Results tagged ‘ Arizona Fall League ’

The Storen Identity – 10/19

Drew Storen, 22, is now playing for the Phoenix Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League and will be writing for Notes for NatsTown. Be sure to follow the tenth overall pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft as he writes for Notes from NatsTown and gives you an inside, behind-the-scenes look at the AFL and his climb to the Major Leagues. Here is his second post…


Alright I am back again, thanks for all those who read and responded with your comments after the first entry! One comment alluded to intro/warm-up music. The warm-up/intro music is a new cultural aspect to professional baseball that is becoming more of a big deal each day. When I was at Stanford, I used “Rock You Like A Hurricane” for the first month or so of my freshman year, then changed to “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress” shortly after and used that for the rest of my stay at school. I’ve only been able to pick my warm-up music for one of my stops in Pro Ball so far, in High-A Potomac. I used WWE’s Triple H’s intro music (Minus the water spray for those wrestling fans out there) for a game until I switched back to “Long Cool Woman.” I guess for now I will stick with that, but I am always open to suggestions. 


I just got back from our game in Peoria in time to see the Angels pull out a victory in extras. We continued our quest for another Desert Dog championship ring today by defeating the Saguaros of Peoria. In my one inning, I faced my former Stanford teammate Jason Castro. It was tough to throw to a guy who spent a whole season calling your outings; I almost changed my approach in an attempt to get him out. He prevailed by drawing a 3-2 walk. One thing I have learned about these day games is not to fall into the trap of snacking on the leftover chips and soda from the pregame meal. We wait to eat until we get back to our home clubhouse, but after the first road day game, I succumbed to my hunger and crushed some chips and soda left over from the pregame sandwiches and chips. At first it was replenishing, but quickly changed about 10 minutes following as my stomach felt Cheetos and Coke was not proper post-game fuel. Since baseball is a game of adjustments, I waited today until we got back and fortunately missed out on the stomachache.


strasburg afl 1.jpgI haven’t blogged since Strasburg threw Friday. The results are pretty self-explanatory… he was pretty filthy. It is almost unfair to watch someone throw 96 to 99 mph with control and movement. My left thumb is witness to the movement on his ball–it’s been a little tender as of late thanks to our pregame throwing. (Photo: Strasburg throws a pitch in his first AFL start.)


We had our first Sunday off day yesterday, and it was nice to get a little break. Having a weekly off day is a lot nicer than having the sporadic ones intertwined into the regular season. I went to Tucson to visit a good friend from high school and got a little taste of Arizona culture. My buddy and I went to Lil Abner’s outside of Tuscon where we got some awesome steak and ribs, with a little side of live Bluegrass music. If you are ever in that area, I definitely suggest checking that out.


I’m off to a night full of sleep and bottled water, we have another day game tomorrow at home. Thanks again for checking in!


The Storen Identity – 10/16

Drew Storen might not be Jason Bourne but he is special. He can’t fend off 30 people at once, dodge bullets or drive a car like Jeff Gordon during a high speed chase while weaving in and out of oncoming traffic. Well, he might be able to do all that… he doesn’t know. He hasn’t tried. He won’t need to if he continues to sit batters down the same way Bourne puts bad guys on their back. They are one in the same, two people extremely good at what they do. Storen saves games and Bourne saves humanity.


The 22 year-old is now playing for the Phoenix Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League and will be writing for Notes for NatsTown. Be sure to follow the tenth overall pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft as he writes for Notes from NatsTown and gives you an inside, behind-the-scenes look at the AFL and his climb to the Major Leagues. Here is his first post…


Friday, October 16th

First off, thanks for stopping by and checking out the blog, hopefully you can get a good idea on what is going on down here in the Arizona Fall League and my experiences in it.  If you would like to know anything specific or have any suggestions for the blog please feel free to post a comment in the comment section or “tweet” me. My twitter is at


061009-236 drew storen.JPGJust a little background on me, I am down here playing for the Phoenix Desert Dogs, along with other members of the Nationals organization (Stephen Strasburg, Chris Marrero, Sean Rooney, Danny Espinosa, Jeff Mandel and Josh Wilkie). And in case you are wondering, since we do have “dogs” in our team name, they do feel obligated to play “Who Let the Dogs Out” before the first inning. I was hoping that song would be retired/banned by now, but clearly that is not the case. I spent the week and a half prior down in Viera, Fla. at the Nationals Spring Training complex for instructional league. It was a good prep for coming down here. The heat and humidity down in Florida makes the dry heat of Phoenix much more bearable. Nonetheless, the heat down here is still intense, therefore SmartWater has become a big investment for me in my short occupancy.


We have guys on our team from the Blue Jays, Orioles, Rays, A’s and two guys from Japanese professional baseball. I have learned a lot from the Japanese players already in the first week of being around them. The first thing is that the jerseys, gloves, cleats and even the belts they wear have a lot of flare and is definitely something I am a huge fan of. The gloves they have are not ones you can get in the US. The gloves are bright colors (which I am a huge fan of as well) and they have their own personal logo stitched on them (i.e. the “TW” logo for Tiger Woods).  They rock the patent leather belts and socks with individual toe slots (something I have on my list to go out and get).  It’s pretty cool to see how they go about their business and to learn new pitches from them, even if they are just ones you throw for fun when playing catch. 


So far we are 2-1 on the year, winning last night against the Scottsdale Scorpions.  We had a great offensive night in a stadium which the only way to hit it out to center field is with a 3 wood (430 feet with about a 30 foot batters eye). Tonight we play the Scorpions at home with Strasburg on the mound. It is going to be fun to see how many people come out to see him.  If you are in the area, you should definitely head out because it is a lot of fun to watch him throw.


