AFL Update: Nov. 6, 2015

Salt River’s winning streak ended with a 4-2 loss to Mesa last night, setting up a battle for 1st place between the Rafters and the Desert Dogs tonight.

Five Nats saw game action yesterday, including three position players and two relievers.

  • Christopher Bostick batted second and played 2B, but was 0-for-4. He helped turned two double plays on defense and had three assists and a putout.
  • That putout came when catcher Spencer Kieboom threw out Chad Pinder. He singled in the 1st and went 1-for-4 overall.
  • Drew Ward batted 9th and drew another walk but was hitless for his fifth straight game to lower his BA to .095 (2-for-21). Defensively, he had two putouts and three assists while playing 3B.
  • Nick Lee worked around three singles — thanks to a double-play grounder — for a scoreless inning in the 6th. He threw 21 pitches, 12 for strikes.
  • Dakota Bacus pitched the 8th but let in a run on a double and a single. Seven of his 11 pitches went for strikes.

Salt River is now 12-7 with 11 games left to play. The Rafters play division rival Scottsdale tonight, Monday, and the final game of the regular season on Nov. 19.

AFL Update: Nov. 5, 2015

John-Simms-AFL-11-4-15Salt River scored early and often as they extended their win streak to six as they doubled up Mesa, 12-6.

John Simms made his third start and went five strong innings, giving up one run on a solo HR in the 1st and five hits total. He walked none and struck out three, tossing 61 pitches with 41 going for strikes.

Wirkin “For The Weekend” Estevez was the first man out of the bullpen and pitched a 1-2-3 sixth but failed to retire four batters faced in the 7th as he issued three walks and hit a batter for a run. Abel De Los Santos let in another with a sacrifice fly then struck out two to minimize the damage.

Estevez’s line: 1IP, 0H, 2R, 2ER, 3BB, 0K, HBP
De Los Santos’s line: 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K, 3-1 IR-S

Drew Ward was the sole Nats bat in the lineup. He went 0-for-3 with a walk and RBI via a sacrifice fly while batting ninth and playing 3B, where he had four assists and no errors.

The Rafters host Mesa tonight in Salt River, then play second-place Scottsdale tomorrow night.

AFL Update: Oct. 4, 2015

Arizona Fall League #2
Make that five in a row for the Rafters, who broke open a 2-1 game with a four-run 6th in yesterday’s 6-2 win over the Desert Dogs.

Just two Nationals appeared in the game.

Christopher Bostick got the start at 2B and batted second, but was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. Defensively, he took part in a 4-6-3 double play and had four assists and one putout.

Drew Ward was the DH and batted seventh. He drew a walk in the first and then grounded out three times for an 0-for-3 line in the scorebook.

Salt River, which leads the AFL East by one game, visits last-place Mesa this afternoon with John Simms (2-0, 1.64) slated to make his third start.

AFL Update: Nov. 3, 2015

Arizona Fall League #5
Salt River continues to roll, as they took their fourth straight, 5-0.

Three Nationals appeared in the game:

  • Christopher Bostick batted second and played 2B. He went 1-for-4 with an RBI, two stolen bases, and two strikeouts.
  • Drew Ward struck out in a pinch-hit appearance.
  • Spencer Kieboom batted fifth and caught. He reached base three times with a single and two walks.

The Rafters remain tied with Scottsdale at 10-6 in the AFL East. They play host to Glendale this afternoon.

#          #          #

For what it’s worth, Abel De Los Santos was placed on the AFL East Fall Stars game roster. Tripp Keister will manage. The game will be televised on the MLB Network at 8 p.m. ET.

AFL/Offseason Update: Nov. 1, 2015

Abel-De-Los-Santos-2015-2 Nick-Lee-AFL-10-31-15

Just two Nationals relievers appeared in Salt River’s 6-5 win over Surprise — Abel De Los Santos and Nick Lee.

The clean outing continues to elude De Los Santos as he gave up a run on a triple and a sacrifice fly during his lone inning of work in the 7th. In four appearances, he’s been strafed for nine runs on 10 hits over four innings.

Lee was dinged for a leadoff HR in the 8th but then retired the next three batters on a flyout and two grounders.

After three straight wins, Salt River is tied with Scottsdale at 9-6 in the AFL East. It’s a five-game slate before next Saturday’s “Fall Stars” game (rosters to be announced tomorrow), which will be held in Salt River.

                  #                  #                  #

Just a couple of items to tack on to the AFL dispatch…

Not sure if this is the 2015 postseason or the 2016 preseason edition or just Baseball America trying to make its October online pageviews, but the latest BA Top 10 for the Nationals is out. Without stealing the thunder of Byron Kerr, I’ll reveal that Trea Turner is the No. 2 prospect.

The 2015 edition couldn’t help but be better than the 2014 disaster, though that’s a lot like having better hair than Mike Rizzo. (Thanks, I’m here all week). Due in large part to the injury shuffle from the big club, the rotation was in flux all season long, with only Austin Voth making more than 15 starts. The pitching was a shade better than league average (4.06 R/G vs. 4.08) and the offense was a little worse than that (4.00), hence the eight-games-below .500 mark of 67-75 that missed its pythaogeran projection of 70-72.

