2012 AFL Review – Part II PDF Print E-mail
Theory and Strategy - Platinum
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Saturday, 08 December 2012 10:39

Historically 70 percent of the players sent to the Arizona Fall League end up playing in the Major s.

Ergo, a lot of the players not listed will still end up on Major League rosters in the next few years and on many fantasy teams. Still, we have to look at the most impressive players in this year’s games and thus I will give you many lists, followed by a comment on each player that hopefully will give you a better feel for when they might become fantasy relevant.

In 2012 we saw a significant upgrade in the pitching prospects that were sent to the AFL. This contributed to a record of what was previously a rarity in the AFL – the combined shutout. Sure there were the normal AFL scored of 14-12 or 8-8 ties but there were EIGHT combined shutouts – seventy two innings where the future major league hitters could not drive in a single run.

One more thing to keep in mind – these players, most in their early twenties – have already played a full season in the Minors and then come down to Arizona for another month and a half of games. And they get tired. As good as Mike Trout was once the Angels called him up this year, you will find people who said he didn’t look very good in the AFL last year. True he had played 91 games at Double-A and another 40 with the Angels in 2011 and had been injured so his AFL stats last year weren’t great. Remember that their organizations thought enough of them to send them here and what the graduation rate is.

Okay you want names – let’s look at the skills on display in the AFL this year.


Best Hitters BA/OBP/SLG
Nate Roberts, OF, MIN 446/565/662
George Springer, OF, HOU 286/412/600
Rymer Liriano, OF, SD 319/396/505
Slade Heathcott, OF, NYY 388/494/612
Mike Zunino, C, SEA 288/337/463
Kolten Wong, 2B, STL 324/342/392
Josh Prince, OF, MLW 404/491/573


Most Power  AFL HR 2012 MiL HR AB @ last 2012 level/team]
Kyle Jensen, OF, MIA        5            24 445 @ Double-A Jacksonville
Kent Matthes, OF, COL        5            17 336 @ Double-A Tulsa
Javier Baez*, SS/3B, CHC        4            16 293 @ Advanced-A Daytona
Chris McGuiness**, 1B, CLE        4            25 456 @ Double-A Frisco
Rymer Liriano, OF, SD        4            8 465 @ Double-A San Antonio
Jonathan Singleton, 1B, HOU        3            21 461 @ Double-A Corpus Christi
Brock Kjeldgaard***, 1B, MLW        4            12 266 @ Double-A Huntsville

*Baez was tied for the league lead when he left with an injury

**McGuiness was sent here by Texas but not added to their 40 man roster and then claimed by Cleveland as a Rule 5 pick, so ostensibly he will start on the Indians Major League roster and compete for the 1B job.

***Kjeldgaard was one home run short of the league lead while only playing two days a week as a taxi player before leaving with an injury


Stolen Base Leaders    SB    CS
Carlos Sanchez, 2B/3B, CWS    11     3
Billy Hamilton, OF, CIN    10     2 despite missing time with two injuries
Cesar Puello, OF, NYM    10     2
Josh Prince, OF, MLW    10     4
Rymer Liriano, OF, SD     6     2
Kolten Wong, 2B, STL     5     3


Starting Pitchers ERA WHIP
Robbie Erlin, LHP, SD 2.28 1.01
Kyle Kaminska, RHP, PIT 1.61 0.93
Kevin Siegrist, LHP, STL 2.37 1.11
Seth Blair, RHP, STL 2.25 1.55
Justin Marks, RHP, KC 2.59 1.19

Kyle Gibson, RHP, MIN and James Paxton, LHP, SEA started very strong but ended with terrible numbers yet were amongst the best pitchers in the AFL this year.


Strikeouts K IP K/9
Boone Whiting, RHP, STL 33 25 11.9
Robbie Erlin, LHP, SD 31 23.2 12.0
Kyle Gibson, RHP, MIN 28 23.1 10.9
Kevin Siegrist, LHP, STL 27 19 12.8
Chase Anderson, RHP, AZ 26 23.1 10.1

ROTO Worthy Players – these are my lists by position based on long term potential (you will find two lists later for hitters and pitchers based on potential impact for just the 2013 season).


Outfield - will produce more major league players than any other position
1)      Rymer Liriano, RF, SD – excellent hitter with 20/20 or better potential
2)      Billy Hamilton, CF, CIN – even if just a one category stud
3)      Nick Castellanos, LF, DET – didn’t show much here but a very good hitter
4)      Christian Yelich, CF, MIA – very good, very young hitter
5)      Brian Goodwin, CF, WAS – excellent tools and will be double digit HR/SB
6)      George Springer, RF, HOU – excellent young hitter from UCONN
7)      Nate Roberts, LF, MIN –coming out party here
8)      Slade Heathcott, RF, NYY – could be a rarity – a home grown Yankee outfielder
9)      Kyle Jensen, LF, MIA – excellent power hitter
10)   Jake Marisnick, CF, MIA – very young but very good tools
Middle Infield – will have to wait for their opportunities
1)      Kolten Wong, 2B, STL – very advanced college hitter who could win job next spring
2)      Nick Franklin, SS/2B, SEA – moved from SS to OF to 2B but will hit no matter where Mariners play him
3)      Grant Green, SS/OF/2B – same with Green  but will start 2013 in the minors
4)      Javier Baez, SS/3B, CHC – moved to third with Castro at short; nobody swings harder
5)      Joe Panik, 2B, SF – will have to wait with Scutaro re-signed
6)      Carlos Sanchez, 3B/2B, CWS – almost ready but will have to wait for an opportunity
7)      Jeudy Valdez, 2B, SD – good average, very good fielder
8)      Nick Ahmed, SS, ATL – will they ask him to change positions too?
9)      Didi Gregorius, SS, CIN – terrific fielding shortstop (moved Hamilton to OF)
10)   Rafael Ynoa, 2B, LAD – can play all over an infield where there are no openings
Corner Infielders – lots of power if/when they get a job
1)      Jonathan Singleton, 1B, HOU – good average and good power; up soon
2)      Anthony Rendon, 3B, WAS – very advanced college hitter; may have to move to 2B unless Zimmerman moves to first base; warning health is not one of his skills
3)      Cody Asche, 3B, PHL – solid all-around player that Phillies love
4)      Jonathan Schoop, SS/3B, BAL – good hitter looking for spot
5)      Chris McGuiness, 1B, CLE  –  taken in Rule V draft so should compete at 1B/DH
6)      Kaleb Cowart, 3B, LAA – future third baseman in Anaheim
7)      Stefan Romero, 3B, SEA – outstanding young hitter
8)      Nate Freiman, 1B, SD – lots of power
9)      Matt Skole, 1B, WAS – likely needs change of scenery
10)   Hunter Morris, 1B, MLW – bat will play, not sure about glove

