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Arizona Fall League + LIDOM Recap: 10/27/23
Chris & Beck break down everything you need to know from the Arizona Fall League and Dominican Winter League
Wheels on the ground! Beck is in Arizona, ready to cover today’s triple-header for us live. I can’t wait to join him out there soon. We finally got a three-game slate back on the docket Friday night, and it was a good one!
Beck and I are here to break it all down! These reports are free, but subscribe if you enjoy dynasty content and want to become a better player and win your leagues. We offer a ton of awesome things at the Dynasty Dugout.
Dominican Winter League
Cesar Prieto, 3B, STL, 24
Prieto reached base an impressive six times on Friday night, with three coming via walk and three hits, which included a double. He is off to a strong start in the Dominican Winter League, with a slash line of .310/.412/.448.
Prieto displayed a strong hit tool in 2023, posting very high contact rates and a .364 batting average in Double-A before hitting .317 in Triple-A and then being traded to St. Louis. He hit ten home runs and stole nine bases on the season, but the main carrying tool is contact here.
Marco Luciano, SS, SF, 22
Luciano spent the entire season as a 21-year-old moving from Double-A to the Majors. In 74 Minor League games, he slashed .223/.334/.442 with 15 home runs, and in his 14 Major League games, he hit just .231/.333/.308. Luciano has not been the player he was pre-pandemic.
The hope is that being home for the Dominican Winter League can help push him back on the right track. In his first game of action on Friday night, Luciano reached base four times, which included two walks, two hits, and zero strikeouts.
Hector Rodriguez, OF, CIN, 19
Rodriguez had another two-hit performance in the Dominican Winter League on Friday, pushing his slashing line to .333/.355/.533.
After being traded from the Mets to the Reds, Rodriguez broke out in a massive way in 2023, hitting 16 home runs and stealing 18 bases while posting a .293/.343/.495 slash line. Rodriguez does not let his small frame hinder him from getting to power at all.
Peoria (Guardians, Marlins, Mariners, Padres, Rays)
Jakob Marsee, OF, SDP, 22
I counted how many times Marsee was featured in our Arizona Fall League writeups. He has played 17 games in the desert and has made the writeups 15 times. Looks like I may end up eating my words pretty hard on Marsee, as I genuinely have questioned how his power would play after posting a sub-84 mph average exit velocity and a sub-100 mph 90th percentile exit velocity.
On Friday, Marsee reached base five times, three coming via walk, but he did blast his fourth home run of the AFL, traveling 403 feet.
Here is where Marsee ranks in terms of Arizona Fall League hitters:
Home Runs: T-4th
Batting Average: 4th
Chase DeLauter, OF, CLE, 22
After starting out, the AFL scorching hot DeLauter slowed down a bit but got back on the right track on Friday after he hit a massive home run with an exit velocity of 109 mph and drove in four runs. DeLauter makes contact at a very high clip while also posting high exit velocities, as you can see by his home run on Friday.
Some will question whether the swing can work at the Major League level, but personally, I don’t see a reason to change anything that has been working for his entire career. There is a great interview on Fangraphs about his swing.
Gabe Bierman, RHP, MIA, 24
Bierman fired four innings of one-run ball on Friday night, striking out five and walking just one. It has not been the best AFL so far for Bierman as he has a 6.43 ERA even after the strong performance on Friday night, but Bierman was relatively good during the regular season.
In 91 innings at High-A, Bierman posted a 3.46 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. He did not miss many bats however, posting a 18 percent strikeout rate and a 10 percent walk rate.
Surprise (Blue Jays, Brewers, Rangers, Reds, Royals)
CJ Alexander, 1B, KC, 27
Alexander was a late replacement on the Surprise roster, taking Nick Loftin’s spot on the team. He is one of the oldest players in the Fall League, but injuries have derailed a lot of his career and limited him to just 303 plate appearances in 2023.
He is off to a strong start so far in the Arizona Fall League with a .928 so far after a two-double performance on Friday.
Damiano Palmegiani, CI, TOR, 23
Palmegiani continues to mash in the desert as he continues to force the Blue Jays’ hand in 2024. He reached base twice on Friday via walk and a big home run. From a pure performance standpoint, I would stack Palmegiani up against anyone in the AFL, as he now has four home runs to pair with a .969 OPS.
I think there is a case that if Palmegiani has a strong Spring Training, he could have an outside shot of making the Jays roster, depending on what they do in the offseason.
Eric Brown Jr., SS, MIL, 22
Eric Brown Jr. with a multi-hit game in the Arizona Fall League.. Tell me if you have heard this one before. I feel like this is becoming a regular thing. While Brown collected just two singles on Friday, it pushed his batting average up to .324 for the AFL.
After having an incredible career at Coastal Carolina, Brown has not yet lived up to the hype, as his power has seemingly dissipated. After posting strong exit velocities with metal, he posted just an 84.5 mph average exit velocity and a 90th percentile of 100 mph this year. The good news is that Brown makes contact on 82 percent of pitches, with that number jumping to 90 percent in-zone.
Glendale (Dodgers, Mets, Twins, Red Sox, White Sox)
Damon Keith, OF, LAD, 23
Keith spent the 2023 season in High-A, in which he hit 11 home runs and slashed .229/.312/.373, but with a career-high strikeout rate of 33.3 percent, which is very concerning. The good news is Keith unlocked new power this year, at least from an exit velocity perspective. His 90th percentile exit velocity in 2022 was already above the MLB average at 104.2, but it substantially jumped in 2023 to 108.5. Despite that, his ISO dropped .057 points, which is quite interesting to see.
On Friday, Keith collected four hits in four tries, including a double and his second Arizona Fall League home run. Keith has a pretty intriguing 6’3”/195 athletic frame, and there may be some untapped potential for the 2021 18th-rounder.
