As I sit here in the airport eating a rather bland turkey sandwich, I had a few moments in which to detail a few of the more interesting tidbits that I was exposed to while in Arizona for the yearly Arizona Fall League.
The biggest disappointment of the trip was not getting a chance to see Stephen Strasburg throw a couple of innings. He was supposed to pitch in the Rising Stars Game, but he came up with some mysterious neck issue that kept him out of the contest (he should return to action before the AFL season ends). Maybe he hurt himself getting a tan at the pool.
I could work with one of the best crews in the business if you just read their work. When you get a chance to spend time with them, you realize that not only are they braniacs in the world of sports, they are great people as well. Good stuff.
Jemile Weeks is listed at 5’10″. He is lucky if he is 5’8″. Reminds me a lot of Chone Figgins with his size and approach.
I know they say Buster Posey is old enough to drink, but I swear the guy looks like he could be the kid in the Jerry Maguire movie – minus the glasses of course.
Grant Desme may have set the AFL on fire with his stretch of 10 bombs in 10 games, but he didn’t impress me at all at the dish. Gotta say as well that his arm is a mystery. On Friday he two-hopped the infielders on a couple of throws, though on Saturday night at the Stars’ game he unleashed a powerful toss to nail a runner that had me second guessing my initial impression.
Domonic Brown has got that tall lanky body that will lend itself to comparisons with a guy like Chris Young. While he may have that kind of all-around talent, he needs to add about 20 pounds to his frame while at the same time learning to keep his balance at the dish. He was all over the place with his cuts.
Tanner Scheppers brings the cheese. He has an odd set position on the mound where he starts in almost a sprinters type setup in the blocks in the 100-meter dash. No matter how he starts out, that is one electric arm.
Mike Moustakas has what was called by fellow Fanball employee Ted Carlson a “Royals’ body.” It worked out for Billy Butler, but for a guy who was drafted as a shortstop I just don’t get it. That lower half of his is straight out of the catcher’s handbook. He didn’t impress me at all.
Josh Fields doesn’t cast a large shadow with his size, but he looked pretty darn sharp attacking hitters in the contest.
Ike Davis may be a first round pick, but he has a long ways to go. He drops his hands about 12 inches as he enters the “launch position” which would seem to leave him terribly vulnerable to high heat and anything off-speed. He also has an odd throwing motion, albeit a smooth one, where he hooks his hand as he takes it back ala Barry Zito.
Dustin Ackley didn’t make much of an impression, but he clearly has the look of a big leaguer – sooner rather than later.
And finally, the future might be bright for the Reds. Chris Heisey looked sharp while Yonder Alfonso was hitting like it was an arcade game.
No telling just how many of these fellas will make their mark in the bigs, but it was nice to see the young talent that will likely be gracing ball fields in the majors for years to come.
By Ray Flowers