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Arizona Fall League Recap: 10/2/23
Arizona Fall League recap from October 2, 2023 from Chris and Beck.
Hey everyone! Hope your offseason is starting off well. Beck and Chris will be with you everyday this Fall Leauge, breaking down everything you need to know from the previous day! Today’s writeup is free and features 21 player writeups. Moving forward, the writeups will be for subscribers so to get an edge in your dynasty league, sub below and get access to all of this:
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Beck has Salt River, Scottsdale, and Surprise covered for you. Chris has Peoria, Mesa, and Glendale.
Jackson Jobe, RHP, DET, 21
Jobe went four scoreless innings on 55 pitches, striking out four and walking two. Despite showing some uncharacteristic control problems early, he settled in against a good Glendale lineup that included Colson Montgomery, Bryan Ramos, Colt Keith, and Kevin Parada. The two walks were just his 7th and 8th of the entire campaign, which now spans 68 innings.
Jobe sat 96 mph on his four-seamer that he went to 44% of the time and got up to 98. His slider averaged just a tick over 3000 RPM and surrendered just one ball in play on 24 thrown. He mixed in a changeup from time to time but was predominantly fastball-slider. There isn’t much velo separation between the slider and changeup, so the latter may become more of a platoon weapon. Tonight was a good reminder of why Jobe is a first-tier pitching prospect.
Sterlin Thompson, 3B/OF, COL, 22
Thompson went 1-2 with two walks, strikeout, a stolen base, and a caught stealing on Monday evening. Despite being listed as a 3B/OF he spent his time defensively at second base, which is a welcome development. Extra defensive utility can’t hurt for getting and keeping his bat in the lineup. The highlight of his evening was a 376 foot double to right center off of Zach Penrod that would have been a home run in 13/30 ballparks. It came off the bat at just 90.9 mph with an xBA of .050 but at an ideal angle and was a good example of how the ball can carry in the desert night.
He has a sweet swing but I was struck by how svelte he looked. He’s listed at 6’4 200 lbs on baseball reference, which seems much larger than he looked on video. It’s possible he’s every bit of that 6’4 and his long levers make him appear thinner than he is, in any event there is room for more good weight on his frame.
Justice Bigbie, OF/DH, DET, 24
Bigbie will be in my MiLB team of the year article for an extremely impressive 2023 campaign that culminated in a .343/.405/.537/.942 line across A+, AA, and AAA. He added 19 home runs and 25 doubles in 485 plate appearances and could be in a fun, young Detroit lineup before long. He’s a little on the older side so it’s hard to push him too far, but look for him to be a name that pops as the AFL wears on and fantasy analysts descend on Phoenix in late October / early November. He went 0-1 with three walks and a run scored on Monday night.
Wilmer Flores, RHP, DET, 22
The other Wilmer Flores followed Jackson Jobe on the mound in what became a Tiger-dominated win for the Rafters. He threw two scoreless innings while striking out two and allowing just one hit. It took 25 pitches to get through those two innings, and he mixed in a fastball that sat 94.5 mph, a curveball averaging 80 mph, and a mid-80s cutter. I’m a fan of the 3 distinct velo bands he attacks batters with.
Flores was considerably better in 2022 than in 2023 as both his strikeout and walk rate regressed, but I still like him as a deeper name to keep an eye on in 2024. The Tigers’ rotation is far from solidified, they play in a bad division, and he’ll have the benefit of one of the most pitcher-friendly home parks in baseball.
Sonny Dichiara, 1B, LAA, 24
The offense dominated in the Scottsdale / Peoria game as the ball was flying in the desert. Both teams tallied 10 runs on 13 hits, and each team had one home run. Dichiara contributed the dinger on the Scottsdale side in a 1-5 effort.
He was drafted out of Auburn in the 5th round of the 2022 draft after an excellent season in which he OPSed over 1.300 and walked more than he struck out. He spent the entire season at AA where things didn’t go quite as well, slashing just .223/.327/.355. He’s a relative non-prospect at present, especially with Nolan Schanuel occupying the first base role in LA and with a tough R/R 1B profile.
