Arizona Fall League Update


It’s been a couple of weeks since making this report, as other priorities have taken over, but we’re getting down to the last few days of the AFL for 2013.  So it’s time to take a look again … and this will probably be the last one as each player has maybe 1 or 2 appearances remaining… at how our Brave prospects are doing in the desert.



Tommy La Stella‘s torrid start has cooled considerably.  I would guess that pitchers are taking him a lot more seriously and are doing what they can to avoid his bat.  In 18 games, he’s got 62 AB, 16 walks, just 4 strikeouts, and 18 hits for a .290 avg, .468 OBP, and a .904 OPS with just 2 errors in the field (2B).  He’s also got a homer, a triple, and 6 doubles for nearly half of those 18 hits.

Meanwhile, fellow Braves Elmer Reyes and Kyle Kubitza have filled out the Scottsdale infield admirably with La Stella.  SS Reyes has hit .282 in 11 games with 11 hits/39 AB, 5 walks and 7 strikeouts.  His OBP is .378 and he’s OPS’ing .762 with 3 errors.

Kubitza (3B) is right behind these two:  .264 (14 for 53 in 17 games), 11 walks and 22 K with a .391 OBP and .825 OPS.  He has a homer and two triples among 5 XBH.

Robby Hefflinger is, unfortunately, still living up to that ‘Dave Kingman‘ tag I threw on him at the start of this mini-season.  He’s hitting .164 with a whopping 27 strikeouts in 67 AB (18 games).  With all of that, though, he only has one homer to show for it, and 10 other hits (4 XBH total of the 11 hits overall).  He’s simply going to have to improve his plate discipline to stay on track in 2014… a .474 OPS will not play at any level.



For the most part, the Braves’ pitchers have been bounced around.  Aaron Northcraft sports a 1-5 record and 9.00 ERA in 6 starts/14 innings… 20 hits, 14 earned runs, 2.36 WHIP.  Pretty ugly.

Reliever Juan Jaime is also scary:  6.75 ERA with a 1.93 WHIP in 9.1 innings.  7 walks and 14 strikeouts.

John Cornely actually has improved to a 4.22 ERA in 10.2 innings, but a 1.88 WHIP is indicated by 11 walks.  16 K’s apparently helped him get out of a number of jams, but that can’t hold up overall.

There is a bright spotShae Simmons.  His first outing was a bit squishy, but since then, he’s been Lights Out:  0.90 ERA in 10 innings with a 1.30 WHIP.  He does have 7 walks to go with 13 Ks, but he’s kept the hit count down (6).


The Scottsdale Scorpians haven’t been very good:  they stand at 10-18 and will finish in third place – currently tied with Peoria for last place in the league.  3 games remain:  their play will wrap up on Thursday.


One note on the play of these players:  the team is generally playing these guys every other game… so there’s quite a bit of downtime and perhaps not much of a chance to ‘get into a groove’.  Additionally, players are often instructed to ‘work on the ________ part of your game” (for La Stella, for instance, it was defense).  So even as you see me being critical of poor performance, there could be some coaching-directed reasons for this in some cases.

For pitchers, guys could be working on a new pitch or new approach… but then I imagine that working on ‘fewer walks’ would be a nice goal that has run into trouble over the past several weeks.

Tags: Arizona Fall League Atlanta Braves

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