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Peoria Javelinas Face Uphill Struggle PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Perry Van Hook   
Sunday, 26 October 2014 00:00

The Peoria Javelinas entered Friday’s AFL contest versus the Mesa Solar Sox with just a 3-10 record, and after the first inning, it looked like they were headed for their 11th loss as starting pitcher Dylan Baker (RHP/CLE) allowed a walk, single, single, walk, single, sac fly and walk before being pulled. The four-run first should have looked huge for Solar Sox SP Felipe Rivero (LHP/WAS) despite his 8+ ERA entering the game.

But after a 1-2-3 first inning, Rivero went on his own binge in the second, allowing a single, double, single, walk, hit batsman, single and wild pitch, and those five runs made him the losing pitcher as the Javelinas added two more runs in both the fourth and sixth innings en route to a 9-4 win. Unfortunately, that still finds the team last in wins and on pace to set records for the fewest runs scored and lowest team batting average in AFL history.

 

AFL Week 2 Honorees

Yankee prospect Greg Bird (1B/Scottsdale) was the AFL Hitter of the Week for Week 2. In four games, Bird hit .353 with a .421 on-base percentage, .706 slugging percentage, 1.130 OPS, two home runs, five RBI, a pair of walks and three runs scored.

Entering this week's play, the first sacker was hitting .368 overall and was tied for the league lead in home runs (three), RBI (10) and extra-base hits (six), and he was second in slugging percentage (.684) and hits (14).

The Pitcher honors for Week 2 went to Royals pitching prospect Kyle Zimmer (Peoria). Zimmer made two starts for the Peoria Javelinas, giving up no runs on two hits in six innings while walking two and striking out 12. In three starts overall in the Fall League, he was 0-0 with a 2.79 ERA in 9 1/3 innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits with four walks, 15 strikeouts and a .156 opponent's batting average.

Unfortunately, Zimmer, the Royals #2 prospect as listed by MLB.com, could not get loose in his next start and was pulled after the first inning and taken off the Javelinas roster two days later so Zimmer can rest and hopefully avoid any more shoulder problems. He was scheduled to pitch in the Venezuelan Winter League following the AFL but that is clearly a question mark at this point.

Last Updated on Friday, 31 October 2014 08:51
 
Remaining Arizona Fall League Broadcasts PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Perry Van Hook   
Wednesday, 22 October 2014 11:10

Below are the 2014 Arizona Fall League games that will be broadcast on MLB Network and/or streamed on MLB.com live from Salt River Fields, where Major League Baseball's Pace of Game Committee is testing rules such as a 20-second pitch clock and time limits on inning changes and pitching changes.

Oct. 30 - Surprise at Salt River
Watch live on MLB.com at 9:35 p.m. ET/6:35 MST
Oct. 31 - Scottsdale at Salt River
Watch live on MLB Network and MLB.com at 3:35 p.m. ET/12:35 MST
Nov. 4 - Mesa at Salt River
Watch live on MLB Network and MLB.com at 8:35 p.m. ET/6:35 MT
Nov. 6 - Mesa at Salt River
Watch live on MLB Network and MLB.com at 8:35 p.m. ET/6:35 MT
Nov. 8 - Mesa at Surprise (Military Appreciation Game)
Watch live on MLB Network at 8:05 p.m. ET/6:05 MT
Nov. 15 - AFL Championship Game at Scottsdale Stadium
Watch live on MLB Network and MLB.com at 3:08 p.m. ET/1:08 MT

In addition, the Fall Stars Game featuring Arizona Fall League All-Stars from the East and West divisions will play at Salt River Fields at 8 PM ET on Saturday November 1, which will be shown on the MLB Network.

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 October 2014 10:06
 
AFL Loses Key Pitching Prospect PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Perry Van Hook   
Monday, 20 October 2014 11:15

On Saturday, one of the best young pitchers in baseball said goodbye to the rest of the Arizona Fall League season. Seattle’s Taijuan Walker, who is reportedly completely healthy, was scratched from his start because, according to club officials, Walker decided he needed to return home.

