Notes on 15 prospects, including Rangers catcher Jorge Alfaro and Dodgers lefty Jarret Martin.
Hitter of the Day: Jorge Alfaro, C, Rangers (Surprise Saguaros): 3-4, 2 R, 2B. Alfaro is quickly becoming the second-best catching prospect in the game (behind only Austin Hedges). With plus power and a plus-plus arm, the only real flaw in his game is his plate discipline, but when you hit .409 like he is this fall, no one cares.
Pitcher of the Day: Jarret Martin, LHP, Dodgers (Glendale Desert Dogs): 1 IP, H, 3 K. Lefties with 97-mph fastballs get lots of chances for reasons like this. Martin sits in the low-to-mid 90s and has been mostly 92-93 this fall, but it hasn’t helped him throw strikes more often, having walked 16 batters in 14 1/3 innings for the Desert Dogs. Martin isn’t a more well-known prospect because he generally has no idea how to throw strikes or use his velocity, but when he does, it’s pretty awesome.
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
Notes on 12 prospects, including Athletics shortstop Addison Russell and Cubs right-hander Dallas Beeler.
Hitter of the Day: Addison Russell, SS, A’s (Mesa Solar Sox): 3-5, R, 2B, K. There were a few questions about Russell when he was drafted in 2012, but there are very few surrounding him now. Still shy of his 20th birthday, Russell has handled every assignment put in front of him to this point and is now hitting .307 in the AFL. The strikeouts are a little bit of a concern, but as long as he keeps producing, no one will notice.
Pitcher of the Day: Dallas Beeler, RHP, Cubs (Mesa Solar Sox): 5 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K. Coming off a start in which he allowed seven unearned runs, Beeler was strong on Monday, pounding the strike zone and generating weak contact.
A 25-man roster of top performers in the Arizona Fall League between 2005-12.
As I looked through the box scores and realized that there was no prospects worth writing about once again, I thought I should at least let you all know that there was a Ben Broussard sighting in the Mexican League. Who's he, you ask? If you were following the three-team trade between the Diamondbacks, Indians, and Reds closely on Twitter, you may have seen his name pop up in a few wise cracks over the course of the evening. That's because it was Broussard, a left-handed hitting first baseman with 87 homers in 705 career big league games, who was traded to the Mariners for Shin-Soo Choo back in July 2006. Now that the Indians have turned Choo's last year of team control into six years of top pitching prospect Trevor Bauer, they should be applauded since it's very likely they win both deals involving Choo.
Jason Parks and his crew of experts have thus far done yeoman’s work in their prospect rankings this offseason. But Parks et al’s analysis, while excellent, barely scratches the surface of what's going on in the Arizona Fall League. This article will take you beyond the baseball diamond to scout the talent across the Valley of the Sun, from the scouts to the fans to the lurking Card Guys to paint a full picture of the Arizona Fall League experience.
1. Travis the Open Carry Guy
Height/Weight: 5’9’’ 245 lbs.
The Tools: Has a big-ass gun on his hip in the middle of the Circle K
Halfway through the Arizona Fall League, it's time to check in on some of the most talked-about players.
The Arizona Fall League has developed into an off-season combine for clubs to evaluate some of the top talents in the minor leagues, including their own. This year's schedule is just beyond the mid-point of the schedule with the circuit's all-star event—the Rising Stars Game—slated for Saturday.
The class of participants in the 21st year of the AFL is deep in talent, and scouts are raving about the results of the eye test, despite what the statistics may suggest. Here are a handful of the most talked about performers in the desert this fall.
When batting lines get inflated, it can be tough to spot legit prospects.
The AFL is viewed as a prospect-heavy league, a place where the stars of tomorrow take their next steps towards the major leagues. But not all players on the AFL rosters are prospects, and not all prospects feature the same promise, so buyer beware if you choose to toss all participants into the same prospect basket. With a dearth of quality arms placed in an environment that can supersize even average bats, the end result can turn the mediocre into monsters. The league is still young, but several hot starts have prompted inquiries as to whether the monsters are real, or just men wearing the masks of opportunity. Let’s ask the question and then deliver some answers.
Mike O’Neill, OF, Cardinals (Double-A Springfield/Surprise Saguaros)
“What can you tell me about Mike O’Neill? Another big talent in the Cardinals’ system?” Not a big talent, but the hit tool and the approach at the plate are legit. O’Neill has a bad profile, as the 24-year-old is a left fielder without an ounce of power; in ~850 career minor league at-bats, the diminutive lefty has one home run. But the former 31st round selection out of USC has serious bat-to-ball ability, and his mature and discerning approach has produced twice as many walks as strikeouts so far in his three minor league seasons. Without much defensive value and limited pop in the stick, O’Neill isn’t a serious prospect. But with a hit tool and well above-average on-base skills, he’s the type of player that eventually sneaks onto a roster and sticks around longer than expected.
Playing in fall and winter leagues have helped some prospects to raise their stock heading into 2012.
Winter leagues can serve a variety of purposes. Sometimes players are sent there to get extra playing time due to injuries, sometimes players are sent there to be showcased, and sometimes players go on their own to places like Venezuela and the Dominican Republic to earn a little extra cash. While the small samples and inconsistent competition levels can produce dangerous assumptions, there are still plenty of players who have seen their stock rise during this offseason due to a combination of performance and scouting reports.
Previewing the most interesting prospects scheduled to participate in the AFL
The Arizona Fall League kicks off today, and before I get into the bread and butter of this piece, I want to provide a word of warning. Do not get too worked up over statistical performances in this league; you have to trust the scouting information. There are so many red flags when it comes to the numbers. Beyond the small sample sizes provided by a season that consists of approximately 30 games, you have a hugely offensive environment that is only bolstered by the imbalance of talent, as hitting far outweighs the pitching. A quick stroll through the AFL record book finds it littered with the likes of Scott Pose, Ken Harvey, and Tagg Bozied. While Dustin Ackley shined in last year's play, so did Conor Gillaspie and Mike McDade, along with Adam Carr on the pitching side. It's a fantastic opportunity to get another look at selected prospects, but as for statistical analysis, look elsewhere.
Our prospect guru takes a trip through some early-season results in the off-season leagues.
Johermyn Chavez, OF, Mariners (VEN: Navegantes)
A big slugger who came from Toronto in the Brandon Morrow deal, Chavez hit .315/.387/.577 for High-A High Desert this year, including a 1039 OPS after the All-Star break, but at the same time, he's exactly the kind of player who should put up big numbers in that park. His job in 2011 will be to prove he's for real, and he's gotten off to a head start with a .333/.417/.524 line in his first 11 Venezuelan games. He has massive power and equally huge holes in his swing, but with some adjustments, he has the tools to be more than just another High Desert mirage.