As minor-league play winds down, many of baseball’s top prospects are anticipating another six weeks of play in the upcoming Arizona Fall League.
The 2023 season starts on October 2, and every MLB team will soon announce which players from their organization will be participating. There will be six teams playing at spring-training sites in the Phoenix area. Each club takes six players from five different MLB clubs for a 30-man squad.
Here are the teams, with the MLB clubs sending players to them:
GLENDALE DESERT DOGS: Dodgers, Mets, Red Sox, Twins, White Sox.
MESA SOLAR SOX: Astros, Athletics, Cubs, Orioles, Yankees.
PEORIA JAVELINAS: Guardians, Mariners, Marlins, Padres, Rays.
SALT RIVER RAFTERS: Braves, Diamondbacks, Pirates, Rockies, Tigers.
SCOTTSDALE SCORPIONS: Angels, Cardinals, Giants, Nationals, Phillies.
SURPRISE SAGUAROS: Blue Jays, Brewers, Rangers, Reds, Royals.
Big-league teams often send some of their brightest young stars to play against other top-flight prospects and hopefully advance quicker to the majors. Sometimes, an MLB club will send a player that missed time because of injury and needs to get back on track. Occasionally, they send a player switching positions and get him started on the new spot. They sometimes use the league to get a longer look at a prospect they may have picked up at the trading deadline.
Go West, Young Men!
Prospects who are candidates for more work this year include Ricky Tiedemann, Chase DeLauter, Kyle Manzardo, Eric Brown and Alexander Canario.
Tiedemann, a 20-year-old lefty in Toronto’s system, has pitched only 40 innings this year due to a biceps injury in May. A year ago, he struck out 117, walked only 29 and gave up a measly 39 hits over 78.2 innings across three levels.
DeLauter didn’t play for more than a year. The Cleveland Guardians’ first-round pick in 2022 twice broke bones in his right foot. He hit.355 with 39 RBI in 52 games this summer after being activated in June. Cleveland acquired Manzardo from Tampa Bay at the trading deadline. The first baseman missed six weeks in July and August with a shoulder injury. In 2022, he batted .327 with 22 homers in the Rays’ system.
The Detroit Tigers may want to see a few more innings from right-hander Jackson Jobe, a first-round pick in 2021. In 64 innings across four levels, he has walked only six and fanned 84 at age 20.
Brown had 37 stolen bases in only 63 games in the Brewers’ system this summer. The 27th overall pick in 2022 missed several weeks with a broken scapula and Milwaukee has announced the shortstop will play in the AFL.
So will Canario, who hit 37 homers a year ago in the Chicago Cubs’ system. The outfielder had ankle and shoulder surgery last winter and played only 53 games this summer, batting .273 with nine homers.
Tampa Bay is sending catcher Dom Keegan, who hit .287 with 13 homers in 106 games this summer. The Rays picked him in 2022 out of Vanderbilt, where he played mostly first base. They want him to gain experience behind the plate.
Team rosters for the 2023 season will be announced soon. The AFL playoff semifinals will be on November 10, with the championship game the next day.
A Long List Of Stars
Since 1992, thousands of top prospects have played in the league. A year ago, Heston Kjerstad made quite a mark. The Baltimore Orioles’ prospect batted ,357 with five homers and 17 RBI in 22 games. This summer, he hit .303 with 21 homers in the minors and last week got his first MLB hit — a home run — with the Orioles.
In 2016, the New York Mets sent Tim Tebow to the AFL to start his hopeful transition from NFL quarterback to outfielder. Tebow helped the Denver Broncos to a playoff win in 2011. In three years in the minors, he batted only .223.
Here’s a list of just some of the AFL players and managers who went on to very successful MLB careers:
PLAYER, POS, SENT BY, YEAR
Ronald Acuna Jr., OF, Braves, 2017
Pete Alonso, 1B , Mets, 2018
Yordan Alvarez, OF, Astros, 2017
Garrett Anderson, OF, Angels, 1993, 94
Nolan Arenado, 3B, Rockies, 2011
Jake Arrieta, SP, Orioles, 2007
Cody Bellinger, OF, Dodgers, 2016
Mookie Betts, 2B, Red Sox, 2013
Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs, 2013
Sean Casey, 1B, Indians, 1997
Aroldis Chapman, RP, Reds, 2011
Gerrit Cole, SP, Pirates , 2011
Carl Crawford, OF, Devil Rays, 2001
Nomar Garciaparra, SS, Red Sox, 1994
Jason Giambi, INF, Athletics, 1994
Brian Giles, OF, Indians, 1994
Curtis Granderson, OF, Tigers, 2004, 2005
Shawn Green, OF, Blue Jays, 1993
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. , 3B, Blue Jays, 2018
*-Roy Halladay, SP, Blue Jays, 1998
Bryce Harper,. OF, Nationals, 2000, 11
Todd Helton, 1B, Rockies, 1996
Torii Hunter, OF, Twins, 1998
Kenley Jansen, RP , Dodgers, 2009
*-Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees, 1994
Charles Johnson, C, Marlins, 1993, 94
Adam Jones, OF, Mariners, 2005
Aaron Judge, OF, Yankees, 2014
Craig Kimbrel, RP, Braves, 2009
Francisco Lindor, SS, Indians, 2014
Nick Markakis, OF, Orioles, 2005
Joe Mauer C, Twins, 2003
Andrew McCutcheon, OF, Pirates, 2007
Charlie Morton, SP, Braves, 2007
Sean Murphy, C, Athletics, 2017
Matt Olson, 1B, Athletics, 2014
*-Mike Piazza, C, Dodgers, 1992
Albert Pujols, 1B, Cardinals, 2000
Brian Roberts, 2B, Orioles, 2000, 01
Julio Rodriguez, OF, Mariners, 2019
Jimmy Rollins, SS, Phillies, 2000
Anthony Santander, OF, Orioles, 2017
Max Scherzer, SP, Diamondbacks, 2007, 08
Tanner Scott, RP, Orioles, 2015, 16, 17
Corey Seager, SS, Dodgers, 2013, 14
Richie Sexson, 1B, Indians, 1997
Grady Sizemore, OF, Indians, 2003
Alfonso Soriano, 2B, Yankees, 1998
George Springer, OF, Astros, 2012
Stephen Strasburg, SP, Nationals, 2009
Mike Trout, OF, Angels, 2011
Chase Utley, 2B, Phillies, 2002
Framber Valdez, SP, Astros, 2017
Joey Votto, 1B, Reds, 2005
Adam Wainwright, SP, Braves, 2003, 04
Rondell White, OF, Expos, 1992
David Wright, 3B, Mets, 2003
Michael Young, INF, Rangers, 2000
Ryan Zimmerman, INF, Nationals, 2005
*-Elected to Baseball Hall of Fame
MANAGER, SENT BY, YEAR
Dusty Baker, Giants, 1992
Terry Francona, White Sox, 1994
Bob Melvin, Brewers, 1999
Tony Pena, Astros, 2000
Mike Scioscia, Dodgers, 1997
Eric Wedge, Rockies, 1993