North Shore 6, West Oahu 3 (7 Innings)
North Shore short stop Kyle Martin (Royals) went 2-for-3 with a run and a three run homer. Martin’s homer was the fifth of the HWB league season, giving him the overall lead in the category. North Shore right hander Christopher Hicks (Astros) got the win in relief going 2 1/3 innings allowing no runs and striking out two. West Oahu third baseman Tyler Henson (Orioles) went 1-for-3 with a triple and three RBIs. West Oahu center fielder Gregory Burns (Marlins) stole his tenth base of the winter season, tyling him for the HWB league lead in stolen bases.
Waikiki 5, Honolulu 2
Right hander Andrew Brackman (Yankees) went six innings allowing two runs (one earned) to get his third win of the winter season for Waikiki. Brackman has struggled with command at times in the HWB league. However, control was not a problem Thursday night as he allowed only four hits and one walk, while striking out seven. Waikiki right hander Jordan Pratt (Dodgers) went two innings allowing no hits or runs, and five strikeouts. BeachBoys catcher Buster Posey (Giants) went 2-for-5 with a run and an RBI. First baseman Yonder Alonso (Reds) had another good game for Waikiki going 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI. The big blow for the BeachBoys came from second baseman Damon Sublett (Yankees) who went 2-for-4 with two runs and a two-run homer. Sharks right hander Satoshi Nagai (Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles) matched Brackman for six innings allowing only two runs before handing it to the bullpen which failed to keep the game tied. Nagai allowed seven hits with no walks and striking out eleven. Nagai’s ERA now stands at an outstanding 1.80 in the HWB league season.
PEORIA, Ariz. — If Lucas Harrell makes a turn for the better here in the Arizona Fall League, the White Sox’s righthander might look back to two days ago as the turning point.
The 2004 fourth-round pick was working on the side and experimented with a new grip on his slider. Gone is the four-seam fastball-like grip in which Harrell would turn his hand in order to get the necessary spin.
In its place is more of what Harrell called a John Smoltz-like grip for the slider as he handles it on the seams. [...] Continue Reading »
PEORIA, Ariz. — A midweek afternoon in the middle of just another random fall day probably wouldn’t seem like a reason to grin and kick back.
But on Thursday, in the Peoria Saguaros clubhouse, sitting at a round table and thumbing through a deck of playing cards, there was Ross Detwiler.
His hair shaggy, stubble on his face, he appeared at ease, with hardly a worry in the world. [...] Continue Reading »
PEORIA, Ariz. — At first glance, it would look like Cole Armstrong had a fairly decent season, what with a half season spent at Double-A Birmingham before he earned a promotion to Triple-A Charlotte.
But ask Armstrong about it, and the White Sox’s catching prospect thought it could have been a lot better. After all, he was a meager 10-for-65 down the stretch this year.
“The season was a good learning experience,” Armstrong said. “There were some pretty severe downs and pretty severe highs. There were two or three weeks where I would not square up any balls. And there were times when you don’t sleep because you start looking at your numbers. [...] Continue Reading »
Prospect Of The Day
Peoria Saguaros right fielder Mike Baxter (Padres) may be a member of the team’s taxi squad, but he’s definitely making the most of his time in the Arizona Fall League.
Yesterday against Surprise, Baxter went 5-for-5 with a triple and a home run as the Saguaros throttled the Rafters, 12-6. Through 27 AFL at-bats, Baxter is now hitting .556/.658/.963.
Baxter was the Padres’ fourth-round draft pick in 2005 out of Vanderbilt. This season between class High A Lake Elsinore and Double A San Antonio, Baxter ht .264/.345/.406 with 22 doubles and nine home runs.
[...] Continue Reading »
Waikiki 9, Honlulu 0
Catcher Buster Posey (Giants) led the BeachBoys to their fifth straight win on Wednesday night defeating first place Honolulu 9-0. Posey went 4-for-6 with a run scored and three RBIs. Posey is now hitting .515 in the HWB league through 33 at-bats. Posey is also now tied for eighth in the league with thirteen RBIs as well. Waikiki first baseman Yonder Alonso (Reds) added 2-for-5 with a run, an RBI, and a double. BeachBoys left hander Mitsuo Yoshikawa (Nippon Ham Fighters) got the win with another strong outing going six innings allowing no runs and striking out nine. Yoshikawa lowered his ERA to 1.82 on the HWB league season. Yoshikawa now ranks fifth in the HWB league in ERA. Sharks catcher Tony Cruz (Cardinals) went 2-for-4 with a double to lead the Honolulu offense.
