SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- For the past 25 years, the Arizona Fall League has been a place to see some of the best up-and-coming talent around baseball. For the past decade -- edition No. 11 arrives on Saturday -- that talent has been funneled onto one field in the Fall Stars
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- For the past 25 years, the Arizona Fall League has been a place to see some of the best up-and-coming talent around baseball. For the past decade -- edition No. 11 arrives on Saturday -- that talent has been funneled onto one field in the Fall Stars Game.
The AFL's version of the Futures Game will take place at Surprise Stadium at 5 p.m. local time (8 p.m. ET) and will be broadcast on MLB Network and streamed live on MLB.com and once again will feature many of the game's top prospects. A total of 15 members of MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 prospects list are on the rosters, with an additional 21 players from team Top 30s to once again make the Fall Stars Game a veritable who's who for prospects.
:: 2016 Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game ::
Noticeably absent from the game is No. 1 prospectYoán Moncada, whose Fall League season officially came to an end on Friday when the Red Sox decided to shut him down due to his thumb injury. That makes the Yankees' Gleyber Torres, at No. 17 overall, the top-ranked player participating in the game. The 19-year-old has also been one of the top performing prospects in the AFL this season, carrying the fourth-best OPS (1.077) in the league into Monday's competition.
Cubs phenom Eloy Jimenez (No. 23) and the Indians' Bradley Zimmer (No. 25) round out the top 25 prospects, all on the East squad. The A's Franklin Barreto (42), Brewers outfielder Brett Phillips (62) and Anthony Alford (86) of the Blue Jays are the other Top 100 players on the East roster.
While the West doesn't have as high-ranked prospects, it does have more, nine Top 100 players in total. The roster also has the four Top 100 pitchers slated to participate in the game. The Rays' Brent Honeywell (No. 39) will start the game for the West (Giants prospect Chris Stratton gets the ball for the East), and he's joined by the Astros' pair of Top 100 arms in the Fall League, No. 29Francis Martes and No. 70David Paulino. Michael Kopech (No. 67) of the Red Sox is the fourth of that very talented quartet.
Offensively, the West roster has a pair of Dodgers in Cody Bellinger (No. 31) and Willie Calhoun (87), Twins shortstop Nick Gordon (47), Mariners outfielder Tyler O'Neill (59) and Harrison Bader (82) of the Cardinals.
Four of these players know what this kind of setting is like, having played in the Futures Game just this past July in San Diego. Jimenez and O'Neill played for the World Team, while Calhoun and Cardinals catcher Carson Kelly suited up for the United States squad.
Fans had the opportunity to add more talent to these rosters in the Final 2 Fan Vote, and they chose Yankees No. 7 Miguel Andujar for the East roster and Red Sox's No. 12 prospect Mauricio Dubon for the West
If last year's rosters are any indication, this year's Fall Stars Game will once again be an excellent predictor of players who will impact the big leagues next season. Last year's contest included the Yankees' Gary Sánchez and the A's Sean Manaea, among others.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.