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Arizona Diamondbacks winter ball update

Let’s check in on the D-backs who are not taking the off-season off.

Arizona Fall League

We’ll begin in the local area, where the AFL is now heading into its last week. There are four games left, when play resumes on Monday, then an off-day Friday, before the championship game at Scottsdale Stadium next Saturday. Right now, it looks likely to be the Mesa Solar Sox, who have a 212 game lead in the East division, against the Peoria Javelinas, three up in the West. The Salt River Rafters, the team which includes Arizona’s prospects, are in second, but their chances of pulling off a come-back were severely hurt by a 16-2 mauling at the hands of Mesa yesterday. Fortunately, none of our pitchers were involved in that beatdown!

Let’s start with them, and it’s Kirby Bellow who has been putting up the most impressive numbers on the mound in the AFL for the D-backs. He has a 1.93 ERA over 14 innings of work, and has also been striking out more than a batter per inning, with a K:BB ratio of 15:2. He has held opposing hitters to a .200 average. Fellow reliever Colin Poche has an even better K-rate, having fanned 19 in 14.1 inning, and a .177 average against. But eight walks and two homers have led to a 3.77 ERA. Finally, starter Ryan Atkinson has a 3.94 ERA over five starts and 16 innings. While he has fanned 16, control has been his issue, with 12 walks, two hit batters and two wild pitches.

On offense, outfielder Victor Reyes leads the way, with a glossy .315 average. However, he has only two walks in 77 plate appearances, and that has kept hit OPS down to .744. On the other hand, he has stolen ten bases in eleven attempts. Infielder Jack Reinheimer is batting .288, and his K:BB ratio is a healthier 14:7, with a .721 OPS. His weakness appears to be in the clutch with Reinheimer having driven in only one run in 59 at-bats. Finally, Michael Perez is living up to his reputation as a defense-first catcher. Which is a polite way of saying his numbers suck. He’s batting .217 with one extra-base hit, and an OPS of just .533.

Latin America/Caribbean

In the Dominican Republic, Socrates Brito had a good day yesterday: he went 3-for-5 with eleven total bases, hitting two home-runs and a triple (one homer is below). He drove in three and scored twice. In 21 games for Estrellas Orientales, he is batting .329 and his .981 OPS leads the team among all those with more than a couple of at-bats. Also having a fine winter so far is Willians Astudillo, playing for Caribes de Anzoategui. The 26-year-old C/3B missed most of 2017, but hit .342 over 36 appearances for Reno (and won a game in relief!), He’s hitting .353 in Venezuela, with five multi-hit games in his last ten, and may be a dark horse for a roster spot come next spring.

Joel Payamps has been working long relief as a team-mate of Brito out of the Estrellas Orientales bullpen, and has been doing well. His 10 innings have resulted in just one earned run, though he has been stranding a lot of base-runners, with twelve hits and two walks. He has struck out nine. Elsewhere in Venezuela, Kaleb Fleck has a 2.03 ERA over 13 relief appearances for Leones del Caracas. He has thrown 13.1 innings, though his K:BB is a rather mediocre 8:5. But the best ERA belongs to Carlos Bustamante, of Mayos de Navojoa in Mexico. Bustamente has tossed 13 innings of two-run ball, one unearned, for a 0.69 ERA. His K:BB is 13:3.