Mitch Maier will play in the AFL this fall
The last couple of days have brought some big news, starting with the combined no-hitter tossed by Patrick Green and Jarod Plummer in High Desert. Mavs’ broadcaster and RC correspondent Jon Rosen has provided an exclusive recap of the game, and RC takes a look at the Royals who were assigned to play for the Grand Canyon Rafters in the Arizona Fall League.
Minor League Notes: 8/22
On Monday evening, Green and Plummer combined for the first no-hitter in High Desert Mavericks history, leading the Mavs to a 2-0 victory. Jon Rosen reports from High Desert:
The most remarkable aspect of Patrick Green and Jarod Plummer's no-hitter was the fact that they were continually pinched on strikes by a stingy umpire, who refused to give either pitcher any benefit of the doubt on the outside corner. Generally, in the California League, when an umpire shrinks the strike zone a laughably high-scoring game ensues, but Green and Plummer ended that notion. Green was a smart pitcher - he did a great job of going after Inland Empire's weaknesses. Early in the game, Ronnie Prettyman struck out on three fastballs up in the zone, and Green went right after him with more fastballs high and away to strike him out in the fourth inning as well.
Still, Green’s best pitch tonight was his slider, and he showed an ability to get it over for strikes all evening long. The two pitchers were also helped by excellent Maverick defense - High Desert has the highest fielding percentage, the fewest errors and the most double plays turned in the league - as rightfielder Brian McFall tracked down two well-hit balls on the outfield with running catches on the warning track. Mike Stodolka also made a great play ranging to his right to backhand a ball and take a possible hit away from Casey Craig in the bottom of the seventh after Green had walked two batters.
Plummer, who came into the game with two outs and the bases loaded after three Green walks in the seventh, induced a bloop pop out off the bat of Josh Womack in the seventh, as James Tomlin charged in to make the key catch.
In the final inning, Plummer actually had to record four outs, as he struck out Jack Arroyo with one out, though Arroyo reached first on a passed ball that trickled all the way back to the backstop. Following that play, Irving Falu made a nifty stab off a short-hop while charging the ball on a Prettyman infield dribbler for the second out, before Craig came up again and lifted a harmless pop fly in the infield that Mike Gaffney pulled down for the final out of the ballgame.
The Mavs streamed out of the dugout to celebrate the first no-hitter in franchise history, and met Plummer right on top of the mound as the infield and outfield also sprinted in to celebrate as well. It was somewhat of a muted celebration - though it was an exciting and historic win, the Mavs still knew that no playoff berth had been clinched, and that berth remains their first and foremost goal over the final two weeks of the season. –JR
On Monday, the first versions of the Arizona Fall League rosters were announced, and four Royals were named to the Grand Canyon Rafters – Luke Hochevar, Gabe DeHoyos, Adam Donachie, and Mitch Maier. The Royals have three more spots to fill, and they are slotted to send an additional infielder and two more pitchers.
It was widely anticipated that Hochevar and Maier would go to the AFL this year, and Donachie also figured to be a good bet. In fact, upon signing Hochevar, the Royals announced that he would head to the AFL this fall, and thus far in his brief pro career, the righty has allowed only one hit and no runs in six innings pitched.
The only surprise selection thus far seems to be DeHoyos, who has been outstanding in relief all year. Between High Desert and Wichita this season, the 26-year-old righty has a 1.93 ERA with 61 strikeouts and 20 saves in 56 IP. The AFL should be a good test for him, and if he continues to do well, he could be a nice bullpen candidate for the Royals at some point in 2007.
DeHoyos has been very solid all season
Donachie, who hit .294/.375/.467 with 12 home runs in High Desert last year, has been struggling a bit this season. He got off to a slow start for the Mavs, but picked up his pace in May and ultimately earned a promotion to Wichita in mid-July. However, he’s yet to adjust to Double-A pitching, and through 68 at bats thus far with the Wranglers, Donachie’s hitting just .162/.313/.191. However, the 22-year-old catcher’s greatest asset is his highly-touted defense behind the plate, and it will be interesting to see how he fares in the AFL, where he will split time with the Pirates’ Neil Walker and the Rangers’ Kevin Richardson.
Donachie’s defense is his calling card
Mitch Maier’s been on an offensive tear over the last three months, hitting .321 with six home runs, four triples, and 18 doubles since June 1. On the season, Maier’s numbers are now up to .300/.347/.460 with 12 home runs in 494 at bats. The Royals will have an interesting decision to make this off-season, as Maier will again be eligible for the Rule 5 draft if left unprotected on the 40-man roster.
As for the rest of the Rafters’ roster, it has the look of a very solid offensive team, although the pitching staff leaves much to be desired. The offense should be anchored by the Rockies’ Joe Koshansky and Troy Tulowitzki, and the Pirates’ Walker and Brad Eldred. The Orioles’ Nolan Reimold is another interesting player to watch, and it wouldn’t surprise RC one bit to see the Rafters lead the AFL in home runs.
Reimold’s a very talented player, but he’s struggled a bit this year
Unfortunately, even though the overall quality of the pitching in the AFL may be the best-ever, the Rafters largely missed out on most of the talent. Hochevar is really the only premium pitching prospect on the roster, so hopefully the Rafters’ will be able to piece together a decent staff with what they’ve got. Otherwise, they could be on the wrong side of a lot of high-scoring games.