The Arizona Fall League has ended, with the Championship game slated for tomorrow when the Salt River Rafters will take on the Peoria Javelinas. The Yankees’ prospects spent the season with the Scottsdale Scorpions, who ended up 15-16 and 2.5 games behind the Rafters. There were some performances to get excited about, but – as has been the theme for the Yankees’ this season – the players closest to the Majors continued to struggle. I’ll get the bad news out of the way first.
Dellin Betances wasn’t able to get past the rest of his rough 2012 season, going 1-3 with a 5.25 ERA over eight appearances and twelve innings, though the news wasn’t all bad. After an ugly first outing, Betances did string together some solid performances, keeping opposing teams scoreless over four games (5.2 innings). He only allowed three hits and one walk, which was a good sign for a pitcher whose lack of control was particularly problematic this season. Betances got knocked around for four runs on five hits, not even lasting an inning against Salt River. He came back and threw two scoreless innings in his last outing of the year. While Betances has clearly seen his prospect status drop off quite a bit this year, the fact that he only walked four while striking out fifteen in Arizona was a welcome sign.
Austin Romine, who missed most of the season with a back injury, went to Arizona to get some extra work in. The catcher who had a shot to make the big league team during Spring Training did not fare particularly well in the AzFL. He hit .222/.342/.286 over eighteen games with four doubles and six RBIs. He struck out thirteen times and drew twelve walks. Dan Burawa also returned to Arizona looking to get some work done after missing the entire 2012 season with a back injury. Burawa had an 11.57 ERA in 11.2 innings of work, allowing a .388 batting average to opposing hitters. He walked thirteen and struck out just six. Zach Nuding had a decent season with the Tampa Yankees, but it didn’t seem to translate to Scottsdale, where he went 1-3 with a 5.82 ERA over 21.2 innings of work. Batters hit .344 off Nuding, though he did end the season on a high note, pitching four innings and allowing just one unearned run on three hits.
Now for the good news. Slade Heathcott, David Adams and Mark Montgomery all put in very strong performances for the Scorpions. Heathcott hit .388/.494/.612 over eighteen games and 67 at bats. He had one homer, three triples and six doubles, along with fifteen RBIs. He hit .500 over the last ten games, including going 4-5 twice and earning Player of the Week honors for the week of November 6th. If he can keep everything together and get healthy, Heathcott will be an exciting player to watch over the next couple seasons.
David Adams put together a strong season in Trenton this year, working his way back from a couple short seasons plagued by injury. Adams capitalized on the chance for some extra work in Arizona, hitting .286/.388/.524 over 22 games. Adams knocked three homers, two triples and seven doubles, plating fifteen runs. He has also been nominated for the Stenson Sportsmanship Award, which is based on work ethic and leadership more than production. and will be awarded at tomorrow’s Championship game.
Finally, Mark Montgomery, who quickly became a favorite here at IIATMS and other Yankees blogs, threw a very strong 10.1 innings for Scottsdale to round out his impressive 2012 year. He had a 2.91 ERA, giving up one run in his first outing and two in his last, while he kept batters scoreless for seven straight games and didn’t allow a hit in six. On the whole, he only allowed five hits, three runs and five walks, striking out nineteen batters in the process and holding them to a .174 average. I know I’m not alone when I say that I can’t wait to see this guy in the Yankees’ bullpen.