A successful Arizona Fall League season has come to a close for Oriole 1st base prospect Brandon Snyder. Playing for the Phoenix Desert Dogs Snyder ranked among the league’s offensive leaders with a .354 average, .456 On base % and .600 slugging % to go with 18 RBI in 17 games. Snyder had a promising start to 2009 cutting through the Eastern league like a hot knife through butter, but struggled after his promotion to AAA Norfolk. Snyder’s AFL results are encouraging and increase the likelihood that the Orioles will pass on the available free agent 1st basemen. My guess is the club goes with journeyman Michael Aubrey at 1st to start the season with the plan that Snyder will be recalled around June.
I’ve also heard the name Pedro Feliz thrown around the past few days. A solid defender, as evidenced by his World Series showing, Feliz is an offensive liability posting a .694 OPS in homer happy Citizens Bank Park. Feliz is the 3rd base equivalent of Cesar Izturis. I’ll assume the O’s will sign Feliz to a 1 year deal for around $5 million to serve as a stopgap for Josh Bell’s eventual arrival. The Orioles will sell Aubrey and Feliz as supreme defenders that will provide a safety net for the young pitching. Given this team’s financial resources an opening day lineup with Aubrey at 1st and Feliz at 3rd would be a major disappointment to this O’s fan.
Also in Arizona, Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals top prospect and #1 overall pick in the 2009 draft, has made his professional debut. Strasburg has impressed for the most part. He leads the league with 4 wins and has compiled an impressive 23:7 strikeout to walk ratio in 19 innings pitched. Strasburg does have a 4.26 ERA, but 7 of the 9 runs he’s allowed this season came in one 2 2/3 inning start. Given his strong AFL showing and bloated signing bonus we can expect to see Strasburg in the big leagues very early in the 2010 season.