First, some interesting news concerning the Arizona Fall League generally, which will certainly make following our prospects a lot easier. From Jim Callis at MLB.com:
For the first time in Fall League history, the developmental circuit is streaming almost all of its games — and for free. Links to all AFL streams can be found here, and they will be archived here. Select games will feature play-by-play announcers and, at times, prospect analysts. Other than two games broadcast on MLB Network (the Nov. 6 Fall Stars Game and the Nov. 12 championship game) and a pair of tripleheaders (Oct. 15 at Chase Field and Oct. 22), all Fall League contests will be streamed.
As mentioned before, Arizona's prospects play for the Salt River Rafters at Salt River Fields, but the team as a whole did not get off to the best of AFL seasons. In fact, the Rafters kicked off their campaign with eight straight losses. And most were not close, being outscored by 47 runs over the eight games. Things reached their low point with a 20-4 drubbing by the Glendale Desert Dogs on Tuesday, which saw their opponents pound out 35 total bases to the Rafters' 5. However, the following day, the ninth time proved the charm, Salt River overcoming a seventh inning deficit to pick up their first win with a 7-5 victory over the Scottsdale Scorpions.
Aces fans, get familiar with Jordan Lawlar— Reno Aces (@Aces) October 13, 2022
The 3rd ranked Diamondbacks prospect and 12th-ranked MLB prospect finishes off his 3-hit night for the Salt River Rafters with a stand up 3️⃣B pic.twitter.com/r07IaMsE6i
An even more dramatic comeback followed yesterday. Facing the Peoria Javelinas, Diamondbacks prospect Chad Patrick started for Salt River. He allowed two runs over three innings, on three hits and no walks, with one strikeout. But a quick bullpen meltdown followed, and the Rafters found themselves 6-0 down in the fifth. The offense then woke up, posting a crooked number each of the final three frames in this seven inning contest. Jordan Lawlar played a significant part, leading off the bottom of the seventh with a triple (above), scoring the tying run on Braxton Fulford’s walk-off two-run double, as Salt River won by a final score of 7-6.
He had two other hits and also stole a base, starting as the Rafters' designated hitter for the first time this season. It boosted his line in the AFL to .333/.500/.667. He has drawn seven walks in 32 PAs, compared to eight strikeouts. But the AFL so far has been playing very offensively. Coming into play today, the AFL has a collective OPS of .845. Surprise are the only one of the six teams in the league with an ERA under 6.40, and the overall league figure is almost at seven (6.94). Below, is Lawlar talking about his triple and some of his team-mates on the Salt River roster.
It has been a bit more of a mixed bag with the other Arizona prospects playing for the Rafters. Virtually all the pitchers have struggled, as you would expect given a Salt River ERA through the first ten games of - and you may want to sit down for this - 10.08, and a WHIP of 2.217. Patrick's second start went a bit better than his first, where he allowed four runs in 2.1 innings, mostly due to four walks. His ERA of 10.13 isn't even in the ten worst for the Rafters so far. Above Patrick are fellow Arizona prospects J.B. Bukauskus (4 H, 2 ER in 1.1 IP) and Jackson Goddard (8 H, 4 BB, 8 ER in 4.1 IP). Bucking the trend is lefty Kyle Backhus, whose 2.70 ERA comes from one ER in 3.1 innings, on three hits and two walks with threw strikeouts.
At the plate, we already talked about Lawlar, but his 1.167 is only second-best among Arizona players. That honor does come with an obvious sample-size caveat, as it came in only six PA. But Cooper Hummel is 4-for-5 with a double and a walk, for a line of .800/.833/1.000. As well as sample size, he’s the oldest of the 40+ players to have appeared for Salt River. Hummel turns 28 next month; the average position player on the Rafters roster is 21.5 years old. In contrast, Deyvison De Los Santo is still a teenager, having turned 19 in June, so that should be taken into account when looking at his line of .188/.350/.250 for a .600 OPS. He’s been playing mostly at 1B, rather than 3B, but it may simply be to get into the line-up,
Finally, after a break of a couple of years, Mrs. SnakePit and I will be heading to the AFL Game at Camelback Ranch on Wednesday, October 19th, to the see the Rafters take on the Desert Dogs. It’s a 6:35 pm first pitch, so maybe see some of you there!