The Arizona Fall League is the premiere fall/winter league for prospects to play in. While there are other leagues around the world, the AFL is the one that draws more of the top prospects in baseball than any other league. The Cincinnati Reds sent eight players out to the greater Phoenix area this year to play in the league for the Glendale Desert Dogs under one of their own – Dayton Dragons manager Luis Bolivar. Let’s take a look at how those eight prospects have performed so far.

The Position Players

Tyler Stephenson

The catcher has been hitting since the league got started this year, but his weekend really boosted what he was doing. Stephenson started on Friday and Sunday, going 5-10 with three doubles. That pushed his line up to .414/.485/.621 with six doubles in eight games played. He’s walked three times and he’s struck out just three times. Behind the plate he’s thrown out three runners, good for a 43% caught stealing rate.

Jose Garcia

The shortstop was one of the biggest risers in the farm system this year. The Cuban infielder who turned 21 at the start of the year was among the league leaders in the Florida State League in most offensive categories, and the Reds wanted to get him a little more time. Like Stephenson, Jose Garcia has played in eight games so far. Unlike Stephenson they haven’t gone as well. The infielder is hitting .226/.294/.355 with three steals, a double, and a home run.

Jonathan India

The 2018 #5 overall draft pick, Jonathan India began the AFL season in a huge slump. Through the first six games played he was 1-29. But he got things going in the right direction on Friday and Saturday. Friday night he went 1-3 with three runs batted in. Then on Saturday night he went 3-4 with his first home run of the AFL season. Overall he’s hitting .139/.238/.250 with four walks, 12 strikeouts, a double, and a home run.

Stuart Fairchild

It’s been rather limited action for Stuart Fairchild in Arizona. He’s only played in four games thus far. The outfielder has hits in three of those games, including a double. He’s hitting .267/.267/.333 through 15 at-bats.

The Pitchers

Dauri Moreta

The right-handed reliever has had a strong showing to this point in the Arizona Fall League. The 23-year-old has pitched in six games and allowed just one run over his 7.0 innings. Moreta has given up just four hits, walked two, and he’s struck out eight hitters to go along with his 1.29 ERA.

Jordan Johnson

After missing most of the regular season, the Reds sent Jordan Johnson out to Arizona to make up for some lost time. The right-handed starter was working his way back on rehab assignments when the season ended. He’s only pitched in two games, both starts, and he’s had some struggles in each. In his first start he allowed two runs in 3.0 innings with a walk and three strikeouts. Two weeks later he made his second start and allowed three runs in 4.0 innings with five walks and six strikeouts.

Diomar Lopez

The right-handed reliever posted a 2.72 ERA for Daytona this season, showing off strong control and racking up plenty of strikeouts along the way. The Reds sent him out to Arizona to get an extended look against more advanced hitters. He had a hiccup on September 26th, allowing three runs – including a homer, in an inning of work. But he’s been good outside of that outing. His ERA sits at 4.50 in 8.0 innings with a walk and eight strikeouts.

Cory Thompson

The former shortstop has pitched well since moving to the mound in 2017. After spending much of the year in Double-A he was sent to Arizona to continue his season. Things haven’t gone well for the right-hander. He’s pitched in five games and allowed two runs in two of them and an earned run in another. His ERA currently sits at 7.94 with 10 hits allowed, three walks, and he has four strikeouts in 5.2 innings pitched.

13 Responses

  1. jim walker

    Stuart Fairchild could be a guy to keep an eye on. Despite being officially a 2nd round draft choice, he was actually chosen 11picks sooner in his draft (2017; #38 overall) than Jesse Winker, a (supplemental) 1st rounder was in his (2012; #49 overall) and just 3 picks later than Taylor Trammell, a (competitive balance) 1st rounder (2016; #35 overall).

    Fairchild had an .824 OPS and 142 wRC+ in a little less than half a season at AA after being promoted there this year.

    • BK

      Cautiously optimistic that both Freidl and Fairchild will start pushing for playing time in the back half of 2020.

  2. Doc

    It’s interesting that all throughout the regular season when pitching performances are discussed, we are inundated with all the advanced metrics to explain away the old fashioned earned run average. Lengthy articles are written analyzing every which way from Sunday guys are pitching better, or worse, than their ERA would suggest. But we come to an article about how pitchers are faring in the Arizona Fall League and what is the primary statistic given? Earned Run Average. Regarding hitters, where are all the advanced metrics? They also seem absent.

