A preseason AFL Prospects to Watch Team
Up on MLBPipeline.com now are Jiim Callis’ and my take on which player and pitcher we’re most excited to see perform in the Arizona Fall League this year. I chose Tim Anderson and C.J. Edwards. Jim went with Byron Buxton and Francellis Montas.
Obviously, we both are eager to see more than just those two selections we each made. Jim had the idea to post a team worth of “Prospects to Watch.” You can read his squad on Callis’ Corner. My choices (and I’m purposefully not taking the guys that I picked in the above story):
C: Peter O’Brien, D-backs— Honestly, I don’t want to watch O’Brien catch, though I’m curious if he can play there. He only got four games in with the D-backs after the trade with the Yankees (Martin Prado), and he did catch three of them, so clearly Arizona wants to see if he can stick there. But his real tool is his power, with 34 homers in total in 2014. His approach at the plate needs work, but the power in the hitting-friendly AFL should be fun.
1B: Josh Bell, Pirates — Until now, Bell has been a switch-hitting outfielder, but he started taking grounders at first when he got promoted to Double-A this year. The outfield is crowded in Pittsburgh, obviously, so a move to first might make sense. He hit .325 in 2014 and the power is just starting to come.
2B: L.J. Mazzilli, Mets — OK, some of this is because he’s Lee’s kid, but the UConn standout had a heckuva first full season,k hitting .301 with double-digits in homers and steals. He’s already 24, so he needs to get going, but a strong AFL could continue to show the Mets they have more on their hands than many anticipated.
3B: Hunter Dozier, Royals — No joke here, I promise (You can read the history on this blog post). Dozier performed well in the Carolina Leauge, struggled after his promotion to Double-A. I want to see how he adjusts in the AFL. Aside from spreading money around in the Draft, they really liked Dozier’s bat. D.J. Peterson, Patrick Kivlehan were other possibilities.
SS: Francisco Lindor, Indians — I just don’t get tired of watching him play, especially in the field. I just like the way he carries himself and I’m looking forward to seeing him beyond the Futures Game appearances he’s made. Many good choices here, including Corey Seager and Trea Turner, to name just a few.
OF: Byron Buxton, Twins — As much as I chided Jim about him being an obvious choice, I am eager to see the No. 1 prospect healthy and playing well in the AFL. He was in Arizona last year, but was a bit out of gas.
OF: Dalton Pompey, Blue Jays — He started the year in the Florida State League and ended it in the big leagues. Quite a ride. I love watching guys with speed, and Pompey stole 43 bases in the Minors this past year.
OF: Jesse Winker, Reds — The guy can just hit. As much fun as it was to watch the big power guys in the Futures Game, Winker’s BP was as impressive. He could be a how-to video for young hitters. Oh, and there’s plenty of power there.
RHP: Tyler Glasnow, Pirates — Honestly, I almost made him my choice in the Perspectives piece. We’ve all seen the video game numbers. Now it’s time to see how his electric stuff plays against more advanced hitters.
LHP: Felipe Rivero, Nationals — The Nats got him from the Rays in the Nate Karns deal and then he spent three months on the DL. The former Futures Gamer has teased with his abilities, but hasn’t put it together. This could be a good springboard for him.