While we were covering Baseball America’s top-10 prospects in the New York Yankees organization, the Arizona Fall League came to an end with David Adams and Slade Heathcott turning in great performances at the plate and Mark Montgomery shining on the mound. This week, we’ll recap their performances and touch upon some other notable players and their production in other winter leagues in progress now.
We’ll start with Heathcott, who put up some incredible numbers after a bit of a slow start. Heathcott went .388/.494/.614 with 10 extra base hits, 15 RBI and five stolen bases in 79 plate appearances. He was named the AFL Player of the Week Nov. 6. Heathcott has had issues staying on the field, but he had a very successful 2012 season when he was on it. In 235 plate appearances with Single-A Tampa, Heathcott hit .307/.378/.470 with 16 doubles, 2 triples and five homers. He stole 17 bases in 21 attempts. Heathcott will likely begin the 2013 season with Double-A Trenton, but if he can manage to stay on the field the lefty-hitting center fielder could climb the ladder quickly.
After an impressive .306/.385/.450 line with Double-A Trenton, Adams finished off the 2012 season with a bang in Arizona. In 98 plate appearances, Adams produced a slash line of .286/.388/.524 with three home runs and 15 RBI. He, like Heathcott, got off to a very slow start with the Scarsdale Scorpions, but turned it on over the second-half the league’s season. Adams played in the AFL Rising Stars game and was AFL Player of the Week Nov.13. He was nominated for the Arizona Fall League’s Dernell Stenson Sportsmanship Award which is awarded to the player who exemplifies work ethic and leadership on and off the field. Expect Adams to be playing with Triple-A affiliate Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2013.
Hard throwing righty reliever Montgomery could be making noise in New York before either Heathcott or Adams. He continued to dominate batters in the AFL after a fantastic regular season. With the Scorpions he tossed 10 1/3 innings with a 2.61 ERA while striking out 19 batters. Add this to his totals between Single-A and Double-A (7-2, 1.54 ERA and 99 Ks in 64 1/3 innings) and Montgomery’s trajectory is straight up.
Others in the AFL didn’t do much to impress the Yankees brass. Austin Romine, who missed most of the regular season due to a back injury, hit just .222/.342/.286. Dellin Betances, who is trying to regain some promise he once showed also fell flat in Arizona. He tossed 12 innings, finishing with a 5.25 ERA. He didn’t start any of the eight games he appeared in and showed a slight improvement in his walk rate (3.0 per nine in Arizona versus 6.78 in the regular season) and he struck out 15 batters. Until Betances can show dramatic improvement with his control, he’ll be limited to duties in the minors.
Winter League notables
Vidal Nuno, a left-handed starter, has thrown 18 innings in the Venezuelan Winter League allowing just two earned runs and holding hitters to a .117 batting average with 17 strikeouts. Nuno went 9-5 in 20 starts (114 innings) with a 2.45 ERA for Double-A Trenton during the regular season after a promotion from Tampa early in the season.
Juan Cedeno is having a fine showing in the Dominican Winter League with a 1.77 ERA in 20 1/3 innings. Cedeno pitched in relief for Triple-A SWB where he was 3-0 with a 2.81 ERA in 64 innings.