The Surprise Saguaros tied Peoria 7-7 in 11 innings on Wednesday afternoon in the Arizona Fall League. The game was called, as both team went through all of their scheduled pitchers for the day. Four Pirates saw action in this game.
The big story in this game was where the two third baseman for the Pirates played. During instructs, we noted that Eric Wood was playing outfield and he would see some time there in the AFL. That made sense in the AFL with Connor Joe also in the league, because Wood has strong defense at third base, while Joe is below average at the hot corner. That would give Joe more time this fall at third base, where he needs a lot more work.
After both were on the bench for Opening Day yesterday, Joe played this game in left field, while Wood was the third baseman.We had three people from this site covering instructs and no one saw Joe in the outfield, so it was definitely a surprise to see him out there in this game (to the point we confirmed it with someone there just in case it was a boxscore error).
Eric Wood batted fourth, while Joe hit in the eighth spot in the order. In the first inning, Wood flew out to right field. He singled to left field in the third inning. In the fifth, he singled again, this time on a shallow fly to right field. He flew out to right field again in the seventh inning. Wood popped out to second base in the ninth inning. He finished the day 2-for-5.
Joe started his season with a ground out to third base in the second inning. He hit the ball well in the fourth, lining out to center field. With one out in the sixth, Joe hit a long home run (see below) to left-center. That gave his team a 6-3 lead at the time. He hit the ball well again in the eighth, lining out to center field. Joe was called out on strikes in the tenth inning. He finished 1-for-5, but made solid contact three times.
Tanner Anderson started this game and looked great in the first inning, then got into trouble as he started mixing in his off-speed pitches. Anderson struck out the side in the first inning, making quick work of Peoria, while sitting 92-93 with his fastball. In the second inning, he allowed a single and a walk, but got out of the inning without any damage by inducing an inning-ending double play. In the third inning, things fell apart.
Anderson gave up a lead-off double to start the third. That was followed by a wild pitch and a ground out, which led to the first run. He walked the next batter, then allowed a two-run home run. After giving up a double, Anderson was pulled from the game. He threw 57 pitches, with 35 going for strikes. Starters in this league are usually limited to about 3IP/50 pitches, so he was right around that point. His fastball topped out at 93.9 MPH, which is where he maxed out during the season.
Edgar Santana followed Anderson and gave up a single that put runners on the corners with one out. That was followed by a strikeout/caught stealing double play to end the inning. In the fourth inning, he allowed a double to start the inning. Santana then got a soft line to second base for the first out, followed by a strikeout and a grounder to Wood for the final out, stranding the runner at second base. Santana was topping out at 96.5 MPH.
Santana stayed on for the fifth inning and got two swinging strikeouts, followed by a ground out. He was pounding the strike zone in his 2.2 innings, throwing 26 of his 32 pitches for strikes. His fastball was 93-96 MPH.
**Surprise will be on the road tomorrow night to take on Glendale, the affiliate of the Pirates last year.
**I’ll note that pitch tracker listed the specific pitches and had four types of pitches for both Santana and Anderson. It’s possible they could be working on adding pitches in the AFL, but it’s more likely that the pitch tracking is confusing pitches. When we have live coverage in a couple weeks, we will find out if the pitchers are working on anything specific during their time in the AFL. I refrained from giving any off-speed info up top based on that reason.
**Former MLB scout Bernie Pleskoff had this tweet regarding Joe’s home run:
— Bernie Pleskoff (@BerniePleskoff) October 12, 2016