Ranking the Top 10 Hitting Performances of the 2012 Arizona Fall League
The 2012 Arizona Fall League came to an end on Saturday afternoon, as the Peoria Javelinas defeated the Salt River Rafters in the AFL championship, 4-3. After winning the league in 2011, the Rafters ultimately came up short in their quest for back-to-back titles.
The Javelinas’ offense was led by strong performances from slew of high-profile prospects: Mike Zunino was 3-for-5 with two RBI, including the eventual go-ahead knock; Billy Hamilton was 2-for-5 with a triple and bunt single before leaving the game in seventh inning after colliding with the outfield wall; Nate Roberts was 3-for-5 with three singles and a run scored; and right fielder Rymer Liriano was 3-for-3 with a walk and run scored.
But now that the fall season is over, I thought that I’d reflect on the league’s offensive standouts. Now, this isn’t a ranking of the league’s top prospects; I’m only looking at a prospect’s production during the AFL regular season.
1. Nate Roberts, OF, Minnesota Twins: .446/.565/662, 15 R, 8 XBH (3 HR), 6 SB, 7/12 K/BB (19 G)
Left-handed hitting outfielder led the AFL in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage as a top-of-the-order hitter; batted .545/.667/.727 against left-handed pitching; final 10 games: .436/.532/.718 with 17 hits and three home runs.
2. Slade Heathcott, OF, New York Yankees: .388/.494/.612, 10 XBH, 15 RBI, 5 SB, 14/12 K/BB (18 G)
After slow start, Heathcott finished his first AFL campaign as the league’s hottest hitter; final 10 games: .500 (19-for-38), 10 R, 10 XBH (3 3B), 12 RBI, 4 SB, 5/7 K/BB; collected an extra-base hit in final eight AFL games.
3. Josh Prince, IF/OF, Milwaukee Brewers: .404/.491/.573, 23 R, 11 XBH, 51 TB, 10 SB, 14/15 K/BB (25 G)
Versatile speedster led the league in runs scored (23) and hits (36); reached base safely 21 times in final 10 games.
4. Anthony Rendon, 3B, Washington Nationals: .338/.436/.494, 11 XBH (10 2B), 6 SB, 14/15 K/BB (22 G)
Was more well-rested than other participants after playing in only 43 games during regular season; collected multiple hits in six of final 10 games; final 10 games: .455/.548/.667, 10 R, 6 XBH, 3 SB, 5/8 K/BB.
5. Chris McGuiness, 1B, Texas Rangers: .283/.370/.467, 9 XBH (4 HR), 27 RBI, 16/13 K/BB (25 G)
Named the Arizona Fall League MVP; paced the league with 27 RBI; did most of his damage against right-handed pitching (.913 OPS, 21 RBI); collected at least one RBI in seven of last 10 games.
6. Rymer Liriano, OF, San Diego Padres: .319/.376/.505, 23 R, 9 XBH (4 HR), 6 SB, 21/6 K/BB (22 G)
A prospect who really stood out this fall with his size, athleticism, all-around tools and rapidly improving baseball skills; tied for the league lead with 23 runs scored; strikes out too much, but there’s a noticeable underlying approach; final 10 games: .370/.412/.565, 13 R, 5 XBH, 9 RBI.
7. Kyle Jenson, OF, Miami Marlins: .330/.390/.593, 13 XBH (5 HR), 54 TB, 19 RBI, 23/6 K/BB (23 G)
6’3, 255-pound outfielder has big-time holes in his swing and approach, but led the league with 54 total bases and tied for the lead with five home runs; strong overall AFL campaign but also a product of small sample size and high BABIP.
8. Nick Franklin, 2B/SS, Seattle Mariners: .338/.422/.519, 9 XBH (2 HR), 22 RBI, 15/12 K/BB (20 G)
Switch hitter has enjoyed back-to-back standout seasons in the AFL; lack of production from right side is slightly concerning; posted a 1.020 OPS with nine extra-base hits and 20 RBI as a left-handed hitter.
9. George Springer, OF, Houston Astros: .286/.412/.600, 11 XBH (4 HR), 14 RBI, 5 SB, 20/13 K/BB (21 G)
After slow starts to the fall with too many strikeouts, Springer’s walk rate steadily improved as he finished the season on an extra-base frenzy; final five games: 9-for-20, 6 XBH (3 HR), 6 RBI, 5/2 K/BB.
10. Rafael Ynoa, 2B/SS, Los Angeles Dodgers: .330/.374/.515, 10 XBH (4 3B), 20 RBI, 7 SB, 14/8 K/BB (22 G)
Rule V Draft-eligible prospect showed more power this fall after failing to go yard during regular season (Double-A); hit safely in final eight games; makes a lot of contact with above-average speed.
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