2017 Arizona Fall League Preview For Fantasy

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Updated: August 30, 2017

 

Oct 10th The Arizona Fall League begins! Last year we saw some big time prospects on the cusp of the majors, as well some who have taken the league by storm! Cody Bellinger, Eloy Jimenez, Michael Kopech, Gleyber Torres, Yoan Moncada, Brent Honeywell and more! This year looks to be as stacked at the top end as last year! Oct 8th and 9th are the first practices for the 6 Arizona Fall League teams (with each AZFL team being made of up of players from 5 different teams), with it all starting Oct 10th. Below I am going to talk about some of the top prospects in the Arizona Fall League, as well as some deep options you should be watching!

Making it easier for you though, is my Prospect Podcast, Prospect One! I will be out at a practice or two on Oct 8th. Then Oct 10th I tentatively plan to be out to see Glendale vs Peoria, which will then be followed up by a week of coverage Oct 16th – Oct 20th. Don’t miss any of the Podcasts, so make sure you subscribe today on iTunes HERE. We’re also on Soundcloud, TuneIn, Stitcher and any podcast app out there.

 

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Ronald Acuna – OF – Atlanta Braves

Ronald Acuna is the fire emoji version of prospects. In what is an incredible feat to my eyes, Acuna has only improved at each level he has advanced in 2017. Usually you might see some decline, but he has hit .20 points or higher than the next level. Speaking of which, he started at Advanced A and will finish the season at AAA. Acuna will be the talk of the town in the Arizona Fall League. He will be to this year what Eloy Jimenez was in 2016 for the fall league. Acuna will finish the 2017 season as a top 3 overall prospect for Fantasy with my Prospect One ranks. He will finish as one of only two players with 20+ homeruns and 40+ stolen bases (the other is Jose Siri. Fernando Tatis Jr with an outside chance to do it). Ronald Acuna looks to be a star, and even if he isn’t number 1 in fantasy as far as prospects go, he is single handedly the most valuable asset. Regardless of rank, he is not someone I would look to trade away unless it’s a kings ransom. I am very excited to get to scout King Acuna!

Prospect One Rating: Top 3

 

Victor Robles – OF – Washington Nationals

Victor shows up as a top 5 fantasy prospect in my rankings. I had Brent Hershey from BaseballHQ on Episode 31 of Prospect One where we talked about Victor at length. One comp I came up with, that Brent and I went with was Byron Buxton. There is much less swing and miss to Victor’s game though. He’s managed to stay in the .300 range for average, while stealing over 20, but the power is low (10 homeruns as this is being written). Will Robles figure it all out early in his career, or see similar Buxton struggles. Buxton is starting to show his power, but that is a question mark with Robles. Speed is not in question though, for either. Power is the last tool to develop they tell us, so between the good average, speed, OBP and ability to field his position to stay on the field, Victor is one of the few top prospects who’s “buzz” has simmered a little bit, and may be able to be had at a deal.

Prospect One Rating: Top 5

 

Kyle Tucker – OF – Houston Astros

This is my 3rd top to fantasy prospect to make the Arizona Fall League, which re-states the point, that the top end talent this year is as good as it was last year. Tucker is a straight hitter. That isn’t the only tool though, as he’s stolen over 20 bases as of Aug 29th. What’s really interesting to me, is that Robles and Tucker are on the same team, because one move that I may make in this off-season is putting Tucker a head of Robles. Tucker is an OBP, middle of the order 5 tool player. The Average is a concern as it’s dipped, but he’s also shown the ability to adjust to the league he’s in. I don’t know if he’ll be a .280 hitter in the majors, but this will be a big test, and he’ll be teammates with Robles.

Prospect One Rating: Top 8

 

Francisco Mejia – C/3B – Cleveland Indians

One of the more confusing moments of the Arizona Fall League roster announcements was surrounded by Francisco Mejia, as stated by FanRags Bernie Pleskoff

So Mejia the catcher, looks to be Mejia the 3B as well! Now I will tell you, from a fantasy perspective, one of the plus points is him having catcher eligibility. He is a high average guy. Mejia is the guy who had a 50 game hit streak in 2016. The problem is he isn’t exactly a big counting stats guy. His career homeruns season is this year at 14 (Aug 29th) and is under double digit stolen bases. Those numbers won’t fly as a 3B, OF or 1B, but he’d be an interesting play at 2B. He is on the smaller size, listed as 5’10 180, so I will be on the lookout for how much he moves around. He might be the biggest rank rise or fall post AZFL.

Prospect One Rating: Top 25

 

Kyle Lewis – OF – Seattle Mariners and Corey Ray – OF – Milwaukee Brewers

I Paired these two guys together, because they seemed to be quick risers from the 2016 draft. They also were popular picks amongst rankers as guys they’d want over the high school bats in 2016, Corey Ray especially. Kyle Lewis was set back due to injury in 2016. He started 2017 out in the AZL, and then onto Modesto A ball. His numbers don’t look sexy, but I believe there is a lot to come for Kyle Lewis.

