In the early part of this month, the Arizona Fall League began with six teams scattered across the Valley. For 2011, D’Back players are playing on the Salt River Rafters, which happen to play their home games at the Diamondbacks spring training facility.
Seven prospects from the Diamondbacks organization, four pitchers and three position players, are on the Rafters roster.Through the first week and a half of the Fall League season, possible future big league players for Arizona have performed really nicely.
The two big names from the Arizona farm system are Ryan Wheeler and Adam Eaton. Wheeler, a third baseman, was drafted in the first round back in the 2009 draft and Eaton, an outfielder, was drafted by the club in the 19th round of the 2010 draft.
Both Wheeler and Eaton have been two of the best Rafters hitters. So far in eight games, Wheeler is hitting .371 with five extra base hits and eight runs driven in. His biggest key has been his ability to cut down on the K’s. In 480 at-bats at Mobile, Wheeler struck out 102 times. He has done it only four times in the Fall League.
In the same number of games played, Eaton has his average at .382 with a long ball and eight RBI’s. I got to see Eaton play on Wednesday and he was impressive. He may be small in stature, but he can hit the baseball as evidence by how well he hit in two levels in the minor leagues this season.
David Nick is the third Arizona hitter on the Salt River roster. Like Wheeler and Eaton, he has flat out raked as well. Despite being one of the youngest guys on the Fall League squad, the second baseman is hitting .357 in 28 at-bats. That is pretty impressive for a guy who came straight out of high school in 2009 and is probably facing the best arms he has seen in his life.
Arizona’s arms haven’t faced as well as the hitters have so far in the offseason league.
Charles Brewer, who was impressive with Mobile in 2011, has not fared well in three starts so far. Brewer has allowed a total of 12 runs and 16 hits in only 9.2 innings for a 9.31 ERA. Bryan Woodall, a 24-year-old reliever, has a 4.50 ERA in six outings.
The duo of Kevin Munson and Eric Smith have pitched fairly well though. The 22-year-old Munson has yet to allow a run in five innings so far in the fall and could be a possible option in the bullpen for the big league club next season. Smith had an ERA well over six at Visalia this season, but has only surrendered three hits and a run in 5.1 innings in the Fall League.
Stay tuned to what these players do as we still have a about a month of the Fall League schedule to play. I will be sure to attend a few more Fall League games before the middle of November rolls around.