Tuesday's top AFL prospect performers
Here's a look at Tuesday's top performers in the Arizona Fall League from each team's Top 30 Prospects list.
D-backs: Jordan Lawlar, SS (MLB No. 12), Salt River Rafters
After a standout performance in his first AFL game, Arizona’s top prospect belted a homer for the second straight day and finished the Rafters’ 11-9 loss 1-for-3 at the dish with two walks and two runs scored. The 20-year-old cranked a 2-1 changeup over the wall in left for a solo shot in the sixth for his lone hit of the day.
Reds: Noelvi Marte, SS (MLB No. 17), Glendale Desert Dogs
Marte belted 19 home runs in the regular season, the most of his career, and he added his first AFL dinger to his ledger with a first-inning long ball as part of a two-hit day in Glendale’s 11-9 win. The 20-year-old added a single in the fourth and came around to score a run. Going to the Reds in the Luis Castillo trade with the Mariners, Marte slashed .292/.397/.443 in 30 games with High-A Dayton with eight extra-base hits, 13 RBIs and 10 steals.
Rockies: Zac Veen, OF (MLB No. 23), Salt River Rafters
Veen had a tough ending to his 2022 campaign, but he came out of the gate swinging in his second AFL contest. Colorado’s top prospect logged his first four-hit game of the year and his first since Aug. 24, 2021, driving in three runs and scoring twice while reaching base five times. The 20-year-old belted a two-run double in the first frame before crushing a 420-foot homer in the fifth, his first long ball in over two months. More »
Cubs: Brennen Davis, OF (MLB No. 48), Mesa Solar Sox
Davis only logged one hit in Mesa’s 12-5 loss, but it was a big one. Chicago’s second-ranked prospect launched a two-run homer in the third, cranking the second pitch of the at-bat to center field in his first AFL game. The 22-year-old is looking to build some momentum with a strong AFL campaign; he only appeared in 53 regular-season games this year after dealing with a back injury.
Padres: Jackson Merrill, SS (MLB No. 83), Peoria Javelinas
Merrill is coming off a red-hot 2022 regular season, and in his first AFL game, San Diego’s top prospect picked up right where he left off. The 19-year-old ripped an RBI triple and reached base three times during a two-hit, two-RBI night in Peoria’s 6-2 win. Merrill drew a walk in the top of the first against Kumar Rocker and started a rally in the fifth with a single and a stolen base before crossing the plate with the game’s first run. He smacked a triple down the right-field line on the first pitch he saw in the next frame and scored on a fielding error.
Giants: Luis Matos, OF (No. 3), Scottsdale Scorpions
Matos played a big part in Scottsdale’s 12-run outburst on the second day of AFL action. The 20-year-old drove in a team-high four runs and belted his first Fall League homer in a 2-for-5 effort. Matos capped off a four-run second frame with a two-run single to right on the first pitch of the at-bat, and he bookended the scoring with a two-run shot to left field to plate the 11th and 12th runs of the game for the Scorpions.
Rangers: Kumar Rocker, RHP (No. 8), Surprise Saguaros
It’s been a long road for Rocker, but he took a big step forward in his journey to the Majors with his first AFL appearance. The 22-year-old logged a strikeout and didn’t allow a hit in one inning of work, though he did walk three batters and only fired nine of his 28 pitches for strikes. However, he was able to escape the inning unscathed in what was his first time on the mound as part of the Rangers organization. More »
Red Sox: Thad Ward, RHP (No. 15), Scottsdale Scorpions
Ward got a late start to his 2022 season after recovering from Tommy John surgery in ‘21, but he was incredibly solid for the last three months between rehab and Double-A. His first outing in the AFL was no exception, as the 25-year-old struck out seven over 4 2/3 innings of two-hit ball. Ward retired seven of the first eight batters he faced and fired 46 of his 70 pitches for strikes. More »