Mid-Week Winter League Update

Clark FoslerCorrespondent IOctober 15, 2008

I have what I, at least, perceive to be a pretty interesting column on on-base percentage about half done. To be honest, it has been half-done since the last week of the regular season, which means now it is regressed into being only forty percent done. Maybe Friday….

Anyway, let’s catch up on the early results from the Winter Leagues, with both the Arizona and Hawaiian Leagues up and running with 11 Royals prospects playing.

In Arizona, Authority favorite Joe Dickerson is off to a 5 for 21 start with one home run. Having missed the latter portion of the regular season due to injury, Dickerson is not only trying to get back into the groove, but having to do so against the best competition of his career. A lot of minor league pundits peg Dickerson as no more than a fourth outfielder at best. Given his improvement across the board in High A ball this year, I hold out some hope that he might be a ‘DeJesus’ in the making.

Chris McConnell and Brian McFall are also in Arizona, although they have just 20 at-bats between them. Both these guys have been on again-off again prospects for the organization. This may be something of a last chance for both of these guys to get back on the radar.

On the mound, you all better brace yourself, because there is not much good news out of Arizona early on.

Dan Cortes allowed two homers in less than two innings in his first start, eventually being tagged for 7 hits and 5 runs in an inning and two-thirds of work. Rowdy Hardy has been knocked about for 5 runs and 8 hits in 2.2 innings spread over three appearances. Chris Hayes has also been tagged for 5 runs in 2.2 innings spread over his three relief outings.

On the bright side, Gilbert de la Vara has not allowed an earned run in his first two relief stints. If you read my column on Monday about who might make the majors and when, you will not find Gilbert mentioned. That was mostly an oversight on my part as I think he may be a bullpen member at some point as early as next summer.

Out in the Pacific, the pitching news is not much better. Jason Godin has struck out 12 in just 10 innings of work, but has also been tagged for six runs. Godin was a 5th round pick in 2006 and worth keeping an eye on next year. Ben Swaggerty has appeared out of the bullpen for North Shore five different times and allowed 10 hits and 5 earned runs in 8 total innings of work.

The hitters at work in Hawaii are two college infielders who both had good years in 2008, albeit playing as some of the older players at their level. Kyle Martin is off to a .333/.370/.786 start with seven doubles and four homers in 42 at-bats. Meanwhile, Kurt Mertins is not far behind with a .293/.360/.512 line and two homers in 41 at-bats. Both players have three steals. I keep discouting guys like this as just experienced players eating up lower level prospects, but then that’s kind of what we all did with Mike Aviles, isn’t it?