As you guys know, Detroit sent seven players to the Arizona Fall League for winter ball. The Tigers have sent a mix of players, from organizational role players (Brooks Brown, Ben Guez) to top prospects (Chance Ruffin, Francisco Martinez). Today we'll take a quick look at how the seven, who all play for the Surprise Rafters, have done so far.
Brown slid into the rotation for Suprise and has made three starts. Unfortunately, they haven't exactly gone his way, as Brown has an ERA of 10.29. His batting average against is a whopping .427 and he's walked four and struck out four. The groundout to flyout ratio is pretty good at 2.75. Brown's real problem is that he got shelled in his last start (October 25th against Peo Javelinas), giving up seven runs (6 earned) in 1.2 innings. Brown's drawing grounders, which is his M.O, but he isn't doing anything to set himself apart from other pitchers in the Tigers organization.
Hoffman has the same problem that Brooks Brown has, but out of the bullpen instead of the rotation. Hoffman has struck out six in five appearances (5.1 innings) while only walking two, but a disastrous 0.2 inning outing on the 22nd of October saw Hoffman yield 4 earned runs. That drove his ERA up to 8.22. It's important to remember that this is a small sample size and that as a reliever, we cannot adequately judge Hoffman based on this performance.
You want proof that it's tough to evaluate relievers based on their performances in the AFL? Take a look at Chance Ruffin. A supplemental round pick in last years draft, Ruffin has the highest ceiling of anyone that Detroit sent to the AFL (barring a breakout by Francisco Martinez). He has been compared to Huston Street, not only because of his stuff and makeup but because he also closed for the Texas Longhorns. And yet Ruffin is sitting on a 9.82 ERA with three walks to three strikeouts in his four appearances for Surprise. The problem is a single poor outing on October 15th against Mesa, where Ruffin allowed three earned runs on two walks and a hit over 0.2 innings. On the other hand, Ruffin dominated Phoenix to the tune of two strikeouts over a hitless inning of work, nailing down his second save. Essentially, the AFL tells us nothing about what Ruffin will turn into.
Despite his ERA, which sits at 1.80, Wise is not doing well in the AFL. His walk to strikeout ratio stands at four walks to a single strikeout in five appearances (5 innings), and while he is supposed to be a groundball pitcher, his GO/AO ratio is only at 1.67. Another opportunity to remind everyone: the AFL is cool, but useless in determining pitcher ability.
Ah, our good buddy Cale. In 23 at bats, Iorg is hitting .174/.269/.391 with two walks to eight strikeouts. Aside from a pair of multi-hit days, most notably October 21st where he went 2-4 with a triple and a homer, Iorg has been pretty absent in the AFL. That isn't much of a shock. He wasn't really an offensive force for Erie this year either.
Martinez is hitting .296/.296/.481 over 27 plate appearances. He's struck out a total of four times and half his hits have gone for extra bases. That doesn't really tell us a whole lot about Fransisco Martinez the player. But it is nice to see him doing well against some pretty tough pitching. I wouldn't be surprised to see him get moved very quickly next year- even though he'll be battling with Wade Gaynor for time and plate appearances at a higher level.
Guez is hitting .241/.267/.552 in 27 at bats with 14 strikeouts. He went 2-3 on the 12th with two of his four extra base hits, and hasn't really done anything since. Frankly, it's what people expect out of Guez. He's a fourth outfielder, and his performance hasn't really distinguished himself beyond that.