Daily Notes, Ft. Essential Information re the AFL on TV

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Daily Notes.

1. Essential Information: Three Televised Arizona Fall League Games
2. Prospecting: John Sickels’ Top-20 List for Minnesota
3. Spotted: Daniel Cabrera in the Dominican Winter League

Essential Information: Three Televised Arizona Fall League Games
According to a press release from earlier this week — and almost certainly in response to the rousing petition presented to the world courtesy the readers of NotGraphs — the MLB Network will broadcast three Arizona Fall League games in November, as follows.

Rising Stars Game
Saturday, November 3, 5 p.m. AZ (8 p.m. ET)
Salt River Fields at Talking Stick

Military Appreciation Game
(Scottsdale Scorpions @ Surprise Saguaros)
Saturday, November 10, 6 p.m. AZ (8 p.m. ET)
Surprise Stadium

Championship Game
Saturday, November 17
1 p.m. AZ (3 p.m. ET)
Scottsdale Stadium

Rosters for the Rising Stars Game were released on Wednesday (link) and include a number of top prospects — including, most importantly for the moment, Diamondbacks right-hander Chase Anderson, who was recently the subject of some Ecstatic Truth Prospect Analysis.

Prospecting: John Sickels on Minnesota
John Sickels has published his preliminary top-20 list for the Minnesota Twins.

Here are some notes on same:

• Sickels ranks this summer’s second-overall draft pick, outfielder Byron Buxton, third in the organization — just behind outfielder Oswaldo Arcia (although both are given a grade of B+). Buxton’s ceiling is quite high, suggests Sickels, but there are also quite a few years between the present and such a time as Buxton would become a legitimate major-league talent.

• The first unfamiliar name on the list — for the present author, at least — is right-handed pitcher Jose Berrios, seventh on Sickels’ list. The 32nd-overall pick of the most recent draft, here’s how many innings the 18-year-old threw between the rookie-level Gulf Coast and Appy Leagues: 30.2. And here’s what his strikeout-to-walk ratio was: 49 to 4. According to a report from Jim Callis of Baseball America in June, Berrios throws “at 93-95 mph and touches 98 with his fastball, and he also shows the makings of a sharp slider.”

• Twentieth on Sickels’ list is shortstop corner outfielder Nate Roberts. Old for the Midwest League at 23, Roberts posted walk and strikeout rates of 12.5% and 10.5%, respectively, in 352 plate appearances — which is to say, very good. He also appeared on the most recent (and entirely infallible) SCOUT batting leaderboard for the Arizona Fall League, current as of Monday morning. That the author assumed, for whatever reason, that Roberts is a shortstop is telling: Roberts has little of the power one might expect from a corner outfielder.

• While the author would prefer to confine these notes merely to three bullet points, giant first-base person Kennys Vargas merits some attention. Limited to just 186 plate appearances after returning from a 50-game suspension for Phentermine (a banned appetite suppressant), the 21-year-old (i.e. age-appropriate for the level) Vargas nevertheless managed to make his way onto the SCOUT batting leaderboard for all Class A players. Sickels is skeptical enough of the package not to include him (i.e. Vargas) among the org’s top-20 prospects, noting that, despite the promise of the bat, the glove is “problematic.”

Spotted: Daniel Cabrera in the Dominican Winter League
While browsing various winter-league stats at an hour in the morning that needn’t be mentioned specifically, the author found former hard-throwing Baltimore right-hander Daniel Cabrera‘s name among the Dominican League’s official pitching leaderboard. In fact, it appears as though Cabrera, who last pitched in the majors in 2009, actually threw 126.0 innings at Triple-A in 2012, finishing the season in the Arizona organization.

Cabrera’s fastball, of course, sat at ca. 96 mph for an entire year as a starter, but declined considerably (like, to around 90 mph) by his last season at baseball’s highest level, in 2009. According to Pirates Prospects, Cabrera was actually “sitting 92-94 MPH with his fastball, and touched 95” at some point during the most recent spring training.

Here’s visual proof of Cabrera’s existence, striking out Mariners prospect Carlos Peguero for Triple-A Reno in August:

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Carson Cistulli has just published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

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I was hoping for Australian Rules Football.