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Arizona Fall League Recap: 10/9/23
Arizona Fall League breakdown from Chris and Beck for Monday, October 9.
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 22 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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This week we have flipped teams. Chris has Salt River, Scottsdale, and Surprise covered for you. Beck has Peoria, Mesa, and Glendale.
Jackson Jobe, RHP, DET, 21
Monday is the best day in the Arizona Fall League, at least right now as all the top pitchers line up that day. Jobe was on the mound for his second Fall League start, and he tossed four innings, striking out four and not allowing a walk. He did give up three hits and two earned runs, but those all came in the second inning courtesy of three singles.
Jobe’s entire arsenal looked great as his four-seam fastball averaged 96.8 mph and topped out at 98.1. It showed very strong pitch characteristics as well. The sweeper surprisingly did not get a whiff, but it averaged nearly 3,000 rpm of spin and looked near impossible to hit, showing nice depth and sweep. The changeup was his best-looking secondary, and averaged 13 inches of fade on it, generating three whiffs on four swings.
Jobe is my number one pitching prospect, and for good reason. The arsenal is legit, and his command has made significant improvements, and it showed last night. Jobe needed just 46 pitches to complete four innings and threw strikes at a 74 percent clip.
Wilmer Flores, RHP, DET, 22
Jobe’s teammate, Wilmer Flores, also had a strong outing on Monday following Jobe. He pitched three innings, striking out five and not issuing a walk. He generated a 53 percent whiff rate and a 44 percent CSW, led by a fastball that sat 94 mph and touched 96.
Flores’s curveball averaged over 55 inches of vertical movement and over 10 inches of sweeping action, making it an insanely hard pitch to get the bat on. His changeup also looked incredible.
It was a tale of two halves for Flores in 2023, as he posted a 3.64 ERA in the first half and then tapered off some in the second half while also missing over a month's worth of action. Flores could bounce back with a strong fall league and be a great dynasty league buy.
Sterlin Thompson, 2B/3B, COL, 22
Thompson just hits and is off to one of the hottest starts of any hitter in the Arizona Fall League. After two more hits on Monday which included a single and a double, Thompson now owns a .524 average and a 1.440 OPS.
He is now up to 15 batted ball events in the Fall League and owns a 96.5 mph average exit velocity, and has hard-hits in 11 of his 15 events. Thompson makes an insane amount of contact and with how hard he is hitting the ball, could set himself up nicely to be in contention for the AFL MVP. He even added his second stolen base of the fall last night. I would consider getting in on Thompson now in a dynasty league.
Jase Bowen, OF, PIT, 23
Similarly to Thompson, Jase Bowen has been a hit machine over the first seven games of the AFL. He tacked on two singles to bring his batting average to .345 to pair with an .884 OPS. He is making a ton of contact and has put 22 balls in play so far, posting a 90.6 mph average exit velocity with 13 hard hits.
This season, Bowen hit 23 home runs and stole 26 bases between High-A and Double-A while having 95 RBI and 86 runs scored. He is a sneaky-good athlete with some pop and a player that you should be interested in for dynasty leagues.
Jeremy Rivas, SS, STL, 20
Rivas is a name I was not familiar with before the AFL, and he was a large reason why Scottsdale stayed in the game with Salt River on Monday as he collected three hits(all singles), bringing his batting average up to .474 with a 1.026 OPS. His nine hits rank fourth among all AFL hitters.
Rivas’s profile is undoubtedly geared toward singles, as shown by his 2023 slugging percentage of .277, with 62 of his 83 hits being singles. Nine of his ten hits in the Fall League have been singles as well. His batted balls on Monday included his hardest hit ball of his seven in Salt River Field which registered at 100.7 mph, but despite that, his seven batted balls so far have only led to an average exit velocity of 76.9.
Robert Hassell III, OF, WSH, 22
Hassell collected just one hit and a walk on Monday, but his hit was a big one as he drove in two runs for Scottsdale. His single left the bat at 95.1 mph, just barely registering as a hard-hit. The bigger issue was that both his batted balls had launch angles of negative 31 degrees and negative 25.
