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AFL News

Here's a roundup of the Pirates' performances in the Arizona Fall League. (Here, again, are their statisics.) Actually, none of the Pirates are doing anything too exciting, unless Mike Connolly's 3.86 ERA in 2 1/3 innings thrills you. Brad Eldred is hitting .300/.382/.533, but that's probably only about average against AFL pitching. Matt Peterson continues to be a complete mess.

Here's a neat article on Neil Walker, Seattle's Jeff Clement and Atlanta's Jarrod Saltalamacchia. An unnamed scout thinks Walker will be fine behind the plate, and Walker explains his defensive troubles by pointing out how hard it is to catch Class A pitchers, whose velocity is often major-league level but whose control is not:

"Right now I know I'm more of an offensive-minded catcher, but I've made tremendous strides with my receiving," Walker said. "My catching and my hitting will only improve, and at some point I would imagine they would be pretty equal. This year I went through a lot of struggles with passed balls. It had to do with my not being prepared.

"But out here it's much easier to catch and receive because these guys are around the plate. If they make a mistake, it's not a 50-foot fastball in the dirt so it's easier to stay focused and concentrate."