PDA

View Full Version : Arizona Fall League Report 10/4 - Nelson, Denorfia & Howard in action



jmcclain19
10-05-2005, 04:27 PM
Arizona Fall League Report 10/4

So I had the chance to watch the Mesa Solar Sox yesterday, a team which included some of the Reds minor league prospects. The Sox also has some Tigers, Cubs and Indians prospects on the team.

They took on the Phoenix Devil Dogs, which included the Dodgers, Dbacks and A's prospects, among others.

Yesterday there were three Reds minor leaguers that saw action .

Bubba Nelson - Bubba really wasn't fooling anyone. Had a couple of punch outs, but in general was just serving up some fastballs right down the middle. He was the first guy out of the pen, lasted two innings and was stuck with the loss. Gave up 3 runs, walked a few and gave up a monster home run to the A's Daric Barton. His breaking stuff wasn't overtly impressive. Gun had him in the low 90s with his fastball.

Chris Denorfia - Denorfia also swiped a base, although I'd credit that to the pitcher having a terribly slow windup. Two batters before the RF swiped a base off the same guy; no doubt that Chris was paying attention to the pitchers inattention to the runner. He played LF, had a few balls hit his way, and looked pretty routine out there. Looked better at the plate than either of the other two starting OF's for Mesa.

Kevin Howard - Howard was playing third last night - which was a little peculiar. I saw him last year in the AFL, and he played nothing but 2B the entire time. Had only one hard hit ball at him, and he fielded it well. If you've never see this kid play, he's an interesting prospect. He's fairly tall, and really skinny. It looks, using only my eyes, that he's put on a few pounds of muscle this year, but not much. He looks just like a tall scrawny awkward kid who can ball. Has a quirky stance/swing as well. He's a patient hitter, taking DanO's take one strike credence to heart, and he had one solid line drive hit.

Didn't see Votto, Hanigan or Luke Hudson, although I did see them warming up Allan Simpson in the bully, only to sit him later.

Some other notes.
A Reds blast from the past David Espinosa was the Solar Sox DH, and he had two hits himself, both doubles in the gap. Looks like he's figured out how to play, a few years too late for the Reds.

Daric Barton and Stephen Drew both hit poster shot home runs. Drew had three hits, and the Dodgers RF Kemp nearly hit for the cycle.

Cubs Pitcher David Aardsma has one nasty slurvvy breaking pitch. The Sox catcher was really scuffling trying to fish it out of the dirt. But he has a really fast (98mph) heater that is really flat and the Dogs just waited and tattooed that pitch with regularity. He didn't stay in the game long.

Danny Serafini
10-05-2005, 05:31 PM
Didn't realize AFL ball had started already. Not much of a break for Denorfia, Hudson or Simpson.

Danny Serafini
10-05-2005, 05:35 PM
What do you know, turns out they're playing right now. Mesa leads 2-0 in the 2nd, Denorfia has an RBI single. Ryan Hanigan is catching today, no other Reds in the starting lineup.

lollipopcurve
10-05-2005, 05:53 PM
Thanks, 19 -- interesting to hear your eyewitness take. I still have hope that Kevin Howard will turn into a nice LH bat off the bench, with occadional starts at 2B, 3B and maybe the OF corners.

Doc. Scott
10-05-2005, 06:31 PM
http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/app/milb/stats/stats.jsp?sid=milb&did=milb&t=g_box&gid=2005_10_04_msswin_pddwin_1

Box score. Man, Phoenix has got some players- besides Drew and Barton, they also have Andy LaRoche and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, both just named top prospects in their leagues by BA. Who ever heard of it, sending your best prospects for extra seasoning like that?

Patrick Bateman
10-05-2005, 09:50 PM
A Reds blast from the past David Espinosa was the Solar Sox DH, and he had two hits himself, both doubles in the gap. Looks like he's figured out how to play, a few years too late for the Reds.



I won't think that 2 hits in the AFL instantly makes Espinosa a major league player.

He's passed through waivers a few times, so was available to anyone who wanted to assume his contract.

The fact he's playing DH should tell you all you need to know.

Aronchis
10-05-2005, 09:52 PM
The Fall League should be abolished.

4256 Hits
10-05-2005, 10:40 PM
Kevin Howard - Howard was playing third last night - which was a little peculiar. I saw him last year in the AFL, and he played nothing but 2B the entire time. Had only one hard hit ball at him, and he fielded it well. If you've never see this kid play, he's an interesting prospect. He's fairly tall, and really skinny. It looks, using only my eyes, that he's put on a few pounds of muscle this year, but not much. He looks just like a tall scrawny awkward kid who can ball. Has a quirky stance/swing as well. He's a patient hitter, taking DanO's take one strike credence to heart, and he had one solid line drive hit.

.

I like that he is playing some 3rd. He has always been a player I keep an eye on in the minors. I think he has a future as a nice bench guy in MLB if he can play 3rd along w/ 2nd and I am sure it would take much to learn to play an ok OF. I see him as a replacement for Freel in '07 he has more power but less speed than Freel.

Topcat
10-05-2005, 10:43 PM
Jmc ty so much for givin these reports. ad all who can pass on more news ty.

Sea Ray
10-06-2005, 12:36 AM
The Fall League should be abolished.

That's the plan. MLB will likely do away with it very soon as has been discussed earlier this year. They also plan to cut out a lower minor league level

JaxRed
10-06-2005, 12:56 AM
No that's the Summer league in Arizona that they are discussing eliminating.

Espinosa hit a whopping .262 in AA and hit 9 homers this year.

kheidg-
10-06-2005, 02:02 AM
Yes, thats the summer league.

Thanks for the report, I had no idea it started this soon either.

Sea Ray
10-06-2005, 10:23 AM
No that's the Summer league in Arizona that they are discussing eliminating.


