Players of Note from the Arizona Fall League

By Shaun P Kernahan
Byron Buxton
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Every fall some of the top talent in the minor leagues descend upon Arizona to participate in the Arizona Fall league. Some are lesser prospects that dealt with injury and need extra playing time, some spent the majority of the season at A ball or lower and the organization just wants to see how they fare against higher competition, and some are simply the best prospects in baseball.

The top overall prospect in baseball, Byron Buxton, fits two of those categories, given he was at single A most the season. He has struggled, which isn’t all that surprising given he is only 19 years old, but he has had some moments to shine, primarily by playing a fantastic center field.

Delino DeShields Jr. got the trip to Arizona because he has recently been moved to the outfield, and it has been trying. In the Fall Stars game his lack of familiarity showed when he took a terrible route on a ball, eventually letting it fall for a triple. One thing he has done well, though, is get on base, and when that happens he takes off. He is eight of ten stealing and has an average over .300, making him the best stolen base prospect in the minors today.

Kris Bryant was the second overall draft pick in the most recent MLB First Year Player Draft after putting up incredible numbers at the University of San Diego. In his final year of college he had more home runs than more than half the teams in Division 1 NCAA baseball, and he is leading the Fall League in home runs this fall. He is currently a third baseman in the Chicago Cubs organization, but his defense is suspect and will likely have to move to the outfield.

The final prospect really shining in Arizona is San Diego Padres catcher Austin Hedges. He is not all that impressive at the plate, but behind it he is a wonder to watch. He has incredibly soft hands and can get the ball from his glove to the glove of the person covering second base in less than a second and a half on a steal attempt. He projects very much like Yadier Molina and could challenge for a Gold Glove the moment he enters the big leagues.

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