Fall League Update: 10/24

It's been an eventful week in the two fall leagues, with the Grand Canyon Rafters and West Oahu CaneFires going in opposite directions in the standings. RC recaps the action inside, and we take a quick look at the two Royals' farmhands who have been selected to play in the AFL's inaugural "Rising Stars Showcase" this Friday.


Grand Canyon Rafters (6-6):

The Arizona Fall League this week announced the rosters for Friday's "Rising Stars Showcase," and two Royals were selected to represent the Western Division squad. Rafters ace Luke Hochevar will get the start, opposing the Solar Sox' Mike Pelfrey (Mets). The pitching match-up, which will take place at the Royals' spring home at Surprise Stadium, is an intriguing one, as Pelfrey and Hochevar were widely considered to be the top two pitching prospects available in the 2005 amateur draft. Also representing the Royals will be outfielder Mitch Maier, who could get the start in center field for the Western Division squad. The game, which features the AFL's top talent, begins at 7:15 p.m. (MST) and will be broadcast live on MLB Radio.

On the week, the Rafters squandered their 5-0 start with a five-game losing streak, and they now stand in second place in the AFL's Western Division with a 6-6 record, one game behind the division-leading Peoria Saguaros. Hochevar made his third start of the season on October 21 vs. Mesa, and he surrendered two runs over three innings while striking out four batters. On the season, Hochevar has now allowed eight earned runs on 13 hits in 8.1 IP (8.64 ERA), and he's struck out eight batters while walking a pair. His next start will be in the AFL showcase, which falls perfectly in line with his rotation schedule.

Among the position players, Maier had the best week for the Rafters, going 7-for-21 (.333). He went 4-for-5 against the Peoria Saguaros on October 18, and he's now 13-for-45 (.289) with three doubles, a triple, and three stolen bases on the season. Fernando Cortez cooled off a bit after his fast start, getting just two hits in 12 at bats this week. He's now 8-for-26 (.308) on the season. Catcher Adam Donachie played in just one game over the past week, but he took full advantage of his sparse playing time. Donachie went 2-for-3 with a walk, a double, and an RBI against the Peoria Javelinas on October 23, and he's now 4-for-10 (.400) with three doubles. Outfielder Chris Lubanski, who remains on the taxi squad, saw action in two games and went a combined 2-for-4 with a walk. Lubanski has played in just three games thus far, and he's now 2-for-7 (.286) on the season.

Lubanski got his first two hits of the fall this week

Gabe DeHoyos saw action in two games this week, throwing a combined 1.1 scoreless innings while surrendering two hits and three walks. DeHoyos has yet to allow a run in 5.1 IP this fall, and he's allowed six hits and four walks while striking out four. Devon Lowery also appeared in two games, and he had a terrible outing on October 21 vs. the Solar Sox. In 1.1 IP, Lowery surrendered four earned runs, and he now sports an ERA of 8.44 in 5.1 IP this fall. Neal Musser, however, has continued to pitch very well. In 7.2 IP so far, Musser has allowed just one earned run (1.17 ERA) and seven hits while striking out six.

Musser has been very effective so far this fall

West Oahu CaneFires (6-6):

While the Rafters had a rough week, the CaneFires went 4-1 to climb into first place in the Hawaiian Winter Baseball League. With an 8-6 record, the CaneFires now have a one-game lead over both the North Shore Honu and the Waikiki Beach Boys.

Brian McFall had a pretty good week after a miserable 2-for-19 start, going 4-for-13 with a double and a homer. Strikeouts have always been a concern for McFall, but he went down on strikes just once last week, and on the season he's now hitting .188 with six RBIs. Mike Stodolka cooled off a bit after his great start, and the left-handed first baseman is now 10-for-27 (.370) on the season with two doubles, a triple, and eight walks (giving him an impressive OBP of .514).

Stodolka's plate discipline might be his best attribute

On the mound, Gilbert de la Vara had an excellent week, tossing three scoreless innings while surrendering just one hit and two walks. In six outings this fall, de la Vara has an ERA of 2.70 in 10.0 IP, and he's struck out 10 batters while allowing eight hits and six walks. Jarrod Plummer also threw three innings this week and allowed his first two earned runs of the fall while striking out four. He's now pitched 7.0 innings over six outings, and he's struck out 11 (against just one walk) while compiling an ERA of 2.57.

De la Vara had a good week


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