Prospect One Rating: Top 30

Corey Ray did a lot of what you would hope in a full season, outside of hit for a good average, well and strikeout. He showed some power, but less than hoped, but stole plenty of bases. This will be a shot for him to refine a little bit, going into next year where we could be a september call up in 2018.

Prospect One Rating: Top 40

 


 

There are quite a few more top fantasy prospects that might not be seen as BIG prospects coming out the the AZFL.

 

Michael Chavis – 3B – Red Sox: He’s had a career year that has been built around power. He doesn’t show in some top 100 lists, but he’s a head of Corey Ray for me.

Prospect One Rating: Top 50

 

Mitch Keller – SP – Pirates: Last year he jumped Tyler Glasnow as the top pitching prospect for the Pirates. He’s had a solid year with a just over 3 ERA, and though the Pirates love to slow roll prospects, this should help him to a mid 2018 call-up. Top 15 starting pitcher in fantasy for Prospect One.

Prospect One Rating: Top 15 SP

 

Estevan Florial – OF – Yankees: Some view Florial as a better prospect long term than Clint Frazier. He strikes out a bit much, and the AZFL could be big for him. He is a potential 20/20 guy in the future.

Prospect One Rating: Top 70

 

Worth Noting:

Luis Urias – 2B – Padres

Max Fried – SP – Braves

Tyler Jay – RP – Twins

Bobby Bradley – 1B – Indians

 


 

Let’s dig deeper though, for a few prospect who might burst out bigger in 2018

 

DJ Peters – OF – Los Angeles Dodgers

I have been a big believer in DJ for a while now. His biggest problem, like many power hitting prospect, are the strikeouts. He looks to top 200 strikeouts in 2017 (182 as I write this). Impressive though is the almost 50 walks and .275 average when you strikeout that much. He’s a beast though, 6’6 225 with 24 homers. He’s also the kid who took Madison Bumgarner deep twice in a rehab stint. I think DJ could vault himself up in 2018 similar to guys like Florial Sanchez and even Chavis.

Prospect One Rating: Top 130 

 

Yordan Alvarez – OF/1B – Houston Astros

Last year the Mesa Solar Sox had a power hitting OF who made lots of noise (Eloy) this year, they do it again, but from Houston. Alvarez has been a pleasant 2017 surprise. That power I spoke of has cooled, but he has maintained a .300+ average, and comes into the AZFL with the chance to further his prospect value.

Prospect One Rating: Top 150

 

Lourdes Gurriel – SS/UTL – Toronto Blue Jays

The signing of Lourdes came with a lot of hype, due to the bloodlines of the Gurriel family. In 2017 he didn’t meet those expectations. Seen by many as a utility player, Lourdes struggled in his first year in the states with pretty much every offensive category. Under .300 OBP, under .250 AVG and less than stellar counting stats. Lourdes though has a chance to take all he’s learned so far and shine similar to 2016 AZFL Outfielder and fellow Jay Anthony Alford. He is listed as a SS on the Arizona Fall League Roster which is interesting, so he’s a guy to keep an eye on

Prospect One Rating: Borderline Top 150

 

Lucas Erceg –  3B – Milwaukee Brewers

I almost put Jake Gatewood here, who I have an affinity for, but Lucas I think is super sneaky due to the bad year he had. I will say, based on his MLB.com picture, he might battle Ian Happ as the saddest looking person in the AZFL, but we’ll see in person. Erceg is hitting .70 points lower than in 2016 and only 5 more homers in double the AB’s from 2016. He started as a top 100 fantasy prospect for me, but fell out of it. This is a chance to right some of that ship.

Prospect One Rating: Top 150

 

Dillon Tate – SP – New York Yankees

Dillon Tate is actually one of only a few that are returning to the Fall League from 2016. Tate didn’t have a good 2016, Fall League or reputation locally in AZFL due to a fan getting quite a few autographs from him and selling them online. He wasn’t happy (or so was the word around the fall league).  Tate didn’t pitch in 2017 until mid June. The results have been pretty solid, with a sub 3 ERA. Most saw Tate as a middle reliever after 2016, but he’s revitalized the thought of him making it into the rotation.

Prospect One Rating: Top 130

 

Sandy Alcantara – SP – St. Louis Cardinals 

Alcantara came into 2017 as a guy who could possibly get a late call-up, but his season is a big reason he’s going out to the AZFL. ERA is up, Strikeouts are down, Homeruns are up, yet he still continues to throw high to mid 90’s and his offerings are there. Results are not. He is one of the better starting pitcher prospects going to the AZFL. He has the stuff to be a mid rotation arm, but a continued fall could lead to being a top 9th inning guy. He was top 100 coming into the season, but dropped out a few months ago. 2016’s AZFL best statistical pitcher was Austin Gomber with the Cards, maybe we’ll see a Cards repeat.

Prospect One Rating: Top 120

 

And there you go! This should get you primed and pumped for not only the 2017 Arizona Fall League, but also for anyone prospect hunting in 2018. We will see a lot of these guys become the next stars in MLB, as well as impact your fantasy teams for the future. If you enjoyed this content, consider checking out the ITL Army for my Top 450 Ranks, our Prospect GroupMe room and more! Also subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, and please consider giving a 5 star rating and review!

 

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