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Live From The Arizona Fall League: 11/3/23
Chris and Beck break down everything they saw from their live looks in the Arizona Fall League.
Another day of live looks for Beck and myself as we first hit Peoria to see their matchup with Mesa and then Glendale faced off with Scottsdale.
No video from last night’s game yet as I have not had time to go through all my cameras film between the FPAZ conference and spending time with friends out here. But be sure to sub to YouTube for film on every player from the AFL.
Peoria (Guardians, Marlins, Mariners, Padres, Rays)
Shane Sasaki, OF, TB, 23
Sasaki was feeling it on Friday and definitely earned MVP honors for the game as he collected three hits including a triple and drove in three runs. He also swiped two bases, showing off his high-end speed.
After a strong 2022 season in which he slashed .324/.410/.497, Sasaki missed most of the 2023 season. But the outfield prospect shows a strong feel to hit and has high-end speed. On Friday, he hit some solid line drives and showed more gap-to-gap power, but it fits the Rays’ mold well.
Jacob Berry, CI, MIA, 22
Berry had a good showing in both the field and at the plate. While I am not sure if he can play third base long-term, Beck has steadily discussed Berry looking serviceable at the hot corner, and he did on Friday, making several solid plays and showing the ability to move well.
Berry collected a hit and drove in two runs in the process. He has shown concerning swing and miss with breakers, but the ability to hit fastballs has been there. The long-term outlook on Berry is still a question, considering the lack of power, but the hit tool is strong.
Carson Williams, SS, TB, 20
Williams is an incredible interviewer who is clearly a hard worker and has his eye on the majors soon. Williams is a strong shortstop, which is his strength as an easy plus glove with a strong arm. His athleticism is off the charts, and he has plenty of power and speed. The question is whether Williams can hit for average or make enough contact.
Throughout my looks at Williams this week, he has been thrown a ton of breakers and has shown swing-and-miss. But, Williams mashes fastballs and has worked to make adjustments against breaking balls and with the kind of athlete he is, I believe Williams can end up being at least an average hitter with plus power and speed, making him an exciting fantasy prospect.
Scottsdale (Angels, Cardinals, Giants, Nationals, Phillies)
Victor Scott II, OF, STL, 22
Scott is going to be a very underrated piece in redraft leagues and probably in points formats as well. He has the ability to completely change the game with his legs and has more pop than you might imagine. His home run earlier in the week left the bat at 108 mph, and despite going just 1-4 in this contest, he had a screaming line drive to center at 106 mph that went for an out.
He took a Bryan Mata fastball off the left kneecap in the 7th inning. He was down for a while; the training staff took forever to get to him, and it felt like an eternity before play resumed with Scott at first base. You’re savvy enough to know what happened next — Scott took second base easily on the very next pitch and advanced to third on a Kevin Parada throwing error. One second, you’re on the mound with a clean inning, not 30 seconds of game time later, and Scott is standing on third base. So it goes.
Caleb Ricketts, C, PHI, 23
Ricketts looked huge (in a good way) behind the plate last night. He’s every bit of the listed 6’3 and 225 lbs on his baseball-reference page. He was formerly a 7th round pick in 2022 and played 70 games this year split between Rookie ball, A, and A+, where he slashed a combined .270/.324/.387.
He was responsible for most of the damage against Glendale last night by way of a two-run, opposite-field double in the first inning.
Salt River (Braves, Diamondbacks, Pirates, Rockies, Tigers)
AJ Vukovich, OF, ARI, 22
Vukovich has been a fun player to watch this week, showing strong skills across the board with some nice versatility playing both corner infield spots and every outfield spot as well. He has looked good in centerfield and has a big arm, and in a couple of games I have seen him, he has shown a big arm, throwing a guy out trying to tag from second to third by a couple of steps.
At the plate, he has looked good as well, collecting two hits on Friday to add to the two hits on Thursday, which included a double. While the overall line in the Arizona Fall League is not the most impressive, Vukovich hits the ball hard and had a sneaky good year in Double-A, in which he slashed .263/.333/.485 with 24 home runs and 20 stolen bases. Vukovich is a sneaky good dynasty buy.
Tyler Tolve, C, ATL, 23
Tolve is not a name I was very focused on coming into the Arizona Fall League, but he passes the eye test on video and in person. He does not look like his listed 6’0”/200 lb, as he is taller, leaner, and athletic behind the plate. He has looked better behind the plate than some of the top-ranked catchers out here in Arizona. His numbers don’t pop off the page, but two more hits on Friday capped off a big week as he doubled and added a single and walk. At the end of the day, im not sure Tolve is a big-time fantasy prospect, but he is a solid deep-league prospect.
