25 Hitters to Watch For in the Arizona Fall League
Baseball Is Not Over Yet!
I’m sure many of you thought baseball season was over once the San Francisco Giants were crowned champions, right? Not so fast my friend! It’s Arizona Fall League time!
If you are unfamiliar with the Arizona Fall League, in which I don’t really blame you whatsoever, it’s a league operated by Major League Baseball in five Spring Training complexes. The purpose of this league is to allow top prospects to play a little bit longer, seasoning them even further.
The AFL has had some Hall of Fame alumni in year’s past, most notably Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols, and Ryan Braun, so are there any future hall of famers in this year’s class?
The 20th season of the AFL is a few weeks old, but we have already seen some quality play out of some hitters. Some of these hitters are top prospects reaffirming their statuses, while others are AAAA players who are just hanging around.
That’s why I bring you 25 hitters to keep an eye on during the AFL. Whether they are a top prospect, a pretender, or an underachiever, we all must keep an eye on these 25 guys.
Without further ado, here are the hitters you should paid attention to over the next month or so. Maybe some of them will breakout even more in 2013.
Trayce Thompson (Chicago White Sox)
AFL: .162/.367/.324/.692 - - 2012 MiLB: .253/.328/.482/.809
The Chicago White Sox prospect played in three levels last season. In a weak system, Thompson might be one of Chicago's top prospects.
Slade Heathcott (New York Yankees)
AFL: .314/.435/.490/.926 - - 2012 MiLB: .302/.380/.461/.841
The 2009 first-round pick is quickly moving up the ranks in the Yankees' system.
Rafael Ynoa (Los Angeles Dodgers)
AFL: .329/.369/.500/.869 - - 2012 MiLB: .278/.364/.352/.715
Signed as an 18-year old free agent in 2005, Ynoa's clock is ticking each and every year. He need to maintain his OBP if he wants to play with the Dodgers sometime this season.
Nick Franklin (Seattle Mariners)
AFL: .345/.433/.569/1.002 - - 2012 MiLB: .278/.347/.453/.800
Franklin was a top 100 prospect last season after winning the MVP award during the AFL's Rising Star game. Considering he's only 21, things look bright for the Mariners' prospect.
Nick Castellanos (Detroit Tigers)
AFL: .231/.310/.321/.631 - - 2012 MiLB: .320/.365/.451/.815
Castellanos is living proof you need to take a walk every now and then to be successful. Having said that, he's the top prospect in Detroit's system.
Matt Skole (Washington Nationals)
AFL: .283/.393/.478/.871 - - 2012 MiLB: .291/.426/.559/.986
Yes, the Nationals still have a ton of talent in their Minor League system. This franchise is going to be really good for a really long time.
Kyle Jensen (Miami Marlins)
AFL: .338/.410/.554/.964 - - 2012 MiLB: .234/.338/.452/.789
Jensen is having a solid AFL season thus far, but it's hard to believe he will have an impact on the Marlins' future.
Kent Matthes (Colorado Rockies)
AFL: .258/.355/.500/.855 - - 2012 MiLB: .214/.273/.432/.705
As you can clearly see, this is probably the last time you'll hear the name Kent Matthes in your life.
Josh Prince (Milwaukee Brewers)
AFL: .411/.494/.575/1.070 - - 2012 MiLB: .251/.346/.360/.706
The Brewers would really enjoy the AFL Josh Prince, but it's hard to imagine that success could translate over the course of a whole season.
Nate Roberts (Minnesota Twins)
AFL: .467/.590/.578/1.168 - - .299/.433/.427/.860
Well, if numbers told the whole story, Nate Roberts is the next Joe Mauer.
Jonathan Schoop (Baltimore Orioles)
AFL: .273/.459/.455/.914 - - 2012 MiLB: .245/.324/.386/.710
Unless Schoop took walking steroids or something of that sort, fans should expect something similar to his 2012 Minor League numbers.
Jeudy Valdez (San Diego Padres)
AFL: .288/.350/.538/.888 - - 2012 MiLB: .225/.273/.364/.637
Valdez regressed in a huge way in 2012, but he still has a few years before it's time to panic.
Tim Beckham (Tampa Bay Rays)
AFL: .242/.299/.371/.669 - - 2012 2012 MiLB: .256/.325/.361/.686
The former number one pick has been everything but that for the Tampa Bay Rays It's now or never time for Beckham if he wants to succeed.
Hanser Alberto (Texas Rangers)
AFL: .378/.408/.489/.897 - - 2012 MiLB: .299/.327/.410/.737
Alberto is up there to swing, not walk. For that season alone, it's hard to imagine him being an option for the Rangers anytime soon, unless he has a glove like Elvis Andrus or something.
Grant Green (Oakland Athletics)
AFL: .278/.350/.407/.757 - - 2012 MiLB: .296/.338/.458/.796
While Green was Oakland's top pick in 2009, the only reason why he makes my list is because of how good he was in OOTP 6.5.
Cody Asche (Philadelphia Phillies)
AFL: .299/.351/.478/.829 - - 2012 MiLB: .324/.369/.481/.849
Asche increased his OPS by more than .300 from 2011 last season. That's pretty impressive.
Chris McGuiness (Texas Rangers)
AFL: .333/.430/.576/1.006 - - 2012 MiLB: .268/.366/.474/.840
Bryce Brentz (Boston Red Sox)
AFL: .327/.397/.500/.897 - - 2012 MiLB: .290/.349/.465/.814
Boston's number two prospect has not missed a beat in the AFL.
Kolten Wong (St. Louis Cardinals)
AFL: .329/.347/.386/.733 - - 2012 MiLB: .287/.348/.405/.754
Wong was a first round pick by the Cardinals in 2011, but he makes my list because the name Kolten Wong is amazing.
Brian Goodwin (Washington Nationals)
AFL: .254/.362/.542/.905 - - 2012 MiLB: .280/.384/.469/.852
Goodwin was named AFL player of the week on October 30th.
Hak-Ju Lee (Tampa Bay Rays)
AFL: .273/.360/.303/.663 - - 2012 MiLB: .261/.336/.360/.696
Lee was a hot prospect after the 2011 season, where he was selected by Baseball America as the best batting prospect, fastest baserunner, best defensive shortstop and most exciting player. But it's 2012 now, and Lee is coming off a pretty weak season. Let's see if he can rebound
Javier Baez (Chicago Cubs)
AFL: .211/.250/.456/.706 - - 2012 MiLB: .294/.346/.543/.888
It seems it's all gloom and doom on the Northside nowadays, but they do have a nice future. Now, when that future actually happens is a whole other thing.
Adalberto Santos (Pittsburgh Pirates)
AFL: .322/.429/.492/.920 - - 2012 MiLB: .333/.420/.435/.854
I said the Pirates' biggest need is an outfielder, so maybe Adalberto can fill that need this season
Anthony Rendon (Washington Nationals)
AFL: .317/.411/.467/.878 - - 2012 MiLB: .233/.363/.489/.851
Hey, another awesome Nationals prospect. The sixth pick from the 2011 draft might not have too much of a future in Washington with Ryan Zimmerman locked up, but he will be a nice trade chip.
Billy Hamilton (Cincinnati Reds)
.AFL: .275/.356/.392/.748 - - 2012 MiLB: .311/.410/.420/.830
The man who had 156 stolen bases last season only has nine so far in the AFL.