Surprise 8, Peo Saguaros 6 (box)
After clubbing a solid 21 home runs and 90 RBI for the Kinston Indians this past year, first baseman Beau Mills looked primed to make an ascent up the Tribe’s farm system. As the A-ball representative for the Indians, the Arizona Fall League provides the team to see how their players look against a higher level of competition.
Though seeing some limited swings during the opening week of the AFL, it appears that Mills is becoming a little more comfortable with his surroundings. After going hitless with a handful of strikeouts in his first three at bats, Mills is coming off of a two-game stretch that has seen him hit 3-for-6 with three walks and three runs scored. His numbers currently stand at .333/.571/.333 for an OPS of .905. Yes, the sample size is arguably very, very small, but it is still encouraging to see Mills playing up to the level of competition – especially when players like Josh Rodriguez, who should be comfortable with this level of play, is hitting .154 though 13 at bats.
And if you like Mills’ numbers thus far, check out those of third baseman Wes Hodges: .353/.353/.765 (1.118 OPS). Though getting the day off yesterday, Hodges has four games of solid production under his belt thus far with two home runs, a double and three runs scored. I’m trying my best to not get my hopes up about Hodges, as our current third baseman did quite well in the minor leagues as well, only to fall flat on his face in front of major league pitching. But with that said, it would not surprise me if Hodges is in an Indians uniform by September of next season.
And if anything, it makes this year’s Triple-A games that much more exciting to watch. Hodges, LaPorta and Crowe? Oh my.
The majority of the Tribe farmhand pitching thus far has not been much to write home about. Josh Tomlin is throwing the ball well, with an ERA of 1.29 and nine strikeouts in seven innings. However, take Tomlin out of the picture, and it gets pretty ugly. Chuck Lofgren has an ERA just over 47. Yes, forty-seven. Erik Stiller’s is hovering around nine, and Neil Wagner is not far behind with 4.91. Thankfully, these numbers are all bound to come back down to earth as the innings start to pile up. Lofgren’s number is only ugly until you realize that he’s only tossed an inning and a third. However, the four walks in the same stretch is a bit troubling.
The Rafters lock up with Scottsdale over the next couple of days. Let’s see if Mills and Hodges can keep it going.