View Full Version : Teahen shines in Arizona Fall League

10-31-2004, 04:56 AM

Teahen on point in the AFL
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- For Royals fans wondering what's going on with third base prospect Mark Teahen, the news coming out of the Arizona Fall League is very good.

Teahen, through Thursday, was leading the AFL with a .453 average for the Phoenix Desert Dogs. He also was tops in on-base percentage, .516, and was second in hits, 24; runs scored, 15, and slugging percentage, .717.

Shaun McGinn, the Royals' director of player development, watched Teahen in Arizona and continues to get good reports on the left-handed batter.

"Before, he was a guy who hit the ball to the opposite field a lot," McGinn said. "The biggest thing that we have been talking to him about is not sliding forward and making sure you stay back so you can get to the inner half of the plate for fastballs. Because pitchers would pound him inside with fastballs and throw soft away."

Andre David, the Royals' minor league hitting instructor, is continuing to work with Teahen in Arizona.

"The most pleasant surprise for us is that he took to this so quickly," McGinn said. "He's hitting above-average fastballs that are on the inner third (of the plate) to right field. He's pulling balls because he's not going out to meet the ball and he's really staying back. That's the biggest thing with him. Even when he makes outs, they're hard outs."

Teahen, obtained from the Oakland A's in the Carlos Beltran trade, has improved his strike-zone discipline, too, with eight walks against 12 strikeouts.

"He's right on schedule, doing a great job," McGinn said. "He's playing great defense. He's an above-average third baseman right now defensively. The bat was the thing that we wanted to do a job on."

Teahen had no errors in his first 15 games.

Royals general manager Allard Baird has said repeatedly that Teahen would not be ready to start next season at the Major League level. But McGinn hinted that the situation could change. Third base is unoccupied with Joe Randa entering the free agent market.

Could Teahen be the starting third baseman after all?

"It's still up in the air," McGinn said. "I'd like to see him start at Triple-A. [Even] if he comes in and wins the job, I think it's going to be a hard sell to have him start at the big leagues. But, since we're going with young players, I wouldn't put it out of the realm of possibility. But I see him starting at Triple-A."

Teahen, in 53 at-bats, had one home run, three triples and five doubles in 53 at-bats with 11 RBIs. In 86 Triple-A games this year, he had eight homers but McGinn believes his power numbers will increase.

"When you look at his stats, you don't see the actual power that he has because of his hip slide -- he was always hitting the ball the other way," McGinn said.

"He's an extremely strong kid, he can hit the ball as far as anybody we have in the organization. It's just a matter of his mechanics and repeating them."

That's David's task as the AFL season continues.

"Andre's done a great job with him," McGinn said. "He's bought into what Andre is talking and he's getting good results. That's the biggest thing -- the confidence is going through the roof with him right now."

Second baseman Donnie Murphy was hitting .228 in his 15 games with the Desert Dogs.

"He had a four-hit game the other day and he's made outstanding plays defensively," McGinn said. "He's holding his own."

Murphy's big game came in a 15-3 win over the Grand Canyon Rafters. One of his hits was a double and he drove in three runs.

The Royals also have five pitchers with the Desert Dogs.

Left-hander Mike Stodolka, a first-round draft choice in 2000, is continuing his return from Tommy John surgery after pitching in 15 games for Single-A Wilmington. In Arizona, he was 1-1 with a 1.84 ERA in four games.

"I saw him at the end of the year at Wilmington and the thing that impressed me is he doesn't throw anything above the knees right now," McGinn said.

Stodolka appears to be getting stronger.

"He usually threw his breaking ball, which is his slider, at 76 to 78 (mph) so it was more like a slurve and it didn't have any definition or depth to it and now he's throwing that pitch at between 81 and 83," McGinn said. "And he's spotting his fastball really well and it's anywhere from 89 to 91."

Right-hander Wes Wilkerson had a 1.46 ERA in eight outings covering 12 1/3 innings. His fastball has touched 96 mph.

"He's doing great," McGinn said. "This is a guy we always knew had arm strength and definition with his slider and he throws almost a 'Fosh' change, a split, but the slider is the pitch that has really come on this last year."

Left-hander Billy Keppinger had a 4-0 record, "vulturing" some wins in middle relief appearances, with 3.86 ERA in 14 innings and 10 games. He's viewed as a situational lefty.

"The stats are a little misleading -- he's got four wins now -- but he's a guy that's at 81 to 85 and turns his changeup over and occasionally throws a cutter on a right-handed hitter to get it in on his hands," McGinn said.

"He's more of a finesse-and-location guy who keeps guys off-balance. His best pitch is his changeup and he'll triple up and double up on his changeup and guys just end up rolling over it."

Right-hander Danny Tamayo, the Royals' Minor League Pitcher of the Year, was 0-1 with a 7.94 ERA in four starts for the Desert Dogs.

"He pitched all year and I think he's gotten a little tired, more than the other guys, because he was starter all year," McGinn said.

Tamayo's velocity in Arizona has been down to 85 to 88 mph after averaging 90 to 91 during his 12-7 season with Double-A Wichita.

Right-hander Brian Bass, who is on the Royals' 40-man roster, has joined the Desert Dogs after getting over some shoulder soreness. He was impressive in his first inning of work, McGinn said.

10-31-2004, 04:57 AM
I saw this and checked out what was going on in the AFL, apparently Teahen keeps on chugging, he had a game winning 2 run single Saturday night in the 11th inning to give his team the victory....

11-04-2004, 12:29 AM
Nice, i want him to develop some power though.