Before I head out, I will run you through what a daily schedule is for us down here. On a day like today, we have a 6:35 p.m. contest so pitchers will be on the field around 3 p.m. or so to stretch and throw. We do that and then some running/abs and then shag BP. We get done with all of that at about 5 p.m. and go in to change and get some pregame spread.  After some pregame spread usually mixed with Cash Cab or any ESPN programming, we head out for the game.  


It’s time for me to run out to the ballpark, but I just wanted to kick start this blog. Like I said–feel free to give me feedback as to what you would like to hear about.  I will try to get something up pretty frequently. Thanks for reading!


Strasburg Highlights AFL Roster

strasburg 100 c.jpg

The rosters were announced today for the Arizona Fall League (AFL), a league for each organization’s top prospects. Washington prospects will join farmhands from the Baltimore Orioles, Oakland Athletics, Tampa Rays and Toronto Blue Jays on the Desert Dogs roster. Additionally, Harrisburg Head Athletic Trainer Atsushi Toriida will serve as one of the trainers for the Desert Dogs. The AFL, regarded throughout professional baseball as the “finishing school” for Major League Baseball’s top prospects, begins its 18th season on Tuesday, October 13.


The No. 1 and No. 10 overall picks–Stephen Strasburg and Drew Storen–highlight the Nationals’ prospects for the Phoenix Desert Dogs. It will give Storen and Strasburg an opportunity to form a bond that may appear at Nationals Park next year. 


“I’m excited,” Storen said to “Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come for the future. It’ll be great to meet him and see him throw. I hope I’ll be able to close his games and hopefully it’ll be the first of many I get to do that.”


Catcher Derek Norris, shortstop Danny Espinosa and first baseman Chris Marrero will join them. Strasburg arrives in Florida at the end of the week to begin his pitching routine and should be set for the AFL. Storen continues to climb the Minor League ladder but GM Mike Rizzo has said he won’t be a September call-up.


“I want to keep building off what I’m doing now, making adjustments and getting better each outing,” Storen said. “I hope to put myself in position to help out the Nationals at a higher level next year.”


Storen: He has fired scoreless ball in 8.0 innings of work and recorded a save in each of his six appearances since joining the Senators on August 11. Before reaching Double-A, Storen went 1-0 with two saves and a 1.80 ERA (2 ER/10.0 IP) in seven Carolina League games with Potomac. Prior to joining the P-Nats on July 19, he struck out 26 and did not walk a batter in 14.2 innings (11 games) with Single-A Hagerstown. Overall, the Stanford University product has fanned 43 and walked just seven in 32.2 combined innings (24 appearances) with Harrisburg, Potomac and Single-A Hagerstown.

Norris: He leads the South Atlantic League with 215 total bases and 79 walks. His 23 home runs and .410 OBP are both tied for the league lead with Lexington’s (Astros) Brian Pellegrini. The 20-year-old paces all catchers in professional baseball in homers and RBI (78). He has reached base safely via hit (119), walk (79) or HBP (8) 194 times in 117 games (1.76 times per contest). Norris was a 2009 SAL All-Star selection and he entered the season rated as the No. 6 prospect and top overall catching prospect in Washington’s system by Baseball America.

Espinosa: After hitting just .219 (21-for-96) in 27 games during July, he is batting .312 (24-for-77) in 23 August contests. Espinosa leads the Carolina League with 81 runs scored and ranks among the league leaders in walks (2nd, 68) and OBP (5th, .374). Espinosa entered the season as the Best Defensive Infielder among Nationals prospects according to Baseball America. He was selected in the 3rd round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft out of Long Beach State University (CA).

Marrero: The 21-year-old is hitting .393 (11-for-28) with four doubles, five RBI and six runs scored in his first eight games at the Double-A level. Marrero hit .287 (119-for-414) with 21 doubles, two triples, 16 homers, 65 RBI, 42 walks and 58 runs scored in 112 contests with Potomac. At the time of his promotion to Harrisburg, he ranked among the Carolina League leaders in hits (3rd), total bases (3rd, 192), home runs (5th), slugging percentage (5th, .464) and batting average (t-5th). Marrero was Washington’s first-round pick (15th overall) in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.

If you need a brief history on the AFL: right from the website


Makeup of the AFL

- There are six teams in the Arizona Fall League: the Scottsdale Scorpions, Mesa Solar Sox, Peoria Saguaros, Phoenix Desert Dogs, Peoria Javelinas and Surprise Rafters. These club names were picked by Major League Baseball as reflective of the Southwestern desert traditions in the state.

- The teams are broken into two divisions, East and West. Each Major League Baseball team sends six top prospects to the Arizona Fall League, 180 players in all. The games are played in the Spring Training ballparks used by the Giants, Mariners, Padres, Cubs, A’s, Royals and Rangers.

- How good are the players in the Arizona Fall League? The 2006 All-Star Game in Pittsburgh featured 25 AFL alums, including first-time All-Stars David Wright, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.

- Each August, Major League clubs hold a position draft to determine the players who will go to Arizona. Most are Double-A and Triple-A Minor League players. Each club can opt to send one player considered a Class A player.


History of the League


The roots of the Arizona Fall League go back several years, when the Major Leagues wanted to create an easily accessed offseason league. A concern was that some of the best ballplayers left to play winter ball out of the country, such as in the Caribbean and there was no way to monitor them.


If Major League Baseball created a league that it could govern and monitor, it would be better organized. If a player was injured, proper care and treatment would be on-hand. With the Arizona Fall League, managers, coaches, scouts and league officials could participate.


“That was the beauty of this,” says Steve Cobb, AFL executive vice president, “and that seemed to be one of the unifying factors for all the clubs. They created a Fall League where all of their personnel would be involved, with reduced travel and immediate accessibility on the part of scouting.”


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