The article I read didn't specify fall or summer. I didn't even know there was a summer Arizona league. Do the Reds have a team in that league?

Thanks for the clarification!

JaxRed
10-06-2005, 11:50 AM
No they have a team in Gulf Coast League which is the other league targeted for extinction....

Doc. Scott
10-06-2005, 02:56 PM
Mesa lost their second game as well- 8-7.

http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/app/milb/stats/stats.jsp?sid=milb&did=milb&t=g_box&gid=2005_10_05_pddwin_msswin_1

Denorfia: 1-for-4, walk, RBI, run scored.

Hanigan: 1-for-5, run scored, passed ball.

Howard: pinch-ran.

David Espinosa socked three more hits. It is just the AFL, of course.

flyer85
10-06-2005, 02:59 PM
Most other teams have really good prospects. The Reds, oh well.

Caveat Emperor
10-06-2005, 06:15 PM
Chris Denorfia -- future leadoff man and starter, 4th outfielder, or bright future as a PTBNL on the back-end of a deal for middle relief pitching?

Discuss amongst yourselves.

Personally, I liked what I saw from Denorfia -- speed, a decent to above-average plate approach in his ABs (willingness to take a walk)...I didn't see enough of his defense to make any judgments, but I'd feel confident about having as the first man off the bench in the OF or as a pinch-runner in late game situations.

Doc. Scott
10-09-2005, 02:35 AM
After losing game #3 (no Reds appeared), MESA WINS!

12-2 over the Peoria Saguaros.

http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/app/milb/stats/stats.jsp?sid=milb&did=milb&t=g_box&gid=2005_10_08_peswin_msswin_1

Denorfia: 2-2, 3B, 3 RBI, 3 BB, CS
Howard: 1-2, 2 R, HR (1), 2 RBI, 3 BB, throwing error
Votto: 0-4, BB, K

Muuuuuch better.

lollipopcurve
10-09-2005, 10:09 AM
Chris Denorfia -- future leadoff man and starter, 4th outfielder, or bright future as a PTBNL on the back-end of a deal for middle relief pitching?

I think he can play. Solid OBP offense, good defense, good speed. I like the fact he can play CF, too, which means if the Reds need to include Freel in a trade to get top quality pitching, they can do it and still have insurance behind Jr in center. Iwouldn't start him over Kearns or Pena, but I'd be comfortable with him starting if injuries/trades open a spot for him.

Doc. Scott
10-12-2005, 12:58 AM
Catching up:

10/10: Mesa loses 5-3, with Luke Hudson (3 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) getting the L. Chris Denorfia was 0-for-4 with two Ks and an error, and Kevin Howard 1-for-4 with a double, run scored, and his second error in five games. Ryan Hanigan was 0-for-4 as the catcher.

10/11: Mesa wins 9-2, thanks to a great starting pitching performance by the Yankees' Brian Burres. Bubba Nelson throws a scoreless inning in relief, allowing one hit, while Denorfia drives in three runs with a two-run single and groundout. He's hitting .278. The Cubs' Matt Murton popped a trio of doubles; he's now hitting .636.

The Solar Sox are now 2-4.

dougflynn23
10-12-2005, 01:10 AM
:) The best description I've heard about Chris Denorfia is that he's a Tracy Jones type player without the stubborn streak. This was from a long time Reds scout in Sarasota last February. I think Denorfia is a perfect 4th OF candidate in 2006 if the Reds finally trade somebody in that he compliments the others well. We had a guy like Denorfia a few years back, but he wasn't "toolsy" enough for the Jim Bowden regime. Brady Clark turned out to be a pretty good MLB player, and so will Denorfia.

Doc. Scott
10-12-2005, 12:11 PM
Hopefully Chris is also lacking the injury streak Tracy leveraged so well.

And while Brady Clark's made a name for himself, you can't really fault the Reds for letting him go, given who they had at the time Clark became a PTBNL in the Shawn Estes deal. On paper, Brady didn't look like much next to Adam Dunn, Austin Kearns, Ken Griffey Jr., Juan Encarnacion, and Jose Guillen. That's enough tools for a Home Depot, and this was Jim Bowden doing the evaluations.

--
I am starting to lose patience with the way the Reds continue to push Luke Hudson as a starter. Hudson clearly doesn't have the mechanics and control necessary to start. I've thought he was a born power reliever from the first few starts he made (only two good pitches, lots of velocity), and I wish the club would just get on with it and let the guy fulfill his destiny.

traderumor
10-12-2005, 12:27 PM
--
I am starting to lose patience with the way the Reds continue to push Luke Hudson as a starter. Hudson clearly doesn't have the mechanics and control necessary to start. I've thought he was a born power reliever from the first few starts he made (only two good pitches, lots of velocity), and I wish the club would just get on with it and let the guy fulfill his destiny.

I seem to recall that was the intent when Luke was given his first chance before the labrum cost him 2003. Then, when he came back, they claimed he could not get warmed up fast enough to come out of the bullpen, so they made him a starter. He has a lucky six weeks, and the boneheads determine that he is a piece of the rotation puzzle (and I was one of the boneheads until M2 introduced me to BABIP and the cruel nature of that statistical phenomenon).

I hope this doesn't sound too dehumanizing, but Luke's arm is gonna blow out again, especially if he kicks it up a notch in a late inning relief role, but he might be worth a flyer for a couple of good seasons out of the pen before his arm falls off again. But as a starter, forget about it, he just doesn't have the stuff.

Doc. Scott
10-12-2005, 01:47 PM
I seem to recall that was the intent when Luke was given his first chance before the labrum cost him 2003. Then, when he came back, they claimed he could not get warmed up fast enough to come out of the bullpen, so they made him a starter. He has a lucky six weeks, and the boneheads determine that he is a piece of the rotation puzzle (and I was one of the boneheads until M2 introduced me to BABIP and the cruel nature of that statistical phenomenon).

