The AFL Update, Week 4
November 9, 2010
The AFL Rising Stars game was held last Saturday, and it was an exciting game that ended in a walk-off HR. Kipnis was the only Tribe prospect selected to play in the Rising Stars Game, and he played well. Coming off the bench in the 6th inning, Kipnis doubled off of fireballing Cubs prospect Chris Carpenter (who played his college ball at Kent State). Carpenter struck out two of the other three batters he faced, so Kipnis was stranded on base. His double was one of only three extra base hits recorded by either team in the 3-2 victory for the West.
Jason Kipnis, 2B: Kipnis has been hitting the ball better lately, and now has hits in six of his last nine games. He went 2-4 yesterday with 2 3B, 2 R and a BB. He's still just a shade under the Mendoza Line for the season in AZ, but his OPS is a much more respectable .789 thanks to an even .500 SLG. Kipnis has 3 HR and 12 RBI, and the league-leaders have 4 and 19 in each category, respectively. As he mentioned in his blog, 2010 has been a long year for Kipnis, and he's played more baseball this year than any other year in his life. Its possible he's just getting a little tired, and I fully expect him to come back strong in the spring of 2011.
Cord Phelps, 2B/3B: Phelps has continued to sizzle in the desert and is now riding a 7-game hitting streak for the Javelinas. He is 13-29 (.448) over the streak with a HR and 4 RBI, and he continues to show top of the order skills by drawing 6 BB in those 7 games as well. For the season in AZ, Cord has posted a .352/.478/.500 line with 13 BB and 12 K. Despite his outstanding 2010 campaign for the Aeros and Clippers, Phelps is still seen by most pundits outside of the organization as a utility player in the long run. As an added degree of difficulty, he's going to have to continue to prove himself at every level because of the presence of fellow top prospect Jason Kipinis. All Phelps can do is keep hitting the ball, and the rest will take care of itself.
Roberto Perez, C: Perez has caught two games since the last AFL update, and had his best offensive game of the season on Nov. 5. He went 2-5 with 2 R and an RBI to raise his average to .156 on the year, and snapped a 14 at bat hittless streak for the backstop. Despite the offensive struggles, Perez continues to play well behind the dish and is getting good reviews for his ability to handle a pitching staff.
Adam Abraham, 3B/C: Abraham has continued to put together a solid campaign in his limited opportunities in Arizona. In the two games he was eligible to play in since the last AFL update, Abraham went 2-7 with a 3B, 2 RBI, 2 R and 3 BB. Thanks in part to his terrific 7-4 BB to K ratio, Abraham has posted an .809 OPS for the Javelinas. He also has one of the coolest pictures on his player profile in the AFL.
Scott Barnes, SP: Profiled in yesterday's AFL Spotlight, Barnes started for the Javelinas on Nov. 5 and posted another outstanding outing on the way to recording wins in back-to-back starts. He didn't give up a run in his 4 innings of work, struck out 2, walked one and allowed 3 hits. Barnes is now up to 18 2/3 innings in Arizona, and he has a 4.34 ERA to go along with his league-leading 21 K and just 4 BB.
Eric Berger, RP: Berger has just one outing since last weeks update, pitching a clean frame on Nov. 4. Berger got all three batters he faced to ground out, and now has a 1.33 GO/AO rate in AZ. He's now thrown 6 innings without allowing an earned run, and has allowed just two baserunners in his last 3 1/3 innings.
Chen Lee, RP: Lee hasn't pitched since the last AFL update. He still has a 7.50 ERA, 7 K and a BB in 6 innings of work.
Bryan Price, RP: Price has pitched twice since the last AFL update, including yesterday against the Desert Dogs. Yesterday's outing was a clean one, as he delivered two shutout innings with a strikeout, allowing just one hit. His prior appearance was back on the 2nd where he gave up a run on a hit and walked a batter. For the season in AZ, Price has a 7.27 ERA, 3 K and 5 BB in 8 2/3 IP. Price struck out a batter per inning this year for the Aeros, so his inability to miss bats in AZ is not something I saw coming.
Travis Turek, RP: Turek has appeared in just one game since the last AFL update. He pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings back on Nov. 3, striking out one and allowing one hit.
Nationals OF Bryce Harper is still hitting in the AFL. He has hits in his last two games, as well as the first three walks of his professional career. His triple slash line so far is a robust .328/.463/.525, and he has 3 BB and 8 K. There's nothing in his AZ performance to suggest he's anything but a future star, as he's doing this against kids 3-5 years older than he is for the most part.