The headliner in the Mesa Solar Sox - Surprise Saguaros match-up on November 1 was Boston Red Sox's prospect Michael Kopech, he of the 104 MPH fastball. However, while Kopech pitched well, it was Oakland A's prospects Dylan Covey and Frankie Montas who stole the show. Covey (five innings) and Montas (three innings) combined with Miami Marlins' prospect Drew Steckenrider to throw just the third no-hitter in Arizona Fall League history. The Solar Sox won the pitcher's duel, 1-0.
Covey got the ball rolling for the Solar Sox, tossing five efficient innings in his fourth start of the AFL season. He needed just 44 pitches to get through his scheduled five innings, throwing 27 for strikes. He struck-out one, walked one and recorded 11 outs on the ground. Covey lowered his AFL ERA to 2.65 in 17 innings. He has 11 strike-outs, five walks and a 1.06 WHIP on the AFL season.
Montas, as he has all fall, followed Covey and picked up just where his A's teammate left off. The fireballer threw three scoreless innings to extend his AFL scoreless streak to 11.1 innings on the year. He threw 32 pitches, 20 for strikes, and allowed two walks while striking out one. Montas has allowed just four hits the entire AFL season and has eight strike-outs against three walks. His WHIP is 0.62.
Steckenrider worked a clean ninth inning to lock down the save.
A's pitchers have dominated thus far this fall. Covey, Montas, Sam Bragg and Trey Cochran-Gill have a combined 1.72 ERA in 47 innings for the Solar Sox. Bragg will represent the A's, along with Oakland top prospect Franklin Barreto, in the AFL All-Star game this weekend. Bragg has an 0.96 ERA and zero walks with eight strike-outs in 9.1 innings this season. Cochran-Gill has a 2.89 ERA with nine strike-outs and two walks in 9.1 innings this year. All three runs Cochran-Gill has allowed came in one outing.
Other Winter Ball Notes:
- Jake Sanchez and Aaron Kurcz each have five saves in five opportunities for their Mexican Winter League clubs. Kurcz allowed four runs in his first outing for the Charros de Jalisco, but he has allowed just one run in 9.1 innings since then. Sanchez, who helped Mexico win the Caribbean World Series last year, has yet to allow a run in 8.1 innings for Aguilas de Mexicali. Andres Avila, like Kurcz a current minor league free agent, has two saves in two opportunities for Caneros de los Mochis. In eight innings, he has allowed two runs and has an 8:1 K:BB.
- Carlos Navas is off to a strong start for the Bravos de Margarita. In six appearances, he has allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits in 10.1 innings. Navas has 11 strike-outs and just one walk. He re-signed with the A's as a minor league free agent earlier in the off-season.
- Renato Nunez joined the Tigres de Aragua in the Venezuelan Winter League on October 26 and he is off to a fast start. In four games, he has six hits in 16 at-bats (.375 BA) and a homerun. He has walked once and struck-out twice. (Note: Nunez homered in his first at-bat on November 1 as this article was being published. It was his second of the season.)
- Joey Wendle continues to play well for Obregon of the Mexican Winter League. In 17 games over 64 at-bats, he is batting .297/.348/.469 with a homer, a triple and six doubles. He is also three-of-four in stolen base attempts. He continues to play a lot of shortstop for the Yanquis.
- Rangel Ravelo is having another strong winter in Venezuela. The 2015 VWL Rookie of the Year is batting .301/.441/.466 with three homers and 17 walks in 21 games for Cardenales de Lara.