AFL Update: Nov. 3, 2016

drew-ward-afl-11-3-16The Desert Dogs put up five in the 5th to dig out of an early 1-0 hole then held off the Solar Sox for a 7-4 victory, their second in a row. Sources tell us that if they win today, it will be known as a winning streak.

Drew Ward was the sole National to play in the game. He extended his hit streak to 13 with an opposite-field double in the 7th and was 1-for-5 with two runs scored at the plate.

In the field, Ward fielded two popups and two ground balls while playing third base.

Glendale returns home this afternoon to host Scottsdale, with Austin Voth scheduled to start.

AFL Update: Nov. 2, 2016

Glendale rallied from an early 5-0 deficit with three in the 3rd, three in the 6th, and a pair in the 9th for an 8-7 walkoff win over Scottsdale.

Andrew Stevenson and Osvaldo Abreu were both in the starting lineup while Fall Star (ugh) Ryan Brinley and Nick Lee made appearances in relief.

Stevenson played RF, where he made on putout, and went 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored. He also stole his fifth base for the Desert Dogs.

Abreu played shortstop and struck three times while going 0-for-4. He committed his third error of the fall and made six assists.

Lee let in the baserunner that got on courtesy of Abreu’s miscue in the 6th and got just one out in the 7th before giving way to Brinley with the bases loaded. Brinley rolled a double play to get out of the 7th but was touched for a run in the 8th on a walk and two hits.

The AFL West cellar-dweller Desert Dogs visit the AFL East-leading Solar Sox this afternoon. Austin Voth is scheduled to pitch tomorrow.

AFL Update: Nov. 1, 2016

drew-ward-afl-11-1-16The Desert Dogs outhit the Saguaros 9-6, but couldn’t push any of their baserunners across in a 2-0 loss.

Drew Ward (pictured) and Andrew Stevenson were the only two Nationals to appear in the game.

Ward, who batted fifth and played 3B, was 1-for-4 with a strikeout and grounded into a double play. In the field, he had one assist.

Stevenson led off, played CF, and singled once in five trips to the plate. He fielded six balls and made one putout.

Glendale, which saw its tragic number reduced to nine with loss no. 12 in 18 games, returns home to host Scottsdale.

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Rosters for the Fall Stars game were announced yesterday for this Saturday’s showcase event. Drew Ward and Ryan Brinley were both named to the West Division team. Tim Tebow, despite his .147/.194/.176 line in 10 games, somehow did not make the East Division team. The game will be televised on the MLB Network at 8 p.m. (Oh, THAT’S why…)

AFL Update: Oct. 30, 2016

andrew-stevenson-10-30-16Powered by Andrew Stevenson’s three hits and three RBI, Glendale doubled up Salt River, 6-3 for its sixth win of the season.

Stevenson, who batted second and played CF, doubled twice and singled once while scoring a run in four trips to the plate. He also stole his fourth base (pictured) and made one putout.

Drew Ward and Osvaldo Abreu were also in the starting lineup for the Desert Dogs.

Ward played 1B and extended his hit streak to 11 games with a leadoff single in the 6th. Defensively, he committed an error but made 10 putouts.

Abreu was hitless from the No. 7 slot and handled all four defensive chances in the field (three assists, one putout).

Jake Johansen set the side down in order in the 6th for a hold and his fourth straight scoreless outing.

It’s a shorter week this week with the Fall Stars game on Saturday. Rosters will likely be announced tomorrow.

AFL/Offseason Update: Oct. 29, 2016

austin-voth-10-29-16The Desert Dogs avoided the shutout with a second-inning run but not the loss, as they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Rafters yesterday afternoon.

Austin Voth (pictured) made his fourth start this fall for Glendale. He gave up four runs on just two hits, but both were home runs – a two-run shot in the 1st, then another in the 4th. Both longballs were preceded by a hit batsman.

Voth threw 74 pitches, 41 for strikes, over five innings. He walked two and struck out two while suffering his second loss, but actually lowered his ERA to 10.43 for the AFL campaign.

The two teams switch venues for this afternoon’s game to finish out the third week of the 2016 AFL season.

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TRANSACTION UPDATES
• Fans of “The Onion” need not shed any tears, as the Nationals have re-signed C Jhonatan Solano.
• RHP Aaron Barrett was outrighted to Syracuse on Tuesday and he elected to become a free agent
• OF Yadiel Hernandez was placed on the Hagerstown Suns roster, which means… well, nothing since this is the offseason
• Likewise for P Thony Amoroso, though it’s nice to think that the recently signed IFA from Venezuela may bypass the DSL in 2017

AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS FOR SALE
While this isn’t news per se — minor-league teams are bought and sold all the time — what is unusual is that both the Doubledays and their facility are city-owned. And like many businesses in upstate New York, they’re losing money. Thus, Auburn is looking to sell.

This is the fiscally right thing to do, as the local media notes in an Op-Ed that urges the city government to be transparent as it does so — unlike their counterparts in Northern Virginia.

THE HARRISBURG SENATORS
A lot of folks obsess over how a farm system is ranked relative to the other 29 teams in MLB, but where it really matters can be boiled down to two questions: (1) Does it produce players that can play? (2) Is there enough depth to sustain injuries?

Obviously, we know the answer to both of those questions. But what’s less obvious is the effect that has on the minor-league teams, especially in the upper minors where there’s not a half system. The 2016 Harrisburg Senators were an example of the roster churn that ensues as 50 players suited up (not counting MLB rehabs) and a dozen pitchers made five or more starts.

