The Arizona Fall League began play last Tuesday, and several intriguing Indians prospects took the field for the Peoria Saguaros. Nick Weglarz, Matt McBride, Carlos Rivero, Josh Rodriguez, Connor Graham, Josh Judy, Zach Putnam
and Carlton Smith
are all on the Saguaros roster for the 2009 AFL
campaign along with some top prospects from the Atlanta, Cincinnati, San Diego and Houston farm systems. The team is off to a rough start so far, as they have yet to notch their first victory and currently sit at 0-6. The team's record is an afterthought in the AFL
though, with the primary focus on player development. That being said, lets take a look at how the Indians prospects are faring so far:
- Nick Weglarz collected his first three hits of the AFL season yesterday, going 3-4 with a 2B in the Saguaros loss. Wegz is hitting .375 (3-8) with an OBP of .545 thanks to his 3 walks. The AFL is a hitters league, and the Indians really want to see Weglarz showcase some power in addition to his well-documented ability to get on base. The walks are nice, but Weglarz shows tape-measure power in batting practice that has yet to fully materialize in games.
- Josh Rodriguez is 2-7 (.286) in the two games he has played, with a double and a walk to go along with 3 strikeouts. Rodriguez was limited to just 105 at-bats for Akron last season due to injuries, so the AFL represents a chance for the 25-year old to get some badly needed playing time.
- Carlos Rivero was expected by many to be a breakout candidate in the Indians system this year, but he disappointed with a .242 average and .652 OPS. The SS has been playing primarily 3B for the Saguaros, and has one hit in every game he has played in so far, for a .250 average (4-16) with a double and 2 RBI's.
- Matt McBride is catching again in the AFL, as his dance around the diamond continues. McBride is showing no ill effects from the move back behind the dish, as he is hitting a solid .417 (5-12) with a triple and 4 RBI. McBride's ability to hit is not in question, the organization just needs to pick a position for him.
- Coming over from Colorado in the Rafael Betancourt trade, the Indians were hoping for big things from Connor Graham. The Bowling Green native has struggled with his control in his first two appearances in the AFL, walking 7 and giving up 3 earned runs in his 1 2/3 innings. In Graham's last appearance, he walked 6 in 2/3's of an inning, throwing a total of 33 pitches (9 strikes).
- Carlton Smith had a rough outing in his most recent appearance. After pitching a scoreless inning with a strikeout in his first appearance, he gave up 5 runs (none earned) in 1/3 of an inning on Oct. 16.
- Josh Judy is 0-1 despite not giving up an earned run in his two appearances for Peoria. Judy gave up 2 unearned runs to get saddled with the loss in his first appearance. His second outing was interesting as well, as he struck out the side in his inning of work on Oct. 17, but mixed in two walks as well.
- Zach Putnam has yet to pitch in Arizona.