Enough of that
Okay, so we HAD our day without baseball. Now let's get back to it...
No, not the LCS games, which are fascinating in their M's-less way (Scott Spiezio - key contributor? Wha?) - I'm talking about the Arizona Fall League and the Hawaiian Winter League, both of which feature some M's prospects.
The Hawaiian league started up earlier, basically at the beginning of October. The ridiculously named Waikiki BeachBoys feature M's pitchers Dave Asher, Joe Woerman; 1b Reed Eastley, C Jeff Clement and OF Sebastian Boucher.
The league's most notable aspect is that it includes a number of NPB prospects as well - the first iteration of this league is where most people in the US first encountered Ichiro. Kanehisa Arime is out of the gate pretty fast, but I think we're all going to have to rely on Deanna to separate the wheat from the chaff here. Also, it's *really* early yet, but two teams (incl. Waikiki) are hitting below .200; this may be the antithesis of the Arizona Fall League (which many complain makes any hitter look like a top prospect).
As you'd expect, the M's pitching 'spects are doing all right so far, with Joe Woerman striking out 6 in 5 1/3IP. No one's really separating themselves from the pack, but again, it's ridiculously early yet. Dave Asher (a lefty the M's drafted out of college in Florida) is starting, which is nice, as he was posting some ridiculous platoon splits in Wisconsin - it's nice that he's not being stuck in the LOOGY role yet, though that's still probably his best route to MLB.
The hitters... um, have I mentioned that Sebastian Boucher is a notorious slow starter? The speedy OF out of Bethune-Cookman is now at .067, or 1-15 with no XBH. Fellow Canuck Reed Eastley is actually hitting worse: .062. Perhaps it's the pressure of playing in an environment that's basically the opposite of Canada, or perhaps they're slow-cooking to lock in flavor, but hey, at least they're playing. Jeff Clement hasn't played in about a week now; not sure if anything going on, or if the team's trying to rotate the other catchers through.
AFL - Matt Tuiasosopo, Mike Wilson Craig James, Ryan Rowland-Smith, and Bobby Livingston are down in Peoria, playing for the Javelinas (aka Collared Peckaries, a type of native pig). The league started on Tuesday, and the Javelinas have two games in the books thus far. Tui got the start at 3B on the 10th, but went 0-4 (though he did have an RBI). Mike Wilson stroked a 9th inning double in a losing cause. Hyped Braves C prospect Jared Saltalamacchia went 1/4 but had *3* errors in the game, and allowed Nimitz-class 1B prospect Brad Eldred to steal 2nd on him (I don't care if it was on a double steal - I almost choked when I read the box score).
Today's game didn't feature Tui or Wilson, but Ryan Rowland-Smith came on to pitch 2 1/3 of 1R, 3K 1BB ball. RRS was charged with an earned run, but I'm not sure why; a runner took 3rd on an error, then scored on a Sac Fly followed by 2 ks, which, to me, is an unearned run.
Can't wait to see if Doc Livingston is able to recapture the form he had early in 2006, though it's worth mentioning that Clint Nageotte tore up the AFL (ridiculously low walk rate included; where the hell was *that* last year?).
Many observers feel that the environments are so distorting and the sample sizes so small that it's not really worth paying attention to unless you're there, talking to scouts or seeing the players live. While there's more than a grain of truth in that (esp. regarding sample size), hey, it's baseball. And while you can often get the wrong idea about a guy even when you're focusing on component ratios (and not ERA or something), you can get the wrong impression ('glad Nageotte's got that command problem sorted out!'). Still, this is a great test for a number of guys that the M's need to step up, especially Tui.