The Arizona Fall League is well underway with the 2012 season. This year marks the AFL's 20th anniversary season. The league is routinely full of young talent and often considered a finishing school for the games best prospects. This season there are four Baseball Factory alumni specifically highlighted by ESPN Insider's Keith Law as exciting players to watch.
The Detroit Tigers selected Nick Castellanos out of high school in the first round of the 2009 draft. Castellanos has been considered one of the top prospects in the organization since being drafted. In addition, Baseball America ranked Castellanos as the #45 overall prospect in their Pre-2012 rankings. Although Nick was drafted as a third baseman, the Tigers moved him to right field towards the end of the regular season, implying they are accepting Miguel Cabrera's lackluster defense. Castellanos, who earned MVP honors in the 2009 Under Armour All-America Game, powered by Baseball Factory, will have to demonstrate the same success he enjoyed in A-level against the AFL’s tougher pitching.
ESPN’s Keith Law also showed interest in former UConn standout and Baseball Factory alum George Springer. Springer has been called a five-tool position player. He first displayed his talent at the 2007 Cape Cod High School Classic, before joining the UConn Huskies. Throughout his time in the Minors, Springer has demonstrated his speed and power, but scouts are looking for him to improve his overall hitting this fall.
Max Stassi, 2008 Under Armour All-American, is another top prospect to watch this fall. After being drafted in the fourth round of the 2009 draft by the Oakland Athletics, Stassi underwent shoulder surgery. He only played in 81 games this year, so the fall season will be a great opportunity for scouts to see him play again. Before his injury, Stassi was considered to be above replacement-level in the Majors.
Trayce Thompson, a California native, was drafted in the second round of the 2009 draft by the Chicago White Sox out of high school. Thompson has lots of potential, but had very little polish when he came into the league. He has since developed into arguably one of the best defensive outfield prospects in the minor leagues. Baseball Factory first saw Thompson’s power and defensive ability in 2007, when he played in the Ryan Lemmon Sophomore Showcase. Thompson is going to be fun to watch because of his raw talent, and this could be a breakout fall for him.
Other Baseball Factory alumni to watch in the Arizona Fall League include Hunter Morris, Yelich Christian, Mike Zunino, Matt Davidson, Chris Owings, Jake Marsnick, Brian Goodwin, Randal Grichuk, Seth Blair, Kolten Wong, and Bryce Brentz.
The Arizona Fall League is another step for these Baseball Factory alumni who on their way to fulfilling their dream of playing in the Majors. We wish them luck for the remainder of the AFL and the upcoming season.