Tyler McDonough, 2B/SS, BOS, 24
McDonough is back on the sheet after another two-hit day. Just this week, McDonough hit his first home run and had seven hits in three games that he has played in.
McDonough was a late add to the Arizona Fall League after Brainer Bonaci was sent home. He is small but an excellent athlete who I got to see quite often when he was in Greenville. This year, he spent most of the year in Double-A Portland, where he slashed .250/.325/.375 with five home runs and 24 stolen bases.
Aaron Sabato, 1B, MIN, 24
A second straight day with a home run for Aaron Sabato, bringing his total to five in the Fall League as he continues to hit on a torrid pace. Sabato has struck out way too much, like his 32 percent clip during the regular season.
But, Sabato has picked up the pace after a slow start to the AFL, and after his home run and two-hit night on Friday, he now has a .200 batting average with an .804 OPS. There has never been any denying the power, but his 64 percent contact rate in 2023 is a bit worrisome. The Twins 2020 first-rounder has not quite lived up to billing yet after a monster career at the University of North Carolina. But a strong finish in the Arizona Fall League could provide some confidence heading into 2024.
Mesa (A’s, Astros, Cubs, Orioles, Yankees)
James Triantos, SS, CHC, 20
Triantos and Durbin are perhaps the best one-two combination at the top of any lineup in the AFL this year. Mesa doesn’t have an overpowering squad to begin with, and without significant contributions from those two, their record would be far more dire. Both players are OPSing north of 1.000 through 22 games.
For his part, Triantos is the current front-runner for Fall League MVP. He had two hits last night in a 2-5 effort that ultimately lowered his batting average. I was too low on him entering the fall, and while he’s poised to make a significant nominal jump in my next update, the actual jump in value is much smaller. We’re talking about going from unranked in my midseason top-200 to landing somewhere outside the top-100.
Previous Fall League MVPs have been players like Heston Kjerstad, Nelson Velasquez, Royce Lewis, Keston Hiura, and Ronald Acuna Jr. That’s not to suggest that Fall League MVP has any predictive value; but hey, those are some good players!
Caleb Durbin, INF, NYY, 23
Durbin had a pretty quiet season, considering he stole 36 bags and walked more than he struck out while finishing at AA. He’s not a threat to put many balls out of the park, but his plate discipline, contact ability, and speed appear to be very appealing tools that could come together as a nine-hole “second leadoff” guy.
He’s been excellent in the fall, hitting behind James Triantos, racking up nine extra-base hits and 11 stolen bases in 13 attempts en route to a .351/.486/.597 line through 16 appearances. He’s a smaller guy at 5'6, but there’s value here, considering the cost to acquire and the tools he brings to the table.
Max Muncy, SS, OAK, 21
Muncy got off to a hot start and was one of the better hitters for the first week in Phoenix but fell into a two-week skid that saw his overall line crater. He hit a sixth-inning solo home run off of Wyatt Olds to bring his fall total to three through 15 games, significantly outpacing his full-season power output in a small sample.
Scottsdale (Angels, Cardinals, Giants, Nationals, Phillies)
Victor Scott II, OF, STL, 22
The speedster showed some pop yesterday, taking Carlos Meza deep in the fifth inning for his second dinger of the fall, leaving the bat at 106 mph. Despite the homer taking away any opportunity to steal a base, Scott still managed to swipe two in the contest. He was brazen enough to attempt thievery of home plate but was finally apprehended.
Scott is the owner of one of the most hilarious stats in minor league baseball this year: he stole his 100th base in 2023 during the first week of the fall. That is borderline unbelievable. His value for fantasy purposes really starts and ends with his ability to put pressure on defenses with his legs. He has a solid hit tool to boot. The lazy comp is Esteury Ruiz.
Oliver Dunn, INF/OF, PHI, 26
Dos Dobles Dunn? Is that doing anything for anybody? Dunn has been superb for Scottsdale while holding down second base. He had two doubles in last night’s contest, with two runs scored and two strikeouts. That’s too many twos.
The Phillies may have found a valuable piece in the Rule 5 draft, which is a rarity. He had a solid season with Double-A Reading that included 21 longballs, 27 doubles, and 16 stolen bases in 505 plate appearances.
Jeremy Rivas, SS, STL, 20
Rivas has hit pretty well out here for being rather young and relatively unheralded coming in, but I’m concerned he won’t hit for enough impact to be fantasy-relevant. He slugged just .277 during the regular season and has only raised that figure to .377 in the thin desert air. He had a triple, a walk, and two runs scored on Friday.
Salt River (Braves, Diamondbacks, Pirates, Rockies, Tigers)
Benny Montgomery, OF, COL, 21
I last wrote about Benny just a couple of days ago, and he’s kept hitting since. He had two hits, a walk, a stolen base, and two runs in yesterday’s game. I have a hard time with Montgomery and personally think he’s one of the most difficult players to evaluate. Here’s what I wrote about him earlier in the week, outlining why he’s a hard case:
“His average exit velo is pretty average, but his 90th percentile shows above-average pop, though the real problem lies with his launch angle. He isn’t capitalizing on his raw power in games and is instead beating the ball into the ground. Despite all of that, he’s had a nice fall so far. He had a hit and three walks in last night’s game to see his OPS crest 1.000. He’s had some issues with strikeouts that carried over into the fall, where he’s currently striking out 27.7% of the time.”
Ivan Melendez, 1B, ARI, 23
Melendez swatted a double and added a single in a 2-4 effort with two strikeouts. His fall line thus far is very similar to his regular season totals, with just a touch less pop and a slight improvement to his K-rate. Should his ability to avoid strikeouts persist and the power maintain, there’s a possibility he’s a real asset at first base. As it stands, his propensity to punch out is a problem.