Arizona Fall League Preview: Salt River Rafters
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. Things kicked off Tuesday afternoon and we highlighted each of the six squads.
Part One: Peoria Javelinas
Part Two: Glendale Desert Dogs
Part Three: Surprise Saguaros
Part Four: Mesa Solar Sox
Part Five: Scottsdale Scorpions
Today we wrap things up with the Salt River Rafters
Farm Systems: Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Miami Marlins, Minnesota Twins, Washington Nationals
Top Position Players To Watch
Arizona Diamondbacks: SS Jazz Chisholm .272/.329/.513 25 HR, 70 RBI, 17 SB
A great combination of bat to ball skills and sheer athleticism, Chisholm is a star in the Dbacks organization. He has the defensive ability to stay up the middle and is almost a sure thing to be an everyday major leaguer down the road.
Colorado Rockies: INF Tyler Nevin .328/.386/.503 13 HR, 62 RBI
The only thing keeping Nevin’s name from being mentioned more is his injury history. He has advanced plate discipline coupled with the ability to make consistent contact. He struck out just 77 times in 378 at bats last season.
Miami Marlins: OF Monte Harrison .240/.316/.399 19 HR, 48 RBI, 28 SB
The highlight of the Christian Yelich trade, Harrison posses a good combination of speed and power. With that being said, his 37% strikeout rate last season is a little concerning. He just turned 23 last month so there is plenty of time to try and work that out.
Minnesota Twins: OF Brent Rooker .254/.333/.465 22 HR, 79 RBI, 6 SB
Big bat speed generates big power and Rooker definitely has both of those. I got to watch him a few times in Chattanooga this year and I’m very excited about what this guy will bring to the plate down the road.
Washington Nationals: SS Carter Kieboom .280/.357/.444 16 HR, 69, RBI, 9 SB
The Nats have sent a couple of their top position player prospects to the AFL, but Kieboom and his solid across the board tools are the most intriguing.
Top Pitchers To Watch:
Arizona Diamondbacks: RHP Jon Duplantier 2.55 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 77 SO, 30 BB
Although he is widely regarded as the Diamondbacks top prospect, it doesn’t feel like enough people are talking about him. I don’t think Duplantier will be a shut down front of the line starter by any means, but he should be a consistent middle of the rotation contributor for many years.
Colorado Rockies: RHP Justin Lawrence 2.65 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 62 SO, 27 BB
Lawrence is purely a reliever, but he is a darn good one. His big fastball and slider give hitters a fit and he was virtually unhittable in 2018.
Miami Marlins: RHP Jordan Yamamoto 1.83 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 85 SO, 14 BB
Another big piece in the Yelich deal, Yamamoto brings a complete repertoire to the table. He has shown the ability to command all of his pitches, including a low 90’s moving fastball and a good changeup. (You Know I love those changeups.)
Minnesota Twins: RHP Griffin Jax 3.70 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 66 SO, 15 BB
A product of the Air Force Academy, Jax is steadily moving through the Twins system.
Washington Nationals: RHP Luis Reyes 4.66 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 46 SO, 33 BB
Reyes has been in the Nationals system since 2012 and spent the majority of 2018 in Double-A where he struggled a little bit. Reyes is best known for having perhaps the top curveball in the Nats system.
Featured Image Courtesy of Mathew Carper/LOD