Arizona Fall League play started today with representatives of every major league team convening in the desert for additional work. The Royals representatives join those from the Braves, Marlins, Rangers and Rays to form the Surprise Sagueros.
Left-handed pitcher Justin Marks got the start for Surprise today, working three innings against the Peoria Javelinas. He allowed two walks and struck out two, but didn’t surrender a hit or a run. In 2012, Marks pitched primarily in Double A Northwest Arkansas but made one start in Omaha as well. His Triple A start didn’t go very well, as he lasted only 1.2 innings and gave up nine runs. In Double A, he threw 85.1 innings in 17 starts and compiled a 3.80 ERA and a 73/38 K/BB ratio. Marks was acquired with Vin Mazzaro from the Oakland Athletics for David DeJesus after the 2010 season.
The only other Royal to play today was Brian Fletcher. He spent half of his season in High A Wilmington before being promoted to Double A. While his batting average fell in the higher league, his power numbers increased (which isn’t uncommon when going from Frawley Stadium in the Carolina League to Arvest Ballpark in the Texas League). He went 1-2 on Tuesday with a single and added an RBI on a sacrifice fly. He also walked once and struck out in his other plate appearance. Fletcher is an interesting offensive prospect, but needs some work with his defense. He was drafted as an outfielder but played a lot of first base in High A before his promotion. Jen Nevius has a review of his season up right here - Fletcher was Baseball America’s #27 Royals prospect entering the year.
The Royals also added another player to their cache of minor leaguers in Surprise. J.C. Sulbaran, half of the return from the Cincinnati Reds in the Jonathan Broxton trade, will join the group. He made six starts for Northwest Arkansas after the trade but struggled with his command, walking 22 batters in 26 innings. He did strike out 24, but that won’t matter if he’s walking a batter an inning. He also gave up 11.4 H/9 and 2.4 HR/9 for the Naturals, so his stint there went about as bad as it could have. If he can sort things out, he has some #3 or #4 starter potential.
The other Royals minor leaguers in the AFL are:
- LHP Jon Keck
- SS Orlando Calixte
- SS Alex McClure
- OF Whit Merrifield
The AFL season will run until November 17.