I hope this doesn't sound too dehumanizing, but Luke's arm is gonna blow out again, especially if he kicks it up a notch in a late inning relief role, but he might be worth a flyer for a couple of good seasons out of the pen before his arm falls off again. But as a starter, forget about it, he just doesn't have the stuff.

I may be snatching at semantics, but "stuff" ain't the problem with Luke. He's still getting chances with this club because he has what most of the club's starting rotation lacks- a bona fide 93-94 mph fastball and a hammer curve, not an Eighty-Seven Express and Mahlerean slop. But with no reliable offspeed pitch (which was worth a try, but Don Gullett didn't do changeups and Vern Ruhle hasn't shown too much tangible in that department yet...yet) and yo-yo mechanics befitting that of a much younger pitcher, it's best for Luke and the club to concentrate on leveraging the strengths he does have rather than try and fix his weaknesses.

Hudson's now 28 years old and post-major surgery. His strengths and weaknesses have likely stabilized by now, for good or ill. I'd love to see a Hudson/Wagner/Coffey 2006 trio of a Nasty sort (and maybe Joe Valentine will spend less time at the eyebrow waxer's and more time throwing strikes, too). Toss in Shackleford (who I don't think is as good as his numbers show, but he does seem to elude enough solid contact that he can be effective) and the veterans Mercker and Weathers and you've got a pretty darn solid bullpen. For the first time in a couple of years.

The_jbh
10-12-2005, 05:19 PM
I think Denorfia should be our 4th OF next year (Because we will deal some1... i hope) and will get a decent amount of ABs because someone is bound to get hurt. He is pretty solid defensively and seems to have good plate discipline. i think hes a guy who could make things very interesting the next few years because he'll force his way into the line up

dougflynn23
10-12-2005, 06:32 PM
And while Brady Clark's made a name for himself, you can't really fault the Reds for letting him go, given who they had at the time Clark became a PTBNL in the Shawn Estes deal. On paper, Brady didn't look like much next to Adam Dunn, Austin Kearns, Ken Griffey Jr., Juan Encarnacion, and Jose Guillen. That's enough tools for a Home Depot, and this was Jim Bowden doing the evaluations.

--
:) Don't foget Ruben Mateo and Reggie Taylor. They were both higher on the depth chart than was Brady Clark!

Doc. Scott
10-12-2005, 08:40 PM
:) Don't foget Ruben Mateo and Reggie Taylor. They were both higher on the depth chart than was Brady Clark!

Indeed they were. The poster boys for the double-edged tool, er, sword.

Doc. Scott
10-12-2005, 08:44 PM
10/12: Mesa jobs like Barry Horowitz to Surprise, 10-1.

Now I can start to see why San Francisco would divest themselves of their version of Ryan Wagner, David Aardsma. Aardsma, now a Cub, gives up six runs in a single inning (making it twelve ER in five and two-thirds) as the Solar Sox get bombed.

Bubba Nelson pitches again (already?) and allows one hit in one scoreless inning. Allan Simpson makes his AFL debut and pitches 1.1 scoreless innings, walking one and allowing one hit, although several balls were hit very hard right at people.

Chris Denorfia goes 2-for-4 with Mesa's lone RBI. Kevin Howard manages one hit in four trips as the DH; catcher Ryan Hanigan triples in three at-bats, but gets thrown out trying to make it an inside-the-parker. Joey Votto pinch-hits and plays first late in the game (0-for-1).

4256 Hits
10-12-2005, 10:24 PM
Hopefully Chris is also lacking the injury streak Tracy leveraged so well.

And while Brady Clark's made a name for himself, you can't really fault the Reds for letting him go, given who they had at the time Clark became a PTBNL in the Shawn Estes deal. On paper, Brady didn't look like much next to Adam Dunn, Austin Kearns, Ken Griffey Jr., Juan Encarnacion, and Jose Guillen. That's enough tools for a Home Depot, and this was Jim Bowden doing the evaluations.



Also the Reds or any other team could have had him for a waiver claim fee twice because both the Mets and Brewers waived him the following year. None of the other teams thought that highly either.

tbball10
10-13-2005, 02:26 PM
doc scott, do you know why votto does not play much? how is playing time distributed in the AFL?

Doc. Scott
10-13-2005, 02:43 PM
doc scott, do you know why votto does not play much? how is playing time distributed in the AFL?

Yes, I do. Apparently Votto is one of several Solar Sox players on the "taxi squad". Taxi squadders are available to play only on Wednesday and Saturday. Why it's Votto who's earned that designation (does he work part-time the other days?) and why taxi squads even exist, I have no idea.

Apparently the Reds wanted to send Votto (their best offensive prospect now that EdE's in the bigs) to the AFL to face some higher-level pitching, but didn't want to bump anyone else from their squad- you know, the future hammer closers, Jose Vidro Jr., Luke "Wild Thing" Hudson, a slap-hitting catcher who gets totally ignored by hype because of Miguel "Juan Bench" Perez, and the fourth outfielder auditionee.

I'm being mean. I root for everyone. I do. But why the Reds thought getting three to five at-bats a week was the best way for Joey to spend his offseason- I'm at a loss.

M2
10-13-2005, 03:16 PM
I'm not a big fan of Hudson's stuff. The fastball is too true and the curve infrequently hits the strikezone.

Sea Ray
10-13-2005, 04:05 PM
I'm not a big fan of Hudson's stuff. The fastball is too true and the curve infrequently hits the strikezone.

Hudson's 2005 stuff was not what we'd seen in other years from him. His fastball was generally around 92 MPH and peaking at 94. That's Aaron Harang territory. Remember his major league debut vs the Astros (I think) and he threw one inning and was wild as all get out but he did strike out the side. He threw 96 effortlessly then. Along with his loss of velocity went a lot of movement. I was very high on him coming into this year and hoped he'd stay healthy and continue his work towards "control". Neither happened and now that he's pushing thirty and he can't seem to stay healthy for an entire year and control continues to elude him, I'm ready to cut bait.

