Tentative rosters for the Arizona Fall League were released on Aug. 29. The fall developmental league is designed to help prospects received extra seasoning and coaching at the conclusion of the minor league season. Each organization contributes players to the six-team league. The league typically shifts in favor of the hitters because teams are generally reluctant to assign top arms to the league – unless they’re attempting to make up for lost innings due to injuries.
The Scottsdale Scorpions club consists of players from five organizations – Los Angeles (AL), Cleveland, Pittsburgh, New York (AL), and San Francisco. Below are some interesting names set to appear on the roster. Full rosters can be found here.
Ryan Chaffee, RHP, Los Angeles: A third round draft pick from 2008 (the club’s second choice after losing its first rounder), Chaffee struggled through his first three pro seasons thanks to poor command and control. A move to the ‘pen in 2012 may have saved his career. His control is still below average but the shorter appearances help him compensate for his shortcomings. Chaffee, 24, comes at hitters with solid stuff and different looks. He’s eligible for the Rule 5 draft this winter so a strong AFL could force the organization to protect him.
T.J. House, LHP, Cleveland: Cleveland’s international scouting efforts have loaded the system with a ton of talent recently but the club has some interesting names found through the North American efforts, as well. House, 22, doesn’t have a huge ceiling but he could develop into a solid third or fourth starter. The southpaw isn’t overpowering but he gets a solid number of ground-ball outs and has made some strides with his control.
Alex Monsalve, C, Cleveland: I highlighted Monsalve as a 2012 sleeper during my pre-season Top 15 lists but he had an up-and-down year. He started out in high-A ball and produced slightly-above-average offensive numbers and improved his receiving behind the plate but struggled to throw out runners on a consistent basis. Moved up to double-A at the age of just 20, Monsalve struggled with the bat and saw his wRC+ drop to 61. He’ll likely repeat double-A in 2013 but he has youth on his side.
Austin Romine, C, New York: Romine appeared in just 31 games in 2012 thanks to a back injury that he just couldn’t shake. Those types of injuries have a tendency to never truly go away and the catching position is obviously quite demanding so it will be interesting to see if Romine can shoulder a full-time role going forward. He’ll head to the AFL to catch up on lost development time. Romine, 23, could be ready for a part-time role in New York as early as mid-2013.
David Adams, 2B, New York: Adams appeared in just 68 games between 2010 and ’11 thanks to ankle issues. He managed to stay relatively healthy in 2012 and appeared in 86 games. Because of the ongoing durability issues, Adams may be best suited to a bench or platoon role at the big league level. The right-handed batter posted a .956 OPS against southpaws this year, compared to just .781 versus right-handers. He’ll head to the AFL looking to catch up on the missing at-bats, and try to prove that he’s not a part-time player.
Joe Panik, IF, San Francisco: The 29th overall pick of the 2011 amateur draft, Panik’s selection was met with modest enthusiasm by most draft analysts because of his high floor/low ceiling projection. The left-handed batter has done nothing but hit since turning pro, including a .297 batting average at high-A in 2012, but he’s played at two offensive-minded levels. He has yet to play anywhere on the field outside of shortstop but he’s likely a second baseman at the big league level due to modest range and average arm strength. He could reach the Majors by the end of 2013.
Ronny Rodriguez, IF, Cleveland: Cleveland is about to be hit by a huge wave of underrated Latin talent and Rodriguez is at the forefront. He’s been pushed quite aggressively by the organization and spent all of 2012 in double-A – just his second season in North America. He played all of 2011 in low-A ball and skipped over high-A entirely. He has surprising pop – and managed 19 homers in 2012 – but his over-aggressive nature gets the best of him and he walked just 19 times in 126 ball games. Rodriguez, 20, will look to become a more consistent fielder (He’s seem time at second and shortstop) with some extra reps in the AFL but the organization may also want to slow down his timetable a bit.
Randal Grichuk, OF, Los Angeles: The potent California League is probably the best thing that could have happen to Grichuk. The Los Angeles Angels organization had back-to-back selections in the 2009 amateur draft (24th and 25th overall) and used those picks to nab two high schoolers: Grichuk, first, and then Mike Trout, who just might end up being both the AL Rookie of the Year and the Most Valuable Player. Injuries and inconsistencies have hindered the former to this point but he posted an .823 OPS in 2012 and will look to show it was not a fluke and to use the AFL as a springboard to double-A in 2013.
Adalberto Santos, OF, Pittsburgh: Santos, 24, has been on my radar since his amateur days when he was selected out of a New Mexico junior college by the Toronto Blue Jays. He actually agreed to a contract with the organization but it was voided after he failed his physical. Santos then spent two seasons at Oregon State University and signed with the Pirates as a 22nd round draft pick in 2010. He doesn’t have a huge ceiling but he’s versatile, speedy and understands his strengths as a player. Santos could be an exciting part-time player for the Pirates. He could reach the Majors in 2013 after hitting .340 in 68 double-A games this season.