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Arizona Fall League: Drew Lugbauer stars again for Javelinas

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Drew Lugbauer may have been a replacement on the roster, but he’s become a key figure in Peoria’s lineup already

Mesa Solar Sox v. Scottsdale Scorpions Photo by Norm Hall/MLB Photos via Getty Images

No big news came out of the Arizona Fall League on the Braves side this week, and we’re starting to see a handful of good performances from the group down there. As there were obviously no other important baseball games being played by the Atlanta Braves over the past week I’m sure you’re all on the edge of your seats to hear about the performance of these prospects.

Jesse Franklin

2 G, 0-8, 1 BB, 3 K

AFL Totals: 8 G, 2-29, 1 HR, 4 BB, 13 K, .069/.229/.172

Franklin is not playing well at all this fall, and had his least productive week yet last week. The first game was a struggle for the entire Javelinas team and Franklin ended up scoring the only Peoria run in the game. After leading off the inning with a walk Franklin advanced to third base on a base hit and scored on a ground out. That was the extent of his production as he grounded out, popped out to the infield, and struck out in his other at bats. His second game of the week was even worse, but fortunately the Javelinas won by a run in extra innings. Franklin went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts on the day with the most critical of his at bats coming fourth and tenth innings. In the fourth Franklin came up with no outs and runners on the corner but popped up to the shortstop to make the first out. With one out in the bottom of the tenth Franklin stepped up with the bases loaded in a tie game. He grounded into a force out unable to score the run, but fortunately the batter behind him singled to win the game and make that irrelevant.

Luke Waddell

2 G, 3-7, 2 BB, 2 2B, 1 BB, 0 K

AFL Totals: 7 G, 4-24, 2 2B, 5 BB, 3 K, 1 SB, .167/.300/.250

Luke Waddell struggled for the first two weeks, but with the amount of contact he was making it seemed like a matter of time before those hits would fall. This was the week they did and he put up good numbers in two games. In his first game of the week he went 1-for-3 with a walk, with that walk being a critical part of the Javelinas comeback win. Waddell’s hit came to lead off the fifth inning, but he was unable to score even after a one out single moved him into scoring position as the rest of the offense couldn't come through with the big hit. Peoria went into the ninth inning trailing 6-4 and Waddell had the honor of leading off the Javelinas last stand. As mentioned Waddell walked, then he advanced on a wild pitch and came in to score on a base hit. With the help of Drew Lugbauer’s two out single the Javelinas scored three runs in the inning and won 7-6. Waddell was even more active in the Peoria’s walk-off win in the tenth inning as he produced three of the team’s six runs. In a 0-0 game in the third inning Waddell led off the inning and ripped a double into left field. The next batter singled and Waddell scored to give Peoria an early 1-0 lead. In the ninth inning the Javelinas were down 4-2 and Waddell strolled to the plate with two outs and a runner on first base. Waddell delivered an RBI double to bring the game within a run and the pinch runner in place of Waddell scored the game-tying run on a double to send the game to extra innings. In 30 plate appearances this fall Waddell has a 16.7% walk rate and 10% strikeout rate.

Drew Lugbauer

3 G, 5-8, 1 HR, 4 BB, 2 K

AFL Totals: 6 G, 8-19, 2 HR, 7 BB, 7 K, .421/.577/.737

Drew Lugbauer backed up a strong opening week with a fantastic second week and was a key piece in the Peoria offense for two wins. In Peoria’s 7-6 walkout win Lugbauer reached base four times, including three hits and a walk, and didn’t strike out at all. His fourth inning home run made the score 4-2, where it would stay until Peoria allowed two runs in the seventh to make it 6-2. With the Javelinas trailing by two runs in the ninth the rally mentioned in the Waddell recap happened, and Lugbauer came up with a runner on first and two outs in a tied game. He delivered a single to keep the game going, and the next batter walked it off. Lugbauer’s contributions in the next game were tamer, but he was intentionally walked to load the bases in the tenth inning and ended up scoring the winning run in Peoria’s walk off win. Lugbauer and the rest of the offense went wild in the final game of the week, as Peoria won a 16-13 slug fest. Lugbauer once again reached base four times with two singles and two walks. He scored three runs and knocked in two to contribute five of the team’s 16 runs in the game.

Jake Higginbotham

1 G, 0.2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, 2 HR

AFL Totals: 4 G, 2.2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 6 BB, 0 K, 2 HR, 13.50 ERA

Jake Higginbotham is having a nightmarish start to the Arizona Fall League schedule as he can’t really do anything on the mount. With the team holding a 5-2 lead in the sixth inning he was brought in to pitch and it was a disaster from the start. He allowed a leadoff single and then with one out gave up back-to-back home runs to tie the game. With two outs he walked two batters in a row and was pulled from the game. Fortunately Peoria went on to outscore the Solar Sox 10-2 from the bottom of the 6th on so Higginbotham’s performance didn’t matter much.

William Woods

1 G, 4 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 0 HR

AFL Totals: 3 G, 10 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 6 BB, 6 K, 4 HR, 3.60 ERA

William Woods can apparently only allow runs if you hit a home run off of him, and in this week’s contest he did not allow a home run. He got the start for Peoria and worked around bit of trouble in each inning. He allowed a two out single in his first inning but got a strikeout to strand the runner. The second inning was a tougher one, as it was the only one in which he allowed two baserunners. The first batter singled against Woods but he bounced back with a double play ball to clear the bases. Another single came to follow that but the runner was caught trying to steal second base to end the inning. Woods had no issues working around a two out walk in the third inning and his fourth inning walk was followed by another double play ball to end another scoreless inning.

Victor Vodnik

1 G, 4 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 HR

AFL Totals: 3 G, 11 IP, 13 H, 10 R, 10 ER, 7 BB, 13 K, 4 HR, 8.18 ERA

Victor Vodnik didn't have an awful performance, but unfortunately all of the action against him was bunched together and led to four runs scoring. He started out his outing immediately after Woos with a walk, but struck out the next two batters and got a lineout to end the inning. He wasn’t able to escape himself in the sixth inning as a walk and a hit by pitch were scored on a three run home run that gave up a lead. The other two hits Vodnik allowed in the game were back-to-back doubles in the seventh to score a fourth run off of him. His final inning was his best work of the game, as he got consecutive strikeouts to open the inning and a fly out to end it.

Indigo Diaz

1 G, 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K

AFL Totals: 4 G, 3 1⁄3 IP, 8 H, 9 R, 9 ER, 7 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 24.30 ERA

Normally it’s exciting when your star reliever has an ERA that starts with two, but unfortunately for Indigo Diaz that two is in the tens place. Diaz was shaky again after being brought in to replace Higginbotham, though after walking the first batter he faced in the sixth inning he was able to escape bases loaded by forcing a pop out. Unfortunately he couldn't get out of the seventh inning after allowing a lead off home run and a base hit. It’s not been a good fall for Diaz, and hopefully it’s just fatigue and the long winter off will give him a chance to recover.