Aronchis
10-13-2005, 04:39 PM
Hudson's arms strength was weak last year. In 2004 his fastball was was topping at 94-95 even touching 96 quite a bit, last year it dropped to 91-92 occassionally hitting 93. I think this was due to his shoulder "infection" earlier that spring. It caused him to be more hittable which with his shoddy control impailed him. If he gets his arm strength back up, he may become serviceable again like in 04, but I kind of doubt it.

Doc. Scott
10-14-2005, 12:09 PM
10/13: Mesa comes back to surprise Surprise, 7-5. The Solar Sox come back from a 5-1 deficit with two in the sixth, three in the seventh, and a final tally in the eighth. Chris Denorfia kicks off Mesa's sixth-inning rally with a single and run scored. Chris would draw a walk and score again the next inning. In the eighth, after a Kevin Howard single put runners on the corners with none out, Denorfia managed a fielder's choice grounder to bring in the final Sox run. Former Reds farmhand John Koronka notched the save. Denorfia is now batting .308 (although he made his second error on a throw) and leads the club with nine RBIs, while Howard's at .278.

Mesa will cue it up again today at 1:05 PST against the Peoria Saguaros, with the Indians' Adam Miller on the hill.

M2
10-14-2005, 12:17 PM
Forget about 2005, I've NEVER liked Hudson's stuff. The heater's always been rail straight and he doesn't control the bender well. The guy was incredibly lucky in 2004 and his 2005 fall from grace was just about the easiest prediction you could have made.

Chip R
10-14-2005, 12:28 PM
Forget about 2005, I've NEVER liked Hudson's stuff. The heater's always been rail straight and he doesn't control the bender well. The guy was incredibly lucky in 2004 and his 2005 fall from grace was just about the easiest prediction you could have made.

Could a decent pitching coach make an adjustment to get more movement on Hudson's fastball? Perhaps holding it a bit different or something like that or is he doomed to have a straight fastball?

Doc. Scott
10-14-2005, 12:30 PM
Most of my premise for pushing Hudson as a possible reliever come from watching him pitch great for the first two or three innings of a start, then implode suddenly before making it to five innings. Lacking reliable offspeed stuff, he makes it through the lineup once but has to nibble or gets hit when batters realize they can sit on the fastball if the curve isn't working perfectly.

Seems to me like an ideal case, and when the alternatives for those middle relief spots include the Ricky Stones and Randy Keislers of the world, why not try a Hudson or Jason Standridge, a guy with some degree of stuff-based upside, and see if they can stick to the Wall of Velcro?

Even with a lights-out spring, I don't think Hudson should be a legitimate rotation contender. I simply wouldn't spend the time to seriously consider him there, not when we have so many other unproven or Purple Heart guys to be evaluating.

M2
10-14-2005, 12:37 PM
Hudson's MO is that he's really bad on pitches 1-15, then really good on pitches 16-45, then he's horrible after that. If he didn't have to get through those first 15 pitches, I'd see some value in counting on him in the pen. Given his profile I don't seen much use for him beyond long reliever and my question there is can he be rubber-armed enough to pull three multi-inning stints a week when the need arises? I suspect he can't.

M2
10-14-2005, 12:42 PM
Could a decent pitching coach make an adjustment to get more movement on Hudson's fastball? Perhaps holding it a bit different or something like that or is he doomed to have a straight fastball?

Anything could happen. It's just that after eight years in organized baseball I'm not real optimistic that it will happen.

Hudson needs to become a different animal immediately or he needs to be onto his next organization. Such is the life of an ineffective journeyman.

Doc. Scott
10-14-2005, 12:51 PM
Hudson's MO is that he's really bad on pitches 1-15, then really good on pitches 16-45, then he's horrible after that. If he didn't have to get through those first 15 pitches, I'd see some value in counting on him in the pen. Given his profile I don't seen much use for him beyond long reliever and my question there is can he be rubber-armed enough to pull three multi-inning stints a week when the need arises? I suspect he can't.

Hmmm. You mean to tell me observational data can be wrong? Well, soo-ey. ;) But it's true for Hudson's entire nascent career that he's sucked the first fifteen pitches he throws.

I wonder if that can't be overcome with coaching, though. Hudson's subsequent fall from dominance after pitch 45 more reflects his stuff problems we've been discussing in this thread. But perhaps having him work on the bullpen role and mindset (maybe some Zig Ziglar cassettes), a role he hasn't ever really been in professionally, might help mitigate the historical first-inning issues.

M2
10-14-2005, 12:57 PM
I wonder if that can't be overcome with coaching, though. Hudson's subsequent fall from dominance after pitch 45 more reflects his stuff problems we've been discussing in this thread. But perhaps having him work on the bullpen role and mindset, something he's never really done professionally, might help mitigate the historical first-inning issues.

Maybe, but if he can't make that jump this spring then I'd let some other organization try to fix him. I don't see him as being worth a lot of time and effort at this point. If my pitching coach insisted otherwise I'd inform him that he'd better be confident that this is likely to succeed or he's going to find his job evaluation partially tied to Hudson's results.

Doc. Scott
10-14-2005, 01:06 PM
Maybe, but if he can't make that jump this spring then I'd let some other organization try to fix him. I don't see him as being worth a lot of time and effort at this point. If my pitching coach insisted otherwise I'd inform him that he'd better be confident that this is likely to succeed or he's going to find his job evaluation partially tied to Hudson's results.

Don't forget the power of positive thinking brought on by Zig's powerful oratory.

Tying my job to the drag-ass employee's results? Crappy thing to do, but a great motivator, no?

