With the Rising Stars game tonight at 8pm, we are three weeks into the 2012 Arizona Fall League season. Below you will find the lines on Jays prospects, who have been playing alongside their farmhand counterparts from the Diamondback, Nationals, Rockies, and White Sox organizations for the Salt River Rafters (11-9).
As per Shi Davidi, Sam Dyson will be the only Jay on a Rising Stars roster. Dyson, however, has already reached his 2012 innings limit so he will not see further action this season. The remainder of the Jays contingent will enjoy a well-deserved weekend off.
Sam Dyson only #Jays prospect named to Arizona Fall League's Rising Stars Game. RHP won't take part because he's hit his innings limit.—
Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) November 01, 2012
If you get MLB Network you can watch the Rising Stars game live. If not, you can endure the Gameday here.
Through almost three weeks of Arizona Fall League baseball, here are the lines for Blue Jays prospects.
The Rafters continue their season today at Phoenix. First pitch is at 12:35 MST. Should you wish, you can follow the action live here.
Salt River: 3
Kevin Pillar (.375, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 4 SB) (CF): 1-3, BB
Ian Kadish (3.86 ERA, 2.1 IP, 1 SO, 1 BB) (RP): 1 IP, 1 SO
The Rafters lost for the third straight night; this time against the Scottsdale Scorpions. The Scorpions were powered by top Giants prospect Joe Panik who went 3-for-3 with a walk, stolen base, and an RBI. Of the eight Jays representatives on the Rafter’s roster, only Kevin Pillar and Ian Kadish saw action – the former going 1-3 with a walk, the latter pitching a flawless top of the 6th inning, striking out one.
Pillar picked up where he left off Wednesday when he went 3-5 with 2 RBI. He showed great discipline at the plate, laying off pitches outside of the zone, and making solid contact on pitches in the zone. Leading off in the bottom of the bottom of the first inning, Pillar just missed his second homerun of the young season. After working the count full, Pillar found a pitch up in the zone from LHP Giants prospect Chris Gloor and rocketed it to left field. Unfortunately, the heavy desert evening air suppressed the sky-shot and Chris Dominguez camped under the ball at the warning track for a routine fly out. In his next at bat against Gloor, however, Pillar traded power for finesse, deftly poking a high-outside fastball into right field for a single.
While Pillar’s third at bat did not net him a base hit, it was arguably his best. After working the count full, Pillar fouled off four straight put-away pitches up-and-in. On the next pitch – the tenth of the at bat – Pillar hit the ball right on the screws and ripped it to the right side of the infield, directly at third basemen and Angels farmhand Kaleb Cowart.
In his final at bat, Pillar walked on four straight pitches from reliever Mark Montgomery. Without question, Pillar is seeing the ball very well right now.
After a rough 1/3 inning debut outing against Surprise on 10/13, Kadish has been very effective out of the pen for the Rafters. On Saturday Kadish commanded a 1-2-3 inning, shutting down the bottom of the Scottsdale order. He struck out the first batter Ricky Oropesa swinging, facilitated an Alex Monsalve flyout in foul territory, and induced Indians OF prospect Carlos Moncrief to ground out meekly to 1B.
The Rafters have Sunday off, and will resume play tomorrow against Mesa, when they will try to snap their three game skid.
While the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League have struggled as a team since my last writing (1-2), the contingent of Jays prospects have continued their strong representation of the Blue Jays organization. Because virtually all fans view the AFL as an expedient – a means for furthering the development of future Jays, and not an endgame – I will focus solely on the individual achievements of the prospects, and not the overall performance of the team, which has suffered serious offensive woes in its last two games.
Salt River: 12
Kevin Pillar (LF) 3-5, 2 RBI, 2 R, 2 SB
Jake Marisnick (CF) 1-4, 1 RBI
Ian Kadish (RHP): 1.0 IP, 0 ER
Kevin Pillar, 23, had a phenomenal season with Single-A Lansing this year (.322, .390, .451) – a campaign which ultimately secured him Midwest League MVP honors. Pillar has seemingly carried the momentum from his MVP summer to his new southwestern assignment. The protracted season does not appear to have exacted fatigue or lethargy on the 2011 32nd Round draftee. In fact, Pillar has redoubled the intensity in his new role with the Rafters.
Pillar, who is only slated to play Wednesdays and Saturdays with the Rafters, is not getting the playing time he is accustomed to. While he was a veritable starter with Dundein and Lansing, he has been platooned thus far with the Rafters. Nevertheless, when he has been given the opportunity to suit up, Pillar has made the most of it. “I’m just making the best of the opportunities,” he said recently in an official Blue Jays press release. “I’m only playing two days, so I’m looking to play hard. Whatever role they put me in, I’m trying to adjust to it.”
