Since the minor league season officially ended I've been looking forward to October 13th. The Arizona Arizona Fall League kicks off tomorrow and there are some premium prospects worth keeping an eye on. The season runs from October 13th with the championship game on November 21st. The Fall League offers a chance to see many top prospects as each MLB team is able to send 6 prospects of their choosing. There are 6 teams in the league and each team is blended with prospects from MLB teams.
Some of the prospects I've highlighted are lesser known prospects that may be available in your dynasty league. There are other top 100 prospects playing in the fall league, but the one's I've wrote about are more likely to be available in your fantasy league.
Jharel Cotton, SP LAD - Glendale Desert Dogs - Cotton had a fantastic 2015 season throwing 94IP with a 2.45ERA striking out 114 batters across 4 different levels. His longest stay was in AA -Tulsa where I got to watch him in person; Cotton's changeup may be his best pitch as it is flat out nasty at times. He also has a plus fastball that sits 92-94MPH and topped out at 95MPH. There is a little bit of concern that Cotton will be used as a reliever. He was called up to AAA near the end of the year where he was used primarily as a reliever. If he's able to stick as a starter going forward, Cotton holds some very good value. I could see him developing into a #4/#5 fantasy starter and someone who can pile up strike outs. The development of his curve will be key as he needs a reliable 3rd pitch to become a dependable starter.
Derek Fisher, OF HOU - Glendale Desert Dogs- Derek Fisher has some legitimate power in his bat and features very good speed. In 2015, Fisher hit 22HR with 31SB while batting .275 across 2 single-a levels. He has a lot of swing and miss in his game, striking out 132 times, but also walked 66 times. He finished with an impressive OPS of .847 and an OBP of .364. Fisher's potential is hard to project right now as he hasn't played above A+ but he's definitely worth taking a chance on with future 20/20 potential.
Jake Bauers, 1B TB- Mesa Solar Sox - Bauers had one of the more impressive 2015 campaigns. Bauers played more than half of 2015 in AA at only 19 years old. He more than held his own batting .276 with 5HR in 69 games. In all, Bauers had a great year across both A+ & AA: .272AVG, 11HR, 74RBI. Bauers is said to have a hit tool that projects as plus and he also sports an above average plate approach (50/74 BB/K). The development of his power is going to be key going forward. Hitting 11HR is a pretty impressive stat at only 19 years old. Bauers, normally a first baseman, is listed on the Solar Sox roster as an outfielder. It'll be interesting to see if he actually gets starts in the OF. Bauers is one of the more intriguing prospects in the fall league as he has had success at such a young age.
Sean Manaea, SP OAK - Mesa Solar Sox- Manaea had an outstanding 2015 campaign and could see major league action in 2016. Manaea was traded to the Athletics from the Royals in the Ben Zobrist trade. Manaea has an ideal frame of a workhorse starter at 6'5 235 and a lefty with a fantastic fastball.
"Manaea doesn't have an extremely athletic delivery and probably won't have better than average control or command. But he's a left-hander with an unhittable fastball at times and a frame built for durability, and he could fit into the middle of the A's rotation in the near future."
Manaea best projects as a #3 starter for the Oakland Athletics and in fantasy terms he's probably going to be best used as a #4/#5 starter that can generate strikeouts. His ability to stay healthy is crucial going forward as he has missed some pivotal development time; Manaea missed half of the 2015 season due to injuries and first appeared on June 24th. With only 74.1IP the Athletics put him in the Fall League for him to gain a little more experience heading into 2016.
Alex Reyes, SP STL - Surprise Saguaros - Reyes is most likely owned in your fantasy league, but I threw him in here because he's one of my favorite prospects in all of minor league baseball. Reyes has unbelievable "stuff" with a plus fastball and plus curveball. I have watched more film on Reyes than any other prospect and can honestly say he has true ace potential. Reyes still has some work to do as he misses his spots with his fastball too often. His fastball command could very well be the difference in being a true ace or a top of the line #2 starter. Reyes needs to further develop his changeup to have that 3rd reliable pitch in his repertoire. I would imagine the Cardinals keep him in AA for the majority of 2016 to further develop his fastball command and changeup.
Domingo Acevedo, SP NYY - Surprise Saguaros - An imposing 6'7 frame that throws 100mph is a pretty intimidating thing to see as a hitter. Acevedo was an unknown coming into the 2015 season but started making a name for himself over the course of the season. Here at Fake Teams, we recently ranked Acevedo as the #9 prospectin the Yankees organization and he's someone who could be ranked much higher going forward.
"There's a distinct possibility that this ranking looks way too low in a year's time, but for a pitcher who has thrown less than two innings in a full-season league, it's hard to move him up too far. Acevedo was dominant in the New York-Penn League with 53 strikeouts against 15 walks in 48 innings pitched, and the reports on him start with a fastball that touches 100 MPH on a regular basis. If his secondary offerings continue to develop as hoped, he could end up as a top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher. Even if they don't, he likely has a future as a late inning reliever that could dominate with that one pitch."
Acevedo has huge potential if his secondary pitches continue to develop. In deeper fantasy leagues this is someone I would consider a must own based off of potential alone.
Raimel Tapia, OF COL - Salt River Rafters - If you look at scouting reports of Raimel Tapia, one thing you are guaranteed to see is a comment about his unorthodox swing. Even though he has a different swing, he finds a way to put the bat on the ball and has managed to hit over .300 in all of his minor league seasons except his first. My main concern with Tapia is his ability to cut his strike out rate. His BB/K ratio was pretty bad at 24/105 in class A+ Modesto. Tapia has good speed with the ability to steal 20 bases at the major league level; with developing power Tapia may in fact become a potential 20/20 candidate down the road. He finished the 2015 season with 12HR and 34 doubles. Tapia features an extremely skinny 6'2 160lb frame so there is definitely some physical projection left. I love the potential here and the fact that he will play 81 games in Coors field, if he makes it to the bigs, make him one of the more interesting prospects going into the fall league. Tapia is currently ranked as MLB.com's #99th prospect in the top 100.
The prospects profiled are only scratching the surface of the talent in the Arizona Fall League. Each of the 6 teams in the league is loaded with prospects that have potential to be fantasy relevant in the coming years. Keep an eye on these 7 prospects as all of them have potential to be very valuable going forward.