Arizona Fall League Update: Week One

The first week of the Arizona Fall League kicked off last week, and five of the Tigers six got into the action. The Mesa Solar Sox unfortunately were only able to put together a record of 1-3 in their first week, but there were a couple of impressive performances from the Tigers in the first week of the six week campaign.

Easily the highlight of the week was the start from Erie starting pitcher Humberto Sanchez. Sanchez battled injuries for much of the season, missing the first two months of the year, and then struggling through the final few months, battling inconsistency and fatigue en route to what amounted to a lost season.

But Sanchez started out the Arizona Fall League in style, turning in four strong innings for the Solar Sox. Sanchez gave up three hits and one unearned run, while striking out seven. Sanchez wasn't the pitcher on record, and the bullpen would later lose the lead, but an impressive start from Sanchez is certainly a great first week note.

David Espinosa also had a solid first week, managing five hits (including two doubles) in three games of action. Espinosa also swiped a base for Mesa.

Don Kelly also got in the action, starting three games for Mesa. He wasn't quite as successful, hitting .250 in his 12 at bats and also committing an error. Kelly has moved around the infield for the Tigers, but has been focused in the AFL at shortstop. The Tigers are likely hoping to determine if Kelly is truly a long term option at shortstop, or if he'll likely be better off at third base or second base.

Kody Kirkland only got into one game in his first week in the AFL – that stretch will likely continue, as Kirkland wasn't a priority for the Tigers, being a late add-in as a replacement for Curtis Granderson. Kirkland managed a hit, a walk and a run in three at bats.

Adam Peterson, who the Tigers acquired off waivers back in April, appeared in a pair of games for Mesa with an up-and-down week. He gave up a pair of runs in his first appearance in taking the loss, but was solid in his second go of it from the mound, pitching two shutout innings.

The final member of the team, Mark Woodyard, has yet to get into a game. The swingman of course is battling a number of others for time on the mound, and so only four games in, there should be little concern that he hasn't yet gotten into a game.

Going forward in the next five weeks, the key elements to note will be David Espinosa and his battles with consistency and power, Don Kelly and his defense, Humberto Sanchez and whether he's able to put his '05 struggles behind him, as well as Adam Peterson and whether or not he's going to prove worthy of eating up a spot on the Tigers' 40 man roster for almost all of 2005.

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