First an apology to our readers for the long delay in between posts. With the off-season officially underway on Monday, we wanted to give you an update on where you can follow some of the young talent this fall. We have a number of players that will be competing in the Arizona Fall League and Hawaiian Winter League. Both leagues have websites that should allow you follow some of our up and coming prospects.
Royals in the Arizona Fall League will be competing for the Grand Canyon Rafters this season. Play will begin Oct. 10 with the season ending Nov. 16. If you happen to be in the Phoenix area, the Rafters play their home games at the Royals Spring Training home at Surprise Stadium. To follow the results and check statistics, just check out the official Arizona Fall League website. Here is a list of players to follow this fall:
ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE
RHP Gabe DeHoyos – after a sparkling season as a reliever at High Desert (A) and Wichita (AA), the right-handed DeHoyos heads to the Arizona Fall League. DeHoyos combined to go 5-2 with a 2.04 ERA in 50 games in 2006, allowing just 33 hits in 61.2 innings.
RHP Luke Hochevar – after the Royals made him the 1st-overall pick in the June draft, Hochevar made an immediate splash at Burlington this season posting a 1.17 ERA in 4 starts before heading to Wichita to help the Wranglers in their run to the Texas League Championship Series.
RHP Devon Lowery – the right-hander is attempting to improve his status after a year in which he went 5-1 in 24 games in relief for Wichita.
LHP Neal Musser – a 6-foot-1 lefty who came over from the Diamondbacks organization during the 2006 season became a key component of the Wichita pitching staff down the stretch, posting 6 wins and 2 saves.
C Adam Donachie – the Royals 2nd-round draft pick in 2002 hit .271 with 6 home runs for High Desert and was rated by Baseball America the best defensive catcher in the Royals system prior to the 2006 season.
INF Fernando Cortez – picked up along with Joey Gathright from the Devil Rays in June, this versatile player appeared at every infield position and even made 5 starts in center field for Omaha.
OF Chris Lubanski – the Royals 2003 1st-round pick, still just 21 years old, had a solid season at Double-A Wichita, hitting .282 with 34 doubles, 11 triples, 15 home runs and 70 RBI. After making his adjustments to the league, the Pennsylvania native hit .322 with 10 of his 15 home runs after the All-Star break. Lubanski will be a member of the taxi squad, making him eligible for games only on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
OF Mitch Maier – up with the Royals as a September call-up, this athletic player hit .306 with 35 doubles, 7 triples, 14 home runs and 92 RBI for Wichita. The Royals 2nd 1st-round pick in 2003 ranked 4th in the Texas League with 95 runs and 2nd with 166 hits.
HAWAIIAN WINTER BASEBALL LEAGUE
The Hawaiian Winter Baseball League begins its regular season Oct. 1. This marks the league’s return after running from 1993 to 1997. Former league alumni include Ichiro Suzuki, Todd Helton and Jason Giambi. Royals players will be competing for the Oahu Cane Fires. For more information go to http://www.hawaiiwinterbaseball.com/.
RHP Jarrod Plummer – the High Desert Pitcher of the Year went 11-5 with a 4.05 ERA in 39 games (6 starts) for the Mavericks. He finished up the season at Wichita, earning a win in his only appearance before becoming a major factor in the Wranglers playoff run.
1B Mike Stodolka – converted pitcher became a force in his first full season as a position player, hitting .284 with 33 doubles, 11 home runs and 67 RBI for High Desert. The former pitcher showed good strikezone judgment, drawing 78 walks in 115 games.