Earlier today, rosters were released for this year’s iteration of the Arizona Fall League. Back after a pandemic hiatus in 2020, the AFL will feature a bevy of experimental rules this season. Pitchers and catchers will communicate with “PitchCom” technology while on the field. The pitch clock will be in play and enforced. Bigger bases to promote more steal attempts, automated balls and strikes, and anti-shift rules will all be part of the games in Arizona this fall, as well.
The AFL is a league that plays annually following the completion of the MLB regular season and is used as a showcase and proving ground for prospects. This year, the Milwaukee Brewers will be sending their minor leaguers to play for the Salt River Rafters alongside prospects from the Rockies, Mets, Diamondbacks, and Tigers. The Rafters will be managed by Matt Erickson of the Timber Rattlers, and Tyron Carrasquillo will be representing the org as a Strength and Conditioning coach, as well. The Brewers will be sending a contingent of eight players to Arizona — five pitchers and three position players:
RHP Taylor Floyd
A 10th-round pick in 2019 with a low arm slot and fringey velocity, Floyd enjoyed a stellar age-23 season split between High-A Wisconsin and Double-A Biloxi. In 40 appearances between the two stops, Floyd worked to a 2.89 ERA with 84 strikeouts and 24 walks across 56.0 innings. He was nearly untouchable once arriving in Double-A — 7.1 innings, 4 hits, zero runs, and two walks versus 12 strikeouts.
RHP JT Hintzen
Hintzen is another 10th-rounder with middling stuff, getting selected in 2018. But he receives high grades for his deception and he fills up the strike zone. As a 25 year old in Double-A this year, Hintzen posted a 3.88 ERA in 58.0 innings (36 appearances) with 79 strikeouts and 18 walks.
RHP Justin Jarvis
A high-upside prep prospect, Jarvis was picked in the 5th round in 2018 and signed instead of heading to UNC Wilmington. He’s got good velo and the arsenal to be a starter, but posted mostly average results in High-A in 2021 — a 5.40 ERA and 62:35 K/BB ratio in 17 starts and 63.1 innings. At age 21, he was more than two years younger than the average player in the league.
RHP Abner Uribe
Milwaukee’s #26 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, Uribe signed with the Brewers as an international free agent in 2018 and has seen his stock take off. Uribe’s fastball is consistently at 100+ MPH and his slider has a chance to be an average offering, as well. Uribe was limited by a torn mensicus in 2021 and didn’t appear in the regular season after July 22nd, but in the 33.2 innings he did pitch, Uribe posted a 4.01 ERA with 52 strikeouts and 25 walks.
RHP Jolon Zhao
Also known as “Lun” Zhao, he signed with the Brewers out of China and debuted in the Arizona League in 2018 as a 16 year old. Tommy John surgery cost him all of 2019 then the pandemic hit in 2020, but Zhao and his high-spin curveball resurfaced in the complex league this summer as he posted allowed one earned run in 8.2 innings with 13 strikeouts and two walks.
C Mario Feliciano
Milwaukee’s #13 prospect per MLB Pipeline, Feliciano made his MLB debut this year while spending most of his time on the field in Triple-A. Unfortunately he was limited to 40 games overall between the majors and minors, and Feliciano struggled with Nashville — .210/.246/.314 with three home runs in 114 plate appearances.
OF Joe Gray, Jr.
Milwaukee’s second-rounder in 2018, Gray experienced a breakout season this year in the lower minors and boosted his prospect stock a ton. He started in Low-A and slowed down a little in high-A, but finished the year with a .252/.355/.499 slash line in 110 games, with 20 home runs and 23 stolen bases while playing mostly in center field.
OF Joey Wiemer
Wiemer was seen as a bit of a project when the Brewers picked him in the 4th round of the shortened 2020 draft, but the 22 year old has perhaps the strongest case for the organization’s minor league player of the year. Wiemer hit 27 homers and stole 30 bags between Low-A and High-A, batting .295/.403/.556 in 109 games.
The six-team Arizona Fall League will begin play next week on October 13th. The annual Fall Stars Game will take place on November 13th, and the league championship game is on November 20th.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference