Week One of the 2016 Arizona Fall League is in the books. Let's take a look at some notable early performers. We'll be doing this several times a week for frequent coverage.
JaCoby Jones, OF-INF, Detroit Tigers (Salt Lake Rafters): Jones is 7-for-17 (.412) with two steals, a homer and two doubles in his first five games. The enigmatic Jones has always shown outstanding physical tools including impressive power and speed but has struggled to deploy those tools day-to-day over the grind of a full season with strike zone judgment and contact being serious issues. He's fanned just once in Arizona, which doesn't mean anything really given the sample size but is worth tracking.
Cody Bellinger, 1B, Los Angeles Dodgers (Glendale Desert Dogs): The powerful Bellinger is 4-for-12 (.333) with a home run, a double, and four walks in his first five games. He's likely to open 2017 at the Triple-A level waiting for a spot to open up somewhere (Los Angeles or elsewhere). His power/patience combination could make him a potent force.
Tyler O'Neill, OF, Seattle Mariners (Peoria Javelinas): O'Neill leads the AFL with three homers in his first five games, perhaps not surprising given the 24 homers he mashed in Double-A this year. He's 7-for-23 (.304) overall with two doubles, two walks, and eight strikeouts. Contact concerns are his biggest worries going forward (he whiffed 150 times this past season and 137 in 2015) but few minor league hitters offer as much thump. He is also ticketed to open 2017 in Triple-A.
Brian Anderson, 3B, Miami Marlins (Mesa Solar Sox): Anderson is 5-for-13 (.385) with a home run and three RBI so far. A third round pick in 2014 from the University of Arkansas, he was expected to advance quickly with his bat but saw his stock drop after a mediocre 2015 season and a not-much-better 2016 (.243/.330/.359 in Double-A). He showed signs of improvement in August and has a good glove at third base, so a good AFL showing might give him some momentum heading into 2017.