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November 23, 2009 at 9:00 AM

Arizona Fall League Recap

After the final out of Saturday's Championship Game between the Phoenix Desert Dogs and the Peoria Javelinas, the 2009 Arizona Fall League season officially came to a close. While no Red Sox prospects participated in Saturday's game, the team did send eight players, four pitchers and four position players, to the AFL to play for the Mesa Solar Sox. The team finished 13-18 and finished in last place in the Eastern Division and in the league. Let's take a look back to see how these Red Sox prospects fared:


Luis Exposito: After finishing strong for Double-A Portland in 2009, expectations for Exposito were high as the AFL season began. With a strong .314/.364/.431 line and only 7 strikeouts in 51 at-bats, the 22-year-old catcher did what he had to do to meet those expectations. Exposito made 14 starts behind the plate for Mesa, collecting 3 doubles, 1 home run and 4 RBI in the process. His .314 batting average was good for fourth on the Solar Sox roster, and he hit .333 against left-handed pitching. Boston's thirty-first-round pick in the 2005 draft, Exposito is currently SoxProspects.com's eleventh-ranked Red Sox prospect.

Ryan Kalish: Like Exposito, Kalish had a strong 2009 for the Portland Sea Dogs. Also like Exposito, Kalish enjoyed a strong AFL season for the Mesa Solar Sox. Playing all three outfield positions, Kalish hit .301/.384/.384 with 3 doubles and 1 home run. His 15 RBI, buoyed by a .417 batting average with runners in scoring position, were good for second on the team, as were his 6 stolen bases, while his 10 walks in 73 at-bats were third on the team. The 21-year-old also struck out 22 times, however, good for third on the Solar Sox as well. His 14 runs scored ranked him fourth. Kalish joined the organization as a ninth-round pick in the 2006 draft. He is the third-ranked prospect in the organization by SoxProspects.com.

Casey Kelly: While Kelly may be one of the top-rated prospects in the Red Sox organization as a pitcher, his showing in the AFL as a hitter left much to be desired. In 41 at-bats spread over 11 games played, Kelly hit just .171/.261/.244, striking out 17 times. His .244 slugging percentage and .505 OPS were both worst on the Mesa roster, while his .171 batting average would have ranked worst in the league had he accumulated enough at-bats to qualify. On a more positive note, Kelly did walk in 10.8% of his plate appearances, ranking him fifth on the team, and he did hit a respectable .286/.318/.429 with runners on base. The top-ranked prospect in the organization by SoxPropsects.com was a first-round pick in 2008.

Jose Iglesias: Making his first professional appearance since signing with the Red Sox out of Cuba in September, the 19-year-old shortstop more than held his own. Iglesias hit .275/.324/.420 in 69 at-bats for Mesa, including 4 doubles, 2 home runs, 12 RBI and only 11 strikeouts. The right-handed infielder performed similarly against right-handed and left-handed pitching, batting .276 and .273, respectively. However, the story on Iglesias is his prowess in the field, and scouting reports were unanimously glowing about his quick hands and fluid movements at short. Iglesias, who took part in the AFL's Rising Stars Game, is currently the tenth-ranked prospect in the Red Sox system by SoxProspects.com.


Randor Bierd: After working primarily as a relief pitcher for Triple-A Pawtucket in 2009, Bierd came to the AFL to work as a starter, as he had in the latter part of the regular season. The 25-year-old right-hander made 7 starts for Mesa covering 25.1 innings, both team highs. He ended up 3-2 with a 6.04 ERA, striking out 17 and walking 12. Of the 25 hits Bierd allowed, only one was a home run. Acquired by Boston from Baltimore in exchange for David Pauley in January, Bierd is rated fifth amongst post-prospects in the Red Sox organization by SoxProspects.com.

Richie Lentz: In 2008, Lentz put up a marvelous campaign for Lancaster and Portland, pitching to a 3.14 ERA and striking out 112 batters in 77.1 innings. Things did not go so well for him in 2009, however, as the hard-throwing right-hander struggled to a 5.98 in 49.2 innings, striking out 74 but walking 39 while battling a loss of command and injuries. Needless to say, Lentz and the Red Sox hoped that he could rediscover his effectiveness in the AFL, and in many ways he did. Lentz went 1-0 with 3 holds and a 4.11 ERA in 10 games, striking out 16 and walking only 3 in 15.1 innings while holding opposing hitters to a .224 batting average. His 5.33 strikeout-to-walk ratio ranked third on the Solar Sox roster, while his 1.04 WHIP was second. The 25-year-old Lentz, a nineteenth-round pick in 2006, is presently the forty-third-ranked prospect in the organization by SoxProspects.com.

Chris Province: A fourth-round pick in the 2007 Draft, Province posted a stellar 2.60 ERA for Portland in 2009. The 24-year-old right-hander did nearly as well for Mesa in the AFL, pitching to a 3.46 ERA with 2 saves in 13.0 innings. Province allowed only 9 hits, limiting opposing hitters to a .200 batting average, while his 1.08 WHIP was third on the team. He was most effective against left-handed hitters, holding them to a .172 batting average in 8.2 innings, and he also did well when runners were in scoring position, holding hitters to a .100 batting average in those situations. Province is SoxProspects.com's forty-seventh rated Red Sox prospect.

Dustin Richardson: For Richardson, 2009 brought a world of change, as the tall left-hander transitioned to a bullpen role after a challenging 2008 campaign as a starter. Richardson pitched well as a reliever, posting a 2.55 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 74.0 innings between Portland and Pawtucket, even earning a call-up to Boston to make his Major League debut. Naturally, expectations were high for Richardson in the AFL, but things didn't quite go as planned. In 11 games and 11.2 innings for Mesa, Richardson posted a 5.40 ERA, allowing 3 home runs and walking 10 en route to a 1.97 WHIP. It wasn't all bad for Richardson, though, as his 13.88 strikeouts per 9.0 innings was second on the team. A fifth-round pick in 2006, Richardson, who also took part in the AFL's Rising Stars Game, is the twenty-third-ranked prospect in the system by SoxProspects.com.