Friday's AFL, HWB Recap

The Scottsdale Scorpions could not keep their 4-0 lead they took in the first inning Friday night and remained winless with a 7-5 defeat at the hands of Phoenix. Blue Jays prospects were all over the place, but each of them for different reasons. Here's what happened in this fourth game of the AFL schedule.

LHP, Ricky Romero

The southpaw appeared in relief of Calvin Medlock in the fifth inning, but failed to complete the frame, quitting after only one out registered and three batters faced. He allowed one single, was responsible for two earned runs and was stolen off against twice by the same runner (2B, Cliff Pennington). He threw thirteen pitches, including eight that went for strikes. He kept his offerings down, except for two pitches that were put in play by the batters.

Blue Jays fans are hoping he is not experiencing any arm injuries, after missing one month of action in the middle of the 2007 season. Toronto's 2005 first round pick has yet to replicate his college performances with the Toronto organization, when in 2005 with California State Fullerton he put up these impressive statistics: 134 IP, 102 H, 43 ER, 6 HR, 34 BB, 139 K, 2.28 BB/9 and a 9.34 K/9.

Romero entered the Fall League with clear instructions regarding the use of his fastball, a pitch he has not used as much as the Blue Jays want him to. This situation requires immediate attention, as any successful pitcher has to use his fastball to set up hitters and keep them guessing. The 22-year-old is experiencing a problem that usually happens in reverse, where power arms fall in love with their fastball and fail to correctly set up their off-speed offerings.

Last year with Double-A New Hampshire (including a 4.2 innings outing with High-A Dunedin), the 6'1'', 210 pound athlete recorded the following pitching line: 93 IP, 102 H, 50 ER, 9 HR, 52 BB, 82 K, 1.24 Go/Ao and a .278 avg. against.

SS, Sergio Santos

For the second time in three appearances in defense, Santos was ordered 45 feet at the right of the shortstop. He went errorless, while making three putouts, including starting a double-play.

At the plate, the Bellflower, California native was 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored in the first inning.

Plate discipline has always been a weak aspect of Santos' overall offense, but drew a career-best 44 walks in Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Syracuse in 2007. When he was part of the Arizona Diamondbacks farm system, he recorded .367 and .368 OBP in his first two years as a pro, while showing the power bat that Jays fans witnessed last season when he had a .453 SLG% (36 doubles, 2 triples and 20 home runs), well above his minor league average (5 seasons) of .402.

Sergio Santos has only one hit in eight at-bats in the AFL so far, with one walk and a pair of strike outs.

CF, Ryan Patterson

Patterson patrolled center field for the first time in Winter ball, a position he has occupied a few times this past season (he committed only 4 errors in 98 presence in the outfield). This time around, he was charged with a missed catch.

Offensively, he batted fifth in the lineup, right behind Travis Snider and went hitless with a walk, his second in the AFL. He has been on base at least once in every game he has played in, but only has a .182/.308/.182 batting line to show for it.

LF, Travis Snider

After going hitless Thursday night, Snider redeemed himself by hitting two doubles and drawing a walk. Pitchers consistently threw to him on the outside part of the plate, well aware that he would be even more dangerous if a pitch reach his wheelhouse.

The outfielder has been on base 61.5% (3rd in the AFL) of the time on base so far in 13 plate appearances and has half of his hits for extra bases. The 5'11'', 245 pound youngster led the Midwest league in SLG last year at .525 and had the second best average with .313.

Hawaii Winter Baseball

More than 2800 miles away, action continued on the Hawaii diamonds with some Winter Baseball, including the West Oahu CaneFires who lost their third straight game to compile a 2-8 record.

Catcher Brian Jeroloman played yesterday and went hitless while striking out twice. Batting eighth in the lineup, he took his batting line to .238/.407/.476, 2 doubles, 1 home run, 7 RBI, 6 walks and 7 K. He has been splitting time behind the plate with Kenley Jansen and Chad Tracy, good for 21 AB so far.

The 22-year-old New Yorker led the Florida State League in walks last season with 85 and was second to teammate Josh Kreuzer in OBP with an excellent .421.

For his part, shortstop Anthony Hatch went hitless and walked in the ninth inning only to be stranded on a Joshua Bell groundout. The 24-year-old has been playing third base, shortstop and second base since he began to play in Hawaii and was coming off a two-hit performance that included a double the day before.

With High-A Dunedin this past season, he handled third base duties for in 95 games (15 errors), second base 13 times (4 errors) and once at shortstop. Yesterday's game featured his 5th error so far in Winter ball, this time on a throw from the premium position.

His bat fits the hot corner well, for he is a power-hitting, high on-base prospect, but would be a great asset if he could handle the middle-of-the-field positions.

He currently ranks fourth in the league with a 1.036 OPS.

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