Zach Morgan, C, SFG, 23
Morgan registered the only three hit night for Scottsdale, none of which were of the extra base variety. He also pitched in 2 runs and 2 RBIs while walking once and striking out once. He doesn’t figure to be a long-term fantasy contributor, especially given Patrick Bailey has seized the primary catcher role in San Francisco.
Robert Hassell III, OF, WAS, 22
Hassell has tumbled down prospect ranks over the last 18 months following his trade to the Nationals. He struggled initially following the cross-country move, and I was patient, deferring to the real-life consequences of adjusting to a new team and living situation in his age 20 season, but the reality is he may not ever be the fantasy asset we hoped for.
He’ll have to show he can impact the ball with regularity. His hand and wrist strength is a real weakness that continues to show, and this AFL may be the last chance for him to rehabilitate some of his value. He went 1-5 with a walk and 2 K’s on Monday.
Emiliano Teodo, RHP, TEX, 22
Teodo had a dominant AFL debut on Monday, going two scoreless with 4 Ks and surrendering just one hit. He started 14 games for A+ Hickory in the regular season and pitched to a 4.52 ERA while striking out 31.3% of batters faced. He has some control problems, but the stuff is good enough that he could offer value in deeper formats. There is relief risk in his profile.
Wes Clarke, 1B/C/DH, MIL, 23
Clarke will celebrate his 24th birthday in Phoenix on October 13th and looks to be closing out his 23rd year on a high note. He went 3-5 with a home run, a triple, 4 RBIs, and three runs scored in his AFL debut, leading a Surprise offense to 13 runs in a 13-8 victory over Mesa on Monday.
He’s limited defensively but has had a great year in AA, clubbing 26 home runs in 503 plate appearances en route to a .241/.392/.498/.889 slash with a 17.7% BB% and 29.2% K%. He could factor into the Brewers line-up at some point in 2024 with Carlos Santana entering free agency this offseason and Rowdy Tellez submitting a disappointing season ahead of his second arbitration hearing.
Eric Brown Jr., SS, MIL, 22
The former first round pick (27th overall in 2022) got off to a slow start to his professional tenure in a season marred by a fracture in his left scapula. Now healthy, he’s looking to recoup some of his prospect status by performing in Arizona and he did so on Monday by contributing a 5th inning triple that plated two runners. He added another single and scored two runs.
Watch for him to be active on the basepaths. He managed to steal 39 bases in just 72 contests before going down with injury.
Damiano Palmegiani, 3B, TOR, 23
Palmegiani submitted a 3-4 effort with a double, two runs, an RBI, and a walk. He’s an interesting deeper name in the Blue Jays system as they enter an offseason with a couple of options at third base, including bringing Matt Chapman back in free agency. He put together a .255/.365/.478 line in AA and AAA this year to pair with 23 home runs in 557 plate appearances. There are some swing and miss concerns in his profile, as he carried just a 69.3% contact rate and a 29.2% K rate in 96 plate appearances with Buffalo, but the power is also apparent (107.7 mph 90th percentile EV).
Zach Penrod, LHP, BOS, 26
Penrod fired four innings, allowing one earned run and striking out 4. He is an incredible story as he played independent ball for over two years until the Red Sox signed him in August 2023. I got the chance to see him pitch several times in Greenville down the stretch.
He generated a 32 percent whiff rate on the night and a 29 percent CSW. His fastball led the way with a 65 percent usage, and the lefty saw it sit 94 mph while touching 97. His changeup sat 85-87 but has a ton of tumble and fade, averaging 13 inches of fade on it. He used his slider sparingly.
Penrod has an awesome story and is someone who is always gonna work hard. He’s a back-end type starter at best but is someone to know for deeper leagues.
Brainer Bonaci, SS, BOS, 21
Bonaci hammered a 106.5 mph single while also posting a 101.2 mph groundout. He has posted respectable exit velocities this year but has more power than you might think from his smaller frame. Bonaci plays a smooth shortstop and shows versatility with a big arm. In 79 games this year, he hit 11 home runs and stole seven bases while slashing .297/.354/.464.
