Castro and Parker Shine in Rising Stars Showcase

Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game
AFL West 8 – AFL East 7
WP – Michael Dunn (1-0) LP – Drew Storen (0-1, BS 1) Save – Craig Kimbrel (1)

The MLB season may have come to an end Wednesday but some of the leagues brightest young stars have been participating in the AFL since October 13. The MLB Network aired the first of two games the channel is going to carry from Arizona this fall on Saturday night.

The annual Arizona Fall League Rising Stars game took place on Saturday night in Surprise, Arizona … the Spring Training home of the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers. The AFL East Stars jumped out to a seven-run lead in the first inning off of Braves’ prospect Mike Minor. Starlin Castro singled and scored in the seven-run inning as the AFL East team set a record for the most runs scored in a single inning.

The AFL West team continued to chip away. They scored two runs in the first and four more in the third led by two Reds’ prospects, Chris Heisey and Yonder Alonso. The game remained 7-6 until the bottom of the eighth.

Lance Zawadzki (Padres) led off the inning with a single off of Drew Storen and scored on a two-run homer off the bat of Matt McBride (Indians). The East squad put the tying run on second with two outs in the ninth but Craig Kimbrel (Braves) struck out Chase d’Arnaud (Pirates) looking on a 3-2 pitch to end the game.

Starlin Castro finished the night 2-for-3 with a pair of singles and a run scored. Castro did not have any opportunities in the field … and made a nice read on a ball in the dirt but was stranded at third base.

Blake Parker was the other Cubs’ prospect to participate in the game. Parker was shaky at first and gave up a leadoff single to Jordan Danks (White Sox and brother of John Danks). But worked around a four-pitch walk and a wild pitch to preserve the lead for the AFL East squad.

Four of the Cubs’ prospects participating in the AFL were named to the East squad … Starlin Castro, Josh Vitters, Blake Parker and Andrew Cashner. Cashner was unavailable due to the fact he pitched on Thursday and Vitters strained a pectoral muscle in batting practice on Wednesday.

Both Starlin Castro and Blake Parker had good nights in their team’s loss.

Starlin Castro started the game at short and hit second in the AFL East lineup. He was in the middle of the seven-run first inning and actually made it to the plate twice. Castro resembles a very young Edgar Renteria and the plate … 6’1″ and 160 pounds. Castro did not get any opportunities in the field before Bryan Petersen (Marlins) replaced him at the beginning of the bottom of the fifth.

Jose Tabata (Pirates) led off the game with an infield single to the hole at short. Starlin Castro reached on a broken bat bloop single to center on a 1-0 pitch. Brandon Snyder (Orioles) followed with a deep fly out to right center.

Grant Desme (A’s) then ripped a single into center on a 1-0 pitch from Mike Minor. Tabata scored … 1-0 East squad.

Brandon Allen (D’Backs) followed with a three-run homer to center, Castro and Desme scored … 4-0 East squad.

Buster Posey (Giants) reached on an infield single on a 2-2 pitch and Domonic Brown (Phillies) doubled. With runners on second and third with one out, Josh Bell (Orioles) hit a sacrifice fly into right center that plated Posey with the fifth run of the game.

Jemile Weeks (A’s and younger brother of Rickie Weeks) walked. With runners on first and third with two outs, Minor uncorked a wild pickoff attempt at first, Brown scored and Weeks ended up at third. Tabata then singled to center and plated Weeks with the seventh run of the inning. On a 1-0 pitch from Josh Fields (Mariners) Starlin Castro flied out to right for the third out of the inning.

Tommy Mendoza (Angels) started the game for the East team, instead of Stephen Strasburg (neck strain) and gave back two of the runs in the home half of the first.

Dustin Ackley walked to start the inning and scored on a two-out, two-run homer by Chris Heisey (Reds).

The West Rising Stars made a game of it in the bottom of the third off of Danny Moskos (Pirates). The southpaw has very good stuff but could not miss any bats on Saturday night.

Carlos Triunfel (Mariners) led off the third with a home run to left after a very good at bat. Moskos retired Ackley and Danks but Mike Moustakas (Royals) singled to right on the first pitch he saw from Moskos.

Chris Heisey then doubled down the left field line. Yonder Alonso doubled over Jose Tabata’s head just to the right of straight away center … two runs scored on the misplayed ball … 7-5.

Daryl Jones (Cardinals) followed with a double to right on a 1-2 pitch, Alonso scored the sixth run of the game for the West squad. Matt Gorgen (Rays) replaced Moskos and walked Lance Zawadzki before retiring Jason Castro on a ground out to first to end the inning.

With the East squad up 7-6 in the fourth, Starlin Castro reached on a bloop single to right. Mike Leake (Reds) jammed Castro on a 2-0 pitch and he dropped it into right. With two outs and Grant Desme at the plate, Leake uncorked a wild pitch. Jason Castro (Astros) kept the ball in front of him but Starlin Castro made a good read and took off for second. Castro’s throw ended up in center and Starlin Castro advanced to third … but Leake struck out Desme swinging to end the inning.

Blake Parker took the mound to start the bottom of the seventh. Jordan Danks, in what could be a match-up during the 2010 season, ripped a single into the opposite field on Parker’s first pitch. Carlos Rivero flied out to left on a 2-2 pitch for the first out.

Parker uncorked a wild pitch that advanced Danks into scoring position then walked the hot-hitting Chris Heisey on four pitches.

With runners on first and second with one out in a one-run game, Parker struck out Yonder Alonso swinging on an excellent 1-2 breaking ball. Ike Davis (Mets and son of Ron Davis) grounded out to first on a 3-2 offering from Parker to end the inning.

Parker showed a lot of poise with his team up by a run. He threw 21 pitches, 11 for strikes and kept the ball down. Parker’s four-seam fastball was in the mid 90s and he featured a nice slider and a changeup in the mid 80s.

Two players that could be at Wrigley Field in 2010 put together solid efforts on Saturday night in Arizona.

Quote of the Day

"A mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on the course of victory." - Arthur Golden
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