The number one rule of the Arizona Fall League: don’t talk about stats in the Arizona Fall League. It’s a super short season, about a month worth of playing time. It’s also at the end of a long season, and some guys respond differently than others. Some are returning from injury, some hitters are just trying to get more work in because they’re lost… all different reasons why it is important to take everything with a grain of salt. That being said, here’s some of the highlights from Nationals, playing for the Scottsdale Scorpions:
Norris is once again having a great AFL season. He’s hitting well, has displayed power and showcased his ability to draw walks. Remember the caveat about stats, his .361/.457/.583 seems great, but that’s only 13 total hits. He certainly doesn’t look lost, and considering he hit .278/.403/.667 last fall, I’m starting to think he just likes Arizona. Because his .210/.367/.446 in a full season of AA this year was certainly disappointing, although the patience and power are clearly ubiquitous.
On the other end of the spectrum, not only were Matt Purke’s stats terrible, so was he. His first pro start was 1/3 IP, 7 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HR. Not good, not good at all. He was a little better coming out of the pen a week earlier, 2 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K, but his season ERA in those two appearances is in the low 30s. But, Keith Law assessment should put it some perspective, “velocity still isn’t back, couldn’t locate (obviously), arm action still a negative. All that said, we knew he wasn’t right from the spring, so I’d like to at least see where he is in 2012 after a winter of rehab.”
Solis had one of those minor league seasons you see once in a while – he started out at low-A, and wasn’t spectacular, but was ok. He had a 4.02 ERA, struck out a batter an inning, and didn’t walk many, so halfway through the season he was promoted. In high-A he struck out the same amount, cut down on the walks, and had a 2.72 ERA. Here in the AFL, he’s not sticking to the formula – he’s only struck out 9 in 15 IP, but his walks are up, also at 9. His ERA is bad, but he isn’t giving up a ton of HRs, just alot of hits and walks.
Of course, nobody from the Nats is getting more attention than Bryce Harper. He started out very slow, but since then he’s been hitting the cover off the ball. 4 extra base hits in his last 18 ABs, plus he’s been able to draw walks and isn’t striking out a whole lot. It didn’t take long for him to adjust, and I’m sure he’ll be destroying AA pitching well before June of next season. Meaning he could easily hit AAA in the early summer. Meaning he might be called up in September. I’m just saying.