After ten games the Glendale Desert Dogs are 5-4-1, which puts them a half game behind the Surprise Saguaros for first place in the West division. While winning games clearly isn't as important as the long-term goals of seeing players develop and prepare themselves for better competition. Having said that, winning games will always matter for the players; evaluating players under game conditions is the only good way to see what they're capable of doing and whether or not there's actually any growth being achieved.
A.J. Achter (3 G, 3 IP, 2 H, 3 K)
This week Achter appeared in two games, pitching two scoreless innings and striking out two batters. He has get to allow a run (an honor that ten of the team's 20 pitchers still have), but he hasn't walked anyone yet, either. We're dealing with small sample size of course, so we'll still need to wait and see how things unfold for him over the next couple of weeks. Hopefully his success can be sustained, although a certain level of that should be expected simply because of his age and because he's already pitched in Triple-A.
Byron Buxton (5-for-22, 1 HR, 1 2B, 4 RBI, 4 R, 6 K, 2 BB, 1 SB)
Buxton was 2-for-7 with a homer this week, and he also stole his first base of the AFL season. This is the most difficult level of competition Buxton has faced so far in his professional career, so the big question is: will he be able to adjust in the weeks-long AFL season? Because a good showing here will accelerate his timetable moreso than it already has been.
Zack Jones (4 G, 3.2 IP, 6 H, 6 K, 2 BB, 6 R)
That line doesn't look good, but the good news is that this week he made two appearances, throwing 1.2 scoreless innings. He struck out three and walked one. Jones has a lot of potential as a big time power arm in the bullpen, so hopefully he can have more weeks like this one and fewer like the first one.
Max Kepler (7-for-23, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 5 R, 4 K, 2 BB)
Kepler had a good week, going 5-for-13 with a double and two walks. He's been playing first base in each of his six games, which is where he'll stay for the duration as the roster's only player listed at that position. The biggest question is whether we'll start to see any power from Kepler. but at just 20-years old it's more important to see if he can hold his own.
Trevor May (3 G, 5.0 IP, 6 H, 4 K, 3 BB, 4 R)
One of May's two games this week was a start, but it lasted just as long as his relief appearance earlier in the week (two innings). The relief appearance wasn't perfect, allowing four hits and a run, but it was the start that was ugly. May walked back-to-back batters to lead off the game, and then gave up a homer to Mitch Haniger, and then proceeded to strike out the two next hitters. He put up a zero in the second, but it was a very May-esque outing: command, command, command.
Alex Meyer (3 G, 8 IP, 7 H, 9 K, 2 BB, 4 R)
In two starts and five innings this week, Meyer allowed just one run while striking out six and walking one. While scouts in his first start showed some concern over Meyer's control, that hasn't been an issue this week. He's dialing up that fastball and blowing it by people. If you're not excited by what this guy could turn into for the Twins and their future rotation, seriously: think again.
Eddie Rosario (8-for-27, 1 2B, 5 RBI, 4 K, 1 SB, 1 CS)
Rosario was 5-for-17 with two runs batted in this week, but all of his offensive value has been tied up in singles. He was at Double-A for 70 games this year, so this level of competition shouldn't be too far off of what he was used to over the last half of the summer. It's possible that the power may not generate in the next few weeks, but evidence of better discipline or strike zone judgement would be ideal.
Schedule for This Week
October 21: @ Scottsdale, 6:35pm
October 22: vs Scottsdale, 12:35pm
October 23: vs Peoria, 12:35pm
October 24: @ Peoria, 12:35pm
October 25: vs Salt River, 12:35pm
October 26: vs Scottsdale, 12:35pm