North Shore 7, West Oahu 3
Left hander Yasutaka Hattori (Chiba Lotte Marines) got the win for North Shore to improve to 3-1 on the winter season. Hattori threw five innings allowing two runs (one earned) and striking out three. Honu left fielder Matt McBride (Indians) went 2-for-5 with a run, two doubles, and an RBI. Catcher Jason Castro (Astros) went 2-for-4 with a double, a run scored, and two RBIs for the Honu. North Shore second baseman Ron Rivas (Indians) added a 2-for-4 day and drove in two. West Oahu second baseman Mark Hallberg (Diamondbacks) went 3-for-5 with a run and double, and third baseman Tyler Henson (Orioles) went 2-for-4 with a run, a double, and a triple in the losing effort.
MESA, Ariz. — He could be in Hawaii right now, hanging out on the beach when he isn’t at the ballpark, or maybe even grabbing a surfboard and testing his mettle on the waves as they rolled in from the Pacific.
Instead, Marlins lanky lefthander Sean West passed on the palm trees and postcard-perfect sunsets of the islands and chose to spend a couple of months around the dust, sand and menacing cactus in the desert southwest.
If some think he is nuts, so be it. The Arizona Fall League has proven to be a finishing school for minor leaguers and West, a first-round supplemental pick in 2005, wanted to challenge himself. That despite having spent all this past summer with high Class A Jupiter in the Florida State League. [...] Continue Reading »
MESA, Ariz. — How’s this for getting a pep talk?
Back in April, the season not even three weeks old, Double-A Tennessee (Cubs) infielder Nate Spears got summoned into his manager’s office.
There, Buddy Bailey gave it to him straight.
“He told me I as a lot better player than what I was playing,” Spears said. “After that, I turned my season around.”
Spears’ breakout season in the Southern League earned him a spot in the Arizona Fall League, where, in the words of Mesa Solar Sox manager Rocket Wheeler, “he’s tearing the cover off the ball.”
Or so it seems. [...] Continue Reading »
MESA, Ariz. — One of the great things about baseball is that you’re always bound to find a story, even when it looks as if there is not much to write about.
Here in the Arizona Fall League, you’d think half these guys might doze off in the middle of an at-bat. Only a couple of hundred spectators turn out for games, and a majority are the usual suspects—scouts and front-office executives. Listen closely and at times you might even hear cactus growing on the nearby mountains.
But doze off? Quintin Berry? Not a chance.
The Phillies’ 2006 fifth-round draft pick reached the AFL earlier this month as a taxi squad member, eligible to play only on Wednesdays and Saturdays. And if that sounds like it’s only one measly slot above the water boy’s role on the team, well, it’s not far off. [...] Continue Reading »
This week’s installment considers all transactions reported by MLB between Oct. 18-24. The previous installment is available here.
Released: C Craig Ansman
Reinstated from DL: RHP Matt Elliott, RHP Yonata Ortega, RHP Ramon Sanchez, LHP Clint Goocher, LHP Leyson Septimo, C Josh Ford, C Matt Morgan, 3B Clayton Conner, OF Joey Side
Reinstated from inactive list: C Craig Ansman
Assigned to Arizona Fall League: 3B Rusty Ryal
Added to 40-man roster: RHP Luis Valdez
Valdez, 24, has taken an unusual path to the Braves’ 40-man roster, but with a firm 90-94 mph fastball, a plus splitter and a slider as a third pitch, he’s got a chance. Signed with the Pirates out of the Dominican Republic at age 16 in 2001, Valdez spent three years in the DSL as a reliever before making his U.S. debut in 2004. He reached high Class A in 2007, his seventh pro season, posting a 4.79 ERA but striking out 78 in 73 innings. Atlanta signed him as a minor league free agent last offseason and he proceeded to turn in one of the Double-A Southern League’s better relief seasons, going 4-3, 2.76 with 77-36 strikeouts-walks in 65 innings for Mississippi. [...] Continue Reading »
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Sift through the stats and this one might stand out: Mark Trumbo has yet to hit a home run.
Trumbo ripped 32 home runs this season combined at high Class A Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Arkansas, giving the Angels more reasons to think they got a steal in the 2004 draft when they took Trumbo in the 18th round—as a pitcher.