In Surprise Stadium, Kansas City RHP Kyle Zimmer, who was limited this year by injuries to just four plus innings, pitched a scoreless first inning, walking just one batter and striking out one in 21 pitchers. Zimmer left for the Javelinas dressing room with a Royals trainer during the bottom of the inning. According to Javelinas officials, Zimmer reported that he just couldn’t get loose. We will see if he can take his next scheduled start. Zimmer had planned to play winter ball in Venezuela after he finished in the AFL.

Last Updated on Monday, 20 October 2014 22:29
 
Appel Shining in Arizona Fall League PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Perry Van Hook   
Monday, 20 October 2014 00:00

Mark Appel was a very good pitcher at Stanford University and drafted in the first round in 2012 after his junior year. Appel made the decision to return for his senior year and in the 2013 MLB First Year Player draft (as Bud Selig would say), he was the first overall pick by the Houston Astros.

Appel’s first 38 professional innings featured a 33-to-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio but otherwise not eye popping numbers. In 2014, Appel started at High-A Lancaster, a very unfriendly pitching venue (as is most of the California League), and predictably did not have great numbers. He was then promoted to Double-A Corpus Christi where he improved somewhat. Still, the best stat was his K/BB ratio which was a combined 78-to-24 in 83.3 innings pitched. Still, we knew the 6’5” righty was better than the ERA and WHIP numbers from his first few stops suggested.

Today was Appel’s third AFL start. In his previous two starts, he had pitched three then four shutout innings but his record was 0-0, just like his ERA. In Surprise Stadium, Appel threw five shutout innings, giving up just two hits with no walks and four strikeouts and was the winning pitcher in a 4-2 Rafter win over the Javelinas.

While I knew Appel had given up just the two hits in facing just 17 batters, I didn’t realize until Francisco Lindor’s third at-bat in the 6th inning when he lined a single to centerfield that he had the only two hits off Appel. Lindor finished the game 3-for-4 with a double and two singles, a run scored and a stolen base from the leadoff spot for Peoria.

The Rafters leadoff hitter was Minnesota outfielder Byron Buxton, who was 1-for-4 with a walk, an RBI and a stolen base. Buxton and Arizona Diamondback third baseman Brandon Drury had the only RBIs for the Rafters as they scored their first two runs in the first inning on four walks and a two-run throwing error by Javelinas catcher Justin O’Conner.

Last Updated on Friday, 31 October 2014 08:52
 
A Trip to Salt River Fields PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Perry Van Hook   
Saturday, 18 October 2014 23:31

Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort is the tremendous spring training facility used by the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies developed in Scottsdale on the Pima Indian reservation land that is just across the loop 101 freeway from Talking Stick.

It is a tremendous spring training venue which has drawn record crowds and thus a very good venue for an AFL team. It is also wired with all the newest tech toys which is why the time saving measures being tested by MLB to speed up the pace of major league games are tested only at Salt River. Last night’s game was just the third AFL game to have a clock on the pitchers but there were no infractions as not only does the measure just require the pitcher to be set but the young pitchers are getting used to it and most of the players like the pace of the games. "I like it," said Eddie Rosario, an excellent prospect from the Minnesota Twins commenting on the new, sped-up game. "Very nice, very nice."

Rosario liked everything about the 3-3 11-inning tie between the Peoria Javelinas and home town Salt River Rafters, going 3-for-6 with a run scored and two stolen bases.

The best hitters from the Javelinas were young Royals shortstop Raul Mondesi, who had a double and triple in his 2-for-5 line with a run scored and a stolen base, and Jordan Smith (OF/CLE), who was 2-for-4 with a single and a double for Peoria.

On Thursday, I was at Surprise Stadium to see the visiting Scottsdale Scorpions play the Surprise Saguaros – a pair of 5-4 teams, but Scottsdale is two games behind the Salt River Rafters in the East Division while the Saguaros lead the West Division by two games.

The headline for the game might well have read “Bird Takes Flight in Surprise” as Yankee prospect Gregory Bird hit two long home runs to the centerfield berm, a two-run blast and a solo shot. Fortunately for the home team, those were the only three runs the Scorpions produced. Meanwhile, the Saguaros scored seven runs on nine hits in their eight at-bats. Patrick Kivlehan (1B/SEA) was 2-for-4 with the only home run for the Surprise squad who scored their two first inning runs on three Scorpion errors.

Last Updated on Monday, 20 October 2014 22:38
 
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