AFL Update: November 11, 2010

Solis was solid, Norris and Harper combine to drive in five on four extra-base hits

While folks checking in to see the parent club’s new uniforms may have been disappointed, the news from Arizona was about as good as it gets. Scottsdale won 11-1 and all three Nats that played had a good day:

  • Sammy Solis went five innings, allowing one run on two hits (one was a home run) and one walk and striking out two and got credit for the win.
  • Derek Norris was the DH and batted cleanup, going 3-for-6 with a double, home run, two runs scored, and three RBI. He struck out once.
  • Bryce Harper played RF and batted seventh, tripling twice in five at-bats, scoring two runs, and driving in two runs. He struck out twice.

The win extended the Scorpions’ lead over the Mesa Solar Sox to three games with seven games left to play, a championship tilt against the Peoria Javelinas looming for next Saturday.


Just a quick note: It’s now known where Gary Cathcart will be reassigned: For the first half of the season, he’ll be a roving instructor (along with Bobby Henley), focusing on the GCL and Hagerstown. In the second half, he’ll be managing the Auburn Doubledays. Click here for the full story from MASN’s Byron Kerr.

Author: Luke Erickson

Since 2009, Luke Erickson has been chief writer, editor, and bottle-washer of Potomac is his home base as a season-ticket holder, but he has visited every affiliate north of Florida at least once, with multiple trips to Hagerstown and Harrisburg.

19 thoughts on “AFL Update: November 11, 2010”

  1. IMHO, I think Bryce Harper is going to Potomac seeing the move of Matt LeCroy. I just get that gut feeling.

  2. I was at a game four years ago at RFK with a long rain delay. I stuck it out and when the game was ready to start, I adeptly moved up to the row behind the Nats dugout. Matt LeCroy wasn’t playing (because he sucked), but was hanging on the top step. He sees me and my friend among dozens of other loyal fans and notices the fact that my friend is wearing a John Deere hat. He praises the hat and throws us a ball. What a wonderful redneck.

  3. PS, bryce harper rules. Love that Norris is having a bounce back performance in the AFL.

    Solis isn’t missing many bats, gives up the gopher ball and kind of seems like a John Lannan type. What is the deal with the hype with this guy? I haven’t scoured advanced scouting reports, but guys that throw low-90s (even lefties) don’t usually make it past the back end of the rotation.

    Does he just have a really advanced approach? Excellent control? Amazing secondary pitches? Seems like high draft picks are usually reserved for high ceiling guys.

    1. Paul, I’ll know more when I get to see him April (I believe he’ll be at Potomac) but the scouts that have seen him in the fall still believe he’s got the goods, with his heater as high as 94. The most recent assessment has it that if/when he can command that changeup, his effectiveness will improve. You’ll also be shocked to learn that he seems to have a penchant for generating groundballs.

  4. I wouldn’t worry about Solis yet. Before this AFL stint, he hadn’t really spent any time in the minors at all. He was drafted this year, signed pretty late, then went to Instructional Camp before heading to Arizona. Cut him some slack. His first experience against professional players is in the AFL featuring some of the absolute best prospects. He may not be missing that many bats right now, but he’s not allowing that many hits (about 1 per IP) and is walk rate isn’t that bad, all things considered. I’m actually kind of pleased about his performance so far …

  5. Oh, I am pleased with the results and he seems to have a great head on his shoulders.Not trying to throw the kid under the bus, just trying to get a better feel for what he brings to the table.

    Thanks for the info Sue and the comments erocks. Happy to get more info and I look forward to seeing him pitch in person at Potomac.

  6. Sue, how many Nat prospects do you think will be in BA’s top100? I ca see the possibility of four-Ramos, Espinosa, Norris, and, of course, Harper.

    1. It could go as high as six – The four you mentioned, plus Milone and either Lombardozzi or Peacock. I’m with Sue_D in having a hard time considering Maya as a ‘prospect’; he turns 30 next August.

  7. Four sounds about right, with the fifth possibly being Yunesky Maya — which I struggle with because he was far from impressive when I saw him pitch and because he’s closer to 30 than 20.

  8. I still wonder if the cathcart connection to Nats is via randy Knorr and their jays days.
    Maya reminds me of a guy who finds a second life in the 1980s after an injury or chemical dependence. If the guy can get outs…all power to him!
    SueD: I am still playing GM with the hunch that Riggs could use a LH bat such as Laynce Nix or Rick Ankiel on board bench.
    Very interesting to see how Doug Harris fills holes @ AAA/AA awaiting some of the A ball everydayers.

  9. I’m with Erocks. I think the Solis kid has been pretty good. He’s made 5 starts and his team has won all five games — exactly what you look for in a starting pitcher. He was sitting at 93 mph in the 5th inning yesterday and is third in the AFL in innings pitched. There’s no doubt he has work ahead but with his command and size, I think we did pretty well with the 51st pick. Time will tell.

  10. BinM, and all, here,s an exercise to try–top ten Nats. I think BA (granted that doesn’t make it right) will have Cole, Solis, Marrero, Burgess, Maya, and maybe Peacock or Hood. Personally, I’d go for Kobernus. I have a good feeling about him.

  11. Jackson & jeffe: I personally have strong reservations with Kobernus – He’s much like Flores in that he’s had two consecutive seasons ended by injury. Until he can get through an entire season, he’s just a tease, imo.

    My ‘top-10’ prospects going into 2011, based on how soon they make it to ‘the show’…
    Peacock, Brad
    Note – ** denotes players already on the 40-man roster with MLB experience.

    Based on BA’s work-ups of ‘projected ceiling, hype, and youth orientation’, it might look like this…
    Perez, E.
    Peacock, Brad

  12. Two triples in the game for Harper! Listen I don’t want to go nuts here, I haven’t seen him live, but how fast is this kid? He is supposed to have a great arm; does he have the speed to play center?

    1. Probably not. His speed is said be “average to fringe-average,” and may improve to “average” by virtue of not catching anymore. Triples aren’t all that dissimilar to doubles in terms of speed vs. power. In other words, you can compensate for a lack of speed if you have enough power and vice-versa. I believe Bill James once wrote about that with teammates Dave Winfield and Rickey Henderson in the mid-80s. Having seen video of Harper, I’d say he got those triples by scorching the ball down the RF line and then legged it out.

  13. Is Solis “working on something”, as happens so often with pitchers in the AFL? I’d like to believe that his ineffectiveness can be ascribed to the pitching coaches having him try to learn a new secondary pitch or what have you.

    1. It’s my understanding that Solis throws four or five pitches but has had difficulty commanding his offspeed offerings (CU, CV, KC). One of the patterns we’ve long noted here is the tendency for starters to have trouble during their second pass of the lineup: In three of Solis’s five starts, that was the case. Even without knowing the former, we can often infer the latter.

      Also, as others have noted, Solis is pitching after two long layoffs (early Jun-to-mid-Aug, early Sep-to-mid-Oct) and against the best competition he’s faced as a professional. I wouldn’t read too much into such a small sample (20.2 IP).

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