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Pleskoff's AFL Notebook: Fall League Recap

Bernie Pleskoff

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

This is my last notebook from my observations of the Arizona Fall League.

Carlos Sanchez, 3B/2B, CHW International free agent from Venezuela

Sanchez is an interesting player. He has played third base for the White Sox in the minors, but played exclusively at second in the Arizona Fall League. He played well defensively and only made two errors.

Sanchez led the AFL with 11 stolen bases. one more than highly touted Billy Hamilton. While Sanchez won't offer any power whatsoever, he will get on base, steal and score if he's on a solid hitting club. This fall, Sanchez hit .299 with no homers and 16 RBI. This past season at Triple-A Charlotte, he hit .256 with an RBI in his brief end of season opportunity. He didn't steal any bases.

Overall, he has a .299 batting average. The only hiccup being his stay at Charlotte, where he'll likely begin the 2013 season.

Matt Skole, 3B/1B, WAS fifth-round draft pick in 2011

Skole hit .305 in the AFL with three homers and 15 RBI. For a short season that isn't too bad. A big guy at 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, Skole can hit the ball a long way. He can also strike out a lot as well. He struck out 18 times in 59 at-bats in Arizona.

This past season he played at High-A. He isn't anywhere near ready as a player for Washington, but I wanted you to be familiar with his name.

Kaleb Cowart, 3B, LAA first-round pick in 2010

Cowart didn't show me why the Angels used a No. 1 draft pick on him. In fact, he hit only .200 in the AFL. A switch-hitter, he had one home run and eight RBI and made minimal impact offensively.

He did, however, play outstanding defense, but that won't help us in fantasy. Cowart spent 2012 at two different clubs. His best performance was .293 with nine homers and 54 RBI at Low-A Cedar Rapids. After a promotion to High-A Inland Empire, Cowart hit .259 with seven homers and 49 RBI over 263 at-bats.

Chris Owings, SS, ARI first-round compensation pick in 2009

Owings is a defense-first shortstop. He will not help many fantasy teams until he shows he can hit better quality pitching. He's making strides, but he has a way to go.

This fall, Owings hit .275 with a homer, nine RBI and four stolen bases. This past season, he hit .263 at Double-A Mobile and I think that may be around his maximum after a couple years in the big leagues.

Matt Szczur, OF, CHC fifth-round draft pick in 2010

Szczur is a scrappy, in your face outfielder. He will bunt for a hit if he has to, and will do anything to win.

Szczur hit .264 in Arizona with a homer, 13 RBI and nine stolen bases, which was impressive. While I like his style, he will be only a low-end option in fantasy leagues because of his lack of power and fairly empty batting average.

Jarred Cosart, SP, HOU 38th-round pick by the Philadelphia Phillies

For the life of me, I can't figure out the hype surrounding Cosart. I saw a very mediocre starting pitcher. He has low-90s velocity, good secondary pitches, and average to below average command. For me, Cosart is a back end of the rotation guy at this point of his development. Maybe there is more to come. I don't see it.

The numbers in Arizona weren't great Cosart went 0-3 with a 6.50 ERA, 18:9 K:BB and 1.86 WHIP in 18 innings. He was better in his 2012 minor league season. He pitched at two classifications. Against better hitters at Triple-A Oklahoma City, he had a 2.60 ERA in 27.2 innings.

Draft him if you must, but I saw a tired, inconsistent pitcher with little motivation. He didn't repeat his delivery and worked very hard for the little success he garnered.

Jonathan Singleton, 1B, HOU eighth-round pick by the Philadelphia Phillies

Not unlike Cosart, Singleton looked tired in the AFL. I imagine his bat is louder than the .226, three-homer, eight-RBI line he put up in Arizona. In fact, he played 2012 at Double-A Corpus Christi and hit .284 with 21 homers and 79 RBI. Frankly, I didn't see that kind of power. I saw a slow bat, and I saw a guy fooled completely by breaking balls.

