Calm down people
It took less than ten minutes after Strasburg was pulled from yesterday’s game for me to get one of those classic “What’s wrong with Player X?” e-mails. The answer, of course, is nothing. The difference between the kind of competition in the Arizona Fall League and the kind of talent Strasburg faced in college is massive, and when he starts hanging breaking balls in a highly-inflated offensive environment, this is what happens. There’s nothing wrong here; he’s just learning.
Teams take risks because of the rewards
In his first three outings, Scheppers has faced 16 batters and retired 14 of them, giving up a hit and a walk while striking out six. As good of reviews as his 95-98 mph fastball obviously generate, his breaking ball is earning nearly equal raves. It’s a true power curveball with heavy top-to-bottom action that he delivers at 80-84 mph, the kind of velocity some pitchers have on their slider. Few pitchers in the game need the ol’ ‘if he can stay healthy’ mantra in front of any projection, but if he can stay healthy, he could be elite.
Impossible to ignore
Wells slugged 27 home runs in 2008 as part of a breakout campaign, but 2009 started off on a much different foot when he fractured a bone in his hand during the first week of the season. While he still slugged 15 home runs in 86 games at Double-A Erie, he’s taking advantage of his time in Arizona by going 10-for-21 with five extra-base hits and 11 RBI in his first five games, including yesterday’s home run off of Strasburg. He’ll begin next year at Triple-A Toledo, and scouts who are high on him think he could be a second-division starter in the end.
Keeps putting up zeroes
In five appearances for the Navegantes, Santeliz has struck out 12 over 9.2 scoreless innings while allowing just four hits and a walk. Scoreless innings are really nothing new for Santeliz, as the 23-year-old had a 0.96 ERA in 40 games for Double-A Birmingham this year, including a 20-game scoreless streak during the second half of the season. His stuff is just as impressive; with a 93-96 mph fastball and plus slider, he just needs to throw more strikes to punch a ticket to the big leagues.
Others Of Note
Corey Brown, OF, Athletics (AFL), 3-for-5, 3B, HR (3), R, RBI, K: Getting some reps after an injury-plagued regular season, Brown has slugged three home runs in last five games, although the contact issues (11 Ks in 30 ABs) remain.
Grant Desme, OF, Athletics (AFL), 1-for-4, HR (6), R, 2 RBI, BB, 2 K: Desme has six home runs in eight games, and the league record is 14 (Brandon Wood).
Cole Gillespie, OF, Diamondbacks (AFL), 3-for-5, 2B, 2 R, BB, SB: Seemingly invigorated following his trade to Arizona, Gillespie is now batting .400 in five games for the Scorpions.
Chris Marrero, 1B, Nationals (AFL), 3-for-5, 2B, HR (2), 2 R, 2 RBI, K: The 2006 first-round pick has always been good, but never great. However, Marrero is taking advantage of the environment, with a 10-for-23 mark and 19 total bases in just six games.
Mitch Moreland, OF/1B, Rangers (AFL), 2-for-4, HR (2), 2 R, RBI: A big time sleeper in the Rangers system, Moreland just keeps on hitting. He gradually reduced his numbers of doubters throughout the season, and he continues to do so in Arizona.
Sebastian Valle, C, Phillies (MEX), 3-for-5, 2 HR (4), 3 R, 4 RBI, K: Valle is now 7-for-12 with four bombs and nine RBI in three games . . . have we mentioned he’s just 19?