And adjust he has. In only 13 at bats, Pillar is hitting .385 with one homerun, three RBIs, and three stolen bases. The versatile outfielder seems to always be in the thick of the action, securing eight total bases during his meager playing time. This propensity of Pillar’s was typified by his role in the Rafters’ dramatic comeback win against Peoria on Wednesday. The Rafters were down 7-0 in the fifth, but were able to outscore Peoria 12-2 in the final four frames to complete the comeback. Pillar was an integral part of the win. Not only did he garner three key hits, driving in two; but he stole home plate.
During a sixth inning during which the Rafters had already scored four runs, Pillar reached on a single to left field and found himself at third base after a line drive single to right by Tyler Bortinick. One perfectly executed double steal later, Pillar was the fifth run of a breakout inning.
According to Pillar, because left-handed pull-hitter Andy Wilkins was at the plate, and the infield was markedly shifted to the right, he was able to take a giant secondary lead. “When I saw the catcher throw down [to second base], I was able to walk in,” said Pillar. “It was just something I did on my own, I just got a good read. At that point we still needed runs, so I capitalized on it.”
Below are pitch-tracks of Pillar’s three singles from Wednesday. He should play today against Scottsdale.
Salt River: 1
Jake Marisnick (CF) 2-4, 2B, 1 SO
Deck McGuire (RHP) 1.0 IP, 0 ER
Sam Dyson (RHP) 1.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 SO, 1 SB
After permitting 12 runs in four innings the previous afternoon, Peoria pitching came back with a vengeance,with six pitchers collectively shutting down the Rafters. Of the Blue Jays delegates, CF Jake Marisick was the only position player to see action, and he made the most of it, hitting 2-4 with a double and a strikeout.
Marisnick’s first hit came in the bottom of the third. After an eight-pitch at bat which saw Jake foul off four tough pitches up in the zone, he fought off a front and center fourseamer, which ended up trickling back toward the pitcher, Robbie Erlin. The comebacker caught Erlin off-balance, and Marisnick was able to showcase his plus-speed for an infield basehit.
Marisnick’s second hit was a bit more emphatic. In the Botton of the 5th Marisnick saw two fastballs right down the middle from LHP Logan Darrell. After taking the first one for a strike to open the at bat, he ripped the second sharply down the left field foul line for a double.
Salt River: 0
Jake Marisnick 0-3, 3 SO
Ryan Goins 1-2, 1 BB
Sean Ochinko 0-3, 1 SO
Ryan Tepera 4.0 IP, 3H, 3 SO, 0 ER
The Rafters compiled 12 runs in four innings on Wednesday, yet managed only one in 19 innings through Thursday and Friday. While Marisnick and Ochinko were muted by the Scottsdale starter T.J. House who pitched 5 innings of no-hit baseball, Goins was able to muster a single and a walk in the later innings.
While House dominated the Rafters through five innings, he did not put forward the only stellar pitching performance. Jays RHP prospect Ryan Tepera went tic-for-tac with House, throwing up four scoreless innings of his own. Allowing only three hits and walking one, Tepera was able to improve his season ERA to a mediocre 5.68: a stat which once stood at 15.43 after a forgettable debut performance in which he permitted four runs in only 2.1 innings of relief work.
The Salt River Rafters play Scottsdale today at 5:35 MST. You can follow the gamecast here.
Last night the Arizona Fall League (“AFL”) game of interest to Blue Jays fans — the Salt River Rafters against the Phoenix Desert Dogs — concluded in extra frames as a 3-3 draw. I guess it would be counter to the spirit of the AFL for extra-inning games to continue indefinitely into the desert night, taxing the tendons and ligaments of young hurlers, but, for me, there is something unsettling about a baseball game ending in a tie. Regardless of my initial reaction, it is an exhibition game and the development of the athletes obviously comes first.
Here is a breakdown of how the Jays’ delegates performed. I know the pictorial presentation of every highlight might be a bit excessive, but since the games are not televised — and box scores are boring — I figured it could add some life to the recap.
Ryan Goins (SS) 1/5, 1 RBI, 1 SO
In the bottom of the 6th, Goins ripped a groundball through the right side of the infield, scoring Matt Davidson and moving Kent Matthes to third base. Unfortunately, in the next at-bat while leading off first base, Goins was unable to evade Sean Ochinko’s line-drive – resulting in the ball’s deflection to RF – so instead of advancing to second on his compatriot’s knock, he was called out.
Sean Ochinko (C) 2/5, 1 2B, 1 RBI
In the bottom of the second, Ochinko drove an up-and-in fastball the other way into left field, scoring teammate Kent Matthes from third.
In the bottom of the 6th, with runners on first and third, Ochinko found himself in a pitcher’s count. After fouling off some tough pitches up-and-in the zone, Ochinko found one over the plate and lasered the pitch the other way. Because the ball was hit so hard, Goins, at first, had little time to react and the ball actually hit him, deflecting into the outfield.