It has been a rough year for Hassell since moving over to Washington and he needs a strong AFL performance. So far, he is hitting just .250 with a .542 OPS.
Victor Scott II, OF, STL, 22
Scott ran wild this year, stealing 95 bases between High-A and Double-A this year. The 2022 fifth-rounder also slashed .303/.369/.425 with nine home runs, ten triples, and 20 doubles. He reached base twice on Monday via a single and a walk, but stole three bases in the process to bring his league-leading stolen base total to six. Scott plays strong defense and could find himself as the Cardinals centerfielder before long and might just be the Estuery Ruiz type players you did not know you needed.
Beck and I traded teams this week, so I got demoted from having endless things to write out Peoria to Surprise. I guess I was a little spoiled with how good Peoria’s lineup really is. Anyways, let’s get to some players.
Ricky Tiedemann, LHP, TOR, 21
Tiedemann reached five innings for the second time in two AFL starts after not pitching that deep into a game since July 2022. He threw 69 pitches, landing 44 of those for strikes, good for a 64 percent strike rate.
He struck out six batters and walked just one, while allowing two hits, one being a solo home run to Dominic Keegan. Tiedemann’s fastball sat anywhere between 92 and 95 mph which does give me a bit of pause, but the fact he pitched five innings again is a massive win for the lefty who has injury concerns.
Wes Clarke, 1B, MIL, 23
Clarke has mashed since his days at the University of South Carolina where I saw him frequently. In Double-A this season, Clarke mashed 26 home runs and posted a .392 OBP thanks to a 17.7 percent walk rate. The former tenth round pick has something to prove, and he is doing just that in the AFL, hitting his third home run, which leads all hitters in the desert.
He currently owns a .350 average with a 1.335 OBP in the early part of the fall league, and with the Brewers struggles at first base, Clarke could carve a role for himself in Milwaukee sooner than later.
Beck here – Chris and I traded teams this week, so I’m pleased to cover the vaunted Peoria offense along with Glendale and Mesa! I know Chris was getting tired of writing about Jakob Marsee every day anyway.
Zach Penrod, LHP, BOS, 26
Penrod went four innings for the second consecutive outing. He completely stymied Mesa, allowing just one hit and three total baserunners while striking out five. He generated nine whiffs in 66 pitches.
The Red Sox signed Penrod out of indy ball just two months ago, and he’s been excellent since joining the organization. He posted a 2.18 ERA in 20.2 innings with Greenville before the AFL started and has yielded just one earned run in 8 innings since arriving in the desert. He’s also just one of two minor leaguers that I know by memory is from Idaho – him and Kyle Manzardo.
Nathan Hickey, C, BOS, 23
Hickey appears to be an under-the-radar name to keep an eye on in the Red Sox system. The Red Sox took him in the 5th round of the 2021 draft, and he’s since hit the ball very well, putting together a .936 OPS in A and A+ in 2022 and a .858 OPS in A+ and AA in 2023.
He had a hit and three walks in five plate appearances last night. The first week of competition hasn’t been incredibly kind to Hickey, but I’d look for him to turn that around.
Corey Rosier, OF, BOS, 24
I didn’t know much about Rosier before diving in for this recap. He was a 12th-round pick by the Mariners in 2021 and has been dealt twice already in his short minor league career; first to San Diego along with Ray Kerr in exchange for Adam Frazier, then again to Boston alongside Eric Hosmer, Max Ferguson and cash at the 2022 deadline.
He had two hits in five ABs on Monday, neither of which were for extra bases, and added a stolen base in the third inning off of Royber Salinas and Miguel Palma. I don’t think there is a lot of fantasy intrigue here. He’ll go unranked on my next iteration.
Royber Salinas, RHP, OAK, 22
All of Glendale’s staff was really good on Monday night, allowing just two hits and six total baserunners in nine innings. So, for that reason, Royber Salinas is your headliner from Mesa for his own scoreless 3-inning outing. He struck out 6 of the 12 batters he faced on Monday night.