As has been the case since 2012, it’s a combined Top 5 for the ancillary purpose of generating the 2016 Watchlist:

1. Austin Voth, RHP — 2.92/3.07/1.11, 148K in 157⅓ IP
2. Wilmer Difo, IF — .279/.312/.387, 26SB, 79K in 87G
3. Abel De Los Santos, RHP — 3.43/3.39/1.13, 4.59 K:BB ratio
4. Matt Skole, 1B — .232/.332/.398, 12HR in 90G
5. Isaac Ballou, OF — .304/.383/.494 in 49G

Obviously, I’m excluding Joe Ross because he’s lost his rookie status and Lucas Gioltio because he’s already appeared on a Top 5 list. Skole and Ballou are included mainly because the organization is starved for power and outfielders at the upper levels. Even then, I’m not sure (De Los Santos getting lit like a Christmas tree isn’t terribly convincing, SSS or not). This next watch list may be the smallest yet.

As always, folks who’d like to see the full stats can find them here.

AFL Update: Oct. 30, 2015

John-Simms-AFL-10-29-15aSalt River paddled Peoria for three runs in the 6th to break a 2-2 tie and bounce back, for a 5-2 win.

John Simms (pictured) got the start and pitched four innings, giving up an unearned run on four hits, two walks, and one raspberry. He struck out three and threw 79 pitches, 45 for strikes.

In three appearances this fall, Simms has a 1.64 ERA and a 1.272 WHIP over 11 innings.

Christopher Bostick continues to get plenty of playing time, batting second last night. He singled, tripled, scored a run, and struck out in four at-bats. Defensively, he committed his second error but also took part in two twin killings, finishing with four assists total.

Bostick has a line of .242/.306/.485 in 10 games for Salt River.

The Rafters remain at home for an afternoon game against the Saguaros.

AFL Update: Oct. 29, 2015

Drew-Ward-AFL-10-28-15One step up, one step back as the Rafters were shut out on three hits for a 2-0 loss to Peoria on Wednesday afternoon.

Just two Nationals saw game action — Drew Ward and Wirkin Estevez.

Ward (pictured to the right) went 0-for-3 in his first appearance since last Thursday. Ward participated in four double plays, two on offense and two on defense, where he racked four assists total.

Estevez gave up a run on a home run and also walked a batter in one inning. He threw 16 pitches, 10 for strikes but struck out none for the second time in as many outings.

The two teams swap venues with Salt River playing host tonight.

AFL Update: Oct. 28, 2015

Spencer-Kieboom-AFL-10-27-1Salt River put up crooked numbers in three straight innings to turn a 1-0 nailbiter into a 9-4 win on Tuesday afternoon.

Spencer Kieboom got things started with a three-run homer with one out in the 6th. The 24-y.o. backstop also walked and was 1-for-4 overall. In seven games this fall, he’s batting .333/.440/.476 with four RBI total.

Chrisopher Bostick followed Kieboom in the Rafters lineup in the six-hole and played second base, where he racked up three assists. He walked in the 7th to “drive” in a run but was otherwise 0-for-4.

Salt River (6-5) will see how it plays in Peoria, where they’ll visit the Javelinas this afternoon.

AFL Update: Oct. 27, 2015

Nick-Lee-AFL-10-26-15The Scorpions stung the Rafters for five runs in the first four innings as they cruised to a 10-3 win on Monday afternoon.

Nick Lee provided a break in the barrage as he got the last out in the 4th and set the side down in order in the 5th for his second scoreless outing in three appearances this fall. He needed just 16 pitches to retire the four batters he faced.

Abel De Los Santos, however, was not as effective as he was hit hard again, giving up a three-run HR in the 9th and three hits total to balloon his fall ERA to 24.00 (3IP, 9H, 8ER, 1BB, 3K, 2HR).

Christopher Bostick and Spencer Kieboom both started for Salt River. Kieboom was the DH and batted sixth, going 1-for-3 with a walk. Bostick played 2B and batted ninth, also going 1-for-3 with a walk while scoring a run.

The loss drops the Rafters back to .500 at 5-5. The two teams switch venues with Scottsdale playing host this afternoon.

AFL Update: Oct. 25, 2015

SpencerKieboom102415Spencer Kieboom and Christopher Bostick both singled in the bottom of the 9th as Salt River rallied for two in a 5-4 walkoff win over Mesa.

Kieboom, who was lifted for a pinch-runner with one out, led off the final frame with a safety to center for his third hit of a 3-for-4 afternoon. He batted seventh and played catcher and also drove in a run.

Bostick scored the game-winner ahead of Roemen Fields’s two-run triple after he singled to right for his lone hit in a 1-for-4 game. He struck out twice and started a 4-6-3 DP in the 1st, the first of three assists he tallied at second base.

Dakota Bacus made his third appearance in the 6th, retiring two of three batters faced before he was lifted for a southpaw after giving up a single.

Salt River returns to action tomorrow with the first of three home-and-home’s against Scottsdale, Peoria, and Surprise. After two weeks of play, the Rafters are 5-4 and lead the AFL East by one game over Scottsdale.