AFL and Winter League Notebook – November 3, 2004

The A's have a number of prospects in the AFL and in various winter leagues. <i>AFL and Winter League Notebook</i> gives you an update on how they are progressing.

Phoenix Desert Dogs:

Shortstop Omar Quintanilla continues to swing a hot bat in AFL action, as he added two more hits and another RBI to his total on Tuesday. Quintanilla has cracked the .400 mark (.407) and is second on the Desert Dogs behind Mark Teahen in batting. Outfielder Jason Perry took the Desert Dog team lead in homeruns on Tuesday, when he blasted his fourth dinger of the AFL season. Perry has shown impressive power so far this AFL season, clubbing six of his eleven hits for extra bases. Perry has also driven in 10 runs (good for fourth on the team), despite having only 42 at-bats (team leaders Ryan Howard and Jeremy Hermida have 82 at-bats each). Perry has started 10 games in the field and has pinch hit in five others.

Catcher John Baker has struggled throughout much of the AFL season with both his swing and his glove. Baker was hitting right at .200 before two hits on Tuesday pushed his average up to .259. He has shown good patience at the plate, however, and has a healthy .394 OBP. Baker has committed three errors behind the plate. The A's are hoping to see an improvement in Baker's defense over the next year before they let him compete for the starting role in Oakland in 2006.

Closer Huston Street has continued to dominate AFL hitters. He has allowed only one run the entire season and his ERA now sits at 0.75. He has allowed only 10 baserunners in 12 innings of work. Starter Stephen Obenchain has been somewhat inconsistent in his AFL outings this season. His line is an ugly 0-1 with a 5.74 ERA in 15.2 innings pitched. However, 7 of the 10 runs Obenchain has allowed came in one horrendous outing, so he has actually performed better overall then his stats will indicate. He hasn't been sharp with his control, however, as he has walked 7 against only 11 strikeouts. He has also allowed 20 hits. The walks and the hits have translated into a lot of baserunners, so Obenchain will need to improve his control for his AFL season to improve dramatically.

Mexican League:

Dan Johnson clubbed his fourth homerun of the Mexican League season on Tuesday. After a bit of a slow start, Johnson has heated up, especially in the power department. Johnson's homerun was his third in the past four games. He has driven in a team-high 16 runs and has a .596 SLG. Johnson is being tested in the Mexican League, which is notorious for featuring pitchers who throw a lot of breaking balls (more specifically, curveballs). He has struck out 10 times in 14 games, but has walked seven times and has shown good patience overall. How Johnson does this winter against Mexican League pitching could be a good indication of whether he will be able to handle the breaking pitches better then Bobby Crosby did during his rookie season. Thus far, it appears Johnson is doing a good job with those pitches.

Fellow Sacramento star Matt Watson can't claim the same success as Johnson, however. Although he has driven in 12 runs, Watson has remained under the Mendoza line through 56 at-bats. He has hit three homeruns, but hasn't managed any more extra base hits. He'll need to pick up his play to enter spring training with a strong chance to make the A's 25-man roster.

Dominican League:

Jairo Garcia is off to an inconsistent start in the Dominican Winter Leagues. It is still very early in the season, so there shouldn't be too much read into his early performance. However, he is showing both the dominating stuff which has made him one of the A's top prospects and some of the control problems which could keep him in the minor leagues for all or part of 2005. Garcia had a very good outing on Tuesday, as he struck out the side and allowed only one hit in one inning of work. He has eight strikeouts in only five innings pitched so far this season. However, he has allowed four earned runs (six in total) largely because he has walked three in those five innings and has fallen behind other hitters. Garcia's strikeout total is encouraging and if he can reign in the walks and get ahead of more hitters, he should be a dominating force in the Dominican Winter League this year.

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