened, and whoever plays first base for the Mets next year might just be a one-year placeholder in preparation for Davis.
Not the ideal first impression
Andy Oliver, LHP, Tigers (AFL: Peoria Javelinas)
Tuesday’s stats: 1 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 1 K
Oliver got more attention for his case with Scott Boras against the NCAA than his effort on the mound this spring, as his junior year at Oklahoma State was a massive disappointment. Still, being a team that loves big guys who throw hard (and as a lefty who can up to 95 mph), the Tigers took him in the second round and paid him a bonus just under $1.5 million. Pitching for the first time as a pro, Oliver gave up a hit, two walks, and then the grand slam to Davis to start his outing before settling down a bit. It’s still a special arm, but it’s not without some risk.
Working his way back
Ian Kennedy, RHP, Yankees (AFL: Surprise)
Tuesday’s stats: 4 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K
It was mostly a lost 2009 for Kennedy, who missed much of the year recovering from surgery to remove an aneurysm in his throwing arm. Needing innings more than anything else, Kennedy was especially sharp on Tuesday, firing 37 of his 53 pitches for strikes while sitting at his usual velocity of 89-92 mph and mixing in a variety of quality secondary pitches. It’s hard to figure out where he figures in the Yankees plans for 2010 and beyond, but at least he’s back in the discussion.
Just keeps on hitting
Starlin Castro, SS, Cubs (AFL: Mesa)
Tuesday’s stats: 3-for-5, 3 RBI, R
Clearly the biggest breakout this year in the Cubs system, Castro earned a surprising assignment to High-A Daytona to begin the season as a 19-year-old, but even more surprising was the fact that he hit .302/.340/.391 there and won MVP honors at the league’s All-Star game. He followed that with a .288/.347/.396 line in 31 games for Double-A Tennessee, all while showing solid, if not plus defensive ability. He needs to add something to his offensive game other than batting average to move into elite status, but to be able to complete at these levels-including the Arizona Fall League as a teenager-is very impressive.