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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) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: afl, pay site, prospects reports

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   1. The Duke Posted: November 21, 2022 at 08:50 PM (#6106376)
Cardinal fans deflated to hear Winn might not be a superstar. There has been way too much cardinal fanboy stuff about him. He feels like a glove first backup SS who might start a few years in his prime. Most fans think he's just a step below Walker who is an elite prospect. He's got an 80 grade arm, so the suggestion he would be better at 2B is mystifying.
   2. cardsfanboy Posted: November 22, 2022 at 12:41 AM (#6106403)
I don't think many people feel Winn is a superstar, they felt he had a surprisingly good year to change the hopes from him being a run of the mill player, to potentially something more. Considering that he was a two way prospect and there was serious talk about keeping him that way, them deciding to focus on one thing meant he had more time to catch up instead of spreading his skills around. He's looking more and more likely to be a major league starting shortstop in his age 22 season. Everything says he still needs to cut down on his strikeouts, and that defense and arm are his best qualities but that he also has pretty good power.
   3. Muskaany Posted: November 22, 2022 at 02:19 AM (#6106412)
One year of hard work and dedication has made him the success he is today. Everyone loves the spirit. bloxorz
   4. Darren Posted: November 22, 2022 at 12:10 PM (#6106449)
Bloxorz indeed.
   5. salvomania Posted: November 22, 2022 at 02:57 PM (#6106483)
Winn's 20% K rate is softened by his 10-12% walk rate. If you've got a glove and can hit .250 in the majors with a 10% walk rate, all of a sudden you're a 100 OPS+ guy who's worth 3-4 WAR, or more.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: November 23, 2022 at 01:50 PM (#6106631)
A 20% K-rate would of course be better than average; as would a 250 BA and a 10-12% BB rate. That plays if you can manage an ISO over 70.

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