He isn't ready for prime time. In fact, Singleton is far behind teammate George Springer who had a tremendous fall. If you have a choice of the two, look to grab Springer in a keeper league.

Having said that, I think Singleton will come around. I want to see him again as fresh as he was when I scouted him at the Futures Game. He looked like a different hitter then. He had spark in his bat.

Kyle Jensen, OF, MIA 12th-round pick in 2009

Jensen is a very powerful guy. In fact, the ball was tracked the second fastest off his bat. He hit .330 in Arizona. He also struck out a whopping 23 times in 91 at-bats. Contact is an issue, to say the least. Jensen hit five homers and drove in 19 runs. The power is raw but he will develop further.

This past season at Double-A, Jensen hit 24 homers and drove in 84 while hitting only .234. Buyer beware, and it should come as very little surprise that he also struck out 162 times. Yikes.

Tommy Joseph, C, PHI second-round draft pick by San Francisco Giants

Everything points to the Phillies wanting Joseph to be the heir apparent behind the plate. This fall, however, he was soundly outplayed by his Peoria teammate Mike Zunino of the Mariners.

Joseph is a .256 career minor league hitter. He has a little bit of pop in his bat and he should be able to walk into some homers in Philly. This fall, Joseph hit only .204. He had no homers and five RBI. I think he has some work to do on both sides of the ball. I would guess he'll spend most of the year at Triple-A, but don't be surprised to see him in the big leagues at some point in 2013.

Zach Collier, OF, PHI first-round compensation pick in 2008

I really like this guy, and he grew on me this fall. He can really, really run, but he's still raw. He doesn't play a great left field, and may have trouble getting to the big leagues.

However, when he gets on base, he makes things happen. He hit a very solid .371 in Arizona with no homers and 10 RBI. He stole three bases, but he can do better than that.

Collier hasn't played above A-Ball yet, and he hasn't hit over .269 anywhere. That doesn't deter me. I like his game and I think he'll find his way. He's projectable, but it will be a while.

Brian Goodwin, OF, WAS first-round compensation pick in 2011

I believe Goodwin will one day play in the major leagues. I just don't know when. This fall he hit some amazing drives to the gaps for triples. He has very good speed and ability to run the bases well.

He hit only .238 in the AFL, but it was the loudest .238 imaginable. He had three homers, two triples and six doubles, while stealing five bases. Goodwin started his first full season in A-ball and moved to Double-A. That was a very quick promotion for a 22-year-old player.

Watch him during the next season.

Kevin Siegrist, LHP, STL 41st-round draft pick in 2008

I think Siegrist must have surprised the Cardinals with his good minor league career so far. He's a late draft pick, but he threw in two classifications last season.

Combined, Siegrist went 7-2 with a 2.77 ERA. He walked 31 and struck out 68 in 87.2 innings pitched. He had a WHIP of 1.077.

In the Fall League, Siegrist impressed me with his mound presence and his ability to throw his entire repertoire in the strike zone. He had an ERA of 2.37 while walking six and striking out 27 in 19 innings.

Every team needs pitching. Especially left-handed pitching. I am bullish on Siegrist and I think he'll continue to make strides in the Cardinals organization. Look for him in two more years as part of a starting rotation somewhere.

Hunter Morris, 1B, MIL fourth-round draft pick in 2010

Morris is the rare guy that actually dropped in the draft after he failed to sign with Boston when they chose him in the second round of the 2007 draft. Instead, he chose to go to college at Auburn.

Morris is a good hitting, good fielding first baseman. This fall, he hit .256 with a homer and eight RBI in Arizona. However, he played at Double-A Huntsville this past season and hit .303 with 28 homers and 113 RBI.

I like those statistics and I like his swing, but like lots of power hitters, he doesn't always make contact. He struck out 20 times this fall and 117 this past season. He could begin the season at Triple-A. If he continues hitting, look for him at some point in late 2013.

