Arizona Fall League Breakdown: Salt River Rafters

Tentative rosters for the Arizona Fall League were released on Aug. 29. The fall developmental league is designed to help prospects received extra seasoning and coaching at the conclusion of the minor league season. Each organization contributes players to the six-team league. The league typically shifts in favor of the hitters because teams are generally reluctant to assign top arms to the league – unless they’re attempting to make up for lost innings due to injuries.

We’ve already broken down five AFL clubs:
Mesa Solar Sox
Peoria Javelinas
Phoenix Desert Dogs
Scottsdale Scorpions.
Surprise Saguaros

The Salt River Rafters club consists of players from five organizations – Toronto, Arizona, Washington, Colorado, and Chicago (AL). Below are some interesting names set to appear on the roster. Full rosters can be found here.

Sam Dyson, RHP, Toronto: Dyson reached the majors in his first healthy pro season, appearing in two games with the Jays. He spent the majority of the year in double-A and was almost unhittable prior to his promotion. After getting sent back down, though, he struggled. Dyson will look to iron out his command in the AFL and has the ceiling of a middle reliever – or possibly an eighth inning guy. Because he puts a ton of balls in play on the ground, he will always be at the mercy of the infield defense behind him,

Evan Marshall, RHP, Arizona: A former fourth round draft pick, Marshall reached double-A in his first full pro season and his numbers look OK on first blush. Unfortunately, he allows too many hits and doesn’t strike out many guys. His control is ahead of his command and he possesses a low-90s fastball and a promising slider. Arizona will try and get a better handle on his future potential with some additional fall work.

Deck McGuire, RHP, Toronto: The 11th overall pick of the 2010 draft out of Georgia Tech, McGuire signed for more than $2 million and his career has been a disappointment to this point. His stuff hasn’t been as crisp in pro ball as it was reported to be when he was in college. He’s also struggled with his command and overall approach with setting up hitters. McGuire looks like a very expensive future middle or long reliever – unless he starts to make some positive adjustments.

Santos Rodriguez, LHP, Chicago (AL): The hard-throwing Rodriguez has been hanging around the White Sox top prospects lists for a few years now thanks mostly to a very promising fastball from the left side. Unfortunately his secondary stuff is not as good and he’s struggled to command his pitches, leading to modest results from a guy who has looked down right dominant at times.

Matt Davidson, 3B, Arizona: Davidson, 21, continued to make good on his offensive potential in 2012 by smashing 23 homers in 135 games. Unfortunately, he swings and misses too much, which drags down his overall effectiveness. Davidson also struggles with the glove although he’s made significant strides at the hot corner – enough so that the club may have abandoned thoughts of moving him permanently to first base.

Jason Martinson, IF, Washington: Martinson shows some interesting tools – including rare pop from a middle infielder – but his massive strikeout numbers are a huge red flag. He struck out 167 times in 136 A-ball games in 2012 but also slugged 22 homers. He’s a good base runner, too, with solid speed and nabbed 30 bags in 35 tries. Martinson, 23, probably won’t hit enough to be an everyday big leaguer but he could carve out a respectable career from the bench.

Matt Skole, 3B, Washington: Skole has some competition – in the form of big leaguer Ryan Zimmerman and prospect Anthony Rendon – if he hopes to eventually play third base in Washington. However, his career has gotten off on the right foot as he’s hit for both power and average during his first two pro seasons. Skole, 23, slugged 27 homers and walked 94 times in 101 low-A games. Moved up to high-A ball he still hit for average but hit .314 in 18 games. He strikes out too much to keep hitting in the .290-.300 range but his combination of power and patience makes him an interesting player to watch.

Corey Dickerson, OF, Colorado: Dickerson shows a promising left-handed bat and performed well both in high-A and double-A this past season. He’s shown impressive power while also maintaining a good batting average and respectable on-base numbers. He’ll have to keep hitting because his defense is fringe average in left field. Dickerson could end up being a great value as a former eighth round draft pick, even if he merely becomes a platoon outfielder.

Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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Chantal Goya
10 years ago

River Rafters
River Rafters
Beat you, Eat you
Up for afters!

Look upon them, O Javelinas, and tremble.