Aronchis
10-14-2005, 04:48 PM
I watched a Hudson game late in 04 against the Braves, his fastball had fine movement and was going between 93-96 consistantly though he was wild as usual in his 5 innings.

I think weak arm strength due to his shoulder problems earlier in the spring really screwed up Hudson. He may never be the same either. Whether he makes the the Reds or not probably depends if he is back to 2004 arm strength levels and popping 95mph fastballs. He actually wouldn't be a bad option at the 4-5 spots if he has rebuilt his arm strength considering the competiton he is facing.

M2
10-14-2005, 05:09 PM
I watched a Hudson game late in 04 against the Braves, his fastball had fine movement and was going between 93-96 consistantly though he was wild as usual in his 5 innings.

I think weak arm strength due to his shoulder problems earlier in the spring really screwed up Hudson. He may never be the same either. Whether he makes the the Reds or not probably depends if he is back to 2004 arm strength levels and popping 95mph fastballs. He actually wouldn't be a bad option at the 4-5 spots if he has rebuilt his arm strength considering the competiton he is facing.

Maybe it was moving that one night, but he's notoriously straight as an arrow. And since his 2004 was a mirage (bad pitching wrapped in a good ERA) he'd be a terrible 4-5 option seeing that he's not equipped to do the job. If the Reds bring this guy back in the rotation then they're even more incompetent than I thought they were.

Unassisted
10-14-2005, 06:09 PM
http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/content/printer_friendly/cin/y2005/m10/d14/c1249696.jsp


Howard, Denorfia leading Solar Sox
10/14/2005 1:00 PM ET
By Ben Hill / Special to MLB.com

Kevin Howard's first AFL home run helped the Mesa Solar Sox post their first win of the season, 12-2, over the Peoria Saguaros on Saturday. In five games, the 24-year-old is batting .278 (5-for-18) with three RBIs.

Howard and six other Reds prospects are playing for the Solar Sox. Here's how they fared over the first eight games of the AFL's 32-game schedule:

OF Chris Denorfia: After ending 2005 with the Reds, Denorfia has had no problem adjusting to AFL pitching. In 26 at-bats, the 25-year-old outfielder is batting .308 with nine RBIs and a .438 on-base percentage.

C Ryan Hanigan: Hanigan has struggled in the early going, batting just .167 (2-for-12). The 25-year-old backstop managed a rare triple on Wednesday against the Surprise Scorpions.

RHP Luke Hudson: The 27-year-old Major Leaguer started and lost in his lone AFL appearance, yielding three runs -- two earned -- on three hits over three innings on Monday, as the Peoria Javelinas defeated Mesa, 5-3.

RHP Bubba Nelson: After getting the loss on Opening Day, when he surrendered three runs on three hits over two innings, Nelson finished the week by tossing a scoreless frame on Tuesday and another one on Wednesday.

RHP Allan Simpson: The 28-year-old has seen limited action so far, allowing a hit and a walk in 1 1/3 scoreless innings against the Surprise Scorpions on Wednesday.

3B Joey Votto: Votto is still looking for his first AFL hit after going 0-for-4 with a walk on Saturday and falling short in a pinch-hit appearance on Wednesday.

Doc. Scott
10-14-2005, 07:50 PM
10/14: Mesa is one inning away from finishing a 14-4 blasting of the Saguaros. Allan Simpson allowed one unearned run on one hit (although the game log also lists a couple of lineouts, again) in two innings of relief, walking one, hitting one, and whiffing two; Kevin Howard pinch-hit and lashed an RBI single, then stayed in the game at shortstop (!). Ryan Hanigan also came in mid-game to catch, going 0-for-1 (.154). Two Indians, CF Brad Snyder (2 HR) and 1B Ryan Garko (3 RBI) have carried the offensive load for the Sox today.

Doc. Scott
10-16-2005, 08:29 PM
10/15: The Giants' Justin Knoedler (pinch-hitting for Ryan Hanigan) popped the go-ahead homer in the eighth inning as Mesa beat Grand Canyon, 6-5.

Bubba Nelson has done quite well since his first outing- he threw 2.2 hitless innings to even his record at 1-1. John Koronka got the save.

Luke Hudson started and again was mediocre, allowing seven hits and three earned runs in 4.1 innings. He didn't walk anyone, at least. As he so often does, Hudson pitched well for four innings and was hammered in the fifth.

Chris Denorfia was four for five with two doubles, an RBI, a stolen base, and two runs scored, running his average to .387. Joey Votto DHed and managed one hit in five trips, his first hit of the AFL season. Ryan Hanigan was 0-for-3, and is struggling at .125.

The Solar Sox have evened their record at 5-5, and play Phoenix on Monday afternoon.

Aronchis
10-16-2005, 08:38 PM
I bet Hudson's shoulder is in bad shape. Looks like his surgury didn't hold for him. Time to start thinking about his next career choice.

Doc. Scott
10-17-2005, 07:36 PM
10/17: Phoenix bombs the Solar Sox in a game shortened to seven innings by rain, 10-2.

No, no Reds pitched.

Chris Denorfia doubled in three trips; Kevin Howard played third and managed a single in three PAs.

The Yankees' Brian Burres was nuked for nine earned runs in a single inning after pitching solidly in his first two starts. David Aardsma followed and managed three scoreless innings, although like Allan Simpson's performances, there were a bunch of line drives everywhere.

IslandRed
10-17-2005, 09:06 PM
Kevin Howard pinch-hit and lashed an RBI single, then stayed in the game at shortstop (!).

Along with the time logged at third base, I wonder if they're sizing him up for a possible utility role.

Doc. Scott
10-18-2005, 12:06 PM
Along with the time logged at third base, I wonder if they're sizing him up for a possible utility role.

I think you're right. Howard's defense has never been much lauded; his promotion to and stay in the majors will be determined by his bat. Good bat, he'll find a home. Mediocre bat, he'll be 25th Man Yo-Yo Boy.