Indeed, it was that pitching that carried the team as the E.L.’s third-best staff (4.16 R/G vs. 4.34 Lg. Avg.) was able to withstand the E.L.’s second-worst offense (4.01 R/G) and nearly made the playoffs anyway. Though it should be noted that the Eastern League was similar to the Carolina League in that just six of the 12 teams had winning records and two teams were over the .600 mark.

For the fifth straight season, however, the Senators list is combined into a single Top 5:

1. Reynaldo Lopez, RHP – 3.18/3.03/1.23, 100K in 76⅓ IP
2. Lucas Giolito, RHP – 3.17/3.30/1.42, 72K in 71IP
3. Christopher Bostick, IF – .290/.356/.462 in 71G
4. John Simms, RHP – 3.30/3.84/1.08 in 29 appearances, 11GS
5. Rafael Bautista, OF – .282/.344/.341, 56SB

OK, before you rip into me about Tyler Mapes, who’d probably #6 if I were to go further, take a look at his K rate (4.53). That’s more than two full whiffs per 9IP than the league average. Coupled with nearly a hit per IP for his career… that’s just too much contact to succeed long-term at AAA or higher. And I’ve seen it before.

To be honest, after Lopez and Giolito, it’s pretty dicey. Bostick didn’t exactly light it up at AAA and is no longer a National. Simms, like Mapes, will be entering 2017 at age 25 (though he’s six months younger). Bautista, despite all that speed, had just 20 extra-base hits and just 12 doubles.

As always, folks who wish to see the full team stats can find ’em here.

AFL Update: Oct. 28, 2016

osvaldo-abreu-10-28-16Glendale rallied for three in the bottom of the 7th to take a 7-5 lead but the ‘pen gave away five unanswered runs for a 10-7 loss to Mesa.

Two position players and two relievers saw game action:

  • Drew Ward batted second and played 3B, going 1-for-5 with a run and an RBI.
  • Osvaldo Abreu (pictured) singled twice and struck out twice in four AB’s, scoring once. He batted seventh and played SS.
  • Nick Lee was knocked around for two runs on four hits and a walk over an inning and a 1/3rd and was charged with a blown save.
  • Ryan Brinley’s streak of perfection ended at 17 batters as he was lit up for three runs (two earned) on four hits in the 9th after getting the final two batters of the 8th. He was charged with the loss.

The Desert Dogs stay at home this afternoon to host the Rafters. Austin Voth is slated to start for Glendale.

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UPDATE: District on Deck has a season review of the Hagerstown Suns, featuring an interview with manager Patrick Anderson. Check it out.

AFL Update: Oct. 27, 2016

osvaldo-abreu-10-27-16The Desert Dogs scored three times in the 9th to break open a two-run game as they won for just the fifth time this fall, 6-1 over the Rafters.

Osvaldo Abreu was the sole National to appear in the game. At the plate, he was 1-for-4 with a single (pictured) and an RBI. In the field, he had just two assists but no errors.

Glendale returns home to host Mesa this afternoon.

AFL Update: Oct. 26, 2016

jake-johansen-10-25-16The Desert Dogs couldn’t make it two in a row as they were shut out by the Saguaros, 4-0.

It was another busy day for the Nats, as four players saw game action.

Drew Ward hit safely for the ninth time with a 5th-inning single as part of a 1-for-4 afternoon with a whiff. In the field, he had a putout and two assists and no errors.

Andrew Stevenson started again in left field and got the first of Glendale’s four (4) hits with a two-out single in the 3rd. He stole second for his third swiped bag of the fall. Defensively, he made just one putout.

Jake Johansen (pictured) turned in his third straight scoreless outing, stranding a single in his first inning and denying a double in his second inning of work to lower his fall ERA to 1.17 in seven and 2/3rds innings total.

Ryan Brinley spun another 1-2-3 frame to remain perfect (0.00 ERA, 0H, 0BB) in five innings over four appearances. He threw eleven pitches, eight for strikes.

AFL West cellar dweller Glendale visits AFL East-leading Salt River this afternoon.

AFL Update: Oct. 25, 2016

drew-ward-afl-10-24-16Glendale scored in each of the first four innings to build an 8-1 lead and cruised to 12-4 victory, its fourth of the AFL Season.

Two Nationals batters appeared in the game (spoiler alert, one of them is pictured).

Andrew Stevenson led off and played left field. In six ABs he singled, tripled, scored twice, and drove in a run to push his AFL batting average to .267. In the field, he had four putouts and fielded the ball six times total.

Drew Ward (*ahem*) singled twice, walked once, doubled once, struck once, and scored thrice. Hr drove in a run and committed error, but is hitting an Nintendo-esque .448/.529/.517 in eight games thus far.

The Desert Dogs return home this afternoon to host Surprise.

AFL Update: Oct. 23, 2016

drew-ward-afl-10-22-16The Desert Dogs rallied from 7-1 to take an 8-7 lead but couldn’t answer the Saguaros in a 10-8 loss on Saturday.

Austin Voth got the start but was lit up for seven runs on six hits (one home run) and three walks over three-plus innings. He struck out four and threw 51 pitches, 31 for strikes, excluing an errant pickoff throw for an error.

Nick Lee also made an appearance, pitching a 1-2-3 eighth on 14 pitches (eight for strikes).

All three Washington position players appeared in the game:

  • Osvaldo Abreu batted second, played short, and went 1-for-4 with an RBI, a stolen base, and two strikeouts
  • Drew Ward (pictured) batted third, played 3B, and was 3-for-5 with an an RBI and a run scored
  • Andrew Stevenson batted fifth, played LF, reached base twice with a single and a walk, and scored a run

Glendale remains on the road with a night game tomorrow in Scottsdale.