Last night, MLB streamed the Arizona Fall League equivalent of an All-Star Game. In a cunning twist, it’s named the Fall Star Game. The game ended too late for a recap, so this is a preview of a game that has already been played. Welcome to time travel. I’d explain the intricacies of writing in the present about something in the future that will publish in the future about something that happened in the past, but it’s a bit complicated. All I’ll say is it requires weapons-grade plutonium, an internet connection, and a fifth of Dewar’s. The player I’m most excited to see is Keston Hiura (2B), the Brew Crew’s top prospect with the 70 hit tool. He’s kicking keisters in the AFL – hitting .343 with four bombs, five steals, and 27 runs batted in (the league lead). Here are a few other prospects I’m scoping out tonight (last night) in the Fall Stars Game…
Jahmai Jones, 2B/OF – We’ve discussed Jones in earlier offseason notes and in the Angels 2019 minor league preview, so I won’t belabor the point in regards to his profile. He’s made the switch to the dirt, and his offensive tools will play nicely there in fantasy. Currently David Fletcher is manning 2B on the depth chart, so we should see Jones get a shot in 2019.
Jon Duplantier, RHP – Duplantier is an example of why the AFL is important. He missed a good chunk of time in the second half of the 2018 season due to injury so these fall innings are a chance to see him bounce back. His AFL earned run average isn’t as shiny as his Double-A one was, but he does have 18 strikeouts in 13 innings.
Monte Harrison, OF – Much ado about the Victors coming to the states, but Harrison still heads the Marlins system from a fantasy perspective. He’s got that athletic power/speed combo that can stuff the 5×5 stat sheet if he reaches his full potential. He’s yet to homer in the AFL, but he’s hitting .353 with three steals and 14 ribbies in 14 games.
Andres Gimenez, 2B/SS – The Mets are also sending first baseman Peter Alonso to the Fall Stars extravaganza (he’s tied for second in the league in homers with five), but I’m more curious about Gimenez. Gimenez hit .288 with 38 steals across two levels in 2018. With Amed Rosario slotted at short, Gimenez is starting the transition to the keystone.
Yu Chang, SS – Chang spent all of 2018 in Triple-A and he’s the rare bird shortstop prospect with above-average power and a below-average hit tool (high K%). It doesn’t help that Francisco Lindor is locked into Chang’s position in the majors, but I think his offense will play anywhere in fantasy. A shift to third would be my guess. Chang has three homers and is hitting a surprising .344 through 17 AFL games. I live near Cleveland and I’m biased, but I think he’s going to be useful at some point in 2019.
Cole Tucker, SS – Another shortstop, Tucker is the opposite of Chang. He’s a hit/run threat from both sides of the plate. He hit .259 with 35 steals as a 22-year-old in Double-A this season. He’s continued that success in the AFL, hitting .339 with six steals and a .400 OBP. Tucker might give Kevin Newman a run for his money in early 2019.
Estevan Florial, OF – Florial will most likely head the Yankees list when it publishes this winter thanks to double-plus speed and above-average pop. The fantasy ceiling could get ridiculous with that combo as he enters the upper levels of the minors at 20 years old. He’s one of the only players on this list who’s actually struggled so far in the AFL – hitting just .158 through 16 games.
Cavan Biggio, OF – Craig’s son is making his way towards a big league career of his own. At 23, the second baseman put together a fantastic 20-20 season at Double-A and through 12 games in the AFL he’s chalked up a pair of homers and steals.