Yesterday afternoon, rosters for this year’s iteration of the Arizona Fall League were announced. The AFL is a league that plays annually following the completion of the regular baseball season and is used as a showcase and proving ground for MLB prospects. This season, our Milwaukee Brewers will be sending their minor leaguers to play for the Glendale Desert Dogs alongside prospects from the White Sox, Cardinals, Reds, and Dodgers.
This year, the Brewers will be sending eight playing representatives to the AFL and in addition, minor league coach Jim Henderson will serve as the Desert Dogs’ pitching coach. Four pitchers and four hitters will make up the Brewers’ playing contingent in Arizona:
RHP Victor Castaneda
Signed out of the Mexican League prior to the 2018 season, the recently-turned 21 year old has spent his season with the Class A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. Pitching out the bullpen, Castaneda has racked up 30 appearances and 38.1 innings with a 3.52 ERA. He owns a 47:13 K/BB in that sample, finishing 17 contests while recording the save in six of them.
LHP Nathan Kirby
Kirby, who turns 26 in November, has hardly been able to take the mound since getting selected by Milwaukee in the supplemental first-round of the draft in 2015. He has thrown only 83.2 professional innings with a 4.95 ERA and 5.7 BB/9, and he missed all of 2016 and 2017 with Tommy John surgery and a follow-up elbow procedure, and then was on the shelf for all of 2019 after going under the knife for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. He’ll hope to use this opportunity to build up an innings base and hopefully some positive momentum heading into the 2020 season.
LHP Quintin Torres-Costa
Another southpaw who has missed almost all of 2019, Torres-Costa went on the shelf after blowing out his elbow during the final week of the 2018 minor league regular season. He’s on the mend from Tommy John surgery and made his first appearance of the year earlier this week, tossing a third of an inning for the AZL Gold team. A funky hurler who profiles as a lefty-specialist, QTC posted a 1.31 ERA in 55.0 innings between Double-A and Triple-A the last time he was healthy in 2018.
LHP Clayton Andrews
Nothing about this 22 year old left-hander screams prospect. He was chosen in the 17th round of the 2018 Draft. He stands only 5’6” tall. He doesn’t often scrape 90 MPH with his fastball. But Clayton Andrews has relied on a plus changeup to tear through minor league batters the past two years, including posting a 3.21 ERA in 56.0 innings between Class A-Advanced and Double-A this season. Despite less-than-intimidating stuff, he’s struck out 72 batters against 23 walks. Oh, and the guy can hit a little bit, too — Andrews has made 15 error-less starts in center field this season while batting .333/.385/.383 in 65 plate appearances.
C Payton Henry
Ranked as Milwaukee’s #16 overall prospect by MLB Pipeline, Henry split time behind the plate and at DH with Carolina League MVP Mario Feliciano this season. Though he didn’t win any awards, the 22 year old still put together a fine showing — .242/.315/.395 with 14 homers in 482 plate appearances, checking in at about six percent better than the league average hitter. He also gunned down 38% of would-be base stealers while behind the dish. His defensive tools are well-regarded, and his above-average raw power is the most tantalizing aspect of his offensive game.
C/UTIL David Fry
A 7th-round pick of the Brewers in 2018, Fry spent his first full professional season with the Class A Timber Rattlers in Appleton. In 130 games and 551 plate appearances, the 23 year old has hit .260/.333/.453 for a terrific 126 wRC+. His 17 homers are third in the league while his 41 doubles rank first. Most of Fry’s starts came behind the plate — and he threw out 44% of attempted thieves — but he has also made starts at first base, third base, left field, and right field, in addition to appearances at second base, center field, and shortstop.
OF Tristen Lutz
The top-rated prospect that Milwaukee is sending to the AFL, Lutz is currently rated as the org’s #2 by MLB Pipeline. He only recently turned 21 and spent the year in the Carolina League, batting .255/.335/.419 with 13 home runs. Strikeouts have been a problem for the young outfielder, but his raw power and big throwing arm have scouts dreaming of a so-called “prototypical right fielder” at maturity.
OF Pablo Abreu
Rated as Milwaukee’s 18th-best prospect, Abreu missed much of this season with injury and has struggled in his limited playing action on the field. In 154 plate appearances this year, starting in Appleton and including a rehab assignment in the AZL, Abreu has hit just .201/.253/.302 with a single home run. He is a legitimate defensive center fielder, though, who has shown the ability to hit to all fields with power. The 2016 international signee is still just 19 years old.
The six-team Arizona Fall League has been moved up quite this year, with games beginning on September 18th. The annual Fall Stars Game will take place on October 12th, and the league championship game is on October 26th at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference