First things First. You have to vote for Jazz Chisholm for the Arizona Fall League All Star Game, which is being played this Saturday at Surprise Stadium.
Jon Duplantier had his longest outing for the Arizona Fall League going 4 2⁄3 innings giving up 3 runs, all in the 2nd. He left the game with 2 outs in the bottom of the 5th holding a 7-3 lead, and having thrown 83 pitches, 44 for strikes. The Rafters would continue to pile on scoring 3 more in the 7th and 4 in the 8th. The Solar Sox could manage just one more run against the Rafters bullpen, a solo homerun in the 9th.
Jon Duplantier 4 /23 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 5 K
He had a good day, somewhat better than his pitching line would make it appear. He was getting called strikes by landing his curve ball, and getting swings and miss with his Slider and Change. However he had difficulty with fastball command much of the day, leading to the 4 walks.
What struck me today is yet again he induced a ton of ground balls.
Balls in Play: 10 Groundballs, 2 FB, 0 LD.
4 of 10 Groundballs went for basehits, and he induced 2 double plays.
Of the 2 FB, one was a bloop pop up by Eli White that landed in right field and the other was the only hard hit ball in the air, a long double to LCF by Luis Barrera.
It should be noted that a lot of the groundballs were hit pretty sharply, and the infield in Mesa is rock hard, despite the rains we had a few weeks ago. This is the 4th time I’ve seen JD pitch now, and I feel like he is already able to get major league outs. His fastball is usually around 95, ranging 93-96, and he has had trouble spotting it the last few times I’ve seen him. Even when he does, hitters can make contact on it and hit it pretty hard. It’s his breaking pitches that set him apart. They are sharp, and he has been throwing them over or around the plate, inducing a lot of swing and miss from them. With a little better fastball command to set up his breaking pitches, JD is capable of dominating.
Daulton Varsho: 2 for 4, 1 Strikeout, Picked Off/Caught Stealing once
On the very first pitch of the game Varsho dragged a perfect bunt between the mound and first base line. The First baseman was playing back and had not chance. The pitcher, Justin Steele managed to get over and field the bunt and rand hard to first, but Varsho is just too fast and easily beat him in the foot race to first base.
Unfortunately Daulton immediately got picked off on the very next pitch, took off for second, and was out easily.
In his second at bat he laced a 1-0 fastball to the opposite field for a base hit.
His 3rd at bat was a 7 pitch battle that ended in a popout to the catcher, and he struck out swinging on a high fastball in his last at bat. He was removed from the game after that AB.
He looked smooth behind the plate. Quiet hands receiving the ball. He and JD were easily on the same page, I didn’t see JD shaking him off, and they worked very quickly.
Josh Fuentes: 2 for 4, a HR and Walk
The 25 year old cousin of Nolan Arenado is another really good defensive thirdbaseman in the Rockies system. He had one diving stop in the hold he had to completely lay out for, came up firing a strike to 2b to start a 5-4-3 DP. Later in the game he started another 5-4-3, this time on a very hard one hopper right at him. Most guys would have been handcuffed by the ball, but he showed very soft hands as he basket caught the ball in his gut and then a quick release to start the DP. A couple of other nice plays by him in the game left an overall strong impression of his defense.
Luis Barrera of the Solar Sox made quite the impression today with a great running catch on a smash over his head to deep straightaway Centerfield. He also had the long double vs. JD that one hopped up against the wall in LCF . Reminds me a little of Ender Incirate.
Esteban Quiroz: Watching this guy at the plate in his first AB, I was struck by how patient he seemed. He saw 6 pitches, didn’t swing at any of them, and worked a walk. The 4 balls were all pretty close. Then he saw 7 pitches in his next AB, fouling off 2, and working another walk. I didn’t know anything about him. Turns out he is a Mexican League veteran, played on the national team. He walked almost as much as he struck out in 6 seasons in that league, posting a .396 OBP. Signed by the Red Sox prior to 2018, he managed a .299/.413/.598 batting line with 7 HR, 13 walks, 19K in 104 AA PA .
He played all around the infield, 2b, SS, 3b in Mexico, but just 2b for the Red Sox last year.
I’d expect this guy to get a chance with the Red Sox this year. Seems like a smart low cost pickup and a guy that will give them lots of “professional at bats”.