More AFL Prospects To Watch
The hardest part of writing the Pipeline Perspective of which Arizona Fall League hitter and pitcher I’m most interested in seeing was just picking one of each.
With that in mind, I’m going to expand beyond my choices of Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant and Mariners lefthander Danny Hultzen, and select an entire team of AFL players to watch:
Austin Hedges, c, Padres (Peoria)
He’s the best all-around catcher in the Minors; Jorge Alfaro (Rangers/Surprise) has intriguing power and athleticism.
Kyle Parker, 1b, Rockies (Surprise)
AFL’s two best first-base prospects are converting from the outfield, former Clemson quarterback Parker and Tyler Austin (Yankees/Scottsdale).
Mookie Betts, 2b, Red Sox (Surprise)
His .314 in low Class A didn’t surprise me, but his 15 homers and .506 slugging percentage sure did.
Addison Russell, ss, Athletics (Mesa)
Mesa would be ridiculously stacked at shortstop if the Cubs hadn’t scratched Javier Baez from the roster; Corey Seager (Dodgers/Glendale) is another young shortstop stud.
Kris Bryant, 3b, Cubs (Mesa)
The top two college bats from the 2013 Draft are in the AFL in No. 2 overall pick Bryant and No. 6 choice Colin Moran (Marlins/Glendale); I’m also looking forward to Garin Cecchini (Red Sox/Surprise) and Patrick Kivlehan (Mariners/Peoria).
Albert Almora, of, Cubs (Mesa)
No team has a better quartet of position prospects than the Cubs with Baez, Bryant, Almora and Jorge Soler (see below); Almora has the highest floor.
Byron Buxton, of, Twins (Glendale)
The best prospect in baseball, and the most exciting to watch as well.
Jorge Soler, of, Cubs (Mesa)
He and Bryant will lose a lot of balls during Mesa batting practices.
Jameson Taillon, rhp, Pirates (Scottsdale)
The AFL’s top pitching prospect; other quality righties include Kyle Crick (Giants/Scottsdale), Alex Meyer (Twins/Glendale), Aaron Sanchez (Blue Jays/Salt River), Marcus Stroman (Blue Jays/Salt River).
Danny Hultzen, lhp, Mariners (Peoria)
The Mariners are anxious to see how Hultzen looks after his shoulder woes this summer; I also like Andrew Heaney (Marlins/Glendale) and Andrew Chafin (Diamondbacks/Salt River).