Pulaski is in the Appalachian League, which is rookie-level, but slightly higher than the Arizona Rookie League. Whereas the AZL is played at the team complexes with minimal crowds, the Appy League is in actual stadiums with actual fans. And the players are bit more advanced.
Last year, the P-M’s won the league title, with a very exciting team featuring big-time prospect Luiz Gohara, and my favorite little sparkplug Aaron Barbosa.
Gohara was assigned to Arizona to start this season (perhaps to help him maintain a comfort level), though I expect he’ll be at short-season-A Everett eventually.
But there will be at least one Brazilian teen in Virginia this year. Here’s a quick look at this year’s squad:
Daniel Missaki is a Brazilian of Japanese descent who showed strikeout ability last year in Arizona at 17. He’s in our “MB100” as one of the “26 in the Mix.” Missaki is in his second pro season, but is still the youngest player on the team.
Jeffeson Medina (no “r”) is a Venezuelan righty who put up solid numbers in Arizona last season. He’s on our “Watch List.”
Another one from the Watch List is Ugueth Urbina (Jr.). You probably remember his dad from his days as closer for the old Expos, or for being thrown in jail in Venezuela on a homicide charge. I’m sure he prefers you remember the former. Anyway, the son has been working his way up the system with some decent numbers.
Did they pick a bunch of LHP in the last draft? Yes they did. And several are in Pulaski:
- Ryan Yarbrough, the 4th-round pick who went that high due to low bonus demands, is from Old Dominion.
- Lane Ratliff, the 6th-round pick from a junior college in Mississippi.
- Taylor Byrd, the 7th-round pick from Nicholls State in Louisiana.
- Jarret Brown, the 22nd-round pick from Georgia.
- Pat Peterson, the 23rd-round pick from North Carolina State.
Yeah, there’s enough lefties to go around.
But a few RHP as well:
- Trey Cochran-Gill, the 17th-round pick out of Auburn.
- Peter Miller, the 9th-round pick out of Florida State.
- Rohn Pierce, the 19th-round pick out of Canisius.
If you recall, due to the oddball rules, college seniors picked in rounds 4 through 10 are actually going to be less-coveted players than college juniors picked in rounds 11 through the 20s. They are picked there because they are willing to sign for very low bonuses which help the team operate under the cap.
So, Yarbrough, Byrd and Miller — seniors picked in those rounds — probably have lower expectations than the others picked lower. Just so you know.
Two of our “Radar Alert” prospects are at Pulaski: Yordi Calderon and Gianfranco Wawoe. Their original article can be found here.
Calderon is a bigger power-hitting guy and Wawoe is a smaller speedy guy. Wawoe is also a switch-hitter who developed doubles power while hardly ever striking out last year in Venezuela.
There will also be a couple of college guys:
- SS Nelson Ward, the 12th-round pick from Georgia (remember junior in 12th round better liked than senior in 7th).
- C Wayne Taylor, the 16th-round pick from Stanford.
- 3b Jay Baum, the 23rd-round pick from Clemson.
- OF Taylor Zeutenhorst, the 38th-round pick from Iowa.
And then there’s Arby Fields, a former White Sox prospect signed as a free agent who has been working his way down the ladder, from Clinton to Everett to Pulaski. “Arby” seems to be his real name.
The P-M’s are already off to a good start, with Ward totally dominating the first game:
- home run
- two singles
- 3 stolen bases
That’s a pretty amazing professional debut.
Calderon homered in the 12th to win that first game.
Ward got two more hits in the second game, and Calderon doubled, with catcher Taylor adding a homer.