Around the AFL: Corey Smith on the rise

Brandon Who? Sure, he has blasted nine home runs in 11 games, but Brandon Wood's .955 slugging percentage is not good enough for the team lead in Surprise. That honor goes to the Padres' Corey Smith, who has absolutely decimated the league's pitchers so far.

In 26 at bats, Corey Smith has 14 hits, including four doubles and three homers. For the math-challenged, that's 28 total bases and a slugging percentage of 1.038.

"My main concern is choosing good pitches to hit and being able to consistently attack the fastball," said Smith.

Despite the early success, Smith is still relatively anonymous on a roster full of high-profile hitters like Wood, Howie Kendrick and Kendry Morales, all of the Angels, and the Royals' Billy Butler and the newly-arrived Alex Gordon.

"It's the most confident clubhouse I've ever been a part of," said Smith. "It's great to be around all these guys and the level of competition we have."

Although he has worked primarily as a DH and only been in the field for two games so far, Smith did spend time with the Padres' instructional league squad before the start of the season to work on his defense. After committing 31 errors in Mobile, this year, Smith is focused on better footwork at the hot corner.

The Revenge of the Pitchers:

After the blistering opening offensive salvo in the Arizona Fall League, a number of pitchers around the circuit had strong showings in week two. The Javelinas, who averaged eight runs in their first five games, managed only seven total in four losses this week, including final scores of 7-0 and 5-1.

Starters Shane Komine, Jamie Shields, Steven White and David Maust all turned in five-inning performances without allowing an earned run this week. No pitcher accomplished the feat in the first 15 games of the year.

Roster merry-go-rounds:

Several more top prospects were removed from AFL rosters this week. Following Josh Barfield, Ian Snell and Ryan Bullington who were all originally slated to spend the fall in Phoenix, Prince Fielder and Justin Huber have both officially left the league.

Fielder's departure, which was announced Tuesday after only 21 at bats, will certainly mean more plate appearances for the Padres' Michael Johnson. Johnson, whose average has dropped to .289, had his playing time curtailed when Fielder arrived last Monday.

Wade Townsend (Devil Rays) who was drafted in the first round for the second year in a row this June, has been shut down with a torn elbow ligament.


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