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Monday Morning Minors

Ok, so one week of the AFL doesn't give a ton to write about. It also doesn't help if none of the players did well. While the Desert Dogs have gone 4-1 with a team average of .288 over their last five games, the three A's farmhands hit a combined .189. The pitching wasn't much better, as our representatives gave up nine runs over 4 2/3 innings.

The biggest blowup came from Conner Robertson on Saturday when he gave up five runs in 2/3 of an inning of relief. He gave up three homers, including one to the first batter he faced, and two back-to-back to knock him out. While he was obviously overmatched, two of the three players who hit home runs off him had little experience above Single-A. Very surprising considering Robertson, who had had a 2.80 ERA in 83 2/3 Double-A innings this season, gave up just a single home run in all of the 2006 full season. In nearly 200 previous professional innings entering the AFL, he had given up just FIVE total home runs. Yet in 2/3 of an inning in the AFL he gave up three.

I think that says more about the Arizona Fall League than it does Robertson, though. Certainly it isn't ordinary to see that kind of performance, it also isn't too extraordinary. Three of the six AFL teams have a team ERA of over six and two of them over seven. Most teams choose to send three offensive studs, while resting their most prized pitchers and sending the second-tier. Pitchers rarely pitch more than two or three innings, including starters.

Not much movement in the Mexican/Dominican/Venezuelan/etc leagues. Former Athletic Erubiel Durazo is off to a hot start for Hermosillo of the Mexican League, going 17-for-43 with four homers and a pair of doubles. One of the A's top prospects, Javier Herrera, is listed on a Dominican League team's roster but has yet to play. The Caracas Native missed time in 2005 due to a steroid suspension and all of 2006 after undergoing surgery. His 2007 campaign will be closely watched, especially since there were so many disappointments this season.