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Sunday 22nd Oct 2017

(Note that Extra Points will appear tomorrow.)

One of the things I like about the Arizona Fall League is that though I might track the stats of players, I don't really want to know that much about who is playing or their skill set until I see the prospects play.

The reason is at this point I have been watching baseball long enough to be able to tell what kind of jump an outfielder gets, or how the ball sounds and looks when it jumps off the bat, or whether a player stretching a base looks like an athlete. I do remember seeing Andrew McCutchen and Andre Ethier and thinking they looked like their physical skills were just a little better than most of the other players in the AFL, just like I remember thinking that John Mayberry Jr. looked like a ballplayer, but his swing was much too big for him to be really successful at the Show. (I am guessing that if you are reading this, you too really can see the same stuff, whether you realize it or not.)

The problem with the Fall League for me over the past few years is that not that many players have caught my eye as such. Still, here I am, so I will write about the players I did see who at least caught my eye for one reason or another. The numbers in parenthesis are the player's AFL stats.

Hunter Wood (LHP, Rays): Wood had a nice compact delivery and delivered what looked like a pretty good fastball over the one and two-thirds frames he hurled, allowing a run, but whiffing three. Wood did have an 11.37 ERA in the fall, but I liked how he delivered the ball, and that is the first thing I was looking at. Wood saved four and whiffed 113 over 106.3 frames at two levels in 2015. (0-1, 11.37, 6.1 IP)

Chad Pinder (SS, Athletics): A big (6'2", 190 lbs.) middle infielder who was the A's second-round pick in 2013, Pinder showed a good glove and banged a couple of hits and walked during the Rising Stars game. Pinder hit .317-15-86 at Midland this year. (.314-4-9, 35 AB)

Sean Manaea (LHP, Athletics): Part of the spoils Oakland received from the Royals in the Ben Zobrist swap, Manaea is tall (6'5", 235 lbs.) and was Kansas City's first-round pick in 2013. He has 236 whiffs over 196 minor league frames and started the Rising Stars game, allowing a walk while whiffing four over two innings of work. (0-2, 5.63, 16 IP)

Gary Sanchez (C, Yankees): Probably my favorite player that I saw, Sanchez is a 230-pound backstop who actually stole a base while Nick Travieso was simply not watching, and then scored from second base when Dustin Fowler doubled and there was no cut-off man. The reality is Sanchez was a very slow runner, and he had no right to really complete either of these feats, but there he was chugging along. Sanchez also popped a homer in the Rising Stars game. He hit .274-18-62 over two minor league levels this season and is probably not a starter over the long haul but I still liked his game. (.328-6-17, 64 AB)

Adam Walker (OF, Twins): Another big (6'5", 230 lbs.) guy, Walker has a big swing, as witnessed by the .239-31-106 line he produced at Chattanooga. But, the third-round pick in 2012 whiffed 195 times and produced just a .309 OBP. Walker whiffed twice during the Rising Stars game. (.306-4-14, 49 AB)

Austin Meadows (OF, Pirates): Pittsburgh's first-round pick (#9 overall) in 2013, Meadows clobbered a pinch-hit two-run bomb during the Rising Stars game. He hit .321-7-55 with 21 swipes at a couple of levels in the Bucs system this season, and he looked like a player, so track the flychaser. (.158-1-9, 57 AB)

Jurickson Profar (2B, Rangers): I am finishing with a couple of guys who were top prospects and then got hurt, waylaying our whetted appetites. Profar looked unconvincing over a half-dozen at-bats after hitting .256-1-6 over 12 games when returning to play. A lot could be a product of the almost two-year layoff, but for now, Profar needs to do something to prove himself worthy of a reserve slot in an ultra league. (.238-1-11, 42 AB)

Dylan Bundy (RHP, Orioles): Another promising yet injured youngster, Bundy looked fine over the two innings he twirled, but like Profar, he had limited work this season, going 0-3, 3.68 over eight starts and 22 frames (25 whiffs) at Bowie. I want to believe, but I want Bundy to be healthy for at least a year, first. (1-1, 4.50, 2 IP)

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