Saturday, November 12, 2005

Arizona Fall League

I'm back from vacation and on the computer again. In between hiking trips to the Grand Canyon, Sedona and the Painted Desert, I did get to one Arizona Fall League game. The Mesa Solar Sox beat the Peoria Saguaros 6-5 in the last game of the season. There looked to be only about 200 fans in attendance. I think it was mostly scouts and family members. That is typical of the AFL and I'm not sure why they don't get more fans. I certainly enjoyed sitting in 80 degree weather in the middle of November watching some of the best prospects in the game

Donald Kelly, who always seems to hit well every time I see him, was only 1-3 but hit the ball hard hard twice. He played shortstop in the AFL after playing mostly third base during the summer. He had an excellent year for AA Erie (.340/.402/.508) and was named the best hitting prospect in the league by Baseball America. The best hitting prospect accolade says more about the Eastern League this year than Kelly's actual prospect status but it was still encouraging. He did not not hit as well when promoted to Toledo. He's not projected to become a Major League regular but he's a left-handed batter who can play all 4 infield positions and might make a nice utility player in the not so distant future.

David Espinosa hit a three run homerun to left center field to help win the game. Kody Kirkland played third base and went 2 for 3 including a bizarre bunt single which bounced off the first base bag. It will be interesting to see if Kelly, Espinosa and Kirkland make the 40 man roster. I think there is a very good chance they might lose Kelly or Espinosa in the Rule 5 draft if the they don't protect them.

You might also want to take a look at the AFL recap at MLB.COM.

In one non-Tiger note, I saw Brad Eldred in person for the first time and he is huge - 6-5 268. He crushed two homeruns. He's a really strong looking player and I'll be curious to see how he does for the Pirates next year. He struggled in his late season call up this year but he showed some power hitting 12 homeruns in 190 at bats

1 comment:

  1. Glad to have you back Lee, and thanks for the update.

    It will be interesting to see what the Tigers do with regard to the 40 man roster. While Kelly isn't reall a prospect any more, as you mentioned he is a good organizational depth guy that someone could take a chance on. He always reminded me a little of Frank Catalanotto.

    As for Espinosa, he didn't reall do anything either way this fall to distinguish himself. His case is a little more confusing because he has had a major league contract, and is out of options. Even if the Tigers protect him, I believe he'd have to make the 25 man roster - or clear waivers. Essentially, the Tigers would have to treat him like a Rule 5 pick (I think).



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