But the power that Trumbo displayed this year has yet to show in the Arizona Fall League. Through 66 at-bats, he has had only four extra-base hits—all doubles.
Not that he is overly worried about it.
“I’ve hit a lot of balls real hard,” said Trumbo, playing first base for the Scottsdale Scorpions. “I’m not going up there to hit a home run. When I do that, that’s when things break down mechanically.” [...] Continue Reading »
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — So what’s the secret to Drew Sutton’s success?
Easy. A former golf instructor named Jamie Cevallos, who last offseason encouraged Sutton to use better body control when bringing his bat through the zone.
“It gives you more room for error,” said Sutton, who had a breakout season at Double-A Corpus Christi (Astros) and parlayed his success to the Arizona Fall League. “He had a lot of video on his computer, and it had Ted Williams and Albert Pujols and it showed a lot about positioning yourself in your swing.”
At 25, the switch-hitting Sutton was one of the more experienced hitters in the Texas League this season and finished .317/.408/.523 with 20 home runs, 39 doubles and 69 RBIs. Scouts considered the circuit thinner in big-time talent this year more than in prior seasons, although the South Division had the better prospect pool. [...] Continue Reading »
Prospect Of The Day
What started as a great day has quickly turned into a great week for Desert Dogs catcher Mike McKenry (Rockies). After hitting three home runs on Monday, McKenry left the park again yesterday as part of a 2-for-4 day at the plate that also included a double as the Desert Dogs beat the Surprise Rafters, 12-7. Over the past three games, McKenry has gone 8-for-13 with a double, five home runs and 11 RBIs.
[...] Continue Reading »
After making a big splash by signing outfielders Yorman Rodriguez and Juan Duran, the Reds have added an intriguing international arm by signing lefthander Ismael Guillon.
Guillon was one of the last high profile prospects from this year’s crop who had not signed around the July 2 international signing date.
Guillon, 16, has played first base and pitched for scouts, but the Reds interest came from his work on the mound. The 6-foot-3 lefthander has been clocked at between 88-92 mph. He also has an advanced changeup considering his age. Some scouts from other teams had concerns about his arm action and his delivery, which was described as funky, but the Reds believe he’s a relatively polished pitcher for a teenager who still has some projection left despite a relatively developed frame.
West Oahu 8, North Shore 2
Following a couple of days of rainouts the HWB league returned to action on Tuesday night. West Oahu and North Shore were tied 2-2 going into the ninth, thanks in no small part to the teams starting pitchers. West Oahu got six runs in the ninth to blow the game open and get the victory 8-2. CaneFires lefthander Chris Cody (Brewers) went five scoreless innings allowing only four baserunners and striking out four. Cody was matched by Honu lefthander Jose Capellan (Red Sox), a major league Rule 5 pick a year ago by the Giants. Capellan went five scoreless allowing only three baserunners and striking out three. West Oahu centerfielder Kyle Peter (Tigers) went 4-for-5 from the leadoff spot to spark the CaneFires. Peter also stole his ninth base of the winter season ranking him second in HWB. West Oahu shortstop Mark Hallberg (Diamondbacks) went 2-for-3 with a run scored and three RBIs, and left fielder Logan Schafer (Brewers) went 2-for-4 with two runs. Honu left fielder Matt McBride (Indians) went 2-for-5 with a solo homer in the loss. Honu righthander Brett Hunter (A’s) took the loss allowing six runs (five earned) in a third of an inning.
Waikiki 12, Honolulu 9
Honolulu had a great night on offense Tuesday, but Waikiki was just a bit better. Waikiki had big offensive nights from several of its key prospects. Giants catching prospect Buster Posey continued his hot hitting going 2-for-3 with three RBIs to improve his HWB batting average to .481 through 27 at-bats. BeachBoys second baseman Tony Thomas (Cubs) went 1-for-4 with a triple, two runs scored, and two RBIs. The triple by Thomas was his fifth in the HWB league, and he is the outright leader in that category. Shortstop Todd Frazier (Reds) hit a solo homer for Waikiki. Beachboys right fielder Alfredo Silverio (Dodgers) had a 3-for-5 night with three runs scored, and center fielder James McOwen (Mariners) added a 2-for-3 game with two runs, a double, triple, and three RBIs. Waikiki used all that offense to combine with fifteen walks by Honolulu pitchers to gain the advantage and win the 12-9 slugfest. Honlulu’s offense was pretty impressive as well, led by second baseman Brad Emaus (Blue Jays) who went 2-for-4 with three runs scored, a double, and a solo homer. Sharks right fielder Dominic Brown (Phillies) had a good night as well, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored.
