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Arizona Fall League Recap: 10/31/23
Chris and Beck breakdown everything you need to know from the Arizona Fall League and LIDOM from Tuesday's action.
Beck picked me up from the airport today, and we are off to scout more AFL games, but first, a report from yesterday. Beck has a game of live looks to break down and has some incredible live insight into the Arizona Fall League.
We both break down everything you need to know from Tuesday’s action, which was just two games with 18-player writeups. 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
Yasiel Puig, OF, 32
Is Puig poised to make an MLB comeback in 2024? It may seem unlikely, but he could draw interest from teams looking for an outfielder, as he has been one of the hottest hitters in the Dominican Winter League.
On Tuesday, Puig collected four hits and ended a triple shy of the cycle, pushing his slash line to .357/.419/.536 across nine games so far.
Eguy Rosario, INF, SD, 24
Rosario missed much of 2023 due to a broken ankle but spent time between Triple-A and the Majors slashing .265/.348/.422 with five home runs and four stolen bases in 187 Triple-A plate appearances before hitting two home runs in 37 MLB plate appearances. He is smaller, listed at 5’9”/150, but has still shown the ability to get to power, posting a 103 mph 90th percentile exit velocity, which is close to the league average. He is a free swinger but makes enough contact to be a versatile utility man.
He had just one hit on Tuesday, but it was a big one as he hit his first home run of LIDOM, pushing his slash line up to .258/.342/.484. It may be a good time to buy low in dynasty leagues.
Peoria (Guardians, Marlins, Mariners, Padres, Rays)
Graham Pauley, 3B, SDP, 23
After starting scorching hot in the desert, Pauley slowed down a bit. But, that did not keep him from hitting a majestic two-run home run, his fourth of the AFL. He currently has just a .254 batting average with a .766 OPS, but that does not take anything away from Pauley’s great season.
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.
Harry Ford, C, SEA, 20
Ford collected Peoria’s only extra-base hit outside of Pauley’s home run as he collected a double and also reached base via walk. Ford has just a .200 average in the Arizona Fall League, but the OBP skills and power have his OPS at 1.133.
During the regular season, Ford walked as much as he struck out last season and posted a .257/.410/.430 slash line, but finished the year on a heater. In his final 30 games, he slashed .302/.438/.560. He also hit 15 home runs and stole 24 bases, which is quite impressive from the catcher position.
Kyle Manzardo, 1B, CLE, 23
Manzardo collected just one hit on Tuesday, but reached base three times thanks to walks. He has five home runs so far in the AFL with a .268/.350/.592 slash line. After a down 2023 regular season(likely due to personal, off-the-field things), it is nice to see Manzardo get back to looking like his normal self.
I am looking to draft Manzardo everywhere in 2024 as I believe he will be the Guardians’ first base man for most of the 2024 season and provide nice value due to his high-end hit tool with each power.
Scottsdale (Angels, Cardinals, Giants, Nationals, Phillies)
Victor Scott II, OF, STL, 22
Scott is heating up in a big way in the desert and hit his third home run of the Arizona Fall League while also stealing his 14th base of the season. He is now up to 109 stolen base between the regular season and the AFL while also showing average game power. Aram Leighton caught a beautiful video of Scott’s home run, and he shows off his beautiful left-handed swing while generating a ton of torque in his lower half. We are looking at 50-grade power and 80-grade speed, making Scott a highly coveted fantasy asset. Not to mention, he plays a great centerfielder.
I bumped Scott into my Top 100 in the end-of-season update, but there might just be more in his profile. In the AFL he has a .278 average and an .804 OPS after slashing .303/.369/.425 with nine home runs and 39 extra-base hits in the regular season. Scott is not only viable in dynasty, but redraft for 2024.
Oliver Dunn, INF, PHI, 26
Okay no jokes about getting it dunn today, but it was another day in which Oliver Dunn reached base three times, pushing his AFL OPS to 1.140. He also stole two bases to push his total to 11.
Despite being an older prospect, Dunn’s 2023 season has been nothing short of impressive. In 2023 in Double-A with the Phillies, hitting 21 home runs and stealing 16 bases while slashing .271/.396/.506. He was originally drafted by the Yankees in the 11th round of the 2019 draft and was a Rule 5 selection by Philadelphia.
Tekoah Roby, RHP, STL, 22
Roby has had a bumpy AFL to this point, as we have seen some really strong outings and some not-so-great ones. On Tuesday, Roby posted his best start since his first of the Fall League, tossing 3.1 innings with one earned run allowed on four hits and one walk. Roby struck out four batters with eight swinging strikes and a 62 percent strike rate.
He missed most of the year injured, and then, being traded to St. Louis at the deadline, Roby looked like a different pitcher coming back. In 12 innings with St. Louis, he posted a 3.00 ERA with a 43.2 percent strikeout rate, showing a big fastball and curveball combo while also mixing in a slider and a changeup. It is an impressive four-pitch arsenal that could be four pitches that are all at least above average.
Gabriel Rincones Jr., OF, PHI, 22
Rincones has made the sheet both days this week and has been on quite often over the last several weeks. Rincones did steal two more bases, pushing his total to 13 as he tries to keep pace with Victor Scott II. Rincones accounted for three of Scottsdale’s five runs by driving in two and scoring once while getting on base three times. He continues to be one of the best hitters in the AFL, having a .292 average and a .886 OPS.
