As the Arizona Fall finished up it's opening week, the Mesa Solar Sox found themselves tied for 1st place in the AFL East Division despite dropping the first two games of the campaign. A three game winning streak from Thursday through Saturday helped get them to the top of the standings, although it's way to early the season is still obviously very young.
Dodger prospect Joc Pederson had a rude awaking in his first real exposure to baseballs top minor league talent as he went hitless in 11 at bats, while catcher Griff Erickson also struggled with just 1 hit in four games with a trio of K's. Rafael Ynoa, on the other hand, leads the Solar Sox with his .500 average and managed to reach base at a .615 clip. Ynoa even homered, which is something he failed to do during the entire 2012 regular season.
The Dodger pitchers on the Solar Sox had a pretty good week, starting with 2011 1st rounder Chris Reed who allowed just 1 hit in two innings of work, picking up a win in the process. It should be noted, however, that he has yet to record a strikeout. Red Patterson was solid as well as he didn't even allow a hit in his two frames, K'ing 2 in the process. Eric Eadington also tossed two innings for the week, and even though he recorded a save he got roughed up for 4 hits including a pair of homers. Finally Andres Santiago was the only Dodger prospect to get a start last week, and even though he gave up 4 hits and 4 runs over 3 frames, only one of those runs were earned.
But the AFL isn't the only off-season league that is going on right now, so I'll briefly mention the other Dodger minor leaguers who are playing in either Venezuela or Mexico (the Dominican League just started on Sunday so I'll have more on that next week). There aren't a lot of significant prospects playing yet, but the most notable is definitely Scott Van Slyke who is playing in the Venezuelan Winter League. He's played just two games so far, so we'll have a better feel for how he's doing when I do this recap next week. Joining Scott in Venezuela are infielders C.J. Retherford and Luis Nunez, along with three veteran pitchers in Will Savage, Blake Johnson, and Derrick Loop. Amalio Diaz, who signed with the Dodgers late in 2012 and played for the Loons, is also there.
Four Dodger minor leaguers are playing in Mexico, and catcher J.T. Wise is the only one of the four who wasn't born south of the boarder. Infielder Jesus Arredondo was signed out of Mexico just last year, and smallish righty Juan Noriega joined the organization from the Mexican league in 2011. Finally Javier Solano is returning to his home country for the 3rd off-season in a row, and after another successful campaign in the Southern League in 2012 he is probably the most notable Dodger prospect in the Mexican Winter League (so far).
Coming up: The starting pitcher for the Solar Sox hasn't been announced for Monday, but it's safe bet that 2012 3rd round pick Onelki Garcia will see some time on the mound for Mesa at some point this week. This article from Ken Gurnick at Dodgers.com has more on the AFL plans for the southpaw.