Bryan Ramos, INF, CHW, 21
Ramos was another one of my picks to see his stock soar in the Arizona Fall Leauge and I fully expect by November most are valuing him as a top-100 prospect.
Ramos’ 2023 season got started a bit late as he was dealing with a groin strain in the early part of the year. A short rehab stint in Single-A led to him Double-A where he spent 77 games and progressively improved throughout the year. Ramos Finished Double-A with a .272/.369/.457 slash with 14 HR in 77 games.
Ramos saw his 90th percentile exit velocity take a huge jump forward to over 106 mph while posting respectable contact rates. I moved Ramos into my top 100 in my August update, but a strong performance in the AFL likely causes the consensus to jump on board.
Ramos had a double, which almost left the yard, leaving the bat at 101.2 mph and traveling 375 feet. He added another hard-hit ball that traveled 376 feet. Ramos is a dude.
Kala’I Rosario, OF, MIN, 21
Rosario had the hardest hit ball of the night at 109.5 mph, which was a groundout. While he did not collect a hit, having two balls hit over 99 mph is a strong start. Rosario hit 21 home runs in 118 games this year with High-A Cedar Rapids while slashing .252/.364/.467.
Max Muncy, SS, OAK, 21
Muncy spend most of the year as a 20 year old and the former first rounder really improved in the second half. Muncy was one of my picks to get in on before the AFL started. I wrote:
Muncy has not lived up to the billing of the first-round selection he was in the 2021 draft, but he has taken small strides forward each season, especially in Double-A this year. For the year, Muncy hit ten home runs and stole 13 bases while slashing .275/.353/.411, but his Double-A numbers were even better.
The contact rates took a huge step forward in the second half, going from 66.5 percent through June 30 to 73 percent from July 1 forward. Muncy may never be a huge fantasy asset, but he could rebuild his stock in Arizona.
Muncy hit the first home run of the Fall League and collected four hits in the first game of the year. If a player has something to prove in the AFL, its Muncy.
Braden Nett, RHP, SD, 21
Nett pitched four scoreless innings, striking out six batters. The Padres signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2022, and he proceeded to have a decent career so far.
In 40.1 innings this year Nett had a 4.46 ERA with 45 strikeouts. The issue is 37 walks. Nett is probably just organization depth, but this was a solid first start in the AFL.
Chase DeLauter, OF, CLE, 21
Delauter is my pick for AFL MVP, and no it’s not because he homered last night. The skillset plays so well for Arizona, and it was on display on the first night as he went 2/4 with a walk, home run, and 5 RBI.
If you can somehow acquire DeLauter now in dynasty I would. I think his consensus ranking moves up significantly over the next month.
Ryan Bliss, MI, SEA, 23
Bliss seems poised to have a shot at Seattle’s lineup early next year. Last night, he was on base three times and stole a base.
This year, Bliss hit 23 home runs and stole 55 bases. He’s not a 20-home-run bat, but a 15-home-run threat with high stolen base totals at second base with position flexibility is a nice dynasty asset.
Jakob Marsee, OF, SD, 22
Marsee went 2 /3 with a walk and two stolen bases. He’s coming off a very strong season in which he hit 16 home runs and 46 stolen bases while walking more than he struck out.
The temptation is to push Marsee very high in fantasy rankings due to the home run and stolen base output while slashing .274/.413/.428 but I’d be careful with the power. Marsee had an average exit velocity south of 84 mph and a 90th percentile ev below 100 mph. But, expect a strong AFL performance from Marsee.
Graham Pauley, INF/OF, SD, 23
Peoria is so stacked that Graham Pauley wasn’t even in the starting lineup. He showed his versatility by playing left field and also collected two hits in two tries, also stealing a base.
Coming off an awesome year in which he hit 23 home runs and stole 22 bases, the former 13th rounder is off to a strong start in the Arizona Fall League. Pauley’s performance plus data support him being a top-100 prospect.