We haven’t checked in very often on the Arizona Fall League performances thus far, so now’s a good time to do just that.
Last night, Royals first baseman prospect Eric Hosmer drove in four runs in a winning effort for the Surprise Rafters.
However, he’s not alone out in the desert. Johnny Giavotella has been red hot in the AFL, hitting .448/.452/.793/1.245 with seven doubles, a homer and six RBIs in 31 plate appearances. On the pitching side of things, Danny Duffy has appeared three times and pitched five innings, allowing zero runs so far. He also has a 0.60 WHIP with five strikeouts. Brandon Sisk from Northwest Arkansas has had a good showing as well with a 2.45 ERA in 7.1 innings.
Fellow Royal hurlers Mike Montgomery and Patrick Keating haven’t fared as well, with Montgomery getting roughed up in his two starts to the tune of a 10.16 ERA over 5.1 innings. He has, however, struck out seven batters and only walked one over that span. Keating’s numbers look better, as he’s pitched five innings and given up just three earned runs for a 5.40 ERA in five appearances.
Hosmer’s produced a line of .258/.303/.355/.658, but has nine RBIs in 33 plate appearances. Derrick Robinson and catcher Salvador Perez have struggled. Perez has four singles in 20 at bats and no walks for a .200/.200/.200/.400 line, which is simple and at least interesting to look at, but isn’t productive at all. Robinson has had difficulty so far, hitting .130/.231/.130/.461 with three singles in 23 at bats. He’s walked three times but has yet to attempt a stolen base. Robinson has also struck out seven times.
Obviously, you’d rather see better numbers from this group, but in 30 to 35 appearances, you can’t draw many conclusions. There’s no reason to worry about Eric Hosmer because he’s hitting “only” .258. Conversely, we can’t anoint Johnny Giavotella as king of the middle infielders either. Things even out, adjustments are made, and by the end of the AFL season, this group should still be fine. The season runs until November 20, so fortunes can turn just as quickly. With Hosmer’s strong game Wednesday night, he may start to hit like we’re expecting.
Another factor to account for is the larger rosters in the AFL. There are 42 players on each team, so at bats and innings are hard to come by for everyone. The additional level of competition is nice, but it does present the problem of getting consistent work, so hitting out of a slump is more difficult (though one 3-4 day would give Perez a .292 average which looks a lot better than .200, so the small sample size caveat applies).
Another side note that I find appropriate this time of year, Cale Iorg, a shortstop prospect for the Detroit Tigers, is also on the Surprise roster with the Royals prospects. Cale is the nephew of Dane Iorg, hero of Game 6 of the 1985 World Series.