Doc. Scott
10-20-2005, 05:40 PM
10/19: Mesa falls 9-3 to Surprise. Chris Denorfia finally goes 0-fer (still batting .342) and Kevin Howard, playing third, is 0-for-2 with a pair of walks.

The Solar Sox play tonight against the Peoria Saguaros. Detroit's Humberto Sanchez will start, with the strong possibility that we'll see Allan Simpson and/or Bubba Nelson in relief.

flyer85
10-20-2005, 05:41 PM
Amazing how poor the quality of the Reds prospects. The best we can do is a guy who projects to a part-time OF or a utility player.

Aronchis
10-20-2005, 08:18 PM
Amazing how poor the quality of the Reds prospects. The best we can do is a guy who projects to a part-time OF or a utility player.

Considering that these are upper level prospects, you don't like Bowden drafts?

Doc. Scott
10-21-2005, 12:24 PM
10/20: Mesa and Peoria go to ten innings, but the Saguaros maul Detroit's Mark Woodyard in the extra frame for six runs, just one earned, thanks to errors by 3B Kevin Howard (#3) and SS Kevin Frandsen. Peoria wins, 8-2.

Howard did, however, smack a single, double, and solo homer (#2) off Seattle's Clint Nageotte. He's hitting .345. Chris Denorfia was 0-for-5 to drop to .302. Ryan Hanigan had three more hitless trips, falling to .105, and also committed his second passed ball.

Bubba Nelson pitched two innings in relief, allowing two hits and one earned run- a solo homer by Colorado's Ian Stewart.

The Solar Sox fall to 5-8, while the Saguaros got just their second win in thirteen games. Mesa is at it again today at 1:05 against Grand Canyon.

flyer85
10-21-2005, 12:39 PM
Considering that these are upper level prospects, you don't like Bowden drafts?UGH

Milezinni
10-21-2005, 12:49 PM
Anybody able to watch these games?

Is Denorfia playing situational baseball and getting the AB in tough situations, or is he just up there hacking?

Doc. Scott
10-21-2005, 07:10 PM
10/21: Fun game today. After digging a 6-1 hole to Grand Canyon after homers by Lastings Milledge, Reggie Abercrombie, and Josh Wilson, the Solar Sox blow up for five runs in the fifth and five more in the sixth.

Chris Denorfia is 1-for-3 with a double, two walks, and two runs scored; Kevin Howard, DHing, has an RBI single and RBI FC along with two runs scored in five trips.

Allan Simpson relieved the Indians' Adam Miller after Adam gave up six runs and promptly refused to allow a hit in 2.1 innings, walking one. He did uncork a wild pitch, and whiffed two. He stands to get the win, assuming the Solar Sox maintain their five-run lead.

Postscript: Mesa wins, 11-7. Simpson is now 2-0, and has not allowed an earned run in six innings pitched. DanO is ordering Allan's recliner as he reads this.

Doc. Scott
10-23-2005, 02:55 AM
10/22: Mesa falls to Phoenix, 5-4. Luke Hudson starts and gives up seven hits and three earned runs in five innings, walking one, hitting one, and fanning six. Joey Votto starts at first and goes 0-for-4 with a run scored, two Ks, and an error (.071). Ryan Hanigan lashes a single in his only at-bat.

The Solar Sox take the field again Monday afternoon against Peoria.

Doc. Scott
10-26-2005, 12:24 PM
10/24: Mesa scores six in the fourth inning and hangs on, 6-5. Chris Denorfia was 0-for-4 and Ryan Hanigan 1-for-4 with another passed ball, but Kevin Howard ripped three more hits, all singles, and drove in a pair.

10/25: In a doubleheader, the Solar Sox take game 1 7-5 but drop the nightcap, 12-6. Allan Simpson ran his record to 3-0 with two shutout innings (two hits, two Ks). Denorfia was 1-for-2 with a double, run scored, RBI, and a pair of walks, but was also caught stealing and picked off. Howard was 1-for-3 with a double. Joey Votto got his bat going in the nightcap, smacking a single and double in three trips with a pair of RBI. Bubba Nelson was beaten around for five hits and three earned runs, despite five strikeouts, in two relief innings.

Denorfia: .302/.413/.453, 53 AB, 6 2B, 11 RBI
Howard: .357/.426/.571, 42 AB, 2 HR, 5 BB, 4 K, 3 E
Votto: .176/.222/.235, 17 AB, 4 BB, 1 K
Simpson: 3-0, 0.00, 7.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 7 K
Nelson: 1-1, 5.91, 10.2 IP, 5 BB, 9 K
Hudson: 0-1, 5.84, 12.1 IP, 17 H, 3 BB, 14 K

Doc. Scott
10-26-2005, 08:50 PM
10/26: Kevin Howard? On fire.

Kev was 4-for-4 in Mesa's 8-5 win today, pulling a solo homer to right and singling three times and stealing a base. He's now batting .413 in 46 official PAs. Chris Denorfia hit his first homer as well (and committed a third error). Ryan Hanigan singled in three trips and stole a base.

Doc. Scott
10-27-2005, 10:54 PM
10/27: Mesa falls, 8-3.

Howard: 0-2, BB (.396)

That's it.

Doc. Scott
10-28-2005, 07:21 PM
10/28:

An all-Reds afternoon on the Mesan pitching mound! And happily, Mesa picks up the 5-2 win. Luke Hudson starts and gives up seven hits and two earned runs in four innings (including a homer to Mets five-tool phenom Lastings Milledge). Allan Simpson allows just one hit and one walk in three scoreless frames, then Bubba Nelson comes on to retire the last six without allowing a hit (just two walks).

