The Arizona Fall League has announced its preliminary rosters, and as usual, this year’s AFL is loaded with high impact talent. Offensive headliners include Byron Buxton, Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, and Jorge Soler. On the pitching side of things, we’ve got Kyle Crick, Alex Meyer, Andrew Heaney, and Marcus Stroman. I’m leaving out plenty of other notable prospects, too. These rosters are always a welcome relief for us prospect enthusiasts who fear the onset of the withdrawal symptoms that inevitably come with the baseball off-season. The AFL should keep the nervous twitching and general malaise at bay, if only for a little while.
Billy Hamilton | OF, Reds – You’ve been begging for a Hamilton call-up since last summer, and now it’s finally upon us. Looks like Billy’s role will be limited, but I’d still grab in any roto format in which you’re chasing steals. He won’t need regular PAs to make an impact in that department.
Nick Castellanos | OF, Tigers – Also getting a September call is Detroit outfielder, Nick Castellanos. The 21-year-old carries a quality stick, and he offers significant dynasty league upside, but I don’t see him as a difference maker in the fantasy game this season. In deeper leagues, he’s worth a look for upside’s sake, but at the moment, I like him far less than his former teammate, Avisail Garcia.
Joey Gallo | 3B, Rangers – Gallo drilled three homers on Friday night, giving him 38 on the year. That figure leads Minor League Baseball.
Ryan Rua | 2B, Rangers – Rua hit 29 homers at High-A before being bumped up to Double-A Frisco, where his power hit a lull. With homers in back-to-back games earlier this week, though, it looks like the 23-year-old might be rediscovering his power stroke.
Trevor May | RHP, Twins – If Trevor May can ever figure out the command end of pitching, he’ll make for an extremely intriguing fantasy prospect. Alas, the 23-year-old has continued to struggle in that regard, posting a BB-rate north of 10% for his second straight season in Double-A. On the bright side, his start this past Monday was encouraging: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K. His stuff is still too good to give up on just yet, but the window is closing. Next season will be of the make-or-break variety for May.
Byron Buxton | OF, Twins – Buxton’s been on fire lately at High-A Fort Myers, hitting .385/.556/.538 through his past 10 games. The 19-year-old is displaying patience at the plate far beyond what’s typical at class A. Combine that with the rest of his noted skill set, and hoo boy, it’s gonna be fun to watch him step into the upper levels next spring.
Matt Barnes | RHP, Red Sox – In his first Triple-A start, Barnes lasted 5.1 scoreless frames, allowing 3 hits while walking 2 and whiffing 7. The 23-year-old hasn’t had the smoothest season, but he still brings front-end potential, and he should be surfacing sometime next season.
Bubba Starling | OF, Royals – With 3 homers in his past 6 games, and 5 multi-hit performances in his past 8 games, it kinda seems like Starling is starting to figure things out at Low-A Lexington. He’s still just 21 years old and his tools remain among the most impressive in the minors.
Carlos Martinez | RHP, Cardinals – C-Mart continues to yo-yo between Triple-A and the bigs. He’s currently pitching in Memphis as a starter, where he turned in this line in his most recent outing: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 9 K. Expect to see him back with the Cardinals this week.
Kyle Crick | RHP, Giants – Kyle Crick has been truly dominant at High-A San Jose, posting a 1.57 ERA and a K/9 at 12.5 through 14 starts. His most recent outing followed suit: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 11 K.
Kris Bryant | 3B, Cubs – Bryant has 9 homers in 35 professional ballgames. Who’s 2014’s MiLB HR leader? Gallo? Sano? My money’s on Bryant.
One last thing: Don’t forget to join this season’s final exclusive Razzball contest at DraftKings. The game is set for Friday, and there will be 50 spots available. JB will have the rest of the details for us on Wednesday, but in the meantime, get excited.