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Bernie On The Scene: Reviewing the Appalachian League

Bernie Pleskoff

Bernie Pleskoff

Bernie Pleskoff is a former professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners.

Last week, I looked at some of the better statistical performances from this season's rookie Arizona League season.

This week I'm taking a look at the advanced rookie Appalachian League.

There were some outstanding 2012 performances. They could be the harbinger of big things for some of these players.

Let's take a look:

Dario Pizzano, OF, Seattle Mariners

Pizzano is a left-handed hitter from Saugus, Massachusetts. He was a 15th-round selection of the Mariners in the 2012 draft.

The 5-foot-11, 200-pound, 21 year-old Pizzano played left field and right field for Pulaski this summer hitting .356 with four homers, 20 extra-base hits and 28 RBI over 53 games while also stealing three bases (225 plate appearances).

The Mariners are loaded with solid corner outfielders at the higher levels in the system. However, none have really stepped up yet and claimed a role as a fence busting run producer.

Candido Pimentel, OF, Minnesota Twins

The switch-hitting 22-year-old native of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic hit .330 with a homer and 22 RBI for Elizabethton. Pimentel, 5-foot-11, 160 pounds played second base, left field and right field in 56 total games. Most were played at second base, a position of weakness in the Twins organization. Among his 71 Appalachian hits were 10 doubles and three triples. Known for speed, Pimentel stole 16 bases while being caught 7 times.

Ildemaro Vargas, MI, St. Louis Cardinals

Vargas played most of his time (56 of 59 games) at second base for the Cardinals' Appalachian League entry. He played shortstop once and also served as a designated hitter while hitting .322 with four homers and 28 RBI for Johnson City. He had 15 doubles, two triples and eight stolen bases, but was caught stealing eight times.

Vargas is six feet tall and weighs 170 pounds. He's a 21-year-old switch-hitter from Caripito, Venezuela.

The Cardinals have some players coming through the system at the middle-infield positions, including Kolten Wong. Both shortstop and second base have been problematic for St. Louis for a number of years.

Jean Batista, INF, Houston Astros

Batista played first base (26 games), second base (11 games), shortstop (13 games) and DH (1 game) for Greeneville in the Appalachian League.

The 20-year-old is a switch-hitter listed at 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds. Batista hit .321/.345/.531 with 36 RBI and a 6-for-8 mark as a basestealer while carrying a 7:31 BB:K. Batista also smacked 19 doubles and a pair of triples among his 63 hits.

Brian Basik, 3B/LF/2B, Houston

As they did with Batista (see above), Houston provided Basik an opportunity to learn by playing him 48 games at second base, five games at third base, and two games in the outfield. He was also a designated hitter twice.

The right-handed hitting Basik, 22, is 5-foot-11 tall and 180 pounds and is from Germantown, Ohio. Basik hit .318 with a homer and 43 RBI for the Astros' Greeneville team. Among his 69 hits in 239 plate appearances were 14 doubles, three triples and six stolen bases.

Jorge Polanco, 2B/SS/RF, Minnesota Twins

Polanco is only 19 years old. He's from San Pedro de Macoris of the Dominican Republic. The switch-hitting Polanco played most of his Appalachian League games (35) at second base for Elizabethton. He also played 15 games at shortstop and one in right field.

Polanco, 5-foot-11 and 165 pounds, had a line of .318 with five homers and 27 RBI for the Twins' Appalachian League team while adding 15 doubles, two triples and six steals.

Terrance Gore, OF, Kansas City Royals

Gore, 21, is only 5-feet-7 inches tall. That makes him among the smallest players in the professional game. He weighs only 165 pounds and hails from Macon, Georgia.

During the short Appalachian season, Gore hit just .256 with no homers and 13 RBI. So why do I include him in this report? He stole 36 bases in 61 games. He was caught stealing only twice. The man can fly. Gore played for Burlington. His time was spent predominantly in left field, but he did play some in center field as well.

Daniel Minor, RHP, Houston Astros

Minor, 21, pitched for Greeneville and was a ninth-round pick in the 2012 first-year player draft. A 5-foot-11, 188-pound right-hander, Minor was born in Dripping Springs, Texas. He threw 59 innings that covered nine starts while going 3-2 with a 48:10 K:BB (1.034 WHIP).

Todd Kibby, LHP, Chicago White Sox

Kibby is a 21-year-old left-handed starter. He threw 71 innings and gave up 59 hits while carrying a 69:21 K:BB, 3.00 ERA and 1.127 WHIP. Kibby also pitched for Kannapolis in the Appalachian League in 2011 as well as in this past Appy League season.

At 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, Kibby is a big lefty from Middleton, Ohio, selected by the White Sox in the 37th round of the 2011 draft.

BUNTS

Some forget that if two teams tie for a division championship, the loser of the playoff game is the 1st Wild Card in the playoffs. That can rain on the parade of teams now leading Wild Card races.

I think we should have learned by now that the St. Louis Cardinals cannot be dismissed in the postseason hunt.

Manager Mike Scioscia and general manager Jerry Dipoto are not communicating well in Los Angeles. It's very possible Scioscia may move along after the season. Boston?

I'm sure you picked Pedro Ciriaco and Luis Cruz for your fantasy team this season, right? Are you kidding me? Both have been players with impact.

Did a small poll on Twitter. MVP in the NL? Braun, McCutchen, Posey and one voice for Kimbrel. Your take?

Twitter response to MVP in the AL? Trout, Cabrera, Cano.

Is there an MVP in Baltimore, Oakland, St. Louis? How about Washington and Atlanta?

Who killed your fantasy team(s) the most this season? For me? Try Justin Masterson and Ricky Romero. Yikes.

Follow me on Twitter @BerniePleskoff and on MLB.com.

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