The Arizona Fall League finished on Saturday. The White Sox prospects playing in the league helped the Salt River Rafters win the AFL East division to make the league title game. The Rafters lost 4-3, but fall league baseball isn’t about wins and losses, it’s about player development.
That said, it’s very difficult to put too much stock into a player’s performance in the AFL for a number of reasons. One is the season lasts barely more than a month so the final season stats don’t provide a large sample. Another issue is that many of the pitchers in the league are either working on something and/or are limited on their workload. Not to mention, it’s a notoriously hitter-friendly league.
Now that all the context is out of the way, let’s see how the seven Sox prospects did in the league.
Carlos Sanchez: .299/367/.368, 9 BB, 18 K, 11/14 in stolen base attempts in 87 AB
Sanchez led the league in stolen bases, which is an interesting addition to his game. He’s already been credited for playing strong defense and has shown the ability to hit for average in the high minors so adding the possibility of stolen bases to the equation makes him profile even better as a starter down the road. He didn’t hit any home runs, but that’s not really his game. The Venezuelan will have a chance for a big league roster spot in spring training.
Andy Wilkins: .270/.327/.416, 3 HR, 8 BB, 22 K in 89 AB
Trayce Thompson: .208/.424/.333, 2 HR, 17 BB, 17 K in 48 AB
Neither of these power hitters showed off a lot of power, but Thompson did impress with his ability to draw walks. Whether or not he will make a lot of contact, his power reputation is probably leading to pitchers fearing him. At least Thompson is showing the ability to take those pitches.
Andre Rienzo: 24.2 IP (6 starts), 4.74 ERA, 24 K, 15 BB, 21 H
Rienzo impressed scouts with his fastball, but that’s nothing new. His control remained erratic, but it was nice to get him some extra work after a PED suspension early in the season cut his workload. The Brazilian is pitching for his country in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers so he is still pitching. He may not have the control or the offspeed pitches to remain a starter, but he has a big league arm.
Santos Rodriguez: 11.1 IP, 7 R, 6 ER, 13 K, 10 BB, 11 H
Salvador Sanchez: 11.2 IP, 6 R, 3 ER, 9 K, 12 BB, 9 H
Rodriguez did what he’s always done, flashed good stuff, gotten some strikeouts and walked a lot of batters. Sanchez did some of the same, but his recent change from batter to pitcher will give him some time to figure it out. Not that the AFL hurt either of their chances, but time is ticking for both.
Taylor Thompson: 13.1 IP, 5 R, 10 K, 4 BB, 16 H
Thompson is one to watch in 2013. He had a strong second half and could have figured something out (he also got healthy and that always helps). He doesn’t have top line stuff, but he still might be a sleeper.