Indians infield prospect Joe Wendle came to the Arizona Fall League to become a more complete player. The early signs are that he's getting exactly what he wanted.
The second baseman hit a key two-run triple in the host Surprise Saguaros' 4-2 win over the Mesa Solar Sox on Tuesday afternoon.
"[Omar Duran] made me look pretty stupid on two off-speed pitches early in the count," Wendle said. "I got a ball up in the zone and was able to drive it into the gap.
"I'm trying to work on every part of my game to become a more balanced baseball player. I'm working on pitch selection at the plate. I'm trying to be more patient up there. Just becoming more balanced baseball player."
Surprise fell behind to No. 4 Cubs prospect Kris Bryant's first-inning RBI single before tying the game on an RBI double by Jason Rogers.
Mesa regained the advantage when Albert Almora (Cubs) smacked a two-out single up the middle an inning later, but Surprise took the lead for good in the bottom half of the frame.
Ryan Rua (Rangers) and Tony Wolters (Indians) drew back-to-back one-out walks and Wendle tripled home both runners. Then Tyler Naquin (Indians) followed with a run-scoring single to center field to complete the scoring.
"That was obviously a lot of fun," Wendle said of teaming up with fellow Tribe prospects in the seventh frame. "I've played with those guys all year and they're both excellent players. To have success like we did in the seventh is a lot of fun."
Wendle hit .295 with 16 homers and 32 doubles in 107 Carolina League games with the Class A Advanced Mudcats this year. He scored 73 runs and recorded 64 RBIs, both career highs.
"I'm having a blast, first of all. It's fun getting to know guys from the other teams and it's fun playing against some of the bigger prospects," said Wendle, who played 61 games for Mahoning Valley as a rookie in 2012.
"The competition is awesome as well. You've got the best players from every organization out here. It's fun to go head-to-head with them. Everybody's giving it their all out here."
Bryant, selected by the Cubs second overall in the 2013 Draft out of the University of San Diego, improved his AFL-best batting average to .438 and extended his RBI lead to 13.
Surprise starter Eduardo Rodriguez (Orioles) allowed a run on one hit and two walks while striking out three batters over three innings. Baltimore left-hander Jason Gurka (2-0) earned the win for the Saguaros. He surrendered one run on two hits over an inning of relief.
"He battled today definitely," Wendle said of Rodriguez. "I hadn't been able to play behind him much, so I don't know if he had his stuff or not. But he gave us three strong innings and kept us right in the ballgame. Against that team with their higher power offense, that's something to say. He was definitely competitive today."
Mesa's Zach Collier (Phillies) scattered a pair of hits over four scoreless frames. He struck out five batters to lower his ERA to 1.00 and did not factor in the decision.
Duran (0-1) took the loss after yielding three runs on two hits and three walks over two-thirds of an inning.