The Surprise Saguaros went 4-2 in the first full week of the Arizona Fall League season. With an overall 7-3 record, the Saguaros are tied for first place in the West Division with Glendale.
So far, the Saguaros have been equally led by both their offense, which is hitting an AFL best .318 with 72 RBIs in ten games, and their pitching, which leads the AFL with a 3.40 ERA in 90 innings with a 1.29 WHIP and second best in strikeouts with 84.
The top three hitters in the AFL are from Surprise, with the ninth and tenth spots being held by KC Royals minor leaguers.
Currently hitting .393 with a .433 on-base percentage in seven games is outfielder Bubba Starling. Last week, Starling went 5-for-15 with two RBIs and two runs scored. He walked once and struck out four times. Starling also played left and right field, while also being the DH on Monday.
Tenth in the league in hitting is infielder Ramon Torres at .391 (with a .417 on-base percentage) in five games. Last week, Torres went 2-for-12 with two runs scored. He hit a solo home run (his first) on Saturday. He played second base in all three games.
Zane Evans got into four games last week for Surprise. He was the DH on Tuesday (1-for-4), caught on Wednesday (0-for-4 with a strikeout, a GIDP, and a passed ball), and played first base for the first time on Saturday (1-for-6 with a two out RBI). Evans also entered on defense behind the plate on Thursday in the tenth.
On the pitching side, 16 pitchers in the AFL have a 0.00 ERA, with four of them playing for Surprise.
One of those is Brooks Pounders, who made his second start of the AFL on Wednesday. In earning his first victory, he allowed just two hits over four scoreless innings. Pounders struck out seven and threw 40 of his 57 pitches for strikes. Maybe a Pitcher of the Week honor is in his future?
It was also a good week for the two Royals relievers.
Andrew Edwards threw twice last week and did not allow a run. Over three innings, he allowed two hits while striking out two. That included two perfect innings of relief on Thursday. In the two games, Edwards threw 49 pitches, 32 for strikes.
After a rough first appearance in the AFL, Kevin McCarthy has settled in. Over two appearances last week, he was perfect. In two innings, McCarthy struck out one and threw 16 of his 24 pitches for strikes.
Bryan Brickhouse did not pitch this past week for Surprise. Hopefully he has not had a setback in his recovery from Tommy John surgery, which has taken two years already.
*Former Royal Sean Manaea pitched on Wednesday for Mesa, alowing three runs on five hits and a walk over four innings. He struck out four and induced four ground outs. Manaea threw 72 pitches, 45 for strikes.
Stay tuned next Sunday for another AFL Recap!