Eric Longenhagen is publishing brief, informal notes from his looks at the prospects of the Arizona Fall League and, for the moment, the Fall Instructional League. Find all editions here.
As Fall Instructional League winds down here in Arizona, teams have begun playing their games earlier in the day, allowing scouts to double and triple up should they so choose, catching instrux at 9 or 10 am before moving on to the afternoon and night Fall League games. For me yesterday, that meant seeing the Brewers’ and Diamondbacks’ instructional-league teams in the early morning. Of note from that game, the Brewers lined up second-round pick Lucas Erceg at shortstop and shifted Gilbert Lara over to third. Lara’s destiny likely lies at a position other than his usual shortstop — and so, too, does Erceg’s (despite a 70-grade arm) — and this was probably more of a fun experiment or opportunity to let Lara move around than it is earnest developmental news for Erceg, who has looked great throughout instrux but can’t play shortstop.
Luis Alejandro Basabe homered the opposite way during the game. He has more power than his incredibly small frame would otherwise indicate. His double-play partner, Jasrado (Jazz) Chisholm, showed off his precocious defensive ability at shortstop, ranging to his left behind the bag, corralling an odd hop while he simultaneously made contact with second base and then making a strong, mostly accurate throw to first base from an awkward platform. It wasn’t especially pretty but an impressive play nonetheless.
The afternoon Fall League game was highlighted by a 410-foot blast by Blue Jays OF Anthony Alford, who posted a plus-plus run time to first base during his next at-bat. Tigers OF Christin Stewart and Brewers 2B Isan Diaz both made loud contact yesterday as well.
The night game was the day’s main event because the pitching matchup (featuring Astros righty Francis Martes and Twins lefty Stephen Gonsalves) was so enticing. Both arms were relatively disappointing. Martes was up to 98 but his fastball was getting tagged and he struggled to throw strikes, lasting just 1.2 innings. He did flash a plus slider, though. Gonsalves’ fastball was mostly 86-89, touched 91. His delivery is a bit deceptive but I don’t think there’s a viable big-league fastball here.
Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.