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Vote for final spots in Fall Stars Game

One roster slot remains open for each team in AFL showcase
@wboor
October 9, 2019

PHOENIX -- The Fall Stars rosters, which were revealed earlier today, are nearly set, but the final roster spot on each team is still up for grabs. Six players -- three from each the East and West divisions -- are eligible for the Arizona Fall League’s Final Vote. Fans can

PHOENIX -- The Fall Stars rosters, which were revealed earlier today, are nearly set, but the final roster spot on each team is still up for grabs.

Six players -- three from each the East and West divisions -- are eligible for the Arizona Fall League’s Final Vote. Fans can vote for the player they’d most like to see in the annual Fall Stars Game here and then watch the game on Saturday at 8:08 p.m. ET.

The Fall Stars Game will take place at Salt River Fields and will also be streamed on MLB.com.

The Final Vote candidates are as follows:

West:

Omar Estevez, Dodgers, SS
Oneil Cruz, Pirates, SS
Blake Rutherford, White Sox, OF

Estevez (Dodgers No. 15) missed a little more than a month during the regular season because of a hamstring injury, but still fared well in his first Double-A experience. The 21-year-old, who possesses advanced hitting skills, hit .291/.352/.431 over 83 games with Double-A Tulsa and has continued to produce in Arizona, where he’s batting an even .300 through seven games.

Cruz may be best known for his height -- yes, he’s a 6-foot-6 shortstop -- but that’s far from the only notable aspect of his game. The Pirates’ No. 3 prospect (No. 57 overall) has struggled in Arizona and is hitting .179 through eight games, but it’s also easy to see his potential. Cruz, 21, has plenty of raw power, although he’s still learning how to tap into it during games. Defensively, he has above-average speed and a plus-plus arm. If for some reason he isn’t able to stick at shortstop, he could transition to the outfield.

Rutherford got off to a slow start in Arizona, but may be turning the corner as he has hits in three straight games and hit his first homer on Saturday. The White Sox No. 9 prospect spent the 2019 campaign with Double-A Birmingham where he hit .265 and matched his career high with seven homers over 118 games. While the power numbers haven’t been impressive thus far in his career, Rutherford makes consistent contact and the White Sox believe he’ll develop more power in the future. Defensively the 2016 first-round pick (Yankees) profiles best in the corners, but does have experience at all three outfield spots.

East:

Nolan Jones, Indians, 3B
Ronaldo Hernandez, Rays, C
Jerar Encarnacion, Marlins, OF

Jones is coming off a productive season (.272/.409/.442 over 126 at the Class A Advanced and Double A levels) and although he got off to a slow start in the Fall League, he’s started to pick up the pace. The Indians’ No. 1 prospect (No. 37 overall) is batting .208 through 12 games, but has also homered in three of his past four contests. The 21-year-old was drafted in the second round (2016) and stands out because of his offensive profile, but he’s also made a lot of progress defensively and continues to improve at third base.

The Rays’ No. 7 prospect, Hernandez is hitting .300 through six games and hit his first homer of the fall, a no-doubt two-run blast, on Sunday. The 21-year-old hit .265/.299/.397 with nine homers over 103 games with Class A Advanced Charlotte during the regular season and is projected to hit for more power as he continues to develop. Hernandez does need to refine his blocking and receiving, but has plus arm strength and the potential to develop into an average defender behind the plate.

Encarnacion, whom the Marlins signed for $78,000 in 2015, puts on an impressive show during batting practice with his plus raw power. The Marlins’ No. 17 prospect carried that power from batting practice into games during the regular season as he hit a career-high 16 homers over 135 games with Class A Clinton and Class A Advanced Jupiter. Encarnacion, who has plus arm strength and profiles as a right fielder, has also homered twice through 10 AFL games.

William Boor is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.