Bryce Harper, Wil Myers finish among AFL’s top performers

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The Arizona Fall League regular season came to a conclusion Thursday, so let’s take a quick look at some of the stats.

Here are the OPS leaders:

1. Jedd Gyorko (3B Padres): .437/.500/.704, 5 HR in 71 AB
2. Mike Olt (3B Rangers): .349/.433/.764, 13 HR in 106 AB
3. Wil Myers (OF Royals): .360/.481/.674, 4 HR in 86 AB
4. Robbie Grossman (OF Pirates): .375/.472/.625, 7 HR in 104 AB
5. Michael Choice (OF Athletics): .318/.423/.667, 6 HR in 66 AB
6. Nolan Arenado (3B Rockies): .388/.423/.636, 6 HR in 121 AB
7. Kevin Mattison (OF Marlins): .349/.433/.624, 6 HR in 109 AB
8. Bryce Harper (OF Nationals): .333/.400/.634, 6 HR in 93 AB
9. Scooter Gennett (2B Brewers): .411/.470/.556, 2 HR in 90 AB
10. Jefry Marte (3B Mets): .333/.436/.538, 4 HR in 78 AB

A lot of strong numbers there, as usual. The AFL OPS as a whole was right around .815. For comparison’s sake, the league OPS in the majors this year was .720.

Myers, whose name came up in the Jair Jurrjens/Martin Prado talks with the Braves, had a disappointing season in Double-A before rebounding. He’s just turning 21 next month, so he still ranks as one of the game’s very best outfield prospects. Of course, Harper is a bit ahead of him there. Harper, who finished third in the league with 26 RBI in 25 games, turned 19 last month.

Disappointments include the Angels’ Mike Trout (.245/.279/.321 from a player who figured to dominate the competition in Arizona), the Marlins’ Matt Dominguez (.210/.278/.383) and the Mariners’ Chih-Hsien Chiang (.263/.337/.368).

On the pitching side, Seattle’s first-round pick, Danny Hultzen, had the best ERA among starters, coming in at 1.40 in 19 1/3 innings. Next up was the White Sox’s Terry Doyle, who went 4-0 with a 1.98 ERA in 27 1/3 innings. Pirates first-rounder Gerrit Cole, with a 3.00 ERA and a 16/4 K/BB ratio in 15 innings, is another who impressed.

Among the pitchers who struggled were Tigers left-hander Andrew Oliver, who had a 5.82 ERA and 16 walks in 17 innings, and Cubs prospect Trey McNutt, who had a 5.00 ERA and just eight strikeouts in 18 innings. McNutt’s name has been bandied about in the Theo Epstein compensation talks with Boston.

Former Padres prospect Nick Schmidt struck out 26 in 23 1/3 innings, but he finished with a 5.40 ERA anyway and he’s now expected to be left off San Diego’s 40-man roster in advance of the Rule 5 draft.

2017 Preview: The National League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League West.

The Giants had the best record in all of baseball at the All-Star Break and the Dodgers lost the best pitcher in the world in Clayton Kershaw for a big chunk of the season. Yet, somehow, L.A. won the NL West by four games. The biggest culprit was the Giants’ suspect bullpen, which they put some real money toward fixing this winter. Is it enough? Or is a a Dodgers team with a healthy Kershaw just too talented for San Francisco to handle?

Below them is an intriguing Rockies team, though probably not a truly good Rockies team. The Dbacks have a lot of assorted talent but are nonetheless in reshuffle mode following a miserable 2016 campaign. The Padres, meanwhile, are in full-fledged rebuilding mode, but do possess some of the best minor league talent in the game.

Here are our previews of the 2017 NL West:

Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Diego Padres

2017 Preview: The American League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League West

There’s not a lot of separation between the top three teams in this division. Indeed, it would not be a surprise for either the Astros, Rangers or Mariners to end the year on top. Part of that is because none of these contenders are perfect, with all three facing some big challenges in putting together a strong rotation.

Meanwhile, the best baseball player in the universe toils in Anaheim, where he’ll most likely have to content himself to playing spoiler. Up the coast in Oakland . . . um, green is pretty?

Our 2017 AL West Previews:

Houston Astros
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Oakland Athletics