I'm in Scottsdale for 3 days in the late-autumn sun. Well, no sun tonight, but it was a nice evening for a ballgame despite a sparse crowd of under a thousand, with the always convivial baseball fan Mrs Ash attending with me at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick tonight, where we witnessed the Rafters at home defeat "our" Scottsdale Scorpions 3-2.
Two Twins prospects were in the starting lineup, Andrew Bechtold playing third base and Michael Helman in left field. Bechtold showed a willingness to take rather close pitches even with two strikes, walking 3 times but striking out twice, once looking at the third strike - I would have liked to see him put the ball in play a time or three, although his selectivity shows up in his regular season stats in the Twins organization, so it's a part of his game. Helman put the ball in play three times out of four (striking out on a checked swing his last time up), but a couple of popups on either side of the infield plus a fly to center didn't add up to anything but an 0-for-4. On the defensive side, Helman wasn't particularly tested but did convert the one fly ball hit his way into an out, while Bechtold made a couple of 5-3 putouts including a very nice throw on a tough chance. Here's a photo of Helman, I believe, at the plate.
One Twins prospect, Cody Laweryson, got a chance to pitch in the sixth inning. His 87-MPH fastball didn't excite me much, and I guess his 78-MPH offering was a curveball. He pitched what should have been a clean inning with one strikeout, but an error by Red Sox SS prospect Christian Koss (his second of the game) put the leadoff batter on base and a stolen base made it more interesting. But with two out and the runner on third, Laweryson acquitted himself very well by hustling over to first base for a 3-1 putout against a speedy batter, Brewers outfield prospect Joey Wiemer.
Speaking of shortstops, Rockies prospect Ezequiel Tovar showed me everything you could want from that position on a play leading off the ninth, by ranging deep to his right and then firing a laser to nip the batter (the aforementioned Koss, as it happens) at first base. Tovar also hit the 3-run homer that provided Salt River all their runs in the winning effort. Not bad from the #8 spot in the batting order. He just turned 20 and was promoted to high-A during the season. Maybe the Rockies would like to throw him into a trade? Does anyone reading this have a problem with someone named Tovar playing some SS for our Twins?