For this, Simpson runs his record to 4-0 (now no ER in 10.2 IP) and Nelson notches the save. Chris Denorfia singles and walks in four plate appearances (.295), while DH Kevin Howard is 0-for-2 with a walk, a sacrifice, and a GIDP. (.380) Ryan Hanigan was 0-for-1.

savafan
10-29-2005, 10:20 AM
http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20051028&content_id=1261815&vkey=news_cin&fext=.jsp&c_id=cin

By Ben Hill / Special to MLB.com

Kevin Howard came up big for the Arizona Fall League's Mesa Solar Sox this past week. On Monday, he went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and scored as Mesa edged the Peoria Saguaros, 6-5.

The 24-year-old infielder was even better on Wednesday, driving a homer and three singles in a 4-for-4 effort as the Solar Sox topped the Peoria Javelinas, 8-5.

Howard and six other Reds prospects are continuing their 2005 campaigns with Mesa. Here's how they fared during the week ending Oct. 27:

OF Chris Denorfia: One of Denorfia's four hits last week was his first homer of the AFL season, complementing the 20 he collected with Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Louisville in 2005.

C Ryan Hanigan: The 25-year-old backstop delivered two hits in seven at-bats, and even picked up a stolen base on Wednesday against the Javelinas.

Howard: The red-hot Howard collected nine hits in 19 at-bats to raise his average to a team-leading .396. He has hit safely in 12 of 15 games this season.

RHP Luke Hudson: Hudson turned in a solid start on Saturday, allowing three runs on seven hits over five innings while striking out six.

RHP Bubba Nelson: The 24-year-old right-hander struggled through a rough relief outing on Tuesday, allowing three runs on five hits in just two innings, raising his ERA to 5.91.

RHP Allan Simpson: Simpson tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings on Saturday and two more on Tuesday to run his streak to 7 2/3 frames on the season.

3B Joey Votto: Votto had a breakout game on Tuesday, going 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs. It was first extra-base hit and first RBI of the AFL season for the 21-year-old infielder.

Ben Hill is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Doc. Scott
10-30-2005, 01:08 PM
10/29: The Cubs' Angel Guzman, returning from a messy 2005, threw five no-hit innings. Mesa still lost to Surprise, 4-2.

Chris Denorfia was two for four with a single, triple, caught-stealing, and run scored. Joey Votto was one for four with a single. Ryan Hanigan singled in a run and walked in three trips.

The Solar Sox now stand at 10-12 with ten games to play.

Doc. Scott
11-01-2005, 12:36 AM
10/31: Bubba Nelson blows the save by serving up four hits to the four batters he faced, including a homer to Houston's Josh Anderson (who hit one all season in the Texas League), but Mesa wins anyway, 3-2.

Kevin Howard started the game-winning rally with a walk in the seventh. He finished one for three with two runs scored.

Bubba's ERA is now 6.39.

Doc. Scott
11-01-2005, 08:56 PM
11/1: With Chris Denorfia's second homer their only run, the Solar Sox and Grand Canyon are rocking a 1-1 tie in extra innings.

Denorfia has also walked twice. Ryan Hanigan is 0-for-4 with two GIDPs. Kevin Howard, cooling off rapidly, is 1-for-4 with a sacrifice and a strikeout.

Allan Simpson continues to pitch well, maintaining his perfect ERA with 2.1 innings of shutout ball. He walked nobody, struck out three, and allowed two hits. While he's several years older than many of these players and should be pitching well, thirteen consecutive scoreless innings is still pretty darn good.

Doc. Scott
11-02-2005, 08:52 PM
11/2: Yesterday's game ended in a 12-inning tie.

Today, Mesa got three hits and three RBI from San Francisco's Kevin Frandsen in an 8-4 win. Chris Denorfia also smacked three hits and drove in a pair of runs. Joey Votto singled in four trips and scored a run.

Despite a record of just 12-12, Mesa has grabbed their division lead by a half-game with seven to play.

Doc. Scott
11-04-2005, 12:15 PM
Eyewitness action sums up the 11/3 contest better than I could have.

http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=40876

PS: Mesa fell, 9-4. Surprise regains first place.

Doc. Scott
11-04-2005, 07:39 PM
11/4: Allan Simpson allows his first earned run of the AFL season (ERA: 0.63). Unfortunately, it's the deciding tally in eleven innings. Phoenix wins, 3-2.

Simpson allowed an RBI single to James Loney. While he walked two and uncorked a wild pitch in 1.1 innings, one was intentional. He also struck out three.

Chris Denorfia was 1-for-5 with an RBI single and caught-stealing; Kevin Howard fired it back up again with three hits in five ABs, two singles and a double.

Luke Hudson had his best pitching performance yet, allowing four hits and two earned runs in six innings, walking one and striking out four. Ten of thirteen batters to put the ball in play lofted fly balls, however.

Doc. Scott
11-07-2005, 12:09 PM
11/5: Mesa is outslugged by the Peoria Javelinas, 10-6.

Kevin Howard raised his average to .380 with a pair of singles in four trips (and his error total to four). Joey Votto earned himself a golden sombrero by fanning four times consecutively. He still has only seven Ks in thirty plate appearances.

Doc. Scott
11-07-2005, 07:26 PM
11/6: Mesa cruised to a 17-1 swamping of Phoenix today.

Chris Denorfia ripped a two-run homer, his third, in the second inning as well as a ground-rule double and single in six at-bats. Kevin Howard hit three consecutive RBI singles before grounding out in his final PA.

The Solar Sox are 13-15 and two and a half out with three to play.

Doc. Scott
11-08-2005, 05:51 PM
ANYWAY,

11/8: Mesa and Grand Canyon are deadlocked at 5-5. Chris Denorfia's three-run triple capped a five-run fourth that also included a Kevin Howard RBI knock. Denorfia is actually two for four and Howard three for three with a walk (now hitting .423, which leads the league). Kev also has his fifth error.

lollipopcurve
11-08-2005, 07:39 PM
Meanwhile back at the AFL Kevin Howard is raking.
I know it's a hitter's league, but I'm starting to think Howard may have what it takes to be an above average offensive second baseman (admittedly, the D probably will be subpar). Why not see what the guy's got this year? At least as an infield reserve/lefty bat of the bench. He'll be turning 25 at midseason.

