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.

Baseball to honor Stoneman Douglas High School as spring training games begin

New Era
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There were a few exhibitions against college teams yesterday but today the Grapefruit League and Cactus League schedules begin in earnest, with big league teams, more or less, facing big league team, more or less.

The baseball will look like baseball, but the teams will be wearing different caps today: black caps with the maroon “SD” of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting on February 14.

All teams and umpire crews will wear the caps pre-game, and they have the option to wear the caps during the games. The only two teams not playing today — the Royals and Rangers — will wear them tomorrow.

After the games players will sign the caps and they will be auctioned off to raise money for the Broward Education Foundation, which benefits the official Stoneman Douglas Victims’ Fund.

Here’s today’s schedule: