Arizona Fall League Week 6 and Season Recap

Heston Kjerstad, 2022 Arizona Fall League MVP. Photo credit Gail Verderico, @1baseball_gail on Twitter and @baseball_gail on Instagram

Arizona Fall League for 2023 is officially in the books and once again it did not disappoint. Each week we have picked the hitting and pitching prospects who, in our opinion, had the best week, while also presenting other names that are just as deserving of POTW honors. We hope you have enjoyed reading these every week and hope that have found some prospects to keep an eye on in your dynasty leagues. Let’s review week six and then take a look back at the season that was.

Week 6

HITTER: Jose Ramos, OF (Dodgers #9)
Glendale Desert Dogs (3 G, .455/.538/1.182/1.720, 5 H, 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 4 R, BB)

Honorable Mention:
Parker Meadows, OF (Tigers #16)
Salt River Rafters (3 G, .364/.384/1.000/1.364, 4 H, 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R)

PITCHER: Emmet Sheehan, RHP (Dodgers #47)
Glendale Desert Dogs (1 GS, 5 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 10 K)

AFL Playoffs

Semifinal Game
Glendale Desert Dogs 6, Peoria Javelinas 3
Noelvi Marte (GDD) 2-3, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, BB
Andy Pages (GDD) 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI, BB

Championship Game
Surprise Saguaros 7, Glendale Desert Dogs 6 (11 innings)
Andy Pages (GDD) 2-5, 2B, RBI, 2 R, SB
Nick Gonzales (SUR) 3-5, HR, RBI, 3R

AFL Season Recap

Glendale Desert Dogs (15-13, Runner-up)

Hitter of the Year:
Edouard Julien, 2B (Twins #16)
(21 G, .400/.563/.686/1.249, 28 H, 5 2B, 5 HR, 17 RBI, 24 R, 23 BB, 6 SB)
Led the league in batting average, on-base percentage, and runs and was named the Arizona Fall League Breakout Player of the Year.

Honorable Mention:
Austin Martin, SS (Twins #2)
(21 G, .373/.454/.482/.936, 31 H, 6 2B, HR, 11 RBI, 23 R, 8 BB, 10 SB)

Pitcher of the Year:
Emmet Sheehan, RHP (Dodgers #47)
(6 GS, 20.1 IP, 12 H, 8 R, 8 BB, 24 K, 3.54 ERA, 0.98 WHIP)

Under the Radar Performance to Know About:
Tyler Black, 2B/OF (Brewers #9)
(23 G, .278/.443/.361/.804, 20 H, 2B, 3B, HR, 15 RBI, 11 R, 22 BB, 2 SB)
Black missed the final two months of the minor-league season with a fractured left scapula. He was in the AFL to make up for lost at-bats, but a fractured left thumb cut that short as well. Injury aside, he hit well and continued to get work in out in centerfield. If he has a healthy 2023 minor league season he could be one to watch especially with his move to centerfield.

Mesa Solar Sox (13-15, 4th place)

Hitter of the Year:
Tyler Hardman, 1B/3B (Yankees #44)
(20 G, .325/.373/.662/1.035, 25 H, 6 2B, 3B, 6 HR, 15 RBI, 21 R, 6 BB, SB)
Tied for the league lead in home runs with teammate Matt Mervis.

Honorable Mention:
Ronny Simon, SS (Rays #18)
(21 G, .325/.402/.550/.952, 26 H, 4 2B, 4 HR, 24 RBI, 15 R, 10 BB, 3 SB)
Led the league in runs-batted-in.

Pitcher of the Year:
Evan Reifert, RHP (Rays NR)
(8 G, 11.2 IP, H, 0 R, 4 BB, 25 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.43 WHIP)
A 62.5% strikeout rate helped earn him Arizona Fall League Relief Pitcher of the Year.

Under the Radar Performance to Know About:
J.T. Ginn, RHP (Athletics #6)
(5 GS, 16 IP, 12 H, 4 R, 4 BB, 14 K, 2.25 ERA, 1.00 WHIP)
After another injury plagued minor league season that saw Ginn go 1-4 with a 5.10 ERA in 42.1 innings, it was good to see him on the mound and have success. Factor in that it happened in a hitting friendly environment against stiff competition and this should propel him into the offseason on a really solid foundation.

