[Just bumping this topic as a reminder that we’ll be at Salt River Fields tonight. Look for the loud group, likely somewhere behind the Rafters dugout! Looks like the D-backs’ Bo Takahashi is starting for Salt River this evening]
Arizona Fall League Meet-up: Saturday Nov 10, SRF
Time for the annual(ish) get-together, as we head towards the last chance to watch pro baseball live until spring training 2019. It’s a 6.08 pm game, which sees the Mesa Solar Sox take on the Salt River Rafters at Salt River Fields. The Rafters is the team which includes prospects from the Diamondbacks, as you’ll know if you have been following Jack’s regular reports over the course of the AFL. Names like Pavin Smith, Jazz Chisholm and Jon Duplantier have been appearing, so it’s a great chance to check out future D-backs before they
get traded to the Braves hit the big leagues.
This is extremely informal, since tickets to the AFL are general admission. You pretty much just need to show up, buy a ticket and find us (we’ll typically be seated more or less behind the Rafters dugout, but probably check social media for a pic on the night, to figure out exactly where). From what I could find, tickets are $9, so are entirely reasonably priced. If you haven’t been before, it’s a thoroughly fun experience, and with the crowd typically no more than a few hundred, is remarkably low-stress. You might want to dress fairly warmly, as the forecast is in the sixties, and there have been previous AFL get-togethers where it has been nothing short of freezing!
If you can’t make it in person, the game will also be aired on the MLB Network, so you can watch it there as well. We will be the loud group. :)
Arizona Fall League Round-Up
Coming into play today, the Rafters have a 31⁄2 game lead in the East division with nine left. So there’s a good chance they’ll be in the AFL Title game at Scottsdale Stadium on Nov 17. Some of the best individual performers on the team are our guys. SS Jazz Chisholm’s .444 average leads the team, having hit in each of the six games he has played, with multiple hits in four of them. His overall .444/.464/.704 gives him an OPS of 1.168, which would be second in the league if he had played enough to qualify. 1B Pavin Smith has been solid, hitting .298 with almost as many walks (4) as strikeouts (5). But we could use more power, with Smith having hit only one extra-base hit, a double, over his 47 at-bats to this point.
Hardly much less impressive than Chisholm has been Daulton Varsho, whose .932 OPS puts him just outside the entire AFL top ten - he’s easily #1 catcher. Perhaps the most surprising thing, if you’re not aware of Varsho, is his speed: he has seven stolen-bases, tied for 4th in the league. Most uncatcher-like, but he stole 19 in just 83 minor-league games this year, so it’s what he does. The Athletic had a feature on Varsho yesterday. The D-backs have two other catchers on the roster: Dominic Miroglio and Renae Martinez: looks like the latter has been out on loan to the Surprise Saguaros, presumably for playing time purposes. Each has played six games, with Martinez having a .721 OPS and Miroglio at .689.
Among the pitcher, Jon Duplantier has seen most action, starting four games. He didn’t allow a run over the first two, but struggled a bit more recently, with six walks over his last eight innings. But the K’s are still there, with 18 in total over 13 innings of work. Best of the relievers so far has been Kevin Ginkel, who has an excellent K:BB ratio of 16:1, over only 7.2 innings, allowing two earned runs in that time. Bo Takahashi had a rough first couple of outings, but hasn’t allowed an earned run over his last five games, covering seven innings. Finally, Tyler Mark recently came back to the mound, after being hit by a liner off the bat of Vlad Guerrero Jr, which caused him to miss 17 days of action. Very happy to see that.
Arizona Fall League All-Star Game
The AFL All-Star Game takes place this evening at Surprise Stadium, getting under way just after 5pm. There are 15 of MLB.com’s top 100 prospects on the rosters for the game, so it’s a great chance to see tomorrow’s superstars today. Duplantier, Smith and Varsho have all been selected from the Diamondbacks, with Varsho starting behind the plate, and Smith appearing in the starting line-up as the East Division’s designated hitter. It’s also on the MLB Network, so you can tune in there - feel free to use this as the Gameday Thread for that!