The Arizona Fall League is a couple of weeks old now, so we’ll peek at a few of the highlights and lowlights. In a league with only six teams, there is a limited pool of players and we’ll have to take the small sample sizes with a grain of salt. There have been a few standout performances, and this league is a good way to get eyes on prospects returning from injuries or facing some tougher competition for the first time. One name from the AFL that has surfaced quite a bit this year is Reds’ outfielder Jesse Winker. Reports on Winker like his approach and power, with left field a likely destination when he reaches the bigs. Despite a concussion early in the season and a wrist injury that ended his season prematurely, the 21-year-old hit .327/.426/.580 with 13 homers in the hitter-friendly California League before a brief stint in Double-A. In 38 AFL at bats, Winker has two homers, two doubles, and a league-leading 13 runs batted in. He’s top 5 in average (.368), on-base percentage (.479), and slugging percentage (.632). I’m not totally on board the Winker train yet since he hasn’t seen much of Double-A, but I am at the station in line to buy a ticket. Here are some other noteworthy AFL prospect performances so far…
Matt Olson, 1B | OAK | 4 HR, 12 RBI, .424 OBP
The “three true outcomes” are a walk, strikeout, or home run. Olson is shaping up to be a 3TO type. His four homers are tied for the AFL lead after hitting 37 long balls during the season. Olson can take a walk too. His 117 walks led all of the minors in 2014. 30+ home runs will play in any fantasy league, but obviously Olson is going to be a major target in OBP leagues if these trends continue once he gets his first taste of Double-A next year.
Roman Quinn, OF | PHI | 9 SB, 1 CS
Phillies fans have to be excited that Quinn is running like this after a nasty Achilles injury in the spring. He leads the AFL in steals and swiped 32 bags in 88 games this season. All of this comes with manning a new position as well. The 21-year-old moved off of shortstop and is now in center field. Obviously speed is his best tool and he’ll be popping up in SAGNOF articles on this site once he reaches the bigs.
Tim Anderson, SS | CWS | 1 HR, 4 SB
From a fantasy perspective it would be really nice to see Anderson stick at shortstop for the White Sox. The 21-year-old was drafted 17th overall in 2013 and while he’s mostly a speed-type, there’s some potential for more power to develop. He’s using the AFL to make up for lost time after missing two months of the regular season with a fractured wrist. He had a very brief taste of Double-A this season, so 2015 will be more telling as he’ll likely spend the entire year at that level. He has yet to draw a walk in the AFL, for what it’s worth.
Corey Seager, SS | LAD | 6 2B, 16 K (both lead the league)
Seager is a top prospect both in real life and in the fantasy game. Pretty much every report on the 20-year-old will mention that he is likely going to move off of shortstop, and he was expected to get playing time at 3B in the AFL. But instead Seager has been playing short and DHing this fall. His league-leading 16 strikeouts shouldn’t be too much cause for alarm. He struggled in the AFL last year as well (25 K).
Mark Appel, RHP | HOU | 12 IP, 0 ER, 12 K, 3 BB
Appel had all kinds of issues in Lancaster early this year, but he has righted the ship since. His starts in the AFL have been really promising. The first overall pick in 2013, Appel has done just about everything you’d want to see from him this fall – striking guys out and showing good control. Kudos if you were able to get him at a discount earlier this summer.
Tyler Glasnow, RHP | PIT | 9.2 IP, 1 ER, 13 K, 6 BB
The Pirates’ top pitching prospect has carried his 2014 success into the AFL. After a rough first start, Glasnow has had three straight scoreless appearances. Friday’s start was especially tasty. The 21-year-old struck out six batters in three scoreless innings, allowing only one walk. He’ll enter 2015 as one of the best pitching prospects in the game.
Archie Bradley, RHP | ARI | 10 IP, 8 ER, 8 K, 7 BB
Woof. Bradley’s numbers aren’t pretty and he has battled injury and control problems in 2014. His AFL performance to date hasn’t done much to soothe fantasy owners’ shattered nerves. Friday’s start was a step in the right direction, however. He scattered five hits across four scoreless innings with only one walk. The Diamondbacks’ best pitching prospect will get a clean slate in 2015. If you’re a believer in Bradley now would be a good time to buy his stock.