It's about that time again when the minor league season is beginning to wind down, except for the playoffs, and the Arizona Fall League begins to ramp up. The Arizona Fall League is the typical late season showcase where teams will send their top prospects. If you remember from last year, Jesse Winker played for the AFL Peoria Javelinas and completely dominated the league. His performance helped quell fears from his wrist injury and vaulted him up the prospect leader boards.
Just a note to be made about the Arizona Fall League. Often times the league is dominated by top hitting prospects, but not necessarily top pitching prospects. Usually, teams are controlling innings on young arms at this point in time, but in some instances you'll see a pitcher who is pitching there to showcase himself Think of Raisel Iglesias pitching in the AFL in 2014, and Michael Lorenzen pitching in the AFL in 2013. Many times the arms will have a lot of promise, but are clearly working in some issues or getting innings.
Here is the list of players being sent to the Land of Strip Malls.
- RHP Stephen Johnson from Double-A Pensacola - Johnson was the young man who was traded for Marlon Byrd. He throws very hard and has no problem striking out batters from the bullpen. One of his issues has been control.
- RHP Layne Somsen from Triple-A Louisville - He's pitched primarily out of the bullpen in his career. The former 22nd rounder did make it to AAA this year, but needs to work on his control and strikeout pitch.
- RHP Nick Travieso from Advanced Class A Daytona - Everyone knows Naughty Nick. He was the 14th Overall pick in the 2012 draft. While a project pick at the time, Travieso has risen up the ranks to A+ this season and is pitching well. He missed some time due to injury and still has some innings left to pitch.
- RHP Zack Weiss from Pensacola - Weiss was drafted in the 6th round of the 2013 draft and has pitching exclusively as a reliever in his career. He's a very exciting prospect and has been putting up Chapmanesque numbers in the minors. He finished his season at AA Pensacola.
- SS Alex Blandino from Daytona - The Great Blandino was 1st Round Compensation Pick in 2014. Blandino has played much of the year at shortstop in A+ Daytona and AA Pensacola. He's put up very good plate discipline numbers this year, though his AA numbers were not near as good as his A+ numbers.
- OF Phillip Ervin from Daytona/Pensacola - Sir Phlervin was the first round pick of the 2013 draft out of Samford University. He had a very up and down last couple years, but he ended 2015 in AA Pensacola. He's a high tool player and will be looking to make a splash in the AFL.
- C Chad Wallach from Daytona - The youngest of the Wallach baseball dynasty, Chad was one of the players received in the Mat Latos trade. If you remember, Anthony DeSclafani also came over in that trade. Wallach is a highly seasoned prospect, and put up a .331 OBP in A+ ball. I thought he'd see some time in AA this year, the Reds brass thought differently.