2012 Arizona Fall League (AFL) Prospects – Part I PDF Print E-mail
Theory and Strategy - Platinum
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Saturday, 01 December 2012 16:07

I want to take a deeper look at prospects that played in the AFL this year, especially those off the radar. Remember that unlike some perfunctory reports, I see these players every day, often doubleheaders at 12:30 and 6:30 in different ballparks. Part I will be more of the top players and the forthcoming Part II will have the lists. Lots of lists.

First let’s look at the top performers by category. Bolded are those that are particularly noteworthy for fantasy purposes, with an * if there is some 2013 value – more in AL/NL leagues but maybe for deeper mixed formats.

Batting Average
.446 - Nate Roberts*, OF, MIN, with three HR and six SB, and 15 RBI (.565 OBP)
.404 - Josh Prince, OF, MLW, with one HR and ten SB (.491 OBP)
.397 - Alberto Hanser, SS, TEX, no HR and four SB
.388 - Slade Heathcott, OF, NYY, one HR and five SB, but 15 RBI (.494 OBP)
Home Runs
5 - Kyle Jensen, OF, MIA
5 - Kent Matthes, OF, COL
4 – Five tied with four
27 - Chris McGuiness, 1B, TEX plus league MVP
22 - Nick Franklin*, SS, SEA
20 - Rafael Ynoa, 3B, LAD
19 - Kyle Jensen, OF, MIA
Stolen Bases
11 - Carlos Sanchez, 2B, CWS
10 - Billy Hamilton, OF, CIN
10 - Josh Prince, OF, MLW
10 -  Cesar Puello, OF, NYM
ERA (must have started at least two games)
1.13 - Scott McGough, MIA
1.61 - Kyle Kaminska*, PIT
2.25 - Seth Blair, STL
2.28 - Robbie Erlin*, SD
2.37 - Kevin Siegrist, STL
0.93 - Kaminska, PIT
1.01 - Erlin, SD
33 - Boone Whiting, NYY (25.1 IP)
31 - Robbie Erlin, SD (23.2 IP)
28 - Kyle Gibson*, MIN (23.1 IP)
27 - Kevin Siegrist, STL (19 IP)

Possible closers

Kevin Quackenbush, RHP, SD – 16 K in 11 IP; 16/3 K/BB.  Prior to one unfortunate inning, Quackenbush had given up NO hits and NO runs. 

Heath Hembree*, RHP, SF – 12 K in 9 IP; 12/3 K/BB Hembree’s arrival in San Francisco in 2013 may depend on whether he Giants brass is willing to commit to Sergio Romo as full-time closer since it is apparent Brian Wilson will not return after being DFA’d.

Most of the above hitters were likely already on your radar. The ones who weren’t are McGuiness and Sanchez so let’s look deeper at their 2012 numbers.

Chris McGuiness, 1B, TEX

McGuiness broke out in 2012 with 23 home runs and 77 RBI at Double-A Frisco. Drafted in the 13th round in 2009 out of Citadel by the Red Sox, he came to Texas in the Jarrod Saltalamacchia trade. The question will be whether the Rangers leave McGuiness at first base or get him some time in the outfield to become the next Mitch Moreland (or trade him off his 2012 plus AFL exposure) ETA – Somewhat surprisingly the Rangers did not add McGuiness to the 40 man roster thus exposing him to the Rule V draft at the MLB Winter Meetings (in Nashville December 3-6). I have to think the Astros or another team short on power at first base might take a chance on him.

Carlos Sanchez, 2B, CWS

Signed for the Dominican Summer League by the White Sox in 2009, Sanchez played more games at third base this season while playing at three levels. First 92 games at High-A Winston Salem with .315 BA with twenty one extra base hits and nineteen SB; then 30 games at Double-A Birmingham where he hit .370 with ten extra base hits and seven SB; finished at Triple-A Charlotte but only for eleven games hitting .256. Not a home run hitter but totals were impressive with 33 extra base hits, 56 RBI, and 26 SB. I don’t really see Sanchez impacting this year absent injury or trade which forces the Pale Hose to promote him.

There were quite a few known pitching prospects sent to the AFL this year which is unusual. Often when this happens as with the Twins Kyle Gibson, the player came off an injury and needed to get extra innings. Don’t look just at the final numbers for Gibson – he went five innings in his first two AFL starts (unheard of) and struck out eight hitters in each start. He is THE most likely AFL pitcher to start in March (really what do the Twinkies have to lose) – the K’s and W’s could help this year but I would be concerned about what he might do to your ratios. For the long term I am definitely a buyer in AL leagues.

If you read my AFL Blog you noted the very strange combined shutout numbers in the AFL this year. You can’t do that without some really good relief pitching as the starting pitchers almost never go more than five innings in AFL games. Now this is the toughest position to evaluate from a fantasy scouting perspective because in addition to the pitcher having a good arm and advanced knowledge and approach we have to guess that they might reasonably get an opportunity with their current MLB clubs. On top of that we are not really interested in even the best of those pitchers UNLESS they are going to save games or get into 7th or 8th inning situations where they might be in line for the opportunity. By the way – if you did not read the AFL blogs in October and November I suggest you review them in order and make your own lists.

So for the relief pitchers I am going to list it would almost be better for fantasy players for them to start 2013 in the minor so they could be added as FARM players because they won’t have enough value on your starting pitching staffs. Of course this means you have to be in leagues where you get enough minor league picks to go beyond just the stud hitters.

BUT there is one pitcher that was here that NEEDS to be on your AL radar. Mark Montgomery (RHP, NYY) was drafted in 2011 out of Longwood College. He pitched in the minors in 2011, rookie league and a little low-A ball but started 2012 at Class-A Advanced Tampa where he was 4-1 with 14 saves. He had a 1.34 ERA and a WHIP of 0.973 with a 61/16 K/BB in 40.3 innings pitched. So he was moved up to Double-A Trenton where he was 3-1 with one save and a 1.88 ERA and 0.75 WHIP, with an even better 38/6 K/BB ratio in his 24 innings pitched. Montgomery brought his wipeout slider down to Arizona were in just 10.3 innings his strikeouts and walks were 19/5. His WHIP remained elite, 0.971 and the 2.61 ERA would have been much lower save for one bad outing. Montgomery could easily be in the Yankees pen in March after his strong showing here. I will include more relievers to watch in Part II.

And there is one other pitcher who now needs to be on the radar of several MLB clubs heading into the upcoming Winter meetings. Kyle Kaminska has been kicking around the minor leagues for several years in the Miami organization. But he was moved to Pittsburgh in the Gorky Hernandez trade this summer. In appearances with four teams across three levels in 2012 Kaminska had a 66/11 K/BB ratio. But the Pirates get credit for finally letting him get in four starts with their two minor league clubs and sending him to the AFL to continue that. The 6”4”, 180 lb., RHP was 3-1 in six AFL starts ending with a 1.61 ERA and 0.929 WHIP. Dig deeper and note that three of his five earned runs were given up in his 1st AFL start and that he had a 21/4 KK/BB ratio in his 28 innings pitched. So what do the Pirates do having uncovered and polished this potential gem? Leave him off the updated 40 man rosters last week exposing him to the Rule V draft. I will be astonished if you don’t see him claimed by a new club – there are certainly several that don’t have enough starters for 2013 at this point. IF that club is starting him in March, take note.

In fact Part II of 2012 AFL Prospects will be what everyone craves – lists. LOTS and lots of lists, some with some below the radar commentary as well.

Last Updated on Saturday, 01 December 2012 16:48

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