Wentz named Fall League Pitcher of the Week

Detroit Tigers

As autumn sets in for fans in the Upper Midwest, two representatives from the AL Central are burning up the Arizona Fall League.

Martin a nearly impossible out, with pop

Martin, a 23-year-old Vanderbilt product, missed significant time this year with a UCL tear in his left arm, slowing what would have been his first full season playing in a new system after he came to the Twins from the Blue Jays in the José Berríos deadline deal last year. With Glendale, however, he’s looked nothing but healthy and comfortable — even as he moved around the field on defense and made adjustments to drive the ball with more authority than he has so far as a pro.

“I’ve really, really been looking for my pitch. I’ve been hunting it and I haven’t been missing it lately,” Martin said of his approach at the plate. “It’s a good sign. I’m just sticking to the approach, man, that’s really been the biggest thing right now. I’m a lot more aggressive at the plate right now but it’s paying off.”

Playing two games at shortstop and one in center field and serving once as designated hitter, Martin sparked the Desert Dogs to win three of the four games he played, going 11-for-18 (.611) with a homer, two doubles, a walk and two stolen bags while reaching base multiple times every game. His 16 total bases were more than any other hitter collected during the week. On Oct. 11 alone, he logged four hits — including his first autumn dinger and a double — while driving in six runs.

“I think [extra-base hit pop] was something that I put too much focus on this season,” Martin said. “At the end of the day, yeah, you want to be able to produce more at the plate. … What I want to do is what I do best and that’s get on base and make things happen on the basepaths. [Extra bases are] not a big focus of mine right now. Right now, I’m just trying to get in the box and feel good.”

The scorching week made the 2020 first-rounder 16-for-32 through his first eight games on the circuit after slashing .241/.367/.315 with a pair of homers and 34 steals over 90 games with Double-A Wichita this year. He also played a two-game rehab assignment in the Rookie-level Florida Complex League.

“I was honestly surprised because I didn’t even know that was an award that they were giving out here,” Martin said. “I was definitely excited to hear it. It’s cool just to see all the hard work starting to come into fruition, starting to see it pay off a little bit.”

Wentz shocks Surprise all over again

Pitching in the AFL is one of the toughest assignments a young hurler can get. Every lineup is loaded with prospects who came to the desert to flex, and the environs generally favor the long ball. Facing the same AFL team twice in a row? That doesn’t make the job any easier.

It made no difference to Wentz. The 25-year-old southpaw led the loop with eight strikeouts, which he piled up over four innings in a start against Surprise on Oct. 15. He permitted one hit and two walks in the outing, which followed a perfect start against the Saguaros in his first AFL game on Oct. 8.

“I’m happy to have another quality performance,” Wentz told the AFL. “Was nice to throw well and get a team win.”

He wrapped up the week with 11 strikeouts on the season, which put him behind only Pittsburgh’s/Surprise’s Quinn Priester (MLB’s No. 44 prospect), who had 12. 

A 2016 compensation pick of the Braves and one of MLB Pipeline’s AFL sleeper picks, Wentz came to the Tigers in the Shane Greene trade of the summer of 2019. After undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2020, he eventually recovered his command and pitched well enough to make his big league debut this past May. Another shoulder injury gummed up his trajectory, but his time in the Fall League could put him right back on track following a campaign in which he posted a 3.04 ERA and fanned 57 over 53 1/3 innings across 14 Minor League outings — 12 of them for Triple-A Toledo.

High marks: Cubs, Yankees, Angels represented on honor roll

The AFL also named Cubs prospect Matt Mervis, the Yankees’ T.J. Rumfield and the Angels’ Connor Van Scoyoc to its Week 3 honor roll.

Mervis, the No. 21 prospect in the Chicago system, looked very much like what he is: a slugger coming off a year in which he belted 36 home runs — tied for third most in all of Minor League Baseball. Over four games with the Mesa Solar Sox, he went yard three times, including twice in a three-hit performance on Oct. 13. His four dingers entered Week 3 were most in the league.

Rumfield, a third-base prospect who spent the bulk of the year with High-A Hudson Valley, went 8-for-13 over four games for the Solar Sox, tallying four doubles and a homer over a two-game span against the Peoria Javelinas on Oct. 10 and Oct. 12.

Van Scoyoc, a 22-year-old righty who fanned 140 over 120 frames with Single-A Inland Empire in the regular season, twirled five scoreless innings for the Scottsdale Scorpions against the Desert Dogs on Oct. 14, scattering five hits and a hit batsman, while punching out three.

Articles You May Like

Series Preview: Detroit Tigers to play 4 games in 3 days vs Minnesota Twins at home
DoubleHeader: Tigers vs. Twins, 1:10 p.m.
Pennsylvania Lottery Online Plays
Tigers To Recall Wenceel Perez For MLB Debut
Dom Johnson and the Flying Tigers crush Bradenton with four home runs

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *