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Jim Furtado
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Monday, November 21, 2022

Ten Arizona Fall League prospects scouts liked most, plus 5 who left mixed impressions The Athletic

The weather has begun to cool, families will soon gather over turkey and stuffing and the latest season of the Arizona Fall League is in the books. For six weeks, some of the game’s best prospects exhibited their talent in front of a smattering of fans. But now those players have scattered back to the four corners of the country and to points beyond.

So, too, have the scouts. Sixty percent of fall league attendance is made up of evaluators — this is only a slight exaggeration — but before these scouts tied a bow on their final reports, several of them spoke to The Athletic. Here, the result of conversations with several scouts with several big-league organizations, is a rundown of the top 10 they liked … as well as five on whom they couldn’t agree.

The 10 prospects who most impressed

1. Jackson Merrill, SS, Padres

There used to be competition for the title of Best Padres Prospect, but the mass exodus to Washington in the Juan Soto trade leaves Merrill more or less alone. Good thing for the Padres that he’s one of the best prospects in the game. Though his fall numbers weren’t stunning — a .261/.316/.352 line in 22 games — no player generated as many positive reviews from scouts as the No. 27 pick in the 2021 draft. “Most scouts are salivating over him,” one scout said, “and even the low guys think he’s good.”

In their first extended look at Merrill, who was limited to only 45 games at Low A this year due to a wrist injury, evaluators saw a player with a projectable body and a feel to hit. Only 19, Merrill stands at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, carrying himself more like a 22-year-old than a teenager. He’ll fill out more, but not in a way that leads scouts to think he’ll have to move off shortstop. At the plate, the left-handed hitter shows signs of good plate discipline, as well as the ability to spray the ball over the field. The power, they think, will come.

It hasn’t yet, and no one’s predicting home run titles for Merrill in the first place. He’ll have to get the ball off the ground more often — Merrill had a 59-percent groundball rate at Low A — but could wind up hitting 15 to 20 homers a year. Put the whole package together, another scout said, and Merrill’s “got a chance to be really, really good.”

jimfurtado Posted: November 21, 2022 at 07:55 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: afl, pay site, prospects reports

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

2022 All-Arizona Fall League Team

A few players who weren’t on Top 30 lists made the team. Are they players who have taken a real step or are they just guys who got hot at the right time?

C: Stephen Scott, Scottsdale (unranked among BOS Top 30)
The 2019 10th-rounder out of Vanderbilt made the full-time move back to catcher this season, so you might have expected there to be a heavier emphasis on his defense with the Scorpions. Instead, he showed he can swing it a bit too with a .298/.394/.614 line over 15 games. Five of his seven extra-base hits left the yard, putting him in a five-way tie for third on the AFL HR leaderboard. That’s a solid showing for a player who went deep 10 times in 96 games at High-A and Double-A during the regular season.
Honorable mention: Henry Davis (PIT), Jeferson Quero (MIL)

jimfurtado Posted: November 15, 2022 at 08:36 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: afl, prospects

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Arizona Fall League awards 2022

Can he hit with more power? Can the Twins find a position to play him?

Breakout Player of the Year: Edouard Julien, 2B, Twins
The Twins’ No. 14 prospect came into the Fall League with a reputation for drawing a ton of walks and a profile as an offensive-minded infielder. He did nothing to hurt that reputation with Glendale, walking (23) more than he struck out (22) while winning the AFL batting title (.400). He also led the league in OBP (.563) and OPS (1.249) while finishing second with a .686 slugging percentage and third with 48 total bases.

jimfurtado Posted: November 13, 2022 at 10:35 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: afl, awards

Top performers in 2022 AFL Championship Game

Game is recorded. Watching it tomorrow morning.

jimfurtado Posted: November 13, 2022 at 08:43 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: afl

Wednesday, November 09, 2022

Arizona Fall League 40-man roster Rule 5 Draft 2022

Does he hit with enough power and can he find a defensive home?

Edouard Julien, 2B, Twins (No. 14): The 2019 18th-rounder out of Auburn has won not one, but two Player of the Week honors already and is certainly in contention for AFL MVP—an award won by fellow Twin Royce Lewis in 2019. Entering this week, Julien leads the Fall League in OBP (.535), slugging (.683), OPS (1.218), walks (20) and runs scored (21) through 19 games with Glendale. His .365 average, five homers and 10 extra-base hits also ranked among the top five in the loop.

Julien already showed a strong approach that led to a .300/.441/.490 line and 19.3 percent walk rate over 508 plate appearances at Double-A Wichita during the regular season, making him a likely add for Minnesota anyway. These past five weeks have moved that modifier from “likely” to “certain.”

jimfurtado Posted: November 09, 2022 at 08:12 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: afl, prospects, rule 5 draft

Monday, November 07, 2022

Cubs Matt Mervis named Fall Stars Game MVP

Watching the game now. Do we really need so many in-game interviews? For a lot of people, it’s their first chance to see a lot of these players. Ignoring the action and the chance to promote players seems like a poor choice.

jimfurtado Posted: November 07, 2022 at 08:29 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: afl, matt mervis



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