Laird homers in Phoenix loss

Football Open Thread
Girardi: 'We believe in A.J.'

These Arizona Fall League night games are killing me. I can’t remember them ever playing this many, at least not this easy in the season. Anyway, let’s get you caught up on the last few days, plus the action from Latin America …

Phoenix Desert Dogs (11-4 loss to Scottsdale on Friday)
Austin Romine, DH: 1 for 4, 3 K
Brandon Laird, LF: 3 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K – I suspect he’ll have a few more games like this considering the extreme offensive run environment
George Kontos: 1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K – 17 of 26 pitches were strikes (65.4%) … hey, at least he struck out the side

Phoenix Desert Dogs (10-4 loss to Surprise on Saturday)
Jose Pirela, 2B: 0 for 4, 1 BB, 2 K

There are no games on the schedule for today. Keith Law got a look at Craig Heyer the other day and wrote up a little blurb, but you need an Insider subscription to read it. Here’s the important stuff…

Heyer throws a heavy fastball at 90-92 from a slot just below 3/4, generating a lot of groundballs, and he works quickly to try to keep hitters off balance. His slider was fringy at 83-84 with a tendency to get long and sweepy, which can be a problem for pitchers with lower arm slots, but if he can tighten that up he’s a valuable relief prospect, but would need a third pitch to use against lefties if he’s going to end up a starter.

Heyer is an extreme strike thrower, walking just 14 batters unintentionally in 164.1 IP over the last two seasons (0.77 BB/9), so it’s good to get a pair of eyes on him and confirm that there’s actual potential here. He’s not particularly young, 25 next month, but the Yanks’ 2007 22nd rounder has put himself on the prospect map over the last two years. Good for him.

And now for the other winter leagues…

Mexican Winter League
Justin Christian: 4 G, 5 for 18, 1 RBI, 2 SB (.278/.278/.278)
Walt Ibarra: 4 G, 5 for 16, 5 R, 1 2B, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 SB (.313/.389/.375)
Francisco Gil: 2 G, 1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP (36.00 ERA, 4.00 WHIP)
Eric Wordekemper: 2 G, 1.1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (20.25 ERA, 2.25 WHIP)

Venezuelan Winter League
Jose Gil: 4 G, 8 for 16, 4 R, 3 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 3 K (.500/.500/.875)
Luis Nunez: 2 G, 2 for 7, 1 R (.286/.286/.286)
Marcos Vechionacci: 5 G, 3 for 16, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K, 2 SB (.188/.235/.250)
Josh Schmidt: 1 G, 1 GS, 4 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K (2.25 ERA, 1.00 WHIP)

Edwar Gonzalez, Juan Marcano, Emerson Landoni, Eduardo Sosa, and Jesus Montero are all playing in the VWL as well, but have yet to appear in a game. The Dominican Winter League rosters aren’t out yet, but they will be soon. The season starts on Friday. Same deal with the Puerto Rican League as well, season starts the same day and everything.

Football Open Thread
Girardi: 'We believe in A.J.'
  • Tom Zig

    Isn’t Marcos Vechionacci a non-prospect? What’s he doing out in Venezuela?

    • Mike Axisa

      Well, he’s from there first of all. Also making some extra money and trying to get better so he can find a job for next year, or keep his current one.

      • Sayid J.

        Yea, just to check if I have this correct… these winter leagues aren’t an assignment from the Yankees. A lot of these guys are just trying to get extra at bats/money/improve in the offseason?

        • Mike Axisa

          Right. The AzFL is an assignment, but teams can only urge players to play/not play in the other winter leagues. They have actual drafts in the Latin American leagues each year to pick the teams, it’s a very competitive environment. Not the best for development, because if a player struggles, he won’t play.

  • Gonzo

    I think Keith Law tweeted something about Laird not looking good in the OF.

    • Samuel

      Law’s thought’s on prospects is based upon if they are going to be an impact player at the major league level. If they are not going to be impactful, he doesn’t have positive thoughts about the player.

      It is obvious that Laird right now is not in the same realm as Carl Yastrzemski or Barry Bonds playing left field, but he is making all the plays needed in the AFL.

      But Laird is a very hard worker who will continue to improve. If playing the outfield at a decent level increases his versatility over the course of his Yankee career (or trade value) is the best for all involved.

      By the way, Law doesn’t think Laird is an impactful hitter either, and thought the Yankees should have traded him this year at the deadline when his “value was highest.”

  • IE

    Well, Laird is a career infielder and not the most athletic of players. In any case, if he is going to have a defensive hiccup or two – this is the AFL is the place to get them out of the way.