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Shootout at Salt River Fields!

The Rafters win a see saw slugfest, 10-9

Milwaukee Brewers v Colorado Rockies Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images

On a beautiful sunny mid 80’s afternoon at Salt River Fields, the River Rafters outlasted the Scottsdale Scorpions yesterday in a 10-9 slug fest. Box Score

Both teams scored in 6 of the 9 innings of what was sometimes a sloppy contest. There were several Errors, several caught stealing and a pickoff, runners thrown out on base from the outfield, wild pitches and passed balls, and 3 HBP in the game. Overall the pitching wasn’t good in this one, although there were some players that still stood out to me.

It was a good day to get a look at Diamondbacks prospects as quite a few of them played in this game. Here are the reports on each DBacks player and prospects from other organizations that stood out yesterday

Jon Duplantier:

Prior to the game starting I was chatting with one former major league pitcher and he was telling me that sometimes on the days he felt sick he would go out and throw his best games because he didn’t have the energy to overthrow the ball. Taking a little off he would have better command which was worth more than the extra MPH or two he had when he felt very strong.

So it raised an eyebrow for me when the catcher had to jump out of his crouch on the very first warmup pitch to keep it from flying to the backstop. Sure enough, JD throwing 95-96 MPH fastballs, walked the first batter on 4 pitches, 3 of them way wide. After a fielders choice , Mets prospect Peter Alonso came up and ripped a double to the wall in left Center Field. JD struck out the next two however to end the threat.

In his second inning of work, JD got rocked as the leadoff hitter Ronnie Dawson hit a long double to left on a Changeup left up and in the middle of the plate, and then Desmond Lindsay , who had the green light on a 3-0 fastball that was right down the middle, deposited the ball over the left field wall.

Control and command were just not there for JD early in this one, but he settled down after that, retiring 7 straight batters . He was lifted after issuing a one out walk in the 4th, having thrown 63 pitches, just 35 for strikes.

Final Line: 3 13 IP, 3 ER, 3 hits, 2 Walks, 5 K’s.

Jazz Chisholm:

It was a great day for Jazz at the plate. Here is a cut an paste of the notes I was making in Word during the game:

1st AB, Ripped a fastball up and out over the plate for a LD single to left. Came around to score on two WP and a PB

2nd AB: showing that long swing again on off speed pitch. Then flies out to cf

3rd AB: Line drive base hit into CF to drive I a run.

4th AB: Blasted a 1-1 change up up in the zone 400 feet to the bern in RCF

About the 2nd AB: This is the 3rd game I’ve seen of him. When he loads up to swing and guesses wrong and it’s a breaking or off speed pitch, he looks way out in front and has a long follow through that makes it obvious he had no chance to make contact. I’ve seen that swing and miss like that at least 5-6 times now. Like most young players, pitch recognition is a work in progress. He has lightening quick hands and can turn on any fastball, and he is very strong. But advanced pitchers will give him a hard time and he’ll strike out a lot until he improves his ability to pick up breaking pitches and lay off. Keep in mind he had 39 walks and 149 K’s in 501 PA this year.

Pavin Smith :

A 3 hit day for Pavin. Two ground ball singles up the middle, and finally a ball in the air on his last AB, a sweet line drive single to CF.

The good news is Pavin is 10 for 28, .357 B.A., and 2 walks , giving him a .400 OBP. The not so great news is all 10 hits are singles, most of them ground balls that got through. They don’t shift much, if at all in the AZFL. A lot of those groundball hits will find gloves against MLB defenses that will be shifted behind the 2b bag. I’m hoping to see more line drives and a hopefully a few gappers from him over the next few weeks.

On defense, Pavin also had an error on a simple throw over from secondbase on a routine ground. The ball just popped in and out of his glove and dropped to the ground for an E-3. He later made a nice snag on a sharply hit ball down the first base line however to make the unassisted play.

Daulton Varsho

Kind of a mixed day for Daulton. In his 1st AB was up in the count 3-1, but then got blown away swinging and missing at two straight 96 MPH fastballs from J.B.Bukauskas, one down one up for the strike out. He had a groundball RBI basehit through the hole into RF his next AB, but then was caught stealing 2nd.

He made an error on an ill advised attempted pickoff throw down to first with the bases loaded, allowing a run to score.

Late in the game he added a walk and a ground out. 1 for 3, with an RBI and a walk is fine batting line for the day, but his day was a little sloppy as well with a CS and a throwing error. So far he is batting .375/.500/.500 in the Fall League so nothing to complain about overall.

Drew Ellis

It was another tough day for Drew at the plate. He went 0-4, including 2 K’s and two ground outs to short, the second one of the Double play variety. Now hitting just .185/.214/.333 .547 OPS, with no walks, 11 K’s. He does have a homer and a double though.

He looked fine on the first couple of ground balls that were hit to him early in the game, but later got handcuffed by a short hopper, fell on his butt awkwardly making the catch, got up and threw in the dirt. It was ruled a hit, but looked like a play that should have been made.

Then later in the game there was a fairly sharp ground ball hit to his left and he just never got his legs extended or got down on the ball as it went under his glove. Again ruled a hit as he didn’t touch it, this play should have been made as well.


Peter Alonso of the Mets created a lot of buzz today. His double off of Duplantier in the first had an exit velocity of 116 MPH, the hardest hit ball by any Met’s player at any level in the stat cast era. He also had rope line drive homer over the left field fence in the 7th, and and added a single in the 8th for a 3 hit day. Alonso hit 36 homers for the Mets between AA-AAA last year. The Mets had Wilmer Flores at first for most of last year. So unless they unwisely play games with his service clock, expect Alonso to be one of the favorites for NL ROY in 2019.

Carter Kieboom, the 20 year Washington Nationals SS prospect played 2b today so Chisholm could play SS, and put on a show of his own at the plate and on the base paths. He already had 2 sharply hit base hits and 2 stolen bases, causing me to make notes furiously about him. Then in the 7th he blasted a 92 MPH two seamer that missed up at the top of the zone into the bern in LCF. He already played half a season at AA last year. There is a good chance he is in the majors in 2019

Justin Lawrence: Here are my unedited notes from the game. You can tell I was impressed by the Colorado Rockies relief prospect:

Throws HARD 98-99 MPH side arm slot. Hard slider to go with it. Struck out last batter with a 83 MPH changeup. NOT FAIR !

Not sure why he is moving through system so slow but this guy is going to be a pain in the ass to face in the coming years. Remember the name.

Came back out for the 9th. Wild. Walked first batter on 4 pitches.

Got a fly out for 1st out.

Snared a sharp ground ball back to the mound, spun and threw a strike to 2b to start the game ending DP

J.B. Bukauskas

I thought the Houston Astros pitching prospect looked a lot better than his pitching line. He is a hard thrower, 95-96 MPH Four Seamer, but will add and subtract by throwing a low 90’s two seamer once in a while. He has a hard slider that comes in around 86-87. A ton of swing and miss in his game, didn’t have great control in this one, with several wild pitches early and a walk late. But he didn’t lose anything off his velocity at all as his pitch count climbed into the 70’s .

The Salt River Rafters play tonight at Scottsdale Stadium, (although I’m guessing most of the Dbacks prospects get the night off and give way to other players as they rotate). They then play a 12:35 day game Friday in Peoria, and face the same Peoria team Saturday at 12:35 at Salt River.

If you haven’t been to any games, stop making excuses and go see a fall league game near you

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