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Astros winter baseball update: Arizona Fall League and more for Nov. 10-16

Catching up on all the Astros prospects taking part in off-season baseball

Arizona Fall League

November 10 - Salt River wins 8-4 over Scottsdale

-> DH Joe Sclafani: 2-for-3, BB, 2 RBI, 2 R

November 11 - Salt River ties 4-4 with Peoria

-> LF Joe Sclafani: 2-for-5, 2B
-> 3B, Rio Ruiz: 0-for-4

RP Mitch Lambson: 2.1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 3 K

November 12 - Salt River loses 5-4 to Glendale

-> 3B Rio Ruiz: 1-for-4, 2B, RBI

SP Mark Appel: 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 4 K
RP Tyson Perez: 2.0 IP, 2 R (0 ER), 3 H, 0 BB, 0 K (blown save, loss)

November 13 - Salt River loses 8-5 to Scottsdale

-> LF Joe Sclafani: 2-for-4, 2B, R
-> RF Andrew Aplin: 0-for-4

November 15 - Salt River wins championship 14-7 over Peoria

-> DH Joe Sclafani: 2-for-3, 2B, RBI, 2 BB, 2 R

RP Mitch Lambson: 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K

AFL Wrap-up

Though they began scuffling a bit down the stretch, Salt River's hot start was enough to clinch them a spot in the championship game. They finished with the best record (17-11-4) in the six-team league, their team OPS was .743 (tied for first with Surprise), but pitching is where they shone; their team ERA of 3.10 was nearly a full run better than second-best Peoria. No other team had a team ERA under four.

Several Astros prospects played a large role in that pitching success. Mark Appel posted a 2.61 ERA, sixth-best among all AFL pitchers with at least five starts. His 31.0 innings of work was the most in the entire league, and his 0.839 WHIP was the best mark among starters who made at least three starts. If there were a Cy Young award for the AFL, Appel would be on the very short list. It should be noted that he benifited from a .198 BAbip, though even with that, this can only be considered a positive step forward.

Mitch Lambson deserves special mention as one of the anchors in Salt River's fearsome bullpen. Lambson posted a 1.26 ERA, which was seventh-best among all AFL pitchers (three of the six better marks were from fellow Rafters relievers). He finished with a 10.7 K/9 as well, though his control (4.4 BB/9) was sub-par.

One of those better-ERA-having Rafters relievers? Tyson Perez; how about a 0.63 ERA in his 14.1 inning stint? That was the third-best in the league, and the only two guys better are the only two pitchers who didn't allow a single run. Perez's calling card during his small sample was control; he walked just one batter while striking out 11.

Unfortunately, things didn't go as planned for Velasquez. While the most important aspect for him was likely making up time lost due to injury during the regular minor league season, he no doubt didn't have any intention of finishing his AFL stint with a 6.59 ERA. Some small sample shenanigans appear to be partially to blame, however; with a 4.3 K/BB ratio and a 55.6% strand rate, no one should be overly concerned.

Guess who led the championship team in OPS? Joe Sclafani, that's who. The utility man hit .370/.431/.543 with a homer and five doubles in 12 games. He was used primarily as a DH for whatever reason, but his solid season and a nice showing in Arizona might well be enough to earn Sclafani, who can play almost anywhere on the diamond, an invite to Spring Training.

While Sclafani started slowly and earned more playing time when he began hitting, Andrew Aplin, started out blazing hot before cooling off. In the end, he essentially did exactly what he did during the regular season; hit for a passable average, drew a bunch of walks and played all three outfield positions. He ended his 19-game stint in the AFL with a .269/.388/.358 line and one double, triple and homer each.

Much like Velasquez, Rio Ruiz has higher upside than some of the other Astros on the team, but the AFL proved more difficult for him. He started out decently enough, but scuffled down the stretch, hitting .187/.292/.227 on the whole and not getting the start during the championship game. He can hang hit hat a bit on the 12 walks he drew in 21 games.

Tyler Heineman played just three games for the Rafters; I'm assuming he might have been injured at some point. He posted a .971 OPS in five at bats, for what it's worth.

South of the Border

Australian Baseball League

Connor MacDonald: 1 G, .333/.333/1.333, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Chan Moon: 7 G, .207/.273/.379, 6 R, 6 H, 2 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 BB

Tyler Brunnemann: 2 G, 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K

Dominican Winter League

Teoscar Hernandez: 22 G, .250/.290/.344, 9 R, 16 H, 3 2B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 4 BB, 4-for-5 SB
Domingo Santana: 16 G, .318/.434/.477, 9 R, 14 H, 3 2B, 2 3B, 3 RBI, 9 BB, 1-for-1 SB
Ruben Sosa: 16 G, .250/.294/.438, 10 R, 4 H, 1 2B, 1 3B, 4-for-4 SB
Jonathan Villar: 19 G, .242/.311/.364, 12 R, 16 H, 2 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 7 BB, 4-for-6 SB

Jandel Gustave: 7 G, 8.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 H, 3 BB, 7 K
Richard Rodriguez: 2 G, 1.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 0 K
Asher Wojciechowski: 5 GS, 20.1 IP, 12 ER, 19 H, 8 BB, 22 K

Mexican Pacific League

Leonardo Heras: 28 G, .275/.413/.569, 20 R, 28 H, 7 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR, 21 RBI, 22 BB, 5-for-6 SB

Sanudo Gonzalo: 13 G, 12.1 IP, 1 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 17 K
Carlos Vasquez: 14 G, 10.1 IP, 6 ER, 6 H, 3 BB, 9 K

Puerto Rican Baseball League

Carlos Corporan: 10 G, .235/.243/.353, 1 R, 8 H, 4 2B, 5 RBI, 1 BB
Delino DeShields: 9 G, .259/.364/.333, 3 R, 7 H, 1 3B, 3 RBI, 4 BB, 4-for-5 SB
Nolan Fontana: 7 G, .150/.280/.250, 3 R, 3 H, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 1-for-1 SB
Edwin Medina: 6 G, .000/.000/.000
Jobduan Moralez: 8 G, .182/.250/.227, 3 R, 4 H, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 BB
Roberto Pena: 5 G, .235/.235/.294, 2 R, 4 H, 1 2B

Juan Santos: 1 G, 0.1 IP, 2 ER, 1 H, 3 BB

Venezuelan League

L.J. Hoes: 8 G, .222/.243/.333, 1 R, 8 H, 1 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 1 BB
Gregorio Petit: 9 G, .269/.321/.308/, 2 R, 7 H, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 2 BB
Danry Vasquez: 26 G, .290/.350/.419, 14 R, 27 H, 3 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 11 RBI, 9 BB, 0-for-2 SB

Quick Note: intrigued by Heras' nice season, I looked up where he's playing; his team is based in Guadalajara, which is at basically the same mile-high elevation that Denver is. So yeah, grain of salt with this sudden power explosion.