PHOENIX — Like most players in the Arizona Fall League, Rockies prospect Eric Young Jr. needs no one to remind him that a lot of scouts and front-office executives are watching.
To Young, it’s up to him to make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid, especially now that he has moved from the middle infield at Double-A Tulsa to center field for the Phoenix Desert Dogs.
He’s also hit leadoff, second as well as eighth and ninth and, at the plate, he’s gotten red hot. He extended his hitting streak to 13 games on Tuesday, when he was 4-for-4—including an inside-the-park grand slam.
“It doesn’t matter to me (where he bats),” Young said before Tuesday’s game. “I’m getting my work in. And I’m making sure that I have fun. You can’t get caught up with who’s up in the stands.”
[...] Continue Reading »
MESA, Ariz.—So much for enjoying the Arizona Fall League.
Marlins outfield prospect John Raynor caught a flight back to the organization’s spring training campus on Tuesday, a week after he suffered a broken bone in the back of his left hand.
Raynor was hitting .364/.410/.606 with 10 RBIs in 33 at-bats for the Mesa Solar Sox. This after a nice year at Double-A Carolina, a team that fell a win shy of winning the Southern League championship.
The worst part of the injury, other than having to abandon the AFL with three weeks to go, was that it came in his seventh at-bat of a blowout win for his Mesa Solar Sox.
“I’m fortunate that I made the best of my time here,” Raynor said. “It feels worthwhile still. (2008) was a time for me to step up and show the organization that I can handle any level.”
Raynor, 24, jumped to Double-A after spending 2007 at low Class A Greensboro. He was working on his bunting as well as getting better jumps on flyballs when he played in the outfield.
PHOENIX — This time last year, Wes Hodges was about to start deer hunting and, when he wasn’t doing that, he planned on relaxing on his couch back in Georgia.
Asked Tuesday if playing in the Arizona Fall League was better than deer hunting, the Indians’ 2006 second-round draft pick broke into a grin and shook his head.
“I don’t know about that,” Hodges said.
Don’t read anything into his comment. It’s no big deal because Hodges acknowledged that he is having a blast playing for the Surprise Rafters, whose manager, Triple-A Norfolk’s Gary Allenson, has him batting third and playing third base.
[...] Continue Reading »
Prospect Of The Day
Phoenix DH Mike McKenry (Rockies) had a game to remember yesterday. After all, it isn’t often that a player hits three home runs in a game. In fact, since 2005, McKenry became just the third player in the Arizona Fall League to leave the park three times in a game—and he did it by the fourth inning. It was part of a 3-for-5 night with seven RBIs as the Desert Dogs topped the Surprise Rafters, 16-7.
For McKenry, it was the second multi-HR game of his professional career. Normally a catcher, he was drafted by the Rockies in the seventh round of the 2006 draft out of Middle Tennessee State. He got off to a slow start (.216/.303/.339 )in 2006 as he transitioned to playing everyday and swinging wood bats with the Tri-City Dust Devils. In 2007, he moved up to low Class A Asheville in the South Atlantic League and hit .287/.392/.539 with 22 home runs. He spent this year with high Class A Modesto in the California League and hit .258/.360/.468 with 18 home runs.
The other two players to hit at least three home runs in an AFL game since 2005 are Brandon Wood (Angels), who actually hit four home runs on Oct. 10, 2005 and Michael Johnson (Padres) on Oct. 25, 2005.
[...] Continue Reading »
The third-annual Arizona Fall League Rising Stars game took place Friday night and it was a game to remember.
Righthanders Tommy Hanson (Braves) and Phil Hughes (Yankees) faced off, with Hanson taking the hill for the American Rising Stars and Hughes getting the ball for the National Rising Stars.
Hughes may have more major league experience, but Hanson had the better game. The Braves’ 22nd-round draft pick in 2005 signed as a draft-and-follow after spending a year at Riverside Community College and has become one of the best pitching prospects in the game.
Last night, he threw three no-hit innings, walking two batters, but also striking out seven.
Things were looking good for the American team when Hanson’s teammates put up four runs in the top of the second inning with home runs from left fielder Chad Huffman (Padres) and center fielder Josh Reddick (Red Sox).
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