In any minor league, tonight's duel between Giants righty Kyle Crick and Orioles lefty Eduardo Rodriguez would be tantalizing. That's especially true in the Arizona Fall League, as they're two of the top arms in the prospect-laden league.
Crick ranked as our No. 3 prospect in the California League, and Rodriguez earned the No. 8 spot in the Carolina League and the No. 9 spot in the Eastern League.
Rodriguez boasts a lively fastball that has hit as 94 miles per hour, as well as a slider. His slider and change-up are both average now with a chance to be plus in the future. There’s a curveball in there as well, but it lags behind his other offerings.
Between Frederick and Bowie this season, Rodriguez was 10-7 with a 3.41 ERA and 125 strikeouts in 145 innings.
Crick lost two months of the season with an oblique injury, but still boasts a top-shelf arsenal. His fastball parks comfortably between 95-97 mph with life. He complements the pitch with a slider that comes and goes but can be devastating when it’s working.
At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Crick boasts a power pitcher’s frame, but sometimes has trouble repeating his delivery.
Not to be outdone, the other night matchup features Marlins stud Andrew Heaney against Rays wild card Grayson Garvin.
Heaney came into the season ranked as our No. 3 Marlins prospect, behind only Christian Yelich and Jose Fernandez. He finished the year as our No. 9 prospect in the Florida State League and started his AFL campaign with a six-strikeout performance in three innings against the Glendale Desert Dogs.
After a lat injury cost him the first month, Heaney coasted through his time with Jupiter, working to a 5-2 record and a 0.88 ERA with 66 punchouts in 62 innings. He also strung together a scoreless streak of 34 innings between high Class A and Double-A Jacksonville.
At his peak, Heaney supplies an 89-93 mph heater that can get up to 95, as well as a slider that sits between 78-82 mph. His changeup currently rates as average.
Garvin, the 59th overall pick in 2011, missed most of the year while recuperating from Tommy John surgery. He lasted five innings in his first AFL outing, an unusual feat considering most pitchers haven’t thrown in a month or so and need to be eased back into competition.
Because his pitch count was so low, however, Garvin’s leash was slackened just a bit.