BA intern Peter Wardell is spending the fall in the Arizona Fall League, where he will take a weekly look at which players are hot. The third AFL hot sheet takes a look at the top performers over the past week. Statistics reflect performance through Thursday, November 1.
1. Jonathan Singleton, 1b, Mesa Solar Sox (Astros) Statistics: .273/.407/.500 (6-for-22), 4 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 5 BB, 5 K
After posting a .284/.396/.497 line with 21 home runs at Double-A Corpus Christi, Singleton has remained a solid and consistent contributor this fall, collecting a league-high nine extra base hits. Playing in 19 of the 21 games thus far, Singleton has not only impressed scouts with his elite power potential and feel for the barrel but also his advanced approach (pitch recognition and two-strike ability). He's a confident hitter, willing to work deep into counts and look for his pitch.
The 6-foot-2, 235-pounder was acquired from the Phillies last summer for Hunter Pence and so far appears to be a cornerstone bat for the lineup going forward.
2. Kent Matthes, of, Salt River Rafters (Rockies)
Statistics: .438/.500/1.125 (7-for-16), 7 R, 2 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K
Coming off a rough stop at Double-A Tulsa this summer in which he batted .214/.273/.432, Matthes, 25, has shown flashes of his offensive potential this fall before exploding this week, smashing five extra base hits (including three home runs) in three contests. At the plate, the 6-foot-2, 215-pound outfielder utilizes a subtle load and line-drive swing plane, not what you might expect from someone rated as the Best Power Hitter in the Rockies' system two of the past three seasons (2009, 2011). In addition, he has shown improvements in his approach, striking out just seven times (11.3%) thus far, a substantial improvement from his 20+% rates each of the past four seasons.
A senior-sign out of Alabama in 2009, Matthes will be Rule 5 Draft-eligible unless added to the Rockies' 40-man roster later this month. His power potential, solid defense and speed makes him an interesting choice.
Entering the week with a .219/.342/.219 slash line (and no extra base hits), Heathcott finally broke out, capped by a 4-for-5, 3 extra base hit, 5 RBI performance Tuesday afternoon. A 2009 first-round selection, Heathcott displays five-tool ability but has struggled to remain healthy over the course of his professional career, largely because of shoulder problems have required two surgeries.
Heathcott's intensity and raw talent has made him one of the most exciting players to watch this fall. Just two games into the season, the 6-foot-1, 190-pounder attempted to bulldoze the catcher on a play at the plate and frequently attempts for the extra base. Meanwhile, his tools are equally loud. At the plate, he shows a smooth stroke with above-average raw power and rates as solid defender with plus speed and above-average arm strength.
Kaminska was acquired by the Pirates this summer along with first baseman Gaby Sanchez for outfielder Gorkys Hernandez and a competitive balance draft selection. Converted to relief work in 2011, the 6-foot-4, 180-pound righthander was re-inserted into a starting role by the Pirates post-trade, making four starts down the stretch between high Class A Bradenton and Double-A Altoona before being assigned to the Arizona Fall League for extended work. On Monday, Kaminska turned in his best outing thus far, outdueling Twins righthander Kyle Gibson for five shutout innings. He allowed just one hit, while striking out six—raising his league-leading strikeout-to-walk rate up to 16-to-1.
This fall, Kaminska has shown excellent pitchability, getting ahead in counts, keeping hitters off balance and drawing weak contact. He demonstrates solid command of an 88-90 mph fastball with run, mixing in a pair of below-average secondaries—an 82-83 mph changeup and sweepy 82-84 mph slider.
5. Anthony Rendon, 3b, Salt River Rafters (Nationals)
Statistics: .429/.471/.571 (6-for-14), 3 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K, 1-for-1 SB
After missing the 2011 season with a shoulder injury and much of the 2012 campaign due to an ankle fracture, Rendon was sent to the Arizona Fall League to simply get more work. The sixth overall selection last June, Rendon struggled early but has since come around, reaching base twice by base hit or walk in each of his last four games. Seemingly healthy, the 6-foot, 195-pounder has shown solid offensive potential with good bat speed, promising power and an excellent approach while providing solid defense at third base.
A pair of high-profile participants saw their fall seasons come to an end this week.
On Tuesday, Colorado Rockies right-hander Tyler Chatwood was shut down due to fatigue after four appearances for the Salt River Rafters. After striking out six and walking none in his impressive debut on October 9, the 6-foot, 185-pounder posted a 9-to-10 strikeout-to-walk ratio over his final three starts (11.2 innings). Throughout the fall, Chatwood, 22, showed a solid four-pitch mix led by a 93-95 mph fastball. All three offspeed offerings project average or better. Chatwood should compete for a spot in the Rockies rotation in 2013.
In addition, Chicago Cubs infielder Javier Baez saw his 2012 season come to an end after suffering a non-displaced fracture in the tip of his left thumb on Saturday. The 19-year-old Baez, who was profiled this week, certainly showed why Midwest League managers named him the Most Exciting Player this summer, displaying elite bat speed and impressive athleticism.
RULE 5 WATCH
In addition to giving recent draftees, injured and suspended players an opportunity to log innings and at bats, the AFL also gives organizations a chance to evaluate players with regards to filling out 40-man rosters. This year, 76 players in the Arizona Fall League will be Rule 5 draft-eligible unless they are added to their 40-man rosters. Each week, we will preview one of these players.
Kevin Siegrist, lhp, St Louis Cardinals
Siegrist, 23, was selected by the Cardinals in the 41st round of the 2008 MLB Draft out of Palm Beach (Fla.) CC. The 6-foot-5, 190-pound lefthander has had a rather quiet career to date, battling minor injuries while logging 100+ innings in a season just once. After beginning the season on the DL with a right shoulder strain, Siegrist went 7-2, 2.77 this summer with a 6.98 K/9 and 3.18 BB/9 over 87.2 innings (15 starts) between high Class A Palm Beach and Double-A Springfield.
Siegrist throws cross-body with good deception from a low three-quarters arm slot. He utilizes a three-pitch mix led by a 91-93 mph fastball with excellent run. On Tuesday, he recorded three of his four strikeouts by fastball, also breaking three bats. In addition, Siegrist mixes in a pair of solid offspeed offerings, playing off his low arm slot well. His changeup looks identical to a fastball out of his hand but comes in at 81-83 mph while his 76-78 mph slider adds in extra sweeping action.
With a 15-to-2 strikeout rate through 12 innings (4 games, 3 starts) this fall, many scouts believe that Siegrist has all but secured a spot on the Cardinals' 40-man roster.