Before we get to the first fall/winter ball update of the season, here are a bunch of minor league notes and links to pass along:
- LHP Ian Clarkin, who did not pitch in official games at all this season due to ongoing elbow trouble, will make his first Arizona Fall League start on Monday, reports Josh Norris. Clarkin did pitch in Instructional League the last few weeks.
- Baseball America posted a Scout’s Take piece on C Gary Sanchez. (It’s free. You don’t need a subscription.) The scout likes Sanchez as a potential middle of the order bat and also sees him as an average defender, which is nice improvement from where he was earlier in his career.
- Based on the Twitter feeds of various players, the Yankees had Alfonso Soriano and Scott Rolen working with their minor leaguers during Instructional League. Rolen and farm system head Gary Denbo know each other from their days with the Blue Jays.
- Know that giant Ferris wheel they’re building in Staten Island? It’s creating headaches for Short Season Staten Island, writes Everett Merrill. Construction has limited parking and led to traffic delays, and even knocked the team’s phone lines out for a few days. Attendance took a hit this year and the team is trying to come up with aggressive marketing strategies for next season.
- And finally, with 1B Greg Bird and RHP Luis Severino graduating to MLB, OF Ben Gamel and SS Thairo Estrada jumped on MLB.com’s top 30 Yankees prospects list, according to High-A Tampa. Here’s the full list.
Now let’s get to the fall ball action, starting with the Arizona Fall League.
AzFL Surprise (6-5 loss to Peoria) Tuesday’s season-opener
- C Gary Sanchez: 2-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 PB — hit the first home run of the AzFL season … the linked scouting report above says the passed ball was a cross-up, remember most of these pitchers and catchers haven’t worked together before
- 1B Tyler Austin: 2-4, 1 2B — he’s here in place of 3B Eric Jagielo, who is still recovering from his knee surgery … it’s an infielder for infielder replacement, so Austin has to play first (or third I guess, but he hasn’t done that in a while)
- SS Tyler Wade: 2-4, 1 2B, 2 RBI — the AzFL will be a good test for him since he’ll be facing a bunch of older pitchers
AzFL Surprise (5-4 win over Peoria in ten innings, walk-off style) Wednesday’s game
- DH Gary Sanchez: 3-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K
- LF Dustin Fowler: 0-3, 1 K
- LHP Tyler Webb: 2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 2/1 GB/FB — 23 of 35 pitches were strikes (66%) … first game action since late-June … he missed the end of the regular season due to a tendon issue in his hand
AzFL Surprise (3-0 win over Mesa) Thursday’s game
- C Gary Sanchez: 1-3, 1 RBI, 1 K — started and batted cleanup in each of their first three games, so it appears he’s going to play a lot these next few weeks
- 1B Tyler Austin: 1-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
- 2B Tyler Wade: 0-2, 1 K
- RHP Domingo Acevedo: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 4/0 GB/FB — 20 of 27 pitches were strikes (74%) … he hit 99 mph according to Josh Norris, who also posted video
AzFL Surprise (20-6 win over Mesa) Friday’s game … no Yankees prospects played
The various Caribbean Winter Leagues have either just started their seasons or will do so relatively soon. Here are the assignments so far.
Dominican Summer League: RHP Andury Acevedo, UTIL Jose Rosario
Mexican Pacific League: RHP Gio Gallegos, RHP Luis Niebla, RHP Cesar Vargas
Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League (Puerto Rico): No rosters yet
Venezuelan Winter League: C Francisco Arcia, IF Ali Castillo, RHP Luis Cedeno, OF Ben Gamel, C Juan Graterol, OF Ericson Leonora, RHP Jaron Long, RHP Mark Montgomery, OF Teodoro Martinez, RHP Diego Moreno, and IF Jose Pirela.
Keep in mind that just because a player is on a winter ball roster, it does not necessary mean he’ll play. It just means that team holds the player’s winter ball rights. Also, more players can still be — and inevitably will be — added to winter ball rosters in the coming days and weeks. Right now it sure looks like the VWL is the one to watch.