Rincones is one of the players I am most excited to watch this week in Arizona. Being a strong athlete with power and speed, Rincones had an underrated 2023 season in which he posted a .248/.351/.427 slash with 15 home runs and 32 stolen bases, adding 31 doubles and three triples for a total of 49 extra-base hits.
Jadiel Sanchez, OF, LAA, 22
Sanchez was one of my picks for players to get in on before the Arizona Fall League began but that pick has not faired too well to this point. Maybe Tuesday’s performance will help get him going as he collected two hits, including a double, but that only pushed his Arizona Fall League average up to .214 to pair with a .595 OPS.
During the regular season, Sanchez posted respectable numbers as he hit 11 home runs with a 297/.378/.475 slash. Sanchez has an intriguing frame at 6’2”/185 and a swing that could allow him to tap into more power. Sanchez ran an 82 percent contact rate this year and posted a walk rate north of 10 percent. Hopefully, he can finish out the AFL on a strong note.
Salt River (Braves, Diamondbacks, Pirates, Rockies, Tigers)
AJ Vukovich, 3B/OF, ARI, 22
Vukovich came away looking better in the box score than his performance on the field. He was officially 3-5 with three singles and two strikeouts, but one of those hits was a swinging bunt that Miguel Palma wasn’t able to get to quickly enough.
For his part, Vukovich is clearly a great athlete. He looks the part in the uniform, I just haven’t seen it coalesce between the lines. He could be a good piece to invest in now in the event that it all comes together.
Tyler Tolve, C, ATL, 23
Tolve has really caught my eye out here. He doesn’t have a typical catcher’s build and I would wager that he’s taller than his listed height at 6’0 and lighter than his listed weight at 200lbs. He’s long and lean, very athletic, and has thump in the bat. He hit a very impressive pull-side home run yesterday, which should have given him two while I was in the stands but the first was ruled in play and went for a triple despite traveling a conservative 430 feet and caroming off the batter’s eye.
Drew Romo, C, COL, 22
Romo left the ballpark with a 2-5 night that should have been 3-5 if not for a stellar play by James Triantos in the second inning that stole what was surely extra bases. On the other hand, his “triple” was clearly a single that Kevin Alcantara misplayed in right field. You win some, you lose some.
It’s a good reminder to be wary of box scores in the AFL. Umpires are getting their offseason work in and zones have been variable, leading to questionable strikeout and walk totals. Scorers may be incentivized to rule in favor of the home club, leading to generous hits. I can’t recommend watching games enough.
Mesa (A’s, Astros, Cubs, Orioles, Yankees)
James Triantos, SS, CHC, 20
Triantos looks locked in. His performance has been stellar – he’s in the lead for Fall MVP as we’ve noted ad-nauseam – and it’s clear he’s seeing the ball better than just about everybody. He finished with two singles, a walk, and three runs scored in Mesa’s 8-7 victory. Getting on base ahead of Kevin Alcantara is a good game plan.
I’m intrigued by how he’s being deployed defensively here, too. He manned center in this contest and robbed Drew Romo of extra bases with a diving play early in the game. He had just five games at the position in the regular season but already has nine appearances in the outfield in the AFL. The Cubs are clearly working on getting him reps all over the diamond.
Kevin Alcantara, OF, CHC, 21
I’ve gotten the full Alcantara experience in the desert in the few games I’ve seen him as he’s shown off the physical tools that make him so enticing but also demonstrated the warts that could keep him from reaching his ultimate ceiling. On his best days, he’s a top-20 talent in Minor League baseball.
Yesterday was one of the good days. He was all over Dylan Dodd and the train of relievers that followed him, collecting eight total bases comprised of a monster home run, a line drive double that clanged off the wall, and a second double down the left field line. Triantos was on first base often for him, giving Mesa a potent 1-2 at the top of the lineup. Alcantara finished with five RBI.
It’s clear he’s still figuring out how to manage such an expansive zone. His height paired with his lankiness, can make pitches on the black hard to reach. You’re betting on him improving his contact rates and maximizing on his physicality.
Max Muncy, SS, OAK, 21
Muncy was the beneficiary of some home-cooking by the official scorer as they took one of his errors off the board and instead ruled it a David McCabe single. It was a rough night in the field for him, though he did have a lot of chances and converted the most difficult plays. Momentary lapses on relatively routine balls in play led to an official error, and a second anybody in the ballpark, official scorer notwithstanding, would have ruled an error, too.
He made up for it with a fourth-inning solo home run off of Dylan Dodd. It was his fourth of the AFL, and raised his OPS to .781.
Ben Cowles, SS, NYY, 23
Cowles was on cycle watch through two at-bats following a second-inning triple and a third-inning double. He showed off the wheels by stretching a deep fly to the left-field corner into the aforementioned triple which was not the result of a poor relay. He added a walk and a pivotal run scored as Mesa edged out an 8-7 victory.
He was playing third in this contest and looked excellent fielding the position. His positional versatility should allow him to see the field for the Yankees in a utility role at some point in 2023 with continued strong offensive performance. He’s up to a .347/.468/.592 line through 15 games, good for 6th in the league in OPS.
Surprise (Blue Jays, Brewers, Rangers, Reds, Royals) - NO GAME
Glendale (Dodgers, Mets, Twins, Red Sox, White Sox) - NO GAME