Winter Leagues Week in Review

Eyes are on Murphy's defense in Arizona

On Tuesday, the Arizona Fall League kicked off as seven more players joined those in the Hawaiian League to fill out the two most recognizable Fall League squads. How did Daniel Murphy fair in his first week? Who else is carrying the big stick in Arizona? And who dazzled on the mound in Hawaii? Find out the answer to those questions and more…

HAWAIIAN WINTER LEAGUE:

Greg Veloz: 2-for-12, 3 R, 3 BB, SB

After a hot start to his stay in Hawaii, the Savannah second baseman cooled last week as he mustered just a two-hit affair on Friday night. He stole his second base of the season on Wednesday night which led to the first run of the night in the bottom of the first. Though Veloz's hitting eye has been strong, indicative by five walks in ten games played, his strikeout rate is quite high as he has already stuck out 11 times. Defense continues to be very problematic for Veloz as he committed four errors this week, running his total to seven in the young season.

Ruben Tejada: 5-for-16, 5 RBI, 3 R, 2B, 2 BB

The St. Lucie shortstop continues to swing a fine bat as he ran his hitting streak to eight games before snapping it with a 0-for-3 effort on Saturday night. His eight RBI lead the Honolulu squad. His best night of the week came on Friday when he went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored.

Jordan Abruzzo: 1-for-11, RBI, R

Abruzzo has struggled with the stick while in Hawaii as his turnout in three games this week dropped his Hawaii average to .190 [4-for-21]. The switch-hitting catcher has primarily been used as a designated hitter.

Junior Guerra: 2 IP, 5 ER, 8 H, 2 BB, K

The hard-throwing right-hander was tagged for five earned runs on seven hits and a walk last Tuesday night. The outing inflated his overall ERA to a round 9.00 in eight total innings over five games. Hawaiian League opposition is hitting .400 off Guerra who spent the bulk of the 2008 season in Savannah. He returned to the mound on Saturday night, throwing one scoreless inning, giving one hit and a walk.

Roy Merritt: 2 1/3 IP, ER, H, 2 K

The southpaw made three appearances this week, led off by his outing on Wednesday night when he gave up one earned run in a brief 1/3 of an inning. However, he came back in his last two outings of the week by tossing a perfect inning in each. In 8.2 total inning so far this winter, he has struck out ten and walked two.

Josh Stinson: Win, 4 IP, 2 H, 3 K, 2 BB

The right-hander continues to turn in a strong winter effort as he put together another scoreless outing. It is in the second time in his three starts he as pitched a shutout effort. Cumulatively, he is now 2-0 in three outings with a 0.87 ERA with six strikeouts against four walks. The opposition is hitting .147 off Stinson in 10.1 total innings.

Scott Shaw: 1-0, 8.2 IP, ER, 2 H, 11 K

So far, Shaw has churned out one of the best efforts of any pitcher across the league. He gave up an earned run on two hits in 3 2/3 innings pitched on October 5, but he came on Saturday and turned in five perfect innings, striking out seven along the way. He ranks second in the HWL in ERA [0.77] and strikeouts [14] while leading in WHIP [0.34]. Saturday's outing was the second time that he has not allowed a hit during an appearance, following his 3 2/3 hitless innings in his debut on October 1.

ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE:

Shawn Bowman: 6-for-11, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 5 R, 2 2B, 2 BB

No one in the Arizona Fall League has got off to a hotter start than the Binghamton third baseman. He has recorded two hits in each of his three games, including game-changing production in his last two games. On Thursday night, he homered and drove in four RBI, and followed that up with a tie-breaking home run in the fifth inning of Saturday night's contest. Showing resurgent power and a good opposite field stroke, it looks like his impressive natural power is coming back.

Daniel Murphy: 4-for-10, HR, 3 RBI, 4 R, 3 BB

Murphy, who had garnered much attention prior to the start of the AFL, continues to rake. His big night came on Friday when he popped a two-run home run in the third inning which proved pivotal in the Saguaros' 7-5 victory. Perhaps more important than his offense is what Murphy has accomplished defensively. In all three games, he has played second base without committing an error while turning a number of double plays, building more confidence with each passing game.

Josh Thole: 1-for-6, 2 R, 3 BB

Thole, who is coming off a very strong season at the plate in St. Lucie, is sharing time behind the plate in Arizona. During the regular season, he experienced an offensive surge upon taking the every day job in St. Lucie so the challenge for Thole will be to continue his consistency in comparatively decreased playing time in Arizona.

Eddie Kunz: 0-0, 3 G, 3 IP, SV, 2 H, 4 K, 2 BB

Kunz, after not seeing much competitive mound time in the closing weeks of the season, is off to a strong start in the AFL. He has pitched every other day so far, making three appearances, tossing scoreless innings in each. Though he has allowed two baserunners in two of his outings, he is coming back with big strikeouts or clutch groundouts that are the backbone to his success. He earned the save in the Saguaros' 5-2 victory on Saturday night.

Bobby Parnell: 0-0, 1 GS, 1 IP, H, 2 K

Parnell got the start on Friday night, but tossed just one inning as the coaching staff spread out pitching duties over the nine innings. Given his likely future as a reliever on the big league stage, it is expected that Parnell will see time similar to his AFL debut as the season progresses.

Tobi Stoner: 1-0, 2 G, 4.2 IP, ER, 5 H, 5 K, 2 BB

The right-hander picked up the victory in the season opener as he pitched the fourth and fifth inning of the game, allowing one earned run on three hits. He returned to the mound on Saturday night and notched 2 2/3 scoreless innings, giving up two hits but striking out three against one walk.

Jason Vargas: 0-0, 2 G, 4 IP, 4 H, 4 K, BB

Vargas returned to the mound for his first competitive action since his 2007 season in New Orleans. Each successful appearance will help build confidence for the right-hander with big league experience in his past during his tenure in the Marlins' system. In the season opener, he allowed three singles in one inning of work but got out of the jam. He took to the mound again on Friday night, but was much more effective as he allowed just one hit in three shutout innings.

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