20-7, 8.0 GU
Surprise moved one step closer to locking up a spot in the Arizona Fall League Championship Game with a resounding 17-4 victory over second-place Peoria. The Saguaros' magic number is down to three.
Slugging third baseman Mike Olt (.346/.419/.705) extended his hitting streak to nine games, going 3-for-4 with a double, a home run, two walks, and six runs batted in. He also scored three runs.
While AFL stats tend to mean little in the grand scheme of things, Olt is certainly putting his talents on display in the advanced circuit. Through 19 games, he leads the league in home runs (eight), runs batted in (30), and slugging percentage (.705).
Nine-hole hitting second baseman Leury Garcia (.365/.385/.619) was 3-for-5 with another home run––his third––and three RBI. The switch-hitting middle infielder entered his AFL campaign with only seven career round-trippers in 328 games.
Ryan Strausborger (.327/.352/.558) also contributed with a pinch-hit RBI single in the seventh inning.
Starting pitcher Miguel de los Santos (2.86 ERA/.177 BAA) continued his run of impressive starts by hurling five innings of one-run ball on 73 pitches. He gave up four hits and fanned seven without walking a batter. The lone run came on a solo homer.
According to pitch f/x, de los Santos got his strikeouts on the following pitches––92 mph fastball (swinging), 92 mph fastball (swinging), 91 mph fastball (swinging), 93 mph fastball (swinging), 78 mph changeup (swinging), 79 mph changeup (looking), 79 mph changeup (swinging).
De los Santos' velocity was down a tick during the regular season, as he sat mostly in the 89-91 mph range. But he sat comfortably at 90-92 on Friday, even touching 93 on a few occasions. His plus-plus changeup induced seven swinging strikes in the five innings, and he is throwing his curveball harder. While the pitch was often slow and loopy in the low-70s during the regular season, he is throwing it around 75-76 mph this fall.
The southpaw has the following line in his four AFL starts––17.2 ip, 12 h, 5 r, 3 bb, 24 k. He leads the circuit with 30 total punchouts in 22 innings.
No Rangers appeared in Friday's games.
Left fielder Julio Borbon played a full game for Escogido for the first time since October 30, and he singled twice in five at-bats. Borbon is now 6-for-26 (.231) with a double, a triple, and a home run in nine contests.
Engel Beltre came on as a defensive replacement for Licey in the sixth inning, playing center field. He was hit by a pitch in his lone plate appearance.
Obregon closer Cody Eppley finished off a 3-1 win––earning his fifth save––with a perfect ninth inning that included two strikeouts and a groundout. He threw 15 pitches, including nine strikes.
Eppley's line through 12 appearances in Mexico––13.0 ip, 14 h, 6 er, 6 bb, 16 k.
Because there are only five teams in the Puerto Rico Baseball League, two of the clubs will play games each day while one team gets the day off. The four teams in action during Friday's opening night were Carolina, Caguas, Ponce, and Mayaguez.
The only Rangers currently listed on the rosters both play for Ponce––left-hander Alexander Claudio and catcher Kevin Torres. Righty Adalberto Flores, a free agent who pitched with Double-A Frisco this season, is also on the Ponce club. Recently released first baseman Jose Ruiz will be playing for Mayaguez this winter.
No current Rangers appeared in Friday's games. Jose Ruiz batted cleanup as the Mayaguez DH and had one single in four at-bats. Flores worked two-thirds of an inning without yielding a run for Ponce.
No Rangers played on Friday. So far, the club's only prospects to appear in Liga Paralela are outfielder Eduard Pinto and right-hander Richard Alvarez. Pinto is currently attending instructs at the Rangers' Dominican complex.
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