Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League
One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
Each fall, every organization sends a group of prospects to the MLB spring training sites in the Valley to get extra work and further their development.
The Glendale Desert Dogs, Mesa Solar Sox, Peoria Javelinas, Salt River Rafters, Scottsdale Scorpions and Surprise Saguaros will compete around a fall schedule that includes a Chase Field triple-header (Oct. 15), a home run derby (Nov. 5), a Fall Stars Game (Nov. 6), a play-in semifinal (Nov. 11) and a championship game (Nov. 12).
Fans interested can purchase tickets to any game, the above special events or a season pass by visiting the Arizona Fall League ticket page.
Which players alone might be worth the price of admission? Among the prospects attending are 16 of MLB Pipeline’s top 100, loading the six AFL rosters with potential future MLB stars.
Here is a snapshot of the top 10 prospects taking part in this season’s Arizona Fall League, their MLB club, their top 100 ranking and which AFL squad they’ll represent.
10. SS Masyn Winn – St. Louis Cardinals (No. 54) – Salt River
Winn might be the lowest-ranked prospect in this top 10, but he comes with a lot of excitement.
The 20-year-old shortstop hit .283 with 56 extra-base hits, 63 runs batted in and 43 stolen bases. However, his biggest headline this season was a 100.5 throw he made from shortstop during the Futures Game.
Not only is a throw that hard impressive, but it also was a strike to the first baseman’s chest. For fans who get excited by flashy, jaw-dropping plays, Winn is one to keep an eye on.
9. OF Brennen Davis – Chicago Cubs (No. 51) – Mesa
Davis’ development has been stunted by injuries. However, his production through 2021 was eye-popping and worth putting him near the top-50 prospects in the pipeline.
The 2022 season should be thrown out the window for Davis, as injuries limited him to just 53 games where he hit just .180 with five homers.
However, he has plus-power and a swing that produces loud contact. If he can find his swing after an injury-riddled season, he will be one of the most exciting prospects to watch this fall.
8. RHP Quinn Priester – Pittsburgh Pirates (No. 47) – Surprise
The 22-year-old right-hander posted a 3.29 ERA and 89 strikeouts in 90.1 innings pitched this season between four levels.
He has at least a 50-grade (on a 20-80 scale) on his fastball (60), curveball (60), slider (50) and changeup (50). Also, he has a 50-grade for his control.
This past season’s numbers look worse because he had two rough outings in his final three starts. Through his first 16 starts, the right-hander went 4-3 with a 2.56 ERA.
7. OF Jasson Dominguez – New York Yankees (No. 42) – Mesa
The Yankees are very high on the 19-year-old, switch-hitting outfielder.
While his debut season in 2021 saw an adjustment period for the youngster, 2022 was nothing short of impressive.
In 120 games, Dominguez hit .273 with 16 home runs and 37 stolen bases. The Dominican-born outfielder is one of the most highly-touted international prospects of all-time, drawing comparisons to Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle, as well as future Hall of Famer Mike Trout.
6. OF Zac Veen – Colorado Rockies (No. 24) – Salt River
Veen has one of the prettiest swings you’ll see in the Arizona Fall League.
Veen hit 12 homers, adding 26 doubles, three triples and 67 RBIs this past season. He also managed to rack up 55 stolen bases in 64 attempts.
His scouting report on MLB.com says he’s barely scratched the surface of his offensive potential, with the major area of focus being on consistency with his legs. Should he find consistency in his legs, he should get back to driving the ball like he did in 2021.
5. OF Robert Hassell III – Washington Nationals (No. 23) – Peoria
Hassell headlined the return for the Washington Nationals when they traded Juan Soto to the San Diego Padres.
At the time of the trade, the outfielder had a .299/.379/.467 slash line with 20 stolen bases and 30 extra-base hits. The eighth overall pick in 2020 struggled after the trade but still tracks as one of the best young outfielders in the pipeline.
He’s also done a lot to shed the doubts he can stick in center field, as his flyball reads and arm strength are very passable out there.
4. C Henry Davis – Pittsburgh Pirates (No. 20) – Surprise
Davis went first overall in 2021 and projects to be a star if he can stick as a catcher long term.
The 23-year-old backstop slashed .264/.380/.472 with 10 homers in 59 games in 2022. He has a 75-grade arm (on the 20-80 scale) and 70-grade raw power.
3. SS Noelvi Marte – Cincinatti Reds (No. 18) – Glendale
After three-and-a-half seasons in the Seattle Mariners organization, Marte headlined Cincinnati’s return for star right-handed pitcher Luis Castillo at the trade deadline.
In 30 games in High-A for the Reds, Marte popped with a .292 average and .397 OBP. His power took a slight dip in that 30-game stretch, but he struck out less, walked more and stole bases with more frequency.
There are doubts that Marte will stick at shortstop long term, but experts say his power-speed combination profiles well at third base and in center field.
2. SS Jordan Lawlar – Arizona Diamondbacks (No. 13) – Salt River
For Diamondbacks fans wanting to catch a glimpse of another youngster nearing the majors, Lawlar is MLB’s No. 2 prospect in the AFL.
Lawlar went sixth overall in 2021 and made his way to Double-A by the end of 2022.
In 100 games, and across four levels in 2022, the shortstop slashed .303/.401/.509 with 16 homers, 62 RBIs and 39 stolen bases. The numbers reflect how high analysts are on the 20-year-old, as he’s a 60-grade prospect and MLB.com compares him to Bobby Witt Jr.
1. 3B/OF Jordan Walker – St. Louis Cardinals (No. 6) – Salt River
Walker checks in as the top-rated prospect in the Arizona Fall League — and for good reason.
The Cardinals selected Walker with the 21st pick in the 2020 draft, and he’s done nothing but hit the cover off the ball since.
In 201 minor league games, the 20-year-old hit .310 with 33 home runs, 56 doubles, 36 stolen bases and 116 RBIs. His power is his most enticing trait, but his contact and base-stealing ability have persisted without losing any pop.
Thanks to Nolan Arenado, the third base position is locked down at the MLB level. However, they’ve started giving Walker reps in the outfield.
Buy tickets to the Arizona Fall League
See these rising stars in action by purchasing tickets here and visiting any of the six stadiums across the Valley for all the Arizona Fall League action.