Mesa (A’s, Astros, Cubs, Orioles, Yankees)
Kevin Alcantara, OF, CHC, 21
We had another very Kevin Alcantara game yesterday in Peoria. What I mean by that is he hit the ball very hard when he put it in play, but he also whiffed mightily at certain points. He blasted a first-inning triple to the deepest part of the park in the first inning and sliced a two-RBI single to right in the fourth while adding two strikeouts to his fall total.
Nelson Medina, OF, NYY, 23
Medina had a very weird year. He spent all of 2022 at the Florida Complex and mashed as you might expect someone in their age-21 season would, then jumped to Low-A Tampa to start 2023. An injury held him out of competition for two and a half months, and the Yankees sent him to AAA upon return.
He has a very athletic build. I didn’t know much about him, but after seeing him it’s clear he’s pretty raw. In any event, he clobbered a big home run to left center in a 1-2 night that also included two walks, three RBI, and two runs scored.
Caleb Durbin, 2B, NYY
Durbin has an extremely high motor. He plays with the throttle wide open. He stole three bags on Friday, and that total doesn’t include the instances of him taking extra bags on wild pitches or errant throws.
He was 2-5 with two runs scored, and one of those runs was a pretty scary play at the plate on a wild pitch that could have ended terribly. Durbin and Keegan raced to the plate, Durbin went head first, and Keegan slid in with his gear leading the way. They narrowly avoided a nasty collision.
The Pitching Staff, P, All
I mean, I’m not going to sit here and tell you it was a good game from Mesa’s staff. It wasn’t. However, of the eight runs Mesa surrendered, just three of them went in the book as earned. Their defense committed six pretty egregious errors, three of which were charged to James Triantos at third, and I may have given them more had the scoring decisions been in my hands.
The Baserunners, All, All
Mesa set a fall league record for stolen bases in this contest. That doesn’t bode particularly well for Dominic Keegan behind the plate, despite Chris getting some solid pop times around the 2.05-second mark. A lot of those swipes were taken on the pitching staff and left no chance for Keegan to make a play. Mesa’s eight stolen bases broke the previous record of seven set in 2005.
Surprise (Blue Jays, Brewers, Rangers, Reds, Royals)
Damiano Palmegiani, 3B, TOR, 23
I continue to like Palmegiani. He finished last night’s game with two hits, one of which was a double off of Dylan Smith, to go with an RBI, a run, and two strikeouts. Not a banner night but he continues to hit.
His fall line after 93 plate appearances sits at .260/.366/.521. Toronto has a lot of infielders they need to figure out what to do with, and Palmegiani could enter that mix shortly.
Liam Hicks, C, TEX, 24
Hicks added another two hits to bring his fall total to 30, trailing just James Triantos (34) and Jakob Marsee (31), both of which have many more at-bats than he does. He’s got the league lead in both batting average and on-base percentage. He’s walking more than he’s striking out, which may not matter much if it were close given the environment, but it’s nearly double as often at a 15-8 split.
Peyton Wilson, 2B, KCR, 24
Wilson celebrated his 24th birthday on Wednesday. I checked the box score for Thursday to see if maybe he got a day off for recovery from celebration, but he did not and instead went 0-3 with a walk and two strikeouts.
This is Friday’s rundown, though, so please make note that Wilson was 2-3 with a pair of singles, two RBI, and a run scored. Please also make note that he is not Peyton Graham, former shortstop for the Oklahoma Sooners, because I frequently forget that myself.
Glendale (Dodgers, Mets, Twins, Red Sox, White Sox)
Damon Keith, OF, LAD, 23
Keith has now homered in two of the last three games, and they have been big shots. His homer last night was one of the biggest home runs I have seen in a long time. It was Keith’s fourth of the Arizona Fall League as he now has a .286/.357/.571 slash line.
It is a simple swing with effortless power, and he posted a 90th percentile exit velocity in 2022 that was already above the MLB average at 104.2, but it substantially jumped in 2023 to 108.5. He 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 concerning, but a player like Keith is one I want to bet on.
Kala’i Rosario, OF, MIN, 21
Rosario, whose first name has been pronounced three different ways in three stadiums this week, has had a strong performance once again and hit the ball hard consistently. He mashed his seventh home run on Thursday and then collected two more hits on Friday, including a double, and he flashed his power in a big way. He got sawed off a pitch shattered his bat, and still smashed a double in the gap. It was one of the most impressive hits I have seen on a broken bat in some time.
Rosario profiles as a high OBP and OPS type with big power.
Bryan Ramos, 3B, CHW, 21
It has been a good week for Ramos, who mashes every night and looks the part of a future White Sox infielder. The body is incredible as he stands at 6’3” with 20 pounds of muscle left in his frame. He hit one of the hardest home runs I have seen out here on Wednesday, and then hit a walk-off grandslam on Thursday. Friday, he collected one hit but hit several balls hard and has an average of .280 out here with a .816 OPS.