Here’s a look at Friday’s top performers from the Arizona Fall League, including five players from team’s Top 30 Prospects lists.
A's: Denzel Clarke, OF (No. 10), Mesa Solar Sox
Clarke didn't provide the biggest swing of Mesa's 9-2 win Friday over Surprise, but he was responsible for the most exciting play of the day -- a fifth-inning inside-the-park home run that allowed the toolsy outfielder to showcase his plus speed. Clarke also added another hit and a walk and scored an additional run in his most productive showing yet in the fall league, coming off a year where the former fourth-round pick hit 15 homers with 30 steals between Single-A and High-A.
Angels: Connor Van Scoyoc, RHP (Unranked), Scottsdale
The Scorpions securing the first shutout of the year in the AFL had much to do with Van Scoyoc, the Angels' 11th round pick back in 2018. The 22-year-old right-hander became this year's first AFL pitcher to pitch five scoreless innings in Scottsdale's seven-inning 2-0 blanking of Glendale, holding the Desert Dogs to three hits while striking out three without a walk. It was a massive improvement over Van Scoyoc's first two starts in the circuit, in which he allowed 11 runs in five total innings. The unheralded Van Scoyoc is coming off a breakthrough season at Single-A Empire, where his 140 strikeouts were the most of any hurler in the Angels' system at a single level. More »
Cubs: Matt Mervis, 1B (No. 21), Mesa Solar Sox
The sweet-swinging Cubs prospect is in a power groove. Mervis followed up his two-homer game Thursday with another big fly Friday, socking a sixth-inning solo shot in the Solar Sox’s win over Surprise to take sole possession of the AFL lead. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, since Mervis is coming off a record-setting Minor League campaign in which he mashed 36 homers and lead the Minors with 78 extra-base hits. He also compiled the most total bases and RBI during the regular season.
Mariners: Robert Perez Jr., 1B (No. 21), Peoria Javelinas
Perez supplied the big blow of Peoria's 6-4 win over Salt River on Friday, crushing a go-ahead 3-run home run that put the Javelinas ahead for good in the third. That's what the Mariners love to see from Perez Jr., whose tremendous raw power is his best tool. It allowed Perez to crush 27 home runs between Single-A and High-A in 2022, and two in nine contests so far in this fall league. He's driven in 10 runs in those nine games, which puts him amongst the top run producers so far in the AFL. More »
Marlins: Joe Mack, C (No. 9), Mesa Solar Sox
Mack, the 31st overall pick in the 2021 Draft, is the fifth youngest player in the AFL. You wouldn’t know it. Mack is hitting .300/.462/.650 over his first 20 AFL at-bats after socking his second home run of the circuit during Friday’s 9-2 win over Surprise. The left-handed-hitting Mack’s second homer in three games was even more impressive as it came off left-hander Colton Graham; he’s also hit safely in four of his past six games while drawing five walks. More »
Rays: Mason Auer, OF, (No. 12), Mesa Solar Sox
The biggest swing of the Solar Sox’s victory Friday came from Auer, who crushed a three-run home run in the fourth, his first of the fall league. It was a welcome display of power from Auer, who has grown into the tool since Tampa Bay made him a fifth-round Draft pick out of the MLB Draft League in 2021. He hit 15 big flies across two levels in 2022, his first full pro season, including 11 in 55 games after a mid-season promotion to High-A. He also drove in a run with a single on Friday, and is hitting a cool .294 with a .873 OPS thus far in the fall league.