Salinas was part of the three team trade that brought Sean Murphy to Atlanta and William Contreras to Milwaukee, with Salinas ending up in Oakland after the dust settled. Despite being listed at 6’3, 205 lbs, it’s evident on video that he’s quite a bit larger than that. While he has pretty good stuff, his first year in Oakland was a little underwhelming and culminated in a 5.90 ERA across 71.2 innings, predominantly in AA.
Kevin Alcantara, OF, CHC, 21
Throwing in a hitter here despite the Solar Sox scraping together a measly two hits on the evening. Alcantara has long been a favorite of mine, and I ranked him as high as 44 overall last December. He is often the first player my eyes are drawn toward whether watching on broadcast or planted in plastic seat at a live game. His 6’6 frame makes him easily stand out and doesn’t take much away from his athleticism.
It was an OK year for Alcantara, who finished with a .284/.345/.466 line in 435 plate appearances spanning A+ and AA as a 21-year-old. He finished the year on a tear, posting OPS figures north of 1.100 in both July and September.
Alcantara did not manage to reach in this contest, and he’s taken some time to get his feet under him in the AFL thus far. He has four hits in 23 ABs to pair with eight strikeouts.
Chase DeLauter, OF, CLE, 22
We’re seeing the first prolonged stretch of health for DeLauter since his Cape Cod stint in the summer of 2021, and it’s going swimmingly. He finished the regular season with a .355/.417/.528 slash in 242 plate appearances to go with five home runs and six stolen bases.
Last night, he clobbered his 2nd home run of the fall and tallied his league-leading 12th RBI. He is picking up right where he left off the regular season and will be inside my top 40 come rank refresh time. That may still be too conservative.
Kyle Manzardo, 1B, CLE, 23
Manzardo hit a mammoth 446-foot homer that left the bat at 108 mph in the 6th inning of this contest, reminding everybody that there is absolutely juice in the bat. I ranked Manzardo as high as 5th in April and at 10th as recently as July. His underwhelming regular season in 2023 had some people moving off of him, but I’m still largely in.
We often forget that players are people, especially when looking at a giant spreadsheet of data. Manzardo was playing through a troubling family situation that undoubtedly impacted his ability to focus entirely on baseball (and rightfully so). He finished the year in Columbus on a high note following his trade to the Guardians, which was encouraging, as was his batted ball data.
Let it be his platoon splits if you want to nitpick Manzardo for anything. He struggled against lefties to the tune of .159/.267/.327 in 131 plate appearances this year. It’s something I think is solvable but is also a very justifiable reason to drop him from the upper echelon of fantasy prospects.
Dominic Keegan, C, TBR, 23
You take Ricky Tiedemann deep; you get on the sheet. It's a pretty simple equation; not sure why more players aren’t doing it (I am sure, it’s because Ricky Tiedemann is very good). Keegan has been superlative so far this fall, racking up 6 hits in 12 ABs with 3 of those being a pair of homers and a double.
He had a very solid 2023 after a great career at Vanderbilt, especially for a catcher. He reached base at a .386 clip, due in large part to his 13.2% walk rate, and added 13 home runs for good measure.
Ryan Bliss, 2B, SEA, 23
Big Man Bliss, as everyone is calling him, had a 1-2 evening with two walks and a run scored on Monday night. He added a stolen base and was later caught stealing after trying to take both second and third off of Tiedemann and Trautwein.
Bliss is a little polarizing as a prospect, and a lot of it seems to stem from his frame. He is listed at 5’6, 165 lbs, which was surprising to some after he was previously listed at 5’9 in 2022. A lot of players will see their height and weight adjust as they are officially measured for the automatic ball-strike system.
Despite his stature, Bliss had a phenomenal year. He finished with a .304/.378/.904 line with 23 home runs and 55 stolen bases across 612 plate appearances in the Texas League and the PCL. The track record for players his size is pretty grim, and a lot of that performance came in extremely hitter-friendly environments, but Bliss could factor into the second base role in Seattle fairly soon which gives him some fantasy intrigue.