But first. We’ll be heading over to Salt River Fields tomorrow (Saturday) to take in the Salt River Rafters game against the Peoria Javelinas. Hopefully, we’ll see some SnakePitters there! It’s entirely informal; basically turn up whenever you want (first pitch is a little early, at 6:05pm) and find us. We’ll likely be sitting somewhere behind the Rafters dugout. Hit us up on social media if you can’t see a SnakePit shirt! And even those not in Phoenix can "join in", for the game is also being carried live on the MLB Network, so you can keep an eye out for us there too. We promise, however, not to be those obnoxious fans behind home-plate... :)
And with that, onto the players [all stats exclude today’s games, incidentally]
Jared Miller (@Dbacks) wins AFL Pitcher of The Week after striking out 5 of the 6 batters he faced for the Salt River Rafters. pic.twitter.com/j86TrRIWCN— Arizona Fall League (@MLBazFallLeague) November 8, 2016
I’m not sure there’s a word for what Jared Miller is doing in the Arizona Fall League. Because "dominating" seems an understatement. He’s now up to 14 scoreless innings, having given up just four hits, for a batting average of .087. His K:BB ratio? 25.2. Basically, that means about half of the hitters he has faced in the league- not retired, faced - have taken their lumber back to the dugout with them. He was actually touched for a two-run homer during his inning of work as part of the AFL All-Star Game last Saturday, but that doesn’t count. :) [He also struck out three batters there as well]. Only one AFL pitcher has more strikeouts than Miller this year, and Austin Gomber has thrown almost twice as many innings, at 27.2 for one more K.
Understandably, Miller has overshadowed his Arizona prospect colleagues on the mound. Southpaw starter Josh Taylor has a 4.58 ERA after five starts, with a 17:4 K:BB in 17.2 innings; he starts tomorrow, so we’ll get another look at him (he was very good at AZSPAFLFest #1). Relievers Gabe Speier and Joey Krehbiel have been decent, in a league generally considered hitter-friendly. Speier has allowed three earned runs over 8.2 innings, pitching to contact, with only three strikeouts, but no walks allowed. Krehbiel has struck out 13 over his nine innings of work, and the right-hander has been particularly effective against hitters where he has the platoon advantage, holding RHB to a .150 average with a K:BB of 7:1. Left-handers have been more troublesome for Krehbiel, hitting .250 with a 6:4 K:BB.
Dawel Lugo (@Dbacks) is named AFL Player of the Week after hitting .467 with a homer, 2 doubles, and 4 RBIs for the Salt River Rafters. pic.twitter.com/m4Zi6PvC7l— Arizona Fall League (@MLBazFallLeague) November 8, 2016
Completing the double-bill, we find Dawel Lugo, who took home hitter of the week honors for the AFL, going 7-for-15 on the Rafters, including a four-hit game on Halloween and his first AFL home-run on November 4. He currently has a seven-game hitting streak and the shortstop is batting .289. However, his on-base skills still need some work, with Lugo still walkless after 74 at-bats, though has only struck out six times. He played alongside Miller in the AFL All-Star Game at Surprise, going hitless in his two at-bats, as the East division were hammered 12-4 by the West. The Rafters, incidentally, still have a shot at the AFL championship game, being a game back of Mesa, with six to play, including this afternoon’s contest at Peoria.
1B Kevin Cron completed the Diamondbacks’ prospects in that All-Star Game, getting a hit there. His average is still bumping along below the Uecker Line at .194, but Cron’s recent form has been better. Over the last eight games, he is batting .324 (11-for-34), with two home-runs and and eight RBI. Hopefully he can finish strong, and get his OPS higher than the current overall figure of .620. [There was recently a good interview with Cron over on TKB] Producing somewhat better is 2B Jamie Westbrook, who has walked more times (5) than he has struck out (4) in his 43 at-bats. His playing time has been a bit sporadic, with only three appearances since October 29. He’s currently at a line of .256/.333/.349 for a .682 OPS.