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This Week in the Arizona Fall League

This new feature will appear weekly through the end of the AFL season, and will sum up the exploits of Devil Ray prospects out in the Desert. It is tentatively scheduled to appear every Sunday through the end of the AFL season.

Phoenix Desert Dogs

Season Record: 2-3

Week Record: 2-3

Last Week:

Tues. 10/10: D-Dogs 3, Mesa 0
Wed. 10/11: Mesa 3, D-Dogs 0
Thurs. 10/12: D-Dogs 7, Scottsdale 3
Fri. 10/13: Scottsdale 11, D-Dogs 8
Sat. 10/14: Grand Canyon 5, D-Dogs 0

Rays Prospect Notes

The moment you have all been waiting for, a look at how the Rays on
the AFL roster performed in the opening week.


RHP Jeff Niemann: 3 IP, 0.00 ERA, 4/1 K:BB, 1.00 WHIP

-Niemann kicked off the 2006 AFL campaign for the D-Dogs on Tuesday by pitching three scoreless frames in a no-decision. The fact that he threw 53 pitches over those three innings is somewhat of a concern, and we obviously do not want to push someone as fragile as Niemann is
past the point of injury, but overall his first AFL appearance was a sound one. He kept the ball on the ground and walked only one, to four strikeouts. It would be a welcome treat to see Niemann come out of the AFL strong, ready to compete for a rotation spot next spring.

RHP Jermey Flanagan: 2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1/1 K:BB, 0.50 WHIP

-Flanagan pitched twice in the first five games for the D-Dogs, throwing a scoreless frame each time out on Tuesday and Thursday. It is far to early to gather anything from his peripheral stats, his G:F is even as it his K/BB, but he has not allowed too many baserunners so far, which is a plus, and if he keeps it up, he could be someone to watch down the line.

LHP Jeff Ridgway: 1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 2/0 K:BB, 0.00 WHIP

-So far, so good for Ridgway, who has only appeared in one game thus far and thrown just one inning, the lowest IP total on the D-Dogs' roster. You've got to wonder if the DRO has sent some sort of mandate to the Phoenix coaches that his workload should be light. A lot to conclude after one week, but considering he hadn't even thrown a pitch until Saturday, it is peculiar. Anyways, nothing bad to report. He struck out two and walked none in his only appearance, and did not allow a hit. We'll see if he can keep it up.

LHP Brian Henderson: 2 IP, 4.50 ERA, 1/2 K:BB, 2.00 WHIP

-Well, after one week of play, Henderson is the only Rays pitching prospect to have surrendered a run. He pitched a pair of inning-long stints in games on Tuesday and Thursday, and it was his Thursday appearance that tripped him up. He gave up one hit and one walk over the full inning and surrendered a run. It is, of course, no big deal this early in the game, but Henderson is not the blazing fireballer who is going to get by on strikeouts, so to see him walking batters and giving up hits at this rate is somewhat concerning. He has had a penchant for doing it in the past. Hopefully he can rebound, and the DRO will finally give him a chance at Durham instead of making him go back to Montgomery again like a student failing a grade perpetually.

Position Players

SS Ben Zobrist: 12 ABs, .250/.500/.417, 2 Errors

-Usually I do not put too much stock into performance in as small a sample size as five games. But Zobrist's continued penchant for making errors continued in the AFL, as he has made two already, a continuation of a problem that he exhibited after coming up to the major leagues. This could be quite the pesky problem for Zobrist, whose future is probably as a utility infielder as it is. Considering he showed nothing with the bat in a Rays uniform, the errors need to stop, at least. Hopefully as he gets more playing time, this issue will rectify itself, as he has had no trouble with the bat so far.

1B Wes Bankston: 12 ABs, .083/.154/.083

-While Zobrist had his issues with the glove, Bankston's came in the batter's box through the first five games of the AFL campaign. He had but one hit and one walk in 13 PA through the first five games. I am certainly not putting any stock in this, as it is just the beginning of the campaign and it was just one week, but it is imperative for Bankston to end his season well in the AFL after what was, at best, a disappointing and injury-plagued year in Durham.

CF Fernando Perez: 15 ABs, .067/.067/.067

-Bankston had company in his struggles at the plate to begin the fall season, as Perez had only one hit and no walks in 15 ABs, the second-highest total on the team. He was also caught stealing in the only time he reached the basepaths. Hopefully Perez can build upon the success he found with Visalia and brake out of this slump, as his speed can be a very tantalizing component when it is allowed to roam free on the diamond. But the Rays can't afford for that to happen just one of every 15 times up at the plate.

This Week:

Mon. 10/16: at Peo Saguaros; 4:05 ET
Tues. 10/17: vs Peo Saguaros; 4:05 ET
Wed. 10/18: vs Peo Javelinas; 4:05 ET
Thurs. 10/19: at Peo Javelinas; 4:05 ET
Fri. 10/20: vs Grand Canyon; 4:05 ET
Sat. 10/21: vs Scottsdale; 4:05 ET