Rising Stars Collide in Arizona
Are you ready to catch a rising star? The Arizona Fall League will feature the third annual Rising Stars Showcase today, which will pit the brightest young prospects in baseball against each other for bragging rights. Players are selected to the teams by scouting and minor league directors from each Major League organization, in consultation with Arizona Fall League executive director Steve Cobb and his baseball personnel staff.
The most impressive prospects on the American Division team include: Tommy Hanson (Atlanta), Aaron Poreda (Chicago AL), Sean West (Florida), Gordon Beckham (Chicago AL), Logan Morrison (Florida), Brett Wallace (St. Louis), Daniel Murphy (New York NL), and Josh Reddick (Boston).
Daniel Murphy, who is in Arizona to work on his versatility, is currently hitting .412/.500/.588 in 34 at-bats. He was scored 12 runs, in part due to eight walks (and just three strikeouts). Gordon Beckham, a 2008 first round draft pick, has just five hits in 20 at-bats but three of those have been doubles. Another 2008 first rounder, Brett Wallace, who made it all the way to Double-A in his debut, has been struggling. He is currently hitting .133/.188/.267 in 30 at-bats. Josh Reddick has followed up a solid 2008 regular season with a slow start to the AFL. He is currently hitting .211/.225/.342 in 38 at-bats. Reddick has just one walk to go along with 16 strikeouts. Logan Morrison is currently hitting .423/.423/.654 in 26 at-bats, with one home run and five runs scored. He could very well be knocking on the door of the first base job in Florida next season.
Fellow Marlins' prospect Sean West has a 3.38 ERA through three games. He has allowed 11 hits, three walks and nine strikeouts in 10.2 innings pitched. Tommy Hanson has been lights-out in Arizona and has yet to allow a run in three starts. He has allowed just one hit and three walks in 8.2 innings of work. He has also struck out 14. Aaron Poreda, working out of the bullpen, has dominated with no runs allowed in five games. He has allowed five hits, two walks and eight strikeouts.
The key players for the National Division team include: Philip Hughes (New York AL), Jeremy Jeffress (Milwaukee), Brian Matusz (Baltimore), J.P. Arencibia (Toronto), Matt Wieters (Baltimore), Carlos Triunfel (Seattle), Julio Borbon (Texas), and Greg Halman (Seattle).
Matt Wieters just keeps on hitting. The catcher, who made it to Double-A in his debut season, is currently hitting .345/.486/.483 in 29 at-bats. He is almost certain to make his MLB debut in 2009, if healthy. Julio Borbon is another player who had a breakout 2008 but he is finding the league to be a little bit tougher. He is currently hitting .229/.357/.286 in 35 at-bats. Borbon has just one extra base hit, seven walks and 10 strikeouts. Catcher J.P. Arencibia may be a little worn out after a long season. He is in the AFL specifically to work on his plate discipline after walking just 18 times in 510 at-bats between High-A and Double-A. In 35 at-bats in the fall league he has just three walks... so he's improving slowly. Carlos Triunfel, one of the youngest players in the league, is hitting .311/.347/.467 in 45 at-bats. He has struck out just five times and has scored 13 runs. Fellow Seattle prospect Greg Halman is hitting .282/.333/.538 in 39 at-bats. He has walked twice with 16 strikeouts.
Brian Matusz, a 2008 first round pick, made his pro debut in the AFL after signing late in the year. He has a 1.29 ERA in two starts. He has allowed just three hits and two walks in seven innings. Matusz also has nine strikeouts. Philip Hughes has not been overly sharp in the fall league, with a 5.68 ERA. He has allowed 12 hits and eight walks in 12.2 innings. Hughes also has 11 strikeouts. One really bad outing has skewed Jeremy Jeffress' numbers. He currently has a 12.86 ERA in seven innings. He has allowed 10 hits and six walks to go along with seven strikeouts.
Be sure to check back at the conclusion of the Arizona Fall League, in late November, for a more detailed look at some of the best, worst - and most surprising - performances by some of the Major League's future stars.