Today starts the 2015 Arizona Fall League season and for the 2nd time in 3 years I will be there. I will be attending 6 games from October 14th to 16th and the Bowman Hitting Challenge on the 17th. In 2013 I saw Kris Bryant, Corey Seager, Stephen Piscotty, Delino DeShields, Marcus Stroman and Jeurys Familia, all players who are starring in this year’s MLB Playoffs. I thought it would be fun to write about some of the players I’m most looking forward to seeing this year so I picked 2 from each Fall League team.
GENDALE DESERT DOGS
A.J. Reed (Astros) – Reed is the Astros #5 prospect and #91 in MLB and he was the California League MVP. I had the chance to see him play in High A All-Star Game in Rancho Cucamonga and hit in the Home Run Derby. Although he didn’t win it I was impressed and look forward to seeing him swing that bat again.
J.P. Crawford (Phillies) – Crawford is the Phillies top prospect and the highest rated prospect in this year’s AFL (#5 overall). I have read in a couple places where people compare him to Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor defensively.
MESA SOLAR SOX
Daniel Robertson (Rays) – Robertson played in last year’s AFL and was in the Rising Stars game. At that time he was in the A’s organization. Shortly after that he was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays. He broke a bone in his hand earlier this season and will look to get back on track in Arizona.
Sean Manaea (A’s) – The A’s acquired Manaea at this year’s Trading Deadline in the Ben Zobrist deal. Now he’s the A’s best pitching prospect and hopes to prove that in Arizona.
James Paxton (Mariners) – As a Mariners fan I had high hopes for Paxton this season. It didn’t work as he was injured most of the year. Here’s hoping Paxton pitches well in the AFL and carries it over to next year.
Mike Yastrzemski (Orioles) – Come on doesn’t want a chance to see the grandson of Red Sox Hall Famer Carl Yastrzemski play. He made it to Double A this year and was an All-Star.
SALT RIVER RAFTERS
Gavin Cecchini (Mets) – In 2013 I had the chance to see Gavin’s older brother Garin play in the AFL. I enjoyed watching Garin play and look forward to seeing what Gavin can do. Gavin is the Mets #4 prospect (#90 overall) and their SS of the future. He was the Eastern League Rookie of the Year.
Gabby Guerrero (D-Backs) – The nephew of Vlad Guerrero was signed by the Mariners a few years ago. I always looked forward to seeing him play but never had the chance since he was trading to the Diamondbacks in June. I wonder if he swings at everything like his Uncle Vlad.
Christian Arroyo (Giants) – I saw Arroyo play in Salem, OR last year and was very impressed. He was a 19 year old kid then and hasn’t let up since then. He’s the Giants #2 prospect and most likely their SS of the future.
Clint Frazier (Indians) – He was the 1st high school position player drafted in the 2013 MLB Draft. He is one of the highest rated prospects in this year’s AFL (#35 overall) and the Indians #2 prospect. I’ve heard he has exceptional bat speed that helps create his power. I look forward to seeing it for myself.
Jurickson Profar (Rangers) – In 2012 he was the #1 prospect in all of the MLB but fell on hard times with 2 season ending injuries. He goes to Arizona to get some playing time and show he’s still the same player he was before he got hurt. I’m not sure he has a spot with the Rangers though because Rougned Odor success. He could be used as trade bait this offseason.
Gary Sanchez (Yankees) – I feel like Sanchez has been around for a while and it could be because he has been. He has been in the top 10 prospects for catchers since 2011. He made his MLB debut this October and a good AFL could help him land a spot of the Yankees Opening Day roster next year.