The Arizona Fall League is Almost Upon Us

Like so much else in 2021, the Arizona Fall League holds promise of restoring some semblance of normalcy to society as compared to the lost year of 2020. Having been cancelled last year due to the “unprecedented” circumstances of COVID-19, it is scheduled to begin on October 13. A proving ground for minor league baseball players, 60% of whom will make it to the major leagues, the rosters are typically populated by AA ballplayers whose parent clubs use their performance in Arizona to decide how soon they might be ready to move up to AAA, and other players who might be making up lost time due to injury.

Once again, each of the six teams will be comprised of prospects from five major league clubs, and the composition of each team this Falls is as follows:

Team rosters are usually released in August or September, but the announcements are late this year. The only major league club that has announced its selectees to date is the St. Louis Cardinals. If what St. Louis is doing tells us anything about what’s in the cards, we’re going to see more advanced prospects this year in the AFL. The Cardinals are sending highly regarded Jordan Hicks, who’s missed substantial time due to injury, and potentially Lars Nootbaar who’s competing with Noah Syndergaard of the Mets for the Thor Award (haha!). But seriously, Nootbaar is a young prospect who hasn’t gotten as many at bats as the Cards would like because he’s been relegated to the bench owing to their amazing late season success. The remaining six players finished the season in Triple A, so that is quite an advanced crop they’re sending.

Bryson Stott, the shortstop who the Phillies drafted #1 in 2019 out of UNLV, moved quickly through three levels to finish in AAA in 2021 and is going to the Fall League, but we don’t have confirmation yet on who the Phils’ other players heading West will be. Stott, who is good friends with Bryce Harper through their Vegas connections, saw playing time in the minors at 2B and 3B as well SS. The Phillies will need to replace Didi Gregorius at SS after this year, but frankly the sooner the better given the way he struggled both in the field and at the plate this year. Freddy Galvis is not the answer there. Alec Bohm’s struggles at 3B this year were legendary, and Ronald Torreyes isn’t the answer there either though he remains a nice utility player. So it’ll be interesting to see where Stott gets the bulk of his playing time for the Javelinas this Fall.

Three of the Phils’ other top prospects who were promoted to AAA along with Stott, Francisco Morales (RHP), Logan O’Hoppe (C) and Simon Muzziotti (CF), would be prime candidates to join him in Arizona if the Phillies follow the example set by St. Louis.

About Leonard J. Press, O.D., FAAO, FCOVD

Developmental Optometry is my passion as well as occupation. Blogging allows me to share thoughts in a unique visual style.
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