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Arizona Fall League Recap 11/6: Lucas Sims is starting the All Star Game

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2015 was an up and down season for Sims, but he seems to now be determinedly climbing up a hill now. He announced on MLB Network that he will be starting the 2015 Fall Stars Game.

(13-8) Suprise Saguaros 6 vs. (8-11) Peoria Javelinas 1

  • Johan Camargo, DH: 1-4, 1 K

Peoria had a rough day on offense on Friday and didn't score a run until the 9th inning. It wasn't the best pitching day either as they gave up 6 runs in 8 innings pitched. Oh and the defense committed 4 errors so I guess they were pretty bad all the way around in this one. It started out with Dylan Bundy giving up a run in the first inning, and after a couple of shutdown innings the deficit rose to 3 in the 4th. Surprise added a run in the 6th and 2 more in the 8th to take a 6-0 lead before Peoria finally scored on a Tyler Smith double in the 9th.

The only Braves prospect in action was Johan Camargo, who didn't get any defensive time but had an OK day at the plate. He singled to lead off the 7th, but was stranded there when his teammates struck out 3 times in a row to end the inning. Pardon me while I have flashbacks to 2014. He grounded out in 2 of his other at bats and struck out in the 4th to put him at 1-4 on the day. His .237/.293/.263 line this year in certainly unassuming, but power is never going to factor into his game so when you look at average and OBP there are some positive signs. The 56 point separation between his batting average and on base percentage shows me that he is still exercising a good, fairly patient approach even against better competition and pitchers with better stuff. His .237 average is not good at all, but for a guy who was, to put it bluntly, absolutely terrible in the second half of the season after making the Carolina League all star team it's a step in the right direction.

To take it a bit deeper he has an 11.9% K rate this fall, which is significantly below the league average 20.1%. He's putting the ball in play and making the defense do the work, something that hold a lot of value for a guy with his lack of power and at his position. It's also no secret that the front office is targeting players with a small ball mentality, a mold he certainly fits for better or worse. For a player who is still just 21 and has never played a game above A ball to come into the Arizona Fall League, with all of it's top prospects and great fastballs, and hold his own in a positive sign for me. This is also a player who was involved in that bus crash for the Mudcats this year. While he never faced any DL time due to that, ot was a potentially life-changing event that certainly had an affect on him mentally and physically this year. Obviously AFL stats are a terrible judge for future success, but to see a guy like Camargo making strides especially after a dissappointing end to what started as a promising 2015 campaign.

Now let's get to the big news of the day. Lucas Sims announced on MLB Network that he will be starting the Fall Stars game tonight. That will air on MLB Network at 8:00 PM, and I know there are many of you who may have never seen Sims pitch a live game so this is going to be exciting. For a guy who many were writing off as a bust just 4 months ago this is a huge leap forward. He took a hot end to 2015 into a great AFL season and is now on the precipice of reestablishing himself as one of the top pitching prospects in the game. He has a 2.45 ERA this fall, and even digging into peripherals he is fantastic. He is striking out a batter per inning pitched which is right in line with his 2015 numbers. He has also seen his walk rate drop to 2.5BB/9 IP, and he has only allowed 8 hits in 11 innings pitched. Sims has even been clocked at 98 this fall, though due to shorter outings, longer rest, and the break period at the end of the season I don't expect that to last. All signs are pointing towards a potential rebreakout year in 2016. Congratulation Lucas Sims on a fantastic fall so far.