    • Doug Gray

      Advanced metrics in a sample size of less than 10 innings are entirely and completely useless. They are absent because they don’t matter right now.

    • jim walker

      Not to mention that blind faith in derivatives of derivatives, which is what FIP and xFIP are nearly wrecked our economy twice inside a decade.

  3. AirborneJayJay

    Tyler Stephenson is stepping up his game at just the right time for his career. He had a wonderful second half and overall season at AA and now having success in the AFL before he starts his AAA season next year. He’ll be just a phone call away at AAA Louisville next year. Granted, he isn’t MLB ready yet, but is it going to be a smart move this winter to invest in free agent Yasmani Grandal for a lengthy 4 or 5 year deal that Grandal will be seeking? Can you sign Grandal for something like 4 years at $80MM with the intent to trade him after 2 years? Or would you move Grandal to 1B when Stephenson is ready and start the phasing out of Joey V. at 1B? Joey V. would still have a couple of years left.
    Signing Grandal should never make Stephenson as expendable. If the Reds sign Grandal it is going to make for an interesting set of circumstances 1 or 2 years into his deal with the Reds when Stephenson is ready to move up.

    • BK

      Ideally, the Reds carry two quality catchers. Also, Stephenson will likely need an adjustment period. 2020 in AAA, 2021 as backup catching about 70 games, then 2022 ready to catch about 100 games would be a nice schedule.

      • Seat101

        Agreed
        He’s a PED guy from a town that celebrates it

  4. AirborneJayJay

    There are now 13 Reds players who will now be out of options taking up 40 man roster spots.
    Trevor Bauer, Amir Garrett, Kevin Gausman, Keury Mella, Cody Reed, Sal Romano, Jackson Stephens, Robert Stephenson, Curt Casali, Christian Colon, Phil Ervin, Derrick Dietrich, and Freddy Galvis.
    The assumption is that Bauer, Garrett, Reed, RStephenson, Casali, and Ervin are locks for 40 man spots when rosters are set at end of November.
    The Yankees like to trade prospects that would be on the verge of losing their 40 man roster spot before rosters are set. They will trade a 24 or 25 year old prospect they can no longer protect and trade them for a good younger player that doesn’t need to be protected yet. With a deep farm system teams will lose good players in numbers crunches just prior to setting the new 40-man roster. Trade them for something in return instead of losing them for nothing to a DFA. I wonder if the Reds may try this tactic in opening up a 40 man roster spot or 2 instead of just DFAing and waivers on some before they have a chance to maybe sign them to a minor league deal?
    Dietrich, Galvis and Gausman could be tendered or option picked up and then traded a little later. They would have to be in some sort of package to have much value. Or they could just be let go.
    Romano could go either way. He could get traded in November. Colon could come back with a 40 man spot if they have enough room. Or he could get released. Both are in the “iffy” territory. Mella and Stephens probably get the DFA axe. If nobody picks them up they probably come back on a minor league deal. They could be add-ins on a minor trade for a reliever
    Stephens and Mella only make up 2 of the 40 man spots. Alex Wood and Jose Iglesias becoming free agents opens 2 more spots. The Reds will need more than 4 spots to protect prospects that will need it now.
    There are a lot of ways the Reds can go on this. I would bet that there will be a surprise or 2 or 3 before the Reds have to set the 40 man roster.

    • Hanawi

      Siri is also on the 40 man and frankly just taking up space at this point. Not sure if anyone else in baseball would take a flyer and give up anything in value for him? His inability to make consistent contact or draw walks makes it unlikely he ever becomes a starter.

      • jim walker

        But for all, his offensive woes, Siri is also a legitimate MLB capable defensive CF. He treaded water as a league average hitter in a year and half at AA. He did fall though the floor offensively in 112 plate appearances at AAA.

        However, with Nick Senzel’s availability at “hopeful” Michael Lorenzen primarily a pitcher, I’m not sure it is time for the Reds to just give up on Siri.

        My guess is that with the 26 man active roster and the number of pitchers capped in 2020, there will be guys like Siri filling some 26th man spots at MLB.