OF, Travis Snider
.316/.404/.541, six doubles, two triples, four home runs, fifteen walks, twenty-nine strike outs and one stolen base.
Snider never missed a beat and tore up pitching that is much more advanced than what he saw in the Midwest League (Low-A). Among the youngest athletes participating in the AFL at the age of 19 years old, he amazed many scouts and baseball analysts that saw him take batting practice and held his own in the field with only two errors, the last one happening on a fielding mistake in the last game they played on November 15th.
"He's the real deal," said one National League scout who was in attendance in Arizona. "Toronto has themselves a star hitter, and a great fit for an American League club. He will be in the major leagues within the next two-and-a-half years."
He showed an impressive ability to hit the ball up-the-middle, lay off some tough pitches and also establish the inside part of the plate as his own, drawing a lot of outside offerings. Unfortunately for the opposing pitchers, he is also effective when he extends his arm and can use the whole field, keeping his average at .316.
He was able to hit southpaws for a decent average (.286), but recorded most of his extra-base hits against right-handed pitchers (10 of 12). When compared with the other AFL invitee, he ranked fifth in OPS (.944) among players with at least seventy at-bats.
Working on his base running and routes to ball in the outfield still remain his main priorities in 2008.
3B/SS, Sergio Santos
.319/.337/.585, ten doubles, five home runs, three walks, fifteen strike outs and one stolen base.
Santos used the AFL to beef up his offensive numbers and show what he can do - with a fastball. Santos continued to show an inability to lay off and hit off-speed pitches.
There is no denying his power potential and strong arm in the field, but important holes in his game, like his throwing accuracy and plate discipline, will hurt him at the major league level if no improvements are made. He accumulated six errors on the field.
His performance against right-handers (.319 batting average and .333 on-base average) is a welcome development for the 24-year-old, with eleven of his fifteen extra-base hits coming also coming against them.
OF, Ryan Patterson
.275/.348/.450, three doubles, one triple, three home runs, nine walks, fourteen strike outs and one stolen base.
Mainly used as a center fielder, one encouraging improvement in Patterson's game was the nine walks he drew against fourteen strike outs. In his last ten games, he actually walked more often (5) than he fanned out (4). The extra-base percentage (32%) decreased slightly when compared with the regular season production (38%), but the new-found plate discipline should be the main focus in his case.
Contrary to his teammate Sergio Santos, who also bats from the right side, the Dallas, Texas native struggled mightily against right-handed pitching, presenting a .554 OPS compared to 1.310 against southpaws.
Defensively, Patterson stayed off of all the box scores statistics, but one time for a missed catch on October 12th. He shows great athleticism and judgment in the outfield, making him a hot commodity if and when the time comes for a promotion throughout the organization.
LHP, David Purcey
1.23 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 22 innings pitched, 13 hits allowed, 3 earned runs, 9 walks, 25 strike outs, 0.91 Go/Ao and a .163 average against.
If there was such a thing as a Cy Young awarded in the AFL, this lefty would surely be a strong contender, posting the best ERA among regular starters and the third most strike outs in the league.
He worked both sides of the plate and was simply unhittable when right-handed batters came to the plate (0.94 average against).
What is most surprising among all statistics is the ‘0' under home runs allowed, a sure sign that he was able to keep the ball down in the zone. The nine walks proved costly for the 25-year-old, but he is clearly back in the good graces of the Blue Jays personnel after an average performance in 2006.
"Purcey showed was he can do when he trusts his stuff," one scout noted. "He had problems with consistent mechanics and his arm slot, but he's overcome those. I saw him in spring training as well and he looked outstanding."
"I think he has turned the corner around. He's a big left-hander, and has great stuff. He'll get plenty of chances."
LHP, Ricky Romero
3.86 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 11.2 innings pitched, 8 hits, 5 earned runs, 1 home run, 5 walks, 12 strike outs, 1.00 Go/Ao and a .190 average against.
The first rounder can sometimes turn in an impressive performance, but the next one is a disaster. His first few outings did not go well, but he did not allow an earned run in his last five appearances for the Scottsdale Scorpions, while walking only four and striking out ten.
While left-handed batters were getting fooled by his above average curve ball (.125 average against), right-handers were feasting on his fastball, which he has trouble locating (.231). He cannot be afraid of attacking hitters inside (especially righties) with his fastball, but right now he needs to work on that.
RHP, Justin James
4.80 ERA,1.40 WHIP, 15 innings pitched, 17 hits, 8 earned runs, 4 walks, 9 strike outs, 1.64 Go/Ao and a .279 average against.
James' numbers are a little misleading, mainly because he had back-to-back bad outings. He was clearly able to keep the ball down, but due to his stuff that is not overpowering and the reliance on his change-up, he got predictable and did not adjust.
A contact pitcher that will produce his fair share of strike outs, the 26-year-old should begin the year at Triple-A, but be in the mix for a promotion if the need arises at the major league level.
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