Wednesday, October 11, 2006

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.


At 10/12/2006 6:16 PM, Blogger Deanna said...

I really need to do a post about the HWL but I've been so busy with the Pacific League playoffs and not getting sleep that I haven't had time.

that said I would keep an eye on the Honolulu Sharks if I was going to follow any one team, looking at the rosters. They have the Fighters and Giants prospects, also the Eagles -- I actually saw Ichiba and Arime pitch in person last month when I was in Japan. Ichiba's going to be something damn special one day, Arime, well, he's good, but he burnt out his arm on a 188-pitch 12-inning 17-strikeout TIE GAME against the Marines in August and hasn't quite been the same since. Poor guy.

Tsujiuchi and Kamei are top prospects for the Giants (once Kamei learns to hit), Ugumori and Kikuchi are top prospects for the Fighters. Oddly I know less about the American prospects than I know about the Japanese ones :)

At 10/13/2006 1:35 PM, Blogger marc w. said...

"Oddly I know less about the American prospects than I know about the Japanese ones :)"

Hey, that's a pretty handy division of labor right there!
So what can you tell us about the catcher Okazaki on Waikiki (who shares time with Jeff Clement)? How about the SS Moriyama? NPB pitchers seem to be overrepresented in the league (as compared with position guys), although I don't know that for sure.

I gotta find out more about this guy Henricus Vanden Hurk, who, in addition to having an awesome name, is flat out dealing for Waikiki.

At 10/17/2006 10:41 AM, Blogger PositivePaul said...

Any word on how the earthquake affected the HWL? I haven't found a whole lot myself, but, then again, I'm not exactly up on where to find such info.

At 10/22/2006 11:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beachboys? Citizen K watched a gaggle of Waikiki beach boys playing volleyball in Queen Kap Park this past summer. They weren't guys he'd like to root for. Woerman, Ashner, Clement, and Boucher are more like the better type of idealized beachboy.


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