Arizona Fall League Preview: Glendale Desert Dogs
It’s no secret that October is the best time of year to be a baseball fan. While we are all glued to our TV screens watching the best players the game has to offer in some of the most dramatic situations you will see on a baseball diamond, the stars of tomorrow are getting some valuable playing time as well. For us prospect junkies, October is not only marked on our calendar because of the MLB playoffs, but also because of the Arizona Fall League. This year it kicks off on Tuesday, October 9th and over the next couple of days, we will be highlighting the rosters from each of the six squads.
Part One: Peoria Javelinas
Today we move onto the Glendale Desert Dogs
Farm Systems: Baltimore Orioles, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees
Anytime the Yankees, Dodgers, and Indians get together you know there will be some talent on the field. Throw in the White Sox with one of the best farm systems in baseball and a revamped Orioles system and you get an AFL championship contender.
Top Position Players To Watch
Baltimore Orioles: OF Ryan McKenna .315/.410/.457 11 HR, 53 RBI, 9 SB
A fourth round pick in 2015, McKenna posses an exciting gap power and speed combination. He is a long way away from the majors, but when you combine his approach at the plate with his above average defense, the MLB looks like a reality for McKenna somewhere down the road.
Chicago White Sox: OF Luis Robert .269/.333/.360 0 HR, 17 RBI, 15 SB
No, it was not a great year for the Havana, Cuba product numbers wise, but he has some of the most exciting tools of any position player you will see in the AFL this season.
Cleveland Indians: INF Yu Chang .256/.330/.411 13 HR, 62 RBI, 4 SB
Chang spent the entire 2018 season in Triple-A and would be knocking on the door of the majors if weren’t for such a crowded and talented Indians infield.
Los Angeles Dodgers: C Keibert Ruiz .268/.328/.401 12 HR, 47 RBI
Easily a top three catcher prospect in all of baseball, Ruiz has a unique blend of above average defense behind the dish and a high contact approach at the plate. What’s unique about that? The 20 year old catcher is also a switch hitter that gave Double-A pitchers all they could handle. He struck out just 33 times in 377 at bats.
New York Yankees: OF Estevan Florial .283/.377/.422 6 HR, 35 RBI, 16 SB
Florial struck out 87 times in 75 games after getting promoted to High-A this summer. His defense and base running abilities are off the charts and he will be a very special player when he improves on his hit tool.
Top Pitcher To Watch:
Baltimore Orioles: LHP Tyler Erwin 1.58 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 84 SO, 23 BB
Erwin the left hander struck out 84 in 68.1 innings while High-A hitters hit just .183 off of him.
Chicago White Sox: RHP Zack Burdi 2.84 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 7 SO, 4 BB
Burdi pitched just 6.1 innings in the Arizona League this summer after coming off of TJ surgery. He has three great pitches in his fastball, slider, changeup and he will be fun to watch against some of the games best prospects.
Cleveland Indians: RHP Dalbert Siri 2.45 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 71 SO, 29 BB
Exclusively a bullpen arm, Siri converted 15 of 18 save opportunities with High-A Lynchburg this season.
Los Angeles Dodgers: RHP Jordan Sheffield 6.32 ERA, 1.68 WHIP, 44 SO, 22 BB
We haven’t seen the results on the field we were hoping for from Sheffield through a couple of injury plagued seasons, but it is too early to give up on his stuff.
New York Yankees: RHP Hobie Harris 2.66 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 55 SO, 15 BB
Hobie is an awesome name.