Nate Roberts, OF, MIN fifth-round pick in 2010

If this guy continues to hit as he has so far in his short career, the Twins may really have something. He has played parts of three seasons in the minor leagues and he has a composite .307 batting average. This past season he hit .299 at Low-A Beloit.

In the AFL, Roberts led the league with a .446 average. He also hit three homers and drove in 15 runs in only 65 at-bats. Roberts is a good athlete, quick on the bases and he centers the ball very well. He makes good contact, and he struck out only seven times all fall. He also stole six bases.

Roberts has a long way to go in his development, but he gives Twins fans some hope. He's not only a good hitter, but he can play in the outfield.


This is the team of players I feel will make an impact in Major League Baseball at some point. I can't predict their arrival date. Players that have already played in the big leagues are not listed. My top picks are listed in bold.

Mike Zunino-C-MARINERS
Tommy Joseph- C-PHILLIES

Jonathan Singleton-1B-ASTROS
Hunter Morris-1B-BREWERS

Nick Franklin-2B-MARINERS
Kolten Wong-2B-CARDINALS
Carlos Sanchez-2B-WHITE SOX

Didi Gregorius-SS-REDS
Hak-Ju Lee-SS RAYS


Rymer Liriano-OF-PADRES
Christian Yelich-OF-MARLINS
George Springer-OF-ASTROS


Robbie Erlin-LHSP-PADRES
Luke Putkonen-RHP-TIGERS
Justin Marks-LHP-ROYALS
Mark Montgomery-RHRP-YANKEES

Ronnie Rodriquez 2B/SS-Indians
Rafael Ynoa-INF-Dodgers
Nick Ahmed-SS-Braves
Luke Putkonen-P-Tigers
Stefan Romero-INF-Mariners
Luis Sardinas-SS-Rangers
Matt Szczur-OF-Cubs
Chia-Jen Lo-P-Astros
Zach Collier-OF-Phillies
Gift Ngoepe-INF-Pirates
Cory Spangenberg-2B-Padres
Jeudy Valdez-INF-Padres
Heath Hembree-P-Giants
Nate Roberts-OF-Twins
Bobby LeFromboise-LHP-Mariners

Robbie Erlin-LHP Padres
Nick Franklin-SS/2B Mariners
Hak-Ju Lee-SS Rays
Mike Zunino-C Mariners
Gary Brown-OF Giants
Kolten Wong- 2B Cardinals

Luis Sardinas-Rangers
Ronnie Rodriguez-Indians
Gift Ngoepe-Pirates
Rafael Ynoa-Dodgers
Stefan Romero-Mariners
Mark Montgomery-Yankees
Kevin Siegrist-Cardinals
Nate Roberts-Twins
Justin Marks-Royals

Joe Panik-Giants
Kaleb Cowart-Angels
Bryce Brentz-Red Sox
Bobby Cassevah-Angels
Randal Girchuk-Angels
Austin Romine-Yankees
Delin Betances-Yankees
Vinny Catricala-Mariners
James Paxton-Mariners
Tim Beckham-Rays
Kelin Deglan-Rangers
Jake Marisnick-Marlins
Tyler Chatwood-Rockies
Jarred Cosart-Astros
Richie Shaffer- Rays
Kyle Gibson-Twins
Deck McGuire-Blue Jays

Power hitter: Rymer Liriano, George Springer
Pure hitter: Mike Zunino, Christian Yelich
Hitting Mechanics: Christian Yelich
Speed: Billy Hamilton
Athlete: Didi Gregorius
Stuff: Robbie Erlin
Velocity: Johnny Hellweg, Trey Haley, Tyler Chatwood, Victor Black
Slider: Mark Montgomery
Defense: Luis Sardinas, Didi Gregorius

Follow me from baseball's Winter Meetings on Twitter @BerniePleskoff