Padres in the Arizona Fall League

As I noted the other day, we drove to Phoenix this past weekend to catch some Arizona Fall League action. One of the games featured the Peoria Saguaros, for whom several Padres minor leaguers play.

Unfortunately, none of those players is a top prospect. Three Padres farmhands participated in Saturday evening’s contest against the Phoenix Desert Dogs:

  • Catcher Luis Martinez started and batted seventh. He grounded to second base in his only at-bat before being replaced in the fourth inning (looked like he took a foul tip off the hand). Martinez also committed an error, throwing a ball into center field on a stolen base attempt by Phoenix center fielder Trayvon Robinson in the first inning. The throw was strong but tailed back into the runner, and the fielder covering had no chance to make the play.
  • Left-hander Colt Hynes worked a perfect fifth. Facing the top of the Desert Dogs order, he induced two groundouts to shortstop and fanned DH Michael Taylor on three pitches. Hynes threw 9 pitches, 8 for strikes. Mrs. Ducksnorts had a good view of a scout’s radar gun and said Hynes’ fastball was running 87-91 mph.
  • Right-hander Brad Brach, enjoying an otherwise solid AFL stint, had a disastrous sixth. His release point was all over the place and he had trouble throwing quality strikes. Brach faced eight batters and four of them scored. His first pitch resulted in a homer to left-center off the bat of Stephen Parker. The next batter, Ivan DeJesus Jr., walked on four pitches. An error, broken-bat double, and single concluded Brach’s nightmare. I didn’t get radar readings for him, but he threw 23 pitches, 10 of which were strikes. Brach was a little unlucky: His first baseman, Carlos Ruiz, took a routine grounder off the bat of Cory Harrilchack and, trying to do too much, launched his throw to second into left field. And Matt Wallach’s double came on one of Brach’s better pitches of the evening.

Other Padres-related sightings:

  • Former Padres catcher Mark Parent is the hitting coach for the Mesa Solar Sox; former Padres right-hander Ricky Bones (he of the one-hit wonders) is their pitching coach.
  • Former Padres left-hander Kevin Walker (!) is the pitching coach for the Peoria Javelinas… I feel older every day; not coincidentally, I am older every day.
  • Former Padres bench coach Ted Simmons is the manager of the Peoria Saguaros; even though Simmons now works for the Seattle Mariners, he still wore a Padres uniform, which seemed kind of weird.
  • Jason Kipnis, whom the Padres selected in the fourth round of the 2008 draft but did not sign, played second base and went 4-for-4 for the Peoria Javelinas; I’ve covered him in detail in my Hardball Times article, but yeah, he’d come in handy right about now.
  • Grant Green, the Padres 14th-round pick in 2006, started at shortstop for the Desert Dogs and did nothing; he’s having a terrible AFL.

Food, music, and what not (some people may not wish to read this part; I take no offense, just kindly skip past):

  • We ate at Cracker Barrel twice and, on the recommendation of a couple of readers, stopped for date shakes at Dateland; it was well worth the extra 10 minutes.
  • We listened to New Pornographers and Neko Case (mentioned in Part 4 of “I Almost Prayed in Albuquerque”), Thievery Corporation, Massive Attack, The Grays (featuring Jason Falkner, whose music appears in Part 8 of “I Almost Prayed in Albuquerque”), Air (with whom Falkner toured in 2002), Adele, and Elliott Smith; it’s all good stuff — I would never steer you toward crappy music.

That’s all the relevant information… and some that isn’t so relevant. It’s who I am, it’s what I do…

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3 Responses »

  1. The AFL used to be a venue for giving prospects extra work and development time. I remember reading of several clubs not seeing eye to eye with AFL teams’ management over how their better prospects were used. Does it look like major league teams aren’t trusting their prized prospects to AFL teams, sending only marginal players on the bubble for one last chance to impress?

  2. I wouldn’t go that far, Larry. There are some awfully good players in the AFL this year. Revere, Hosmer, Belt, Sanchez, Brett Jackson, Kipnis, Ackley, Green (bad AFL, but still a good prospect), Bryce Harper, and some others. Teams may be more careful with pitchers in the AFL nowadays, but the position prospects aren’t only, or even mostly, marginal kids.

    I’ve seen Brach pitch twice, and both times his mechanics looked awful, like Nuke LaLoosh without the velocity. Batters might be distracted by that, and I’m definitely no scout, but his delivery looked more “crazy” than “deceptive” to me.

  3. re: Luis Martinez … I saw him 1 game at San Antonio … and came away impressed … it seems very likely he’ll play in MLB … so he’s as real of a prospect as Dirk Hayhurst was :-)

    re: Mark Parent … do you remember the first time you saw Mark Parent? I will never forget that moment! He is a BIG guy!