A’s AFL 2012 MVP
The Arizona Fall League just wrapped up its 32-game season this week. As some of you probably already know, organizations typically use the AFL as an opportunity to get some of their top prospects a little more live game action to hopefully help advance their development. And the AFL can provide an important opportunity for some prospects to make their mark and put themselves on the map. This year, the A’s sent some of their top young hitting prospects to play for the Phoenix Desert Dogs, along with a few of their older hurlers who weren’t necessarily considered the organization’s top pitching prospects at this stage of the game.
One player who really put himself on the map with his strong AFL performance this year was the A’s 1st-round draft pick from way back in 2007, right-handed pitcher James Simmons. The 26-year-old was nearly unhittable in the AFL this fall, allowing just 2 hits in 11 1/3 innings of relief. Simmons, who missed all of 2010 due to injuries, was primarily used a starter through 2011 but was shifted to full-time bullpen duty in 2012. His impressive performance in the AFL, along with a strong 2012 season at Midland and Sacramento (2.98 ERA / 1.18 WHIP), should at least put him into consideration for a spot in the major league bullpen at some point in 2013 should another right-handed arm be required somewhere along the line.
Another A’s prospect who performed well in the AFL was 2009’s 1st-round draft pick, Grant Green, who played exclusively at second base in the AFL this year. But the best thing that Green did to endear himself was to more than double his usual walk rate, resulting in a .364 OBP. On the other side of the coin, the right-handed hitter struck out once every 3 ½ at-bats. But Green did manage to get on base consistently, and hit a couple of homers to boot, which can only help him in his quest to snag one of the few available spots on the A’s roster in 2013, possibly as the starting second baseman but more likely as a backup infielder and versatile utility man.
Former 4th-round pick, catcher Max Stassi, did his usual solid job behind the plate, while doing a respectable job at the plate (.271 BA / .710 OPS). The numbers that have always generated the greatest cause for concern when it comes to the 21-year-old backstop though are his strikeout-to-walk ratios. In 48 at-bats in the AFL this year, he had a 4-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. And in 314 at-bats with Stockton in 2012, he had a 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
The A’s top minor league hitter in 2012, third baseman Miles Head, injured his shoulder in his first game in Arizona and never reappeared in the AFL. He was replaced on the roster by shortstop Yordy Cabrera (remember him?), who ended the AFL season with a .286/.308/.349 slash line after being traded to the Marlins in the Chris Young deal.
None of the three other pitchers, besides Simmons, whom the A’s sent to Arizona did much to particularly distinguish themselves in the AFL this year. 27-year-old Shawn Haviland was sidelined due to injury after 3 appearances, while right-handers Gary Daley and Brett Hunter continued to struggle with control issues, walking a total of 22 batters in a combined 21 2/3 innings.
You can check out all the A’s prospects’ final AFL numbers for yourself below…
Grant Green (2B)
66 AB / 8 R / 2 HR / 11 RBI / 10 BB / 19 K / .273 AVG / .364 OBP / .424 SLG / .788 OPS
Max Stassi (C)
48 AB / 4 R / 1 HR / 11 RBI / 3 BB / 12 K / .271 AVG / .314 OBP / .396 SLG / .710 OPS
Miles Head (3B)
3 AB / 0 R / 0 HR / 0 RBI / 0 BB / 2 K / .000 AVG / .000 OBP / .000 SLG / .000 OPS
Gary Daley (RHP)
12 IP / 16 H / 9 ER / 12 BB / 8 K / 6.75 ERA / 2.33 WHIP
James Simmons (RHP)
11 1/3 IP / 2 H / 2 ER / 3 BB / 8 K / 1.59 ERA / 0.44 WHIP
Brett Hunter (RHP)
9 2/3 IP / 9 H / 5 ER / 10 BB / 11 K / 4.66 ERA / 1.97 WHIP
Shawn Haviland (RHP)
8 2/3 IP / 10 H / 5 ER / 3 BB / 8 K / 5.19 ERA / 1.50 WHIP