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Arizona Fall League Championship & Season Recap

Peoria defeats Salt River 3-2 in Extra innings

Braxton Davidson of the Atlanta Braves organization hit a no doubter walk off homer into the right field pavilion at Scottsdale Stadium, helping the Peoria Javelinas walk off the Salt River Rafters 3-2 in 10 innings. One sour note is Davidson may have broke his foot just before he reached home plate for the celebration at home.

It was a tight well pitched game for the most part. The Rafters Jordan Yamomoto threw 4 scoreless innings, despite issuing 5 well spaced out walks. 3 relievers, including our own Kevin Ginkel combined for 4 more scoreless innings.

Meanwhile after scoring solitary runs in the 2nd and 4th innings off of Miguel Diaz of the Padres, a succession of 6 Javelina relievers held the rafters scoreless for the rest of the game.

Rockies future closer Justin Lawrence came on to pitch the 9th and it was a disaster. Walk, Double, Wild Pitch, Base Hit, WP, and the game was tied at 2 and went to extras, where Davidson then ended it in the bottom of the 10th.

Jazz Chisholm of the Diamondbacks had a tough day, going 0-5 including 3K’s looking. He made a really nice play on a high hopper over his head on defense though.

Daulton Varsho fared little better, going 0-3 with a walk. However he made a great head first slide to score from second on a base hit to shallow RF. Outfield Buddy Reed fired a strike but Varsho got in just under the tag.

Kevin Ginkel faced one batter, and got a big 2 out K in the 8th with runners of first and 2nd.


Below Stats and player summaries written before today’s Championship game:

(Highlighted player name brings you to the Fangraphs Player Page)

Jazz Chisholm

They will need to update the scout grades at Jazz’ page. This is a very dynamic player, who stands out when you watch him play. Dubbed “Mr’ Electricity” in the AFL, he has lightening quick hands that generate much more power than his 5’ 11” 165 pound frame would suggest. This allows him to get to almost any pitcher’s fastball. Can be fooled on breaking pitches and will likely strike out a lot until he improves pitch recognition a bit more. Nonetheless his 2018 breakout carried over into the fall league, impressing scouts and evaluators with his eye popping defense, baserunning, and overall play.

Renae Martinez

“Traded” after two games with the Rafters to the Surprise Saguaros in order to get him more playing time behind the plate this Fall League season, Martinez continued to hit well, as he has at every stop in the minors so far. As Mike commented at the end of this article mid season, Martinez has been old for his levels, but he made it to the CAL league and had a 110 wRC+ there. And based on both his presence and continued good hitting the AFL, he has to be considered a prospect now. I did not attend any games in Surprise other than the All Star game and did not see him catch. One scout I spoke to who had only seen him catch twice simply said “Bat First”, which matches other scouting reports.

Drew Ellis

My looks at Ellis were mixed, as is his playing record. There is a lot of swing and miss here and it’s hard to see him hitting higher than .250 in the majors, and he’s not there yet. He has power, no doubt about that, and that tool will need to carry him to the majors. His fielding range looked average to me, and the arm , while strong can be a little erratic. The team is high on him though, and will be looking for a strong performance from him in AA in 2019

Daulton Varsho

Impresses with his athleticism and speed. He looks like he’ll stick at catcher to me, but I can also see him being moved to get his bat in the lineup more often. He has a swing that stays in the hitting zone, very level, and he will live on line drives. While very fast, will need to learn to pick his spots better. Was picked off and caught stealing more than a few times this fall league. Started off hot, but slumped over the last 2 weeks, going 1 for 23. Did not homer and had just 2 extra base hits.

Dominic Miroglio

Defense first catcher. Looks very agile behind the plate. Can’t really tell how he’s framing from the viewpoint I get. Has a strong accurate arm. He is a contact hitter, doesn’t walk much or hit with power, however hit .327 on a .372 BABIP in the Cal league. That didn’t carry over after getting promoted to AA as he hit just .231 without homering in 81 PA at that level and an even .200 , 5 for 25 in the AFL, although he did have 1 homer. Small sample size stuff. I think he’ll do much better his second go around at AA in 2019

Pavin Smith

Pavin carried a 49% ground ball rate both 2017 & 2018. In the Fall League it seemed like it had to be even higher than that. By the end of the season, he was being pinch hit for in key situations as his downward swing plane was generating zero power and nothing but ground balls. This needs to change if he is going to have any success going forward.

Jon Duplantier

I’ve written a lot about him this fall league. He looks to be almost ready for the majors. He has the complete package of FB/CB/SL/CH, and can throw all his off speed pitches for strikes. He doesn’t bully hitters with his fastball, despite mid 90’s velocity. But if he can improve his FB command a little he will have the chance to reach his ceiling. Durability and length are still not there. Including the Fall League he threw just 86 innings this year. I don’t think he should be held back in the minors too long though. This is why I like the idea of bringing him up as a long man/swing man mid season. That will allow him to get his feet under him in the majors and not increase his innings workload too quickly. I assume he will be capped at 150 IP max next year.

Bo Takahashi:

Struggled with his command out of the bullpen from what I saw. 6 walks and 3 hit batters in 11 23 IP. Pitches without fear though, and I like his chances to hone his stuff and keep improving.

Kevin Ginkel:

Has a little bit of short arm action, and seems like a guy his size should be throwing a little harder. But he has an intimidating mound presence and likes to bully hitters inside with his fastball. Struck out 17 while walking just 2 , he impressed me a lot. He had the same kind of video game K/BB rates in A=/AA last year, 100K to 12 walks. I think we could see him very soon in Chase Field.

Tyler Mark:

I only saw him pitch a couple of times. His time in the fall league was abbreviated due to getting hit in the head by a come backer. It was good just to see him come back healthy. Results are secondary here.

So thats a wrap for this year. Thanks to Jim and also the Fall League officials for giving me the chance to cover the league for the AZ Snakepit. It’s been a lot of fun.