AFL Notebook: What you need to know from Week 3


The Glendale Desert Dogs started the Arizona Fall League with eight consecutive losses. One more would have tied the longest losing streak in the league’s history.

They have looked like a different team since that juncture.

Winners of five of six this week, the Desert Dogs are 6-10 through the first three weeks of the season.

That surge can be credited to a handful of Yankees prospects, who enjoyed a productive week in the field, at the plate, and on the mound. Here’s what you need to know from Week three of the Arizona Fall League.

Jordan Foley (Robert M. Pimpsner)

Jordan Foley

The 25-year-old threw another clunker of a start on Friday against the Mesa Solar Sox. He lasted two innings and allowed five earned runs on three hits. He walked three and struck out one.

Dating back to his last two outings, Foley has surrendered 10 earned runs over just four innings.

The strikeouts are there — at one point this week he owned the best K/9 rate in the AFL — but walks remain, as well. He has permitted at least one free pass over each of his first four outings, totaling eight in 8 1/3 innings pitched.

His last two starts have strayed away from fooling hitters, which he did in his first two appearances. This league always boasts über-talented hitters, but hopefully, we are able to see Foley find a rhythm a bit over these final three weeks.

Estevan Florial (Zachary Lucy/Four Seam Images via AP)

Estevan Florial

Exhale, everyone. Estevan Florial is starting to turn the corner.

One week ago, he was batting .042 with 12 strikeouts in 24 at-bats. He looked overmatched, uncomfortable; however you want to label it, it wasn’t pretty.

But manager Dave Anderson said in the first week of the season he expects these guys to stumble out of the gate early. They are working back into game action; he cautioned, so do not rush to any rash decisions.

After playing in each of Glendale’s six games this week, Florial saw his average jump to .219 after three multi-hit games. He was 7-for-21 this week, including two triples, two doubles, and six RBI.

And the cherry on top: He struck out just four times in his 21 at-bats this week, walking three times, too. He’s starting to see the ball well and string some good at-bats together, which bodes well for this Desert Dogs offense moving forward.

It was a great week for Florial.

Thairo Estrada (Rick Scuteri/AP Images)

Thairo Estrada

Thairo Estrada and Estevan Florial have been easy to compare to all fall so far. They’ve both struggled in Arizona so far. They’re both out here to make up for injury-riddled 2018 seasons. And yes, they’ll both find their groove out here eventually.

Just like Florial, Estrada had a very productive week.

Though he played in just three games this week, he went 6-for-13 at the dish, including a three-hit, three RBI outing on Oct. 25. He’s now the owner of a five-game hit streak, complementing hitting safely in eight of the 10 games he’s played in.

In his 13 at-bats this week, he didn’t strike out once.

Estrada is in the Arizona Fall League specifically to make up for losing a ton of time in 2018, and that’s what he is doing. Glendale has seven infielders on the roster, with that in mind manager Dave Anderson has done a great job of giving everyone a good share of playing time.

Kyle Zurak  (Mike Janes/Four Seam Images via AP)

Kyle Zurak

Kyle Zurak threw a much-needed two scoreless innings on October 25 in his only outing of the week.

He was nearly perfect in those two frames, the only blemish being a base hit. He did punch out one batter and walked none, an encouraging sight to see considering the wild start he had.

His first four outings saw him give up eight earned runs while recording just five outs.

The 23-year-old has been strong in his two years in the New York organization prior to his Fall League struggles. He only threw two innings in six games last week which means look for him to see more action in the coming week.

Steven Sensley  (Robert M. Pimpsner)

Steven Sensley

After playing every day last week, Steven Sensley only appeared three times in Week three.

He entered this week with a four-game hitting streak but went hitless in 12 at-bats over his three games. He struck out five times and walked just once.  After posting a .449 slugging percentage in 2018, Sensley has not showcased much power while in Arizona.

A lot of emphases has been placed on his transition to first base, and he has done an exceptional job over there so far defensively.

Matt Wivinis (Robert M. Pimpsner)

Matt Wivinis

Matt Wivinis keeps on impressing.

He has not given up an earned run since his debut outing on October 9, a stretch of 7 1/3 near-flawless frames.

He has struck out at least one batter in all but one of his six appearances. Wivinis has compiled 8 1/3 innings of work; allowing just one earned run, four hits, six walks and struck out nine, good for a 1.08 ERA.

The caveat to his Fall League dominance comes in the base-on-balls department, in which he has had trouble limiting those. Opposing hitters are batting just .143 against him.

Wivinis has been impressive since the Yankees signed him as a minor league free agent.

Hobie Harris (Robert M. Pimpsner)

Hobie Harris

Hobie Harris made two appearances this week, combining for 3.2 innings.

His October 27 outing was a bit of a dud in comparison to the rest of his fall. He labored through 1 1/3 innings on four runs and four hits. He was charged with three runs, also walking one and punching out three.

If you subtract that outing, he’s thrown 7 2/3 innings of two-run ball.

Remember the fall league is just a small sample size of games so it is not indicative of how he is as a prospect  His last three seasons in the Yankees farm system have been good, so it is not worth it to look too much into his rough outing the other day.