Surprise Saguaros Win AFL Crown PDF Print E-mail
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Tuesday, 19 November 2013 00:00

In a quick (2:29) and quiet (2-0) championship game, the Surprise Saguaros beat the Mesa Solar Sox to win the 2013 Arizona Fall League Championship.

While I sense that most fans wanted to see some balls go over the walls at Scottsdale Stadium, a combined shutout was a great effort by the six Surprise hurlers who quieted the Solar Sox bats, especially Kris Bryant and C.J. Cron who both went 0-for-4.

Starter and game winner Eduardo Rodriguez (BAL) gave up just two hits while striking out four in the first three innings. It was the southpaw's best outing of the Fall League. Five Surprise relievers held the Solar Sox scoreless with just three hits over the next six innings.

On offense, the Saguaros scored the only run they needed in the second inning on a long double to center field by OF Henry Urrutia (BAL) and a run scoring line drive single to center field by catcher Jorge Alfaro. The other run came in the eighth inning on singles by shortstop Jonathan Schoop (BAL) and second baseman Mookie Betts (BOS) sandwiched around a sac bunt and a walk.

Alfaro also contributed on the defensive side, throwing out two would be Mesa base stealers as well as blocking several pitches in the dirt in the sixth inning when the Solar Sox loaded the bases but could not push across a run.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 November 2013 10:34
Mixed Up Drafting PDF Print E-mail
Written by Pasko Varnica   
Saturday, 09 November 2013 00:00

 A funny thing happened on the way to completing the auction at the BaseballHQ First Pitch forum this past weekend in Phoenix*. We stopped halfway; many roster slots were left unfilled. Todd Zola, who was the auctioneer, did his best to maintain a brisk pace, but we wanted to make it to the AFL All- Star game and simply ran out of time. It was decided that the rest of the rounds would be completed using an online snake draft. Combining an auction and a snake draft was a revelation for me.

Afterwards, I exchanged comments and opinions about drafts that are half auction and half snake with other attendees and conference speakers. According to their comments, the auction/snake draft combo appears to solve the deficiencies that are inherent in auction and snake drafts. You see, I like the auction and find snake drafts essentially unfair no matter what rule one uses to determine the selection order. In my opinion, very few people will pass on the opportunity to have the first or second pick and get Miguel Cabrera or Mike Trout.  Or Robinson Cano or Andrew McCutchen, if that is your preference.

However, many fantasy baseball players see auctions as too time consuming and find figuring out the dollar values of the late rounders quite complex, to mention only a couple of typical comments. Fear of change should probably be added to the mix.

The hybrid method would allow everyone to have an equal chance to get their hands on the highly sought after top players while solving the dilemma of the late rounds. Once the top players are auctioned off, the rest of the draft could proceed as snake.

Let’s look at how to set up a combo auction/snake draft:

  • How many rounds should be dedicated to auction? I suggest anywhere between 10 and 14, ideally 11 or 12, assuming a standard 23-player active roster. That said, even a three-round auction could be viable.
  • The auction budget should maintain consistency with the dollar value of the available player projections. For example, an 11-round auction should lower the budget from $260 to around $240. A three-round auction should have a small budget of less than $100.
  • Players picked up in the snake draft should be given a dollar value, ideally but not necessarily $1. Bench players, once activated, should be assigned a dollar value anywhere from, say, $1 to $5.
  • An in-season top budget per team should be implemented as a league rule to prevent dump trades. Teams should not be allowed to exceed the budget threshold. The threshold should be higher than the auction budget, but not too much higher. Say, $280 or so when the auction budget is $240.

I urge the readers who are using this combo method today for their fantasy baseball drafts to share their experience and tell us about their league rules. I would not be surprised to hear that more than a few Mastersball readers adopted it years ago.

*If you have not seen it, check out the 1966 movie “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.”

Last Updated on Saturday, 09 November 2013 11:19
AFL Games on MLB Network This Week PDF Print E-mail
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Tuesday, 05 November 2013 00:00

The MLB Network will broadcast five Arizona Fall League games live this week, letting you see many of the prospects already featured in this blog or in the Fall Stars Game last Saturday.

The games will be broadcast on the network by Paul Severino and Joe Magrane, who also did the Fall Stars Game. The five games will also be testing MLB’s instant replay system which will go into effect in the 2014 season.

The MLB Network will send feed from the truck to a monitor on the field where the umpire crews will be able to look at a replay and judge whether there needs to be a change from the ruling on the field. AFL managers will have challenges just like MLB managers will have next year. Balls and strikes are not subject to challenges and replays.

Here are the games that will be broadcast this week:

Tuesday, November 5 at 9:05 PM ET – Mesa Solar Sox @ Salt River Rafters

Wednesday, November 6 at 9:05 PM ET – Salt River Rafters @ Scottsdale Scorpions

Thursday, November 7 at 9:05 PM ET – Scottsdale Scorpions @ Salt River Rafters

Friday, November 8 at 9:05 PM ET – Glendale Desert Dogs @ Scottsdale Scorpions

Saturday, November 9 at 9:05 PM ET – Peoria Javelinas @ Salt River Rafters

(I strongly suggest that you check your local schedule for your channel that carries the MLB Network as not every game may be broadcast live in every market)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 November 2013 10:06
Solar Sox Flex Muscles PDF Print E-mail
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Saturday, 26 October 2013 00:00

Power is just one of the reasons that the Mesa Solar Sox have the best record in the Arizona Fall League this year.

And in a game with several lead changes, several of this year’s Sox showed their hitting skills. The Cubs young Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler gave the Solar Sox the lead in the top of eighth inning with a two-run home run – a bomb to right center field. The sound of the ball off Soler’s bat brought an instant comparison to me of Yasiel Puig and Yoenis Cespedes – there is just a special sound when one of these young men really gets ahold of a pitch.

After the home team Javelinas tied the game in the bottom of the frame on a line drive into the left field bullpen by Mariners' third baseman Patrick Kivlehan, could the Solar Sox take the lead in the top of the ninth?

They could and did as after a one out single by Angels' second baseman Taylor Lindsey, Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant (yes you have read about him before – get used to seeing the name – hopefully on one of your teams) hit a long fly ball to right field which scored Lindsey as Bryant  made it to third base with his first AFL triple. Bryant scored as the next batter hit a ground ball to the Peoria shortstop, who could not get Bryant at the plate on a fielder’s choice.

Washington RHP Richie Morowski, who struck out 88 minor league batters this year in 68 innings, retired the Javelinas in the ninth as Mesa won 7-5.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 October 2013 09:26
Week 2 AFL Honors PDF Print E-mail
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Wednesday, 23 October 2013 00:00

The Arizona Fall League named STL outfielder Stephen Piscotty of the Salt River Rafters as Week 2 Player of the Week and White Sox pitcher Stephen McCray of the Glendale Desert Dogs as the Pitcher of the Week.

Piscotty, a 22-year-old fly chaser who was a first round pick by St. Louis in the 2012 draft out of Stanford University, led the league in hitting (.611), hits (11) and total bases (16) in the second week of AFL play.

Piscotty is 6’3” and 210 pounds and has a .295 BA in his first two professional seasons with 19 home runs and 86 RBI in 167 games. He ended the 2013 season at Double-A Springfield where he batted .299 in 49 games.

McCray, mentioned in an earlier blog post here, held opposing batters to a .100 average and did not give up an earned run. He was a 16th round pick by the White Sox in the 2010 draft and split his 2013 season between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte.

Last Updated on Saturday, 26 October 2013 08:47
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