What is being called The Futures Game of the Fall will be played in Surprise, Arizona on Saturday night. The annual Arizona Fall League showcase known as The Rising Stars Game will be televised nationally on MLB Network at 9pm EST, when the best prospects from all organizations meet in a contest that pits the East and West divisions against each other.
As I've stated before, the Arizona Fall League is a stepping stone for many players on their ways upward in the professional baseball ranks. The players on the rosters for this big game, slated to be played at Surprise Stadium, are among the highest regarded prospects in the league. Many of the players will be receiving their very first chance to play on such a big stage, with the eyes of the baseball world upon them.
"The entire year has been an incredible experience and this is only making it better," said righty hurler Justin De Fratus. "I'm excited for it and can't wait to meet the other players." The 23-year-old is one of two Phillies prospects on the East Division roster.
Justin De Fratus prior to a game in August
De Fratus has pitched 6 scoreless innings thus far with the AFL's Mesa Solar Sox. In 49 combined games at High A level Clearwater and Double A Reading this year, De Fratus posted a 3-0 record, a 1.94 ERA, struck out 71 batters in 65 innings and recorded 21 saves.
The other Philadelphia property on the East roster is right-handed pitcher, 23-year-old Josh Zeid, who helped the Phillies Class A affiliate Lakewood BlueClaws lock down their second consecutive South Atlantic League championship during the 2010 season. Zeid has posted a 3-0 record with a 3.86 ERA in 4 AFL starts with the Solar Sox. Zeid was the Phillies' minor league pitcher of the month in April 2010, when, as the closer for Lakewood, he went 2-0 with 2 saves and allowed no earned runs in 9 outings.
Josh Zeid with the SAL championship trophy in September
In an exhibition game where some players might feel pleased to simply be recognized and/or get the opportunity to display their talents, De Fratus wants his team to come out on top. "I hope we can all do our best and win this game."
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