One of the biggest surprises in the Oakland A's system in 2009 was the rise of reliever Mickey…
Oakland A's MLN: Henry, Casilla Debut
Two of the hardest throwers in the Oakland A's system made their winter league debuts over the past week. Henry Rodriguez and Santiago Casilla both debuted for their respective teams.
Rodriguez, who annually plays for the Aguilas del Zulia of the Venezuelan Winter League, had a rough first outing. He allowed four runs (three earned) on four hits and one walk in 1.1 innings pitched. There has been some speculation in the Venezuelan media that Rodriguez may be used as a starter at some point during the VWL season, but his first outing came in relief. He was exclusively a reliever in the A's organization in 2009 after acting as a starter for his entire career up until mid-season 2008.
Casilla has made three appearances for his annual winter leauge club, the Leones del Escogido of the Dominican Winter League. Casilla was perfect in his first two outings, striking out two in two innings. However, he was roughed up on Wednesday, giving up three runs on two hits and two walks in only a third of an inning. Casilla had a disappointing 5.96 ERA for the A's in 48.1 innings this past season.
Carter Homers; Padron Continues To Roll
Chris Carter connected for his fifth homerun of the Mexican League season on Wednesday night. It was his first since returning from battling a stomach ailment, which sidelined him for nearly three weeks. Since returning to the field, Carter has appeared in six games and has reached base in all six contests. He has also driven-in four runs and scored three times. Overall, Carter is batting .235 with five homers, 10 RBIs and an 888 OPS in 13 games for Guasave.
Raul Padron has been one of the top stories in the Venezuelan Winter League this season. He is batting .308 with six homeruns and 13 RBIs and he has a 1000 OPS in 21 games for the Leones del Caracas, and he has been splitting his time defensively between catching and playing first base. Padron is currently a minor league free agent after six years in the A's chain. His manager on the Caracas squad is former A's hitting coach Dave Hudgens.
Other Winter Notes:
* The Phoenix Desert Dogs hold a 1.5 game lead over Mesa in the Arizona Fall League's Eastern Division. Phoenix is attempting to win its sixth consecutive title. The Dogs dropped a 2-0 decision on Wednesday to Scottsdale. James Simmons got the loss, as he allowed single runs in each of the first two innings. He finished the game with four innings pitched and five hits, two runs and one walk allowed. Simmons struck-out two. He has a 3.43 ERA in 21 innings this fall.
* Justin Friend threw two scoreless innings in the Dogs' Wednesday defeat. He has allowed only one run over his last 5.1 AFL innings with three strike-outs and one walk. Overall, Friend has a 4.82 ERA in 9.1 innings.
* Mickey Storey had an outstanding outing for Phoenix on Monday. The right-hander tossed two perfect innings, striking out five of the six batters he faced. Storey has 11 strike-outs and only two walks in eight AFL innings. He allowed four runs in two-thirds of an inning in an outing on October 23rd. In the rest of his outings this AFL season, Storey has allowed only a run in 7.1 innings and he has 11 strike-outs and four hits allowed.
* The homerun totals have leveled off for Grant Desme in the AFL, but he is still getting on-base. Over his last six games, he has not homered, but he has reached safely in all but one game and he has seven hits, has scored five runs, doubled twice, driven-in two, stolen a base and walked three times. Overall, he is batting .370 with a 1260 OPS in 20 games.
* Former top A's prospect Javier Herrera has resurfaced in the Venezuelan Winter League. Herrera was released by the A's this past season after struggling with injuries over the last several seasons. Herrera remained unsigned by a major league club all season and he was also let go by Caracas of the VWL, for whom he had played the past several years. Herrera has signed on with Lara of the VWL and has four hits in his first 14 at-bats.
* Alexander Valdez is second behind Arizona Diamonbacks' starter Conor Jackson in hitting for the Leones del Escogido of the Dominican Winter League. Valdez, through 14 games, has a .327 average with a 947 OPS and three stolen bases.
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