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Wednesday 21st Feb 2018

I will admit that during the season, I do look at the numbers of minor leaguers. In fact, I write about them, but I try not to get fixated on the stats or the players so that when I go to the Fall League, I judge players as objectively, based upon what I see, as permits. Meaning I don't read or listen to scouting reports, and analysis of swings or wind-ups.

Still, I saw five games last week, including the Rising Stars contest, so here are my thoughts.

Aaron Judge (Yankees, OF): Judge is a big guy, with big power (he clobbered a pair of homers in Mesa last Thursday) and also a great arm in right field (he threw a runner out, and kept another from advancing from second on a deep fly, simply out of respect). Judge is hitting .297-4-14 for Scottsdale and the Bombers #1 pick in 2013 moved up to High-A this year (.283-8-33 over 66 games) to finish 2014. He starts next year at Double-A, and has a nice chance of making the Majors next year.

Dalton Pompey (Jays, OF): Drafted out of high school in 2010, Pompey has some major speed (he hit three triples, including one in the Rising Stars game, and I saw them all) along with swiping three of his 13 bases the week I was in the Valley of the Sun. Pompey climbed four levels in 2014, logging .317-9-51 totals at three minor league levels with 43 steals and an excellent 52 walks to 84 whiffs. Pompey finished his season in the Majors (.231-1-4 over 17 games) and could well challenge for a job in 2015.

Gregory Bird (Yankees, 1B): Hitting .318-6-20 at the Fall League, Bird launched a tremendous home run at the Rising Stars game and was on base eight of the 13 at-bats I saw. A fifth round high school selection in 2011, Bird finished 2014 at Double-A Trenton (.253-7-11 over 27 games) and will likely return to Double-A to start 2015. But, he is the heir apparent to Mark Teixeira.

Roman Quinn (Phillies, OF): I saw Quinn hit a triple, a single, and walk three times, scoring four runs over two games in Arizona. A second round high school pick in 2011, the outfielder hit .257-7-36 with 32 swipes for Clearwater over 88 games, and had 14 Fall League steals. He definitely has wheels, but I'm not sure if Quinn is more than a bench player over the long haul.

Tyler Austin (Yankees, OF): The Yankees might have been struggling with age over the past few years, but add Austin, a 13th round pick in 2011, in with Bird and Judge, and there is plenty to be optimistic about. Austin has hit .304-2-13 at the AFL, and went 6-for-8 over the pair of games I saw him, adding a great left field assist, throwing out Cal Towey who was trying to score from second on a single. Austin hit .275-9-47 over 105 games at Double-A Trenton, and does have some defense as noted. He does need to step it up in 2015 at Double-A as a 23-year-old, however, to show he is indeed part of the Bronx future.

Tony Renda (Nationals, 2B): Gotta love the guys who went to U.C. Berkeley, which is where the Nats drafted Renda out of, in the second round in 2012. Renda went 4-for-9 over a pair of games, and then grabbed a Rising Stars single as well, showing a good swing and eye. Renda hit .307-0-47 and stole 19 at Potomac with 43 walks to 59 strikeouts before heading to Arizona. He is hitting .217-0-7 there, meaning I might have seen most of his offense so far. Still, keep an eye on Renda, who could grab the keystone slot and move Anthony Rendon to third permanently.

Shifting to pitching, I will honestly admit that I saw no one at the Fall League who really caught my eye. Mark Appel, for example, looked completely pedestrian. 

The three arms I did think were at least interesting are:

Tyler Glasnow (Pirates, RHP): A fifth round pick (almost all these guys were high school selections), Glasnow had the only fastball I saw that actually popped in the catcher's mitt, and he also had a slider (or was it a curve? Not a lot of break, and looked like a slider to me) that had a sharp tail and was delivered just like his fastball. Glasnow went 12-5, 1.74 at High-A Bradenton with 157 whiffs over 124 innings during the season, and logged a 1-1, 3.12 mark over six AFL starts for Scottsdale.

Archie Bradley (Diamondbacks, RHP): Bradley started the Rising Stars game, and allowed just a hit and a walk. He was not dominant, but looked ok. Still, he went just 3-7, 4.45 over three levels in the D-Backs system this year, not that good for a #1 pick and #7 overall. On the other hand, Archie did sign a foul ball I caught, so I give him props for that.

Tyler Rogers (Giants, RHP): A tenth round pick in 2013, Rogers is a flier if ever there was one. He did have a great underhand Dan Quisenberry delivery, which is what caught my attention. But, Rogers threw 72 frames at High-A San Jose, going 4-0, 2.00, with 72 whiffs to just 22 walks and a homer allowed. So, maybe my eyes know what they are doing after all. A sleeper, but one I like.

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