The 2019 Arizona Fall League rosters were (mostly) announced today, and we’ve created a tab on THE BOARD where you can see all the prospects headed for extra reps in the desert. These are not comprehensive Fall League rosters — you can find those on the AFL team pages — but a compilation of names of players who are already on team pages on THE BOARD. The default view of the page has players hard-ranked through the 40+ FV tier. The 40s and below are then ordered by position, with pitchers in each tier listed from most likely to least likely to start. In the 40 FV tier, everyone south of Alex Lange is already a reliever.
Many participating players, especially pitchers, have yet to be announced. As applicable prospects are added to rosters in the coming weeks, I’ll add them to the Fall League tab and tweet an update from the FanGraphs Prospects Twitter account. Additionally, this tab will be live throughout the Fall League and subject to changes (new tool grades, updated scouting reports, new video, etc.) that will be relevant for this offseason’s team prospect lists. We plan on shutting down player/list updates around the time minor league playoffs are complete (which is very soon) until we begin to publish 2020 team-by-team prospect lists, but the Fall League tab will be an exception. If a player currently on the list looks appreciably different to me in the AFL, I’ll update their scouting record on that tab, and I may add players I think we’re light on as I see them. Again, updates will be posted on the FanGraphs Prospects Twitter account, and I’ll also compile those changes in a weekly rundown similar to those we ran on Fridays during the summer.
Anything you’d want to know about individual players in this year’s crop of Fall Leaguers can probably be found over on THE BOARD right now. Below are some roster highlights as well as my thoughts on who might fill out the roster ranks.
Glendale Desert Dogs
The White Sox have an unannounced outfield spot on the roster that I think may eventually be used on OF Micker Adolfo, who played rehab games in Arizona late in the summer. He’s on his way back from multiple elbow surgeries. Rehabbing double Achilles rupturee Jake Burger is age-appropriate for the Fall League, but GM Rick Hahn mentioned in July that Burger might go to instructs instead. Sox instructs runs from September 21 to October 5, so perhaps he’ll be a mid-AFL add if that goes well and they want to get him more at-bats, even just as a DH. Non-BOARD prospects to watch on this roster include Reds righties Diomar Lopez (potential reliever, up to 95) and Jordan Johnson, who briefly looked like a No. 4 or 5 starter type during his tenure with San Francisco, but has been hurt a lot since, as have Brewers lefties Nathan Kirby (Thoracic Outlet Syndrome) and Quintin Torres-Costa (Tommy John). Dodgers righty Marshall Kasowski has long posted strong strikeout rates, but the eyeball scouts think he’s on the 40-man fringe.
Mesa Solar Sox
Oakland and Cleveland have two open pitcher spots apiece on this roster. Both Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk would be significant late additions should Oakland fall out of the Wild Card picture in the next three weeks and suddenly have development-only incentives with those two. Any of Daulton Jefferies, Grant Holmes, or James Kaprielian, who have each thrown between 60 and 80 innings this season, would make sense. For Cleveland, righty Triston McKenzie hasn’t thrown all year and we don’t even really know why, but he’d be a logical name for inclusion if healthy.
The Padres have several unannounced pitcher roster spots open and I think one of them is likely to go to converted shortstop Javier Guerra. Lefty Adrian Morejon and righty Michel Baez are also short on 2019 innings due to injury. Both Cubans have thrown about 40 frames this year. The sleeper potential riser on this roster is Pirates pitcher Blake Cederlind, who can touch 100 with his fastball.
Salt River Rafters
This pitching staff has several guys who have big helium. Rays righty Drew Strotman looked like he was turning a corner before he blew out in 2018 and needed TJ. Nick Neidert was a top 100 candidate last offseason but has been hurt most of this year. Dakota Chalmers flashed three plus pitches with Oakland before his career was derailed by injuries and burnout. He was 94-97 over his first few starts with Fort Myers this year and might be the story of this year’s league if his amateur/early pro stuff is back.
Toronto has several open pitcher spots on the roster. 6-foot-7 righty T.J. Zeuch, who has only thrown 73 innings this year, is a good speculative bet to join. The rest will probably Rule 5 candidates, like Jose Espada and Juan De Paula (who are eligible this winter) or Dany Jimenez and Jackson McClelland, who were passed over last year but throw hard.
We’ll get to see soft-tossing Orioles lefty Alex Wells, who had a sub-3 ERA at Double-A this year but is not on THE BOARD, have his stuff texted in a bat-friendly environment. I’m hoping Texas uses their currently vacant infield slot on 2019 draftee 3B Davis Wendzel, who only played four regular season minor league games this summer. He’s fanned the flames of an already boisterous AZL Rangers team currently in the playoffs. From a strength, speed, and explosiveness standpoint, he looks ready to compete in an advanced league and he theoretically has reps to make up.
Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.