Recapping The 2006 AFL Season

Now that the Arizona Fall League has come to an end, we take a look at how the Twins prospects who participated in the prestigious league did this season. Some prospects flourished during their time in the AFL, while some took a step backwards. In any case, this was a great learning experience for every prospect involved.

Position Players:

Douglas Deeds: Deeds got off to a hot start once he was placed on the Mesa Solar Sox roster, but he ended the season mired in a slump. He finished the year with a .216 batting average in 11 games. His best game of the season came against the Grand Canyon Rapids, when he went 2-3, with a triple, a home run, two runs, and four runs batted in. Deeds is slated to begin the 2007 season with the Rochester Red Wings.

Matthew Moses: Moses wanted to shake off a mediocre 2006 regular season with the New Britain Rock Cats with a better showing in the Arizona Fall League, and the young third baseman did just that. He batted .297 for the Solar Sox in 21 games, driving in 13 runs along the way. He did struggle against left-handers though, posting only a .238 batting average against southpaws, against a sweet .321 average against righties. He also drove in 12 of his 13 runs against right-handers.

Matt Tolbert: Tolbert had a tremendous Arizona Fall League season, and seems to be poised to make a serious run at a a starting spot in the Rochester infield in 2007. He batted mostly at the top of the order, posting a .313 batting average in 24 games. He drew 15 walks, scored 16 times, and swiped six bags without being caught. Tolbert also proved to be a clutch hitter, as he posted a .345 batting average with runners in scoring position, and a .317 average with runners on. He had by far one of the more breakout seasons in 2006.

David Winfree: A whirlwind 2006 season has finally come to an end for Winfree, who was the Twins Minor League Player of the Year in 2005. The young slugger batted only .176 for the Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League, but he did drive in 17 runs in only 21 games. He did show his classic pop however, as seven of his 12 base hits went for extra-bases. Winfree will be counted on to make some waves during the 2007 season, as he continues to battle Moses for supremacy at the Twins third base position.


Kevin Cameron: Cameron was one of the better relievers on the Rochester Red Wings during the 2006 season, but he had some ups and downs in the Arizona Fall League. He did not pitch that badly during the AFL, and if he did not allow seven earned runs in his last appearance, then his 8.56 earned run average would be considerably lower. However, Cameron will still be counted on as a main cog in the Red Wings bullpen this season, and may actually make his Major League debut sometime in 2007.

Jay Sawatski: Sawatski was a surprise pick for the Arizona Fall League, and he definitely looked overmatched for much of his time with the Solar Sox. The left-handed reliever got absolutely lit up by left-handed batters during the Fall League season, as righties stroked 15 hits off of him in only 28 at-bats. He finished the season with an earned run average over 11.00, and batters hit a combined .438 off of him.

Errol Simonitsch: Simonitsch had a very good Arizona Fall League season, starting seven games for the Mesa Solar Sox. He was solid thoughout all of his starts, and looked like the pitcher who the Twins put on the team's 40-man roster last winter. Simonitsch posted a 3.91 earned run average, and did not allow more than three earned runs in any of his starts. The young left-hander was stellar at home for Mesa, posting a 1.32 earned run average in his four starts, though he did get lit up to the tune of a 7.71 earned run average in his three road starts. Simonitsch should be in the rotation in Rochester in 2007.

Kevin Slowey: One of the crown jewls of the Twins farm system, Slowey showed Arizona Fall League fans why he is one of the more highly touted prospects in all of Minor League Baseball. The young fireballer posted a 2.37 earned run average in his eight appearances in the AFL, as he was worked from both the bullpen and the rotation. He began the year in the bullpen, due to the fact he was coming off a strong performance as a member of Team USA. His last three appearances were in the starter's role, and he did not yield more than one earned run per outing. He is likely to make his Major League debut sometime in the 2007 season.

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