The Arizona Fall League Championship game is scheduled for Saturday, November 17. The Peoria Javelinas, who won five more games than anyone else in the desert, face off against the Salt River Rafters for all the glory of the prestigious MiLB prospect all-star league.
Let’s breakdown the AFL championship.
Peoria is loaded with some of the top performers from this year’s rendition from Arizona. The Javelinas were built from prospects from the Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers, Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres, and Tampa Bay Rays. Between the Braves, Padres, and Rays, Peoria had three top systems on the MiLB farm.
Salt River has the fall’s host team’s prospects, built from the Arizona Diamondbacks, Washington Nationals, Colorado Rockies, Minnesota Twins, and Miami Marlins. They had no shortage of exciting prospects themselves.
Marlins, Padres provide starting pitching matchup
The Padres Miguel Diaz is listed as the probable starter for Peoria. Diaz was signed out of the Dominican Republic before the start of the 2012 DSL season. He didn’t make his full-season debut until the 2016 season, but was in the Padres bullpen by 2017. The 23-year-old has spent his career split between the bullpen and rotation, but has been working out of the rotation solely in the AFL. He allowed just one run in each of his first three starts before getting lit up for 11 runs in his next two. Coming off three innings of one-hit shutout ball, Diaz is a mixed bag.
Jordan Yamamoto is listed as the starter for Salt River. The 22-year-old former 12th-rounder in the 2014 MLB Draft had a big 2018 jumping from the Florida State League to Double-A after coming over in the Christian Yelich deal. He went 6-1 overall with a combined 1.83 ERA and 0.83 WHIP, limiting opposing hitters to just a .177 batting average against. Yamamoto is a guy who gets by with his breaking stuff, known for a high-80s, low-90s fastball, but he’s clearly making strides in the right direction of leaning how to pitch.
MiLB top prospects on display
Peoria had 21 wins for a reason. They are loaded with top talent. Here’s a look at just a few:
- Austin Allen (Padres)
- Lucius Fox (Rays)
- Keston Hiura (Brewers)
- Kyle Muller (Braves)
- Cristian Pache (Braves)
- Buddy Reed (Padres)
- Evan White (Mariners)
While Hiura is a prime candidate for the AFL MVP Award with a .323 average and five home runs, it was the Braves Braxton Davidson that was tied atop the home run leaderboard with six homers. One of the more mind-boggling prospects in the Braves system, Davidson continued to perplex prospect pundits, ending October with consecutive two-home run games and then recording just four hits the rest of the way while striking out 10 times in 26 at bats.
Who’s on the other side?
- Jazz Chisholm (Diamondbacks)
- Jon Duplantier (Diamondbacks)
- Monte Harrison (Marlins)
- Carter Keiboom (Nationals)
- Tyler Nevin (Rockies)
- Pavin Smith (Diamondbacks)
Chishom really stood out in his brief chances with the Rafters posting a 1.257 OPS in 10 games. Sam Hilliard and Josh Fuentes also had solid falls and are worth keeping tabs on as the Rockies look to stay in contention with some nice youth on the pipeline, as are own Asher Feltman discussed last week.
So, with plenty to watch in the season finale, sit back and enjoy some of the last live ball of the 2018 calendar year.