AFL Report: Recognizing Yolbert Sánchez’s Appreciation


In addition to automatic strike zones in a park, the Arizona Fall League is also experimenting with stickier baseballs, which appears to be the next step in correcting pitchers’ overuse of foreign matter that led to a midseason crackdown on sticky stuff. Nippon Professional Baseball uses a standardized sticky shell baseball that has proven popular with pitchers who have worked in both leagues.

Baseball America’s Josh Norris says the AFL pitchers are mostly positive about the idea, though there appear to be consistency issues that make it difficult to put all trust in a particular baseball.

“At first I thought it was pretty good playing Catch, but we had some issues with it over the last few days of the game,” said Salt River pitching coach Ken Knudson, who works for the Mets organization. “It seems like how much was put on … We had one pitcher who is mostly a breaking ball pitcher who said he couldn’t throw (his break ball with the new baseballs). So instead of throwing 50% breakballs, he threw three out of 50 (pitches).

“Well, it seems like it’s not okay during catchplay (but) really slippery a couple of times (the balls were) during the games and the guys struggle with that. I don’t know if it’s the weather difference or what it’s all about, but I would say that in general it’s anything but positive. “

Meanwhile, James Fegan had a great article on the White Sox’s AFL prospects, and I’ll make a few notes below.

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AFL report


date AWAY R. H RBI XBH BB / K SB / CS Etc.
November 1st 3rd 2 1 0 2 B 1/0 HBP
November 2 5 1 2 0
November 3rd
November 4th 5 0 0 0 0/2
November 5th
November 6th 3rd 1 0 0 1/2
total 55 7th 11 1 3 2B 2/17 2/0 .200 / .279 / .255

Céspedes continues to fight in the desert, although it looks as if one can put it under “a learning experience” rather than “overwhelmed”. Chris Getz says that Céspedes must curb his aggression and the mechanisms that result from this desire to attack, attack, attack, curb.

“This level of competition he is currently playing is better than any competition he has played,” said Getz. “To maximize its performance potential, we need to reduce swing-and-miss and strikeouts, and some mechanical adjustments need to be made. That can’t be denied, one doesn’t have to deny it. He has to make a few moves and make it a little quieter on the plate in order to be able to run to the ball and to be more consistent, so that he can hit the ball on all fields and use the power it has. “

Norris made some good recordings of Céspede’s swing:


date AWAY R. H RBI XBH BB / K SB / CS Etc.
November 1st 4th 1 1 2 1/1 1/0 E4
November 2
November 3rd 3rd 0 0 0 0/1
November 4th
November 5th 4th 0 2 2 3B 0/1
November 6th
total 47 5 12th 13 HR, 3B, 2B 3/7 2/0 .255 / .300 / .383

While Rodriguez isn’t quite up to the standards he set during the regular season, he’s still doing things, as evidenced by the RBI totals, which is second on the team despite only having one homer. What Getz Fegan told is similar to what he told Connor McKnight in White Sox Weekly about his development as a shortstop, with a bit of flexibility.

Here is one of Rodriguez’s three hits that week.


date AWAY R. H RBI XBH BB / K SB / CS Etc.
November 1st
November 2 3rd 0 2 1 CI
November 3rd 3rd 0 3rd 2
November 4th
November 5th 3rd 2 1 2 MR 1/0 2 E6
November 6th 3rd 1 1 2 2/0
total 25th 4th 10 8th HR, 2B 7/1 0/0 .400 / .531 / .560

Sánchez started getting B-Team reps for the first couple of weeks, but he’s made more playing time thanks to the best record discipline numbers at the Desert Dogs. Here’s a case where you can scout the stats line since both Getz and Fegan’s scout party see the same thing:

With a hot .343 / .369 / .469 track in Birmingham reaching base about half the time in limited action at the AFL and scouts seeing spin get out of hand, there is more reason to hope that Sánchez can do enough to deliver his craftsmanship in the majors. Pointing out that the Sox continue to work to wrest more lateral reach from Sánchez through conditioning, Getz thought that some of his gonzo-aggressive approach tried to impress in his first full season in the States, but confirmed a method of madness / aggression .

“Yolbert isn’t just a free swinger,” said Getz. “There are a few guys who sit and watch and just know that there is a given swing every time. (Sánchez) switches to pitch when the intention is to swing, he detects spin or a pitch outside the zone, he will shut down. He has proven this ability. “

Glendale (and Winston-Salem) trainer Danny Farquhar says Sánchez not only found the run, but also gives video evidence of a solid contact.


jug IP H R. HE MR BB K
Dominguez 9 18th 11 11 3rd 6th 11
Olson 9.1 10 5 5 2 2 9
Moors 8th 8th 4th 4th 2 5 8th
Freeman 7th 7th 2 1 0 5 5

Another disaster has reset the stats line for Johan Dominguezas he allowed four runs on three hits and three walks over two-thirds of an inning to start the week. Then he spread six hits over three scoreless innings to end it, so his peripherals exploded on him.

It was a lot quieter for Caleb Freeman, McKinley Moore and JB Olsonwho all threw a couple of goalless trips. Regarding Freeman and Moore, who were taken a round apart in the 2019 draft, Getz hopes their experience with the AFL will be something of an iron sharpener-type.

“He’s the most consistent of this group with what he’s got,” said Getz. “Consistency in the zone is key for both of them. Both pitchers have at least two plus pitches, there’s velocity. If they’re in sync when they click, you’re watching a major league reliever. Now the key to being successful at the major league level is to do it on a regular basis. And that’s what we’re working on. Sometimes it’s a mechanical problem, sometimes it’s a trust problem. But really, you can’t make any of these adjustments mechanically or gain confidence without playing against good competition. And they are currently exposed to that. “

(Photo by Nick Panico)

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