Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Arizona Fall League notes

With some free time my plan is to catch a few extra AFL games this season.  I'm hoping to catch every team and try to throw out some amateur (very amateur, mind you) scouting reports as a way to record my initial thoughts and reactions on a few players.  Please be advised.

To do this right, my objective is to sit directly behind home plate in an effort to eavesdrop on a few scouts... this will be difficult since many of them are spread out and tend to not loudly verbalize their notes (my loss).  But my goal is to become friendly with a few within my earshot and possibly see what kind of relationship develops.  (Not promising anything.)

On to the notes:

The game I attended was the October 18 game at the Peoria Sports Complex between the Peoria Javelinas hosting the Surprise Saguaros. Below is the starting lineup:

Surprise Peoria J.
Kevin Mattison (FLA) CF CF Logan Schafer (MIL)
Tim Beckham (TBR) SS SS Nick Franklin (SEA)
Wil Myers (KC) RF 3B Jedd Gyorko (SD)
Mike Olt (TEX) 3B 1B Matt Adams (STL)
Matt Dominguez (FLA) DH DH Ryan Jackson (STL)
Joe Terdoslavich (ATL) 1B LF Jaff Decker (SD)
Mikie Mahtook (TBR) LF C Adam Moore (SEA)
Kyle Skipworth (FLA) C RF Chih-Hsien Chiang (SEA)
Leury Garcia (TEX) 2B 2B Wilfred Tovar (NYM)
Miguel De Los Santos (TEX) LHP RHP Anthony Bass (SD)

First, I must mention that at the start of the game it was probably 100 degrees on the field. After getting out of my car, paying for my $7 ticket (which also netted me an additional free ticket for any other game, nice surprise I may add) and choosing my seat - I immediately learned two things:

1.) If the temperature is that hot, one must remember to bring a towel for the seats. The Sports Complex is nice but if you want to sit close then chances are the provided cheap blue plastic seats have been baking in the sun for a long time. This will be made evident once you sit down, so towels are highly recommended.

2.) Do not come to game wearing a black t-shirt. This may fly a few weeks from now when the temps are a little more comfortable but please ignore all current fashion trends (i.e., never wear white after Labor Day) since the author of that provided trend probably never attended an AFL game in mid-October. I was able to make it through the game but the black shirt did make it challenging.

Looking over the players, I must say I was very impressed with Padres future starting pitcher, Anthony Bass.   Unfortunately I didn't have a radar gun in my possession but I did figure that Bass was hanging around the low-90's, but his changeup was very effective in keeping many of the hitters off balance.  He also mixed in an effective slider and many of his offspeed pitches bit the dirt which had more than a few batters chasing.

Quick read: Bass' changeup looked nasty and this could further develop into a very capable pitch.

Tim Beckham looked solid defensively but was rendered useless against Bass' offspeed offerings.

Matt Adams is interesting.  He already has the body of a future DH (I really felt bad for him booting two groundballs at first and running at full-speed for the occasional flyball out of reach into the stands (did I mention that it was 100 degrees at start time?).  His ability to make contact and raw power looks solid but you do have to question that body and he does look heavier than the listed weight of 230.

I shocked by how short Jaff Decker seems; listed at 5'10"??? Ha! Put it this way: Clint Fagan, the official home-plate umpire looked about 5'9"-ish standing a few feet from me.  When Decker took his turn to bat, Fagan had at least two inches on him. 

Mike Olt looks like a third baseman.  I can't quite put it into words but based on my eye test: he does tend to open his swing a bit early.  He looks to have plenty of power and a good presence at third, but his swing could use some work.

Wil Myers looked comfortable in right field.  He wasn't tested defensively but his arm looks good enough to play in the outfield.  Like Olt and Beckham, he was a bit off balance on Bass' offerings especially when he would fall behind in the count.

Miguel De Los Santos looked solid.  His fastball looked like it had some good weight to it and he was effective in busting fellow left-handed hitters inside on a few occasions.  He also flashed his winning changeup when ahead in the count, but his command got away from him late in the fifth inning.

Adam Moore looked a bit lazy late into the game... again, I will defer to the fact that it was hot outside but he did have trouble with a lot of Bass' pitches, especially his two-seam fastball that would spike the dirt.

Kevin Mattison flashed his best Ichiro impression during his second at bat.  Seriously, he lifted his right leg and dragged his back foot across the batter's box in an effort to lift a lazy flyball to CF.  He seems very capable in the contact department but I couldn't get a good sense of his defensive skills after one game.

Mikie Mahtook probably has the shortest torso in all of baseball.  When you first see him in person something looks off... then you realize he is all legs and his belt is a foot away from his shoulders.  Honestly, that was a bit of an exaggeration but he does look odd (?) in a uniform.  However, at the plate, this man is a bonafide professional hitter and had no problems picking and choosing among Bass' best offerings.  I plan on watching more of him to get a better defensive perspective of his abilities.

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