The Washington Times - October 18, 2009, 12:02AM

By JAY LeBLANC

Eight Orioles prospects are looking to sharpen their skills in this year’s Arizona Fall League, which kicked off on Oct. 13 and runs through mid-November. Infielders Josh Bell, Brandon Snyder and Brandon Waring, outfielder Matt Angle and pitchers Brandon Erbe, Eddie Gamboa, Josh Perrault and Ryohei Tanaka have teamed up with a collection of A’s, Rays, Jays and Nationals farmhands on the Phoenix Desert Dogs under the direction of Gary Cathcart, who has managed Toronto’s Double-A affiliate the past two seasons. Their teammates include Nats phenom and 2009 No. 1 overall pick Stephen Strasburg, fellow Washington first-rounder Drew Storen and former Orioles lefty Adam Loewen, who is attempting to get back to the big leagues with the Jays as an outfielder.

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I’ll provide updates on the Orioles prospects’ AFL progress every Sunday here on The Washington Times’ National Pastime blog. If an O’s farmhand isn’t mentioned in the game summary, it means he didn’t play that day.

 

Tuesday, Oct. 13

Snyder, batting third and playing first base, went 2-for-5 and slugged a two-run homer off lefty Jay Voss, a Marlins property. Bell started at third base and hit sixth. He went 0-for-1 with a walk batting left-handed and 0-for-2 with a strikeout from the right side. Tanaka started for Phoenix and allowed a run - a solo shot by Twins prospect Rene Tosoni - on three hits in three innings. He struck out four without issuing a walk but ended up as the hard-luck loser as the Desert Dogs dropped their opener 10-6 to the Mesa Solar Sox.

Wednesday, Oct. 14

Waring, batting fifth and serving as the DH, went 1-for-5 with three strikeouts, but the hit was an opposite-field solo homer off Cubs left-handed pitching prospect James Russell that put Phoenix up 3-2 in the top of the sixth. Perrault helped preserve the Desert Dogs’ lead by tossing a scoreless bottom of the seventh. He fanned the Angels’ P.J. Phillips to open the frame but then allowed a double to Marlins prospect Bryan Petersen before getting the next two Mesa batters to fly out. The Desert Dogs went on to win 4-2.

Thursday, Oct. 15

Angle got his first taste of AFL action as the leadoff hitter and center fielder. He went 0-for-3 but drew three walks, swiped two bases and scored the first Phoenix run of the day on a Snyder fielder’s choice in the third. Snyder, who hit third and played first base, went 1-for-5 on the day with a single and a strikeout. Bell, batting cleanup and playing third, went 1-for-3 with an RBI double and a pair of walks. Encouragingly, the double came off a left-hander, Japanese leaguer Takanobu Tsujiuchi. Phoenix cruised past Scottsdale 9-4.

Friday, Oct. 16

Bell had a big day in support of Strasburg, who pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings to earn the win in his AFL debut. He went 3-for-4 out of the cleanup spot, driving in a pair of runs on a single and adding another RBI on an opposite-field double, and singled in his lone right-handed at bat. Snyder, who hit third, went 2-for-3 with a walk. He scored on both of Bell’s RBI hits and also trotted home on a Loewen sac fly. Angle, hitting eighth, went 0-for-4 with a strikeout. Gamboa relieved Strasburg in the fourth with one out and a man on first and induced an inning-ending double play. He allowed a solo shot to Philadelphia’s Steve Susdorf in an otherwise spotless fifth but struggled in the sixth. His fielding error allowed the leadoff man to reach, and he yielded a one-out RBI single to Pirates prospect Jose Tabata. Tabata was erased trying to take second on the play, but Gamboa was replaced by Perrault after walking the next batter. Perrault was greeted with a double but notched a strikeout to end the inning. He then pitched around a leadoff walk in a scoreless seventh. Phoenix held on to beat Scottsdale 7-4.

Saturday, Oct. 17

Angle, hitting leadoff and playing right field, broke out of an 0-for-7 funk by going 2-for-5 with a double and two runs scored. He also gunned down Royals prospect Mike Moustakas at home for the final out of the bottom of the first following a single by Mets 2008 first-rounder Ike Davis. Snyder, the DH and No. 3 hitter, continued his hot-hitting ways, going 2-for-4 with a walk, two runs scored and two RBI. Waring got the start at third base, hitting fifth, and went 1-for-4 with a two-run single and two strikeouts. The Desert Dogs closed out a 4-1 first week of AFL action with an 11-2 win over Surprise.

 

This Week’s Stud: Snyder finished the week 7-for-17 (.412) with a home run, five RBI and six runs scored. He narrowly edged Bell, who went 4-for-10 with a pair of doubles, four RBI and three runs scored. Also deserving of consideration was Perrault, who pitched twice in relief and allowed two hits and a walk while fanning two in 2 1/3 scoreless innings.

This Week’s Dud: Gamboa didn’t resemble the guy who went 11-0 with a 1.08 ERA in the minors this season in his lone appearance. He served up a solo homer - something he hadn’t done since he was pitching for Delmarva two promotions and several months ago - and though the other run he allowed in his 2 1/3-inning stint was unearned, the baserunner reached on his own fielding error. Angle went just 2-for-12 (.167) but drew three walks, stole two bases, scored three runs and notched a pair of outfield assists.

 

Jay LeBlanc is an assistant news editor at The Washington Times. He can be reached at jleblanc@washingtontimes.com.

 

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