Both Goins and Ochinko had opportunities to win the game for the Salt River Rafters in the bottom of the 8th, when they faced Aaron Barrett with Kent Matthes at second base.
On a 2-2 count Barrett offered a four-seam fastball up in the zone, but Goins could not catch up to it, failing to even advance the go-ahead run to third.
Ochinko was able to work the count full, but on the pay-off pitch, could only muster a meek infield flyball, which was caught by the third basemen Yordy Cabrera.
Deck McGuire 1.0 IP, 3 H, 1BB, 1 ER, 1 SO
Deck entered the game in the top of the 4th inning, relieving starter Chase Anderson. While he was able to retire Hunter Morris on a groundout to 2B Carlos Sanchez, the next batter, Edward Salcedo, sliced a line drive into the right field alley, resulting in a triple. Salcedo would score on a single up the middle by the next batter, Christian Yelich.
Despite retiring the subsequent batter Yordy Cabrera on a lazy fly ball to CF, McGuire was not quite out of the soup. After Max Stassi singled to left, McGuire issued a base on balls to Kevin Kiermaier, and the bases were left loaded with two outs.
Things were looking pretty grim for McGuire, who before the appearance had not allowed a run, but after a brief meeting at the mound with the pitching coach, Deck was able to buckle down and strikeout Hak-Ju Lee.
While McGuire’s performance last night certainly was not seemless, it demonstrated the young righty’s fortitude in tough spots.
Sam Dyson 1.0 IP, 0 H, 2 SO
Dyson came on in the top of the 11th and delivered a brilliant performance in a game he probably did not expect to pitch in. In a pithy 1-2-3- inning, Dyson set down Chirs Yelich swinging, coaxed Yordy Cabrera to line out to CF Trayce Thompson, and caught Max Stassi looking at a low-inside sinker that just barely caught the zone.
The Salt River Rafters will face Peoria this afternoon. You can follow the gamecast here.
We are one week into the Arizona Fall League (“AFL”) season and the Salt River Rafters – composed, in part, of Blue Jays prospects –have compiled a 4-2 record, one game ahead of the Mesa Solar Sox for first place in the East division. The standout performer on the Rafters for the first week has to be top Rockies SP prospect Tyler Chatwood who, in two starts, has struck out 11, allowing only six hits and touted a K/BB ratio of almost 4-to-1. Chatwood currently leads the AFL in strikeouts.
Out of the Blue Jays’ delegates, 2010 first round draftee Deck McGuire is the leading performer. In two innings of relief, McGuire has allowed no hits, striking out three and walking one.
In his first appearance last Tuesday against Mesa, McGuire entered the game in the sixth in a high-leverage situation: two outs with runners at first and third. While Deck faltered initially – issuing a seven pitch walk of Cubs prospect Matt Szcuzur to load the bases – the hard-throwing righty ultimately escaped the jam, inducing a soft groundball to shortstop Carlos Sanchez, who went to second for the force out.
While the top of the sixth was a harmless yet somewhat tumultuous debut for McGuire, in the top of the seventh he rolled. Deck opened the inning with two strikeouts. He froze first-round Tigers draftee Nick Castellanos looking at a fastball right down the middle and overpowered AFL Player of the Week Jonathan Singleton on a similar pitch. To close the inning McGuire got ahead of pinch hitter Jonathan Schoop to a 2-1 count, and was able to encourage a lineout to Jays compatriot Jake Marisnick in center field.
In his second appearance last Friday against the Scottsdale Scorpions, Deck was called in the bottom of the eight to face righties Alex Monsalve and Gift Ngoepe. He induced a weak flyout to left by Monsalve and struck Ngoepe out on four pitches — the final strike catching the lower-inside corner.
On the whole, it was a promising first week for a vaunted yet enigmatic McGuire who showed great promise in 2011, but disappointed last season. Let’s hope he continues his fall success and carries any momentum forward into spring training.
Through six games, here are the lines on the rest of the Blue Jays’ seven delegates.
OF Kevin Pillar: 2/8, 1 RBI, 1 HR, 1 SO, 1SB,
OF Jake Marisnick: 4/15, 2 2B, 0 RBI, 6 SO,
SS Ryan Goins: 0/8, 1 SO, 1BB, 1R, 1 SO
C Sean Ochinko 1/7, 1 SO, 1 R
RHP Sam Dyson: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 HR, 3 SO,
RHP Ryan Tepera 2.1 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 HR, 1 SO
RHP Deck McGuire: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0ER, 1BB, 1 SO
RHP Ian Kadish: .1 IP, 2H, 1 ER, 1 BB,
The Rafters face Phoenix today at 6:35 MST. While you cannot watch the game, you can follow the gamecast here.