*All results from games played from Monday, October 17 to Saturday, October 21
Monday, October 17: Mesa 12, Scottsdale 2 (Box)
SS Gavin Cecchini: 1-3, R, 2B, RBI, Middleman in a 4-5-3 DP
1B Matt Oberste: 0-3, RBI
LF Tim Tebow: 0-3, 2 K
RHP Corey Taylor: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 13 P (8 S/5B), 2 GB-0 FB
RHP Corey Oswalt: 3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 65 P (43S/12B), 2 GB-0 FB
Tuesday, October 18: Mesa 6, Scottsdale 3 (Box)
Wednesday, October 19: Surprise 2, Scottsdale 1 (Box)
Thursday, October 20: Scottsdale 4, Salt River 1 (Box)
Friday, October 21: Mesa 4, Scottsdale 3 (Box)
Saturday, October 22: Peoria 3, Scottsdale 2 (Box)
WEEK TWO TOTALS
2B/SS Gavin Cecchini: 7-20, 4 R, 2 2B, HR (1), 5 RBI, 4 BB, 3 K, CS (1), 5 E
Gavin Cecchini had a great week with the bat, adding four more hits to his ledger for the season, including another double, and his first home run, a solo shot he deposited over the left field wall off a 91 MPH Kyle Bird fastball. As has been the case with Cecchini, with the good comes the bad. He made three errors this week, bringing his total to five in just six games. Two of his errors came on Thursday, when he bobbled a Kevin Cron grounder and made an errant throw on a Dawel Lugo grounder, while the last came on Saturday, when he was unable to snag a throw from catcher Taylor Ward on a Michael Gettys stolen base.
With the exception of one game last week, Cecchini has exclusively played shortstop. Outside of three games played at second base at the end of the Las Vegas 51s season and some last-minute tutelage by former manager Wally Backman—himself a second baseman—he hadn’t played second base in a competitive game since 2011, when he was in high school. Despite 27 errors in 114 games in 2014, 28 in 109 in 2015, and 33 in 105 in 2016, the Mets are intent on showcasing Cecchini as a shortstop.
1B/LF/DH Matt Oberste: 0-15, RBI, 0 BB, 3 K, E (1)
After going hitless in his first week of AFL play, Matt Oberste is continuing to look for that elusive first hit.
LF/DH Tim Tebow: 2-10, R, RBI, 2 BB, 7 K
It took a few games, but the inevitable happened: Tim Tebow recorded a hit. It almost occurred on Monday, when he hit a chopper down the first base line neither pitcher nor first baseman would have been able to field and cover, but the pitch curled foul right before the bag, denying Tebow. In his second at-bat on Tuesday, facing Duane Underwood Jr., he went with a pitch that was high and away and deposited it into shallow left for a hit. In a follow-up on Wednesday, he worked an eight-pitch at-bat against Boston Red Sox top prospect Trey Ball and drove a line drive into left for a second hit.
All in all, Tebow has been very aggressive at the plate. Most of his at-bats have been two- or three-pitch affairs, with only a handful going on for any more length. His eye at the plate is coming along, and he hasn’t really swung at too many pitches that were clearly balls, but his baseball skills are still at a point where when he does get pitches to hit, he has trouble squaring up on them, rolling over more than one fastball right down Broadway.
He has been getting a steady diet of fastballs, of which only a handful have been premium velocity. With his long swing and still-developing plan at the plate, the best he has been able to do is poke a few pitches away to the opposite field. He has had no real luck in the traditional left-hander down-and-in power zone, and his attempts to hit balls everywhere else in the zone have resulted in the multiple weak ground outs to first base that his spray chart is primarily composed of.
As I noted last week, his baseball instincts are what worry me the most regarding Tebow, and the quarterback-turned-outfielder wasn’t much better this week. He still seems to verify that balls he hits are in play or foul before running out of the box, costing him valuable time. After getting on base Wednesday, he tried scoring on a double into right field and was thrown out at the plate as a result. With average-to-below-average speed, Tebow did himself and his team a disservice trying to go first-to-home instead of first-to-third.
CF Champ Stuart: 5-20, R, HR (1), 0 BB, 5 K, 3 SB
Stuart had a quiet week, adding two more hits and a stolen base to his AFL resume. He has been somewhat aggressive at the plate, and has swung at more than a few bad pitches, resulting in strikeouts, weak ground balls, or popups.
C Tomas Nido: DNP
Nido has yet to get into a game, but given that he was named to the AFL taxi squad and thus only available to play on certain days, we knew that he wouldn’t be playing too much over the course of the season.
RHP Marcos Molina: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 6 GB-3 FB
Molina made his second start for the Scorpions this week and was solid, throwing three scoreless frames. He relied heavily on his fastball, which sat 90-92, down slightly as compared to his first outing. His slider was, and has been, his most effective pitch, and he sprinkled in a handful of curveballs and changeups to complement it. His command was mostly there despite the new, slightly tweaked mechanics, and that is more important than almost anything else he might show in the time he spends in the AFL in the long run. For the most part, he kept the ball in the lower quadrants of the strike zone, generating four ground balls. He led off the game looking especially impressive, striking out Yoan Moncada on four pitches, all three of the strikes swinging.
RHP Corey Taylor: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 8 GB-1 FB
Taylor once again pitched twice this week, and once again, the right-hander has given his manager two quick, painless innings. While he only recorded a single strikeout in his two appearances, Taylor has been efficient, going after hitters and throwing a high percentage of strikes. He has still yet to walk a batter, one of a handful of pitchers with at least five innings pitched to do so.
RHP Corey Oswalt: 9 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 6 BB, 9 K, 10 GB-3 FB
Oswalt had a shaky first week, but looked like a vastly improved pitcher this week. He pitched seven innings over two appearances, allowing two runs on five hits and three walks. Thanks to four strikeouts in each of his two appearances, Oswalt is currently among the league leaders in the category. He has recorded 10 ground balls in total so far, and were the defense behind him better at times, might have even more.
LHP David Roseboom: 4 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 6 BB, 5 K, E (1), 3 GB-2 FB
Roseboom’s struggles with his control have continued into the second week of AFL action. The left-hander threw more balls than strikes over the course of his two relief appearances, walked four batters, and even chucked an errant pickoff throw to first base for an error.