The Surprise Rafters finished 12-26, which was the worst record in the Arizona Fall League. The Phoenix Desert Dogs won the National Division with an 18-18 record and the Peoria Javelinas finished 16-22. The Mesa Solar Sox and Peoria Saguaros tied atop the American Division (26-12), but Mesa advanced to play Phoenix in the championship game. The Scottsdale Scorpions finished in last place in the division (14-22).
The Desert Dogs captured their fifth consecutive league championship with a 10-4 victory over the Solar Sox. Josh Donaldson, a prospect with the Oakland Athletics, was 3-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs to lead Phoenix. Evan Frey, who plays in the Arizona Diamondbacks' organization, was 2-for-4 with three RBIs.
Here are updates on the Orioles' prospects through the end of the season:
Blake Davis, SS – The 24-year-old shortstop received most of his playing time over the final two weeks of the season. Davis finished with a .161 batting average (9-for-56), seven RBIs and five runs scored. He was 4-for-5 with a walk and three RBIs on Nov. 8 against the Javelinas. On Nov. 19 against Phoenix, Davis was 2-for-5 with a double – his only extra-base hit in Arizona – and two RBIs.
Ryan Keefer, RHP – Keefer missed most of the winter season with an arm injury, and he finished with a 6.00 ERA in four appearances. The 27-year-old right-hander gave up two runs and five hits in three innings for Surprise. He allowed two hits and had three strikeouts in one inning against Scottsdale on Nov. 17 during his final game.
Brian Matusz, LHP – Matusz was 2-4 with a 4.73 ERA in seven appearances (six starts) for the Rafters. While the numbers show that he didn't dominate the league, the 21-year-old left-hander's first professional action wasn't a total disaster. He had 31 strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings against some of the best prospects in the minor leagues. Matusz allowed at least two runs in six of his seven outings, but he also had at least five strikeouts in four of the seven. There's definitely room for improvement, but the Orioles' first-round draft pick showed that he's capable of getting outs at the professional level.
Bob McCrory, RHP – McCrory didn't pitch for the Rafters after Oct. 25. He surrendered two runs and three hits in one inning during that game against Mesa. In four games for Surprise, the 26-year-old relief pitcher had a 7.36 ERA. Earlier in the fall, McCrory experienced discomfort in his right elbow. The Orioles' fourth-round pick in the 2003 draft allowed seven runs (three earned) and seven hits in 3 2/3 innings in Arizona.
Nolan Reimold, OF – The 25-year-old outfielder batted .261 with four home runs and 16 RBIs in 25 games for Surprise. Reimold struggled at the beginning of the winter, but he improved considerably by the end of the season. He hit .306 with five doubles, one home run and five RBIs in his final 10 games. The Orioles have taken a patient approach with Reimold, and it will be interesting to see when he's finally given a chance to prove himself in the major leagues.
Brandon Snyder, 1B – While the Orioles had several high-profile prospects playing in Arizona, Snyder's performance was probably the most important. After hitting .315 with 13 home runs and 80 RBIs in 116 games for the Frederick Keys in 2008, the 21-year-old first baseman showed that he's able to hit against some of the best pitchers in the minor leagues. Snyder batted .349 with eight doubles, four home runs and 10 RBIs in 17 games for Surprise. The Orioles' first-round draft pick in 2005 was 9-for-23 (.391) with three home runs and six RBIs in his final six games.
Chad Thall, LHP – Thall was 0-1 with a 10.22 ERA in nine appearances for the Rafters, but those numbers were inflated because he gave up six earned runs and five hits in 1/3 of an inning against Phoenix on Oct. 28. If you take away that outing, the 23-year-old left-hander allowed eight earned runs in 12 innings. That's still not a great performance, but it's much better than what he actually had. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound pitcher had 15 strikeouts and four walks in 12 1/3 innings for Surprise.
Matt Wieters, C – The 22-year-old catcher concluded his first professional season by hitting successfully in his final six games. Wieters hit .275 (11-for-40) with one home run and seven RBIs in his last 10 games with Surprise. He was 2-for-5 with two RBIs against Scottsdale on Nov. 17. Overall, Wieters batted .301 with one home run and 12 RBIs in 20 games for the Rafters. That's still remarkable, but it doesn't look as good after the Orioles' first-round pick in the 2007 draft hit .355 with 27 home runs and 91 RBIs in 130 games split between the Keys and Bowie Baysox. It remains to be seen where Wieters begins next season, but he certainly lived up to the hype during his first season in the organization.