Tag:Jeff Bianchi
Posted on: October 25, 2009 10:04 pm

AFL Orioles - Week 2

Orioles fans who happen to peruse the Arizona Fall League statistical leaderboards will notice some familiar names. After two weeks of AFL action, Brandon Snyder leads the circuit with 15 RBI, while Josh Bell ranks second with a .464 average. Matt Angle is the league leader in stolen bases (six) and ranks second in runs scored with 11. All three are big reasons why the Phoenix Desert Dogs sit atop the AFL East standings with a 7-4 record.


Monday, Oct. 19

Brandon Erbe got the start and fired two perfect innings, fanning two and throwing 19 of his 29 pitches for strikes. Ryohei Tanaka relieved Erbe and cruised through the third before finding trouble in the fourth. He served up a one-out solo shot to Cincinnati's Chris Heisey , then loaded the bases on two singles and a walk. Tanaka got the second out of the inning on a pop-up before Indians prospect Carlos Rivero laced an RBI single to left, with a second potential run cut down at the plate. Bell had a big day at the dish, going 4-for-5 with an RBI double, a triple and three runs scored. In his lone right-handed at bat of the day, he singled off Braves first-round pick Mike Minor . Snyder went 2-for-5 with a double and a run, but also struck out twice and grounded into a double play. Phoenix picked up its fifth straight win, beating the Peoria Saguaros 6-2.

Tuesday, Oct. 20

Angle went 3-for-5 out of the leadoff spot with a double, a run, an RBI and a stolen base. Brandon Waring , hitting third and playing third base, went 1-for-4 with a double, a run and a walk. He fanned twice to bring his AFL total to seven through 13 at bats. Josh Perrault came on in relief in the seventh and promptly allowed his first AFL run when Heisey followed a Brandon Hicks (Braves) double with an RBI single. He escaped further trouble with help from catcher A.J. Jimenez , who gunned down Heisey on a steal attempt for the second out of the inning. The Peoria Saguaros tallied six runs in the ninth to hand the Desert Dogs their second loss of the season, 11-8.

Wednesday, Oct. 21

Snyder went 4-for-5 with a pair of homers and matched the AFL single-game season-high of seven RBI in the Desert Dogs' 17-4 rout of the Peoria Javelinas. He took Nick Hill (Mariners) deep to center for a two-run shot in the third and blasted a three-run bomb - also to center -  off 2007 Seattle first-rounder Phillippe Aumont in the seventh. Snyder also had a two-run single and a double, and even managed a stolen base. Not to be outdone, Bell went 4-for-5 with a three-run bomb his own off Aumont and a double. He went 2-for-2 with a double against Hill, a southpaw. Angle went 2-for-5 with a pair of singles and picked up an RBI on a bases-loaded walk in the fourth.

Click here to continue reading this article on The Washington Times' National Pastime blog
Posted on: June 12, 2009 12:05 am
Edited on: June 12, 2009 12:08 am

Moustakas set for another summertime surge?

From The Washington Times' National Pastime

Kansas City Royals top prospect Mike Moustakas is off to a so-so start this season for the advanced Class A Wilmington Blue Rocks , but if recent history is any indication, he's primed for big things in the second half. The 2007 No. 2 overall pick hit just .228 with nine home runs in the first half last year for the Class A Burlington Bees , then heated up along with the weather. By season's end the 6-foot, 195-pound third baseman had raised his average to .272 to go along with a Midwest League -best 22 homers.

Last year it was a steady diet of breaking balls that Moustakas had to adjust to; this year, it's the more advanced Carolina League pitching. "The guys out here have more control of their stuff - all three pitches they can throw for strikes at any time," Moustakas said Monday night before his Blue Rocks hosted the Boston Red Sox -affiliated Salem Red Sox . "The pitchers are a lot better."

Moustakas - who is hitting .267 with 13 doubles, seven home runs and 37 RBI through 56 games - is also dealing with the challenge of playing half his games in the Carolina League's most notorious pitchers' park. Moustakas said he couldn't put his finger on exactly what makes Wilmington's Frawley Stadium such a difficult place to hit. "It's a big field out to left-center, and the ball just doesn't really carry well here, I guess," he said.

Though his numbers aren't eye-popping, Moustakas' steady play earned him a spot in the California-Carolina All-Star Game, to be held June 23 at The Diamond in Lake Elsinore, Calif. The 20-year-old was pleasantly surprised by his selection. "I was honored, and a little shocked, too," he said. "We've got guys on this team like Clint Robinson and Jeff Bianchi who definitely deserved it too - they're playing unbelievable. But I was definitely honored, and I feel real lucky to be a part of that."

Of course, minor league baseball isn't about honors - it's about getting ready for the show. Moustakas is a very advanced hitter for his age and has tremendous power potential, but he said he still needs to get better at taking outside pitches to the opposite field. Defensively, he's focusing on improving his footwork and lateral movement. Moustakas has played exclusively third base this season after moving over from shortstop last year, but he said he also works out at second base from time to time.

Moustakas, who entered this season ranked by Baseball America as the 13th-best prospect in all of baseball, said he feels good about the progress he's made in the two years since he was drafted, and he hopes to find his groove and possibly earn a promotion to Double-A later this season. But for now, he's focused on the task at hand. "I've got to just keep getting better, and hopefully at the end of the year they'll call me up or something," he said. "[But] I really have no idea. All I can do is take it one day at a time and just keep getting better on the field."
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