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.