Scottsdale Wins AFL Championship

Wrapup on the championship and some quick takes…

The Scottsdale Scorpions survived three errors to capture the 2010 Arizona Fall League Championship with a 3-2 win over the Peoria Javelinas.

Washington’s Sammy Solis got credit for the win, allowing both runs (one unearned) on three hits and a walk while striking out three over his four innings of work. Cole Kimball was the last of five relievers to follow, tossing a 1-2-3 ninth with a strikeout to earn the save.

Bryce Harper, who started and played right field, drove in the Scorpions’ second run of the ballgame in the second inning with a first-pitch, opposite-field line drive to left but struck out twice to finish 1-for-4. Harper caught three fly balls and handled both singles hit to right.

Derek Norris, who caught and batted cleanup, legged out an infield single earlier in the second and scored on a sacrifice fly one batter before Harper, and went 1-for-3 for the game. No baserunners attempted to steal against him.

Steve Lombardozzi got the nod at shortstop and drove in the gamewinner in the fourth inning with a double to right for his 1-for-4 afternoon. He handled both chances he got before being lifted for defense in the seventh.

Michael Burgess pinch-hit for the DH in the bottom of the eighth and drew walk after balling behind 1-and-2.

Quick hits…

…Solis had moments of brilliance and moments where it looked like he was about to get clobbered, leaving pitches up in the zone. It’s not hard to imagine how in the second turn through the lineup that hitters would be looking for something up and if it’s a game in which his offspeed stuff isn’t working, he’ll get hit hard as he has at times this fall. Nice, smooth delivery.

…Harper is definitely old-school a la Pete Rose in terms of his hustle and intensity. What worries me is that that will be perceived as dirty pool by some opponents, particularly on double-play balls during blowouts. He can be had with elite heat and straight changes, but I suspect very strongly that he will learn to adjust to that very quickly because this kid’s got the Motts, as it were.

…Norris and Lombardozzi turned in the effort and produced the results I’d seen all season long. The announcers prattled about Norris being “too patient” and then said nothing when he worked the count to his favor and got a leg hit. Lombardozzi got the “well, I remember his Dad in the ’87 Series” treatment that seems to be de rigeur. The fault must be mine for expecting more.

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.

12 thoughts on “Scottsdale Wins AFL Championship”

  1. Lombardozzi may be just the right tonic for utility position down the road.
    Meanwhile, all the relations in FLA. point to Javey heading to Marlins. I am not sold completely on Pavano.
    Sue, what is your take on Javar Walton???

    1. Walton is journeyman OF like Moresi or Jacobsen. If he’s in affiliated ball in ’11, it’ll be as an off-the-bench option.

    2. Problem with Lombardozzi as a utility guy is that he doesn’t seem to have the range for short. Does he have a strong enough arm for 3rd? Looking forward to seeing what he does at AA regardless. Looks like an affordable steady guy who continues to matriculate up the system.

  2. From someone who does not right now have access to the MLB network, I appreciate your analysis, Sue. It’s what us minor league seamheads live for. I especially like your retort of the airhead announcers re: Norris. He’s an on base machine.
    Thankfully, a lot of you echoed my sentiments on Cole Kimball, I look forward to seeing him ASAP in the spring, as he has been lights out. I never saw him coming!

    i’m so glad Peacock is not exposed this year, that’s a real game changer for me.
    Looks like only Josh Wilkie will be lost this year in the Rule 5, would love to see him in a Nats uniform, but they obviously don’t want him. I would have much preferred him on the 40 man roster instead of Wil Nieves, another nice guy who unfortunately couldn’t hit water if he was in a canoe!

    1. I didn’t write much about Kimball’s inning of work, but felt relieved to see that he only touched 98 and 94 with his FBs; most of his stuff was in the upper 80s, which is how I remembered him. It almost looked like he was pitching backwards, using the FB to disrupt timing instead of vice-versa. Can’t really make much of a judgment based on that one inning though.

  3. Lombo is a real player and it was wonderful to see him get the League Sportsmanship Award. He will be a player to like for a long time for Nats fans. Kimball and Peacock seem ready for the big leagues right now. Harper is an exceptional talent and will be ready in the next few years. And even though Solis’ speed was only 91-94 in the AFL, his pitches all had exceptional movement. He started six games in the AFL and the Scorpions won all six. Things are looking up for the Nats’ nation!

  4. It was good to be able to watch a live baseball game in mid-November where someone wearing a Nationals jersey was involved. Cap-tip to Randy Knoor & the entire Scottsdale roster for delivering the win.

    Allow me a little side-game, if you will; If the Nationals players in the AFL this year were stocks, would you be buying, selling, or holding, and why? Here’s my thoughts, player-by-player…

    Burgess [RF]: Selling – He continued to show holes in his swing against advanced pitching; Might top out as a AAA OF.
    Carr [RP]: Holding – Solid numbers in 2010, but he just makes me nervous; Might top out as a setup man in the bullpen.
    Harper [RF]: Buying – Already rated as a ‘blue-chip’, he should still show bigger dividends as he matures.
    Kimball [RP]: Buying – Four-pitch arsenal from a reliever, good K-W ratios; What’s not to like?
    Lombardozzi [2B-SS]: Buying – Undervalued for what he brings to the team; Solid fielding, steady plate appearances, smart baserunning. I like this kid a lot.
    Norris [CA]: Holding – Very smart hitter with power to all fields; Strong arm, but still has more than a few ‘d’oh’ moments behind the plate.
    Peacock [SP]: Holding – Durable, very good K-W ratio, but seems succeptable to the ‘OBI syndrome’; Might become a ‘buy’ if he continues improvment in 2011.
    Solis [SP]: Holding – Possibly overvalued currently; Needs to find more control on his breaking pitches to maximize value.

    1. BinM — I concur with Sue. Well played. I’ll only add that you’re underselling Solis a bit. I bet he moves quickly through the system.

      Also think Norris is with the Nats Opening Day 2012.

      1. Agree with MarkL on this one. He had a long layoff after college ball. Do you guys think that he starts at Harrisburg next year? Hot stove season is looking weak on the trade and free agent front but we will have a whole bunch more names worth following in the minors next year. Solis, Harper, Ray, Cole and finally having some legit prospects at Syracuse for a change like Marrero and Milone.

      2. Mark, souldrummer: While it may have come off like I was selling Solis short, that wasn’t my intention. A LHSP capable of 94mph for strikes is a very good thing – What I’m concerned about is him getting enough control of his off-speed stuff that he isn’t relying on the fastball alone. Hence, the ‘Holding’ until he gains that control to maximize his value. A full year in the minors should set that straight & turn him into a ‘Buy’, in my book.

        Norris may have the highest visibility / exposure to other teams that he’s going to have for another couple of years. Rizzo (& the Nationals) may be looking to sell high as part of an off-season trade for a SP. If he were the fulcrum for a deal to acquire someone like Greinke, would you say no deal?

  5. Brad Coon hitting .298 in PR winter ball- March contract for AA?
    several holes to fill @ AAA/AA with 4A-ers.

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