2019 Arizona Fall League Lookaround – Week 1
The slate of games for the 2019 Arizona Fall League began on September 18th, and one week in, numerous Baseball Factory alumni have taken their prospect status and solid regular seasons to the Desert, to continue facing high-level competition and end their seasons on a winning and productive note.
Founded in 1992, the Arizona Fall League features six squads: Scottsdale Scorpions, Mesa Solar Sox, Salt River Rafters, Glendale Desert Dogs, Peoria Javelinas and Surprise Saguaros. Each Major League Baseball team sends six top prospects to the Arizona Fall League, for a total of 180 players. Spring Training stadiums in Arizona host games which are used by the Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres, Chicago Cubs, Oakland Athletics, Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies.
The Peoria Javelinas have won the most championships with seven, including last year’s title.
Let’s take a look at some former Baseball Factory standouts, both positional and pitching, who are performing well after the first week in Arizona.
Mason McCoy (Baltimore Orioles) – The Orioles 6th round selection out of the University of Iowa in 2017 took a big leap forward with the bat this season, hitting a combined .290 between High-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie with 22 doubles, seven triples and 81 runs scored. McCoy, who attended a Baseball Factory College PREP event in 2011, has continued his scorching ways, collecting five hits in his first nine at-bats with the Surprise Saguaros.
Greg Deichmann (Oakland Athletics) – Deichmann, the A’s second round selection in 2017, had a huge night on September 25th, collecting two hits, one of which was a three-run homer, two runs scored and a walk in the Mesa Solar Sox 15-2 victory over Caneros de los Mochis. Deichmann is hitting .381 with a league-leading 11 RBI.
Seth Beer (Arizona Diamondbacks) – The two-time Under Armour All-American has collected five hits in his first 14 at-bats for the Salt River Rafters with a double and three RBI. Formerly a top draft selection of the Houston Astros, Beer joined the D-Backs organization after a trade and combined, hit .289 with 26 homers and 103 RBI between both organizations.
Royce Lewis (Minnesota Twins) – A teammate of Beer on the Rafters, Lewis is scorching at the plate with a double, two homers, six RBI and four runs scored through four games. The 2016 Under Armour All-American and first overall pick in 2017 struggled a bit with the average this season, hitting .236 between High-A Fort Myers and Double-A Pensacola, but still showed the blend of power (42 extra-base hits) and speed (22 stolen bases), that warrants being ranked on Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects list at No. 22.
Jeren Kendall (Los Angeles Dodgers) – Kendall was a top selection for the Dodgers in 2017 (23rd overall), hitting 11 doubles, 10 triples, 19 homers and 63 RBI, despite an average of just .219 this season at High-A Rancho Cucamonga. But so far through four games for the Glendale Desert Dogs, Kendall has five hits (double, homer) along with five RBI and a stolen base. Jeren performed well as a two-time Under Armour Pre-Season All-American in 2012 and 2013, before playing at the next level with powerhouse Vanderbilt.
Joey Bart (San Francisco Giants) – The 2014 Under Armour Pre-Season All-American and second overall pick in the 2018 draft earned the first AFL Player of the Week honors after a two-homer debut in his first AFL game. For the week, he went 5-for-9, adding a double and four RBI for Scottsdale.
David Peterson (New York Mets) – Peterson, the 20th overall pick in the 2017 draft out of the University of Oregon, has made one start so far for Scottsdale, tossing three innings of one-hit ball with one walk and four strikeouts. At Double-A Binghamton this season, he struck out 122 hitters to just 37 walks in 116 innings. Peterson pitched in the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game.
Alex Lange (Detroit Tigers) – A former Chicago Cubs first round selection (30th overall) in 2017, Lange was part of the Nick Castellanos deal that sent him to the Detroit Tigers. He pitched well in limited time at Double-A Erie after the trade and has made three appearances so far for Mesa, allowing one earned run in 3 2/3 innings with a walk and seven strikeouts. Lange performed in the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game, where he pitched a scoreless frame with two strikeouts.
Shane Baz (Tampa Bay Rays) – After being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates 12th overall in 2017, Baz was involved in the Chris Archer deal and has been solid this season, posting a 2.99 ERA with 87 punch outs in 81 1/3 innings pitched. Opponents batted just .213 off him this season with Class-A Bowling Green. No. 71 on Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects, Baz pitched well in relief on September 22nd, tossing two scoreless innings with five strikeouts for Salt River.
Forrest Whitley (Houston Astros) – In his only start of the AFL season so far, the 2015 Under Armour All-American pitched 4 2/3 innings of scoreless ball on September 21st for Peoria, allowing just one hit, two walks and six strikeouts.
Aaron Fletcher (Seattle Mariners) – Previously in the Washington Nationals organization, Fletcher joined the Seattle Mariners organization in early August via trade and pitched with the Arkansas Travelers (Texas League) where he posted a 3.46 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 13.0 innings. Fletcher, who was a 2013 Under Armour Pre-Season All-American (also attended a National Tryout and College PREP), has pitched in two games so far, logging 3 1/3 scoreless innings for the Peoria Javelinas. He’s struck out five to just one walk with three hits allowed.