Skip to main content

Arizona Fall League is Launching Pad for Stars

The Arizona Fall League is a place for aspiring Major Leaguers to go to work on their baseball skills in the Autumn months. As the weather begins to cool elsewhere, the diamond stays hot and for many of baseball's most promising young talents in Arizona.

Rosters in the AFL are a mixture of different organizations' prospects, with each Major League club sending 7 players that combine to fill up the 35-man rosters of the league's six teams.

With many of the sport's top prospects playing in the league annually, the AFL has become a virtual launching pad to the big leagues. Several players from last year's AFL rosters made their MLB debuts in 2010. The likes of Ike Reese, Mike Leake, Domonic Brown, Starlin Castro, Stephen Strasburg and Buster Posey all made their names known in their respective organization's cities and around MLB this year.

Certainly not all of this year's AFL players are gearing up to be playing on their sport's biggest stage within the next 6-11 months, but it's a lock that some of them are.

This year, the Phillies' players are merged with individuals from the Mets, Angels, Pirates and Cubs to complete the Mesa Solar Sox roster.

Mark Parent, a man who has quickly become well liked throughout the Philadelphia organization is the Solar Sox hitting coach. Parent, who in his first season managing affiliated ball, led the Phillies Class A team the Lakewood BlueClaws to a second consecutive South Atlantic League championship in 2010. The former big leaguer has some people close to the organization thinking he is on the fast track upward in the Phils' system as a coach. Early in the season, Phillies brass mentioned the coaching assignments in the AFL to Parent, who stuck by something he stated when he was hired for the Lakewood job. Upon joining the Phillies organization, Parent told general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. that he would do whatever the Phillies asked, and Parent excitedly took the AFL assignment.

"It's cool. It's certainly a job I haven't had. The more jobs you have, and building a resume of some sort, it's a good thing," Parent said in an exclusive interview recently.

So, not only is the AFL a place for players to sharpen and develop their skills, it also works as a platform for coaching personnel to do the same.

Catcher Tim Kennelly, first baseman Matt Rizzotti and outfielder John Mayberry Jr. are the offensive Philadelphia properties that Parent is working with closely out in Mesa.

Also on the team are pitchers BJ Rosenberg, Tyson Brummett, Justin De Fratus and Chris Kissock.

Mayberry Jr. saw some action at the Major League level in each of the past two season with the Phillies, but which of the other six Fightins hopefuls would be likely to make a splash with the big club sooner than later? With Matt Rizzotti's .500 OBP through 7 AFL games, his .343 avg. and .985 OPS in 125 minor league games during the 2010 regular season and a roadblock at his position named Ryan Howard making Rizzotti resemble a delicious trading chip, the best candidate to make his debut in red pin stripes next year is righty reliever Justin De Fratus.

De Fratus, who turned 23-years-old last week, posted a 3-0 record, 21 saves and a 1.94 ERA with 71 strike outs and 16 walks in 65 innings combined at High-A Cleawater and Double A Reading in 2010. De Fratus, who sports a fastball that registers around the 93 MPH mark, was assigned the honor of having best control in the Phillies' system last off-season by Baseball America. De Fratus, a California native, was an 11th round draft selection in 2007 and is primed to be the hurler that makes big moves in 2011.

Check back for updates and exclusive interviews from the Arizona Fall League in the coming weeks.

______________________________________________________

You can follow PhoulBallz.com on Twitter by clicking HERE.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Frosty Phillies Favorites: 2021 Edition w/ DJ Stewart

Season's greetings to all of you! It's that time of the year to celebrate and enjoy the holiday season. Every year at Christmas time, I survey a group of Phillies prospects about what they get excited for during the holidays.  This year, we focus on just one up and coming player, corner infielder DJ Stewart. The 22-year-old righty batter had a solid season in 2021. In 94 games combined with Class A Clearwater and Class A Advanced Jersey Shore, Stewart notched a .265 batting average with 14 home runs, 42 RBI and five stolen bases.  Recently, I talked with DJ to gain his feedback on all of his holiday favorites. Read ahead for that interview... -What's your favorite Christmas movie? My favorite is This Christmas.  My Mother and I would watch it together every Christmas, so it just stuck with me. -What is your favorite Christmas song and which version is best? This Christmas by Chris Brown.  It's the final song of my favorite Christmas movie. -What's your favorit

Frosty Phillies Favorites: 2020 Christmas Favorites Survey

Season's greetings to all!  It's that time of the year to celebrate and enjoy the holiday season.  Every year at Christmas time, I survey a group of Phillies prospects about what they get excited for during the holidays.  This year I included a throwback Phils name as well. Individuals taking part in this year's 11th annual Christmas favorites survey include former Phillies All-Star and coach Mickey Morandini as well as pitching prospects Dominic Pipkin , Erik Miller and Ben Brown along with corner infielder Matt Kroon. Inquiries and responses regarding each player's holly jolly favorites lie ahead...   -What's your favorite Christmas song and which version? Morandini- All I Want For Christmas by Mariah Carey. Pipkin- Blue Christmas by Elvis.  It's just unbeatable.   Miller- I don't like Christmas music, to be honest. Kroon- I am a big fan of the original Jingle Bells. It reminds me of being a kid again. It reminds me of all the holiday act

Biddle slated to make Reading return on Saturday

Jesse Biddle, image- Jay Floyd After a miserable stretch of starts in June, lefty pitcher Jesse Biddle was placed on Double-A Reading's temporary inactive list. On Saturday, he'll make his long awaited return to the FirstEnergy Stadium mound when he starts the first game of the Fightins' scheduled double header against Binghamton. The 22-year-old posted a 0-4 record with a 12.64 ERA in four June starts. It was clear that there was something quite wrong with Biddle, who had missed a start in late May after being pelted with hail and suffering a concussion. A mixture of feelings including confusion and anger were firmly settling in while Biddle's efforts on the mound were not. The Phils saw a need for the Philadelphia native and Germantown Friends School product to take a break. Exams discovered lasting impact on Biddle stemming from the concussion and time off was required. "For me it was an important time not only to take a mental break and to go down