During the game today, I got to thinking about all the guys on the team I've seen play in the Fall League over the years. I reminisced over all the fond memories (and foul balls) collected while watching November ball games at Scottsdale Stadium:
- sitting next to Tommy Lasorda in the stands
- befriending an MLB Scout and one of Diamondbacks clubbies
- having Hall of Famer, Frank Robinson, hold a gate open for me while I was sneaking out the back exit (then listening to him scold me for not exiting through the proper front game)
- winning one of 50 prize autographed balls (not difficult when there are only 49 people in the stands)
- Having a foul ball land on (and dent) the hood of my car in the parking lot -- ah, the memories
And then I realized the Arizona Fall League starts exactly one month from today!
The Dbacks currently lead the NL West by 7 games, sporting a Sweet magic number of just 16 with less than a month to go.
Is it any wonder that so many of our players have graduated from the prestigious Arizona Fall League?
Just look at our current line up - 15 of them have played in the Fall League:
- If you toss in those on the DL, minor leaguers eligible for, or brought up for the 40-man roster, there are 23 Diamondbacks with Fall League experience. Click here for the full 2011 Diamondbacks roster detailing AZ Fall League experience.
- 10 of the 2011 Diamondbacks have played in the Fall League in the last two years alone (5 in 2009 and 5 in 2010)
- Aside from Goldschmidt, Parra and Upton, our entire infield and outfield roster are from the AZFL.
So which came first? the chicken or the egg?
Did these guys make the team because of their Fall League Experience?
Or did their Fall League Experience make the team what it is today?
The 2011 AZ Fall League will feature six of the most promising prospects from each of the 30 MLB teams, divided up over 6 teams playing a 7 week schedule. The teams and schedules have been announced, with only a few modifications from prior year's format: the Saguaros moved to Surprise and the Rafters will be playing at the new Salt River Field.
The Fall League's 20th Season will open on Tuesday, October 4th and will culminate with the Championship game on Saturday, November 19th. Games are held Mondays through Saturdays, the majority starting at either 12:35 pm or 6:35 pm.
You might recognize these Diamondbacks from Dan's Farm Reports - the select six who will participate in the 2011 Fall League on the Salt River Rafters:
- Charles Brewer / RH Pitcher
- Eric Smith / RH Pitcher
- Bryan Woodall / RH Pitcher
- David Nick / INF-2B
- Ryan Wheeler / INF-3B
- Adam Eaton / OF
Divisions, Teams, Coaches and Farm Systems building each Fall League Team:
All details (teams, stadiums, schedules) can be found on the Arizona Fall League website at MLB.com.
Fall League Alumni
About 60% of the 3200+ Fall Leaguers have reached the major leagues, and for those who do, they go on to set records and rank in the top of their league. Over the last 19 years, the AZFL has produced:
- 9 MLB MVPs: Jason Giambi, Josh Hamilton, Ryan Howard, Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Dustin Pedroia, Albert Pujols, Jimmy Rollins, Joey Votto
- 3 Cy Young Award winners: Chris Carpenter, Roy Halladay (2), Brandon Webb
- 3 World Series MVPs: Jermaine Dye, David Eckstein, Derek Jeter
- 41 players who participated (or were slated to) in the 2011 All-Star Game, including starting pitchers Roy Halladay and Jered Weaver along with 9 who took part in the 2011 All-Star Futures
- Adding to that, the Fall League has produced numerous Rookies-of-the-Year, Silver Sluggers, Golden Glovers, batting champions, and leaders in season hits, RBIs, homers, and stolen-bases.