Catcher – toughest position to play and thus find good ones
1)      Mike Zunino, C, SEA – will move Montero to DH; Golden Spikes winner
I think it will be a long time before another catcher here is fantasy worthy (but Tommy Joseph, PHL and Max Stassi, OAK are interesting prospects. Austin Romine, NYY may be ready for the Yankees defensively but can’t hit enough for fantasy teams).
Starting Pitcher
1)      Kyle Gibson, RHP, MIN – most likely to be in rotation in March
2)      James Paxton, LHP, SEA – likely starts at AAA but could come quickly
3)      Robbie Erlin, LHP, SD – I would start him over Marquis ..but the Padres?
4)      Justin Marks, LHP, KC – I guess he waits for a call
5)      Kevin Siegrist, LHP, STL – another likely headed to AAA next spring
Relief Pitchers
1)      Mark Montgomery, RHP, NYY – most likely to start in the majors
2)      Kevin Quackenbush, RHP, SD – should be at AA next year
3)      Heath Hembree, RHP, SF – some view as future closer for Giants
4)      Johnny Hellweg, RHP, MLW – very tall (6’9”) who throws hard and apparently is being converted to bullpen by Brewers
5)      Jimmy Reyes, LHP, TEX – probably a year away
Pitchers to keep your eye on
1)      Kyle Kaminska, RHP, PIT – I must be in left field on this one because as well as he pitched in the AFL he was left off the 40 by Pirates and yet went unclaimed Thursday – but that is not the toughest team to win a spot in the rotation
2)      Bobby Cassevah, RHP, LAA – former Angels reliever who looked very good as a starter this fall
3)      Seth Blair, RHP, STL – only control keeping Blair from elite prospect status

Can they reach the major leagues and help you in 2013?

Clearly the biggest question for those of you drafting already in redraft leagues, especially draft and hold leagues is who will make an impact in the upcoming season. A great prospect who will NOT be in the big leagues in 2013 (Rymer Liriano) is just taking up a roster spot. It would be nice to draft Billy Hamilton and get 50 stolen bases once he comes up -- BUT will he come up? There are no clear cut answers on most of these players. Chris McGuiness , 1B, the league MVP in the AFL was claimed in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 draft by Cleveland which means he has to either stay on their roster all year or be offered back to the Texas Rangers for half of the $50,000 claiming price, and Nate Frieman, 1B who was claimed by Houston from the Padres will be on a roster and have a chance to win a spot in the lineup in March. The rest are really just educated guesses – but here are mine.


Impact Hitters for 2013
1)      Chris McGuiness, 1B, CLE
2)      Nate Frieman, 1B, HOU
3)      Kolten Wong, 2B, STL
4)      Mike Zunino, C, SEA
5)      Jonathan Singleton, 1B/OF, HOU
6)      Billy Hamilton, OF, CIN (perhaps most impact but he needs to learn to play the outfield so unless there is an injury to Drew Stubbs or Chris Heisey or he gets a late season callup to pinch run I see him a star at Triple-A in 2013)
Impact Pitchers for 2013
1)      Kyle Gibson, Minnesota
2)      Mark Montgomery, NY Yankees
3)      Robbie Erlin, San Diego
4)      Justin Marks, Kansas City


Last Updated on Saturday, 08 December 2012 11:51


# Captain Hook 2012-12-08 13:27
Note on Kyle Kaminska - traded to Boston to complete a trade for PTBNL ... not sure that he will get a chance to compete in spring training so most likely he starts at AAA.
# Spread da wealth 2013-01-05 10:40
Happy New Year and thanks for these reports!
(1) What do you think of James Paxton from a roto stats perspective? I have him as a minor leaguer in a 9 team AL-only and once he's in Seattle I could keep him for three years at $5. He finished strong last year but do you think WHIP or anything else will make him not worth keeping?
(2) FWIW, I saw Carlos Sanchez several times at Winston-Salem last year and was very impressed with his speed, hitting, and defense. I agree with you that he's ready once he gets the opportunity.
# Captain Hook 2013-01-05 11:22
I like Paxton and drafted him last year as a minor league player in my AL keeper league. He has a big arm and good size and last year had 110 K in 106+ IP at AA Jacksonville. His ERA was fine at 3.05 but his WHIP was way too high at IIRC 1.41 due to 54 walks. Definitely a pitcher that AL players want on their farm teams or minor league drafts this year or if unfortunate to not have those in your league at least keep on your radar.

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