The conclusion of the third week of Arizona Fall League play has the Salt River Rafters sitting three games above .500 at 9-6, in first place in the East division thanks in part to the contributions of the seven Rockies on the roster. Week three's biggest highlight saw Raimel Tapia and Kyle Freeland named to the AFL All-Star Team roster for the Fall Stars game, which will take place Saturday, November 7 at 6:08 PM. The game will be broadcast live on MLB Network.
The past week was, for the most part, very kind to the AFL seven. Kyle Freeland made two starts, going 2-0 with a 1.50 earned run average across 11 innings. In his first start of the week, which came last Tuesday, October 27, against Scottsdale, he recorded the win in six innings of 3 hit ball, allowing one run and a walk while striking out two in a 9-4 win for the Rafters. His second start of the week came Monday, November 2. He got the victory after five scoreless innings in which he allowed 5 hits but struck out four, leading a 5-0 win for the Rafters. Freeland seems to have gained his bearings after a rough couple of starts to begin the fall season.
Matt Carasiti and Carlos Estevez continue to pitch really well, although Carasiti did have his first slip up of the year on October 27 when he gave up both his first hit and first run of the year in addition to two walks and a strikeout. This brings his fall line to five games, six innings pitched, one run, one hit, seven walks (!) and three strikeouts.
Estevez continues to shine, and as a result I will be leading the Estevez bandwagon as we head into 2016. He has yet to give up a hit through six innings, recording four saves while allowing four walks and striking out eight. In his three appearances this week, he recorded two saves in three innings of work, walking three and striking out four. Sam Moll had a strong week as well, making two appearances in which he surrendered two hits and struck out five, he also allowed one run, but it was unearned.
At the plate, Jordan Patterson continues to struggle. His fall average is an atrocious .103 (3-for-29), and in three games this week, he managed only one hit. He did record his first RBI of the fall on the October 27, when he walked to bring Diamondbacks prospect around to score. Hopefully Patterson can figure things out soon, because his fall showing has been extremely discouraging.
Raimel Tapia's struggles continue as well; he currently sits at .233/.250/.372 following two consecutive games without a hit. He did record a sacrifice fly Monday night for his second RBI of the fall. After a slow start, he has been gradually picking it up as we get deeper into the short fall slate. Finally, Chris Rabago made two appearances this week going 3-for-8 with two strikeouts. He is slashing .286/.375/.357 through four games.
The Rockies also have four prospects playing winter ball in Australia. Correlle Prime and Michael Benjamin are playing for the Perth Heat, while Alex Balog is with the Sydney Blue Sox, and Robbie Perkins is with the Canberra Cavalry. The ABL plays into the last weekend of January, and operates on a Thursday-through-Sunday schedule.
Balog had a strong start on Halloween, grabbing the win after pitching five and two thirds innings without alllowing a run. He is 1-0 with a 1.04 ERA in eight and two thirds innings through two starts.
Prime is off to an excellent start for Perth, currently hitting .323/.364/.452 through eight games. In his four games this weekend, he was 6-for-17 with four doubles and two runs scored. Winter ball teammate Michael Benjamin isn't quite as hot, hitting .231/.364/.346 in his eight appearances.
Finally, Robbie Perkins is struggling mightily in his hometown of Canberra, hitting .074/.167/.074 with one RBI, three walks and 10 strikeouts in eight games this year. Perkins is the only one of the group who has prior experience in the ABL, with this being his fourth season. I would not expect to see Perkins to struggle this much as we move later into the season, but it is something worth keeping an eye on.
We will continue to follow the progress of everyone, and bring you an update next Tuesday, November 10. In addition, look for coverage of the Arizona Fall League's All-Star Game this coming Saturday.