Boss-Hog
11-09-2005, 06:51 PM
I removed the non Arizona Fall League discussions into a separate thread for further discussion. Let's keep this thread limited to AFL talk, please.

Doc. Scott
11-09-2005, 06:54 PM
11/9: Joey Votto has managed a pair of singles and an RBI and Kevin Howard is 1-for-5 in a Mesa-Surprise 5-5 tie late in the game. The Solar Sox have tied the game in the top of the ninth.

UPDATE: While Votto ends the contest two for five, Howard promptly stroked a two-run single in the top of the tenth, leading to a 7-5 Solar Sox win.

Two to play.

Doc. Scott
11-10-2005, 05:51 PM
11/10: Joey Votto gets to play two games in a row! Thought taxi squadders couldn't do that.

Anyway, Joey's capitalized, ripping a single and ground-rule double, walking, driving in one, and scoring two. Kevin Howard's one for four, and Mesa pulls out a 6-5 win in a seven-inning contest.

Luke Hudson started for the Solar Sox, but gave up three bombs- Pittsburgh's Brad Eldred, the White Sox' Chris Young, and the Red Sox' Brandon Moss. Four earned in three innings as Luke ends his AFL campaign with an ERA of 5.68.

Bubba Nelson came on to pitch the sixth and served up Eldred's second gopher ball of the game. He's got an ERA of 6.59, and four bombs in 13.2 innings.

David Espinosa's three-run homer, his second, has given Mesa half its runs. Davey's hit .282 in this AFL season, okay but not anywhere near as good as Howard or Chris Denorfia.

Howard has officially taken the AFL batting title with a .409 average (reaching base in all 24 games he played in), outpacing the Dodgers' Matt Kemp at .383 Angels' Kendry Morales and Howie Kendrick, both at .380.

Chris Denorfia was nominated for the Dernell Stenson award, but didn't win.

The Solar Sox finish the 32-game season at 15-17.

Doc. Scott
11-11-2005, 01:38 PM
Final statistics:

http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/app/milb/stats/stats.jsp?t=t_ibp&did=milb&cid=555

Simpson certainly impressed, allowing just one earned run in fourteen innings with fourteen Ks, but given what's been said about Todd Coffey, I wonder if he won't be "tired" come spring training.

Nelson was up and down. Four homers in 13.2 innings inflated his ERA to 6.59, and he walked eight in that stretch. 2006 is his year to rise up or fall off the radar.

Hudson was generally unimpressive, pitching really well only once out of six starts. He walked only six in 25.2 innings, but gave up 33 hits and four homers.

Certainly there are a heck of a lot of line-drive singles in the AFL that don't go that way in the big leagues, but Kevin Howard hitting .409 should cement his opening the season at AAA. (Of course, Brian Peterson hit something like .380 last year after a .300 season in AA and still ended up in the same spot, looking up at Dane Sardinha striking out.) Hopefully Howard's defense is better than his error total indicates.

Chris Denorfia is ready for the big leagues and has to be considered a major favorite to make the Opening Day roster.

Joey Votto wasn't able to get his slugging going, but he did appear to cut down on his strikeouts. Problem was that his walks disappeared as well. 2006 will show us what he's really got, too, as he prepares for AA.

Ryan Hanigan never really got going, making several passed balls along the way. He played much of 2005 at first base, not catcher, so you have to wonder if a full-time positional switch is in order for him as the Reds figure out his 2006 placing.

westofyou
11-12-2005, 12:18 PM
http://frontier.cincinnati.com/blogs/spring/

Fall League wrapup

The Arizona Fall League's regular season came to an end yesterday. The team featuring the Reds' prospects, the Mesa Solar Sox, finished 15-17, two games behind Surprise in their division. Surprise will play Phoenix for the championship tomorrow.

Though the Reds' representatives had their ups and downs, it's fair to say no one's stock improved as much as Kevin Howard's. The infielder from the University of Miami hit .409 (tops in the AFL by 26 points) with a 1.032 OPS in 25 games while striking out only nine times in 98 plate appearances. Howard can play second or third base and should have worked his way into legitimate contention for a roster spot in spring training.

Among the other Reds, Chris Denorfia hit .333 (.991 OPS) with seven doubles, three triples, three homers and 24 RBIs in 23 games, putting a perfect cap on a breakout season. I'd be stunned if he isn't with the major league team on Opening Day as a backup outfielder.

The other two Reds position players, first baseman Joey Votto and catcher Ryan Hanigan, didn't get nearly as much playing time or have nearly as much success. Votto hit .250 in 10 games and Hanigan hit .216 with one RBI in 13 games.

Among the pitchers, reliever Allan Simpson led the way. He went 4-1 with a 0.63 ERA in seven outings, allowing nine hits and one earned run in 14 1/3 innings. His counterparts on the mound had considerably more trouble. Bubba Nelson posted a 6.59 ERA in nine games and Luke Hudson went 0-1 with a 5.68 ERA in six starts. One encouraging sign for Hudson: he walked only six batters while striking out 20 in 25 1/3 innings.

NC Reds
11-12-2005, 12:33 PM
I would be shocked if Hudson was on the opening day roster in 2006. Naked pictures of DanO? ;)

Doc. Scott
11-14-2005, 01:04 PM
I would be shocked if Hudson was on the opening day roster in 2006. Naked pictures of DanO? ;)

I'd say he gets one more chance to impress as a reliever, then he hits Waiverland USA. Or we could trade him to somebody in spring training for Reggie Taylor. Who says he doesn't have value?