Peoria Javelinas (14-14, 3rd place)

Hitter of the Year:
Drew Millas, C (Nationals #25)
(15 G, .305/.333/.492/.852, 18 H, 5 2B, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 6 R, 3 BB, SB)

Honorable Mention:
Spencer Packard, OF (Mariners #32)
(14 G, .275/.464/.525/.989, 11 H, 4 2B, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 13 R, 12 BB)

Pitcher of the Year:
Hunter Stanley, RHP (Guardians NR)
(6 GS, 20.1 IP, 16 H, 10 R, 7 BB, 24 K, 4.43 ERA, 1.13 WHIP)

Under the Radar Performance to Know About:
Bryan Woo, RHP (Mariners #36)
(5 GS, 10.2 IP, 5 H, R, 4 BB, 16 K, 3.54 ERA, 0.98 WHIP)
After returning from Tommy John surgery rehabilitation in June, Woo was sent to the AFL for more innings against high level hitters. Woo showed a smooth delivery and his riding fastball hit the high-90’s without much effort, and his slider/cutter combo continued to show progress. Sure it was a small sample size but the Mariners have to be pleased with the results.

Salt River Rafters (12-18, 6th place)

Hitter of the Year:
Zac Veen, OF (Rockies #2)
(21 G, .333/.444/.444/.888, 27 H, 6 2B, HR, 10 RBI, 15 R, 15 BB, 16 SB)
Arizona Fall League Offensive Player of the Year

Honorable Mention:
Jordan Walker, OF (Cardinals #1)
(21 G, .286/.367/.558/.925, 22 H, 6 2B, 5 HR, 16 RBI, 17 R, 10 BB, 3 SB)

Pitcher of the Year:
Connor Thomas, LHP (Cardinals #22)
(6 GS, 25.2 IP, 22 H, 5 ER, 5 BB, 34 K, 1.75 ERA, 1.05 WHIP)
Led the AFL in strikeouts and was named Arizona Fall League Pitcher of the Year.

Under the Radar Performance to Know About:
Joey Wentz, LHP (Tigers #13)
(3 GS, 12 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 14 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.50 WHIP)
Calling this “under the radar’ isn’t exactly fair. After all, he did win our AFL POTW in week one and then followed that up with consecutive honorable mentions in weeks two and three. Since he did not pitch again after week three his utter dominance of the AFL might be forgotten. We are here to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Scottsdale Scorpions (13-16, 5th place)

Hitter of the Year:
Heston Kjerstad, OF (Orioles #8)
(22 G, .357/.385/.622/1.007, 35 H, 9 2B, 3B, 5 HR, 17 RBI, 13 R, 5 BB)
Led the league in hits and doubles and was named Arizona Fall League Most Valuable Player.

Honorable Mention:
Nick Yorke, 2B (Red Sox #3)
(19 G, .342/.424/.526/.950, 26 H, 8 2B, 2 HR, 18 RBI, 18 R, 12 BB, SB)

Pitcher of the Year:
Thad Ward RHP (Red Sox #25)
(4 G/3 GS, 12.2 IP, 11 H, 4 R, 6 BB, 15 K, 2.84 ERA, 1.34 WHIP)

Under the Radar Performances to Know About:
Cal Conley, SS (Braves #25)
(23 G, .267/.376/.465/.841, 23 H, 5 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 17 RBI, 11 R, 13 BB, 9 SB)
Stephen Scott C (Red Sox #50)
(15 G, .298/.394/.614/1.008, 26 H, 2B, 3B, 5 HR, 16 RBI, 15 R, 9 BB, SB)
This Scottsdale team hit the ball so well that it is hard to understand their record, until you look at their pitching numbers. The way these two raked in the AFL, they might have changed their prospect status. Conley was attempting to stake his claim as one of the top middle infield options in the Atlanta organization and Scott forced the Red Sox to make a tough decision on his Rule 5 status.

Surprise Saguaros (19-10, Champions)

Hitter of the Year:
Will Wagner, 3B (Astros NR)
(14 G, .346/.433/.712/1.145, 18 H, 6 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 15 RBI, 10 R, 7 BB, SB)
Led the league in slugging percentage.

Honorable Mention:
Nick Gonzales, 2B (Pirates #3)
(18 G, .279/.351/.500/.851, 19 H, 4 2B, 3B, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 10 R, 7 BB, SB)

Pitcher of the Year:
Francisco Morales, RHP (Phillies #7)
(9 G, 10.2 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 7 BB, 17 K, 0.00 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 1 W, 2 SV)

Under the Radar Performance to Know About:
Scott Schreiber, 1B/OF (Astros NR)
(14 G, .340/.404/.540/.944, 17 H, 3 2B, 2 3B, HR, 12 RBI, 10 R, 5 BB, SB)
A week after the Astros win the World Series, Schreiber drove in the winning run in the eleventh inning to win the AFL championship for the Saguaros. Pretty good year for the Astros organization one would say. Schreiber missed most of his fourth minor league season following back surgery and the AFL was his last chance to leave an impression on the organization before they had to make a decision on his Rule 5 status. What an impression it was.

Jeremy covers the St Louis organization and contributes on Prospects of the Week for Prospects1500. Born and raised in the Midwest, he is a lifelong fan of the Birds on the Bat. You can follow him on Twitter @JMahyfam for more baseball content.

"Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too." -Yogi Berra

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